A Quick Post About An Exhausting Weekend – Caption This Cat

This weekend was an exhausting one.  We went to B’s aunt’s house by the lake every day where we swam in the pool, played on the beach, went out on a boat, had fun with our relatives, and ate a lot of food.  This weekend was also mentally exhausting because my mother rushed to the ER with severe stomach pains and nausea.  After thinking it might be appendicitis, the actual cause was determined to be gall stones.  Luckily, she passed them.  Not-so-luckily, once a gall bladder starts making gall stones, it will just make more of them and they can be fatal.  So her gall bladder had to come out.  Surgery was scheduled, she was operated on, and – after a day – she was allowed to go home.

Though I took a ton of photos over the weekend, I was physically and mentally wiped out at the end of each night and just climbed into bed.  Sunday night, I finally got the chance to look them through.  Still, though, I might need awhile to process through them and see what will get posted.

Until I do, here’s one I knew I wanted to post.  It’s of Aunt S’s new cat, Oliver.  The kids had fun playing with him and his other kitten sibling during our time there.  The kitten really loved chasing laser pointers and playing with toys.  Oliver even let me pick him up.



But this photo was my favorite.  I caught Oliver mid-meow and this expression was priceless.


I feel like this should have a witty caption, but my brain is still too tired to come up with one.  So I’m leaving it up to you.

What would you caption this photo?

Apple Picking And Animal Petting Adventure

This past weekend was a perfect fall day.  It was sunny, but not too hot.  A breeze was blowing but it wasn’t too cold.  Ideal weather for apple picking.  We went to a nearby farm – Indian Ladder Farms, got our bags, and began to pick.


There were so many big apples that, before long, our bags were filled beyond capacity.  A couple of apples rolled out as we tried to pick them up.  The boys scooped these up and helpfully carried them to the car.  Later that day, I’d weigh the apples to determine that we had picked 44.5 pounds of apples!

We weren’t done yet, though.  After driving across the road, we went to the farm itself.  Indian Ladder Farms is at the foot of the Helderbergs.  It’s beautiful and there was a lot to look at there.  Specifically, the boys enjoyed seeing, petting, and feeding all of the animals.


After washing our hands, we stopped by their shop where we bought apple cider, honey, and apple cider donuts – all made at Indian Ladder Farms!


Though we were only there around two hours, we got a lot packed in.  We left (munching on the delicious donuts in the car) vowing to come back some time soon.  We might skip the apple picking, though, until we can work through all 44.5 pounds of apples.  (If you know of any good apple recipes, please post them in the comments!)

And thus ended our adventure.


(Yes, I am easily amused!)

GE Kids Day Animal Encounters

My boys love animals. So when we went to GE Kids Day in Albany’s Empire State Plaza, they loved seeing the different animals that were there.

First up were some bears.  Ok, perhaps these weren’t real animals, but they still loved seeing the Care Bears.


They also liked seeing some of the other costumed animals roaming around.


Onto the real animals, though.  As we approached the two by two petting zoo, we saw this cute turtle and rabbit pair.


From here, we moved on to some goats who were quite happy that kids were offering them leaves to eat.  It was like an all-you-can-eat-goat-salad-bar.


Moving on from the goats, there was a red kangaroo that was taking it easy in the hot, midday sun.


Then, there was a black and white lemur whose screech was quite impressive.  (Sadly, he stopped screeching as soon as I got my camera set on video mode.  Mischievous little lemur!)


A blue and gold macaw was sitting pretty on a perch.


Prowling around their cage were a pair of coatimundi – omnivorous animals that are related to raccoons.


There were also a few lizards and an alligator that NHL and JSL got to pet.


After the petting zoo, we moved onto an animal experience of a different kind.  NHL and JSL got to ride a pony.  NHL has ridden one before, but this was in kindergarten so he likely doesn’t remember it.  This was JSL’s first pony ride.  They both donned helmets and one after the other got atop Zoe the Pony for a ride.


Alongside the pony ride were some baby chicks, goats, and sheep to look at as well.


Given that the boys and I made lots of new memories and that this experience has deepened the boys’ love of animals, this was a wonderful way to spend a day.

The #DisneySMMoms Report: A Wild Time Trekking Through Africa, Part 3

As we left the Boma on our Wild Africa Trek, we got back into our special safari vehicle and rejoined the path.

First, we found some rhinos.


Um, some rhinos.


Ok, here is where I get huge photographer-envy for our tour guides.  They have not only the great camera and lens, but the knowledge of where to position themselves to get the great shots.


Next up was the lion.  Usually, when we go on the Kilimanjaro Safari, we see the lion’s rock cropping and no lions.  It doesn’t help that lions sleep over 20 hours every day.  And talk about stereotypical male fantasy.  The female lions do all the hunting while the guys take it easy.  The males will then eat what the females brought them and mate with the females in their pack.  The only thing the male lions need to worry about is a bigger, stronger lion taking over his spot and kicking him out.  That lion would then kill all of the other lion’s kids and claim the females as his own.  I’ll take my day job over a lion’s life any day!

