Archive for June, 2007

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Yard Work

June 10, 2007

I don’t often find time to do yard work, but the jungle was getting out of control and I decided I should tackle it before we go out of town for 10 days. So yesterday, I enlisted the help of the kids and we got quite a lot accomplished.

I mowed the lawn while Kyle ran the weed whacker along the fence. The girls pulled weeds from my horribly overgrown garden, and then we all pulled out some cinder blocks that some previous owner “planted” along the fence. I say planted because they were sunk about 2/3 of the way into the ground and then the cavities were filled with soil and trees and things were growing up out of the cavities. I thought they were ugly and they got in the way when mowed, so we removed them.
Here are a couple pictures of the jungle that the girls weeded for me. I had to help them a little as some of the weeds were quite tenacious. As I was pulling for all I was worth on these weeds, I imagined weeds disappearing from someone’s garden on the other side of the earth!

When all the weeding was finished, we discovered some plants that had been put there intentionally. I am terrible with plant names, so I’ll just show you the pictures…

A touch out of focus, but pretty none the less. When I planted it, this was one small plant, now it has taken over a huge part of the garden. I wish it would take over a bunch more, as it is very pretty.

The girls surprised me with this for Mother’s Day last year. I came home from work, and there it was planted in my garden. It is starting to climb up the trellis, but I didn’t realize it had flowered until we uncovered it from many weeds yesterday.

You can see a bit more of the pretty purple flowers and the trellis, as well as the lower thing next to it. It shoots up these stalk-like things and just generally looks nice.

Here is an overall view taken from a spot close to where I took the “jungle” picture. It looks so much better.

Here are a few pictures of the rest of the flowers around the house. I did not take pictures of the rest of the lawn work we did, as my back was killing me, and I got into something I was allergic to. I took a shower, then Benadryl and was then in no condition to do anything but sleep.

This is my Fushia plant that my mother-in-law bought me for Mother’s Day this year. I sure hope Jeff remembers to water it while the kids and I are away! My grandfather always has beautiful, overflowing hanging baskets with Fushia plants. I have always wanted one, but I do not have a green thumb and forget to water things. Since this one is visible from the driveway when I pull in, I never forget to water it, or have Sarah do it.

These rose bushes were here when we bought the house. They try to overtake the sidewalk, and Jeff complains every summer that they are attacking him when he tries to get into the car. So every fall I cut them back almost to the ground, thinking that maybe that will tame them a bit, but every summer they come back bigger and more full of roses.

Here is a “closer up” of one of the flowers. My camera is acting squirrelly since I dropped it a couple weeks ago. Now it only takes good pictures when it wants to, and often I find corrupted files when I go to upload my pictures. Very frustrating!

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Wonderful Store

June 9, 2007

While driving around south of Buffalo, the kids and I spotted this store. They asked if we could go in, so I stopped. What an amazing store! They had a huge selection of model cars, model trains, Breyer horses, doll houses, model rockets, and tons of other things that we didn’t have time to look at. This is another place to which we will definitely return.

Some of the coolest things we saw were a three tiered model train village. There were three sizes of trains, one on each level with buildings and people and mountains, and planes flying overhead. There was also a doll house that was set up as a ranch, complete with rustic furniture and horses outside. The doll house furniture that was available was amazing. Sarah now wants to build a doll house.

Yes, I took more giraffe pictures today too…I know, I am obsessed.

Aren’t they cute?

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Many Adventures

June 9, 2007

Today we had to go to Buffalo to take Sarah to the Doctor to have a cyst on her finger looked at. Her appointment was for mid afternoon so we had some time to kill in the morning. We decided that the Zoo was the place to go. We got there to find 13 school buses that were either in the process of dropping off their students or parked after having dropped them off. We had parked in Delaware Park and walked around the zoo in an effort to avoid the parking fee. As we passed the Buffalo, I had to take his picture.

This guy, or gal, decided the heat was just too much. Yes this character is standing in the “watering hole.”

As we neared the entrance, the sound was deafening. There must have been about 200 to 250 youngsters (under the age of 10) standing in line with their accompanying adults. We decided the line was too long (even though we’re members and could take the “short” line), and the noise too much. Niagara Falls was second on our list so off we went.

