Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our Girl - Amelia

So, to prove that Steve and I really are completely insane, we recently aquired - Amelia. No, this is not what we're going to name our daughter, although the name is ironic as I liked it and Steve didn't. Now we have a compromise - of sorts. If a reptile counts as a compromise for naming your daughter.... when there wasn't even a fight....? Oh well.

The point is, Steve decided a while back he wanted a chameleon in his classroom as his reptile example (we're slowly filling the major groups of animals as he has fish, birds, mammals, and now reptiles in his class) but we weren't planning on looking until next year - considering the other big "ultimate pet" as Steve puts it that is coming in August (hopefully not September). But, then we saw an ad on craigslist. Steve and I should be kept off of craigslist like alcoholics should stay away from bars. Ok, so mostly me. But in my defense, I find the deals and Steve decides whether or not we should inquire. When it came to an absolute steal for a chameleon, her vitamins, her cage, and a watering/misting system worth several hundred dollars on its own, we inquired. (This is her setup by the way, which was all provided, including the timers for her lights and misting system.)

We sent an e-mail Sunday night when we saw the ad. And as of Monday night, the guinea pigs had a new neighbor in Steve's class. So, meet Amelia.

So most of the pictures were taken on Steve's phone as I have been busy and not in to his class since Monday to get pictures. In this one, she's going for a cricket in the corner. Which is funny because apparently - Amelia has bad aim. We were informed of this by her previous owners, and Steve has since confirmed it. Funny to me after my tree frog Odhran who would smash his face into the glass walls aiming for crickets...
So this is one of the few pictures I got of her Monday. She was not happy about being in a transport box while we got everything set up, and kept hiding behind this branch as a way of protesting. The other way she protested was by digging those tiny, needle-sharp claws into my hand when I put her in her cage. We were informed that veiled chameleons are anti-social and moody. Boy did she live up to her reputation! She clamped down so hard on my hand it hurt for 5 minutes after she finally let go, and she refused to even let up with a single hand for a couple of minutes. After that she took her sweet time releasing the other 3!
These photos are important because: one, they show her neat coloring and eyes and such. Two, when you compare them to the photo above, you get to see how pissed off Amelia really was with us Monday night. Veiled chameleons as it turns out turn black when they're mad. Usually just spots. We saw this when her old owners took her out of her cage. When we pulled her out and put her back in, and she was kind enough to illustrate her fine grip to me, she was completely black. She seems a little happier now...
So, that's our latest aquisition. And yes, even I thought we were totally crazy while we were on our way to get her. I guess there's a difference between realizing you're crazy and wanting to be sane....

Steve - The Chick Magnet

So, many of you knew that Steve was quite the ladies man, and it seems that even now he can't give up his need to be surrounded by cute chicks. See what I mean?
Ok, so beyond the random women at grocery stores that flirt with him, these are Steve's latest conquests.

These are the pheasant chicks Steve is raising at his school right now. The prison in Connell raises them for people who want to release and hunt the males, so they basically give away females to schools that want to raise and release them. These guys have already grown a ton! And I absolutely love their giant feet and how quickly they run. Makes me think of Road Runner...
This little guy showed up a few weeks ago out of nowhere in the finch cage. Ok, so obviously not out of nowhere, but the finches had been laying dud eggs for quite some time and we did not expect anything to come of the latest batch. We only found him because I was going to clean out the latest batch of old eggs and bedding and found a little pink naked bird instead! Only a few weeks later he/she is completely feathered! Obviously, these guys grow up quick. The funny part is that it's obviously a Gouldian (one of our bright finches) because of the green, but the Gouldians lay lots of eggs, and then just leave them there. Then the Society finches (our brown and white ones) come and take care of the eggs - and this baby. Apparently if you want a great nursemaid, hire a society finch. Things we would keep in mind in August if we were finches...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Muskrat Love

So back in February or so Steve was given charge of about 100 salmon for his classroom. He has been caring for them ever since and this week it was time to release them into a local stream. (We figured it was about time since he had 10 or so jump out of the tank and commit suicide and the whole point is to boost salmon numbers and not to do psychological studies on what drives salmon to the edge...)

Steve got in touch with a local man who has a stream running through his backyard. Each fall the salmon return and spawn here and he said that between him and his neighbor they have had as many as 35+ salmon nests in the fall. So, we knew it would be good salmon habitat. Steve invited any students who wanted to come along to come join us. And as usual, kicked into Mr. Bennett mode and had to teach the kids about why this was good habitat and how local stream health is vital to salmon populations. He really is a great teacher.
After that, he took our cooler full of salmon and dumped them into the stream. The students enjoyed trying to spot the fish as they spread out in a natural habitat for the first time in their lives.
After that, Mr. Bennett had to revert back to Steve mode when a student saw something along the shore in the stream. Being Steve, it wasn't enough to check it out - he had to pick it up and show it to the rest of us. So, I bring you Steve and his friend the muskrat.In case you don't know what a LIVE muskrat looks like...

We all enjoyed thinking about how hilarious it would have been if the muskrat had come back to life or had just been sleeping when Steve picked it up. Sorry, the story isn't that interesting.

But, the gentleman welcomed Steve and his students back any time and we hope to take the environmental science class up next fall to count nests and see salmon spawning (and then hopefully make a trip to McNary dam to see the fish runs and ladders and talk about local salmon and the trade-offs associated with the dam/salmon controversy).

By the way, the area was beautiful! And on a totally random note, the man bred some beautiful dogs which were quite funny and friendly companions on our way.

Getting Organized

So we had a baby shower yesterday here in town that some of the women from our ward threw for me. It was great!
We got a TON of cute clothes - right after I had picked up a ton at a local garage sale. And I know we're getting more. This child will not run naked! Except when she strips down and flees later on....
These are just the clothes I ended up putting in storage after keeping out all the 0-3 month stuff.

We also got this great little bin organizer that I used to start getting things put in order.
All of a sudden having clothes around and things starting to appear in the nursery has things feeling a lot more real! And I'm beginning to get into panic mode where I am realizing that she could be here in 3 months and we haven't really even begun to prepare!
This is all we have besides clothes, the odds and ends in the tubs, the Bennett family bassinet, and our swing... Hence my worry. But, I suppose we can get an awful lot done in 3 months. Here's hoping!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Our Temple

So, Steve and I have had the best of intentions to take pictures of our Temple here in the Tri-Cities since we moved here. Now, after only 9 months of being here, we finally remembered to bring the camera along.

This is the Columbia River Temple.

And, even though this is us shortly after getting home from the Temple...

I promise this is the public persona we take to the Temple.
Sometimes I still wonder if people know I'm pregnant... The joys of not seeing yourself from that 3rd person perspective.

So Naive...

So, here is what Steve and I thought my "I'm pregnant dress" looked like at around 15 or 16 weeks.
Now, just shy of 25 weeks, we know that this is what a pregnancy dress really looks like.

Oh the difference 10 weeks makes... What were we thinking?