Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Julia turns 5

Do kids actually get younger the more you have? When Taya turned 5, she seemed so old, so mature and ready to take on not only kindergarten, but the world. Today, Julia's 5 years seem like a malfunction of the calendar rather than the actual passage of time. Yet it also seems as if we are old best friends and have known each other for ages. Perhaps we have. Happy birthday, little one! We are glad you enjoyed your cake and ice cream dinner, your special night out with Dad, and you Barbie dolls!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Joplin, MO

Taya and her girl scout troop made a weekend field trip to St. Louis, a 14-hour drive, and I tagged along as a warm body to chaperone. We passed through Joplin on the way, and stopped to gawk like tacky tourists at the utter and horrendous devastation that went on for miles and miles. The girls were satisfyingly somber at the shock of the scene. We drove to the top of a hill and saw this sadness and madness for miles around. The area most hard hit was residential, although an enormous number of businesses were also destroyed, and I shudder to wonder how many survivors' homes were under or not insured at all. The roads had been cleared enough to drive on, but there was no escaping the impact that street after street with not a home intact had on us, especially as the tornado warning siren was the only thing left standing. There was FEMA grafitti on every house marking it cleared of bodies and cleared for final tear down. A haunting sight, one we will never forget. Any effort to send aid is truly needed if you feel moved to do so.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wild Birds


No, I'm not talking about my 5 wild little ducklings, but the wild bird Troy caught in the parking lot after work this afternoon and brought home to be nursed back to health by aforementioned ducklings aka our children. Thanks a lot, Troy. Personally, I'm kind of disgusted by wild birds, but because I am the main caregiver for our chickens somehow now I'm the bird vet around here. I love animals from the farming perspective, not because I enjoy pets. I suspected it was some sort of mockingbird, which as the Texas state bird would have either earned me a commendation or gotten me sued, but it is in fact a juvenile mourning dove of the type that poops on our car everyday, so I am conflicted about saving it!
This bird is also in pretty rough shape, rescued from attacking grackle birds who did a lot of bloody damage visible when it pathetically flaps its wings, and after recently losing an entire nest of wren hatchlings my kids were watching in a birdhouse they built at Home Depot, I'm not particularly looking forward to a dead bird in the house. Oh, well, we've dealt with larger dead birds when Julia killed one of our chickens. That's a story for some other day, and no, I don't have any photos to go along with it.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Death Wish Fish

Troy decided a year or so ago that fish as pets would be a good idea, but has recently decided that fish as pets are no longer a good idea. So when our friend Betty brought over her big cichlid to move into the tank with our significantly smaller cichlid, this was inevitably the result. Our little scrapper took him on, wish we had video of that bout, biting onto the larger fish's mouth until he won (thanks to our intervention with a large fish net). Large evil fish now resides in our neighbor's empty (now temporarily occupied) tank awaiting sale at our local cichlid store or a ceremonious dumping into our community pond. Don't tell Betty! Hope the little guy lives through that disastrous blind date.

Atlantians in Austin for 30 Minutes

Taya's best friend Shivani from elementary school moved to Atlanta 2 years ago, and today stopped by for a quick visit on a trip to Dallas that landed them in Austin for the afternoon. Taya and her friend Brianna were so excited to see her, especially since I hadn't told them that she was going to be in town until right before she showed up! We also held onto her adorable twin sisters so Julia could visit with her long-lost buddies again too!