Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's All in the Details

When you are searching for the Discover Kids show Peep to watch On Demand, you might want to verify which channel you are accepting or you might get more then you bargained for! I'm just saying...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009 Version of Cliques

It used to be East side versus West side, nerds versus jocks but now there's a whole new division of cliques going on. That's right, it's vampires verses wizards at Morgan's school. According to Morgan there are several kids that are vampires. REAL vampires. For real. But I shouldn't worry because she's not a vampire. Nope. She's a wizard. For real. And it's a schoolyard fact that vampires are not allowed to play with wizards and that is precisely why she can not be friends with Ashely. Cause she's a vampire. For real.

Monday, September 21, 2009


On Thursday Morgan and I got our flu shots. By Friday we were both sick. As of Sunday night, she still had a fever of 101 so Mark stayed home with her today.

She is not your typical sick child. She's always hated sleep. She fights it like nothing else. Being sick does not change this. Instead of sleeping the days away, she's moaning and tossing and turning, trying to stay awake with every last ounce of effort. Her eyes have been bloodshot and unfocused and still she doesn't give in. We've tried explaining that sleep will make her feel better, but she refuses to accept this.

She also has a terrible cough. When she does finally fall asleep at night, she is jarred awake by her coughing. Since OTC cough medicine has been banned for kids her age, we have tried giving her honey. While she would gladly slurp down any "real" medicine and goes so far as to request meds even when she is feeling fine, she will not swallow a teaspoon of honey. She is locked jawed, thrashing her head back and forth and crying that honey is too gross.

Oh, the oddities that are Morgan.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lessons Learned

Even though we had cut down our dead tree flush to the ground, we still needed to dig up the root ball and remove it before the new tree was delivered and installed. There was an option to pay $65 for the nursery to do this, but we thought we could easily do this on our own. The tree was only four years old, how hard could it be? The answer: pretty dang hard.

Mark thought he could dig up the root ball and remove it with his hands. After digging a hole twice as big as we expected, he still wasn't able to get the ball out. So he hooked up his tow rope and decided to pull it out with the SUV. The tow rope broke. After a trip to Home Depot and dropping $50 on a metal chain, he was able to pull the ball out. There was one little catch. Without thinking, he had driven the SUV into the garage, not across the street. So now, the SUV is stuck in the garage with a giant root ball behind it and no where to go. We couldn't hook the chain up to my car either because part of the metal chain you would use to attach to the hitch also broke in the process. Mark was going to have to work at home the next day and then beg the workers to take away the root ball. Backed by $20 the workers were more then happy to take it away.

So... that's $25 for the old tow rope, $50 for the new chain with will also have to be replace at around $25 plus $20 for the workers. That's a grand total of $120. Plus the hard labor and time lost.

Moral of the story: If you are going to pay almost $500 for a tree and the installation, you might as well throw in the extra $65 to remove the current tree.

On a happier note, we now have a beautiful, more mature tree in front of the street and no homeowners fine.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random Thoughts

  1. Week 5 of Kindergarten and Morgan has finally stopped having melt downs after school. Hopefully typing this does not curse me.
  2. Morgan is on a football kick. She LOVES the Broncos (sorry Mom and Dad, I tried) and she's a loud and boisterous fan. A commerical came on about being a fan and she started yelling at the tv "Hey! We are Bronco fans too! You got that?!" During last night's game, she drew a picture of a Bronco cheerleader. Mark is so happy, I think I might have caught him crying tears of joy.
  3. This weekend we dropped almost $500 on a tree. For our street. Most likely because the builder did not plant them correctly since over 30% of the trees in our neighborhood are dead. I am bitter.
  4. While looking at trees, there was one with a bird's nest in it. Morgan wanted that one. Badly. Because it came with a bird. Much to her disappointment, we did not get that one.
  5. On Sunday we had a great time with Joann at our church picnic. Her and Morgan entered the three-legged race. It was the first time Morgan attempted this. She needs practice. But she did have fun.
  6. We were supposed to go on our last camping trip of the season this coming up weekend but cancelled. It has turned way too cold for this to be enjoyable. I'm very sad it's time to winterize the camper already. Boo hoo.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We Are Family

Before heading to Worthington, we made one last stop at Pipestone National Monument. Pipestone contains quarries that the Native Americans used to carve out their pipes. The area is still considered sacred by many American Indians. It is not a large park, but is very interesting and contains a beautiful trail by a waterfall. Morgan grabbed a Junior Ranger booklet and completed all the activities. Her favorite thing to do was cut the pipestone. I think she could have done that all day. After she completed the booklet, she received her second Junior Ranger badge. She also got her National Park Passport book stamped and now has a grand total of four stamps.

We arrived in Worthington just in time to surprise Mark L for his birthday party. We had a great time catching up with family.

Morgan and Ava. Ava was born one week after Morgan.

