Monday, December 8, 2008

First Snow of Fall 2008

The following photos are from December 1st, 2008 and our first snow fall at our new house in Florence, AL. (The house isn't new- but it is new to us.) The kids loved the snowfall (as did Jenise and I). The flakes were huge and wet- and even though the temp was closer to 40 degrees, the snow "stuck" for a few minutes as it was coming down so fast.

One comment about the photos- there is nothing like the first snow of the season to bring out the broad smiles and unmitigated joy in the faces of children. (And ahem, the parents, ahem.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spectacular Birding Day at our House

This is our first year in our new home in the woods. So, we have been in for a few surprises as the seasons have approached and then left. We were pleasantly surprised this past week when, many different species of birds stopped by our yard in Florence, AL. We saw many different kinds of birds, including many, that we haven't seen in the yard before: the list for that Wednesday, November 12th included:
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Carolina Wren
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • American Robin
  • American Goldfinch
It was our first time to see most of those birds at this location- I was especially excited to see the Pileated Woodpecker at a closer range than I have before, and also the Cedar Waxwings- as a flock had stopped by to eat the Black Gum seeds.

Below is a slideshow of photos of the birds from that day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sascha, the not so fierce pirate girl, on Halloween night.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Kids Love this Sign

We pass by this Hardee's restaurant when we are going to Wednesday night meeting. We usually get stuck at the light at the intersection- so the kids get to look at it for awhile. Too long in fact as they usually start giggling and laughing because the sign says "Now Hiring Porkchop and Gravy Biscuit". (Click on the photo for a better view.)

A few weeks ago it had said, "Now Hiring Strawberry Biscuit". I guess they filled that position. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Junior Explorers


It is still warm enough to go creek walking. . . my junior explorers don't seem to mind the cooler weather. :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fosters 2008 and Fosters 2001

Fosters 2008


Fosters 2001

Adoption Day!



October 1st was the official adoption day!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cell Phone Pics from July and August

The following slideshow shows various photos taken with my camera cell phone during the months of July and August.

A Nice Saturday

We met up with the Grandparent Johnson's this morning and then drove on to Huntsville, AL where we met Ms. Ruth Mouzon, Susan Henderson, and Hazel and Roman Borys at the Early Works Museum. It was great to catch up on the news with all the folks, as well as watch the kids have a lot of fun at the museum.

After we had a great lunch at Cracker Barrel, we stopped at the Grandparent Johnson's lakehouse. The kids enjoyed casting the cast net- and caught a few Bluegill as well as a large rock and some sticks. It was a great Saturday!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Hummingbird Banding

Today, Sebastian, Kelsey and I drove out into the country to observe a hummingbird banding. It was pretty interesting. The banding took place at someone's house out in the country- they had lovely gardens, grape arbors, as well as nice landscaping throughout. They also had lots and lots of hummingbird feeders and hummingbirds. A local professor comes out and bands hummingbirds every year and reports the results to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The hummingbirds are caught in traps, put into a little bag and brought back to the banding table where the professor would tag them, weigh them, determine the sex and size (all the information is recorded into a database) and then the hummingbirds are released back into the wild. Below is a slide show of the photos from today. Sebastian and Kelsey took many of the pictures- they got many good close-ups of the birds.

Visit from the Solomon Family

Friday, August 8, 2008

Live from the Sheffield Swim Banquet

Fun with Pool Portraits

Trying to take someone's picture underwater isn't as easy as I thought it might be. For one- once the person goes underwater- they tend to float back up- as do I as am trying to frame the shot- typically we are both moving. But, it is fun and we didn't take it too seriously.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another School Year Is Here

Today was the first day of school for the kids. They got changed yesterday to a school nearer our house- so even though it was at the last second- that was good news. They seemed to like their first day of school- so that should help make it a little easier to get them up early in the morning. :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Typical Saturday of the Summer

The video shows how the kids spent most of the summer. It was hot and humid here on Saturday (what you would expect of Alabama weather in August). This was the kids last Saturday before school starts again this week.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Kids Ordering their Lunch

