Sunday, February 7, 2016

Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary

Last week, my lovely friend introduced me to the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary (link:  http://www.houstonaudubon.org).  The sanctuary is part of Houston Audubon, and is located about 15 minutes from my house.

The sanctuary is beautiful.  The photos I will post show a grey winter day (....that's what it was), but despite the colour of the sky and the scarce foliage there are plenty of spots of green.  The air was fresh and cool (and humid!) and there were were only a few other visitors.

We entered the sanctuary through the church gates and immediately walked over to the log cabin (I needed to use the facilities).  That short walk took us over a wooden bridge and through a forested area.  Near the cabin, the trees are cleared and there are garden patches as well as some small ponds.  We didn't see much wildlife beyond squirrels and an interesting looking bird.

We walked (and sometimes hiked) most of the trails in the sanctuary in about an hour.  For the most part the trails are wide and gentle, but there are some steep and narrow bits that are full of roots - it might be tricky to maneuver a stroller in some places.  I plan to take my kids there, they will enjoy the bridges and ponds.  I think all of them will be able to walk the trails without my assistance.

Entry is free and there are multiple entry points with ample parking.






Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Beasties

We've had some interesting experiences with beasties this week....

On Monday, the kids came home from school and announced that playground recess was cancelled because an opossum had taken up residence in their playground.  Apparently it was active during the day, and that means that it could be dangerous, so for the protection of the opossum and the children the playground had to be closed.  It re-opened yesterday.

We tried to use our air conditioner over the weekend and it did not work.  Air was blowing through the vents and it made a lot of noise but it did not cool the house at all.  Our landlords called in an air conditioner technician to look at it yesterday and he came in minutes after he looked at the unit and showed me a photo of the problem.  A beastie (we have not determined what kind) had chewed through the wires connecting the thermostat to the air conditioning unit.  The beastie had also chewed a nice hole into the side of our house through the cladding underneath a cover.  Presumably it is nesting inside the wall.

Today pest control will attend at our home to take care of the beastie and after that the air conditioning fellow will come back to fix the air conditioner and check whether the furnace wiring was chewed as well.

What a week!  I will keep you updated if we learn what is chewing our wires!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Edmonton - A Christmassy City!



This year we "Christmassed" in Edmonton.  We flew up after school released for 2015 and stayed until after New Years Eve.


Edmonton was cold and snowy - perfect for Christmas.  It even warmed up just after Christmas Day.  We spent plenty of time outside sledding, and the kids made an igloo with the help of their grandpa.  They had so much fun in the snow!

What did we do in Edmonton?  Here's a list, I'm sure we forgot some things, but this is what mainly kept us busy:

- I saw the Singing Christmas Tree
- ate at the wonderful Corso 32
- sledding and tobogganing
- visited John Janzen Nature Centre
- swam at Terwillegar Recreation Centre
- saw the Christmas lights at the Legislature building
- wandered around Candy Cane Lane
- watched a few movies
- shopped at MEC and the Bay
- hung out with family and friends
- saw the Northern Lights (twice!)

It was a lovely Christmas and the boys had a blast.

Edmonton is a truly beautiful city...the conditions can be harsh but it's worth it to get outside.




Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, New Direction

Hello everyone who reads my blog.

This year, I'm changing it up.  I've decided to post less frequently and only post about specific outings and activities instead of our daily life.

I've made this decision because I'm having difficulty balancing interesting posts with basic anonymity.  What I've been doing for a few months is posting a generic post on my blog about an activity or outing and then sending more specific pictures and information regarding the children to select family and friends via email.  This creates a LOT of duplication and it's a bit of a pain. 

So for now, expect posts now and then about interesting things we are doing, and almost no posts about our daily family life.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merry (Belated) Christmas!

Hello!  I have been having trouble with my
Blogging program and I finally figured out what was wrong and fixed it.  

Now I can wish everyone a Merry Christmas....it's belated but quite the new year.  

We had a lovely Christmas Day.  The boys opened some gifts and ate turkey and other Christmassy foods. We even had a visit from Santa!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Yesterday was a rough day for me.  The school district that our older boy attend received an email threat of violence.  On Wednesday night they informed the parents of the threat and indicated that the school were still safe, that Thursday was a school day as per usually but parents and students should have heightened vigilance.

This is a very disconcerting message.  We had no information about the content of the threat or what measures were being taken to protect our school.  I drove by the school early in the morning and nothing looked and different from and other morning.  At school drop off there were no extra police and everything just looked NORMAL.

