Cuteness in an oversized hat

This is from a recent park-trip with some friends. It was quite sunny and we forgot to bring a hat. Luckily our friend had one he was willing to was a bit big.

She loves her Minion

Papillon got this present from her Aunt while we were on vacation. You inflate the top and put a little water in the bottom for the perfect punching-Minion!

For some reason I didn' think it was the kind of thing that Papillon would enjoy right away.
But I was very wrong. She LOVES it. She laughs at it all the time.

Witness the fun of having your own Minion:

Bed Head

Now that Papillon's hair is significantly long, it has taken on a personality of its own.

Experience, the Bed Head:

Papillon thinks its pretty entertaining.
Marge is not entertained by much.

How does the garden grow?

I am waaaay behind on posting. So much to post, so little time, so we are going to fly through the next bunch of you can expect two weeks of fairly brief, possibly picture heavy posts.

First, and update on the garden, in no particular order. (these pictures are probably a good 2 weeks old now....oops. haha).

Here is our raspberry plant.

It seems to have skipped the growing-in-size stage and gone right to making fruit. This seems odd to me, but we'll see how it turns out.

Our pepper plant.

We did not start this from a seed. So don't be impressed. So far, no flowers or peppers.

Our romaine:

Also not seed started. But it is growing well. Or rather 3 of the 4 plants are growing well, the 4th is just kind of staying the same size. I don't know why this is, so I tend to water it more than the other three, but it doesn't help. My only theory is that I am over compensating for is slow growth by watering it too much. Maybe I am drowning it.

This is brocoli, I think.
I have never grown broccoli and am excited to see if it turns out.

A tomato plant (not seed started)
Already blooming - yay!

Here is the garden as a whole.
The previous owners were intense gardeners which is why we have such a sweet garden area. I confess I did nothing with it last year. But being 7+ month pregnant during gardening season kind of killed my motivation. This year, I have no such excuse, hence, the plants.

Our pea plants:
These are growing like crazy! I am very excited about them.

We also have some bean plants (not growing much at all...weird) and some carrots (I failed and spacing the seeds properly, so we may end up with only 5 carrots once I finish thinning them out. Ooops. Oh well, its my first try at carrots).

Hopefully I will update again soon...since this update is already out of date :-)

Midwest 2011: Family and Everything Else

Anyone willing to look at yet another vacation post is a truly dedicated fan. So to anyone looking at this I say, Thank you for your dedication. This is the last vacation post, I promise. It's a bit of a catch all post for the rest of the Kansas part of the trip, so I will try and move fast.

I am so pleased that Papillon got to meet her Great Grandad. He is an awesome, God-fearing man who I love to call part of our family. Hopefully we will get out to see him again soon!

Papillon got lots of hugs from Great Grandad

On our last night in Kansas, we went out to eat with Mon Amour's Uncle who is also his God Father. We went to a fancy hotel in town where Papillon tested the couch for comfy-ness.

And then enjoyed some delicious peas and banana for dinner while the rest of us had some delicious Italian food!

Here we are before heading out to dinner.

And now back to more Great-Grandad and Papillon pictures, cause they are my favorite.

Grandad told me that I should "get a boy baby" next time (he was partially serious, and partially being silly), but he was totally in love with our little girl.

And here is some more Kansas family. Mon Amour's Aunt (owner of Starbuck and Packer) and her husband.

She is an artist extraordinaire. Painting is primarily her creative outlet of choice, but recently she has taken up jewelry making with rather a significant amount of success. Papillon received a pendant from her as a gift a while back, and she said that that was one of the first things she ever made, at the rate her jewelry business is growing, who knows, perhaps some day it will be a collectible!

She offered to make me a set of earrings to go with the pearl necklace that I had brought and I excitedly agreed! I picked out two pearls, and some gold beads and we strung them together...

And made this pretty pair of earrings!

And that, my friends, is our entire vacation. Sort of. I haven't told the stories about the people we met on the plane (Mon Amour talked to a woman for one entire flight, she also worked in non-profits) or the fun things we did that did not end up getting photographed. It was just such a wonderful vacation there are too many memories to put in the blog.

Therefore, I will move on.
Time for some non-vacation posts.

Midwest 2011: Cuteness in Kansas and Riding a Horse

This post has no particular flow, just some cuteness and some horse riding from our vacation.

First, the cuteness. Check out the adorable shoes we found at a consignment store.

