Thursday, January 20, 2011

So Much Going On, So Little Energy

Well, the past few weeks have been filled with very different things!

On December 29th, Court and Brad welcomed their newest little girl, Emma, into their family. She is a cute little thing who makes a lot of noise, all of the time. Not crying, just creaking.

This is not one of my pictures. I took it from the blog of Court's friend who took Emma's pictures. This one didn't say "Marie Photography" on it so I thought it would be ok to put on my blog.
Marie takes amazing pictures. If you would like to see a few of the others, go here.

While Court and Brad were in the hospital, we got to have the other four kids. It was fun. Tiring, exhausting, but fun.

Then, as soon as everyone was home, I got a cold. Brent says it was because I knew everything was done for awhile and I could rest. Probably. I didn't enjoy it though and I can't seem to get over my stupid cough, will eventually leave.

What else has happened...hmmm...Brent started working on our new computer room. We have three bedrooms in our house. It said four when we bought it but the one downstairs doesn't have a closet so I don't think of it as a bedroom. Anyway, our computer has been in the far bedroom with the futon, but it just makes it squishy when people visit. So, I wanted to move the computer desk into the closet, but it wouldn't fit in that bedroom, but it would fit in the middle bedroom. But why just move the computer when we can make it a HUGE project.

So, Brent took off the popcorn ceiling - so much work but so worth it - I fixed some really bad patches the previous owners put in and we primed the whole thing. Last night, Brent painted the ceiling and got it all ready to paint the final coat tonight. Woho! When it's all done, I'll post the before and afters.

I took Daisy to the vet this week and he said that her leg has healed better than he ever thought it would. Woho! She is a pain in the butt, but she is a really cute pain in the butt that we like having around.

Hmmm...what else. Lots of meetings for Relief Society. I don't think those will ever end. I did get released from being the YW Camp Director. I'm sad to be done, but at the same time kind of glad because it was a lot of work.

And now January is getting close to being over and I'm just getting used to the idea it's 2011. Time just flies.

Hopefully next week, I'll feel more like doing things. We'll see.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Oh, wait, I think that's Aquarius, but you get the idea.

First of all, I have to say that I'm kind of in love with the picture of the primroses at the top. I just found it on my computer - note to self, get a little more organized on the computer - and had to put it on. I can't wait until the primroses get in the stores. It should be in the next few weeks. Woho!

Second of all, I'm sort of sad to say that this will be my last post about our trip to the South. I'm sure you're tired of hearing about it but I'm not tired of reliving it. And I don't know exactly what the next post will be about now.

On our final day in Atlanta, we all piled in the minivan and headed into downtown to go to the aquarium. It was a chilly day that day so I was kind of glad that everything was inside.

The Atlanta Aquarium is only five years old so it's a much more state of the art sort of place. When it opened, the Today Show went there and showed how cool it was. That was when I knew I wanted to go. Why, you ask? Two words. Whale Sharks.

I know, I know, I have a unhealthy and somewhat crazy fear of sharks. I know I do. I sometimes joke that in my previous life I must have died by falling from a great height and being eaten by a shark. But, whale sharks are different. I don't know why, they just are.

Whale Sharks are the biggest kind of shark. They can get to be about thirty-five feet long. But, they eat krill, just like whales, hence the name.

The Atlanta Aquarium has four whale sharks. The only whale sharks in captivity in the U.S. Their biggest is only 23 feet long so far, but that's still just crazy. It was AWESOME! Here are some pictures.

Ok, not a whale shark, but still a cool picture.

This year they also got some manta rays, which are the biggest ray, which can grow to 25 feet across. Another cool oceanic animal!

All told, we probably spent well over half of our time there just watching the big tank. It was so cool. We even saw them feeding the whale sharks and manta rays. It's sort of hard to see
but they would go out on a boat and dump krill into the mouths of the waiting whale sharks. That might be kind of scary. I mean, a 23 foot animal could easily accidentally knock your boat over.

