Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Very Hungry Turtle

Morgan's class had to write a book based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The following is her story, the Very Hungry Turtle. I have inserted translations below the pictures.

The Very Hungry Turtle

One lollipop

Two hot dogs

three ice creams (Notice the m at the end of the word. She makes loops in the middle of the m on purpose, kind of like putting a heart about an i instead of the dot. It's her own personal flair.)

four sandwiches (And her writing samwiches can be blamed on Mark. That is how he likes to pronounce sandwiches. He thinks it sound cooler. When we tried to explain to Morgan that the work is actually sandwich, her response was "That's gross. Who wants to eat sand!" Again, she has her flaired out m.)

Five eggs

Two chocolates, five lollipops

A piece of seaweed.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day 2010 - Tree Planting

I wasn't able to go to the tree planting ceremony, but about 20 minutes after it started the weather turned bad. Out by office it was downpouring and there were tornado warnings. I was wondering if the kids had a chance to plant their tree.

Then I received the following pictures from one of my girlfriends who was able to attend. They were able to have their ceremony, but notice the omnious weather rolling in the background.

And then the tornado warning was announced and they had to duck for cover in the hallways.

Not sure how much help a book over their head is going to provide!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Since we are in a fairly new neighborhood that is out on the plains, there are not many trees around, especially on the school property. The front of the school is a big huge grassy field without a tree in sight. In honor of Earth Day, Morgan's school has been collecting money in order to plant trees on the property. They collected enough to buy one tree per grade which will be planted today along the entrance to the school. Each grade will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony and will participate in the planting of their designated tree. These trees will belong and be maintained by the classroom throughout the school year. The teachers can integrate them into the classroom however they choice whether it's to plant flowers around or collect the leaves for art projects. At some point, each tree will receive a plaque dedicating it to the corresponding grade.

Morgan can't wait to participate in this today. Her class has picked out which hole they want, the one on the end, closest to the parking lot. Television cameras will be there to film the event. It should be an exciting time for the kids.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saguaro National Park and the Biosphere2

I finally got the pictures off my parent's cds so I can wrap up our trip by going back in time a couple of days to the Saguaro National Park.

The park has a pretty impressive Junior Ranger program. Most parks just give you a workbook, but this one also gives you a whole backpack filled with field guides, colored pencils and Morgan's favorite - binoculars.

The workbook included several activies such as a scavanger hunt to help keep Morgan occupied during our hike. The rangers there were great with Morgan and took the time to show her photos taken of animals that visited the park watering hole during the night. They also lead her outside the station to show her a nest of baby birds.

The cacti in the park are impressively tall.

And there was an area on our trail that showed you how, even though it doesn't look like it, there is water to be found. If you dug for a little bit, you would come to wet sand.

But as far as National Parks go, there is not a whole lot to do here. Once you've hiked one trail through the desert, you've pretty much seen all there is to see.

The next day we headed to Biosphere2, stopping at Catalina State Park along the way as it was rumored to have some desert blooms.

Morgan had a great time using Gigi's binoculars to keep herself occupied. Forget about looking out for animals or cacti in the distances, she was most amused at observing how close we looked to her.

We arrived at Biosphere2 in the early afternoon and signed up for a tour.

It was hard to take pictures inside since everything was so enclosed, but the tour was facinating. It's amazing to think of the eight people that lived inside this place, closed off from the rest of the world for two years. They had so many jobs to fill - farmer, animal caretaker, scientist, and mechanic.

My favorite room was the ocean room where sea water was shipped in and a real coral reef was developed. The room even re-creates the tides, complete with a sandy beach.

The "lungs" were also amazing to see. Since the Biosphere2 was self-contained, they needed to deal with the expansion and contraction of the air inside on hot or cold days. So that it wouldn't implode or explode, they needed to build rooms that allowed a concrete ceiling to raise or fall, dependant on the air pressure inside. It was pretty neat to see and even feel. The air pressure caused by leaving the Biosphere was enough to blow a hat or glasses right off of you!

To have sustained eight humans and some 3,800 species of plants and animals in seven biomes is quite an impressive feat!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tucson Children's Museum.

The last day in Tucson it was cold and rainy so we decided to do an indoor activity. When we asked Morgan what she wanted to do that day, she wanted to go back to the Sonoran Glass Art Academy. She really loved this experience. We had to explain that you needed reservations, plus it was too expensive to do twice. Her more reasonable pick was the Children's Museum. It's housed in a really neat older building downtown. The place is small, but it's packed full of fun activities and we managed to spend the whole day here.

Notice the screen on the inside of the firetruck. It simulates a real drive to a fire.

Morgan spent a lot of time on the rope maze. You belt on a bungee cord and hook a carabine to one of the colored ropes. Then you try to make your way from one end to the other, climbing over and under the ropes in your way.

Crafts were offered three times through out the day. Here Morgan is making butterfly wings to wear on her back.

Another big hit was the veterinarian area complete with a pet grooming station.

There was also an exercise room where you are super-imposed in the exercise video. One could do hip-hop or yoga.

Other exhibits included Dinosaur World, Build-it, Whistle Stop Gallery, Musica de Las Americas and Mind Your Own Body. The museum does not have a restaurant, but a short walk downtown brought us to a strip of places to choice from. The only downside is that there is no free parking and the meters are two hours max so we had to make several trips out to the car through out the day. Otherwise it was a pretty relaxing and slower pace day to end our trip on.

(Still need to post our trip to Saguaro National Park and the Biosphere2. Computer is back up and running so I just need to get to my parent's pictures)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I'm skipping two days as our computer is not playing nice so I'm not able to get the pictures off my parents CD yet. I will go back to those days once I beat the computer.

