Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lions, Tigers, and Ligers, Oh My!

Yesterday we visited Tiger World in Rockwell, NC.  In addition to seeing a variety of tigers, a slew of lions, and even some Syrian Brown Bears, we had a chance to see two ligers!  I doubt it needs any explaining, but a liger is a cross between a male lion and a tigress and, you know, it's bred for its skills in magic.  The liger, Lil' Wayne, was pretty much Lauren's favorite animal there.  She even paced with it for a while.
Lil' Wayne was totally sizing us up. 
Two tasty morsels looking like delicacies in front of Lil' Wayne. 
Lauren, the Liger Whisperer.
The pacing lasted several minutes.  Other zoo visitors captured it on film too.
A heartfelt farewell.

Thanks for the fun, Tiger World!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Animal Kingdom, Unleashed - North Carolina Style

During our stay in North Carolina, we visited the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville with Mimi, Grandad, and Aunt J.  You'd have thought we'd have learned our lesson from our trip to Glen Rose.  We did to some extent.  For example, we opted NOT to ride around the animal area in a personal vehicle, so thankfully there was no need to worry about feral ostriches pecking their way into the car.  Lazy 5 was a new experience, however, since we travelled through the animal's territory en plein air in a horse-drawn wagon.  So as it turned out, we didn't have to worry about feral ostriches pecking the car so much as we had to worry about feral emus pecking our skulls.

Mmmmmmm.  Fresh Meat.
We loaded into the wagon, received instructions from the driver, and laid claim to our feed buckets.  There was actually a bit of strategy to feeding the animals.  Most animals we could feed from our hands. The emus, ostriches, and giraffes ate directly from the buckets.  We had to drop handfuls of food into the waiting mouths of the yaks and buffalos.  Sadly, we were not allowed to feed the zebra, the ankole-watusi, and the brahman (zebu cattle). 

Feed buckets.
I think this is a Nilgai trying to make friends with Matthew.
Look!  Steve is touching a wild animal!  I think it's an Eland or maybe a Scimitar Horned Oryx.
Here Lauren is demonstrating how to feed a buffalo (bison?).  Basically the beasts just circled the wagon with their mouths hanging open, waiting for you to lob some pellets in.  My life would be so much easier if I could take Steve and the kids outside, get up on a platform, and throw food down into their open mouths.

Excellent buffalo (bison?) feeders.
The animals even ate the fallen pellets.  Lauren took this opportunity to give a llama some love.
After hitting the petting zoo, we took a moment to take a family picture.  This is the first picture since April where the four of us are together!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We are spending Thanksgiving with family in Concord, North Carolina.  M & L had the chance to do an art project with Mimi.  M was in charge of the Indian and L took care of the pilgrims.

This friendly Indian brought the corn.
These pilgrims apparently weren't invited to the feast.

I hope everyone has a fun day filled with yummy food, great football, and wonderful conversation.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Today we made Gloop and let me tell you, there's nothing like jammies and science to get the creative juices flowing.  M and L were very excited about the whole process.  From the measuring to the mixing, they were very involved.

To make Gloop, you will need:

2 Cups white school glue
1 1/2 cups water, room temperature
1 cup warm water
3 teaspoons borax powder
This recipe for Gloop is adapted from The Sandbox Scientist (Ross, 1995).

Add 1 1/2 cups of room temperature water (add food color to this water if desired) to the 2 cups of glue in a large mixing bowl.

Getting the glue into the bowl, wasn't nearly as messy as I thought it would be.
Our Gloop will be yellow!
Dissolve the borax powder in the remaining 1 cup of warm water and slowly pour the dissolved borax into the glue and water mixture, stirring constantly.

Knead the Gloop with your hands for about one minute, until it is smooth and has lost its stickiness.

This doubles as a constructive way for kids to release some of their pent-up energy.

Once mixed, the M & L let their imaginations run wild...more or less.

Matthew's snake.
Lauren's "worm snake."

If stored in an airtight container, Gloop can be used repeatedly and lasts almost indefinitely, though I'm not sure I want to think about the environmental ramifications of this stuff.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Trophy Son

Last week was fairly eventful in that Matthew wrapped up the fall seasons of basketball and soccer.  This was his second season playing soccer and his first time playing basketball.  Though he enjoyed playing both sports, it made for a hectic schedule.  In addition to Matthew's soccer and basketball, the kids were also in swim lessons and Lauren takes gymnastic classes and dance lessons.  Matthew is sport-free until the beginning of December, when he'll begin a new session of swim lessons with Lauren and winter basketball begins.  Oh and Matthew won a gift certificate for three free months of unlimited instruction at a local martial arts studio, so he'll need to get to work on learning the crane kick, lest he run afoul of a gaggle of cobra kai in skeleton costumes.  In the meantime, I'll be sure to enjoy my two weeks of a-little-less-than-usual child schlepping.

This season Matthew was a Raptor.  He had a fun time on, and off, the field, but he's looking forward to the spring when he'll get to play up a level

The verdict on basketball? "Playing defense is fun and dribbling is hard."

The ball is tipped
and there you are
you're running for your life
you're a shooting star 

Feel the beat of your heart
feel the wind in your face
it's more than a contest
it's more than a race..
And when it's done
win or lose
you always did your best
because inside you knew...
(that) one shining moment you reached for the sky,
one shining moment you knew,
one shining moment you were willing to try...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I know.  Halloween was yesterday, so Happy Belated Halloween.  Please excuse my mild Halloween-candy hangover today, we had a pretty busy weekend filled with highs (Matthew's soccer team winning their game AND the Rangers winning Game Three of the World Series) and lows (the Rangers losing Game Four AND the team formerly known as the Cowboys doing whatever it was that they did on Sunday).  At least we got to see both wins in person, though we had the unfortunate experience of witnessing the Cowboys debacle firsthand.  Sadly, we can't unsee that game.  All in all, it was an awesome weekend - just take a look at these cute kids.

Matthew went as Bumblebee and Lauren was Alice.  They had a blast trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  The weather was absolutely perfect and there were plenty of porch lights on.

Autobots, roll out!
Watch out for the rabbit's hole!
Yes, he's five years old.  Why do you ask?

Lauren tired out early and took to carrying her loot bag in her mouth.  Matthew left her in his dust.