Gabbie Notes - May 2019

Sun, May 5

In the late morning, Deb and I picked up Gabbie from her house, and then we drove to Carr Park, located along Lewis Ave in Temperance. We arrived at the park around 11:00 a.m., and we left a little after 12:00 p.m.

Gabbie enjoyed climbing on the playground equipment. It took a little while to warm up to this part. Then she walked up the steps of the playground equipment, but she refused to go down the slides. She climbed the steps, and then she walked back down the steps to the ground.

She's not afraid of heights. She climbed or walked up to the tallest point of the playground equipment, which was for a spiral slide. I don't think that I want her to go down that slide yet. No matter. Slides don't interest her now. She likes climbing.

Gabbie liked to wander around the playground area. At one point, however, she sat for a bit on Deb's lap as Deb sat on the swing, and I pushed them. That was probably the longest that I have ever seen Gabbie enjoy the swing, and she was smiling while swinging. Gabbie started to slide off of Deb, and we stopped, and Gabbie moved on.

Gabbied wandered over to the shelter house. She liked to pick the dandelions from the lawn, and then she liked to step on the dandelions.

Then it was back to the playground equipment. On one piece of equipment, Gabbie climbed up and at the opening to a medium-sized slide, Gabbie found a puddle of somewhat muddy water. It rained the night before. Today's weather was sunny.

Gabbie was the only kid at the playground who enjoyed splashing in this small puddle of water. I would take her down from that area, and then she went back. This occurred numerous times. I would try to get her interested in something else at the playground, but she would climb back to that spot and stomp on the water. She splattered muddy water on her pants. Eventually, the small puddle had most of its water splattered away, thanks to Gabbie.

Gabbie played in the dirt on the lawn. A little bit of everything.

After leaving the park, we stopped at Brenda's but it was crowded. We drove to downtown Erie, MI, and we at the Erie Restaurant and Bar. It was a first visit for all of us.

Inside the restaurant, numerous buffalo mounts and statues existed, which enthralled Gabbie.

Gabbie sat in a booster chair and ate chicken tenders. I ordered blueberry pancakes, and Gabbie ate some of my pancakes. She also ate some of Deb's meal. It was all good food.

Gabbie still likes to eat lemons. She wanted the lemons that came with Deb's drink.

It was around 1:30 p.m. when we got back to Gabbie's house. Eventually, Gabbie went down for a nap. Deb and I stayed a little longer and then left.

Mon, May 6

Brad wanted help with mounting their TV to the wall. I left Toledo after 3:00 p.m. I stopped at Lowe's on Alexis to buy a stud finder. The stud finder that I bought needed batteries. It lit up and made noises. It contained several buttons.

When I arrived, Gabbie wanted to play, of course. Brad got the stud finder working and tested it. Brad marked off on the wall where to add the mounts. I played with Gabbie when Brad did not need me.

Eventually, Gabbie discovered the stud finder, and she had a new toy. Naturally, she liked the stud finder's buttons, color lights, and noises. She even placed the finder on the wall and dragged it across the wall. She must have seen Brad do that. I didn't think that she was watching.

Then Brad needed the finder, and he had to pry it from Gabbie's hands. She protested. She said, "Mine, mine, mine, mine ..." It reminded me of the scene from Finding Nemo where the gulls said, "Mine" repeatedly.

Gabbie and I played upstairs and downstairs. While downstairs, she opened the DVD cases again. She likes the challenge of opening the DVD cases and pressing the center buttons to release the DVDs. After doing that, then she hands me the DVD case.

I stayed after Brad got the TV installed. Gabbie ate some of her dinner. Then for more than 30 minutes around or after 6pm, Gabbie sat in her teepee and quietly played with the magnetic shapes. She stacked the shapes in different stacks based upon the shapes. I did not play with her. I lounged outside the teeppe opening. Inside the teepee along with Gabbie and the magnetic building shapes, Gabbie had her blankets, baby doll, and two small elephant taggie-type things.

