Texas Tigers
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

San Antonio Zoo - National Zoo Keepers Week

Last week the San Antonio Zoo invited us to visit for the first time in about a year. We hadn't renewed our season past last year since with preschool and Abby in school now and I felt a little bad if I just took Lexie all the time, or that Abby would miss out since we rarely went on weekends. The zoo invited us to come and check out the animals and also to learn from some of their keepers in honor of National Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week.

The first thing Micah wanted to see was the snake house. Seriously - what's up with my kids and reptiles? First Abby's obsession with alligators, then frog hunts, now the snake house. Reptiles or not I'll take the air conditioning. I love how many of the widows were low enough that I didn't have to lift both kids to see into each exhibit.

Next Micah wanted to see the cheetah but to get there we would pass a lot of animals so we took our time through Africa Live to get to the cheetahs.  Of course we would find the giant frog on our way. 

Lexie wanted to have a say on where we went as well and loved looking at the map with colorful animal pictures. Even if she did keep calling the tiger a cheetah. She ought to know better! 

Pass the monkeys in Africa live where we were able to see a baby monkey being quite playful, the elephant and then we made it to the cheetahs. They were smart though hanging out in the shade in some bushes so they were hard to spot. We did catch one of the tigers snoozing in the stairwell. 

The zebras were out eating lunch and the rhino looked like he was about to take a nap. I'm grateful for the new added bars on the rhino exhibit - I always felt like that wall was low for little ones!

Then we met up with some of our blogger friends and the keepers brought out some of the animals to show us. 

We learned about Pierre the Possum. This little just turned one year old guy is fed a diet of dog food and banana biscuits. Possums also have the most teeth of any mammal. He was a lot more active than a normal possum would have been during the day since he's been raised that way but most are nocturnal. 
A bird in the Tucan family. I can't remember his name because it was at this point that Lexie realized she was starving and needed everyone to know she needed a snack. 
Ivan the legless lizard - not a snake. Still a reptile.
And King the Skink - he's got a prehensile tail.
All the littles seemed to enjoy learning about these animals up close and finding out more about what the zoo keepers do at the zoo.  

To finish off our afternoon at the zoo (before we dissolved in a puddle of sweat from the heat!) we took a ride on the newly completed carousel. Micah *had* to ride on the dragon or I think despite all the other great things we saw he would have been totally bummed -  luckily it wasn't too crowded and we waited one extra turn until we were at the beginning of the line. Lexie was super excited to pick out a zebra to ride on. The carousel is really beautiful with loads of different animals to pick from to ride on. 
Thank you SA Zoo for a great day learning about the animals and the great zoo keepers that take care of them. 

*disclosure: We recieved free admission to the zoo for the day to enjoy the grounds and meet the keepers. 


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Nature Walk

Gigi and Pops seem to have a theme going with their neighborhoods. They know how much Abby loves alligators so they seem to choose places with ponds that have alligators in them. Ha! Okay maybe not but they again have alligators in their pond even though they aren't in Louisina living off the ship canal anymore.
While we were visiting, we of course took an evening to head out on a nature walk                                                to the new boardwalks in the neighborhood. Looking for both more of the larger frogs and trying to spot the alligator.  We immediately spotted lots of ducks sitting on the boardwalk. 

There were lots of different overlooks to walk between and see all the animals and the alligator in the pond. Notice Micah has his frog catcher at the ready. 
We were able to spot the alligator pretty quickly! He was a little tricky to see since he was far away and his head was hiding in the reeds but we were able to see him for a minute. Abby has her frog catcher as well.
We walked on down to see if we could spot him better from the second overlook.
We weren't able to see him any better from the second one but we were able to see some more ducks.
On our way back we also spotted a nest hiding in the grass. Duck? Snake? Turtle? I'm not sure… maybe I should ask google? There were baby ducks around so we are thinking probably a duck nest.
There was a contest going on for best family photo on the boardwalk…. think this is a winner? Ha! They were too busy wanting to search for frogs to look at me!
Other than mosquitos it was a nice little nature walk with lots of animals seen and the nest. 

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

We're going on a frog hunt….

