Who are these Critters you speak of?

Monday, October 25, 2010

St. Marks Wildlife Preserve - Monarch Butterfly Festival

Rian, the Critters, and I headed down to St. Marks this Saturday to attend the annual Monarch Butterfly Festival. Apparently Monarch Butterflies from the Northern US and Canada travel thousands of mile to Mexico to hibernate for the winter. St. Marks is one of their stops on the way down. I had never heard of this festival, and you know we love us some festivals, until a coworker mentioned it. It was a pretty cool little set up.

We parked and unloaded the Critters and the new Choo Choo Wagon (Merry Christmas from Grandpa Dave) and were off to the St. Marks lighthouse, which was the starting point. Rian and Hadley headed over to the butterfly tagging area and Hadley got to "hold" (I use that term loosely) a butterfly while they tagged it to monitor its migration. The butterfly was then released to continue on its merry way. After that we headed over to the FAMU entomology tent, not a good idea - in the slightest. We were looking at the butterfly specimens in the cases when this dude decided to bring out the mother of all roaches, yes I said a roach.

(Click here if you want to see a picture of one similar. No I didn't take a picture.)


This thing was what nightmares a made of. I swear to God this thing could have eaten CarCar. We quickly beelined it to the walking trail to find some happy thoughts and cute butterflies, maybe a unicorn if we were lucky.

It was pretty cool to see the butterflies just hanging out on the bushes. The Critters loved seeing all of them flying around. I will also add that you could not have asked for a more beautiful day, high seventies with a nice gulf breeze. We putzed around the trail for a little bit and then headed back to the butterfly tagging area, CarCar said that she wanted a turn. (Note: We were careful to avoid the tent of nightmares and it's devil roach.) CarCar got to have a butterfly walk on her hand and then she watched it fly off. To my surprise CarCar uttered these words of encouragement to her new butterfly friend, "Adios mi amigo mariposa divertirse en Mexico, pero ten cuidado con los carteles." Did you know that CarCar could speak Spanish, I sure didn't. I had to break out my iPhone translator. She apparently said, "Good bye, my butterfly friend, have fun in Mexico, but watch out for the Cartels."

CarCar telling her new friend (the butterfly) goodbye.

After that little exchange we were off to grab some lunch. We hit the hot dog stand at the visitors center (this was a treat for the Critters as they do not often get hot dogs). We headed to the visitors center quickly so Brother could see the people tagging station. He thought is was some kind of futuristic human tagging program. He got tagged and said that the government will know where he is at all times, I told him not to worry too much I think they just put a sticker on you. He is still convinced that they are tracking him, oh well. We were definitely bumping up against nap time after that, so we loaded up the troops and headed home. We will definitely be heading back next year.

Here are a few pics from the day:

The Critters in their new "Choo Choo Wagon."

Self explanatory.

Some kind of butterfly that is not a Monarch.

Some Monarchs hanging out.

Another Monarch.

It definitely is a beautiful wildlife preserve.

The Critters did one heck of a job with parallel parking.


Disney. In a Few Words.

Disney. You really don't need to say much else, do you? The Critters invaded the Magic Kingdom last Saturday and let's just say it was an enlightening experience. I don't think that we were really prepared for our day there, but when I think about it I am not sure what we could have done to improve anything. I really think that we will just have to caulk this up to a learning experience. Oh, we will definitely go again, and probably again and again (I think we are going back in December). The Critters seemed to have a good time it was just the "big kids" that struggled a little bit.

Here are some pictures from our journey:

A done up for Halloween.

This just looked like an AT&T commercial. Unfortunately service sucked in the park, I could barely hear FSU squeak by BC on my phone.

Brother was extremely upset when he found out he couldn't ride Space Mountain. He tried to reason with the cast members but they told him he fell a little short of the required height.

CarCar and Grandma Kate on the Carousel.

CarCar was a little unsure of all of the horses going up and down.

Uncle Adam and Hadley on the Carousel.

Grandma B and Brother on the Carousel.

Mom and Hadley in line to ride Dumbo.

Dad and Had taking a stroll.

We all found this a lot more amusing than CarCar did.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch, Take One.

While we were down in Orlando we headed to the local pumpkin patch to help Grandma B pick out her pumpkins. Needless to say, she had more than enough help in choosing her pumpkins.

