Friday, May 17, 2019


Today is Mae's third birthday, and I thought she might actually explode from the anticipation this week! Yesterday, on the way to day care, she told Dan, "I go to baby school, and then I come home, and we eat dinner, and then I get a treat, and then we watch 'Octonauts, and then I go to bed, and then I wake up and IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!" This kid was counting the minutes 'til she turned 3!

Mae woke up extra early today (too excited for her birthday), so we had a very full day! First, we baked cupcakes. Mae helped me measure ingredients and put all the cupcake liners into the tin. After breakfast, we got dressed and went to the zoo. When Grandma visited a couple weeks ago, we went to the zoo's bird show, and Mae was losing her mind over all the bird tricks (and slapstick comedy). We tried to go on Mother's Day, but it was rained out. Mae was devastated, so I promised we would go this week. She's been talking about the bird trainer Bob and the birds Coco and BG all week. I'm so glad the weather was nice enough today for a birthday bird show! After the show, Mae even got to meet Bob who gave her a feather from Coco as a birthday present (Mae told him that was her favorite bird).

I also took Mae to the cheetah show, which she loved! Needless to say, she had LOTS to tell Daddy when he got home from work today! (This photo is from our rainy Mother's Day zoo visit.)

We opened presents as soon as Dan got home from work.

Of course, we had to open and play with each gift as it was opened. First we fed the Hungry Hungry Hippos about 15 times. Mae got a huge kick out of this game. I have a feeling there are a lot of hippo feedings in our future.

Next we tried out some batting practice on the new t-ball set. We had to work on Mae's form a bit, since she was inclined to use the bat like a pool cue. She got the hang of it after a few rounds!

This evening, Lisa hosted a little pizza party for some of our friends. Since Anna and Isaac were there, we brought cupcakes so Mae could celebrate her birthday with friends! They had a great time playing on the swing set.

Happy birthday, Mae! I hope your birthday lived up to all your expectations... I sure had a fun day! (If it didn't, don't worry. We get a re-do next weekend for your belated birthday party.) We can't wait to see what three brings for you, sweet girl!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

all birds go to heaven

It is with much sadness that I share the news that my beloved parakeet Charlie passed away a few weeks ago. He had been showing signs of illness for a few days, so I took him to the local exotic animal hospital where they kept him warm, hydrated, and fed until he died. While I'm very sad to lose my little feathery friend, it wasn't completely unexpected based on his age (almost 10) and some physical signs he had been showing for the last year or so. I am glad he didn't suffer long, and that he passed away in warmth and comfort.

I bought Charlie from a local bird shop/breeder in the summer of 2009. I was living in a new city, recovering from a breakup, and mourning the loss of my goldfish Ichy (a faithful companion for 6 years). On my first visit to the bird nursery, I watched the group of newly hatched parakeets and tried to pick the most active and social of the bunch. I certainly couldn't choose based on looks... they had barely any feathers! Charlie came over to investigate me and peck at my fingers, and I knew he was the one. The shop owner put a dab of red marker on his forehead to mark him as "claimed," and I returned home to await the day he'd be ready to come live with me. A few weeks later, I collected him from the store in a little cardboard box and drove him home to my first apartment. In my first photos of him settled into his new digs, you can still see the remnants of the red marker on his head!

Over the next few months, I spent time training him to step onto my hand and to sit on my shoulder. I left the radio quietly playing for him when I went to work, so he wouldn't have to sit in silence. Though I could never understand any of his phrases, he did mimic human speech sounds, and I wonder if he was picking up things from the radio. Mostly he just sounded like R2D2.

Charlie always greeted me with a chirp or a little "weet?" sound. He had a distinct whistle for different people, often repeating my lower-toned wolf whistle back to me and using my mom's higher-toned whistle to greet her.

His favorite things were: taking showers in the kitchen sink, my watch, toes (both his and mine), and salty snacks. He wasn't alway the smartest bird, and spent his whole life trying to figure out how to open the door to the cage (something my first parakeet figured out very quickly). He also spent a lot of time hanging on the side of the cage, picking his toes off the wires one at a time, until he went crashing to the bottom of the cage. Not the sharpest crayon in the box.

Charlie even had his 15 minutes of fame when Dan was on Jeopardy! During the contestant interviews, Alex Trebek asked Dan about the pet parakeet, and Dan told him about Charlie's R2D2 sounds. Famous!

I miss you lots, sweet bird. I miss seeing you run to the side of the cage to greet me when I uncover you in the morning. I miss your constant whistling and chatter; the house is quieter without you... and not in a good way. Please don't read into it too much that Mae wants to immediately replace you with a new bird. ("No? Okay, how 'bout a doggy? No? Okay, we'll get a kitty.") I hope you are enjoying everything that birdy heaven has to offer. You deserve it.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

cherry blossoms

Mae has been a little resistant to having her photos taken recently. She's a total ham for my phone camera, but she pouts as soon as I pull out the DSLR. I think she senses my anxiety when I'm trying to get a "special occasion" photo.

When the cherry blossoms bloomed a few weeks ago, I took Mae to the park with the big camera. I led her underneath a beautiful cherry tree with flowers cascading to the ground all around us and took off my lens cap. Activate toddler defenses! She used every trick in the book: pouting, jelly legs, and running away while giggling (so cute, so frustrating.) I dug deep into my arsenal of bribes. (I'll give you a treat when we get home! We can go to the swings after we take photos!) But she didn't want pleading, stressed mom. She wanted silly, playtime mom.

We moved to another spot and talked about the flowers and the bees for a bit. Then we played one of her current favorite games, sure to induce a giggle fit.

Mae: Mom, sing a song.
Me (in a quiet, lullabye voice): Edelweiss, Edelweiss, every morning you greet me. Small and white ...
Mae: Sing it loud!!!
*cue giggles*

Mae also struck up a conversation with a couple who was out for a walk. She told them that daddy was at home because he has an ouchy head. They told her that daddy was probably suffering from allergies. I told them that a more likely culprit was the wedding we attended the previous night.

We finished our park visit with a ride on the swings. Plus, I gave Mae a pink frosted fortune cookie I'd snagged from the wedding reception. I think she earned both for this photo shoot.