If I sat up and got out of view of the teepee opening, Gabbie stopped what she was doing and said something and leaned out looking for me. I would lay back down, say and do nothing, while Gabbie quietly resumed stacking the magnetic shapes. This went on for maybe 40 minutes. A good long while. She was focused.

I left before Gabbie went to sleep. Initially, she protested a little when I put my shoes on, but I said that I need to go, and then she said bye. She was not upset. She repeatedly said, "Bye."

Sat, May 11

International Migratory Bird Day, now called World Migratory Bird Day.

9:49 a.m. Toledo weather: partly cloudy, breezy, temps in the upper 40s, light to moderate east-northeast wind. I saw a White-throated Sparrow in our backyard earlier. Deb and I are excited for the day. Brad and Gabbie were driving down to our house. CP and Dominic stayed home.

Gabbie and Brad arrived shortly after 10:00 a.m., and Brad requested towels. Gabbie threw up on the drive down. She was not sick. For some reason, she upchucked her breakfast.

When I came outside to meet Brad, I saw Gabbie who sat in the backseat with the window up. She saw me. I pointed to her like I often do as if saying "You the woman" and like she has done recently, she pointed back at me with her index finger skewed upward.

Deb, Brad, and I helped with the clean up process. I cleaned Gabbie's car seat. Deb cleaned Gabbie's jacket. Brad changed Gabbie's clothes.

We wound up taking our car, since it also had a car seat in it. We left home around 10:30 a.m.

During the drive to Maumee Bay State Park, Deb played patty-cake with Gabbie in the backseat. Gabbie likes to do the arm motions, especially the rolling part.

We entered the MBSP lodge at 11:00 a.m. Cliff Swallows flew around covered entrance where the birds nest. Since Gabbie's jacket was home drying, we wanted to buy Gabbie a jacket or a sweatshirt in the MBSP store. The car thermometer showed the temp to be 50 to 52 degrees outside. With the wind off the lake and with the lake temp in the mid-50s, it's possible for the air to be slightly warmer along the lakeshore than inland.

Brad and Deb found a small MBSP hooded pullover sweatshirt for Gabbie. I quickly walked through the artist and vendor area, recognizing some artists who I saw last year at the BWIAB festival. The vendors included birdwatching tour groups, non-profit orgs, and book publishers. Nobody was present, since the area opens in the mid-afternoon. But we could still peruse some of the booths. I gathered info from the tour guide groups.

We wandered around inside the first floor of the lodge. We went to the children's area, which is a nice room with soft flooring and rubberized play equipment, which was interesting. The objects gave a little. Of course, everything was rounded. Gabbie climbed on the equipment and ran around in the play area.

I snagged a little free bird-friendly coffee, which was tasty.

Next we went to the MBSP nature center at around 11:26 a.m. We walked around the outside a little, but Gabbie did not want to venture on the main boardwalk, which was probably okay, since that boardwalk does not have a railing, and that area by the nature center contains water.

Gabbie spotted the birds outside, such as the White-crowned Sparrows and Baltimore Orioles.

We went inside the nature center. We visited the large window area that looked out over the wet area with feeders near the windows. It's a good place to relax and watch the birds up close.

Surprisingly, Gabbie wanted my binoculars that hung from my neck. I had not used them yet since we arrived at MBSP, at least I didn't think that I had used them.

Gabbie looked up at me and raised her arms toward my binocs. I leaned over, and she grabbed the binocs properly, and then she looked through them, properly, like she was an experienced birdwatcher. We were all surprised as to how she knew how to handle the binocs. Maybe she observed the other birdwatchers outside and inside the nature center, but we only arrived at the nature center about 5 to 10 minutes earlier.

