Sunday, November 29, 2009

This makes me happy

Josh (Caleb's buddy) was home this weekend from college so the gang got together tonight and had pizza at our house. I'm going to miss these days when all the kids grow up and go wherever life takes them. I sure am crazy about these kids!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 09

This was the beautiful Thanksgiving altar at our church last Sunday, compliments of my Mother. She arranged and set it all up. She so talented.
And here's a photo from our Thanksgiving yesterday with my parents. We really enjoyed a quiet intimate dinner with them this year. Only 6 of us around the table. But that didn't stop us from having the works! Ham, turkey, dressing, the whole nine yards!
I love this photo!
Caleb pouring our traditional sparkling grape juice.
time to eat.
This was my favorite photo from the day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My favorite thing last week....

Some months ago Sarett Nature Center announced their used "nature" book sale that was coming up. They asked for gently used nature themed books to be donated for a book sale they had planned as a fund raiser. I rounded up 4 bags of books (thank you Anne for your donation too) and donated them. I could hardly wait for the sale to start Saturday morning. What could be more up my alley??!! I love books, I love nature, and I love a bargain. Do you know that I came home with about 30 books!!!! And I only spent $20!!! I could have spent more than that on ONE book at the book store. I got books on nature quotes from famous people, nature artists, nature photography, bird field guides, bird life, mammals, wildflowers, wild mushrooms, alaskan adventures, national parks, insects, sea life, hummingbirds..... the list goes on. I have my whole winters reading and then some.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I love my birdies!

We've been so busy lately that I haven't gotten outside much to photograph my birds. I managed to get outside for a few minutes yesterday. Mr. Redbellied is so beautiful!
I'm looking forward to snow arriving soon. Winter is my favorite time to photograph birds as well as all things in nature. The birds are always abundant and active and everything is so crisp and clean.

Craig was busy all weekend with the snowmobile club marking the snowmobile trails. It's official now..... winter will be arriving soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Seadra and Zoe's new friend

When I got home from church this afternoon this was the view outside.
And this was the view from inside the house. Seadra and Zoe have a new friend.
This drives Seadra nuts! Nothing gets her more excited than a squirrel.
Now I have to figure out a way to keep their new friend off the bird feeder.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why am I smiling?

Take a good look at this photo. Why do you think I'm smiling? Why am I hugging on Craig? Could it be because I'm on a cruise in the Caribbean with my wonderful husband? Could it be because we are on St. Maarten, a beautiful island? Could it be because we are posing in front of our amazing cruise ship? Or....... could it be that Craig just bought something and he's carrying it in that bag? And could that something in the bag be for me?????
The last thing I expected to come home with from our cruise was the camera that I've been dreaming about for the last 6 months. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this camera. It's a canon T1i, SLR, 15mp, and it shoots HD video too.

Now you know why I was smiling in that photo!

Our Cruise

We had a wonderful time on our cruise! Back in Feb. Kay and Roger invited us to join them on a 7 days Caribbean cruise in Nov. The time finally arrived and we really enjoyed it all! Trying to go through all 500 photos and pick out a few to show you is nearly impossible........
We had 4 stops, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and Princess Cays (a Princess owned Bahama island).
Just like everyone talks about who have been on cruises... the food was wonderful, the sights were fantastic, the entertainment was awesome, the ship was magnificent.... and they treated us like royalty!
The first 3 days we had really rough seas from Hurricane Ida. Even though we were 500 miles from the hurricane we still had the winds from her. I was really surprised at how much our ship rocked around, so much so that you occasionally you needed to grab onto something to stay standing. As long as I kept Dramamine in me I was fine and didn't feel sick.
Of course I was hoping to see some whales or dolphins. We didn't see any whales but we did see some dolphins jumping along side the ship.
On Grand Turk we took a small boat ride out to a reef and snorkeled. It was soooooo beautiful. I could have stayed there all day.
On the deck pulling into Grand Turk.
On the dock at St. Maarten.
Our ship docked one evening.
This was the view from our balcony at night.... breathtaking!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nature Reserve in Lakeland Florida

Some friends of Kay and Roger (Craig's parents) told them about a nature reserve in Lakeland Florida where they enjoy visiting. Knowing I would like this place we went on Saturday afternoon. What an amazing place! Wow, I would love to live close to this reserve so I could visit more often. The name of this place is Circle B Bar Reserve. If you ever get to Florida and have an opportunity to visit here it is a must see.
The reserve is over 1200 acres and used to be a cattle ranch. In 2000 the land was acquired by the county and they are returning it to it's original state as a nature reserve for wildlife. There is just something special about seeing an animal/bird in it's natural habitat. All the photos you see in this post were taken at the reserve and all the birds were wild.
I just couldn't get enough of this place. We didn't arrive until mid afternoon so we only had a few hours of daylight before having to leave. There were a lot more trails and areas to see that we didn't get to.

This guy was my favorite! His head was featherless and all scaly. I looked him up and he's a "Wood Stork", the only north american stork and he's only found in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.
I've never had an appreciation for wading birds. I guess mostly because there is rarely such birds here in Michigan but after visiting this place I have a new fondness for them. They are beautiful!
There were a lot of hawks flying around.

Even bald eagles were there! The trails to their nesting area was blocked off so we couldn't get very close to them.
Rosetta Spoonbills.

Looking forward to my next visit to the "Circle B Bar Reserve", whenever that shall be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm Back

Hello my faithful blog followers. I know you are feeling neglected these days. But do not give up on me. I throughly enjoy my blog and do not intend to stop blogging any time soon. I know it's the same old song and dance but time seems to be flying by. Jordan's senior year keeps us hopping from one activity to another and we are relishing every moment of it.

The latest news around here is that we just got home from a 10 day vacation in Florida and the Caribbean. We went on a cruise with Craig's parents. It was wonderful. I'll spend the next week blogging about our trip.

We had a couple of days in Florida before we left on the cruise and Kay and Roger had a few wonderful things planned for us. Early Saturday morning we went on a 90 minute airboat ride down this amazing river and lake. Weeks ago I had mentioned that I really wanted to go on one of those rides when we came down and Roger did his homework and asked around about where the best place to go would be. We were not disappointed!
I have a new appreciation for Florida's beauty.
This was an abandoned airplane that had been on the lake since 1979. Our guide had us walk out onto the wing for a photo.
My photos do not do it justice. Every turn we took was breathtaking.
We saw a few small alligators and our guide kept apologizing for not seeing any larger ones. Little did he know that seeing an alligator was not a priority to me..... I was much more interested in the birds! And they were everywhere!!!!
It was truly a gift.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cruising on a big ship on the big water

Sorry for my lack of posts lately. We've been crazy busy finishing up marching season and cross country with Jordan and a million other things in between. But the good news is....... we are leaving tomorrow on a much needed and anticipated vacation. We are flying into Orlando tomorrow and then Sunday leaving Fort Lauderdale on this beautiful cruise ship. Craig and I are going on an Eastern Caribbean Cruise with his parents. We've had this cruise booked since Feb. and it is finally here. Craig and I have never been on a cruise before so we are really excited to experience this. Supposedly the ship has wi-fi so I will be taking my laptop along. Check back for updates. Hopefully I'll be able to do some postings.