So I kind of panicked.  I didn't know whether to send the kids.  I sent the principal a bunch of emails asking about safety and security that she patiently answered.  But her answers definitely did not put me at ease.  I ended up asking my husband a million times and then dropping the kids off with a plan to pick them up early.

A friend came over in the morning (I am so grateful for this) and then I went to pick them up. I ran an errand first and then I had another call from the school district.  This call said that the threat had been investigated more thoroughly and they were even more certain it wasn't credible and school was in session.

So I didn't pick them up.  I did another errand and went about my day.  Early in the afternoon a third message came and I listened to a press conference that detailed the steps taken to keep the kids safe.  I was then worried that not enough was done at our particular school.

So I fretted about it all day but I left the kids at school until they emerged - unharmed - with their classmates at the end of the day.  The school population was a bit thin, you could tell that some students were kept home.

Around the end of the school day, a press release put forward the entire text of the threats.  I have to say, if I had seen the text of the threat and evaluated it on my own, I would have kept the boys home from school.  I'm not sure if my husband would agree.

All of these calls and communications that I'm talking about were published in the newspaper as they happened but with no information to add. That was even more frustrating.

Anyways.....after all that I decided we would have a fun afternoon.  I made a conscious decision not to take Baby Boy to his Christmas Concert (because he didn't want to go and informed me that he was not going on the stage and would only cry....an accurate description of what he did during every other concert). Baby Boy is too young for these concerts and he just hates them.  He loves to sing and dance but not on the stage separated from his family.

I picked up the boys after school and packed them into my truck with a picnic supper.  We headed off to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  There were two exhibits I was interested in and both were spectacular!

When we walked into the museum, the first exhibit we experienced was the one I was excited to show the boys...the Collectivity Project, by Olafur Eliasson (here is a link to the exhibit description:  https://www.mfah.org/exhibitions/olafur-eliasson-collectivity-project/).  Please read the link for the meaning of the exhibit, etc., but in a purely descriptive (not interpretive) sense, the exhibit is about half a million white Lego bricks that the visitors building into a city.  


My boys had a blast building Lego buildings.  We stayed for ages and they were well behaved while they participated (the docent even complimented their behaviour).





The next exhibit I wanted to see is called "Contingent Beauty:  Contemporary Art from Latin America" (https://www.mfah.org/exhibitions/contingent-beauty-contemporary-art-latin-america/).  After taking a few wrong turns trying to find this exhibit, we immersed ourselves.  

I loved this exhibit.   In fact I'd love to go back, because Baby Boy was getting tired and he decided he was scared of a few parts of the exhibit so I didn't get to see it in full.  The exhibit is large, it's spread over many rooms on the second floor of the museum.  Each room has a different feel and all of the art makes you "feel".  

While it was not a specifically child friendly exhibit, my boys enjoyed a few of the pieces and were very well behaved - the docents even relaxed a little.  They really liked the 3 skull paintings and there was a statue made of Lego.  They always love Lego.  Little Boy also liked a sculptural pieces that represented a bull fight while Big Boy was intrigued by some of the television media art.


After this exhibit we were hungry so we picnicked in a garden near the museum.  Then we went back in for one more look at the Collectivity Project.  Big Boy was upset to see that his building had been integrated into a larger scheme, but that's what it's all about!



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Weekend


We had another intently busy weekend.  Unfortunately I didn't get any photos for the blog, every single picture has one of my boys in it.

On Friday night I went to get my hair done with a friend.  While we were having a girly evening my husband took the boys to an arcade.  He bought them wrist bands for an hour of play (only $10!!) and they had a blast playing all the games and going on the rides.

Saturday morning we went to Ikea and had Breakfast with Santa.  The event was very well organized.  The kids had balloon animals made (they don't like face painting but that was offered too) and they saw Santa.  We had a nice family photo taken as well.  The event was free with the purchase of breakfast.

After that we quickly drove over to the Children's Museum.  On Saturday, the Children's Museum was "taken over" by Star Wars!  It was full of characters to meet, crafts, and activities.  The event was crowded but the boys had a blast.  They met so many characters and they each made a couple of special things.

Then we rushed home for lunch and to prepare for our party.  We had friends over for dinner and playtime on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, our friends invited Big Boy to the Opera with them because one of their party was ill.  He really enjoyed the show, it was The Little Prince.  The theatre had games and activities for the kids.  He read the synopsis before the show and seemed to understand the plot.