Friday, August 28, 2009

Noccalula Falls

Last weekend we took a road trip up to Noccalula falls outside of Gadsden, Alabama. It was one of those semi-cool and invigorating days where you finally notice that the humidity isn't the standard 105% and the temperature is finally slightly cooler than the surface of the sun. Those latter two weather attributes tend to describe most days (and some nights) during the Alabama summer.

We sat down to get a family picture while waiting for the train to tote us around the park for a quick sight seeing tour. Since I couldn't find a fence post or railing to get a true family picture, here is the best one I could get, with me safely behind the camera...out of sight.

Doesn't Bryce look enthused... What is it about 7 year old boys that make them unable to smile naturally? I see it everywhere...

Aiden loves the trains and was thrilled to pile in with his siblings. The giggling and wiggling crew of kids and the already tired parents took the train all around the park. Then we got off at the stop nearest to the little zoo which seemed a good place to start. While the kids looked at the animals, and we hurriedly chased the kids, I realized that they were using an advanced "divide and conquer" strategy against us. I wonder if they get together and write out plays on a big dry erase board in their rooms before we take them on trips like this. Someday I know I'm gonna find a board under the bed with tons of X's and O's with dotted lines around an amazingly accurate depiction of the park.
During this period of chasing them and yelling, "Stop! Don't touch that!" or "Eeeew...Don't put that in your mouth!" this children's "Learn to Read" story popped into my head. I think it's better than "See Spot Run" for sure...


Aiden was a boy.

He liked to run.

Aiden ran a lot.

He ran from a rooster.

He ran from a floppy lama. (and another chicken)

He ran from an Emu.

(I'm seeing a pattern here...running from birds? There has to be some rare ornithological complex that I can find to explain the behavior)

But, Aiden didn't run from the bunnies!

The End...

In fact we had to keep him from climbing in and joining the bunnies...

Yeah, I know I promised not to write any more children's stories after Squiddy, but I couldn't help myself.

While Aiden busied himself with running from all the pseudo-wildlife and birds, he fell and got the second large bruise on his forehead of the week. I'm sure that family services will be visiting our house soon.
Before the kids were completely worn out, Brenna and I decided to go and see the falls, so we bribed them with food and started off. We hiked down the trail and through the canyon to reach the waterfall. The canyon was filled with enormous boulders and old oak and poplar trees reached up the 30-40 foot cliffs on either side of the river. The river was fed by the pool at the base of the falls and looked very inviting even though the warning signs were posted about not swimming. We haven't had much rain in the past week, so the flow over the falls wasn't all that impressive, but it made quite a roar against the overhanging rock ledge as we walked. There was a recessed rock shelter behind the falls where we sat and ate lunch.

I used a timed exposure to make the water look like it had some movement to it rather than freezing it in time with the standard automatic settings on the camera. If you click on the image, it will expand to a much larger size.

My last image here is pretty random, but we all stopped to look at the colors. I had no idea that peppers came in that many hues.

I wonder if they were hot? I should have surreptitiously picked one. Oooooh...what a rebel.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Pets!

I came home yesterday to a very excited couple of kids, meaning Bryce and Ansley. Aiden is always happy and excited, but we're not sure what its about most of the time. They had a surprise for me and had covered it with a hat so I couldn't see. When it was time for dinner, they told me to close my eyes, which didn't really matter since they had covered the surprise with a hat and my X-ray vision isn't working well these days. They whipped the hat off this unknown object with much fanfare I'm told since I had my eyes closed during the event. I then opened my eyes and found out, that we have two new pets. Small pets. Small swimming pets. With legs.

Water Frogs!

I'm sure there is some story of, "Hey Mom! Look what followed me this plastic cube filled with rocks and water. Can I keep it?!?" Eventually, I'll hear that part of the tale of the two frogs, and I will certainly post it so everyone can enjoy.

During dinner Bryce and Ansley were all atwitter with excitement over the new members of the family. I, on the other hand, was rolling my eyes at Brenna since I didn't want to have to explain life and death to young kids when these things kicked the bucket...or whatever it is that dead frogs do. I was then informed that these frogs will live 3-5 years. Apparently the people writing such information haven't seen the statistics on pets that reside in my house. Oh well...

I asked what they named their frogs and promptly heard, "Sally!" from Ansley. Bryce hesitated and then shouted out, "Stealth Fighter!" Some time must have passed as I un-crossed my eyes from laughing because Bryce was staring at me quizzically. I looked at him and asked where he got the name. He matter of factly said, "I named it after a plane."

Again laughing...

Well, that's it. Those are the official names, so I have devised a quick aide for all of us when we look at them. I would personally hate to be called by the wrong name, and I'm sure the same goes with water frogs.

This photo may also help the kids identify which is Sally and which is Stealth Fighter because they seemed to not really know either...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Off to School!

It's official, we now have two kids in school. Ansley was up bright and early for the bus ride to her first day at school. Now, if any of you know Ansley, you know that Ansley is the antithesis of "bright and early". She is more of an "Aw heck, let's stay up all night" kind of girl. In other words, 9am is a good time to begin thinking about opening the "peepers" and rolling out of bed to start the day. She begins her day the way a diver comes up from the deep murky depths of the ocean. Very slowly and carefully. Lord knows we wouldn't want her to get the bends by jumping out of bed too quickly...

I have yet to figure out how we ended up with two boys that find 5:30-6am a natural time to wake and how my daughter sleeps through all the ensuing ruckus. I wonder where she gets that...hmmmm...

But to memorialize the events of her first days of school, I captured this image of her standing up, with eyes open, dressed, and ready for the day at 6:56 this morning.

And off they run...

Will wonders never cease?