Here are a few shots:

The Critters scoping out the goods.

Hadster fancied the small pumpkins.

Hadley in her "Sassy McSasserson" pink cowboy boots.

CarCar trying to figure out how to get this to the checkout.


Hitting the Open Rails

Rian, me, and the Critters were down in Orlando for some FLVS training last week, well Rian was, we just tagged along. On Friday, Grandma Kate bought Amtrak tickets so the Critters could experience their first real train ride. We boarded the train at the Winter Park, Florida station and rode the rails all the way to the downtown Orlando station. Yes, it was a 23 minute trip. Grandma Kate barely had enough time to drive the Critterwagon from Winter Park to downtown Orlando.

I will tell you that the Critters loved the trip. Reese and Carson were mesmerized on the train. CarCar got the window seat and had her little face pressed against the window for the entire ride. Reese just had this look of amazement throughout the trip. He was also in charge of holding the tickets and he seemed to take that job very seriously. Hadley seemed to enjoy the ride but not quite as much as the other two.

Here are a few shots from the trip:

Winter Park, Florida Amtrak station.

Preparing for our journey.

Me and Bro-man keeping an eye on the tickets.

This is CarCar throughout the entire trip.

Jenna and Hadley.

Our final destination.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Engagement David and Aunt Sister

I broke out my Microsoft Paint skills for this. David and Aunt Sister are the two circled (I think Carson made it in the picture also).

The Critters would like to extend the warmest congratulations to David and Aunt Sister (Mary) on their engagement. The Critters are a little late in this congrats as the actual event took place on Friday, but they wanted to wish you two the very best.

From Chris, Rian, Hadley, Carson, Reese, and Abbey the Dog we wish you both the best and we are extremely excited for you.


Friday, October 8, 2010

An Early Halloween Party

Rian's friend Betsy (who threw the Pumpkins in the Park party last year) had an early Halloween party. The Critters decided to sport their fall duds. Betsy had a cupcake decorating (or smashing) table for the kids to enjoy. The Critters leaned more toward the smashing, but CarCar did manage to get a few decorations on her cupcakes. We also learned that the Critters liked jelly beans, marshmallows - not so much.

The Critters were definitely able to let out some energy by running around the backyard. Hadley had a minor mishap when she did a face plant and slide down the hill. Once I realized she was okay it was a little funny, she looked like Rambo after he came out of the mud pit. Unfortunately we didn't get any shots of that because soon after that CarCar decided that she didn't want apple juice anymore. She felt the need to grab Rian's sangria and take a little taste (I repeat, a tiny amount got in her mouth - no need to call DCF) and then proceeded to dump it down the front of her white shirt. That's about the time we said our farewells and headed home to hose the Critters down.

A few pics:

CarCar looking innocent and sweet - translation: she is plotting something.

Cupcake decorating table.

Are all of these cupcakes for me?

Oh well, I'll just sit here and munch on this one.

Napkin anyone?

I promise you Hadley was at the party. This is pre-face plant.

CarCar after the great sangria episode.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Broman Walketh

Here are a few shots of Brother walking. These did not turn out to be the greatest pictures for some reason.

Here ya go:

Not really sure what is going on here with the picture, but it reminds me of one of those grainy, probably doctored pictures of Bigfoot.

This shot looks like it was taken in a nursing home. Oh look, there's Hadley taking a walk with Brother and his walker down the hallway. Hey Brother do you need some new tennis balls for that thing?


Happy Belated Birthday Aunt Donna

The chocolate cake.
As many of you know Aunt Donna is our surrogate aunt here in Tallahassee. She comes over to the house every Tuesday and some Fridays to spend time with the Critters and they love every minute of it.

Last Thursday was Aunt Donna's birthday and Rian, the Critters and I decided to cook dinner for her. Well Rian bought the ingredients and flowers, I cooked the meal, and the Critters just basically sat around. The dinner turned out great, we had Shrimp and Grits, salad, and for dessert, chocolate cake.

Rian invited Donna's niece Leslie, her husband Ted, and their two girls, Paige and Lindsey for cake. Everyone had a great time and Aunt Donna was genuinely surprised that Rian whipped this together.

Here are a few pictures:

Aunt Donna with the Critters. I think they thought they were getting some cake after their dinner.

Brother decided to get up to see what all of the excitement was about.