When Ferdinand, my Magellan gps system, nearly sent us over the border to Canada, I made a quick exit and traveled along Rt. 104. I had planned to go to the Falls, like we always do, but signs for Devil’s Hole and the Whirpool Park caught my attention, so we stopped at the Whirlpool Park. We started on a trail that runs along the top of the Niagara Gorge.

The girls are headed down to the path.

This is the spectacular view that we enjoyed.

…looking into the gorge…

…and the swirling, rapidly moving waters of the mighty Niagara River.

The girls stopped to take a rest on this cool rock that they said I must take a picture of.

These pretty little flowers were everywhere. Unfortunately this picture does not do their color justice. They added a wonderful punch of color to the hazy day and the green of all the vegetation.

I think the person who owns this abode must be crazy. If you look closely in the middle of the picture, you can see a house sitting very near the escarpment on the Canadian side of the gorge. I would NOT want to live there!

As we walked along, we found this “hidden” stairwell. As we began our descent, we got really excited. The stairs must have been there forever and were obviously made of stone found in the gorge. I think we must have traveled down about 1/2 a mile into the gorge, putting us about 15 feet above the level of the river. The noise of the rushing water was incredible, and the temperature must have dropped about 5 degrees or so as we went into the gorge.

I must add here, that I learned two very important lessons today.
1) Always bring sneakers…you never know when you may need them. Crocs are not good trail shoes.
2) Always bring extra batteries for the camera. This was the last picture I was sure I would get, because the batteries were too low to truly run the camera. I had to keep turning it off and on to get any more pictures.

I had taken a really cool picture of a stone picnic table hidden in a flat spot surrounded by trees. There were 3 or 4 of these tables in different spots along the way. I want to return some day soon and take a picnic lunch.

This was the very last picture I was able to eek out while on our walk. This large rock is sitting in the river and just looks so cool. We were only about 10 or 15 feet above it. Kyle wondered if it was a petrified tree, as it was about the right color.
This was an amazing adventure that I am sure we will repeat sometime in the near future.
Oh, I did learn one other thing today…I am VERY out of shape. When I was so tired I didn’t think I could go on, I began counting the stairs as we ascended. We were about 3 “flights” from the top and I counted 87 stairs. I figure all together there were probably 500 or so!

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Thermometer

June 7, 2007

Yup, I got another Dachshund thing!

I just couldn’t resist.

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Inspiration…

June 4, 2007

The foundation for all future success.Those are the words on the plaque that Sarah won at her dance recital yesterday afternoon. She began Irish step dancing at a non-competitive school 4 years ago. The first few years she loved it, but then last year all of her friends moved up to the advanced class, and Sarah was still in the Intermediate class. She felt very bad about it, but never said a word to anybody. I knew it hurt her, but she continued to go to class and work hard. Eventually she began telling me that this would be her last year of Irish dance. The day her teacher announced that 3 students would be moving up next year, Sarah came home more excited about dance than I had seen her in a long time. Her name was announced first, of those that would move up.

By recital time Sarah not only knew the steps to her own solo (the most difficult steps for that class), but she knew the other 8 students steps. Her teacher kept telling me how much she had blossomed this year. At the dress rehearsal on Saturday, her teacher checked with me to make sure we were staying through the recognition and awards portion of the recital. I assured her that we were, and she said “Oh good…don’t tell Sarah.” At the recital, even though we knew that she was getting the award, it was moving to see the look of surprise on her face and to see all her friends from the advanced class cheering for her. Needless to say, Sarah has decided to dance for one more year.

Here are some pictures taken right after the recital. Unfortunately none of us has a camera with enough umph to take pictures during the recital. The auditorium is incredibly dark except for right on stage, and picture taking is a huge challenge.

Sarah and her instructor. Doesn’t Sarah look pleased?

Sarah and Erin show off their certificates and Sarah’s plaque.

Erin and her first year dance certificate.

Erin took tap, jazz, and ballet last year, so when she decided to take Irish dance this year, Sarah’s teacher told her she could go into the Intermediate class since she knew all the basic steps. She learned most of the basics in tap, as the very basic steps are similar, and the rest her sister had taught her. Even though she was by far the youngest and smallest in the class, she did a phenomenal job in the recital.