Friday, April 27, 2012

Time's a-wasting...

Well, it is with a bit of sadness I must report that Luke is no longer a newborn.
By definition, newborn  is the term used for first ten days of a baby's life.
Seeing as how he was now exactly two weeks old yesterday, we realized we had celebrate.
We asked him what he wanted to do for his two week birthday celebration.
He said he wanted to visit the Natural History Museum and learn about dinosaurs. we went. 

He was absolutely fascinated by the Mesozoic era of the Earth's history.
Rachel was able to answer his questions about the various theories on why dinosaurs became extinct.
Just for your own information, the museum offered four theories on that topic. 
I personally favored the "Float and Bloat" theory, because it was the most fun one to say.

OK...the truth:
The Natural History Museum here just opened a few months ago, and we three adult wanted to go visit it while Rachel's mom Debra (aka: Gigi) was in town.
The Museum is gorgeous.  It is designed to blend into its surrounding and the striped part is made from copper which  has been allowed to naturally tarnish.
When the copper was first installed (using copper from the mine just across the valley) it glowed up on the hill.
Inside there is a wall with the same copper so one can understand how it looked before and after it was exposed to the elements.

I want to ask (on my next visit...) why some of the copper tarnished to a green that perfectly matched the spring green now appearing on the surrounding mountainside.
BTW...that's a magpie soaring in the picture above.

The museum roof top has solar panels which power the museum's energy need.
Along the edges of the roof top are gardens.
(I wish all flat roof structures would plant such gardens...wouldn't that make the view out of the upper story windows even that much better?)

The museum has five stories.  The view from the top story deck is breathtaking.
There actually are architectural tours of the building offered!

We could see for miles...but mostly kept looking at a closer  two week old wonder.

The wind was really whipping our hair about but a gentleman visiting with his five children offered to take our picture.
Wind or no wind, it was fun to have a picture of the four of us.

The museum is so kid friendly with just as many "hands on"  displays as there are "off limits" displays behind glass.
I got a big laugh out of this display which allows visitors to try their hands at twining as the Native Americans did when making baskets. 
The young boy who was attempting to twine looked up at me and said  "This game is SO confusing!"
Like most boys that I know, he was trying to figure out what you needed to do to WIN he game.
So funny....

I went ga-ga over the natural cotton-hand knitted in Peru- finger puppets that were for sale in the Museum gift shop.
There were so many creatures...I loved the butterfly and the frog and the snail...oh and the turkey....
I thinking corporations should buy entire collections and hand them out to employees who stuck in three hour long meetings.
Wouldn't meetings be a lot more fun if everyone had a finger puppet to play with?

On the way out Rachel decided Luke wanted to be fed to a dinosaur.
Seriously...what boy wouldn't think it was just the BEST EVER
to be eaten by a dinosaur on their two week birthday???
Team Luke Grandmothers have both raised we understood and fully approved of the feeding.

At the last moment....Rachel chickened out and snatched Luke away from the hungry dinosaur.

Luke should be allowed to fatten up just a tad bit more first.
(And of course there are those trying teenage years in the future when the possibility of feeding your son to a dinosaur become such an obsession anyway).
So...speaking of was now lunch time.
The Irish tavern for lunch...what two week old boy wouldn't want to go to an Irish tavern for lunch?
He stuck to his favorite mommy style brew for this visit.

And he then caught a wee nap in his Gigi's arms.
What a busy day of firsts!
And so ended Luke's two week birthday celebration.
We are trying to guess where he will ask to go for his one month birthday.
A trip to NASA?
Maybe a guided tour of Chicago's O'Hare International airport?
Or a concert at the Kennedy Center?

(I think Luke's two "over" educated Grandmothers are game for just about anything!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


 When I saw a folding baby swing, I knew Luke just had to have it.

Team Luke Grandmothers wielded Philips head screw drivers and had that swing assembled in no time.


Now the swing came with a couple of more great features.
Features like Six swing speeds.
Three time settings:

There is 15 minute, 30 minutes and 45 minutes options.
And best of all...
SIX musical choices!

