Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome Spring!

This weekend was simply wonderful. We didn't have any obligations so our time was pretty much our own. Friday afternoon I got the idea to go in search of wildflowers. We didn't find a patch as thick and stunning as last year, but we did find a beautiful park with camping and picnicing less than an hour's drive from our home. The place is called Wind Wolves Preserve and I was stunned to know that I had never heard of such a lovely and special place.

The Wildlands Conservancy purchased more than 93,000 acres to create the largest nonprofit preserve on the West Coast. The preserve is an ecologically unique region where the Transverse Ranges, Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada, western Mojave Desert and San Joaquin Valley converge. Due to this singular geographic location and an elevation range from 640 to 6,005 feet, the preserve has an impressive array of landforms and habitats. The preserve is a critical landscape linkage and wildlife corridor between the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada.

So Saturday morning, we packed a picnic lunch and headed for the hills. We walked on trails, chased lizards, sniffed flowers and admired the views until we were all too tired to carry on. Sunday was also a nice day as we spent it around the house roller skating, playdoh shaping and family fun time. Next weekend is Spring Break and we will be hitting the road. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cousin Quinlan Turns 4

This past weekend we went to another birthday party. It was for Cousin Quinny. He is such a sweet and funny boy and it's always a joy to be with him and his family. I haven't posted (or taken) very many photos in a long time, so I will try to make up for that a bit in this post. Here goes.

In front of our new home on the way to the party.

This one above is my favorite. Quinny is such a ham.

Quinn's little sister Lily really enjoys the cake.

Our New Pets

Since Marty our cat died, Chloe had been asking for a pet. Dad said OK, but only to a goldfish. Chloe argued for a lizard, but accepted the idea of a goldfish with enthusiasm. So off to the pet store we went. This was back in December, but as you can see, I haven't been that up to speed on the blogging front.

We purchased a beautiful 10 gallon tank and three goldfish. One for Mom, one for Chloe and one for Pearl (who wasn't there to pick hers out). I had never owned a fish before, so I had a lot of learning to do. Of course the guy selling the fish said we didn't have to do anything. That's what the filter was for! After three weeks, Pearl's fish passed away. Soon after that, we moved. I had to empty the tank and start all over and that's when I learned about "cycling". I didn't know that you aren't supposed to add fish for the first few weeks when you start over with the water. So that's when we decided to take the whole family to the pet store. Pearl picked out her second fish and Dad picked out his fish and then we added two plecostomus (catfish/algae eaters).

A little more research and I realized that I had just overloaded the tank with too many fish. One of the plecostomus' died a week later. Then Pearl's second fish died. Pearl eagerly claimed the remaining algae-eater as her fish. Soon afterward, he died too.

Now we are down to three fish and the tank has finished "cycling". The good bacteria have become re-established and the water is clear. I don't really want to add any more fish, but we will let Pearl pick out her fourth. At least she doesn't get emotional about the loss of her pets.

Somehow, Chloe's original fish, "Coral", and my original fish, "Sea Biscuit", have managed to survive all of the chaos and change that has occured in the tank. Dad's fish "Black Thunder", a black moor, is still hanging in there too, but I don't see him eat very much. He is really cute and not afraid of bossy Sea Biscuit, who thinks she owns the tank. He is smaller, but he gets under her and head-butts her belly. He is a bit shyer too, so I didn't get a good picture of him. Sea Biscuit is so exciteable. She comes to the front whenever she spies a visitor. She gets so wild that she jumps around the tank, splashing and making noise. Coral is just a sweet little friendly fish. Who knew goldfish had so much personality?

Coral, an Orinda goldfish
Sea Biscuit
Sea Biscuit being very curious
Sea Biscuit II
Sea Biscuit shows off

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Counting To 100

Chloe is still having trouble counting to 100. She can count by 10s, but she will forget which order they go in when she counts by 1s. Now we have a new technique to learn how to count to 100. She does cartwheels. I warn you now that the video below is long and repetitive, but I wanted to document the fact that Chloe can do 100 cartwheels non-stop. She did pause at #29 because she couldn't remember that 30 came next. Amazingly, she is quite good at addition, so I think we've just about got this number thing down.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Black and White Wednesday

the long road

I am still not back into the full swing of blogging. Nevertheless, Monday I felt inspired to take my camera out (for the first time in weeks) and shoot a few shots of the local almond orchards before all the blooms were gone. I thought that I had missed the peak of their beauty until I stumbled across this orchard where the blossom petals had created a solid blanket of "snow" on the ground. At that moment I realized that sometimes the best shots are not what you expect. I only wish that the camera could have captured the "snowfall" effect that I witnessed as the blossom petals continued to fall on their way to the ground. It was the most beautiful Spring snow I had ever seen.

And with that, here is my first entry into B/W wednesday.
Shafter Snow
If you click on the picture, it will take you to my flickr account. From there you can click on "all sizes" to see it larger.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Pearl is Student of the Month

Last year in Kindergarten, Pearl was chosen as student of the month for "responsibility". This year, she was chosen for "caring". Her teacher was too choked up to read her own words about Pearl, so she passed on the speech to another teacher. Pearl really does have a way with people.

I went out and shot some pictures today. Maybe things are getting back to normal. Chloe is now asking me lots of questions about what she has to do to become Student of the Month. I don't know what to tell her other than, participate more. She can do over a hundred cartwheels in a row. I am going to try and tape it for proof!