The rest of the aquarium was PACKED and we all know how much I LOVE crowds, so it was a little bit harder for me to enjoy myself. I did get a couple of good pictures though.
This little school of fish sort of adopted Alyssa. And I mean that literally. They sat and watched her for a LONG time. Then went away. She moved. And when they came back, they found her again and sat and watched for another LONG time. It was kind of weird.

I love the aquarium function on my camera.

Thanks you guys for going to the aquarium with us! I would love to go again when it wasn't so busy!

We loved see you guys! Thank you for letting us stay for so long. And thank you, Em, for giving us your bed!

With the close of the day, we bid a fond, and somewhat teary eyed, farewell to our Southern adventure.

And so ends another travel journal. Where will we go next? Actually, I have absolutely no idea. But I'll let you know.

Family Fun Week!

After our Florida adventures, we took a quick flight up to Atlanta to visit the M* family! We hadn't seen these guys for WAY TOO long and it was a great week. Unfortunately, three of the four kids ended up getting strep throat, but it was just fun to be together.

I didn't take a ton of pictures, because, well, sick kids don't make for good picture taking, but here are the ones I did take...This one will probably never be repeated! I am up and dressed and ready to go shopping at 4 o'clock in the morning. I didn't even know there was a four o'clock in the morning. Why did I do this, you ask? Well, I have some really cute nieces who really wanted to go - I know, I'm a push over. And my inner clock was already messed up so I figured what the heck! We did have a good time and there are a lot more stores close to Jenny's house than my house. Maybe that's part of my problem. I fall asleep in the car when we go to Costco when it isn't 4 am.
There were a ton of leaves in the backyard so Emmy started to rake them up. Apparently she wasn't raking fast enough because then we saw Alyssa out there with the rake twice as big as she was. Eventually the pile was big enough to jump in, but those pictures come later.

Cute Alyssa

Eli has an addiction to Jenny's hair. He is CONSTANTLY playing with it. Then I caught him brushing Brent's hair. It was funny.

I said let's get doughnuts, not a flat tire. When we came out of our last store, we noticed that the tire was completely flat. Not to worry...I am my father's only son, I can change a tire. Then I realized that I didn't even have a CLUE where the spare tire would be since I have never had a minivan. While we were trying to find it, a very kind man came and changed the tire for us. He had a van that was the same year so he knew where everything was. That was really nice of him. Unfortunately, the spare tire was flat as well, so we got to see how many people we could fit into Steve's Mini. Turns out 5, but not very comfortably or legally. But we got home and everything got fixed. But my question is, why does it always have to start raining when you have to change a tire?
Isn't Eli about the cutest two year old you've ever seen? He really is. Right up to the point where he screeches, "MOMMY DO IT!" Then you're reminded that he is, after all, two. But still cute!

Em and I had some fun that week since she was the only child who did not succumb to the sickness. Here she is doing nail art.

We also made these super cute turkeys to decorate the Thanksgiving table. It was a lot of fun!

Meg was so excited to do some shopping after Thanksgiving. And she did really well, almost the whole morning. She is a great little shopper and not at all shy about telling you what looks good and what doesn't. I appreciate that. :)

Not a good look, but funny!

The pile is nearly finished and ready to be played in!

Brent and Jenny made us some amazing meals while we were there. Jenny shared her recipes and Brent told her basically how he makes things since he doesn't use recipes, nor is anything ever the same twice. But usually good.

We had corn bread stuffing for Thanksgiving because I thought that sounded a bit more Southern. Then we were told that people in the South call it dressing, not stuffing. My Grandma called it dressing. Interesting. It was really good. I don't care what you call it, it is now my favorite kind of stuffing!
Since the kids didn't think it would be good to get sick all at the same time, we had quite a few visits to the clinic to get antibiotics, so Brent got to stay with the remaining kids. They played Wii. And had a lot of fun doing it.

And so concludes the random pictures from Atlanta. On our last day, we did go to the Atlanta Aquarium. It was awesome! I took A LOT of pictures. It deserves it's own post.