Then Gabbie wanted my binoc straps. I took off my binocs. Gabbie leaned forward. She wanted me to loop my binocs strap around her neck, which I did. Gabbie wore my binoculars from around 11:30/11:35 a.m. to about 2:10 p.m. when we were home. And throughout that entire 2.5 hours, she would occasionally look through the binocs while I held her, while she walked along outside, and while riding in the car.

After I gave Gabbie my binocs, we moved closer to the windows with the nearby feeders. A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak fed on a feeder next to the window. Blackbird species were around too, of course.

In the one sit-down area by the windows, I recognized Catherine Hamilton who is a watercolor artist and field note sketcher and a Zeiss optics rep. She was seated, sketching the female RBGR. But she started to pack up when we arrived. I mentioned that I took a sketching class from her at last year's BWIAB. I requested that she show us her sketchbook, which she did. It contained impressive line drawings, quick sketches, and watercolor sketches of her travels. Inspiring. She was off to meet people for lunch.

We wandered around inside the nature center, viewing the stuffed mammals. Gabbie liked the muskrat and the coyote. She also liked some kind of trout.

Then we wandered around outside for a bit more. Gabbie is active. She loves to run and move. She does not like confinement. In typical Gabbie fashion, she enjoyed something unrelated: the nature center's doors. The doors were a challenge for Gabbie to push open, but that's what intrigued her.

We left the MBSP nature center around 11:50 a.m.

We arrived at the BSBO gift shop around Noon. We got lucky and managed to snag a parking spot as someone else left. Everywhere was super busy.

The small BSBO gift shop was packed with people shopping, browsing out the window onto the feeders, and waiting in line to checkout. Karen Z worked the register. Sally stood nearby. I had not seen Sally in several years. It's hard to believe that seven years ago, I was employed at the BSBO. I have been away from the BSBO longer than I worked at the BSBO.

We weaved our way through the people to the window that overlooked the feeders. Numerous birds were present. Blackbirds and Baltimore Orioles. The orioles fed next to the window. Gabbie got great looks. For some reason, Gabbie grabbed a book about feeding birds, I think, and carried it with her as she left the feeders. Eventually, I took the book from her. She found a stuffed bird toy.

We didn't buy anything. The BSBO store only has one register, which means the checkout line is long. It was difficult to make our way through the crowded store to get to the door. It's a good problem to see.

Once outside, Gabbie wanted to explore. She opened the BSBO door that has the small sign that states, "Employees Only", which leads to the area where I used to work.

Since Gabbie was wandering, Deb and I decided to check with Robert of Time & Optics in the optics vendor tent about exchanging our spotting scope for a higher version. We did. We brought our scope that we bought last Saturday in case we had time to exchange it. It cost $500 more, I think.

We left the BSBO for the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area Sportmen's Migratory Center. We arrived at the sportsmen's center at approx 12:35 p.m. The Back to the Wild animal rehab center was present, as they have always been for as long as I have been attending IMBD. My first IMBD at Magee Marsh was in May 2000.

I wanted Gabbie to see the raptors up close. Back to the Wild brought an adult Bald Eagle, adult Red-tailed Hawk, Great-horned Owl, Barred Owl, two Screech Owls, and maybe other birds, plus turtles and/or something else that existed in aquariums that we never visited.

Gabbie was fascinated by the Bald Eagle and the Great-horned Owl. We watched them for a while. Gabbie wanted to walk past the yellow security tape to approach the birds.

After the viewing the birds at the Back to the Wild area that was setup in the grassy area between the parking lot and the road, we walked toward the hawk tower that is unfortunately closed due to structural issues. I'm guessing that it will be removed someday. I doubt that another is built. I have no idea about the plans. Just guessing. I spent a lot of hours in the aught years watching raptors and other birds in March and April on that tower.

We walked on the path from the hawk tower to the sportsmen's center. A Yellow-throated Vireo sang nearby. Gabbie continued to wear my binocs, looking through them at times.

