I like birthdays. I’d like them even more if I didn’t always end up being another year older after each one. Well, to be honest I’ll admit to being born on September 5. We needn’t go into the actual year … suffice to say the #1 hit song at the time was Over The Rainbow from some movie that had just opened.
Anyway, we have always had a lot of family birthdays in September. (I was born the day after my mother’s birthday and I was always hearing about how she spent Labor Day in the hospital and how it was no picnic.) Currently we have three family birthdays in September and we usually celebrate them with one super birthday with my youngest brother’s family. This year with celebrated with splashing in the pool and a super barbecue. And after a brief after dining break …
A water balloon fight!!!
And a somewhat one sided fight at that!
Then it was time to open gifts and eat birthday cake. But first, photos of my great nephews and niece.
Good golly, we have such cute kids in the family! But finally … the cake!
My sister-in-law outdid herself by creating a super chocolate maraschino cherry cake!
And it really was, too!
And that’s how the eldest Edler managed to survive yet another birthday.
Today, we challenge you to show us what “express yourself” means to you. (For more information go here.)
When it comes to EXPRESS YOURSELF, no one does it better than a two-year old. In this case … my grandnephew Little Luke!
I have always spent Thanksgiving surrounded by family. And this year was no different … I was again invited to share the bird with my younger brother and sister-in-law and their children and grandchildren.
Naturally, Mlle. Renee didn’t like the idea of being left home alone with a few of her favorite play toys. Notice the fearful look on the stuffed fallen star who had just seen the unstuffed squirrel and bear. He wasn’t too keen about staying home with Renee and her unstuffed pals either. But, after promising to bring a bit of turkey home for her I was allowed the get dressed. So as an unforecasted snow began to fall, I packed up my contribution to the family feast (fresh-baked dinner rolls and Carrot/Pineapple Orange Jello Salad) and headed off into the woods of the far western burbs.
I arrived to discover my great-niece and great-nephew working in the Kiddy Kitchen cooking up a storm of their own.
Don’t know what they were cooking, but apparently they had to wear safety goggles to cook it. My sister-in-law was a bit luckier as her dinner was either in the oven or on the stove taking care of itself. Also, she didn’t have to wear goggles to do her cooking. She was also able to take a break for a little family game session.
It was the velcro strap on my lazy-man shoe, and he began to open and close it for just about 479 times. Thankfully, the dinner finished cooking itself and we prepared to eat. We were seated at two different dining tables.
This one was rather historic because it celebrated its 77th birthday this summer. It was the original dining table of my mother and father. My brother restored it several years ago. (They made furniture to last in the 30s.) I was seated at the other dining table with the rest of the family. Which is why I didn’t take a picture of that table.
“That’s all, folks!”
This Thanksgiving dinner story starred one brother, one sister-in-law, four nephews, four nieces, two great nephews, two great nieces, Mlle. Renee, one very big turkey and me.
Starting off the final zoo segment with a display of carved wooden jungle beasts. It’s a work my nephew brought back from Lagos, Nigeria. It shows several of the animals that retired for the day before the picnic even started at the zoo. As we walked through the River’s Edge, all we saw were empty display areas. At the brand new exhibit for the Andean Bears all we saw was other zoo visitors with their noses pressed to a glass panel trying to see the two bears huddled at the back of their cave. (I can just see the mama bear asking the papa bear, “Do you think they want to sleep in our bed?”)
We lucked out an exhibit later when the black rhino began to strut around his stomping grounds shortly after we arrived and even pretend to charge the viewers. (For about two or three feet)
Unfortunately, he didn’t even scare the sacred ibis from ancient Egypt that shares part of his domain. (Hmmm, what is the plural of ibis? There were about six of them.)
It was a real nice ant hill, but the sign on the fence said that this was the home of the cheetah family. (Guess they were all lurking in the shadows and licking their lips as they decided which one of us would make the best dinner guest.)
And his friend was even messier!