For both the 4th of July and the Nordstroms sale, we headed a few hours away to spend time with my parents and so Gigi and I could have a shopping day hitting the sale together (because that's always more fun - though Pops might not let us go again… so many shoes but they are for back to school so it's a need right? Plus great deals!)

Gigi and Pops have an awesome pool in their backyard - which is always the first thing the kids want to do and who can blame them?
Lexie was a pro at swimming all around the pool in her puddle jumper by the end of the first day in Gigi's pool. She hardly ever said 'help me, help me' like she does at the Y pool when she gets further away from me than arms reach. 


Of course it's not just the pool that has captured their attention at Gigi's house. It's also the frogs that have seemed to make it their home. All the landscaping plus the pond right behind their house has seemed to be sending out an invitation for baby frogs to come and jump in the pool. Gigi at one point found 7 of them all piled on a tiny (no bigger than you palm) plastic toy dinosaur floating in the skimmer basket. 
Abby's second cousin also caught a bigger frog at her grandparents house (right down the road) and had brought it along when they all came over for dinner and swimming. Abby loved this big frog. (yuck!) 

Both Abby and Micah became pros at catching the frogs and loved to play with them…. a little much for my liking!
Micah tortured his frog a couple times jumping in with them… he also did great with his swimming while we were there. He made it the long ways with using his big arms a couple times. A little more practice and he just might be able to pass the swim test at the Y this summer and be able to go down the slides. 
Who knew a few little frogs could keep kids so entertained? It's the first thing they wanted to do the second time we came - right before getting in the pool to swim. They would barely stay inside the house if we didn't tell them they couldn't be outside without a grown-up. I guess I shouldn't be too shocked. My parents do have a picture of me with a teeny tiny frog like Micah was holding on my nose.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Royal Canvas

A couple weeks ago, a friend from our Church had taken her girls to paint at The Royal Canvas and mentioned there was a groupon out for it. My littles love doing art projects but I haven't been as good at getting the art supplies out lately as I had been in the past so I knew they'd love this. I browsed the list of classes  and decided on what week I thought both kids would like painting they were doing. I love that they offer both a 4-6 and a 7-12 age group class at the same time. I've seen other kids painting classes else where they had both age groups but they were at very different times and discouraged bringing a child that wasn't painting along. For me that would be complicated to work out two different times to bring only one child so being able to bring both at the same time was a big plus! 

I didn't realize quite how far across town it was from us as I don't venture across town that often so we arrived 5 minutes late but the instructors were so nice and helped get the kids set up and painting with their classes in no time.  



The instructors take it step by step and show the kids where and with what color to outline each thing as they go and they trace along the pencil lines that are already drawn on the canvas. They add the colors of paint to the plates as they go so the kids aren't overwhelmed by colors either. In Abby's they even blended a couple colors to create some shading/highlights. 

Micah was done in just a little over an hour and Abby's class took the whole hour and 1/2 but Micah didn't mind waiting too much.
Both kids were so happy with their paintings they made! I just got an email this week saying it's groupon time again (the one I got was an older one) which means I can score another one and take the kids again when I find another weekend that works with paintings both kids will enjoy. I think this time I might get groupon for myself as well. I've never done the painting studio thing before but I after seeing how step by step they go with the kids I'm thinking maybe just maybe I could manage to make one look decent.
I was super pleased with the instructors at The Royal Canvas and the overall experience. The littles are loving having their canvas paintings art hanging in their rooms! 


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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Dinosaur George

If you are local and have ever watched PBS then I'm sure you've heard of Dinosaur George. He made the rounds of many elementary schools last year and Abby was able to see him when he was at her school. Micah however was not able to see him and so I was thrilled when I saw he was going to be at the libraries for the summer reading programs.

We got there about 20 minutes early thinking we'd check out books beforehand but there was already a fairly large group waiting so we went ahead and got a place on the floor so Micah would be able to see and not be stuck in the back. (Lexie didn't like this plan too much but thankfully I had a few snacks snuck away in my bag to pass the time)

Micah found the whole show hilarious and awesome (his new favorite word after watching the Lego movie!) He really enjoyed when Dinosaur George was pulling out the claws (forgive me that may not be correct dinosaur terminology) and went from smallest and kept saying that was the largest until 10 later he pulled out a really giant one. 

