Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Settlers of Catan, Jr

One of my favorite things about hanging out with Danell and Ken is playing games. I didn't get any pictures of the adults playing games, even though it consumed a majority of the trip. Whether it was Ticket to Ride on our phones, Set, or 7 Wonders, we played a lot. Thursday afternoon was Ken's day off, so he and I played Settlers of Catan Junior with the girls. It is amazingly like the adult version, with just a few different rules.  Here is the board:
For the most part, the girls do really well with the game.  Their ability to understand an exchange rate to get the resources they need amazed me.  However, the game might be a little long.  The girls tend to get a little distracted after awhile.

Clare wanted to pose with her resources.
The end of the game.  Ken won.  So not fair!  I didn't even have beginners luck.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Texas style outings

Beware, this is A LOT of pictures (I don't really know if I need to say that ever, but I like to give warnings anyway).

The first night I got to Texas, Danell put the girls to bed and came out laughing.  She said that she was talking to Clare and Clare said, "Mama, Teresa coming wasn't quite what I expected."  Danell tried to figure out what Clare expected, but she couldn't really say, just something more exciting.  So Danell thought she needed to give Clare some excitement.  She told her we were going to the zoo.  Technically, this was already planned, but Clare didn't know that.  The next morning Clare told me the same story all over again.  "Last night I told Mama that you coming wasn't quite what I expected.  So now we're going to the zoo!"  I had suggested the zoo because, frankly, I love zoos.  But also because it is a fun kid activity.  And we had gone to the zoo once before with the girls.
I loved that Clare and Lucy were so interested in the maps.  I can remember going to the zoo with John where he looked at the map more than he looked at the animals.

The orangutans had a little baby who was SO STINKING CUTE!
And Hannah is even cuter!
A sleeping lion.
And a posing meerkat.
And a very tired Lucy, who just needed a little rest in the shade.
The owl building was one of my favorites.
Bats eating an apple.
We took a little rest for a snack.

This picture is out of order, but these fish were so weird.  It's called a paddlefish.  Do you see the bottom one with its mouth wide open?  It just swam around like that.
More owls.
Even more owls.
The slide that goes through the otter exhibit.
And of course, Nemo and Dory were together!
There were two scuba divers cleaning one of the big tanks.  It was pretty fascinating.  There was a lady talking to us about it.  Apparently the tank gets cleaned three times a week and it takes two hours to clean.  Most of the divers are volunteer.  The tanks are provided by the fire department.
Apparently, the lady also said that the eels have been pretty testy lately.  So, one person would clean while the other person watched.  When this eel came out of its hole, they quickly got out of the way.  At one point, it swam straight at the woman and she had to use her scrub brush to gently push it in a different direction.  It was pretty exciting to watch!
See if you can find this snake's head.  It blended well with it's surroundings.
This picture cracked me up because the front fish photo bombed the purple fish! :)
And a zoo trip wouldn't be complete without a giant tortoise picture...or 4.  It was on the move and I caught it's progression to the water...
...finally soaking in the mud!

It was a fun trip to the zoo, even if it was climbing into the 90s throughout the morning.

Leaves and other fall activities

Fall is definitely my favorite time of year. I was looking back through past years, and apparently, posting fall pictures is normal for me. Which is funny, simply because I don't remember ever doing it! One of my posts was about how fall is like fireworks--you can never tell what is your favorite color. And this year is just the same!
This is a tree that is by my church.  When I passed it last week, the above picture is what it looked like.  And I was amazed and in awe!  And then I passed it again this week and the picture below is what it looks like.  I still can't decide if I like the reds better than the yellows.  Either way, it is a spectacular tree!

These two trees (above and below) are ones at my apartment complex.  Overall, I think the red trees are my favorite, in general.  But the yellow trees glow, so I can't decide!

This top tree is one I saw while out and about for work.  It was distracting me and I couldn't help but take a picture.
And then I went for a drive along Grandview Drive.  One of my favorite places, regardless of the season.  I think I went a little early this year, because many of the trees have so much green on them still.  Hopefully I can get back before the leaves all fall.

I love the sailboat on the water!

And a perspective shot through a couple of trees, This is my "artsy" side kicking in, if you can even call it that.
Saturday evening I was able to enjoy another one of my fall favorites: bonfires.  Ben hosted another bonfire at his house.  You can't tell from the first picture, but this fire is huge.  I tried to get some perspective shots later.

Such as these two, where Ben is pushing the brush with his tractor to get the fire even bigger.

And this one, with Kari standing close enough to roast a marshmallow.
And lastly, the embers shooting into the sky.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lazy Days, Texas Take Two

Most of my days in Texas were spent relaxing with Danell and the girls.  After nap time we would head outside and do this:
Meaning, Danell and I would sit in some chairs and chat and play on our phones while the girls played in the dirt.
Yes, that is a dirt moustache.  But doesn't she look happy!
Clare only smiles for the camera when it is her idea.  Trust me.  I learned this from experience.  Luckily, she likes to make faces for the camera!
She would often say, "Take a picture of this face."
I "played" Legos with the girls one day.  My favorite part were all the pastel legos.  Having only nephews, I had no idea there were "girl" legos.  Lucky for me, "playing" legos turned into sitting on the floor while the girls played and Danell and I talked.  And handing them the legos they were looking for.  It was a pretty good system, and Lucy created this house out of our play time.
Lucy is quite the snuggler.  Clare can be too, but Lucy would just crawl into my lap with no qualms.  One night when she climbed into my lap, she said, "You're my favorite person in  the house right now."  About melted my heart!  I spent a lot of time doing selfie photo shoots with the girls.  I couldn't help myself.  The following are just a sampling of one photo shoot.