Thursday, October 27, 2011

Embrace the Camera: October 27th

First visit at a pumpkin patch...

With Halloween fast approaching we had it set in our mind to find a great pumpkin patch to take Lily to. I searched through many links until I found the pumpkin patch I felt had everything I always wanted to experience as a kid. So first thing Sunday morning we headed to the Irvine Railroad Pumpkin Patch!

 Lily didn't know what to make of such a place, everywhere she turned there was something exciting going on. I tried to convince her to sit on a pumpkin to take a few pictures...but she wouldn't have it. She just stood there like a deer caught in headlights. So I dropped the idea and asked her to pick out a pumpkin instead.

 She grabbed the smallest pumpkin she could find and held on to it for dear it became hers.

At this point I figured I might as well get a photo of her even if it meant holding her down. 
But she had her mind set on other the tempting smell of fresh popcorn.

 ...and before I knew it, I was able to capture this!

 She got a kick out of all the 'pop your head in the hole boards'...okay, I'm not really sure what you call these. I love her little feet sticking out from the bottom. 
She's suppose to be corn if you didn't catch that. lol

I had way too much fun with this one. I laughed with her...not at her (half the time). 

Then we found this awesome pony to ride on. It was made of hay and an old stuffed animal. 
I think we found the answer for when Lily begins to ask us  for a pony.

 She eventually found her way to a real pony, and we named it Bullseye for the 5 minutes we had him.

 It was love...and she wouldn't stop petting it. She would even order him to 'Giddy Up!'. 
This seriously made her day.

 After the sad farewell to Bullseye, we opted to help her win a prize.

She won a Lion...but again, she had her heart set on something else.

 When I was asked what I wanted painted on her face my first thought was a butterfly...thinking they would paint a tiny one on her cheek. The artist had another kind of butterfly in mind apparently...

But it came out so beautiful that I would have been a fool to have asked for anything less.
An hour later she slept on the drive home and that beautiful butterfly face became clown-like and transferred all over her shirt. This why you always take a picture!

We'll definitely be back for Christmas!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Embrace the Camera: August 25th

San Diego Zoo...

   Our vacation was finally winding down, and we were preparing to return to our daily life. Yet, on our last day before checking out, we decided we would treat Lily to one more quick adventure. We explained to her that we were leaving, and that we were heading back to see her grandparents, cousins, and friends. She seemed excited to leave, but she couldn't walk away just yet. She insisted on spending a little more time on the balcony watching the scene below as she had many times during our vacation.

We waited on the balcony together as my husband loaded the car, and prepared for our departure. She was quite chatty that morning and kept asking to see monkeys and tigers. She's random, and will bring up many subjects without warning. The week before  we were watching "The Jungle Book", and she turned to me to proclaim that she wanted to go to the jungle and dance with a bear.

I love the way her mind works...I can have conversations with her forever.

The glass elevator was another one of her favorite past times during our stay. We must have ridden that elevator more than a dozen times. At one point, we kept running into the same people, and I'm sure they were wondering if we were lost. The fact is that we kept using the elevator as our own personal amusement ride since it reached 10 stories and the view was of a beautiful waterfall. 

Let's not forget the mirror...she made sure to dance and jump every time we walked by.

Once we reached the San Diego Zoo, we bought Lily a hat and headed straight for the smelly flamingos. Why do they always insist on placing the flamingos in the front? Luckily, on the way out of a zoo I know I'm near the entrance by the stench of the flamingos. This time though, the baby flamingo made the stench worth standing still least for a quick photo.

This little guy was too cute to pass up. I caught him walking out of the pool, pull down a towel, and begin to dry himself up. I whistled at him like I would a dog, and he gave me this look.

We were then off to see some colorful birds...

We entered the new bird exhibit, and it was amazing. You are literally placed inside a giant cage with all these exotic birds. Some were so large that when they flew above us their wing span stretched as tall as me. The blue bird above was feeding so close that we would be able to touch it...but we didn't of course.

This yellow beauty flew over my head and perched itself on a branch inches away. Even with a camera in its face the bird didn't attempt to fly. Such an awesome experience!

My monkey...ready to make our way down to see her favorite animal.

It was a LONG and STEEP trek down to visit the monkeys!

Though she enjoyed every single primate...the Orangutans captured her the most. 

