Sunday, August 20, 2017

March, Part One

I love having the Pearson live with us. Every morning is a giggle fest of watching Kenison enjoy her breakfast, 

or a piece of chocolate Nora managed to slip to her.

I've discovered Nora is not a morning person, despite that super cute bedhead she rocks. She likes to let off steam in the morning, gearing up for a day of mischief, shenanigans, and mayhem. 

I've learned Brinlee is as happy in the morning as she is at every other time of day. She kind of brightens up the whole house.

I love watching these two dress up. I swear it was just last year my own little girls clomped around the house in my shoes. It seems appropriate Ashley's girls are clomping around in her old prom shoes. 

Yep, it's easy to be entertained by these three precious girls. 

I got to run over to the school to see Hailey  J. K. Rowling explain the plot of her first book.

It sounded really interesting. I'm guessing it will be a hit, J. K. Don't forget me when you're famous!

Alas, the weather is still snowy, cold, and all around despicable. We find ourselves again leaving for warmer places. It was really hard to go, especially after receiving this note from Brin. 
 I love Kindergarten spelling.

Rather than embarking on a vacation that began with a 20 hour flight,
Stan had the brilliant idea to break things up and stop in New York for the first night. David and Bonnie did the same, and we met them in the city for a night of fun.

Stan even found last minute tickets for this Broadway play.

The play is in the Lyric theater,

a venue built in 1996-1997 on the site of the 1903 Lyric theater. 

The old building had fallen into serious disrepair and was condemned. 

Fortunately, several architectural elements and structures were carefully preserved and incorporated into the new building. 

The performance combined traditional Cirque de Soleil acrobatics with a cheesy story line.

Despite the weak plot, we really enjoyed the performance.

Somehow we managed to find ice cream afterwards. I know. I was surprised too.

We wondered a little, 

then headed to bed so we could catch our next flight to warmer places. This is going to be fun!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

February 2017 Part Three More Dallas Delights and Homeward

Our next Texas adventure was the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Yep, that Perot. 

This beautiful museum is named after Margot and Russ Perot because their five children donated $50 million dollars to make it so.  Kids, start saving your money! 
There needs to be a Jones Museum of Ice Cream and Frozen Delights in my future!

This 180,000 square foot building has 6 floors that and this cool 54 foot continuous glass escalator running diagonally outside the cube of the building. The architects went to great efforts to make it "green". For example, the rainwater collection system meets an impressive 100% of the irrigation needs (there's a 1 acre garden on the roof and landscaping around the building) 
 and 74% of the non-potable water needs.

There's some of that 74% of recycled rainwater in the fountain.

Inside the museum is an incredible variety of temporary and traveling exhibits. There's several dinosaur skeletons, appropriate for an oil and gas magistrate's museum.

Creepy cool sea turtle.

There's a large rock museum, full of  dazzling specimens like this amethyst heart from Brazil,

this 400 million year old sea star specimen from Australia.

and dozens of cases of rocks and minerals arranged by color and country of origin.

I have this thing for rocks.  Somewhere in the depths of my storage room are several rock souvenirs I purchased as a kid. 

I also have a few large specimens I've gathered on our travels in recent years and put in my garden.

These are prettier than mine. I wonder if they would care if I took home a few for a souvenir? 

Hudson says he likes rocks, too. 
There are so many exhibits here, including an earthquake simulation area, a solar system/astronaut area, and an interactive science room being enjoyed by enormous amounts of elementary school groups. It was virtually impossible to get pictures of many exhibits because of all the swarming kids. What a fun place for a school outing!

There were displays with local animals, like this cute fella who would make a great pet for Stan and I in our declining years.

This grackle looks a little annoyed that someone grabbed her and stuffed her and robbed her nest.

We moved on to another stop--the Dallas World Aquarium. I've been here before with Megan and newborn Hudson, and it was fun to come back. Plus, I got to see someone scream at Megan that she was racist, bigoted, and #@%& evil because she turned to look at a bird in a cage behind us that kept squawking this incredibly annoying squawk. Apparently, this lady thought Megan's "what IS that noise?" face was about her. No amount of assurance by us and others in line seemed to convince her otherwise. That was fun, wasn't it Megan?

I've been needing a new hairstyle.  Hmmm.

