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.
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.
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.
Caleb was even treated to a damselfly who thought his glasses were the best resting place.
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.
Alex was most hot and proclaimed it far too buggy, but the rest of us enjoyed it. Caleb found some pond-side buddies:
While Anna enjoyed picking dandelions.
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.
The kids dug up some mammoth "bones" in the big sandbox along the trail.
From there we walked the outdoor trail. The highlight there was the prairie dog town.
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.
The farm was our next stop. The girls, Nora especially, loved the horses.
The boys thought it was funny to let the goats suck on their shirts.
I thought it much cuter to see them suckling something more appropriate.
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.
The eagle was very impressive.
After a nice picnic we took a quick stop in the children's play room. Anna became a tiger...
And Nora became a scuba diver, so she could swim with the dolphins.
Our last journey was through the tropics trail. We all stopped to ooh and aw at a tiny pygmy hedgehog.
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.
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.
Even Rosa had to admit that a fancy blue bird on a nest was neat.
A strange creature called a binturong slept in a hammock.
A red panda also snoozed in the sun.
Alex loved the puffer fish. They seemed to pose for the camera!
Tired and worn out, we headed home. The kids love trains, so I was thrilled when one passed us by.
The children's reactions were not what I had quite expected, however.
Teenager Alex was equally unimpressed.
Thus wraps up our springtime excitement. Soon school ended, and the real fun began! But that is another adventure...