Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pecans and Cookies

While chatting around the kitchen table this afternoon, I cracked pecans.

Julia helped for a little while, but this was harder than it looked.

Knowing their purpose, Melanie helped, too.

It takes quite awhile to get enough pecans to make cookies, but we did it.  They were sweet and fresh.

After putting the dough together, many of us went for a walk.  Ben was brave this afternoon.  Two of his older cousins followed him outside the lookout.

Jacob borrowed my camera and stalked a heron, taking this wonderful shot.

While waiting for Papa and Corinne to return with Indian food, I baked the cookies, which were intended for dessert.  Kids asked for a pre-dinner snack as the wait was longer than expected.  Since adults (not me!) had already snitched, I could hardly say no.

Ben said they were great.
Jacob, taking a severe fall from favorite grandchild status, said the cookies were "good."

Julia gave me a thumbs up.  Whew!

For the record, dinner was fabulous.

Honk! Honk!

Ben and I came upon a large flock of pigeons this morning.

For the record, not once did I warn him to be careful.

He was saying, "Honk, honk!"

He really got into this experience.

I could have watched him do this all day.

Maybe the pigeons would have, too.  They kept flying back.

As we worked our way home, I spied an egret.  I carefully aimed my camera, perfectly framing the bird and his reflection, when he decided to grab a snack.

We had a few detours, one being a strip of dried mud.  Ben and I carefully loaded the mud onto his scooter and together we carried the mud to the lake.

Bliss for a child is throwing stuff in water.

By this time Ben was tired, and maybe a little warm.  I took off his jacket.  Then his left shoe.  Then the right.  He decided he didn't need my help and waved me away.

He took off.

After a few tricks, he let me push him back to the car where I had a juice box.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Singing in the Rain

We met Sammie's family at the Waco Zoo this morning.  The cars you are seeing in the lot are ours.  No one else was there.

It was cold, well, for Texas, and rainy, but in we went.

Our thinking was that the lack of crowds at the zoo on the day after Thanksgiving would compensate for the rain.

For the record, we were right.

Jill is a master at getting children to smile for me.

Jane doesn't need much coaching.

Marcia was happy to pose with her daughter.

All the kids were happy the entire morning.

No complaints about the cold, even from Bradley, who didn't have any kind of a jacket.

If you look closely, you can see the rain on Jeff's glasses.

We had this playground to ourselves, and we played.

We had all the exhibits to ourselves.  Ben and Jeff are posing in front of the enclosure for the two-toed sloth.

Sammie pointed out the bears.  I thought he meant for me to take a picture of this one.

No.  He meant this one.

Sammie and I discussed our respective Thanksgiving dinners.  While we chatted, he sent me a picture of his turkey.  I asked him if there was a Pinterest board for Big Green Egg owners.  He said yes.  I told him about Jeff's gravy.  Maybe I should start a gravy board.

The otter exhibit is amazing, and yes, we had it all to ourselves.  The kids loved the slide.

This was basically a huge plexiglass hole through the otter tank.

Ben got better after about 10 runs down.

We stayed in the otter exhibit for about 20 minutes.  Unrelated, it had a roof.

All the kids took turns.  Many turns.

This was as much fun to watch as it was to slide.

I know that for a fact.

Marcia's grandson Ben was right in the mix.

Fancy tricks became the norm.

The otters loved our visit.

They were very curious about all the kids.

Ben is an otter whisperer.

Austin, another grandson of Marcia's, can speak to them.

The next indoor exhibit held nocturnal animals.

I turned around and found Melanie behind me.  I heard exactly zero complaints about the rain and Melanie was resourceful.

The fact is that I don't think I have ever spent more time in a zoo.

We didn't have to peer over anyone to see the creatures.

Unfortunately for me, no one blocked my view of the snakes.

That was a fortunate occurrence for Will, who stayed in the reptile house quite awhile.

We had completely unobstructed views of huge animals...

And small animals.

Jeff asked for a group photo.

Dave's family was next.

Sammie's family wanted a picture, too, but while we waited for Melissa, Bradley sounded the gong with his head.

Melissa's sister Anna and her family also joined us today.

We had the best time!

This is a mission taco from Torchy's.  I'd heard about this place.  The truth is that no one had bragged enough.  This was fabulous.

Of course, when we got home, some of us went for a walk around the lake.

Jacob helped Ben feed the ducks.

They didn't seem to mind a rainy day, either.