Thursday, March 21, 2013

A little light housekeeping. Or, cutting out the spam.

Since the end of last year, I've been getting more and more spam comments on the blog. Most of them are pretty harmless, pretending to be interested readers who leave awkwardly worded tidbits and then invite us to visit their spammy web page about how to make money working at home and other such intriguing content. I've been able to delete and report them without too much effort on my part but after one particularly vulgar comment the other day, I decided to turn on the image verification tool in the comments form to try and cut down on the nonsense.

Apologies if anyone was surprised or offended by that comment, or is annoyed by having to use the image verification. It's not my favorite thing either and I was hoping I wouldn't have to use it here, but I hope you'll understand and keep leaving me lovely comments! I just hope that now you can visit the comments section with confidence that you won't be solicited to click on any evil links. Please feel free to tell me nice things like:

"I've been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before."

Or helpful tips like:

"Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. However, just imagine if you added some great visuals or video clips to give your posts more, "pop!" Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this website could undeniably be one of the most beneficial in its niche."

Because the spammers won't anymore and I really enjoyed those morale boosters...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Trains!

This weekend, we spent an hour or so at a great little museum/park near our house. Alice hadn't been since she was little bitty and didn't remember it at all but we knew she'd love looking at and climbing on all the trains. 

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The museum has a great collection of trains with really cool histories. There was one car that had been in one of the most famous, unsolved train accidents ever. The age of the cars combined with the open-air format and free access to the public makes it hard to keep everything maintained. I always hate to see things damaged or lost to the elements (or human disrespect), but I do love the patina of abandonment and erosion. Here are a few shots I like to call "Textures of Travel Town."
On our way out, Alice finally took notice of the little train that drives around the perimeter of the park. She said, "I wanna ride it!" and turned around and marched back toward the action. We'll have to do that next time. 

Happy Monday! I hope your weekend was filled with fun things!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2 Months!

Ivy is two months old! At her check-up on Monday, she measured 23 inches long and weighed in at 13 pounds, 5.4 ounces. That's about the 70th percentile for height (meaning that out of 100 girls her age, 69 would be shorter and 29 would be taller) and the the 85th percentile for weight. She's sturdy. 

She got some of her vaccines at her visit and made a way bigger fuss than Alice did. Alice usually finished crying and fell asleep before we even left the exam room but Ivy screamed and cried the most pitiful cries for a good ten minutes while Jon used the bathroom, we gathered up our things, washed her pacifiers twice, and even dealt with Alice having a small meltdown. She fell asleep in the car though and she and I basically cuddled for the rest of the day. Like this:


She's hitting all her milestones, even some of the advanced ones! She gives us tons of smiles, says all kinds of baby words, and even laughs already. She does a great mini-pushup and is bearing weight on her legs like a champ. When I burp her she leans against my shoulder and stands in my lap, practically unassisted. Crazy talk. Speaking of crazy, she's already teething. The doctor noticed her drooling and called it right away. Alice cut her first tooth the day she turned three months, I'm hoping Ivy doesn't have to suffer too much longer before hers pops up!
Tummy time! Smiles!
At her check-up, the pediatrician was a bit concerned that Ivy's legs weren't straightening out appropriately and recommended that we see an orthopedist to make sure, so we did that right away. We had an appointment last Thursday with a great doctor who spent plenty of time with me and explained all kinds of things. He confirmed that Ivy has no hip dysplasia and no metatarsus adductus, which is great. He did think she had a little internal tibial torsion (rotated tibia) which should resolve on its own but he wants to see her after she starts walking, just in case. 

I feel like I know Ivy better every day and I'm really starting to get the hang of her schedule and rhythms. Her little personality is showing more and more each day and I love to watch her grow and develop and discover!

Here's our little Ivy Bug giving us her best little bug face.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Photos in the gardens

My mom was in town last week and we thought it was a great opportunity to visit a nearby botanical garden. We've been planning to get a family pass so we can visit whenever we'd like and we thought it was time we finally made that happen.

I was the only one that had been there before but I knew Alice would love exploring and Jon would love having an interesting place to get outside with the girls, especially once I'm back at work. The grounds really feel magical with lots of secluded walkways, leafy hideaways, sun-dappled clearings, and benches tucked into the foliage for a quiet and private place to sit and enjoy the landscape. I always feel like there are fairies darting around just out of sight and little creatures scurrying around under the brush. There is a sign that warns about more exciting animals (like deer, and mountain lions, and bears - oh my!) but I have yet to see any actual wildlife except the koi in the Japanese garden.

We headed to the Japanese garden first and Alice really enjoyed watching the koi cruise around in the pond and running all over the bridges and pathways under the cherry blossoms. It's one of my favorite spots in the park and I thought it would be a great place to take some pictures.

I've been meaning to get some photos of the four of us all together and thought the scenery would make a beautiful backdrop, so I took advantage of having an extra pair of hands around to help out. My mom was a bit nervous about the responsibility but she took some great shots for us, despite my vague direction and the collective hassle of juggling the kids and our bags and baby carrier and camera and trying to take the photos before anyone had a total meltdown. It was worth the effort though, I think one of these might make it onto a canvas on our wall!