Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Owls: The day after

Last night's owl escapade was pretty exciting. But it in no way prepared us for this morning.

At around 9:40am Michael heard a rap-tap-tapping, tapping at the door.

Turns out Fritz has a sibling, Edgar, who wanted to know where we hid Fritz. That's right, there was a baby owl knocking on our front door this morning with his beak. What exactly is the proper etiquette regarding opening your home to a strange baby owl?

We called the RAPTOR, Inc. folks back to try to get an answer to this perplexing question. They told us that owls at this age are like an inquisitive 2 year old, so there was nothing really strange about his behavior he was just checking out everything in his environment - much like Tovina who really wanted to follow Fritz into the woods last night.
As best we could make out, what Edgar was really thinking was, "Hello. My name is Edgar Montoya. You took my brother. Prepare to die."

The fog at the bottom of the window is from Edgar breathing.
Edgar seems somewhat smaller than Fritz, though we don't have a side-by-side comparison. Either way, its still shocking that this bird is only about 2 months old.

This is Edgar looking all nonchalant on Sheila's car. (The bumper got a little scratched but it doesn't look too serious.)
After we had duly noted what a good brother Edgar was for coming by to check on Fritz, he took off back towards the woods, first stopping at the green electric box in the yard, and then up into a dogwood tree. Apparently Edgar can fly - not well - but that's still pretty good, especially since Fritz couldn't get off the ground.

Edgar also has a pretty back which he wanted to make sure we noticed.
Here he is up about 10 feet in a tree.

Check back tomorrow for Part 3: The Return of Fritz

Once again, you can see more pictures at Owl

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Horned Owls

This evening was much more interesting than any of us expected. Danny and Brendan were coming over to play for a while. But upon arrival, instead of leaping out of the car in their normal style, we instead got a call from the driveway.
Cause there was this owl hopping around on the lawn and Dan was afraid that getting out of the car might scare it away. As it turned out, the owl could not fly, so while it did waddle away, it did not get far.

Here you might be able to see it crouched down in the middle of the pic trying to pretend its invisible.

Couldn't quite make it out?
Well then, here's a close up for you.

So what does one do with an owl that seems unable to fly? Call RAPTOR, Inc of course! Luckily Sheila found some numbers and kept calling until she found a very helpful lady who asked us a bunch of questions we didn't know the answers to.
Among them:
Q - Does it have feathers or does it look more furry (adult or baby)
A - Feathers. Its an adult
(10 minutes later)
A - Never mind, its all kinds of furry.
After the very nice man from RAPTORS, Inc arrived, we learned that we had a baby Great Horned Owl who was likely under 2 months old.
Here is one of many close-ups of Fritz

The volunteer checked Fritz out before taking him away and couldn't see anything immediately wrong with him but was going to get him looked at more carefully anyway. After Fritz gets a clean bill of health then he will be brought back to our yard and put back in his nest. With some luck, there will be more pictures.

Duchess (momma) watched the entire proceedings and was not impressed. We could hear her hissing? barking? some sort of clearly aggressive get-away-from-my-baby sound through much of the proceedings.

By the way, Duchess was HUGE!

Another shot of Fritz

And a picture trying to show Fritz's wingspan.

You can see more pictures at Owl
And a longer video on YouTube

Things to notice in the video.
The crows that are going non-stop in the background? They had been harassing the owls since 9am. Apparently crows with flock from miles to attack baby owls of this kind. That might have something to do with the adult owls taking over crows' nests rather than building their own. Or it might be related to the fact that these owls eat crows. Whatever the cause, at 7pm the crows were still circling, cawing, and making a general pest of themselves with regard to the owls. It seems likely that if Fritz had not been taken away, he would have been killed by the crows.
The loud clicking noise? That is Fritz clacking his beak and telling us he is very dangerous and we should back away. However, before he was actually picked up, Fritz did everything in his power to back away from us while looking intimidating. He even puffed all his feathers, arched is back, and raised his wings along his back to look bigger. Hard to believe a bird that big is still so young and has lots of growing left to do.

And here I thought the deer were cool!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Little late

Well, its late and I am trying to clean up my computer while prepping for a phone interview and dealing with some sad news.
So, let me share just a quick pic of mz T
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shabbat clothes

With the glorious warm weather that has finally arrived I have been enjoying dressing T up in some of the outfits that would have proved a bit chilly before now.