Barn Swallows flew around the entrance of the sportsmen's center, where they nest. We wandered around inside the sportsmen's center. Gabbie found a puzzle on a table in the kids area that she played with briefly. The center was crowded too. We walked through the exhibit area that contains a lot of stuffed birds behind glass. The center also contained aquariums that contained some live aquatic creatures. Gabbie seemed fascinated by the bullfrog tadpole.

We left the center a little after 1:00 p.m. and walked the path back to the hawk tower and then to our car.

I drove from the sportsmen's center over the causeway that runs through the marsh and then all the way to the west end of the boardwalk parking lot and back around. It's a slow process because of the traffic. I wanted Brad to see the marsh and the crowd of birdwatchers.

Gabbie ate in the backseat: apples, cucumbers, fish crackers, lunch meat, and maybe more.

It was about 1:25 to 1:30 p.m. when we finally got back onto route 2. On another day, we will explore the beach. I bet Gabbie would enjoy walking along the water's edge and picking up shells. We also skipped visiting ONWR. I don't think that they had much outdoors for kids. Their visitor's center contains a nice little kid's area. We can visit that some other time.

We arrived home at 2:05 p.m. We unloaded the car and went inside. Gabbie likes to pick up and look at the framed photos that sit on a shelf in our living room. She picked up those photos today, and she has done that on other visits to our house. She points at the people in the photos. She calls out "Babaw" at times when she sees me in a photo. She still wore my binoculars.

She wandered around the first floor our house and into the computer room where she became interested in the two radios that sat on a table. That's when I took the binoculars off Gabbie. She protested, but I distracted her with something, and she moved on.

She walked upstairs, looked around, and then came back downstairs. She grabbed an apple, and I thought that she took a bite, but I think that she sniffed the apple. Then she wanted outside in the backyard.

Gabbie, Barney, and I went into the back driveway. Gabbie likes the river rock that exists between Kim and Brent's house and our driveway. Gabbie sat down on the rocks with her back against Kim and Brent's brick house. Gabbie stretched her legs straight out. No shoes. She took her shoes off in the car or the house. Shoe wore socks. She still wore here MBSP hooded sweatshirt. She liked picking up the rocks, examining each one, and then handing each rock to me. I stacked the rocks. We did this for a while. It was a cool scene. Unfortunately, Deb left her phone in the car. No photo.

I wore my brownish BSBO railroad conductor's style hat, green baja hooded pullover, and my brown, black, and grey mobious twist cowl that I crocheted three years ago. I also wore a long-sleeve t-shirt under the baja, wool socks, and regular jeans. The temps warmed to the mid-50s by the mid afternoon with the partly sunny sky.

We played in the rocks for a while as Brad gathered Gabbie's things and got the car seat setup in his car. We finally went back inside. Deb changed Gabbie's diaper, and they were off. Memorable day. She's a good sport. Rarely complains, unless we try to push her to do something that that disinterests her. She liked to explore and keep moving. Lots for her to see.

Sun, May 12

Deb and I arrived after 4:00 p.m. Before we left Toledo, we ordered food from pickup at Lewis Pizza and Liquor. We bought french fries, falafel sandwiches, fatoosh, hummus, pita, and other Mediterranean food items. They make their own falafel, grape leaves, hummus, etc.

When we arrived, Gabbie greeted us with hugs. She helped me take off my hooded sweatshirt jacket and flannel shirt. I wore an old Biggest Week in American Birding t-shirt that contains artist drawings of the Cape May, Mourning, and Blackburnian warblers. For a couple years now, Gabbie has enjoyed that style of shirt. She points at the birds, and I identify them.

Gabbie wanted me to sit down on the couch beside her. Some kind of Dr. Seuss movie played on the TV. But I left for the Lewis store again, shortly after arriving because we forgot the hummus. Gabbie got a little peeved when I put my shoes back on.

When I returned, Gabbie took me to the play area upstairs. I sat at her little tea table. She played in the play area. She pounced on the trampoline, "played" the small, toy piano, and played with other toys.

