Thursday, January 21, 2010

January, Thus Far

Okay, it's been a REALLY long time since I've updated this blog. That doesn't mean that brothers have to call and yell at me about it. Tyler's a meanie.

We've had a great January so far. Evan has been mostly unemployed, which means we get to see him a lot! Yeah, it's nice to have money, but having Daddy around is pretty nice, too!

Auntie was with us for a few days at the end of the year. Here is our exciting New Year's Day. Watching Auntie play word games on the computer, reading books...

And playing cars. Elliott loves these components of the Hot Wheels City. Smiths bought him a few last year for his birthday, and Evan bought him some more on our way back from New York City. They are good for hours of play.

Evan, taking a few minutes break from woodworking. He's got the garage set up as a shop, and he's in the middle of making a bunk bed for the kids.

Fat-tummied book lover.

Coy little girl. She wanted to wear this summer dress since it was a holiday, so we compromised and made her wear a turtleneck under it. Totally dorky, but it made her happy.

Then, the fun really started last week, when the Cotten kiddos and Bet brought Aunt Lindsey down to the airport so she could fly back to Alaska. Of course, I don't have any pictures of Lindsey-- my camera had over 1000 pictures on it, so I kept refusing to take pictures until I had downloaded them all and erased the card. I didn't get a lot of pictures of mid-January.

Our big outing was the zoo!

Watching the ducks.

They didn't seem to mind the cold.

There were even happy flamingos-- I thought they were more of a tropical bird, but they seemed fine standing in the semi-frozen water.

I LOVE this picture of the cousins, Marilla and Orianna. And, since the Cottens were here, Marilla is clutching a bag of pretzels.

Andean condor. It was HUGE, not that you could tell from this picture.

Not an official visitor, but I like this picture of a squirrel. He was in the red panda's cage.

This is the red panda.

Thornton's white-lipped deer, or some such name-- can't be bothered to look it up right now! :-)

A rooster-- I don't know if it was a special one. His head was a nice spot of color, though.

One of the few things Elliott got excited about at the zoo! For most of the outside portion of the zoo, Elliott spent the time in the double stroller, begging for more blankets. Little sissy. :-) Just because his mother decided 35° was warm enough that they didn't need mittens or hats...

Bet taking pictures. If you brought a camera, and a coupon printed off the zoo's website, you could get in free, as a way to promote their photo contest. For all six kids and three adults, we paid $3! It's the cheap thing to do in the winter.

The wolf.


I've worked in some preschools where this should have been displayed.

Okay, so I'm probably going overboard with posting pictures of animals, but Bet's camera battery died early in the day, so I want her girls to be able to see pictures of all the animals. Of course, I wasn't with it enough to burn a CD of the pictures for them before they left.

Bird with pretty plumage, whose name escapes me. Unfortunately for winning fame and glory in the zoo's photo contest, between the fences and windows you had to shoot through, and the slightly dingy snow, it wasn't a good picture day for the animals.

Fat bird.

Tiger. (With my helpful, astute scientific labels here, I bet you can tell I was a biology major for several semesters, right?)

The tiger statue.

Lifting the kids on. We provided our own saddle, in the form of an old Indian blanket.

Sweet smiling kids... and my daughter Cheyenne.

In her defense, the kids were quite frozen by this point.

Orianna and Lily still managed to smile, but not Cheyenne.

Not until she got to be the one in the spotlight, and sit on the tiger all by herself. Oh, boy, is it fun raising a temperamental drama queen.

Mountain sheepy- things.

I like the snow balanced on the tip of his horn.

Guanacos, cousins to llamas. (See, I actually bestirred myself to google what their names were, rather than writing "llama cousin-thingies.")

I'd say reindeer, but I didn't read the sign.

A white wolf. (Evan says that's all it is, but it seems like every animal in the zoo was something other than what I first thought it was. "Hey, look, kids, it's llamas!" "Actually, they're guanacos. Duh, Aunt Clover." Thankfully, Orianna was too polite to say that.)

Penguins. I really don't understand why animals who flourish in the Antartic AND play outside the whole Syracuse summer, had to be inside that day. I was thinking they would be cavorting adorably in the winter. Instead, they were standing in lots of poop in their enclosure.

Probably too many swan pictures, but they were pretty. Even standing in their own waste.

Two of them, with their heads tucked.

Pretty mallard.

And the humble wife, tagging along a few steps behind. Reminded me a lot of Evan and I.

Another swan picture.

Feeding the donkeys.

The elephant! They weren't out when we first walked by their yard, which was very disappointing to Orianna and Lily, who were pretty firm in their ideas on what animals SHOULD be in the zoo. Thankfully, just as we were heading inside for lunch, there the elephant was!

