29 March 2008

"She Shoots, She Scores!"

I almost wish that title was just my poor attempt at vulgar toilet humor. While this post does concern the potty, the title is correctly placed in quotation marks.

Without jinxing myself, I am proud to announce that Lily is now 99% potty trained. She's only had two accidents in the last two weeks or so, both within an hour of each other. That was an interesting day at the Wyndham Fairfield resort, but there's a much funnier part of that story that must be reserved for its own separate post. I won't keep you waiting long, I assure you.

As I'm sure is the case with most toddlers, number two has been a lot more difficult hurdle to overcome for Lily than number one. There were days where I swore the kid was going to get sepsis from having so much poop backed up in her bowel. We thought we had turned the corner when one afternoon she went successfully in her little potty, and we poured on the praise like we know we're supposed to do. The next day, however, we were back to square one. We poked and prodded and kept "poop" top-of-mind, and eventually we persevered.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when after stripping herself down in the play room Lily announced that she had to "go poopy". We of course ran to the bathroom where I hoisted her up and she proceeded to successfully complete her mission. What came next, though, is what makes Lily who she is. As I reached for the toilet paper, she bent over at the waist as if to peer down between her legs in to the potty, at which point she declared her victory by shouting "She shoots, she scores!" You sure did Lil' Bean, it was a slam dunk!

Birding Without Actually Birding

The number of times I raised binoculars to my eyes while in Orlando this week totals less than five. Most of those were from our condo's balcony, checking out the cormorants and mallards in the pond. Still though, Florida generally provides more opportunities to see certain birds than any other place in the country, and I was not going to let a little thing like a family vacation get in the way of bumping the total on my Big Year list.

Far and away, the most common birds in and around Orlando are grackles and House Sparrows. The Boat-tailed Grackle is a very distinctive bird with an obnoxious voice and an unmistakable appearance. They dwarf the Common Grackles that are just as prevalent in the area, and their voice is considerably different. That was the first new bird I identified on the trip, actually encountering them in a gas station parking lot a few hours before we arrived.

I saw most of the water birds I expected to add, including the Wood Stork and Little Blue Heron. The Glossy Ibis continues to elude me, as I still have never laid eyes on one. I also did not see Cattle Egrets, Sandhill Cranes, or Tricolored Herons. I did not count birds seen in captivity for the list, but the outdoor ponds at the parks were fair game, which is where I saw the Wood Duck and the White-cheeked Pintail.

Tuesday, as we were coming home from the park I saw what could only have been a Swallow-tailed Kite, a relatively uncommon raptor, being chased by a crow. We were in the car in the condo parking lot when I saw it, and while I was certain of my sighting, I was hesitant to add it to the list without verification. Well Wednesday morning as we were leaving the park we spotted it again, with even Mandi being sure of the ID this time. That's a lifer that I'd be surprised to ever see again outside of captivity.

The rest of the list from the trip includes the Eurasian Collared Dove, Double-crested Cormorant, Brown Pelican, White Ibis, Fish Crow, Great Egret, Purple Martin, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Overall I'd call it a good trip, with a few of the additions just preempting my eventual sightings here at home, but a few of them are undoubtedly only to be seen in Florida. So the list now numbers 91 species, and I hope to spend some time this week searching out the latest migrants to our area.

Home Again, Home Again

Well, we're back from vacation, and I've finally managed to sequester myself for a few minutes to post. Problem is, it's 6:30 in the morning, I'm only a third of the way through my first cup of coffee, and it seems like Disney was last month instead of earlier this week. Don't worry though, I'm confident all of the funny stories will come back to me in time. For now though, I'll leave you with some of our favorite photos from the trip.