Standing still was not an easy task that morning but you can see how sophisticated our little girl looked!

She and Michael fed the fish before we left for services. (Yes we keep our fish food in an old yogurt container.) Tovina's aim is not always the best but luckily Daddy was there to make sure the fish got something to eat.

Of course, I also learned that you can dress her up....

but you can't always take her out.
Where's your belly?
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Friday, April 24, 2009


This last week when grocery shopping, Tovina was treated to a helium balloon by the store.

She was thrilled!
She was thrilled in the car when she bounced it around,
and when it floated out of reach
She was thrilled when it was in the house
and she let it slowly release
She was thrilled as Daddy caught it
just before a ladder was needed
and she was FURIOUS when the balloon's string was then tied to various items, including her own wrist, in an effort to keep it away from the vaulted ceilings.

She earned herself a nap she was so distraught.

After the nap a longer string was tied to the first string and a weight to the new end which seemed to alleviate the worst of whatever horrible thing she imagined we were doing to confine her poor poor balloon.
This eventually led to the following video. A longer version is here.

All better!

Oh, and the screeching? That's a new treat too.
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Banana please

Tovina demonstrating her speaking skills.. and how she sticks out her tongue

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On the dial up

Tovina was given a toy kitchen by one of our neighbors. Included on this deluxe set is some sort of obsolete rotary device... which T recognizes as a phone. The kicker is, while she will rotate the dial, she also tries to push 'buttons' on the mouthpiece of the phone - clearly a holdout from her days of cell phone usage.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shabbat in the park

Today we took advantage of a simply gorgeous day to walk over to a park near our house. Having done it once, we may now be addicted and plan on coming back many, many, many more times. Today we also learned that Tovina LOVES swinging.

Turns out Daddy is a pretty big fan too.
We also got to throw a disk around some which made me happy - so you could say it was a good day for the family all around.
We topped off the time at the park with a lovely stroll home.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bye bye

It had to happen, but it is still sad... all the grandparents went home. They actually did this a few days ago but I have been dragging out pictures in the hopes of ignoring the obvious. I would have liked to share a nice photo of T with her 3 grandparents, but while they pretended to cooporate, the photo is pretty much flattering to no one. Instead I preset you with these highlights.

While T is not in this shot, she had place the hat on Grandpop's head and was very amused by the results. Luckily, he was too :)

Here is a short clip and T and Zaida going through the alphabet. D is for Drums! You can check out longer versions on YouTube.

And here are Baba and T having a read of flash cards together.

So... What does T think of having to wave bye bye to Grandpop, Baba, and Zaida?
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Thursday, April 16, 2009


In addition to all the swing and egg action Sunday, T also played with her cousin's cool slide!

Sliding with Grandpop

Sliding with Zaida

Clearly, she is an equal opportunity grand-daughter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Easter Eggs

Here are some more shots from this weekend.
There was an Easter Egg hunt with the 4 kids (and some adult assistance).
T wasn't quite sure what the whole thing was about though she was more into finding the eggs then the afikomen. Aunt Cindy generously let Tovina get a head start and didn't release the other kids till T had 4 eggs already in her basket. T got her first 4 without much trouble (though she walked by another 4 before she figured out she was suppose to pick them up.) Once she had them though things got a little fuzzy.

First she tried putting them back where she found them
Then she tried to give them to Emma's cousin who generously gave them back.
Then she put the entire basket in a truck and moved the eggs around that wayuntil she decided the basket was unnecessary and used the truck directly.
Tovina was even more impressed when she learned that there was stuff inside the eggs!
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some mighty fine programing

Tonight I introduced T to come classic Sesame Street. See (C?), I was trying to sing "Up & Down" to her but I couldn't remember all of the lyrics though Tovina enthusiastically raised her hands up to the ceiling and put them down on the floor whenever the song called for said actions.
Not to be put off by my lack of remembered details, we headed over to my computer where we found this.
Tovina loved it so we watched it 3 times.
Our next big winner was the letter "B". This led to a lot of lip closing, cheek puffing, and bbbb noises.
Realizing that it was time to pull out the big guns, I introduced T to a classic that she has heard sung many a time but had never before seen with her very own eyes. The pinball song which counts 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12!