Guess they’re trying to prove they’re not extinct yet. They are an endangered species in Africa, and the Saint Louis Zoo is part of a world-wide effort to keep them from disappearing. That’s why this year’s picnic was A Painted (dog) Picnic.
And LITTLE LUKE (standing next to the hippo on the bottom of the pool) decided that hippos are really BIG!!! He liked the little fishies, too.
And that brought us to the end of THE RIVER’S EDGE! There was an Elephant Enrichment Program scheduled for 6:00, but that was the time for our own enrichment … the picnic dinner! Besides we had to get to CHILDREN’S ZOO first, so the adults could watch the little kids pet the baby goats, big snakes, and guinea pigs. There are so many things for the kids to play with here, it’s hard to get the away. The adults got a special treat though, we were watching the new moma tree kangaroo and her little baby stuck his or her head out of the moma’s pouch. (Yes, I again failed to get my camera up fast enough to photograph him or her.)
Nichole with the little goats!
Luke with the big snake that was taller than he was.
(And the kids wouldn’t touch the real live Python. Guess kids really aren’t that dumb!)
And that was our annual family trip to the zoo!
But we missed the lions, tigers and bears!!!
It’s time for me to continue my visit to the Saint Louis Zoo and the ZOO PARENTS PICNIC OF 2014 with my own family. I arrived from the north entrance, so my first stop was to the INSECTORIUM. I had planned on visiting there in August right before the heat wave hit us. But it really was too hot to venture out into the broiling sun and into the park back then. Friday, however, was jacket wearing weather and I briskly walked down to the insectorium and big, bad bug that guards its door.
There are more than 300,000 species of beetles, and I have no idea which one posed for this sculpture. A good guess would be one of several possible species of rhino beetles. The insectorium has a double set of sliding doors that keep the outside bugs from becoming inside bugs. And if you have and aversion to big, hairy bugs … move quickly past the next photo.
And this one, too!
Hopefully, you can see him in the picture.
Then next exhibit was a wall-sized display featuring the insects of the south west.I passed on putting my eye up the eye-hole of the skull of the long departed bovine just to see what the Red Backed Darkling Beetle looked like. You never know what can jump out of the eye-socket of a long dead cow.
And my favorite … THE OWL EYED BUTTERFLY! This extra-large sized butterfly appears to have the eye of an owl on the underside of its wings, and when flying it looks like an owl which scares anything that would prey on it. I’ve simulated this by putting two pictures of the undersides together to give you an idea how this looks.
Here’s the full-sized photo of one side.
And you know what kids do when they meet a giant beetle on which they can climb! Featuring great-nephew and niece Jake and Nichole.
COME BACK TOMORROW FOR PART THREE – OUR JOURNEY ALONG THE RIVER’S EDGE.
Yes, boys and girls, I managed to survive yet another birthday last weekend. And only a couple of the cards I received commented on my impending senility.What I was not expecting was a surprise birthday party in my honor given my family. I was expecting a small family gathering to celebrate all of the family birthdays that occur during the month of September … (there happen to be four of them) … and I was enlisted to make a batch of my baked mini-mostaccioli. So I got up at seven in the morning and began making twenty pounds of Italian delights. (I know that sounds strange for someone with German, Polish and French grandparents, but then my DNA analysis says my ancestry is 75% Scandinavian. Guess they might have been Italian Scandinavians.)
And I realized that something was up! And once inside, it was verified when I discovered the house was full of three odd generations of my family. OMG! Would 20-pounds of Baked Mini-mostaccioli be enough?
It was very impressive! And my six-year old grand nephew Jake built me a cute little birdhouse.
A special thanks to all my loving family. OMG, I just realized that I’m the official patriarch of this bunch of crazies.
We laughed, we cried, we ate all the M&M Peanuts, the Malted Milk Eggs and most of the jelly beans except green. For some reason, nobody seemed interested in plain M&Ms.
For not being able to remember any of the rules, I came in second place with just 35 points shy of 10,000!
And wouldn’t you know, only my elbow showed up in the photos!