Our spring started off on a sad note. Our beloved cat, Ash, suffered from some form of blood cancer and died. Nora and Ash were best buddies, so we were especially worried about how it would affect her. Whenever Nora was feeling overwhelmed, sad, or just bored, she'd get Ash and pet him. He adored the attention, and seemed to understand her special sensory needs.

As it turned out, Nora was a real trooper through the whole ordeal. She loved him and consoled him up to the end. The vet was so moved by our plight he ended up giving us a cat who needed a home a month later, which has been just wonderful. But for now, I'll leave the story with our last photo of Ash, taken about 3 days before he died.

The girls with Ash

Nora lost her first tooth this spring! She had been wanting to loose a tooth for years now, so she was quite pleased with herself. The bottom one on the same side came out a couple of days later.

Nora with her front tooth missing

One of the joys of late spring is getting to run through the sprinklers again. We also have a small Slip 'n' Slide the kids enjoy. Afterwords it feels so good to sit in the sun and dry off.

The kids drying off

Caleb was even treated to a damselfly who thought his glasses were the best resting place.

Caleb with a damselfly on his glasses

One sunny afternoon we went to check out a walking trail not too far away. It was in a little known local county park, and we were treated to meadow and pond wildlife putting on their springtime show.

The meadow

The pond

Alex was most hot and proclaimed it far too buggy, but the rest of us enjoyed it. Caleb found some pond-side buddies:

Caleb with a dragonfly and toad

While Anna enjoyed picking dandelions.

Anna picking a dandelion Anna posing with her flower

On our way back to the van, we were startled to see three turkey vultures circling over it. (Alex had stayed in the vehicle... he must have smelled dead!) Overall, it was a fun little walk. I even got some neat shots of the local wildlife (see the nature and bird photo galleries for those.)

We acquired some free passes to the Minnesota Zoo so we decided to make a day of it one day in late May. (Lee was conveniently laid off for about a month, so he got to come along, too.) We started off with their new Russia's Grizzly Coast trail. The bear exhibit was pretty cool.

Lee and Anna watching a bear

A bear by the stream

Two bear along the water's edge

The kids dug up some mammoth "bones" in the big sandbox along the trail.

Nora on a mammoth skull model

From there we walked the outdoor trail. The highlight there was the prairie dog town.

Caleb and Rosa with some prairie dogs

The zoo was getting ready to open their Africa display, so we got a sneak peak. We thought the Como Zoo was a much better place to actually see the African animals, but we did get a kick out of an ostrich who was dancing for us along the fencing.

An ostrich

The farm was our next stop. The girls, Nora especially, loved the horses.

Nora stroking a horse

The boys thought it was funny to let the goats suck on their shirts.

A goat chewing on Caleb's shirt

I thought it much cuter to see them suckling something more appropriate.

Two babies suckling from mama goat

All the kids enjoyed chasing chickens in the wooded area behind the coop, and then stopped to become chickens themselves.

We watched the bird show next. A highlight was the dancing cockatoo.

A cockatoo dancing

The eagle was very impressive.

a bald eagle

After a nice picnic we took a quick stop in the children's play room. Anna became a tiger...

Anna in a tiger costume

And Nora became a scuba diver, so she could swim with the dolphins.

Nora looking in the mirror with scuba gear on Another of Nora in her diving gear

Our last journey was through the tropics trail. We all stopped to ooh and aw at a tiny pygmy hedgehog.

A tiny hedgehog resting

Everyone, that is, but Rosa. She was hollering about something green. Embarrassed, I pulled her aside and tried to understand what she was screaming about. Turns out, a bird (must have been a very large bird!) was high in the trees above us, and gave Rosa an unwelcome present right on her pigtails! After a trip to the bathroom (it is most difficult to wash someone's hair with those new automatic sinks that shut themselves off every 5 seconds!!) she was no worse for the wear. I convinced her she was good as new, and posed her next to an orchid that was almost as pretty as her.

Rosa sitting next to a orchid flower

The other birds there were much more enjoyable. Nora loved the flamingos.


Caleb and Alex were amazed by a tiny bird that called so loudly we could here it throughout the whole exhibit.

An orange and black bird

Even Rosa had to admit that a fancy blue bird on a nest was neat.

a bird on it's nest

A strange creature called a binturong slept in a hammock.

a binturong sleeping

A red panda also snoozed in the sun.

a red panda sleeping

Alex loved the puffer fish. They seemed to pose for the camera!

a puffer-fish

Tired and worn out, we headed home. The kids love trains, so I was thrilled when one passed us by.

a train

The children's reactions were not what I had quite expected, however.

Anna sleeping

Corbin sleeping Rosa sleeping

Teenager Alex was equally unimpressed.

Alex peeking over sunglasses

Thus wraps up our springtime excitement. Soon school ended, and the real fun began! But that is another adventure...

Where do you want to go next? Click below:

click here to go to Waveofjoy's Homepage

click here to go to the updates page

click here to go to the photo galleries

click here see our latest happenings

click here to go to our blog

click here to go to our links page