Gabbie likes the shark song puzzle: baby, mommy, daddy, grandma, and grandpa. The song has hand and arm movements. It's fun. Gabbie knows the movements for each family member.

Gabbie and I ate dinner at her tea table. I ate my falafel sandwich that contained tahini and pickle. That's all that I wanted on my sandwich. I also ate french fries. Gabbie ate lunch meat, some carrots, and french fries that she occasionally dipped into her hummus. While eating, Gabbie, for some reason, made the coyote/wolf howling sound. I had not heard that from her in weeks. She has a great sense of humor. I think that she tries to make me laugh. She likes to laugh.

I bought a quart of Gatorade when I went back to the store to get the hummus. I drank the Gatorade while we ate dinner at Gabbie's small tea table. Gabbie had her water bottle. When we drank, we clinked our containers for "cheers" and then after taking drinks, we made the "Ahh" sound. Each time I took a drink, I had to unscrew the cap. Then after drinking, I screwed the cap back on. Gabbie watched this, and she pretended to screw on and screw off the cap with her water bottle before and after taking a drink. Gabbie likes to mimic the actions of others. Gabbie's water bottle has a raise spout or whatever it's called, and that's what she pretended to unscrew and screw back on.

We played in her bedroom. She carried in a heavy container that held the two types of magnetic shapes, used for building. She dumped the items in her bed. She brought her baby doll, one blanket, and one elephant from the living room into her bed. Then she climbed into the bed and she stacked the magnetic shapes for a bit. Then she started throwing them around her room. I started laughing, but I also tried to stop her by saying, "No." I decided to leave her.

We also played with the magnetic shapes on the couch too at some point. We played in her bedroom, the living room, and the play area upstairs. At one point, she handed me numerous toy kitchen tools, such as pans, pots, mixer, toaster, Keurig-like, cups, etc. We had the small, tea table top covered. She liked to say, "Here you go" as she handed the items to me.

On this visit, she did not take me to her parents' bedroom to bounce on the bed.

With the TV elevated in the living room, attached to the wall, space now exists in that part of the room. Last Monday, I moved upstairs from the downstairs living area the small, heavy, electric fireplace, which now resides under the TV. It's meant to block the outlets from Gabbie.

Today, Gabbie moved the small stool that's meant for her drawing table to the front of the electric fireplace. Multiple times this afternoon, she liked to stand on that stool and play with two items that resided on the top side of the fireplace. I'm unsure what she was doing. She picked up an item and placed it back down. Then she did the same with the other item. I think that she enjoyed standing on the stool. While standing on the stool, she placed her left hand on the top of the fireplace to steady herself. She used her right hand to pick up and set down the two items. One item was a toy flashlight, and I don't know what the other item was.

In the upstairs living room, CP dialed up two different shark song videos on YouTube on their TV. One extended version contained movements for other animals and other dance moves, which Gabbie did with the song. It was fun to watch. Near the end of each video, Gabbie would go to CP to get her to replay the video. Gabbie said the words "look" and "shark".

Deb held Dominic for a long while. Then I took a turn holding and feeding Dominic later. I sat on the living room couch, holding Dominic in my left arm while holding the bottle in my right hand. This was the first time that I fed Dominic. I fed Gabbie a lot during the first few months of her life, and it's hard to remember what that was like.

When Gabbie saw me feeding Dominic and no longer playing with her, Gabbie went to the play area and came back with a baby doll and a toy baby bottle. Gabbie sat beside me on the couch. I fed Dominic, and Gabbie pretended to feed her baby doll. Gabbie did that for a good while.

After feeding Dominic, I held Dominic on my right shoulder. Dominic makes a lot of grunting noises. He kept eyes open often. He looks around more. He will be four weeks old tomorrow.

I probably held Dominic for 30 to 40 minutes, and then I gave him back to Deb. I went back to playing with Gabbie. She wanted to go downstairs where Brad worked to rearrange the downstairs living/play area. Brad boxed up the DVDs. Oh no. That was a major play toy for Gabbie.

