Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My new favorite blog

Earlier this summer I stumbled across my new favorite blog, DFW Urban Wildlife. It features pictures of wildlife around Dallas. It has bugs and spiders, birds and coyotes, and everything in between. It is right up my wheelhouse.

In fact the day I found it, I sent a link to S#5 telling her I found my new favorite blog. Her response, "How did you not find this sooner????"

A week or so ago, I was walking into the house through the garage door and something huge flew out at me. I thought it was a bat. It wasn't, it was a moth, a gigantic moth. It was almost 6" across. You can see that it is wider than the old patio umbrella, for a size comparison.

I posted my picture on the DFW Urban Wildlife facebook page and he put it on the blog.

My moth photo is (sort of) famous and I was on my most favorite blog!

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of School 2013

Today was every parent's favorite day of the year, the first day back to school. I can't believe that summer is over.

first day of school

My 8th grader

A first day of 8th grade

My 5th grader

J first day of 5th grade

My 2nd grader

B first day of 2nd grade

We ran into the cousins walking to school.

first day of school with cousins

The older two took off and went to their classrooms by themselves. DH & I walked B to his classroom. At least he still lets us.

first day of 2nd grade

first day of 2nd grade

I think they all had a good day. Summer was nice but I think it will be nice to get back into routine.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Golf Tournament

J played a little golf this summer. He went to clinic on Saturday mornings with his cousin M when our schedule allowed. Saturday was the end of summer tournament.

North Texas Golf Center tournament

J was a bit nervous. It was the first time he had played a round of golf since December. It is a nine hole par 3 course that they played twice. I took him. DH & B joined us after they finished the first 9. DH walked the course with J while I got knitting time in watching B hit some balls.

North Texas Golf Center driving range

golf mom knitting

In the end J & M tied with an 82, not bad at all.

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J's looking forward to playing more golf this fall.

afternoon off

The week after our big vacation was one of those really bad, bad weeks. My boss and my boss's boss were both out of town. The software I support had a client going through their first audit while using our software and we had a bunch of code that had basically never been tested before. At least not with real life data. It was a really bad week.

Once it was over and my boss returned, we had a in-depth debriefing on what went right and what went wrong. At then end she told me to take a day off to make up for all the extra time we put in the week before.

I took Wednesday off. The kids had their back to school/yearly checkups. We got home and took off to the Perot Museum. DH & B went on a campout and J went on a school field trip, but A& I had never been.

Perot Museum escalator

Perot Museum tortoise

Perot Museum dinosaur

B & J raced a t-rex.

Perot Museum t-rex race

Perot Museum t-rex race

Perot Museum t-rex race

J build an earthquake proof building
Perot Museum shake table

We all made creatures for the recycle reef. DH - an octopus, J - a lobster, B - a coral reef and a bit boat, A - hermit crab & mermaid

Perot Museum Recycle Reef

Perot Museum Recycle Reef

Perot Museum Recycle Reef

Perot Museum Recycle Reef

It was a nice day off after a very long week of work.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Big Trip Part X

Days 9, 10, 11

I'm done with writing about this trip. One post for the last three days and its over.

Our day in Ketchikan included a sea plane sightseeing trip. We were suppose to take 2 planes to fit all 10 of us, but one of the planes was down for repair. They could only get 7 people in the remaining plane. I had a massive head cold and opted out.

S#2 & family were headed into town, so I went with them. We walked around until we found the salmon ladder. It was pretty cool sight to see and we stood there for a long time watching those poor salmon leap forward, only to be pushed back and try again. Look closely and you'll see some salmon.

Ketchikan salmon ladder

Ketchikan salmon ladder
Ketchikan salmon ladder

The cousins headed to the lumberjack show. I wandered through town, went into a museum and then back to the boat to lay down. In the afternoon, I met up with the rest of the family. The Disney crew was doing some painting repairs.

Donald Duck painting the boat

The sea plane tour was cool, even though they were feeling a little green. They landed in a glacier lake and saw a mama bear and her cubs.

Ketchikan sea plane

Ketchikan sea plane

Ketchikan bear and cubs

Ketchikan bear and cubs

Ketchikan bear and cubs

Ketchikan bear and cubs

Ketchikan sea plane

Ketchikan sea plane

We hopped into a van and went to tour Ketchikan. We saw bald eagles, some more salmon (not nearly as cool as the salmon ladder), and a pretty city park.

juvenile bald eagles

bald eagle flying Ketchikan

Ketchikan city park

We also went to a totem pole park.

Ketchikan totem pole

Ketchikan totem pole

When the poles finally can't stand anymore they lay them down and let them return to the earth.

totem pole

The last day on the boat was spent playing bingo, trivia, shuffleboard, euchre. A ended up on stage for the magic show. No pictures. There is video on A's phone somewhere.

On Monday we arrived back in Vancouver. We weren't leaving until Tuesday morning so we had some time to see the city. We walked to Gastown for shopping and eating. We explored Chinatown and found a nice garden. The kids went swimming in the hotel pool and played ping-pong. It was a nice afternoon. Vancouver seemed like a neat place, I wish we had more time there.

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Then we came home. It was a fabulous trip all around, but it was also nice coming home.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Big Trip Part IX

Day 9


Juneau was probably the best part of our trip. We had a fabulous excursion with Gastineau Guiding. The trip was a hike to see the Mendenhall Glacier and a whale watching tour. Our guide Samantha was terrific, very informative and she interacted well with both the kids and the adults. The hike through the forest to see the glacier was nice.

Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest old pipeline

We ended at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Mendenhall Glacier and waterfall

Mendenhall Glacier

family at Mendenhall Glacier

After the glacier, we headed to the boat to go whale watching. Be prepared for lots of photos!

After a bit of a boat ride, we saw our first whale. Very exciting, but it was pretty far away. Good thing for telephoto lenses.

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

After awhile the captain heard from other boats of a spot with 3-4 whales. We joined the other boats to see what was there. Sure enough, we soon saw multiple whales.

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Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

They were diving one after the other

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

Juneau whale watching

So cool. The last tail is the whale they call Spot. We stayed in here quite awhile. Our time was running short and Samantha said we could stay for them to come up one more time. The humpback whales come up to breathe every 10 minutes or so. Soon the whales came up next to a boat close to us.

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At this point our time was up, but the whales were too close to our boat and the captain couldn't start the engines. We had to wait for the whales one more time. It turned out to be the best sighting ever. The whales came to the surface and circled around our boat. A juvenile whale flipped on its side and lifted its pectoral fin for us.

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After swimming around the boat, the whales turned right toward our boat and dove underneath us.

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It really was an amazing experience. They were so close to the boat, a matter of feet. The lens on my camera was almost too tight. I'm a little disappointed that the pictures are cut off a little bit. I basically set my camera, held the button and then lifted up my head to watch with my eyes instead of through the viewfinder. Just going through these photos brings back the excitement. A has video of it and you can hear the guide in the background shouting about she can't believe it and she does this multiple times a week.

Definitely, it was a worth while tour. We'll never be able to go whale watching again because nothing can top that trip.