It was quite the learning experience for her and helped me remember why I loved Sesame Street so much!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy bithday Emma

Tovina's cousin Emma had a birthday this weekend. Happy Birthday Emma!

We have learned that having a birthday on Easter really ratchets up the amount of sugar and chocolate that is consumed to an unbelievable, almost mystical level. We also lucked into one of the few days that hasn't included rain. Clearly Emma's importance has been noted by the appropriate authorities. I can only guess that they too appreciate the awe-inspiring level of junk food.*

Emma showed Tovina how to work the swings. This involved some light and easy pushes with gentle rocking

especially good for watching Brendan run around.

Grandpop got into the act while Emma displayed her balancing prowess.
Tovina did try the swing that Emma is on in the picture, but luckily for us, simply moving back and forth was exciting enough and standing on the swing was not necessary. As it is, there was some excitement concerning the slide and climbing up to its exalted location. The swing episode and the egg hunt made for a small break in the swinging...
And then Zaida got roped into doing some more pushing later on.
Clearly, swings are a big hit.

*Healthy food was attempted by Cindy, but it was hard to compete with the overflow of the day. I'm guessing we also did not help matters by showing up with a moving box worth of somewhat less than nutritionally sound offerings - oops.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Open Faced Peanut Butter Sandwich

The other day (before Passover started of course) T caught me eating a peanut butter sandwich. She's tasted peanut butter before so I wasn't worried about allergies, but still... giving sticky, gooey, slimy peanut butter to a toddler seemed like a dubious idea at best. But the only way I could know for sure was by experimenting - right?

I should have trusted my instincts
But she did enjoy it!
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New stuffed animal

Last night we went out for dinner. Towards the end of our meal, while Tovina was fidgeting next to our table at the restaurant, a boy about 6 or 7 years old came over.
He was holding a bumblebear. (Well, what else would you call a stuffed bear that was wearing a bumblebee outfit including an antenna headband?)
"Your baby can have this if she wants," he told me.
"Wha?" I replied intelligently.
"I won it in the game over there and she can have it." He was holding the little animal out to Tovina.
Tovina, convinced of her rightful place in the world as the owner of all cool things, calmly accepted her rightful offering and hugged the bumblebear to her chest while looking at the boy intently.

I had a quick discussion with the boy's dad a few minutes later as T started roaming about the restuarnt with her new acquisition firmly encircled by one arm. It turns out it was all the boy's idea. He was just that kind. I'm very sorry we didn't get his name. Tovina and myself did thank him a few times. Also, a live singer/guitar player started performing so T danced (with the bumblebear) right in front of their table. I like to think of her performance as her own special form of thank you.

One of the dance highlights was when she had one arm around the bumblebear's waist and had the animal's other hand clasped in her other hand. then she turned around in circles. It looked like they were ready to tango! That's my girl!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Pitch training

Michael has a pitch pipe. It was a gift from his brother years and years ago. Recently, Michael unburied the pipe and plays single notes for Tovina. If she is in the right mood, after hearing a note, Tovina will sing it back. Then she reaches for the pipe, puts it to her mouth, and sings the note again.
What I am trying to explain is that she thinks Michael is singing the notes and that the pitch pipe just happens to be in his mouth at the same time. She doesn't realize that he is blowing through the device. Apparently if a person wants to sing a single note for more than a couple seconds, one is suppose to put this strange object to one's mouth. I'm sure T has decided it is just one more oddity in the world those bizarre adults have created around her. Luckily for us, she's decided she's game and is willing to play along.

I'm trying to capture it on video. If I manage to get it right, I'll let you know!

Monday, April 06, 2009

What Type is this blog?

Just took a quiz called Typealyzer. It tells you about the personality of a blog.
"The writing style reflects the persona used by the blogger."

My persona:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

(It picked a female image all by itself)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Bellingrath Gardens

I mentioned that when we were in Gulf Shores we drove over to Bellingrath Gardens. It was beautiful! Flowers were in bloom, the temperature was perfect, and the company was spectacular :)
Tovina wore her flower hat in honor of the occasion.
We were also trying out a backpack with T to see how it will do in Turkey. Its not clear if she is a fan or not but she did like the view.
She also enjoyed the moving dinner service.

Okay, sneaking in a none Bellingrath pic - here is Grandpop, T, and Daddy just before we got in the car to head back home. We are looking forward to our next trip down!
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