This was the only photo I was able to take of the lazy tiger, I mean they do sleep longer than they are awake. Once he woke up, he sprayed the walls with urine? He smelled every single spray on the wall as to make sure it was really there. Must have been due to all the strangers camping out so close to his territory.

The elephants instantly reminded Lily of Dumbo...of course! She kept asking to sit on Dumbo, so that little tiny person on top of the baby elephant is Lily as excited as can be. lol

The Giraffes kept following my camera...they were more than ready for a photo opt. 

Can you tell someone was EXCITED to see the polar bear?

I LOVE THIS PICTURE! She's smiling from ear to ear and showing her dimples.

...and with that intro we entered the Polar Bear Research exhibit.

Flying a WhirlyBird

Here were are with a seal...but she's ready to move on.

I wanted to see the Tiger so much...and it was asleep of course. Isn't it still so beautiful? There was nothing but a small chain link fence between us though. Yikes!

My Koalas were all asleep too...except for the tiny baby on the left. Toddlers never sleep when we want them to so I can relate. Poor mom on the right looks exhausted. I could be making all this up though. lol

Our last planned stop was the Reptile exhibit...I take WAY too many pictures of reptiles so I limited myself to my two favorite.

Just when I thought we were done...Lily discovers a petting zoo within the zoo. 

She came into this adventure with a smile, and I can call it a success knowing she left this place with an even larger smile. I, on the other hand, will not be visiting another zoo or animal for the rest of the year. ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Embrace the Camera: August 18th

San Diego Sea World!

The family was finally able to take a vacation this year, and it was long awaited. During the last 2 days, I was able to capture Lily's very first Sea World visit. A week prior to our vacation, all she kept requesting were to see animals and it seemed as though we couldn't reach that day soon enough. So when it came time, we all woke up with excitement to begin the day.

The moment she woke up I turned to her and whispered, 'Guess where we're going today?'. She began to guess a few places including her baby sitter's house. I hovered over her and said 'We're going to see your animals today!'...that instantly put a smile on her face. Then she stretched, rolled over, she sprung out of bed and immediately headed for her shoes.

As I gathered her clothes and shoes to get her dressed, Lily opted to sit by the balcony window. The lighting that morning was so beautiful as the morning dew covered our window. She would rise to see the golfers already doing their rounds on the golf course, and then sit back down and have some grapes.

As Lily sat there eating grapes, I was transfixed by her carefree expression. She was taking in the scenery, just existing in the moment. It made me exhale, and feel blessed for the little person sitting beside me.

We didn't waste any time, we went straight for Shiver the polar bear...and a few shots with Shamu.

We were thrilled to be seated in time for the first dolphin show, it was AH-MAZING!

We bought Lily a few sardines to feed the seals, yet she threw most of them in before I could even prepare to capture it. I also handed one over to a little boy standing near me whimpering because his dad wouldn't buy any. The smile on his face was priceless.

We stood a bit watching the seals, their call for food made Lily jump from time to time but she loved it.

The size of this starfish statue caught Lily's eye the moment we reached it. She hopped right up and gave it a huge hug.

She didn't hesitate to place her hand in the water and reach out for every starfish she could touch.

We reached the fish exhibit, and took a few shots of our favorite ones. Most of the fish there were larger than Lily!

The piranhas shimmered so beautifully that when you gathered them all together in this tank they gave out an amazing light. There must have been hundreds of them swimming along side each other.

Lily's favorite had to have been the turtles. They followed her little finger, and would swim near her for the entire time we remained there.

When we exited the exhibit...our little friend was waiting outside. Well, I think it was him...they all look alike.

I had to place a sweater on her to enter the polar bear exhibit, it was FREEZING! By this point, her hair was such a mess from the day that I had to leave it down and let it be. Once inside, she ran towards the window and stood in awe as the polar bear...well, he just slept the whole time. 

As we reached the end of our Sea World trip, we made sure we caught Elmo's 3D movie. This is her attempt to place the glasses on her face. Not quite right...but she got them on eventually...15 minutes later.

This was the best I could do in capturing  her during the movie. The room was dark and I sat right next to her not giving me any room for much. I love her expression of enjoyment though...she really loved the entire movie from beginning to end.

These two were beyond tired at this point...and developing a sunburn!

By the time we made it back to the hotel, all everyone wanted to do was lounge.

We all spent the remainder of the day out on the balcony. Eating, relaxing, and waiting for the sun to set. These are the moments I want to remember.