I didn't try the musical choices out.
Obviously the musical selections would be:

1. Rap
2. Techno
3. Country/Western
4. Light Opera
5. Show Tunes
6. Rock and Roll

or maybe there is a Jazz or Rhythm and Blues setting too.
Yeah...most young folks aren't much into Show Tunes and Light Opera anyway.

(This particular Grandmother model comes with basically three speeds...stop, slow, and puttering around. Singing is done poorly but the time setting for holding is endless!)
Luke's daddy always has always had a fondness for Rap, much to my dismay.
I am crossing my fingers that that preference is not something that is likely to be handed down genetically.
Other wise I guess I will have to adjust. 
I plan to be flexible, even in my old age.
Yo Luke...
Whatz up dawg?
Rap at me bro!
But please...around me....keep it clean!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Apple Blossom & Quail Time!

So this morning it was blue blue skies and the apple blossoms were just SO gorgeous I had to try shooting them with a different lens. 

I knew I should set up a tripod...but was in a bit of a rush so I just did hand held shots.
I could see where single petals had already gotten away from several flowers.

Finding blossoms with the extra sweet touch of pink was my goal.

Oh boy...that blue sky!

I started trying various other settings on my camera with mixed results. 

So at this point I am thinking: Need to read the handbook...need to use the tripod...

I noticed hostas were unfurling too.
The purple cuff around the leaves were such a colorful detail.
Since I had to get going, I finished up shooting and was reviewing my photos as I walked across the lawn.

It was a good thing I finally looked up to check were I was going.
I darn near stepped on a feeding quail!

A moment later...I realized there were TWO quail feeding on our lawn.

I defy anyone to walk away with their camera when quail are feeding just a yard or two away. 


They are just so cute and just so charming as they move about as a pair.

And they find such great poses and backdrops too.

Tate was charmed too...and was sending out his best vibes that quail would make an excellent breakfast. 

They wandered through the garden...I followed their movements as quietly as possible.

Secretly I am hoping they are house shopping.
Like maybe they will consider making a nest in our garden.
Actually that would be a horrible idea: our garden is party central for all the neighborhood cats.

They will nest somewhere soon.
And by summer Mr. and Mrs. Quail will be exploring our garden again, this time followed by their puffy golf ball sized off spring.
By autumn there will be quail families running around our neighborhood every where you look.
But for now...I need to remember to look where I am going so I don't accidentally step on a pair of quail feeding on the lawn in the morning.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring to Summer in 20.

Saturday I distinctly recall wondering when our apple tree would blossom.

Twenty hours later....I had my answer.
I actually did a double take when I looked outside Sunday morning.
Could a tree go from green to white that fast?
Yes, apparently it could! 
And did!

I get a kick out of the few tiny branches that poke their way through the fence to bloom.
Sort of like they want an unobstructed view of our garden?
(Thinking this shot would make a good note card...perhaps will have to enter Vee's monthly note card party after all!)

In other gardening news:  Another Japanese maple has come to live with us.
It was love at first sight...I had to have it.
Especially when I learned its name.

No, its name has nothing to do with hats, cats or grands.
It is named ------ Dream.
Care to guess the first part of the name?
(Hint: there is a letter for each dash!)

Sunday not only brought apple blossoms, it also brought record breaking heat.
It was 84 here yesterday and is to reach 87 today.
I am supposing my spring bulbs may beat a hasty retreat.

Don't we all wish spring bulbs would last a lot longer, and be untroubled by unseasonable heat or snow? 

Ahem...well, we wish MOST spring flowers would be so untroubled. 

Shall I make dandelion wine, or just toss them into the compost heap?
(After reading a horrific story about a prisoner of war watching children hunting for dandelions to eat because they were starving I have sort of mixed feeling about dandelions these days.)

Guess I should get busy.
The cats have already done their daily commute down to their office and are adrift without assignments for the day.
Their boss is on the east coast this week, smack in the middle of an unseasonable storm system.
Wishing we could all split the difference here:
Moderate weather for all of us, dandelions and bulbs that would be equally pervasive and resilient, apple trees that would blossom abundantly yet produce only a reasonable amount of fruit.
So what is it like in your part of the world?

Are you having winter, spring or summer today?
Did you guess at the name of my Japanese Maple?

Do tell!
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