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Zoo pics

Some more pics from the zoo yesterday. Still loving my new lens!

It’s funny because for the past seven years, we had zoo memberships but the boys weren’t interested in going. And when we did, it was mostly to ride the carousel or the train. So we let the membership lapse. But ever since they had their time at the zoo for school, they’re obsessed and have been dying to go back. So we renewed our membership yesterday and actually went around and looked at animals.

These are the photos that I think are good…

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Some muddy animal. Linus could tell you what it is.

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Turtles on a log. If you don’t look for the fence in the background, it could almost look natural. Ish.

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Ollie.

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Sleeping macaw.

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Giraffe. (I guess I didn’t really need to label this one, huh?)

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Orangutan.

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George the peacock. Apparently all the peacocks at Audubon Zoo are named George. (Foreman? Not sure.)

And here are the photos that I just find amusing.

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They all wanted to pose in front of their favorite animals. Oliver is excited about the sun bear.

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Linus wanted a neck like a giraffe.

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Miles loves the spider monkeys because they use their tails like hands. Linus was just ready.to.go.

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Dancing in front of the Jaguar Jungle sign.

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Tank.

The boys have this friend, Ethan. Well, first, George and I were friends with his parents. Well, before that, I knew his dad. But anyway. Ethan is about seven months younger than the boys. He was born almost three months prematurely, but considering his nickname at the daycare he went to with the boys was Tank, you really hardly would have known.

Ethan is just an awesome kid. You know. He’s like one of my own, he fits right in with my boys, and they all run around like goons when they get together. (When Miles and Ethan were both Luke Skywalker for Halloween a few years back, epic battles ensued. I guess Ethan isn’t as used to seeing a clone of himself as Miles is.)

Anyway, due to Ethan’s prematurity, he was diagnosed with a form of Cerebral Palsy called Spastic Diplegia. It affects the way his brain communicates with his muscles and causes tightness and weakness making it difficult for him to walk and balance even while standing still.

There is a surgical procedure that has helped other children with Spastic Diplegia called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). SDR treats muscle spasticity caused by abnormal communication among the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles, and Ethan will be having the surgery this summer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

This is a spinal surgery, and Ethan will require lots of physical therapy for six months after the surgery.

So it’s a big deal, and it will be life-changing for Ethan. He’ll be able to walk without falling, and without tiring so easily. (Not that I’ve ever seen Ethan complain. He gets up, brushes himself off, and keeps on running.) But it’ll mean a lot of expenses for his family. So let’s help!

There’s a GoFundMe page here, where you can donate.

Or come to our garage sale on April 18 and buy snacks and beverages from the boys (don’t worry, I’m not going to let them actually make them or anything. But they’re in charge of selling.)

You can also sponsor Heather as she does the Ironman in New Orleans on April 19.

There will be other fundraisers to help raise money for Ethan’s surgery, so keep your eyes open for those!

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Vegas, baby

Man, for someone who is going to be giving a talk on Making Blogging a Habit in three weeks, I’m not doing a stellar job, am I?

Well, I’m here to remedy that with a little recap of my trip to Las Vegas. It was Kristina’s 40th birthday trip, and I flew there Saturday morning to meet up with Kristina, Mike, and a few other couples that they’re friends with. (I joked that I was the 9th wheel, but I really never felt like it.)

I arrived early Saturday afternoon after a couple of thankfully uneventful flights. Got to the hotel and rested for a few minutes while I waited for Kristina to get back from another casino. The rooms at the Aria had automated lights and curtains, but I found the system somewhat buggy. I was just sitting there relaxing, and the TV and lights went off and the curtains closed. Oooookay. I guess they were trying to tell me to get out of there.

The view was nice, though…

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Basically, we ate a lot. Had lunch at a Mexican place in the Aria that had delicious pineapple margaritas. Then dinner at Bazaar Meat, where we ate a lot of amazing, um, meat. And Bill and Whitman surprised us by driving in from Los Angeles!

Sunday we had breakfast, then the ladies went to the spa. I didn’t get any treatments, but relaxed in the jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna. I also hung out in a “salt room” that was supposed to improve my upper respiratory system, or something. Whatever. It was chill.

That evening, we went to Ka, a Cirque du Soleil show. It was crazy. The set was immense. So fancy. After that, we ate at Yardbird, where I ate the most delicious fried chicken I’ve ever had in my entire life. Holy cow (or chicken.) So good.

Some more random photos from my trip…

Made it home last night without too much travel drama. Just a little bit.

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New lens fun

I recently decided to sell two of my lenses so that I could get a much better lens. I found a great deal on an L-series lens (which I’d previously only dreamt of, never imagining I would ever have my own) and pulled the trigger.

Canon 24-105mm f4

Look at that gorgeous red band.

It’s a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L, and it’s exquisite. Yes, it doesn’t open quite as much as my beloved 85mm f1.8 that I traded in, but the photos are so crisp, I have absolutely no regrets. And now I have a much wider range of focal lengths than I had before.

One of the reasons I wanted to get this lens was so I wouldn’t have to lug around several lenses when we go to England this summer. I’m determined to only bring one carry on roller bag, so these are the tough decisions I have to make. Heh.

Here are a few very random shots I’ve taken with this lens. The weather’s been icky so I haven’t been able to play with it as much as I’d like, but in conjunction with my recent body upgrade (that’s camera body) I’m pretty smitten with photography again.

(You can click to view at full size to see how freaking clear they are!)

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