24 June 2008

Day at the Zoo

We had our first fieldtrip of the summer today! We spent the last week reading up on animals from the African grasslands and Kangaroos and Wallabies from Australia. Today we went to the Detroit Zoo and our favorite thing was feeding the giraffes!
The giraffe we got to feed was named "Shardo" and she had a very long, purple, sticky tongue that would wrap around the food we would give her.
Elise was really excited to feed her until the giraffe licked her and then she was a little surprised and pulled back.
What a cool experience! We also loved seeing the warthogs, rhinos, African dogs, lions, ostriches, zebras and hippos. We were fascinated by the aardvark and jumped when the black bears started to fight. It was funny to see the kangaroos lounging on their sides, propped up on their elbows like humans. The chimps and the gorillas were also fun. We'll go back later in the summer to see some of the other animals. It was Natalie and Elise's first visit to a zoo and they loved it!
This was a great way to start our summer vacation!

18 June 2008

Time Out For Women

On the 30 and 31st of June, I went to Toronto for Deseret Book's Time Out for Women with some of my friends from church, Denise, Michelle and Ronna. In front of our hotel was this very kitchy and funny unicorn and we just had to take a picture in front of it! I thought they needed it to be connected to a rainbow and a pot of gold that would span across to the column behind it. Despite the unicorn, the hotel was actually very nice and contemporary (whew!!).
This was truly a weekend for filling our cups to overflowing!! One of my favorite parts was hearing Jenny Oaks Baker playing her violin for one amazing hour. It felt like heaven! I also loved hearing talks on service, feeling the spirit, leadership and having joy in our lives. One highlight was going into downtown Toronto to eat a late dinner at a very chic Thai restaurant, where as Ronna said, "Look, tablecloths you can't write on!" (Something appreciated by every mom that currently only eats at restaurants that provide kid menus and crayons!) It was the first time I had gone somewhere without kids and husband, and I had a great time and felt spiritually fed!

08 June 2008

The day the trees came down!!

We've had quite an adventure today! Luckily we haven't had floods like they have had in southern Indiana, but we've had our own brand of adventure! About 5 o'clock this evening, we heard incredibly strong winds outside. I've never heard anything like it! I said a quick prayer that none of our trees would come down on anyone's houses. We have many trees that are at least 100 feet tall! I looked into the backyard and saw that one of the tallest trees had snapped and had the kids go down into the basement. When the storm settled down a little, I went out to see the damage. My neighbor was out there, too. He said that he was watching when a twenty foot section of one of our tall trees splintered and came crashing down (you can see it in the background of the above picture), and a minute later, he saw one of our big trees come down completely. Heavenly Father heard my prayer!! The tree landed in the only possible place it could have without damaging our house or one of our neighbors houses! While we were talking, the tornado siren went off and so I ran back into the house and spent the next half hour with the kids in the basement.
The tree had not only missed the houses, but it had fallen perfectly between nine different trees and had only broken off a few limbs on the way down! Also, to give you some perspective, at it's base, I can barely get my arms around the tree.

Above is a picture of part of the tree that the top 20 feet had broken off. It landed in our yard next to this little pine tree we planted last year. I'm not sure yet if it will be okay.
The view above is from the neighbors yard looking back toward our deck. The tree goes behind where I am standing for quite a bit, but this gives some perspective. I told our neighbor about saying a prayer at the beginning of the storm and pretty soon all of our neighbors had heard about the prayer. We have definitely been thanking Heavenly Father for his protection tonight!!