Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

We started out the girls' birthday with a complimentary breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant. It was really good with lots of nummy stuff. The girls enjoyed their scrambled eggs with hot chocolate (a very rare treat for us!) and orange juice. Daddy got to enjoy eating pig which Mommy refuses to cook at home! LOL

Here are A and J
back in the hotel room ready and waiting to open their presents.

I found them some cute backpacks at Costco... they aren't for little kids, so too big to use as a backpack, however they will be great to use as a suitcase. I used the backpacks as their wrapping for the soccer balls, princess Barbies, fun new girly DVDs (animated Anne of Green Gables, Madeline, Gigi - God's Little Princess, Beatrix Potter and 101 Dalmatians) and some new spring/summer clothes. They had a blast digging through to find what was in there.
A and J with their
kitty princess cards (two things they love - cats and princesses!). Who knows what miss Drama Queen A was doing in this pic! LOL

This is A modeling her new beads . They loved the purses that Grandma and Grandpa filled with all kinds of neat stuff, including Princess tiaras!

A and J check out
everything in their purses and study them carefully.
And Aunt Shelley put together a fun gift package for them. Here they are looking at their new horse coloring books. She got them a fun card making kit and also little plastic sewing machines designed for their age level. J said, "Look Mommy, a machine to make yarn!" (She was a little confused as my spinning wheel and sewing machine live in the same place!)

The next stop was
Turtle Bay Exploration Park which is a lot of things rolled into one! Museum, Arboretum, playground, cafe, exploratory museum... and lots of fun!
It's amazing how kids can instantly make friends. At the entrance we met a family that live in Ukiah but are from Redding and were back to visit Grandma. They were about the same ages as our kids and had fun together.
First we had a picnic
at the Paul Bunyan camp where they have a nice playground area and an education center about forestry. (Hubby, D, A) We had our homemade bagels for lunch and the kids loved them!
J and Mommy. When she was looking at this picture with me, I said, "Who love you?!" And she said "Mommy!" I hugged her and then she thought a moment and said, "I think my Daddy loves me too!" :o) And yes, he does! After lunch we played on the playground for a little while.
The we went inside to see
what we could find to explore. The girls were fascinated that the water was running between the glass but they could not touch it!
Here the kids are walking through a bark hut, a replica of what area Native Americans lived in. There were also displays on early pioneer life, ecology and hands on science. Showing at the time was a show of Picasso ceramics...we did not view that, for obvious reasons! :o)
The aquarium was
one of the most interesting of the indoor exhibits. It was small but well done, made to replicate life in the Sacramento River (which flows through town, on its way toward Sacramento and then the sea).
The kids were fascinated by this, never having seen large fish in person. There were several native species including sturgeon and rainbow trout that were so huge they looked like steelhead!
These fish were funny.
They kept hovering in one place staring at me as if I were the aquarium exhibit instead of them! LOL
On the wall leading out of the museum were metal turtles engraved with the names of people who donated for the museum. I thought this would be a fun place to take their birthday picture. I asked them to face each other and J thought this meant cheek to cheek. A is looking a little bewildered and didn't want to be quite so affectionate at the moment.
So, I tried to explain
what facing each other meant...and this is what I got! LOL
In the end we resorted to the trick of Daddy jumping up and down, being goofy to get a decent picture! This is J on the left and A on the right.
As we left the museum, this
was the path leading to the bridge.

This is the Sundial Bridge. It is certainly interesting and shows some graceful lines but I have not decided yet if I think it is beautiful or ugly!

Here are
the children heading over the bridge which crosses the Sacramento River and takes you to the arboretum at the other side.
To the east one sees
Shasta Bally. There were a few fishermen, including the fly fisherman in the left hand corner of this picture.
This white egret was gracefully fishing too.
Looking east on the
bridge, one can view Mt. Lassen, a volcano in the Cascade/Sierra range.
Another perspective of the bridge.
Here are Hubby
and the kids beginning our walk through the arboretum. The snow covered hill in the background is Shasta Bally.
Almost immediately we began noticing butterflies. You can see a few in this picture if you look closely. This was a golden currant and I think I want one of these bushes. You can't see in the photo but the individual flowers are cute and cheerful.
The plantings
in the arboretum look quite young still, but it has the markings of being really beautiful one day. There were pieces of art scattered in various places and this one displayed information about water conservation.

