Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can You Have Half of An Empty Nest Syndrome?

This is my son Jason. My firstborn. He is growing into a wonderful young man. He has a job with many responsibilities, a plan for a future, and his whole life in front of him. I can't even begin to tell you how much he means to me or how much I love him. Well, we reached a new stepping stone in our lives here today. Jason moved into Gainesville.

I handled this decision by going shopping. I bought Jason necessary things that I am sure he has taken for granted all these years and would never imagine he will now need to be providing on his own. Lovely, fun things like toothpaste, clothes hangers, soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, stain sticks, fabric softeners, you get the idea. I even threw in some fun stuff like a Barq's root beer, some special mints he likes, and a big bag of wintergreen lifesavers. I even got Jason a Wal-Mart gift card in case he thinks of something we forgot - like cat litter.
We loaded furniture into the truck, and Jason packed his computer, television, and video game electronics into his car. Then we headed into Gainesville and saw the house Jason is moving into. A very nice home, beautiful hardwood floors, a decent-sized yard for being in a city, it's even fenced in for Ein, his corgie.
So, if your child hasn't moved away from home yet, and you can't imagine what it will look like with him gone, the above photo is a shot to let you know what our back yard looks like now - lol! Yay! He finally cleaned his room - just kidding, son! I love you! I will miss you desperately! Call home often! Love you, Mom.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You Capture Reflections

I am taking part in a new challenge this week called You Capture. You can find the link to this photography blog here. The challenge this week was to take a photo highlighting a reflection, any kind of reflection. I wanted to do something out-of-the-box, something not water-related. Here is my result:
I got this idea when my husband and I started to watch Eagle Eye on DVD. The reflection on the back of the DVD was perfect. Kali and I headed out to the backyard and took a bunch of photos.
Then I started thinking about the reflection, and wanted to make it the focal point of my photo. So, I went into Picasa and edited the remainder of the photo into a blur, leaving the focus on the DVD reflection. I was really pleased with the results. Then, Kali and I started playing with regular CDs. You can see the results of those photos in my last post. Feel free to check out the You Capture challenge and join us next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On The Road Again, This Time to Atlanta

Kali and I are headed to Atlanta in the morning. The Georgia NCFCA Qualifier is being held there Thursday through Saturday. Speech and Debate Tournament, yes, another one. Kali loves this. She's been practicing and writing, and re-writing. We are almost finished packing. We are going to stay over a day and go to the Georgia Aquarium with Mark's sister and her family. They live just outside of Atlanta. So, sometime next week expect photos from the tournament, as well as from the aquarium. This is a huge tournament, 240 students registered. There are 55 teams debating in Team Policy, 47 individual students debating in Lincoln-Douglas Value Debating, and 60 speech rooms have been set up for those competitions. Families are traveling from all over Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina to compete. Good luck to Kali and all the other students! Prayers for safe travels and great competition. See you when we get home!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mom, Can We Count This As Science?

OK, I have a photo challenge to work on this week. I'll tell you more specifics on Thursday. One thing led to another and Kali and I ended up outside armed with a camera and a blue ray DVD for the movie Eagle Eye. This was Kali's resulting photo. She got a great reflection of the overhead branches in our back yard.
Then we got the idea to play around some with other possible shots, but I wasn't willing to use my $29.99 blue ray movie to experiment with. Instead, we sacrificed a blank CD :O) to get the following shots.

I was surprised at the great colors we got when the sun was striking the CD. We used the recording side for our experiments. It didn't matter whether we held it in our hand facing the sun, placed it on the porch in the shade, took an angle shot with the CD on the ground, or took a direct, straight on shot - we got beautiful colors. Yes, this is certainly something you other homeschoolers could play around with and use to study light, refraction, reflexion, colors, who knows what else. And it was fun! Deb, I can just see a post on your blog now with all 4 of your kids playing with your CDs. I am interested to see what they might do with this :O).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Watching the Wildlife

I love this shot from the Lowry Park Zoo. Jason was taking pictures with his new camera and wanted me to feed the giraffe so he could get a shot up close. I spent $2.00 for one cracker. The giraffes have really long tongues and they eat those crackers in a big hurry. I held out the cracker, the giraffe slurped it up, I heard Jason take his photo, then I threw my camera up and jabbed the button - lol. I had no idea if the giraffe was even in the frame. This was my result and I love it!

