Monday, March 29, 2010

All the eggs in my Easter basket...

I got a few pics yesterday of the kids for Easter, and asked our friends to come along so I could get some shots of the cute little boys!
Here's baby Ethan (pre-Easter dressed)
Little Evan
...and Baby Ethan - all dressed up!

We all thought this looked like an ad for the Easter clothes. I guess when you have 7 kids all dressed semi-alike, it creates million dollar photo opps! :)
Em & Gav ;)

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pennies from Heaven...

...and other fun places!
Emma has been collecting pennies since she was in utero, actually, and as I clean out my car or her room, or closets, I often find misplaced pennies that take me back to our grand adventures together.
Today, when I found 4 pennies from our recent trip to the zoo, I went to put them in her book, only to find that they are overflowing and doubled-up pennies fill the spaces throughout them. I remember offering to buy her a new one in Branson, but she refused politely, adding that it had to be from Disneyland, like her other ones, or it wouldn't be the same size.
Okay. I understand. I guess I'll have to put in an order soon...
Are you wondering where they all come from? Well, to name a few...
  • Oklahoma City Zoo
  • San Francisco Zoo
  • Paramount's Great America Theme Park
  • Alcatraz
  • 49ers/Raiders
  • Disneyland
  • Pacific Park - Santa Monica Pier
  • Oklahoma City Omniplex
  • Canary Row, Monterey
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Santa Cruz Beach
  • The Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz
  • Winchester Mystery House
  • Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
  • Bonfante Gardens
  • Monterey Bay
  • Roaring Camp Railroad
  • Legoland
  • Virginia City, NV
  • Oklahoma Aquarium
  • Rainforest Cafe, Anaheim
  • Oakland Zoo
  • Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
  • Casa Bonita, Tulsa
  • San Diego
  • Muir Woods
  • Yosemite
  • Route 66
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • Tulsa Zoo
  • Branson
  • Silver Dollar City, Branson
  • Hollwood Wax Museum
  • Butterfly Palace
  • Six Flags, TX
  • World's Largest McDonalds, Vinita OK
  • '57 Heaven
  • Bass Pro Shops, Springfield
And there are dozens more hiding in special spots around the household, all awaiting someone to find them...again.
Were you with us on one/some of these adventures? Comment on your favorite one(s)! We'd love to hear it!!
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Give Peace A Chance ;)

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Well, hello again, Mr. Spring!

There's a new love at our house, and it's a universal one across the board of the Castro kids.
Hot Wheels.
And today, after a huge meltdown, Evan finally got what he wanted, and was at peace with the world once more...
Then we headed home for some fun in 75 degree weather outside with Emma & her friend, Bailey. Things with wheels are the new-found joy in this little boy's life, and these two were getting some water time.
Bailey & Emma were drawing kingdoms and castles with princesses and horses with chalk...
The tower on top of Emma's castle was "for the wi-fi", she said. Ha ha!
Later, I put up the outdoor Easter decorations and did a little yardscaping out front. The rain is supposed to be coming again tomorrow, so I guess this was my last chance! :)
Back to the indoor cleaning...moan, groan,bleh.
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Baby Gym!

FINALLY! A rare look into what goes on in baby gym...
(John & I were both able to go this week!)
Looks like trouble, huh?
Shake that parachute!!
Somersaults with Miss Christie
Balance beam with Daddy
and of COURSE a headstand!

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring!

Yesterday was perfect spring weather - sunny and warm, 74 degrees.
Today's weather on the first day of spring:
...and it's still falling.
Reminds me of a famous saying about Oklahoma..."If you don't like the weather, hang around for a few minutes, and it'll change".
Happy Spring!
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Skedee Creek Preserve