Scene from our lunch today at Cracker Barrel. After we ordered, and were waiting on our food, a HUGE storm blew through. It really looked like a hurricane outside. Shepherd almost started to cry- but I patted him on the back and told him that everything was "OK" (although secretly, I wasn't so sure) . No one in the restaurant knew what to do except look out the window. But I am sure that everyone was thinking the same thing- "tornado". Fortunately, the wind quickly died down and everything returned to normal. When we left we saw a couple of snapped trees across the road, as well as a large shed blown over and away from the Lowes store that was near the Cracker Barrel.

I mainly take videos like that (this was with the cell phone) so that I will be able to remember how they talked later on when the years pass by. Especially Shepherd, he has his own unique way of speaking at the moment.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sascha pretending to be a Sea Lion

Sascha was pretending to be a Sea Lion in this video. Sascha is almost 3. She swims pretty well for her age. She is also a very particular swimmer. She has to have her goggles on before she will dive into the water.

Sea Lions are currently her favorite animal. In this video she is imitating a Sea Lion performing. The hoop is the garden hose held by Jenise. The video quality isn't the best- but not bad for a cell phone video. I was also able to upload it straight to this blog from the phone.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Old Video of Sven and His First Snow

I just found this video on a CD. I had lost it for awhile. I'm glad to have found it again- it is pretty cute watching Sven walk around in the snow.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Going to the Creek


The kids and I have enjoyed spending time exploring Cypress Creek the past few weeks. The creek is only about 1/4 mile from our house. We have also kayaked and floated down it on inner tubes a few times.


Creeks are a great place for kids to explore nature. There are all manner of fish (see many of them at my nature web site http://www.natureatcloserange.com/), snakes, frogs, insects, spiders, plants, etc. To help with the catching of the smaller minnows, darters, and shad- we use a cast net. We have found several fascinating fish- like the Warpaint Shiner, Banded Sculpin, Redlined Darter, and the Northern Studfish, and Long-eared Sunfish, just to name a few.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Shepherd and Haley



Shepherd and Haley celebrated birthdays in the month of May! This is my favorite photo from the birthday photos.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thanks for all Judy



If you have found this site as a result of a Google search regarding realtors in the Florence, AL and Shoals area of North Alabama- I don't think that you will find a more caring and patient realtor than Judy Young. She helped us to find the perfect house in Florence- and was patient with us as we looked around at different areas and different home styles. Her co-workers at CRC Realty were welcoming to our family as well- and didn't seem at all dismayed when we walked into their office with eight kids in tow- quite the opposite- everyone was quite warm and friendly.




Yesterday Judy came by (even though we closed on our house a month ago) to the house. She wanted to make sure that we were doing well and she also wanted to give us a house warming gift. She knew just what we needed- lots and lots of snacks! :) (as seen in the photo)


Seriously, if you need a realtor, we highly recommend Judy. The link to her website is: http://www.judyyoung.net/


If you are in need of a mortgage- Lynn Francis of Home Lenders of the Shoals was the best and most knowledgeable mortgage specialist with whom we've had the pleasure to meet.





Thursday, April 3, 2008

Spring Flowers



These photos were taken a couple of days ago. It has been raining every since. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Earliest Easter of our Lifetime

Yesterday was the earliest Easter of our lifetime- and probably yours as well (unless you were living in 1913- the last time Easter was this early.) The next time Easter falls on March 23rd? The year 2160. (source)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Great Afternoon

We enjoyed a great afternoon at Mr. Fred and Ms. Ruth Mouzon's today. We enjoyed seeing Ms. Susan Henderson (sorry we missed seeing you, Owen!) and Stephen, Hazel, and Roman Borys. Hazel and Susan did a great job preparing for an Easter egg hunt for the kids as well as preparing the Easter decorations. Mr. Fred also made some lovely cooked snacks for everyone. It has been a long while since we have seen everyone- it was a very nice reunion. Enough of me blabbing- here are the photos! :)

(To see even more photos from today- along with witty captions- click here gently.)