Looking a little more normal. They have the neatest eyelashes.
This owl did not like me and refused to look right at me. I'd get in front of him and he'd turn his head the opposite direction. I'd walk over there to get a photo and he'd turn back to the first position. I learned to shoot as I walked past :O).
A beautiful Okapi. I think it's neat how he looks like a cross between a zebra and a horse.
* * * * * * * * *
Now, more babies from the zoo. They were really my priority. I already posted shots and a video of the white tiger twin cubs.
Black and white colobus monkeys.
These are squirrel monkeys. Not a great shot - I had to take it through two mesh fences. The blob on the mother's back is actually a fairly new baby. It had very little fur. The baby was so new the zoo wasn't even mentioning it yet.
Photos above and below are of a Mandrill and her baby. They are relations to the baboon. Awesome colors on the mom's face. The baby didn't want to get too far from mom's side, but you can see him peeking around her in the top shot.
Right in the middle of the shot, you can see a tamarin baby. Again, I was shooting through fencing. This baby was trying to explore a bit on its own, but the mom was having none of that. Everytime the baby got out on the tree itself, the mom snatched it up and put it back in a box at the back of the enclosure.
Baby ring-tailed lemur. Look at the mom to the right in the photo. You can see the baby sitting in her lap. Its head is right under the mom's arm, then going down you can see its back, its left leg pulled up, and one little arm hanging on. Both lemurs had babies, but after about 30 shots I found that this was the best photograph I got.
Here is baby Randee, an orangutan. I showed her in a previous post. Here, Randee was playing with another orangutan that was hiding under the canvas. They were a lot of fun to watch. The zookeepers give them clothes and pieces of fabric to play with. When Kali and I were at the zoo 2-3 weeks ago, Randee's mom had a red t-shirt she carried everywhere. On this trip, she still had the red shirt, you just can't see it in this photo. Supposedly, the cloth helps calm the orangutans and gives them something to play with.
These babies were living in a pond in the hyenas enclosure. I wouldn't think that would be a prime place for raising babies. Maybe that's why the mom has them so hidden in this bush at waterside.

These last photos are just some random shots I took. The Lowry Park Zoo is an incredible zoo. They spent a lot of time landscaping the enclosures and adjacent areas to mimic the native homes of the animals. This is a great homeschool field trip, if you get the chance, or a great trip for anyone who really loves animals and specifically animal babies!

White Tiger Twin Cubs

See some photos of these little guys in the following post. If you live near Tampa, you can see them at the Lowry Park Zoo in the Asian Gardens.

White Tiger Twin Cubs

Aren't they precious? These little tiger cubs live at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa with their mom. They were so much fun to watch playing, chasing, climbing, and jumping on each other. They've grown a good bit since I saw them about a month ago.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Under the Sea

The above shots of jellyfish were taken recently at the Florida Aquarium. Jason and I spent a morning there taking pictures. It was really hard taking photos through the aquarium walls with all the lights and background shining on the tanks. I loved the jellies - pulsating, floating up and down.

It's time to start making reservations in the Keys for lobster season. Sorry guys!
Brine shrimp. They had a close-up lens so you could see them better. (They were still miniscule.) That's what the circle is. Aren't you glad they zoomed the shot in with the magnifying glass - lol!
I loved the colors of the corals and the sea anemones.
This guy is a leafy sea dragon from Australia. This was my favorite sealife at the aquarium. (I am sorry for all the background stuff in the shot.) His head is to the left as you look at the photo. He is a member of the seahorse family.
Yes, they have normal fish at the aquarium as well. Above, Jason is getting a few shots. Hopefully he will post some at his blog, The Rain Falls Gently.
A Florida soft-shell turtle.
What you can't tell from this picture is that this turtle was about four feet long. He was really cool to watch.
And then you have ducks...the ones that cooperate and just sit there so you can take pictures of them. That would not be the ones swimming away or running to hide behind the bushes.
You know how I am about flowers :O). These were outside behind the aquarium and I just couldn't resist. Thanks for visiting the Florida Aquarium with us.

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