Now for the last weekday of our staycation, we intended on going to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, but a friend invited us to go see the Skedee Creek Preserve in Pawnee, Oklahoma, and we excitedly went along. After a 40 minute drive and three miles down a rocky, dusty road, we arrived.
The history of this place seems to be, in a nutshell, a dump for all exotic animals that need homes after their irresponsible or crazy owners decide that they don't want them anymore. Oh, and some are bought by Roger and his wife for their own collection.
This one was a hooded bird from China. Roger pointed out that "like the human world, the males are the pretty ones". Oh, what a sad world we live in...
This guy was sitting behind the 8 foot fence that keeps all the creatures in. I think at this point, I felt a little like exiting that fence, too. I was having severe allergies (which amazingly got better out there in the middle of nowhere), but I still couldn't smell much, and I smelled something horrible. Turns out it was a pile of dead carcuses just a few feet away. Yum.
It was also about this time that I heard Emma screaming and look up to see a rooster flogging her. Wonderful. At 7 years old she lost her first cock-fight...
Roger had 2 of these birds. They were cute and knew how to say "Pretty Girl" and "Hello". I thought I heard one say "Help me, Ms. Pickens!", but decided not to ask...

And speaking of Ms. Pickens, there are some baboons here (over 6 of them, actually), that are up for sale. In fact, one was at the end of her pregnancy, and when I asked what he did with the babies, he said he immediately switches them to bottles and sells them to other animal sanctuaries or private citizens. Whu....
Now there are some prett small cages for these animals there, and this was no exception. No bigger than 5 foot round, Roger said to stay pretty far back from this cage. The cat inside had a tendency to reach out through the bars and grab you. He stayed inside his house until he saw Evan was only 2 feet tall, and then became very intrested. I became a cloud of dust running him away...
This bear was busily chasing the dogs around her cage when we met her. She is just about mature to mate, so Roger hopes to get a male bear soon. Emma asked why the bear was brown, even though it was called a "black bear". Bailey's dad said it was because when they shed their fur, it starts growing back jet black.
My favorite animal at the preserve was Cowboy, a beautiful snake. I could have held him forever! Emma wasn't feeling too sure about the tounge sticking out.
I ended up letting Cowboy wrap onto Gavin, who was a little freaked out that it decided to pretend to be his belt.
(But apparently not as freaked out as Evan, in the background...)
Roger has two tigers. They're the sweetest things, he says, unless you have food. Well. Okay then. And by food, you mean...fingers?? Ugh. Then, to make it more intersting, he decided to go into detail of the mauling death of the guy last year who died from the attack of his liger. Yup. He done got his eyes scraped ri' outta his head. That was the end, there. All it takes is one swap.
(And is anyone else nervous that these huge tigers are held in by chainlink fence that didn't appear to be actually bolted down by anything but 6 medium blots on a couple 2x4s?? Just sayin'....
The kids liked to climb the fences the most. Even baby Evan got in on the fun.
Next was the safari ride. We climbed aboard a flatbed trailor to go out to pasture to see deer, cattle, and the like. Our first guest was this ostrich, who followed us closely the whole drive. And by closely, I mean, inches away.
These cute Japanese deer make the cutest little cooing sounds. Dolores and I just adored them!
I don't remember exactly what this was, but he had an overactive bladder.
The buffalo (one of two) are kept behind this strong fence for safety reasons. Wouldn't want it to be able to charge you if it got mad! That chicken wire is strong enough to keep chickens back, after all...
The brown donkey was named "Emma", and I can only imagine that she had a few similar attributes to another Emma I know...stubborn donkey.
The ride ended at a picnic spot out by a natural waterfall. In the spring, it overflows with a man-made pump to help it. Gorgeous. He mentioned that he wanted to have a self-guided tour around this area. I told him the insurance would definately be more than he could afford, with all I had seen, and he sadly agreed, but was cherrier when the topic turned to a Halloween hayride.
This momma donkey just her little baby a month ago. :)
It was 74 degrees outside, and gorgeous. The weather for that night was snow. And we could see it start to blow in.
Here's our trailor ride!
A funny looking calf that was wandering the farm...
It was an intresting trip to say the least. For a mom-and-pop establishment, it was cute, and in all honesty, the kids loved it. He constantly made comments about the groups that come out and check on him frequently (maybe stemming from my inquisitions or my shutterbug status) and so I assume all things are at least acceptable for animal groups, though I wouldn't think that any animal rights activists would agree, but he does love his animals, and he loves to share them with everyone. For a $5 per person donation, you can see animals that you normally wouldn't, and closer than at any zoo. (Have you really ever seen an albino raccoon?!?)
We had a fun time, and even if I never make it back again, I will be able to say that we went. We saw. We conquered.
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