Just adorable.

Goofy grin.

Crawling away.

Mon Amour's Aunt is an animal lover and her particular favorite is her horse Starbuck.

Starbuck is a really nice horse. And quite smart. He roams the property all day, then, when he is hungry for dinner, he comes up to the house and stands by the back door. Literally, his face looks in through the window in the door. And he just stands there perfectly still until someone comes to give him dinner. Its kind of crazy.

Papillon got a chance to sit on Starbuck (her first official horseback ride). She had mixed emotions about the experience. She was kind of intrigued at first.

Perhaps a little reserved, but warming up to it. Then Starbuck swished his tail and that was the end of it. Papillon had a minor freak out and we crossed horseback riding off her list of fun things to do. Maybe when she is older she will like it more.

Papillion did like the other pet on the property, Packer, the very intelligent though some what strange looking (note the two different eyes) dog. Packer is not a baby-dog he is a little territorial. But Papillion loved him anyway and eventually her smiles wore him down and by the end I would say they were, if not best friends, definitely amicable.

Midwest 2011: Prettiest spot in Kansas

I must confess that I am not a huge fan of Kansas (sorry for those of you who may be partial to it...) This was my second trip to Kansas, and since my last visit I may have slightly exaggerated the barrenness of Kansas...but only slightly. It's pretty barren.

Oh look, a farm house!
One of only a few signs of life on our drive from the top to the bottom of Kansas. We got a state road map while we were there, and on it there is a list of all of the "towns" in Kansas along with their official population....the vast majority have less than 1000 people in them. Many have less than 100. They even listed on town with 21 people in it. Woot! 21 people and its officially on the map!

We had been directed by Mon Amour's uncle to this Oasis in the dessert of Kansas...

It's not much to look at, a truck stop, really. But, the cinnamon rolls are as big as the one on the sign. See:

Delicious! It was the sugar high we needed to get through the rest of the rolling hills of Kansas...

And yes, it was in fact practically due south from our first stop in Kansas to our second. The road was completely straight the whole way.

The drive was worth it though, because we ended up in the Prettiest Spot in all of Kansas. See:

Sorry folks, this spot is taken. Mon Amour's Grandad owns it and its beautiful, kind of makes you forget its Kansas. (Sorry Kansas, I am being overly harsh...)

While at Grandad's, we explored a bit and took some picture of Papillon. (the photo currently at the top of the blog is from this part of the trip)

Papillon "climbed" a tree.

It rained one day, but really just the sunny rainbow filled kind of rain.

It's lovely in the day.

and lovely in the evening.

And the driveway is just gorgeous.

Playground of Awesomeness

Quite possibly one of the most exciting things about our trip to Kansas was the discovery that playground equipment that for years has been deemed unsafe and therefore illegal (I think) in our part of the country, is still alive and well in Kansas. Yay Kansas! (not sarcastic this time ;-)

The place we went in Kansas is a small town of about 9000 people (huge by Kansas standards), but for being so small, it has quite a nice park area. Here is a little tour in no particular order.

One Merry Go Round of Death! Clearly that's not the technical name. But, seriously, haven't these been outlawed because kids get thrown off and trampled??

This one doesn't seem very dangerous, so tell me, why don't we have fun dirt-digging contraptions in any playgrounds around here?

The focal point of this playground was this:

Mon Amour and Papillon stood next to it for a size reference. It order to appreciate the fullness of its hazardous-ness, let's look at it from a few more angles.

Can these even be called steps? its more like a 20 foot ladder!

And look at the angle on this slide with a bump in the middle? After the little hill it basically drops straight down.

I think once upon a time, when I was in Kindergarten, my playground had a slide almost this tall (just one, not the magically 5-slide combo that this place has), and I was terrified of it. (They have since removed that slide for safety reasons.) I think I went down it once...and was scarred for life. So obviously I had to take this one in a life time opportunity to conquer the Tall Slide.

Mission accomplished. It was thrilling. A roller coaster for those of us who are terrified of roller coasters. It was super fun.

There were some slightly less intimidating slides, such as this triple-wide one.

And a cute little one that Papillon tried out all on her own (ok, not actually all on her own, but close)

Papillon taking on the mini-slide.

In addition to the playground this park also has a zoo (see the buffalo below) and a SWEET water park (not pictured). For a small town, the public spaces are totally amazing.