Road Trip Part 6 – South Dakota Reptiles

Not gonna lie, getting hit with a major snowstorm when we arrived in South Dakota was not something I had planned for. I could have sworn I had checked various forecasts and they were all good.  Whoops.  Go figure that it was during my turn to drive that the roads got nasty.  On the plus side, I did see a coyote when it calmed down a bit and a few other critters. The weather did mean that we would need to find some indoor activities, though, because we didn’t bring any cold weather gear with us.

Thankfully, not too far from us was The Reptile Garden.  You really can’t go wrong with reptiles, right?  Plus it’s guaranteed that you won’t need a jacket inside and that always wins for me. I admit I was a little put off by the initial cost, but it ended up being worth it.  They had an enormous collection of critters, some of which I have never seen in person before.  There was also a really neat greenhouse that had some birds, snakes and lizards completely out of cages, which was unique from what we’ve been to before.

There were a few “shows” throughout the day, so we decided to check out the snake show. The kids got a little bored until the trainer (are they called trainers??) started pulling out actual snakes – many of which were venomous and therefore extra cool.  Enzo even got to ask a question after raising his hand (which was possibly even more exciting) and he asked what Rattlesnakes eat.  We got up close and personal with one too when the gal put the rattler on the ground with this 2-3 foot high clear barrier surrounding it.  The kids, especially Enzo, were stoked.

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Week In Review – Hot, Hot, Hot

Happy Monday!

Linking up with Meghan from Clean Eats, Fast Feets for another Week in Review!

Okay, I’m certain I must have accomplished something last week, but so far the only pictures I can really find on my phone have mostly Bearded Dragon pictures.  So, a good portion of our week has revolved around our new little buddy.

While we had a setup for him already, I did further research online (because that’s what I do – research things obsessively) and discovered we really needed a better setup – lighting on the inside rather than on top of the screen and making sure our UVB light is strong enough and buying a unlighted heat lamp as the red ones can actually disturb their sleep.  Anyway, it’s been fun and he’s such a social little dude!

Vega, however, is a little obsessed and I need to find a better way to keep her off the top of his cage.  We moved it so he’d get more natural sunlight, but now she can hop up far too easily.

Enzo assisted me in putting together a new shelf that we needed after moving around some furniture. That kid is strong – I didn’t even have to tighten the screws after him.  So, it was really more of his accomplishment than mine.

Josh also picked up a project for me.  Yep, looks like I’ll be fixing up a dollhouse. it’s a tad big, so I think we’ll sell it when I’m done, or else sell the kids’ other dollhouse if they end up liking this one better. Eventually I’d love to be a little grandma and do one of those fantastic smaller dollhouses.  This one is more for 12″ dolls.

Seriously, who knew lizards could be this much fun?  I underestimated just how social they are and I officially fell in love when Bowser did a cat move and nuzzled his head under my shirt a bit and fell asleep. I kept him covered with a little towel to help him keep warm.  Haha. I can’t help it… I’m an animal lover and we’ll most likely end up with an entire menagerie one day.

Bearded Dragons and BBQ!

I never did a week in review post like I usually do on Monday – mainly because we all had the day off and ended up being fairly busy!  Over the weekend we had a bunch of friends over for BBQ and to hang out and it was a blast.  The weather was really nice and perfect for the kids to run around and later on to make s’mores. We FINALLY pulled out the fire pit.

It was nice having a three day weekend, even if the kids were a tad cranky come Sunday due to being up WAY past their bedtime. Whoops.  Isn’t that what summer is for, though?  It’s always so hard to end all of the fun.

We’ve been pulling out the board games a lot these past couple of weeks as well.  Phoebe doesn’t always have the patience for them, but Enzo loves playing – his new favorite being Sorry.  (Yes, that is fake poop on his head).

We also had his preschool graduation on the 26th.  I can’t believe it.  He’s very upset that he has to wait until September to go to Kindergarten, however.  I had to explain to him about summer vacation and he was not having it.

He’s growing up in so many ways and even Uzi is appreciating that he is a bit more calm lately (at least at times).  Haha!