Last time we were here, Megan wanted to take home a cute sloth. Put your arm down, Megan. Just not going to happen.

This aquarium houses many endangered and threatened species that are used for breeding with other zoos around the world. 

It was originally an old warehouse that was converted to its present state starting in 1992

Some of the zoo's wilder animals.

Watching a penguin feeding. 

Checking out the flamingos. 

Grandpa and his buddy.

We ate so much good food in Dallas. It's hard to remember the source of all those delicious calories we consumed.  I need to be better about taking notes so we can remember which places we need to return to.

Our final stop was probably my favorite in a sea of great things we did: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.  We had missed the spring tulip prime time by a few weeks, and it was a few weeks too early for the best of spring blooming, but it was stunning.

This garden has 66 acres of flowers, trees, bushes, water, trails, and sculptures.

The gardens started as the home set on 44 acres of geophysicist Everett Lee DeGolyer and his wife, Nell.  Nell was a dedicated gardener.  The couple built a 22,000 square foot Spanish style home in 1940.

Later, the DeGoyler property was combined with the donated neighboring 22 acre Alex Camp property. 

There are events throughout the year, some having to do with the season, and some with holidays.

I felt this overwhelming need to go home and dig a thousand holes for bulbs. 

Too bad Billings is still buried in several feet of snow.

Our Arboretum visit took place on a Saturday, meaning David could be with us.

The Arboretum has been open to the public since 1984. 

Gardeners make $10 an hour, and have to have at least 3 years of experience to apply. Geesh. That's lower play and more experience than our local McDonald's workers make. 
They also have lots of volunteer workers.

In 2016 there were 1,096,000 visitors from all 50 states, as well as 90 countries. 

It's still pretty early in the growing season, and only a few trees were in bloom.

Few trees were leafing out, but a couple had interesting blooms.

I'm guessing this Crape Myrtle-lined path is gorgeous in the summer.

There's a cute children's area at the end of the above path.

Hudson riding a spitting toad. Everything's bigger in Texas.

Ignore that sign behind the toad. Apparently we did.

The Arboretum is divided into 19 garden areas. This is the Lay Family Garden, once again made possible through the donation of the Lay children.  It includes this native limestone waterfall.

Closer inspection of the walls reveals geodes and seashells. 

This area also includes water gardens and a Koi pond.

Someone is catching dinner for us.


Their was a large lawn of fake grass.  It was the best fake grass I've seen-soft and convincingly grassy.

The faux grass overlooked White Rock Lake, full of white birds. We tried and tried to figure out if they were ducks, gulls, or some other type of white bird, but none of us could tell.

The gardens vary greatly, from the explosion of flowers to peaceful streams.

Found in the McCasland sunken garden, this sculpture by Victor Salmones is entitled Chico y Chica de la Playa (boy and girl on a beach).

This garden is a popular spot for weddings.

This area is known as "A Woman's Garden". I thought that figure across the way was male, which seemed out of place, given the name of this garden.

However, a little of research at home revealed 
this is a female figure entitled Nude Bronze by Joe Rosenthal.

It's difficult to capture the beauty of this place. The arboretum is a place one needs to visit multiple times over a year.

Located in the Jonsson Color Garden, this bronze is entitled Lovers Embrace.

As wonderful as our visit to the Butler's has been, Billings has now hit the double digits. We are reluctantly heading home.

After all, at 21 degrees Montanans sit out on the front porch, enjoying the sunshine without a coat on.

Besides, it's Kenison's first birthday and I can't miss that!

Kenison seems a little startled that someone is handing her fire.

"Have my parentals gone crazy??"

"What is that lump of goodness beneath the fire?"

"This pile of sugar is good!"

"It's so sweet, I want to kiss it!"

"I can't believe my parentals are letting me have this goodness! They are always insisting I eat my vegetables. I'm pretty sure this isn't a vegetable."

"I better stuff it in as fast as I can before they stop me."

"I'm singing the song of YUM!"

"I wonder how much I can eat before they notice me."

"I better speed things up. I'm only one once, you know."

"I'm just going to inhale it."

"Yep, I'm licking the platter clean."

"Can I get seconds?"

"Happy birthday to me!"

"Let's do this again tomorrow!"

A little gift from Aunt Amy.

It conveniently has a few not so subliminal Auntie messages on it.
February has been a great month.  On to March!