Micah also enjoy the tiny little dinosaur head that he showed them.
After the presentation we were able to look at all the fossils he had brought with him and the kids were given a card with information about Dinosaur George on it. 

I loved that the librarians had pulled dinosaur books on a cart for kids to look through if they wanted to read more about dinosaurs. Micah loved checking out some dino books after the show was over! 
It was the perfect activity for my dino loving little guy. Sadly I think Dinosaur George has finished all the library shows he was doing this summer but if he does a show near you then I'd say you should go check it out if your little loves dinos like mine does.  There are still several other library shows that are still going on too that your littles might enjoy. 




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Monday, June 30, 2014

Honey 5/4/2004-5/21/2014

Way back before Beau and I were married, he had a professor that worked with a mastiff rescue and he would bring his medical dog - a bullmastiff to class with him each day. Beau got to talking with him and he was actively looking for a home for a 4 month old French mastiff pup (as seen in the movie Turner and Hooch) as she was the bottom of the pack and very timid and would do better as the only dog in a home. Two sets of puppy eyes (hers and Beau's) were able to convince me and thus Honey became a part of our family. She was the most laid back puppy I'd ever seen - at 4 months she didn't like any toys (we tried and she sniffed them then ignored them) and and was content to just lay near you for the most part. I'd never been around mastiffs before but I quickly was convinced about what a great breed of dog they were. As a big bonus she was a big deterrent to anyone who might think about coming in the house. At that point in our lives Beau worked late nights and then into overnights and we all felt more comfortable that she was around. Even if she might have her tail tucked and hide behind a chair if Beau was home, if he wasn't she took it as her personal mission to protect us from any noise she might hear outside.

I'm pretty convinced there isn't another dog out there quite as tolerate of toddler abuse and gentle as Honey was. Abby (my total animal loving girl) was quickly best buds with Honey crawling all over her as soon as she could scoot. 


This quickly turned into toddler antics of being covered with blankets, food and water dished delivered to wherever Honey was laying down whether she wanted it or not. 
 And toddler piggy back rides (while Honey was laying down)
They really were best buds.


Micah wasn't quite as obsessed as Abby but he loved on Honey too and she him. 
He definitely enjoyed feeding her - it was especially easy and his high chair was the perfect height for her head. 

 She was never far away when the kids and I were playing outside.


 Or when Beau was smoking meat…. I'll never forget the time Beau was smoking all this (ribs, brisket, two chickens) and he didn't close the door all the way while bringing it in once it was done and she swiped herself one of the chickens. So thankful that the bones didn't harm her as she scarfed much of it down before we could stop her.


 If she wasn't laying in her spot behind Beau's chair, the kids loved to use her as a pillow and 9 times out of 10 she didn't mind and stayed right there until they moved.

 She always ending up with confetti on her with the cascarones. I think the kids loved smashing them on her more than on each other.


 She also loved a good mud puddle in the summer. I would often buy her a baby pool to lay in during the summer as well. Such a good way to cool off - though once she found the shady mud puddle at our current house she preferred that much to my annoyance because it meant more work for me when I let her in during the day as she had to get hosed off every time.
 Lexie wasn't as quick to warm up to her as Abby and Micah. She was a little worried about the size of Honey compared to her and for about a year (6 months - 18 months) she would squeal if Honey so much as looked in her direction.

Finally seeing Honey on a leash made her brave and as gentle as Honey was, Lexie was fully capable of walking Honey with no issues. 


Until the last week of her life you'd have never guessed she was 10. She still acted like the same puppy we'd had all along (being a mastiff she was never that active so there wasn't much to slow down from though!) and she was still running around with the kids in the backyard. She never greyed in her face either like you see in many elderly dogs. Those last two days she had just stared walking a little slower, a little more like an elderly dog and passed away in her sleep. 

She will be deeply missed and has left a big hole to fill. For the first week Abby didn't want to play outside in the backyard because Honey wasn't there to play with.  





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