Monday, January 03, 2011

What Animal Names Start With 'A'

I don't know if you've ever realized, but I'm a bit of an animal nut. I can tell that you are just shocked by this statement, but it's true. So, when I was thinking about what else we wanted to do while we were in Florida, a couple of animals came to mind.

Namely - alligators and manatees. I was DETERMINED to see an actual wild alligator! In the wild. On the side of the road. It would be awesome.

And I sooooo wanted to see a manatee ... just hanging out in the water with it's little manatee nose sticking up. That, too, would be awesome.

So, what did I do? I began researching where to go. Because, well, I like to research. And I found a couple of interesting places...namely Merritt Island and the Manatee Observation Area. Both of which were nearly guaranteed to bring me my long awaited animal sightings. Not to mention the fact that Merritt Island is on the Atlantic coast. I have flown over the Atlantic Ocean, but have never actual stuck my toes in the water. It was going to be a great day.

Here we are, driving out to Merritt Island and I'm watching ever body of water that I see because I am going to see an alligator - did I mention that?

I'm pretty sure I saw a small alligator in a ditch on the way there, but it was hard to see and I keep talking myself out of the fact that I saw it, but it could have been.

Merritt Island is a cool place. It's actually owned by NASA so they have a good buffer space for the shuttle lift offs. First stop was the visitor center where we were almost guaranteed to see the resident alligator in the pond behind the building.
Saw a turtle.

And some pretty scenery.

Doesn't that spanish moss in the trees just look southern??

Alas, no alligator. Ho hum. But, we still have a little bit of time.

After driving on a VERY bumpy road for about a half an hour, we stopped at the bathrooms because, well, you can probably imagine. Anyway, just as we were getting ready to get back in the car, this woman says to us, "There a big gator down there if you want to see it."

Boy, do we!
Our very first wild gator. It was pretty big....probably 6 or 7 feet. And it was only about 20 feet away, which in retrospect was kind of close, but it didn't move at all so at the time I didn't think about it.

WOHO! One animal down!

Then we continued on our drive and I saw another gator...
I can't remember how big Brent said this one was, but we were just across a small canal from it. Again, in retrospect, maybe not the best idea.

Then I got bit by a fire ant. At least I'm pretty sure it was a fire ant. Something bit me and made my whole foot feel like it was on fire. Just a guess.

So, that's two animals that start with 'A'.

Then we headed to the beach.
Strangely, it looked much like the Pacific Ocean.

But there were a TON more shells...
A beach comber's paradise!

Now I can say that my feet have been in two oceans! Well on my way!

And as an extra bonus, you could see the shuttle on the launch pad.

As we were driving out of the beach road, we saw this little guy:
An armadillo! (Three animals that start with 'A') When I worked at the zoo, we had armadillos that we took care of. They ate the little pinkies - baby mice that haven't gotten their hair yet - and made crunchy sounds. It was kind of gross. But I've never seen one in the wild. He just looked at us and went on his merry way. However, he should have a tail, which he does not have. I wonder what happened.

Now, on to the Manatee Observation Area.

We looked and looked and looked and we saw...
A big old river. Not a manatee in sight. Bah! We did see a couple of captive ones at EPCOT so now I have actually seen a manatee, but not in the wild. Bummer.

Did you know that the closest living relative to the manatees are elephants? That's kind of interesting.

Oh, and another interesting manatee fact. Manatees live in warm water. In fact, they only live in this little area of the word. (There are dugongs in Australia that are closely related.) Amazingly, a manatee was spotted in the Chesapeake Bay, which is up near Maryland and Virginia. Definitely not warm water. So they got this HUGE campaign going to save Chessy! (That's what they named him.) They spent thousands of dollars to rescue him and take him back to Florida. The next year, he was back. And for quite a few years after that. Guess he needed a vacation too.

But, we did see three animals that start with 'A'. Well, technically 4 if you count "A lot of birds."