After my parents headed back to Green Bay, we headed down to Tombstone for a day. It's touristy and cheesy but sometimes I like that kind of thing.

One of the main reason I wanted to go was to visit one of the most haunted buildings in America, the Bird Cage Theatre, which allegedly hosts as many as 31 ghosts. It is one of the oldest original buildings in Tombstone and most authentic, still containing original wallpaper, curtains and other fixtures. The saloon was the scene of 26 deaths, which can be attested to by the 140 bullet holes still viewable (and even touchable) in the walls and bar. Historic figures such as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Bat Masterson once walked on the very floorboards that you can.

Inside, it is very creepy. Above the gambling floor and stage are 14 "bird cages" that once housed ladies of the night. The gambling parlour continues to feature the actual table where Doc Holliday once dealt faro, and lining the walls are photographs of the many who passed through its doors, as well as original paintings that hung in the establishment. Also on display is Tombstone’s famous horse-drawn hearse called the Black Moriah. I would not want to come in here along at night!

Next, Morgan wanted to ride the stagecoach tour. It cost way too much money and was way too short, but it was Morgan' highlight nether less.

We stopped at Big Nose Kate's for lunch. Big Nose Kate was Doc Holliday's girlfriend and a saloon owner. The food was mediocre and the service was down right poor. We were there for a very long hour and half. It's only saving grace was that it had a extremely talented singer performing. He was amazing and very entertaining.

Next we headed down the street to see the OK Corral. We did not go to the live re-enactment as Morgan expressed some serious fears over seeing it.

We did spend some time watching the historical presentation voiced over by Vincent Price, climbed into some old carriages, walked through a prostitutes single-room "house", bought a personalized horseshoe from Grizz the local blacksmith, checked out the much tamer mannequin re-enactment...

...and tried our hands at roping cattle.

We continued to exploring the old buildings and watch the many gunslingers roaming the streets. We weren't sure how many of the gunslingers were actual Tombstone performers and how many just got dressed up for the heck of it (kind of like people at a Renaissance Fair) but there were lots of elaborate costumes to see. We slowly made our way back to our car parked on the following roads:

And headed to Boothill where many of the famous people from Tombstone are buried. This is supposed to be the first graveyard named Boothill, so called because most of them died suddenly (murdered) with their boots still on.
The grave markers were very interesting to read with things like "Stabbed by Gold Dollar" "Shot by Curly Bill" and my favorite one:

While it is touristy, it was fascinating to a lot of interesting history about Tombstone and the people who lived there. It was definitely an different (and rough) era.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finished Product

We received our creations that we made at the Sonoran Glass Art Academy in the mail. They were packaged extremely well and I was glad we paid the extra money to get them home safely. They turned out better than expected, especially my mom's bowl.

Here is the bowl that she made:

And here is my ornament (on the left) and Morgan's ornament (on the right).

Since Morgan used three colors, the pink didn't turn out as pink as she hoped, but she was still happy with it.

Now I need to figure out how to display these so that the cats don't destroy them!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Still trying to get my act together with all the vacation pictures. In the meantime here are some things heard around the house these past few weeks.

"Yesterday Robbie yelled at me. I was sitting next to him and I was just breathing. He told me that my breathing was anoying him and to stop breathing. I told him I couldn't. It's nature!"

After falling down several times in a row, she stated in a very sad voice: "God made me clumsy".

"I can't wait to go to the desert. I get to wear my spagetti straps again!"

She's been having issues with getting to school on time, so in a moment of severe frustration I told her that if she kept being late, she would not be able to go on to 1st grade. Thinking of course, that this would be a bad consequence. Not thinking that one of her best friend's Madison is younger and would be entering kindergarten next year. Instead of putting a skip in her step, a huge smile crossed her face as she exclaimed how great it would be to be in class with Madison. Well that backfired!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Our first stop on our Tucson vacation was the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This really isn't a stereotypical museum, but rather half Botanical Gardens, half zoo. Per their website: Exhibits re-create the natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert Region so realistically you find yourself eye-to-eye with mountain lions, prairie dogs, Gila monsters, and more. Within the Museum grounds, you will see more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants. There are almost 2 miles of paths traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert.

After entering the museum we spent $1 for the optional animal tracking booklet. Scattered through out the grounds are 14 stations, each containing an animal track stamp to add to your booklet. We figured this would help keep Morgan entertained. We figured we wouldn't walk the whole 2 miles, but we could get further with Morgan if she had an incentive. Little did we know...

...that this would become an obsession for her. She was on a mission (and sucessful) to collect ALL 14 stamps over the 2 mile course, sometimes doubling back. We entered the place at 9:30 and were in the gift shop at 4:30. They close at 5.

Needless to stay, we saw almost everything. And let me tell you, there is A LOT to see. I don't know why, but I didn't take any pictures (besides a very fuzzy, unworthy to post one) of any of the animals but there were mexican wolves, cougars, bobcats, coyotoes, beavers, otters, bears, scorpions and rattlesnakes to name just a few of the hundreds housed here.

I did capture some of the many birds that were birds in displays as well as just visiting, including the Roadrunner in the first picture below. Which is definetely smaller then the roadrunner in the Wile E. Coyotoe cartoons.

There were caves and hidden paths to explore.

And lots of hands on activities. Including crawling into a turtle shell and then getting stuck and instead of anyone helping you out, they all laugh and take pictures of you in your misery.

And lots...

...and lots...
...and lots of catcus.