Monday, February 27, 2012

Elementary Education

Say goodbye to preschool....

....and hello to Kindergarten!


Congress Avenue Bat Bridge

 A must see for any Austin Texas tourist is the Congress Avenue Bat Bridge.  Besides enjoying a lovely sunset, you get to see an amazing bat colony emerge for an evening feeding frenzy!

 M happy about the bats!

C and Uncle S patiently awaiting the bats.

Sunset on the bat bridge.

After that it was too dark and none of my pictures turned out. We saw a few bats emerge, but it was hard to see because they mostly flew out from the other side of the bridge.  Still a wonderful evening spent outdoors - couldn't ask for anything better!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Barton Springs

While in Texas this May, we took an excursion to Barton Springs, a natural swimming pool inside the beautiful Zilker Park.  Even though it was near record-breaking temperatures in Texas, the spring-fed water is always a chilly 68 degrees. It took courage to dive right in, and even more guts to stay in the water for more than a few minutes at a time!  The stunning scenery and natural pool was a unique experience. I'm glad we were able to share it with the kids and Aunt J and Uncle S.

 M and Aunt J taking a dip.

M walking about.

C testing the waters.

Chillin' out poolside.


Planes(, Trains,) and Automobiles

Ok, so we didn't take a train, but we traveled by car, bus, and airplane, and shuttle van to attend Aunt M's wedding in Austin, Texas!
(photos May 2011)

The kids were great travelers. 

C and Mama on the airport bus!

M and Aunt J on the airport bus!

M on the airplane.  I packed ahead of time a backpack full of little wrapped presents - note pads and crayons, paperclips for making paperclip chains, snacks, etc.  This was helpful especially on the plane ride.

C watching the clouds go by.

Made it to Texas.  Hoisting our luggage to the shuttle.


Shuttling to our hotel!

Oh, did I mention we traveled by luggage cart too?  ;-)


Lovin' the Logs

We love all of the climbing logs at the Nature Center!
(photos May 2011)

Trying to hide in the little nook!

Pointing with a purpose.

"Do not be afraid to go out on a limb ... That's where the fruit is." - Anonymous  


Saturday, February 25, 2012

The *Almost* Camping Trip

We had ambitious plans this summer of planning a camping trip for one weekend each month with a group of our friends.  The May trip was cancelled due to scheduling, but we made the best of it by going for a hike at Busey Woods.

The obligatory picture with mom.

Checking out the carpenter bees!

Fun with friend F.

climbing trees (fallen tree trunks, that is)

Even though we could not go camping, we pitched the tent on the porch and filled it with sleeping bags and stuffed animal puppets (thanks to the Anita Purves Nature Center Animal Puppets Loan Box!). The kids played in it for hours!



As much as I will miss this cute look:

(photo taken 6.21.11)

C potty trained just after his third birthday.  No more diapers!  My little baby is growing up so fast!



One of the many reasons we are lucky to live near the University of Illinois campus: the Insect Fear Film Festival!  The festival, now in its 29th year, is put on by the entomology department grad students.  This is a great kid friendly community event - there are bugs to handle, art to peruse, and movies/shorts/trailers to watch!  This year's theme was International Ant Films.  It was loads of fun, as usual.  I have early memories of attending the festival in my youth - I remember holding a tarantula and eating fried meal worms (they tasted like french fries!).

Here are some of the photos from our evening's adventures:

M sits patiently for face painting.

C sits patiently too!

Finished product - a red ant that C insisted was a spider.

M's finished product - a beautiful butterfly!

Mama with two Lubber Grasshoppers!

Sharing a moment


C expressing his disgust that the hissing cockroach was crawling up my arm.

Met up with friend O for some laughs.

We ♥ bugs.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Nintendo Power

We have an original Nintendo (NES) given to us by my Uncle S.   We also have lots and lots of games for said Ninendo which Daddy found in his parents' basement.  By far the family's favorite game has been Super Mario Brothers / Duck Hunt. 

C comes home and wants to play Mario every night.  The way he says Mario is absolutely histerical.  He says it with an italian accent, just like Mario himself would say it.  Can't you just hear it in your head "it's me, Mario!"  He also can't quite pronounce Duck Hunt properly, so he says Duck Tonk, which is the cutest!

Both kids can get past level 1.2 independently, and C even got to the first castle!  Pretty cool.  We dont encourage too much screen time in our house, but I'm afraid even with what little C gets, he's going to be a Mario pro by the time he's four!  They could cast him for a 2012 version of the movie The Wizard!

We also have a Wii, which we all love to play Just Dance and Just Dance Kids!