Morgan, Amy and Grayson. Grayson was a newborn at our wedding. Now he's getting so grown up.

Ava, Morgan and Alizah were all born within a month of each other. Alizah's first, then Morgan, then Ava.

This was the first time we got to meet Alizah's little sister Hailey.

Morgan had a bit of a crush on Grayson. Morgan announced to Grayson - I love you... and now I'm going to kiss you. And then planted one on his arm. This was followed by Ava screaming Eeewwww! Morgan just kissed Grayson. When she gets older we'll need to explain what cousins means.

The first generation of cousins: Amy (Grayson's mom), Andy and Amy (Alizah, Hailey and Jaxson's parents), Mark and I, Anni and Pete (Ava's parents) and Aaron and Mandy. Missing from the picture: Randy. Not able to make the party: Aaron and Amy K, Alisha and Mitch, and Matt. Yes, it's a very big family.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Omaha's Wild Kingdom

For Labor Day weekend, we headed up to a family gathering in Minnesota to celebrate Uncle Mark's birthday. We decided to break up the drive on the way there so we left on Thursday after Morgan got out of school and drove to Kearny. Once there, we did the math and figured out we could stop in Omaha and visit the zoo. I know what you are thinking: wow. The Omaha Zoo - that has to be thrilling. Oh! But it is. It's one of my favorite zoos.

We decided to hit the highlights and visit three buildings: The desert dome with the Kingdom of Night below it, the Scott aquarium (which we had never seen before) and the Lied jungle building. One of the best things about this zoo the fact that you are emerged in the environment and that many of the exhibits are cageless. For example these two guys in the dome are roaming around freely. There's no glass, no wires, nothing between you and the wildlife. Or I should say the less dangerous wildlife. Of course the bobcat is safely tucked away from us.

The Kingdoms of the Night shows the nocturnal animals in their natural settings. Highlights include a "bottomless" pit right along side the trail. You can put your hand right into the water. Unfortunately the illusion was broken by some idiot who had thrown a coin in the pit and you could see it "hanging" in mid-air about four inches down where, apparently, the glass floor starts. There is also a bat cave with a 70 foot ceiling. My favorite exhibit is the last one - the swamp with the floating boardwalk. It features a Trapper's Cabin, a beaver lodge, cypress trees and 30 swamp animal species, including opossums, beavers, muskrats (or a river otter or something), in barrier free habitats. This would be Morgan's least favorite due to the alligators that are right under foot. Since all these exhibits are in the dark, it's hard to get any good pictures.

Next, we headed over the Scott's Aquarium. Morgan stopped to show us how excited she was to be at the zoo.

Again, because of the glass, it was hard to get any good pictures at the aquarium. It wasn't a very large aquarium, but we managed to spend quite a bit of time there. We spent a lot of time watching the Antarctic penguin exhibit in the beginning. There were two baby King penguins but boy, they were not little. They were as tall as their parents at about three feet tall. They towered over all the other types of penguins. It was hard to believe they were babies.

We also spent a lot of time sitting in the shark tunnel and watching the sharks and stingrays swim all around us. There was also a blowfish that was checking us out.

New to the zoo this year was the Skyfari - an arial view of the park. The ride takes you in an open air lift over the giraffest, cheetah yard, Garden of the Senses, the lagoon, monkey island, elephants and rhinos. It was really neat to get this different view of the animals. We were so close, we could have jumped on the animals backs.

Our last stop was the Lied Jungle building, the largest indoor rain forest, where one follows a jungle path while observing animals that are free ranging or contained behind water and rock barriers. Below, Mark is thrilled to be demonstrating how to cross one of the rope bridges.

This curious little guy is right on the railing you see above. There is nothing between it and us. If it wanted to, it could jump right on our shoulder. Mark wanted to come back with a banana in his pocket and see what would happen.

Futher down, a sloth was literally hanging directly over our heads.

Lucky for us , it was bat feeding time when we walked through. See those two brown shapes in the top center of the picture? Yep. Bats. About 50 bats swarming back and forth among the food. And no. These are not behind glass either. And yes. They were dive bombing right by our heads. Strangely enough, Morgan, who was freaked out at the bat cave where the bats were safely tucked behind glass, stood here for a long time calming watching the bats fly to and fro. I, on the other hand, wasn't quite as calm. As another panicked visitor pointed out to her boyfriend who was telling her to look at how calm that little girls was: Yes, but she's short so the bats aren't right at her head!

Although we only did three buildings and the Skyfari, we were at the zoo for almost 5 hours. When it was closing time, it was time for us to drive on to Luverne, MN - our stop for the night.

(As a side note, the zoo is opening a new Madagascar exhibit to house rare lemurs and orchids. The zoo has a multiyear wish list that includes an Arctic Center, a new elephant habitat, an Australian exhibit with kangaroos and an Antelope Valley exhibit. All good reasons to keep coming back year after year.)