Our biggest news, though, has to be our new Bearded Dragon, Bowser.  We have talked for a while about getting one and ages ago Josh picked up a tank setup for super cheap, but we finally decided to pull the trigger on Monday.  He has absolutely stolen our hearts and I had no idea just how social they are!  He loves to be taken out of his terrarium and I’m thinking we might go sit in the sun this weekend. If Josh lets me, that is. He’s really more Josh’s pet than mine, but I can’t help but love pretty much all animals. 😉

Unsolved Mysteries – The Death of Tom Selleck

I suppose I should state the obvious and clarify that the well-known actor Tom Selleck has not died, but rather his fish doppelgänger.

It all began a few weeks ago when we (Josh) got a larger fish tank.  So, when you get a larger fish tank, you obviously have to buy more fish, right?  Everything seemed to be going swimmingly (har har) until about a week ago.  If this were a true crime drama, it would be now that ominous music starts up.  Just a few days ago we found Bagooie floating at the top of the tank… WITHOUT EYES.

While it’s not terribly unusual for fish to eat one another (apparently, I’m told) we’ve never had this happen before, so the discovery was a tad disturbing.  Because Bagooie was one of the original fish we bought, we didn’t think too much of his passing and life continued on. Until… Pizza (a bright pink fish) was swimming around and it became apparent that she? he? Was missing an eye.  Someone had actually eaten her/his eye while he/she was ALIVE.  Clearly a sociopath is at work and we began to question whether or not Bagooie’s death was truly accidental.

The plot thickened yesterday when poor Tom Selleck was found belly up.  Tom was my fish and had been really healthy, so his death was very sudden and unexpected. Now, there was a very unfortunate accident that occurred when Josh forget to put the sensor for the heater into the tank after he cleaned it, so it’s possible he overheated?  If that’s the case, though, why are all the other fish fine?  Does Josh have a vendetta?  He is, after all, the one who keeps finding them dead.  Or is it perhaps Chuck Norris, our very small Red-Tailed shark (not an actual shark)?  Is it one of the larger fish?  Who is this murderer in the night?

To be continued… when the killer is caught.

And, no, Vega is not a suspect… though I’m pretty sure she wishes she had been the one to get the fish.

Solitude on the Road

I’ve always loved going for drives in the car, mostly as the passenger, but I’ll gladly do the driving if it means being alone and recharging for a bit and possibly doing some exploring. One thing I miss from Colorado is that feeling of remoteness that I often had. I didn’t live in a big town or even that near a big city so it was very easy to drive a short distance and feel like there weren’t a lot of people around. It’s been a little more difficult to find that here nearer a big city without having to drive too far.  So, I had the idea to take day and do a lot of driving on a weekend and Josh said, why not stay the night somewhere so you don’t have to do all that driving in one day?  Sold!

I think everyone needs to be on their own at times, but as an introvert it’s a necessity for me.  I do often get quiet time each day, but it doesn’t always feel like enough, especially when one or both kids has trouble sleeping and that time is interrupted. Also, as much as I love the cats, Uzi has somehow become even clingier and the second I relax, he’s on my lap. There are times when I am just touched out – by kids, by cats, by everyone and everything and even my own skin feels like it’s too much. So, this time away was very much needed and overdue.  I drove… and drove… I think I spent about 10 hours in the car total?  I went with the intention of looking for birds and did find some, though, not as many as I had hoped.  I didn’t take any amazing photos, but I did find a very funny squirrel and most of all I found space to breathe deeply and in silence.

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I accidentally left my really warm clothes at home, so without my big hat and gloves I wasn’t able to do much of the wandering by foot I had wanted to do. It was around zero outside, and with just a light knit hat and gloves I didn’t want to wander too far.  The snow was crunchy so I managed to scare a deer or two and some other birds, but once I got farther away from a road (with barely any traffic) I just stopped and it was… perfect. I could hear birds even if I couldn’t see them, many of which I had never heard before.  I could hear the scurry of squirrels and what I imagine was another deer or two as the crunch of the snow was louder, but more delicate than my own trudging.  It was in that moment that I knew when we got our own cabin it has to be more remote. I need a place to recharge on a more regular basis.  I need my place, you know? Now if we can just find that perfect spot near a lake for Josh. Granted, my ideal place would be in the mountains, but I’ll take what I can get.