Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One of those mornings

As adults I suspect we remember a morning that was so horrible that all you wanted to return to bed and minimize future problems of the day. Michaela had one of those mornings today, and what follows is a narrative of her first waking thirty minutes!

Michaela woke up happy and was more helpful than normal while getting dressed for school. She even agreed with Danielle that it was time to go upstairs and eat breakfast. This by itself was a shocker to Christine and me, as she is a picky eater that often skips breakfast. At the table Michaela asked to be strapped into her booster seat. She hasn't been strapped into the seat for a long time and it caught me off guard. I did not immediately head her request as I was replacing the broken cell faceplate. At the same time a squirrel came up on the deck and snuck a bit of seed from the bird feeders. All of these circumstances resulted in Michaela's first instance.

Christine told Michaela to turn around and see what was on the deck.By not having the straps buckled, she twisted on the top of the seat rather than twisting and lost her balance from the seat. Michaela fell from the chair like a lumberjack topples a tree, with a nice face plant right onto the floor. To her credit she landed like a cat on all four and saved her nose. This surprised Michaela so much she did not know whether to get right back up, cry, or lay there. A short hug later and she was back to eating, and to her dismay the the squirrel was scared from the deck with the fall and she did not see it.

Michaela and I actually left home earlier enough to arrive at school on time this morning, the first time in over a week. We were even 30 seconds early, and when we are early I unstrap Michaela from the backseat and she joins me in the front until the front door is unlocked at 7:45. After she joined me in the front seat and gave me a nice hug, she wanted to see herself in the mirror. The mirror did not want to adjust to Michaela's hand, rather the rear view mirror snapped right off the windshield. Once again her face was priceless, showing her surprise and and confusion of the situation. It was the second time in 15 minutes I saw that face. I quickly told her it was not a problem and that I could fix the mirror later. She showed her relief with a smile and proceed to look at herself in the mirror, now handheld rather than on the windshield. I hope that the day goes well for her!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Robin Hatching

Tonight we happened to be outside at the exact moment when the first baby robin broke through the blue egg. Michaela and I were on the deck and watched the baby bird break the egg in two and slowly emerge. Two more blue eggs remain. While I do not believe in disturbing nests for photo purposes I did take a few snapshots through the deck boards to give you an idea of what we saw.

The girls are in the bath right now, and I hear them calling...its bedtime!

Buena Vista Grasslands Bust

After sleeping through the alarm clock and then driving like a mad man I arrived at the Kiosk in Buena Vista Grasslands at 6:10 am on Sunday. I was supposed to meet a very knowledgeable birder there at 6, but alas the parking lot was empty. (I later found out they had already left assuming that I was not going to make it.) I grabbed the scope and looked at birds for nearly an hour, hoping they may swing back around. In the mean time I was fortunate enough to find two new life-birds (seen for the first time) a Greater Prairie Chicken and a Henslow's Sparrow. It was also the first time seeing a Bobolink in Wisconsin, and many additional sparrows for the first time this year.

Shortly after 7 I decided to drive to a different spot and look there, which was my undoing at 7:20 am. The Jeep sprung a leak on of the tubes and I had a slow leak in my antifreeze. Luckily I caught it when it happened and was successful at making it 10 miles back to an Auto-Parts Store. After eating breakfast and waiting for the store to open at 9, Eric (at Advanced Auto) kindly helped me cut off the existing tubing and patch a piece of hosing to close the system and allow me to get back to Marshfield in time for graduation. This is the part that decided to break down after 20 years, I guess that the Jeep has held up fairly well all things considered.

Missing the other birders was a blessing in disguise. They birded until later in the day and I may not have been able to fix the Jeep and make it back to Graduation if I had rode along with them for the morning.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mead Pancake Feed

This morning I helped at the Mead Wildlife Area for a pancake fundraiser. Christine and the girls showed up a couple of hours later and I was no longer needed as a volunteer. So we had breakfast and hung around the property for the next three hours for personal enjoyment.

Laura and Samantha Lee (Friends from work) were there at the same time and all of us enjoyed a wagon tour of the property. We haven't been out birding much, and as such it provided me an opportunity to see a Yellow Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Eastern Kingbird, and a Black Tern for the first time this year.

After the ride, Christine took some pictures while the rest of us went for a short walk. The weather was awesome and I got too much sun on my face today. Tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice and I am headed to Beuna Vista Grasslands birding early in the morning, wish me luck! Then is back to Marshfield for graduation at noon, the year is wrapping up quickly. For the time being, here are birds from today.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day...To Me!

This Mother's Day was special for me as not only did we have Mike and Cindy here this weekend, but I got my fence put in. I have been contemplating fencing in our backyard ever since we moved in, especially since Michaela's favorite thing to do is run around the house as fast as she can. We tend to have fairly fast drivers on Weber Avenue and it has worried me that they may decide to run on to the road...it only takes once.

So, after many hours of work and some hard labor from Malcolm and Mike and me "helping" we have a great fence. We were also extremely fortunate that our neighbors had enough chain link fence that they were not going to use so we didn't even have to haul it across town! So, thank you Eric and Diana for your generosity.

Thanks to Grandma Gold for taking some pictures as well, once again we forgot to take any. The girls loved the whale that arrived in the car trunk on Saturday.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spring Weather

Not the expected May 7th weather, but the girls played for a little bit before they got too cold.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wonderful Busy Week

We finished a busy week and with some extra sleep today I think we are ready for the next.

With the warmer weather a few birds have taken residence near our house. Michaela and Danielle point out birds when they visit our bird feeders. The girls enjoy filling the feeders, but also want to fill all of them...including the hummingbird feeders that has not been visited yet. Rather than put any additional hardware into the deck we came up with a make shift feeder pole with hooks, who knows how long the PVC pipe will last.

On Wednesday Great Grandpa Don and Lael stopped by Marshfield on their way back from Georgia. The girls showed off the house and loved the attention. Grandpa and I got some cribbage in while the girls played outside. Unfortunately I had to teach at 6 that night and left shortly after an early dinner.

Thursday morning I bummed a ride with a colleague to Madison for a conference. I presented some preliminary research on the Mead Wildlife Area Cost-Benefit Service Learning Project and was able to network with UW system professors and staff.

The Caruths generously provided a bed for me Thursday night, and on Friday Christine and the girls joined me in Madison. The entire crew of three adults and three toddlers hit a few garage sales Saturday morning while I went downtown. We joined back back together in the late morning and headed to Henry Vilas Zoo. If you look carefully you can see Brad and Maia in the background...oops I missed the photo op.

The return to Madison reminded us of what we had before. We definitely enjoyed out visit with Brad & Micah, Sam & Marie, and to Henry Vilas Zoo. However, Christine and I both mentioned how it felt that home was already somewhere else. Michaela loved her time playing with Maia, although I really think it was just playing with Maia's toys. Both of the girls were exhausted after the visit and slept much of the way home.