Thursday, March 20, 2008

Really Big Fish

Last year I posted an entry of some big catfish that we were catching off the dock at Bay Village on the Tennessee River. I just read an interesting article on the National Geographic website where they are researching the world's "monster" freshwater fish. Here is the link. The pictures are interesting.

Here is a link to a video of a trout that grows up to 200 lbs and lives in Mongolia.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Added Video of Green Lynx Spider to You Tube

I just added this video of a Green Lynx Spider guarding her nest and hatchlings. The female Green Lynx spider will guard the nest until she dies. I also updated my Green Lynx Spider entry on my nature blog with this video: http://natureatcloserange.blogspot.com/2007/10/green-lynx-spider-i-dont-need-no.html

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Video Shout Out to Uncle George

Hi Uncle George. We are providing this video by Tim Hawkins as a public service reminder to you- always fish with a buddy. :)

Funny You Tube Homeschooling Video

A funny video by comedian Tim Hawkins.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Don't Give Up

The following video was made of Sascha trying to learn to skate on Monday, March 10th at Sebastian and Lexie's birthday party. I like the fact that she never quit smiling during the whole time- even though she was strugglin mightily. She sure is a brave little 2 year old. :) On Thursday, I took some photographs of her skating without assistance- even with skates that were probably 3 sizes too large. I like her gumption! :)





Monday, March 3, 2008

At Joe Wheeler St. Park Resort

Sebastian, Kelsey, Sascha, Haley and I ate Sunday lunch at the Joe Wheeler St. Park Resort. They have a great Sunday afternoon buffett. After eating lunch we went outside and the kids played on the swings. Here are some of the photos:




Next Generation of Canon Camera Users

Sebastian and Kelsey enjoyed going out and taking photos with me this past weekend. It was a beautiful weekend here in North Alabama for getting out and taking photos. Sascha also enjoyed seeing herself after her picture was taken by Kelsey.




Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Great Flu of 2008



We all had the flu last week. All 10 of us. It wasn't a pretty sight. Or site. Jenise and Shepherd got the flu first- with an ear ache. They were both in agony. We all pretty much got it after them pretty quick. We went to the doctor and got antibiotics and Tamiflu to help reduce the flu symptoms. We also had strep throat. It wasn't a fun week to be in our house. :)


But we survived. The neighbors were very nice and helpful- they brought over soups and some other food to help out. Very nice. :)




Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sebastian


Sebastian's birthday is coming up at the end of this month. One of the following photos was taken this past weekend- and the other photo was taken in 1999. He has grown a bit since then.


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Back to Ms Stella's

Until we had our house fire and had to move to North Alabama, we went to Sunday morning meeting at Ms. Stella's. She knew we were coming down to work on the house this past weekend- so she invited us to spend the night with her- which we gladly accepted. It sure was good to get back! Ms. Stella is an awesome cook- she made roast with roasted potatoes and carrots, as well as had a German Upside Down Cake and Peach Cobbler for dessert.

She also has a yard full of daffodils. We could always tell that Spring was just around the corner- because early every February- the Daffodils would begin to bloom in her yard. I think that I have taken pictures of the kids sitting in those Daffodils almost every year. Here are the photos from this past weekend. I will look for some of the older photos of the kids and post them later.






Monday, February 18, 2008

Updated Kitchen


Well, after all of the smoke had cleared- and the debris had been carted away from the fire- this was the final result. A beautifully restored house. The following photos are of the kitchen- all of the contractors and subcontractors did a really wonderful and quick job. Special thanks goes to Mr. Jim Martin- he was the contractor for this job- and he worked quickly and was patient with me as we worked through the complications of working with fire claims. A special thanks also goes out to Brian Jones of Alfa Insurance- as he was diligent in making sure that all of our needs were taken care of. Alfa Insurance really stood with us and supported us through this ordeal.
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