When we got downstairs, I got the ball out. Gabbie threw the ball around some, but she was more interested in playing with things that were not toys, such as a video game hand controller. Brad moved the TV up onto the brick hearth-like area, but Gabbie was too interested in all things electronic. This raised brick semi-circle area was where the DVD shelves resided.

Brad got out the plastic fencing that they used upstairs last year. Brad fenced off the brick hearth. He tied one end of the fencing to the step railing, and he used the treadmill that we moved into the room to block off the other end of the fencing.

When Brad brought the fencing into the room and began setting it up, Gabbie started saying "No, no, no, no". It was as if Gabbie knew that the fencing was meant to thwart her.

We moved the treadmill from the attached garage into the downstairs living room area. It's a split-level house. Anyway, Gabbie had to get involved with our move. She went into the garage, and she started talking to us, but Brand and I were busy with maneuvering the heavy exercise equipment between the door frame and down a couple steps.

Since we ignored Gabbie, she started talking louder. And then she got even louder with her voice echoing around the garage. We were not paying attention to her, and she had something to tell us. Or she wanted to play with her outdoor toys in the garage. The weather was too cold and wet outside to play outdoors this afternoon and evening.

It was humorous to hear her talk loudly from within the garage and when she said "No" repeatedly somewhat loudly when Brad began fencing off the TV area.

After all of that, Gabbie and I continued to play downstairs. We started wrestling. She enjoys rough-housing play.

It was about 7:30 p.m. when we went back upstairs. Brad wanted Gabbie to brush her teeth, but Gabbie wanted to play in her bedroom. She carried a different container of toys into her bedroom, but Brad said it was bedtime. I removed the container of toys. Gabbie was irked when she flopped herself into her bed. I said goodnight and/or goodbye, and we left her room. A short while later, we could hear Gabbie trying to open her door. She talked some too in her room. Eventually, she went to sleep.

Deb and I left after 9:00 p.m. CP and Deb tried to find a place in the region to take a short vacation. We watched some kind of Food Network baking competition. Dominic slept in his cradle in the living room. It was a fun, active late afternoon and evening.

Fri, May 17

I arrived shortly after 9:00 a.m. to help Brad build the wooden, outdoor playground that Deb and I bought for Gabbie for Christmas.

Need to finish later. Bullet points:

Sun, May 19

I arrived after 10:00 a.m. to help Brad finish building the playground. Brad's Dad arrived a little later. Those two did most of the work. I helped when necessary.

When I arrived, I went to the backyard. Gabbie played on the second story (living room level of the split-level home) deck. When she saw me, she yelled down, "Babawww!"

Then Gabbie came down to visit and play around in the backyard. Many dandelions have gone to seed. Gabbie liked to picked the seed heads off the dandelions and scatter them.

On Friday, we finished the small, slightly angled, rock wall part of the playground. On Saturday, Gabbie climbed up it. Today, I watched Gabbie climb up and down the "rock wall." She picked that up faster than I expected.

We attached the slide today. Gabbie and I played on the slide. Gabbie, of course, tried to climb up the slide, but she wore sandals, which made her feet slip. With bare feet, she could probably climb up the slide better.

Anyway, when Gabbie attempted to climb up the slide, I would pick her up and set her down on the slide, a little down from the top of the slide, but I did not let go of her. I held her and slowly dragged her down the slide. She enjoyed it.

At one point during her rock wall climbing up to the platform area, she maneuvered herself to the top of the slide, sitting down. She edged closer. It appeared that she would go down the slide on her own, and she did. She slide off the edge of the slide and landed on her back, but the ground was soft and the grass was tall. No problem. Maybe in the future, it would be better to catch her at the end of the slide, until she gets the hang of placing her feet down. She seemed to enjoy sliding down on her own, and she said nothing about landing on the ground. I helped her up.

