Archive for September, 2011

Primate Sanctuary

The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, FL is just down the road from where we are staying. The staff is completely made up of volunteers and they were so nice!

The grandma at the door gave us a history, the printed guide and a bag of monkey food. Then we were off on our own to look around. The place is quiet. We saw four different volunteers doing the lunch feeding and just one other couple visiting.

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The kids are calling “Pongo”…

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Here’s Pongo, a three year old male orangutan.

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This monkey was kind of scary. He threw his slide around the cage and then slammed up against the side, shrieking at us. These are not good pets, people…and why they end up here, unable to live in the wild. A showcase of rip-yo-face-off monkeys.

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Quite a few birds have come to live here too.

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This is the chimp “Cheetah Mike.” He was one of the chimps featured in the Tarzan movies in the 1930s and he is 81 year old.

The grandma also explained the average lifespan in the wild is 12-15 years; in the zoo: 40-50 years and in a sanctuary: much longer because of the lower stress environment. I wonder if he is bored? The couple that used to own this place toured them around as “boxing chimps” in the 50s. Yikes.

Leave those apes in the jungle!

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Primate Sanctuary preview

I hope the fuzzier primates we see today are having this much fun…

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Tampa Zoo

After so many trips to Florida, I have never been to the zoo. When spending more than a week I guess we have time to see what else is here.

The Zoo here is CRAZY! The center is like a kids amusement park: rides, fountains for playing, jungle gym. We “had” to see the monkeys to get to it but then the kids spent four hours playing. It was so hot we could have left without seeing anymore animals…but that seemed like a TRAVESTY to me. We managed to break the spell and ride the tram thing to see all the animals. Whew! I could go home without the shame of spending $80 (yep) and not seeing any animals at a zoo.

The best part was getting to meet some friends! One of the moms on an online forum, for babies born in May 2001, lives here. We have been a part of this forum for over 10 years and never met in real life until now. Lyanna is an absolute gem and her kids (exact same age as my three boys) are wonderful. They had a great time together and we look forward to meeting in a park once more before our journey home.


Our little fruit bats. Those fruit bats are NOT little, by the way. They looked like cats with wings hanging in their exhibit.


The hog-nosed turtles were fun, coming up for food and petting.


Gems from the other camera

Jason bought us a memory card reader so I can import the pics off our little point and shoot camera. I found some more fun pics from our journey here…




The location of this dinosaur park in Utah could not be any more beautiful, nestled at the base of these mountains.


The museum was cool too. Isaac enjoyed the display of gems and rock types. He was comparing the real thing to the mining he has done in the game Minecraft, “OH! So that’s obsidian!” hehe


The herd of deer crossing the road, on our way to the Ames Broher’s Pyramid. I wasn’t quick enough to get my camera out but Jason caught it. Yay!


We have seen a lot of windmills. Also, had to do a little online detective work to learn what snow drift fencing is. We drove by miles and miles of it, reassuring us we made the right decision to take the north route while it was still summer. 😀



We try to split up the driving 50/50 but Jason does more. He enjoys it. I do too, but it makes me sleepy.


Want to see our cozy little Florida home?

I thought I’d take pics of our little home here in Florida. It is exactly how my grandparents left it.

My aunt was so kind to let us stay here. The house is for sale and I will be sad when it is no longer an option to stay here:(

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The dishwasher s kinda blurry in this pic but it’s there! j/k, Babe.

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The thrift stores shopping is fantastic. We picked up this highchair for $15…and we’ll be re-donating it before we leave.

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A real grandparents home with FOUR recliners and THREE rocking chairs.

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Aside from the kids Nintendo DSs, Jason’s little laptop is the only source of possible TV watching. He has it sitting close to his office for his Magic Jack phone and an adapter to the TV so we can watch and hear on the TV screen. We watch Netflix in the evening sometimes.

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One of the four bedrooms Jason chose for his office. He is working from here the next two weeks.

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Kids are getting a lesson on how we used to turn on the TV and change the channel. Times were ROUGH back in our day!

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It is a comfortable little home!

More fun in the sun

We are loving life here in the Tampa Bay area.

The Children’s Museum…

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The kids wanted to go to the local pool instead of the beach today but the kiddie pool is closed for maintenance until tomorrow, so we explored the town of New Port Richey instead…

Sweet park!