Back to the trek, though.  We drove up to a spot that the normal tours don’t go so we were able to see the two lions – brother and sister – as they lounged on the rocks.  Again, my camera took nice photos, but the guide’s camera got up close and personal.


We drove on and saw some more sights, but all-too-soon, I saw the familiar geysers that signal the end of Kilimanjaro Safari.  Usually, on the safari ride, your tour guide begins driving fast and erratically as you try to catch some poachers who stole a baby elephant.  Instead, we were let in on a little secret.  A new resident is coming to the Kilimanjaro Safari.  Of all of the African animals, one very famous one is missing: Zebras.  They have some that are almost ready to make their debut, though.  (Sure enough, when we went on a Kilimanjaro Safari the next day, the "poacher" elements had already been removed to begin preparing the area for zebras.)

Disembarking from our vehicle, we walked back to our starting point.  Once there, we were given the chance to donate a portion of the proceeds from the trek towards lions, elephants, rhinos, or to the general Disney World conservation fund.  Yes, when you pay a fee to take the trek, you don’t just get an amazing experience, you don’t just get to see fantastic animals up close, but you get to help save them as well.  I put my stone in the lion area since NHL’s favorite animal is the lion.


After this, we got a commemorative pin to signify that we completed the Trek.  Finally, it was time to collect our items from our lockers and it was time to head out.  Before we did that, though, we took one last group photo.


I left the trek feeling a bit sad.  It was so much fun travelling through Africa talking with my trek-mates that I didn’t want it to end.  I would definitely recommend the Wild Africa Trek to anyone who can handle the hike, loves animals, and wants to get a closer look at them.

Disclaimer: We paid for our own trip to Disney World to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Though we were given an incredible deal from Disney, they never asked us to blog about this event. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Note: To see all of my posts on DisneySMMoms 2012, go here.

The #DisneySMMoms Report: A Wild Time Trekking Through Africa, Part 2

I left my last Wild Africa Trek post on something of a cliffhanger.  Well, not a cliffhanger, but a "bridge hanger."  Yes, we were about to cross this bridge.


Our guides helpfully let us know that they had prepped the bridge for us by jumping on and knocking out any rotten planks.  So we shouldn’t be worried.

First, we climbed a tower and got a quick tutorial on what to do.  Then, as each of us had our turn, we were clipped into the safety line (remember the monkey tails from the last post?), and were given the go ahead.  Then, we carefully made our way along the bridge.

Whenever a safari vehicle passed beneath us, the bridge would rumble a bit.  Luckily, the ropes on the sides helped keep everyone steady.  We were encourage to take our time and take photos, and we all took advantage of the view.


In addition to the photos we were taking, our guide was taking photos of us while we were crossing.


My crossing went smoothly except for one near-incident.  I was taking photos of the crocodiles below me and didn’t look where my foot was going.  As it went down, I realized there was no plank there.  I pulled my foot up and tried frantically to regain my balance.  Luckily, I was able to and continued on.  There would be no techy-snack for the crocs that day.  The whole incident probably took about half a second, but played out much slower for me.  (Yes, I know I was clipped into a safety line, but I really didn’t want to test its strength.)  I’m convinced that the trek photographer captured my near-plunge in this photo.


Once we were safely on the other side, we were unclipped and waited for our trek-mates to catch up.  Then, it was time to re-clip to get a closer look at the crocodiles.  We learned that all of the crocs were males.  Not a single female down there.  For good reason too.  If even one female was there, the guys would start fighting amongst themselves to figure out who got to mate with her.  Without any females to fight over, the male crocs spend most of their days relaxing in the sun.


When we were finished looking at the crocodiles, we were given the chance to refill our water bottles.  Then, it was time to move on.  Luckily, we didn’t have far to go this time.  We quickly reached the next stage of our journey.  After taking off our vests (but keeping our water bottles), we boarded a special safari vehicle, driven by a new (to us) trek cast member – Beverly.

Unlike the normal Kilimanjaro Safari vehicle, which has rows of seats for people to sit on, this one had one sitting area around the edge of the truck.  The inside was completely open so we could walk around.  Not while we were in motion, of course, but when we stopped we were allowed to get up and position ourselves for the best photographs.  And the vehicle stopped a lot more than the usual Kilimanjaro Safari vehicle does.  (Our trek photographer also kept snapping shots.)


Before long, we turned off the usual path and headed up to the Boma where we would have lunch.  As we disembarked, we were greeted with restrooms, Pog juice, and our meals (which I posted photos of here).  We were able to sit and talk amongst ourselves as well as get up, walk around, take more photos, and ask our guides plenty of questions.


All too soon, it was time to take the last part of our journey (which I shall describe in my final Wild Africa Trek post).

Disclaimer: We paid for our own trip to Disney World to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Though we were given an incredible deal from Disney, they never asked us to blog about this event. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Note: To see all of my posts on DisneySMMoms 2012, go here.

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