Later, she sat near the edge of the top of the slide as if she was going down again, but she backed away and climbed down the rock wall.

Gabbie likes tools or anything that's not a toy meant for her. She held and carried around the hammer, a screwdriver, and a socket wrench, sometimes all three at the same time. She would tap the hammer on the wood. She would stick the screwdriver into screws. And she learned how to use a socket wrench.

Gabbie came over to me once as I tightened a bolt with a socket wrench. The back and forth action of the socket wrench made a clicking noise. This appealed to Gabbie. I let her hold the wrench, and I moved her hand back and forth. She quickly got the hang of it, and she tightened the bolt the rest of the way.

She liked placing the socket wrench on other bolts and moving the wrench.

At times, Gabbie played in her sandbox. Sometimes, she looked up at me and placed her arms up in the air, wanting me to pick her up and hold her for some reason. Of course, I did. Maybe she wanted a better view of the assembly work being done higher up on the playground.

Gabbie hung out close to us, interfering at times, as she grabbed screws and took tools that were needed. But Gabbie would also go off on her own and play elsewhere in the yard.

At one point, she found a low spot in the yard that had a puddle of water. Gabbie enjoys splashing in puddles. But this puddle would have made her quite wet, therefore I corralled her and we did something else.

My main contribution to the playground assembly today was entertaining Gabbie.

When the swings and glider were attached, I tried to get Gabbie interested, but she was more interested in pushing those items. She tapped the seat of one of the swings, indicating that she wanted me to sit on the swing. After I sat on the swing, Gabbie grabbed one of the vertical swing ropes and tried to make me swing. I played along.

Gabbie Time is defined as when Gabbie decides to do something on her own without help from others. Too often, we want Gabbie to try something new, and then we "force" her to try it, but she normally revolts at our behavior. In time, however, Gabbie will engage in the activity or whatever in her own way. Going down the slide on her own was an example. Eventually at the larger playgrounds at the parks, she will go down those slides on her own too. Same for the swings.

Normally, she dislikes it when we swing on a swing at a park. She makes us get off the swing. But at the Lewis Ave park, she sat on Deb's lap for a bit while they swung.

Last September when we vacationed together in the Smokies, we stopped by a cool, clear, fast-moving small stream, during a hike. I walked into the stream, and I picked up Gabbie and made her stand in the stream, and she disliked it. I placed her back on dry land. I walked in and out of the stream. Gabbie placed her fingers in the stream. Then she placed one foot in the stream. After a while, she walked into the stream, and she enjoyed it. When we decided to move on, we had trouble getting Gabbie out of the stream, since she wanted to stay and play in the stream.

We finished with assembling the playground and with the cleanup after 1:00 p.m. I left around 1:30 p.m. when Gabbie was headed for her nap. She said "Bye."

The playground looks nice with its reddish-orange wood. The plastic pieces are colored green and yellow.

Fri, May 24

CP and Rhonda dropped Gabbie off at our house around 9:30 a.m. CP, Rhonda, and Dominic were going shopping.

I wanted to take Gabbie to the Elmhurst Elementary school playground. Rain approached. Gabbie and I left, shortly after she arrived. I carried her two blocks to the school. She weighs over 40 pounds, but we didn't have time to walk at Gabbie's exploratory pace.

While I carried her to the school, Gabbie pointed out birds, mainly robins that flew off from the ground. At the school, we walked the rest of the way along the street and onto the playground area, holding hands.

We walked over to the small playground equipment setup, but Gabbie showed no interest. We walked to the larger playground equipment, and she still showed no interest. We walked around the playground area, and then we left.

A year ago, that playground equipment seemed large. But after playing recently with Gabbie at two other parks in Michigan that contained newer and larger equipment, the Elmhurst playground equipment now seems small.