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The park (and town) lies right next to this river…

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It is hot outside and the most adorable cafe and ice creamery was across the street from the park…

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Way too hot. We had to at least hit the beach and cool off before heading home.

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Teeny, tiny hermit crabs cruising along the shallows entertained the kids quite a bit…

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They look pretty cute in action.

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Me and my brood:)

We have been appreciating the swim shirts and saving on sunscreen but the kids started complaining their chest hurt after several days of use. I realized nipple chafing was the issue, just like runners get. Yikes! So no more swim shirts for now. I hope I can get the sunscreen on evenly.

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Slurping the salt water off her fingers and eating sand. Good times!

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Beach, beach and more beach

Now that we are “home” in our home away from home in Florida, we are loving life in the slow lane!

The kids caught a frog and a lizard shortly after we got here.

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Four rooms in this house and the boys still insist on sharing a room. We had to borrow one of the mattresses from another room to lay on the floor in here for Isaac. It has worked out beautifully for Lotus’ naps having a mattress on the floor.

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Anclote River beach just down the road from the house…

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I wish the true size of this orange setting sun would show up through my camera. It was GIGANTIC, unlike the pin-sized thing you see here.

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The Aquarium at the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs. The kids fed sharks and pet sting rays…

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This little turtle was following the kids around the tank like a puppy…

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Lotus pets the turtle…

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Caladesi Island beach, reached by ferry only…

Simon is catching some air in his mouth. We spotted some dolphins on the ride back.

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Such a beautiful beach!

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Ribbons of shells along the beach where the waves have washed up.

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Simon sweeping his hands through the many, many shells…

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Isaac found this giant “fan” shell, also called “pen shell” still inhabited. We snapped a pic and then he placed it back in the water.

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We’ve also gone to Howard Park beach (twice) and Busch Gardens amusement park but I left my camera at home those days. Only five days into our three week stay here and it has been wonderful! I really could live here and go to the beach regularly. The warm salt water is so relaxing:)

Road trip: Day Six


We drove from Nashville, TN to Macon, GA and staying the night in a ghetto (aka dirty, no shower curtain??) but big and cheap hotel.


Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, TN

God told him to build a treehouse and build it he did. He has been building and building and it is claimed to be the “World’s biggest”

It is completely free of charge for anyone to see and it was definitely our favorite stop.

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A super sweet lawn chair swing was the best!

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Can you tell it was my fav?? I made the kids laugh. I think God is telling me I need one of these swings in my back yard.

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This is our last night on the road (until the drive home). Tomorrow we arrive at the little house in Florida where I spent much time visiting my grandparents as I was growing up. The grandparents won’t be there, sadly, but I look forward to spending three weeks showing my children the house, town, beach, amusement parks and RELAXATION. yeah!!!!!!!!!

Road Trip: Day four and five


We drove from Ogalla, NE to Salina, KS and stayed in a hotel.


Prairie Dog Town in Oakley, KS.

This place read like it was going to be an animal freak show. It had a couple unusual animals: two steeds with a fifth leg hanging off their backs, a dwarfed donkey….and that’s it. The rest were a hodge podge of sad looking animals in cages. A box of rattle snakes “sizzling” and the grounds littered with prairie dogs popping in and out of their network of tunnels (don’t trip on a hole!) proved to be a great break from the road for the boys.

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A tiny prairie dog head is peeking out of its burrow. I know, hard to see.

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The gift shop was classic.

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We drove from Salina, KS to Nashville, TN where we stayed in a city hotel.


Bowling in Mt. Vernon, IL.

Watched an episode of Driver, Dine-ins and Dives for Athena’s Greek Family Restaurant in Nashville and then ate there for dinner when we pulled into town. It was indeed yummy!

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Simon sacked out with Nashville, TN city lights in view. Huge lightning going on.

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Road trip: Day three

An addition to Day two activities:

Dinosaur Park in Ogden, UT

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We drove from Lyman, WY to Ogalla, NE, where we “couchsurfed” at a home in the country. It was wonderful! The loud crickets, wide open corn fields, full moon, lack of city lights; all amazing!


Ames Brother’s Pyramid in eastern Wyoming

This place was so random and isolated. No people, clicks of locusts hopping, herd of deer crossing the dirt road in front of our car.

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