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Fun with Animals...

I had a hard time deciding which camera to pack for our quick trip this past weekend. My old Rebel is smaller and much lighter, but since upgrading to my 60D a couple years ago, I'm spoiled with the ability to still get good quality images in low light settings. In the end I went with the 60D knowing some of our photos would be taken in darker, interior locations. Turns out I didn't take near as many photos as I would have expected to take due to the rainy day. Thank goodness for my old, water resistant Eastpak backpack that comes on most ambulatory adventures with us. As you can see, rain or no rain, we had a good time bumming around with the animals.

These two are practically attached at the hip when they are together. It's hard to remember sometimes that almost 4 years separate them. It also cracks Scott and I up with how comfortable Lexi is with her older cousin because she is scared to death to talk to the volleyball players that Scott coached this past year who are the same age.

Scott and I were trying to be silly with momma giraffe. She got tired of waiting for me to get the right perspective and waked right off Scott's hand as I snapped this. Still makes me smile.

We're thinking we would like to plant one of these varieties of trees in our backyard once they are made available to the public. Shade and yard decoration all wrapped up in one neat little package...

There is a gorgeous sensory garden at the zoo, complete with lovely rain blocking arbors. A zoo keeper had a few tropical birds out in the garden, who didn't seem bothered by the sprinkles at all.

One of the areas that I enjoy the most at the Omaha zoo is the primate houses. The gorillas are amazing to watch. I really think I could sit and watch them all day. The intelligence in those eyes...

These birds, and their crazy head feathers, crack me up.

We are also big fans of the big cats. I love how no matter their size, cats will always sleep in a box if you provide them with one.

Brea was the first who showed signs of wilting. She stayed up much later than normal Friday night, which I'm sure was a factor as she's usually our early to bed kid. Luckily she's easy to please and along the way we found little treats to get her through...Aunt Kathleen got her a hotdog, Uncle Jason offered up his lap for some snuggles, and a new small stuffed river otter purchased at the aquarium gift shop helped distract her from her fatigue as she showed him all the sites we visited after he joined our family.

Why is it my husband always insists on being silly when I point the camera in his direction? Obviously he's the fun half...

Short sitting breaks got more frequent as the day progressed...

The aquarium still proves to be my favorite attractions at Henry Doorly. (Although the new butterfly house is pretty awesome too!) I love the new expanded jellyfish area since I was last through a few years ago. The colors, the textures, the fluidity of movement all mesmerize me. These big orange jellyfish look upside in photos, but this is actually how they were swimming. I wonder if this is how they always swim or if it's a result of how they are fed or the direction of the current in the man-made home? (Yes, these are the nerdy questions that go through my head. Just like the lengthy discussion we had after we watched a zoo keeper switch out the blood dishes in the vampire bat display. I wonder what type of blood they feed? How do they get it...liquid or powdered that needs dehydrated? Are the platelets removed or is an anti-coagulant added as the old trays she was removing wasn't clotted at all? So many questions...)

This little display of upside down jellyfish was pretty cool. It's like a jellyfish garden.

It was a day well spent. I'm glad that we finally made good on our "we should meet in Omaha for a weekend sometime" plans, and that so many family members were able to join the fun. Just as Scott and I talk about trips taken during our childhoods, I'm sure this will be one the girls think back on with good memories for years to come.



My Most Read Thoughts


Today while I sat in a classroom supervising students as they worked on their math assignments, I watched Lexi through the window enjoying time with her friends during recess. My heart smiled.

Those moments, moments of learning and carefree fun, those are the moments that SHOULD make up a school day. As a Mom, and an elementary school employee, my heart is breaking over the news and images coming out of Connecticut today. 
I send my kids off to school everyday without a second thought that they will return safely come day's end, just as I'm sure each one of those parents in Newtown did this morning.
Every day I walk into my school for work without a second thought to my personal safety, just as I'm sure each of those teachers, paras, custodians, sectretaries, etc in Newtown did this morning. 
Theories will be published. Evidence will be presented. Words will be exchanged about gun control and the need for change in our current culture of violence. I don't suspec…

DIY: Reusable Produce Bags

With Earth Day festivities gearing up for tomorrow, I thought I'd take a moment to post a short DIY tutorial on making your own reusable cloth produce bags. (Tutorial inspired by my favorite crafty mom blog, Crazy Mom Quilts. Produce bags inspired by running into my friend Laura at the grocery store while she was stuffing her produce into these.) This is my next step in the fight against the excessive use of plastic bags.

Our family has been making small environmentally minded changes in our daily lives over the past few years. We use reusable shopping bags. We've stopped buying/using Ziploc bags and plastic wrap. I'm trying to commute around town via bike more. I'm being more mindful about where the food we buy comes from and how it was produced. We more often hang our laundry on the line to dry in the spring and summer instead of just throwing it in the dryer. (Which is convenient at the moment since our dryer has decided to quit drying.) As we use up chemically clean…

Sunday Morning Silly...

Once in a while Dando's curiosity urges him to venture off the bookshelf so he check out other toys in the house.

I think he thinks Froggy is missing a few marbles.