Continuing our super-cheap streak, we brought our own picnic lunch. Here Elliott is blissing over his chocolate pudding. I've never seen a kid who likes pudding quite as much as Elliott. I made pudding a few times over the days the Cottens were here, and he was would eat all his. Then finish Marilla's. Then move on to Orianna's, and top it off with Lily's.

They were passing out candy at the entrance. Cheyenne looked just like the blue-tongued skink whose picture was hanging in the dining area.

Little Gilbert, happy to be out of his stroller!

Edible child!

A Nemo fish! I think parents should petition the scientific community to officially change their scientific name to reflect the fact that kids will ALWAYS call it a Nemo fish!

And a Dorrie fish. We have a battery-operated Dorrie fish that swims around our bathtub.

Checking out one of the fish tanks.

Gilbert's back in the stroller, but at least he can be uncovered because we're inside now!


And, despite me saying, "Look, kids, alligators!" these were NOT alligators. Evan, the smart one, can't remember what they were called either. So just be aware it's NOT an alligator or crocodile.

Here the kids are, (being quiet like the sign asked them) in the bird area.

A parrot? They were flying around in here, not conveniently perched next to a little sign telling you who they were.

These animals were wandering, too.

The single most disgusting animal in the zoo, hands down. Naked mole rats.

Sloths, living up to their name.

This snake looks like it is grinning evilly.



There's little pictures in the holes of the rock here. The kids liked peering in.

Hmm, not sure what these were.

The kids watching the red-bummed monkey-like animals. They were quite captivated by the colors of their bottoms. (I just stopped being lazy and looked them up. They were mandrills.)

Pretty bird.

These were the best animals there-- they were swinging all over the place, flipping upside down on vines and coming right up to the window. They're called siamangs. I know this, despite the zoo wanting to keep them a secret and not posting them on their website, because my husband is smart and uses Google.

Squirrel monkey.

A meerkat, chilling out.

A fossa. For reasons I've never known, Justin is often called Cotten-Fossa by my weird brothers. So we finally met another Fossa.

Bethaney's sign.

Leaving the zoo!

Rilla and Gilbert kept each other happy. She loved sitting beside him and reading, and it kept him from feeling poor and lonesome.

At the beginning of this week, Evan took a trip to Poughkeepsie, Albany and Glen's Falls, putting together an estimate for a future job. One of the great things about this was that he passed a Krispy Kreme store! (Another great thing was that he stopped at Candy Kraft and bought me a box of dark orange cremes and fudge meltaways for my birthday!)

Elliott liked the doughnuts, although he was concerned enough about the flaking glaze to request a bib for the first time in a long time.

Rilla also liked doughnuts.

My african violet has finally bounced back a bit from it's brutal separation last May.

"Maybe if I act really cute and innocent, they won't notice that I'm carrying around my blankie instead of leaving it in the crib where it's supposed to stay."


Elliott, playing with his laptop and saying, "Take a picture of me!"

Tuesday was my 32nd birthday! I am fast approaching ancient.

Lots of help blowing out candles.

Sleepy little chocolate face.

I do this child's hair every day, and she pulls the elastic out about 20 times a day. Along about evening, I give up, and her hair looks like this. Good thing she's so stinking cute, because this is a HARD hairdo to get away with.

My girls, in their matching outfits from Grandma Marilyn.

Elliott, alas, is not dressed in brown, but is spiffy in his new clothes!

Rilla is goofy.

She is getting so big.

They move too fast for me to get away with not using a flash!

"Yay! I'm getting my picture taken!"

Elliott, cooking up a storm.

There, that's the bazillion pictures I've posted. In non-picture news, Elliott is sorta potty-trained-- as long as you remind him every couple of hours, he keeps his underwear dry! It's a major step in the right direction, so I'm happy. Rilla now insists that she get to sit on the potty at every diaper change, although she never does anything. She just sits on the potty, smirking at her big-girlness.

I'm 21 weeks pregnant now and feeling great. This baby is very active, and every kick is highly welcome! I like knowing it's alive and kicking!

Cheyenne is really reading now-- not just words here and there, but she's able to sit down with a book and read the whole thing through. I got the book "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut" out of the library and she read the whole thing herself. Well, okay, I helped her with the words, "Indianapolis" and "Hallelujah" but otherwise, it was all her!

Maybe I'll get ambitious soon and post the pictures I have from our Christmas vacation-- a wonderful week up at the farm!


Becky Gonce said...

YAY!!! You are alive...of course I knew that from Facebook... BUT so fun to see picts! Oh and those monkey things with stripy tails are lemers...I think... we went to the zoo in Nov. and I kept thinking they were monkeys... Glad this baby is alive...=-) But he/she might keep you on your toes once he/she is out...if this is a foreshadow of his/her personallity! You are more than half way! Thanks for posting again!! =-)

Grammy and grampy said...

Great to see all the pictures! Really makes us miss them and very anxious to see you all. Lots of love from Grammy and Grampy White