Gabbie and I walked home from the school, taking a different route. Only rain sprinkles fell. As we walked home, Gabbie pointed out birds and dogs. Some dogs were seen and heard while other dogs were heard only. Gabbie likes dogs, birds, and fish. When we walked around on the school grounds, Gabbie pointed up to the sky and commented on the bird flying by overhead. It was a Common Grackle. She's getting good at spotting birds.

After arriving back at the house, Gabbie and I went out on our back driveway to play with the bubble wands. Gabbie (and I) like to play with the bubbles.

We played with and spilled the soapy mixture that made nice-sized bubbles. Gabbie got soap on her front. We did this for a while. We emptied one tube.

Deb worked in the morning from home. Her workplace had the afternoon off for Memorial Day weekend.

Gabbie, Deb, and I played in the living room for a long time too with the toys that we have at the house. Gabbie likes to play with the musical instruments. We were all playing with the instruments. This was doing Deb's "work" time.

Gabbie loves stickers, of course. She placed small gold star stickers on both of her arms. She played with other stickers too.

Around 11:30 to Noon, we went to nearby El Camino for lunch. CP and Rhonda met us at the restaurant. Gabbie ate well. I sat beside her, keeping her busy and focused. I ate some chips and salsa and had my meal boxed up for home. Gabbie was getting a little fussy, probably because she was getting tired. It's not easy to eat normally sometimes when sitting next to Gabbie, which was fine.

Shortly after 1:00 p.m., we left the restaurant, going our separate ways. Even though Gabbie was with us for only a few hours, she keeps us so active that we need a little rest :)

Mon, May 27

Deb and I arrived at CP and Brad's home in the early afternoon. Aunt Amy arrived earlier from her drive from the north after visiting her and Deb's parents for the weekend.

When we arrived, Gabbie wanted to play with me. She took me downstairs. We played with the ball. We didn't spend much time downstairs. Gabbie needed to take a nap. Brad scooped up Gabbie and placed her in her bedroom. Gabbie did not fight much, despite the visitors. She fell asleep rather quickly for an afternoon nap. She fell asleep around 1:30 p.m.

I held Dominic for about 90 minutes. I fed him a bottle. He snuggled on my chest and against my face. He loves to snuggle. Of course, a warm baby falling asleep on me makes me snoozy, like a cat falling asleep on me. I dozed off too with Dominic asleep on me.

I held Dominic from around 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Gabbie awoke around 3:30 p.m. She came into the living room with her blanket, baby doll, and at least one of her small elephant taggy-like blankies. She piled these items on the couch beside me, and she snuggled up on the couch beside me too while I held Dominic.

After I handed Dominic back to Catherine, Gabbie and I went outside from around 4:20 p.m. to 5:40 p.m. We played with bubbles. Deb made a large bubble-making apparatus. We all had fun making bubbles for a long time.

Gabbie likes to open and close doors of all types. The garage side door is a play toy for Gabbie. We played opening and closing of the door for a while too.

We ran around on the front driveway and front lawn. Gabbie sat on her tricycle, and she used her feed to push herself along. That's the first time that I have seen that. Normally, we cannot get her to sit on her tricycle. She didn't use the peddles, but it was good to see her push herself with her feet on the ground.

We played in the dirt. Gabbie likes rocks. We played with the sidewalk chalk. Gabbie was a little messy, which is how a kid should be when playing outside.

When it was time to go inside to eat, Gabbie went right into the tub. I conducted her bath time. We played with the toys in the tub, and I sang the shark song several times. When I finished the song, Gabbie would say, "Baby" and make the baby shark movement with her fingers. That was her way of telling me to sing the song again.

Brad grilled a delicious meal of salmon, veggies, and burgers. The beef came from half a cow share that they bought from a farmer. Everything tasted great. Even though I have eaten mainly a vegan-like diet since last Thanksgiving (plant-based, whole foods), I still like to eat fish occasionally. I won't give up eating sushi. On rare occasions, I eat beef, like once a quarter.

Anyway, we had a great afternoon and early evening. As always, Gabbie kept us active.