This is the other side.

Recently, this man
has been the artist in residence at the park.

His medium is sticks! This is made from willow branches and was at first odd, but once inside and close up, it
was oddly beautiful .

Looking out from in.
This large turtle
was in the children's garden, where they have some fascinating mosaic displays.

A repeated theme was butterflies.

This is J in a
butterfly crawl tube in a bamboo "forest".

This is A, just hanging out and taking a break.

I swear the girls
can find water anywhere!
Here J takes a break with Daddy and is talking to him about the day. Behind her you can see the Eastern Redbud.
I remember my
friend Margaret of Heritage Yarns. She is an incredible dye artist and a true southern lady! When there was a discussion on the Christian Artisan list a couple years ago about Redbuds, she explained to me what they were as I had never heard of them before. (they probably don't like the PNW climate!) They were in bloom all throughout the park and I took this closeup for you Margaret!
This is the medicinal herb garden. Naturally, this was one of the more interesting ones for me, given my background in medicine and interest in nutrition and health.
So, while Mom
and Dad were busy taking pictures, the kids (here D and J) got busy making "roads" and playing in the dirt.
This is my little "lady", A. I think she was swimming in it! LOL
was really beautiful. They fluttered so fast, like a hummingbird, so we had to wait for them to rest. It happened in a split second, so it was hard to get sharp photos.

I haven't identified this one yet. It's fairly common in northern California but I have not found it's name yet.
This one is a
Painted Lady and I have seen these in the woods in the Sierras before, but not too many. I took about 200 pictures of butterflies and Hubby took some as well. These aren't the best shots. I am working on some to use as cards.

Soon we were heading back across the bridge. This is the base on the sundial side.

And you can see
the sun has moved along and the lighting on the river has changed.

On the way out I noticed these "balls" in the oak trees.
These are oak
galls. Galls are abnormal growths caused by insects. Some are harmful and some are not. Certain types of oak galls in the middel east have been used for centuries as an imnportant component of ink.
There were a lot of squirrels running around in the trees too and they jumped so fast and agilely that they seemed like they were flying.

Here are two
fellows who had a skirmish right above my head. Apparently one was encroaching on the other's territory.
Well, the day came to an end and we loaded up the van and headed south, but not before deciding that we would like to come back and visit Redding and the surrounding area again to explore and see more beautiful sights. All in all the girls had a really fun birthday. We aren't done yet...because we were gone they didn't get a birthday cake, so that will probably happen tomorrow!


Big Fat Loser said...

Cool photos.

Where are you guys? What are those roundish buildings? I want to go there too!

Looks like everyone is having fun. :-)

Cathy said...

Hello Theresa

You and your DH and their brother have given your lovely girls a beautiful 5th birthday and to have this record of it is truly wonderful

Take care

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing the girls birthday! I'm definitely adding Turtle Bay to our Spring Break (well, once we get a stroller)!
Did I tell you we lived up there until I was in 2nd grade? In Mt Shasta and other little forest service communities. I love to visit there again from time to my brother and his family live east of Redding now.

Margaret at Heritage Yarns said...

Oh, Theresa, your trip was wonderful. What a memorable time. Beautiful pictures and memories. I'm glad you were introduced to the redbud. Hard to understand why it's not called the orchid bud, isn't it? (-: When you get your cards ready, I want some!

Lynette said...

We are going to have to plan a trip there. Looks so much fun! Hmmm wonder if I can go there instead of the Pastor's Conference in Redding the staff is attending:o)

I can't believe the girls are 5, seems like yesterday when I first met them. Looking forward to Tuesday!

Teresa said...

What a wonderful trip! Such beautiful sights and scenery! We have Redbuds here, but they haven't bloomed yet. We have Bradford Pears in bloom right now and maybe some Dogwoods and a few other blooming trees. Things are starting to get green and pretty!