elek’s first wiffleball experience

IMG_2796For Elek’s birthday, Diana and I got him a whiffle bat and ball. The other day when the rain finally decided to take a break, we played together. He has done really well. He’s actually hit the ball many times, which means good hand eye coordination. I’m excited and can’t wait to get him involved in organized sports. I remember playing baseball, basketball, and soccer which I loved.

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teton trek opens at the memphis zoo

IMG_2803We went to the Teton Trek at the Zoo this past weekend and it was great! The walkway leading to the Teton Trek was large and well marked. I think it used to be the route the Tram took around.

The lodge was a monstrosity and smelled brand new (as it should). The cavernous inside had several informative movies running.
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There is a geyser modeled after “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park that erupts frequently. While the Memphis Zoo’s version of Old Faithful is impressive, it’s just 1/5th of the size. This is going to make a great place for kids to play during the summer months in their swimming suits. There were already a couple of children who were taking advantage despite the cooler weather. I feel sorry for the inevitable child who happens to be over the middle of the jet of water when it launches upward.

During the time we were there (maybe 30 minutes), the geyser erupted twice.

IMG_2815In this exhibit the bears have the option to catch their own food in the stream. Spectators can see the many attempts of the bears through the plate glass window on the far side of this photo and from above on a bridge on the opposite side. I think this idea is fantastic so that the bears can keep/develop some of their skills while still being in captivity. I could see the large fish zipping past the younger bears in the clear water.
IMG_2804Pictured are the three bears who are already out of quarantine, two males and one female. There are an additional two young bears in quarantine.

As you keep walking around the loop clockwise, you cross over a beautiful waterfall on the way to the timber wolves’ area, which is separated from the bears by what appear to be tall, thick, steel poles. The wolves were somewhat playful and one of them was chewing up the fresh sod. They were pacing a lot perhaps because they were adjusting to their new environment.
IMG_2816On the other side of the walkway from the wolves’ area (east) is where the elk will be. They were not out while we were there. I’m not sure if they’re still in quarantine or if they just weren’t out at that time. Teton Trek is a wonderfully accurate addition to the Memphis Zoo. I can’t wait to go back when it’s a little more settled and the elk are out. Our son is going to have a blast there in the summer in his swim trunks!

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week long family vacation to gulf shores, alabama

IMG_1966Last week (9/12/09-9/19/09) Annabeth, my family, and I all went on vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. We rented a beach house that I used to stay in with my family as a child that was fabulous. The house is owned by Bob Wheat and there are pictures on his website. We stayed in the 4 bedroom Gulf Beach house. The week long forecast was saying that there was a large chance it would rain the entire time we were there (like it did in Memphis), but we really lucked out. The rain came and went maybe 2 days and for only a brief amount of time.

IMG_2032We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the road and left Memphis Friday after work at about 6PM. We cruised into Jackson, MS after about three hours on the road. My mom’s sister Nancy was nice enough to put us up for the night. It was great to see her and her wonderful new treasures she found at an estate sale. There were two copper giraffes about three feet tall painted in intricate designs that she got for $20! The copper alone is worth much more than that.

IMG_1994The next morning we were on our way again at about 9AM or so. We managed to make it to the beach around 4PM. While Diana and Elek got to play on the beach in the (what we thought was going to be rare) sun, my mom and I went to the grocery store to buy food for the week. Keep in mind it is MUCH cheaper to buy food and cook most of the time when you go to the beach. To give you a little shock comparison, a handle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum in Memphis is around $22, but on the beach it’s about $56. Yeah, expensive. I also noticed that happy hour was earlier on average. The one sign I saw for happy hour said from 2 to 5PM.

IMG_2043Saturday night we made hamburgers and baked beans. I brought a small Webber grill that was surprisingly efficient, though we forgot the charcoal chimney, which is the best grilling invention ever. I used Kingston Matchlight and it worked like a champ. The grilling surface on this grill was pretty large and the coals were so close, it took less coals to cook than a larger grill. This was good considering to add more coals would have been a total pain. This is the point the relaxing officially began.

IMG_2311Elek was allowed to stay up much later than usual of course, though this didn’t affect his uncanny ability to wake up at 6AM on the dot. Usually we would put on a show for him and go back to bed for about 45 minutes. Sunday it was overcast for about half the day and sunny for the other part. It shifted back and forth so that the weather determined our beach visits. The best thing about this house and the beach in front of it was that it wasn’t crowded at all and we had the nicest and what appeared to be the largest amount of beach in front of our house.

IMG_2148Over the next several days we went for walks on the beach finding interesting things like abandoned houses with no stairs leading up to them and a rather large boat that appeared to have been burned. The sunsets were beautiful and the night beach walks were a lot of fun as well.

We spent a lot of time playing RummyKub, which was a lot of fun. It turns out Annabeth is a master at this game so if you ever want a swift whooping, ask her to play. Another game we all got into we learned from my mother. I’m not sure what the specific game is called, but it’s solitaire with two decks of cards. You line the 4 kings from each deck vertically, then you deal out 12 stacks of cards between them. It took a little while for it to catch on, but once it did we couldn’t stop playing it.

jacksonMy cousin Mary came to visit us for a day with her son Jackson. My mom, Mary, Jackson, and I went crabbing with no success. It happened to be during the hottest part of the day. Needless to say, that’s not a great idea. We all also sang and the two boys danced while Annabeth played her guitar. I’m glad she brought it. Elek absolutely loved it and was fascinated with the guitar. I’m pretty sure his favorite song was “Pop Goes the Weasel”. Luckily I got some video of him singing and dancing to it.

bdaycakeTuesday was my birthday (Sept. 15). What better way to spend your birthday than on the beach!? I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it was great! Diana baked me a cake (pictured) and Annabeth helped her do the icing. My mom also made a baked oyster dish that was the best I’ve ever had. Speaking of, I need to get that recipe! Elek was very excited about the cake and ice cream. We deemed him a cakehead since he acts like a fiend whenever there is some around. I got some really cool thin ties and button up shirts from my mom and the cards I received were hilarious! Diana is taking me to Nashville Oct 2-4 to see Snow Patrol for my birthday present. I can’t wait!

karyWednesday night the girls (Annabeth and Diana) went out to Karaoke at the Pink Pony Pub. They had a really good time. I stayed in, relaxed and watched a few minutes of TV. The next night we went out to eat at a local place that was pretty good and not too expensive. My mom and her friend Linda that came down to visit for a couple of nights took Elek back to the beach house and Diana, Annabeth, and I went out. We first drove to the infamous bar Flora-Bama, but since they were charging $5 a person on an off season Thursday night we headed to the Pink Pony Pub. We sat on the beach a while and then the girls got up to do a couple songs. We danced a bit before heading back to the beach house.

IMG_2228Annabeth, Elek, and my mom all fed the seagulls chips and bread. It was a very weird site. I took several pictures and a video of it. There were tons of birds flocked together in a small area. I think Elek’s favorite part was scaring them off by running at them. Elek also managed to catch a sand crab one evening. He held it in his hands while I got a picture. I believe it was feigning death while in his hands. Jackson had caught one days before and Elek must have thought that was great.

IMG_2382The trip was a massive success and I would love do it again. This year it was very fortunate that we got to do it in the off season since it wasn’t crowded. I’m really glad that we came back on a Saturday so that we had time to get back on schedule.

If you’d like to see more pictures, you can see them on my facebook page.

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pictures from beaufort, south carolina

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highschool stereotypes theme party

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70’s night at earnestine and hazel’s

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