Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 11:58 AM | No comments

Snow, snow and more snow

MA has been receiving record snowfall lately, and that has really hampered our outings. However, it does come with some benefits. Last week Kyle had two snow days, followed by his Friday off and then the Martin Luther King Holiday on Monday. A nice 6 day vacation, during which we were pretty much holed up in the house. Of course, that lends itself to lots of reading and video games.
Our neighbor Ernie, diligently shoveling.

Even Frak decided she couldn't handle being inside anymore and ventured out onto the front landing.
Frik, on the other hand, was perfectly willing to just look outside.

We did manage to break out of our white prison to go to Boston for a day. We spent it at the aquarium. It isn't the best aquarium, but we got a great discount for being members of the public library. Of course, Kyle is such a huge nature nut that we always get the best out of whatever zoo/aquarium we are visiting. As always, we walked away with new tidbits of knowledge.

 Who knew that Atlantic Harbor Seals love to get blasted by fresh water through a hose?
We learned that African penguins molt all of their feathers once a year. During that time, they can't go into the water, which means they can't eat. The process can take 2-3 weeks. The few that were molting were pretty plump as they had stored up fat as they would in the wild. A neat aspect to this exhibit is that the water is fresh Atlantic saltwater. The aquarium sits right on the shore and can easily incorporate ocean water into their exhibits.
Sadly, these guys are endangered.
Here we watched the divers go into the tank to feed the larger fish. They had a sand tiger shark in the tank, so they have to make sure he is a happy, full shark. That way the rest of the fish in the tank remain safe.
Below you can see Myrtle the Green Sea Turtle. She is 70 years old and over 500lbs. She is just enormous compared to the diver. Normally green sea turtles only live about 35 years.
When Kyle's parents came to town, in November, we were all discussing the fact that none of us knew what a scallop looked like in the ocean. Well, the aquarium answered that question for us. The little white circle below is the muscular part of the scallop we all know and love to eat:
 Here is what the shell looks like on the outside:
Kyle was also very excited to see an Axolotl. From what he told me, the Axolotl, which looks like a giant tadpole with legs, does not express the gene which would enable them to breath air and live on land. It's like a juvenile amphibian that never grows up.  Here is a wikipedia picture of one:
author: LoKiLeCh, page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axolotl
Here is a picture of the harbor right next to the fur seal exhibit:
One of our favorite discoveries at the aquarium could only be captured on video, so here is a little video I put together. The last part of the video is what had to be captured.

There is one memory I forgot to share when I first made this post. Kyle and I were having lunch in Boston and this Dad was there with his little girl. She was probably about 3-4 years old. He prepped her sippy cup and got his beer and then they did a toast. It was adorable watching the sippy cup knock up against the glass of beer. I wonder what their toast was.


Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 9:44 AM | 1 comment

City Lights

On the 30th of December, Kyle and I ventured into Boston once again. I wanted to share some of the beautiful scenery with everyone:

This scene made me smile as tons of families were out sledding down the hill on the Commons. These kids had built a ramp to enjoy:
 I loved the snowmen watching over the skaters:

Earlier in the day we saw the ice being set up for carving on the Commons. By the time we were heading home they were almost done:


Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 8:49 PM | No comments

Christmas Weekend

Kyle had one day off for Christmas: the 24th. We decided to spend the day in Boston. We started out by walking the Commons. As usual, the ice skating rink was full of people with a long line waiting to get in. However, we found a few people doing a little of their own ice skating on the pond. I decided to walk out there. After all, how many times will I get to walk across a pond?

After our usual walk through the park, we had lunch at our favorite restaurant: 75 Chestnut. During the holidays, 75 Chestnut offers gingerbread house building with some of the proceeds going to charity. Sadly, we had a movie to catch, so I didn't get to decorate a gingerbread house. However, I am determined to have a gingerbread house party next year in NM.

After lunch we took in Tangled and The King's Speech at the movie theater off of the Commons. Tangled was enjoyable, and The King's Speech was fabulous. In between movies we walked around Chinatown, which lies just off the Commons. Pond walking, lunch and two movies was all we could take for the day.

This Christmas was the first time we have stayed home and didn't visit any family. It was definitely odd. However, we did get and decorate a tree this year, which we have not done in years. We picked out the tree at a tree farm about 20 minutes from our house. I am thrilled to say that I can recycle the tree! Definitely makes me feel better about getting one.
 Here is a gift I gave to Kyle. Now we need to find the rest of the costume.
 I spent a while on the couch with my two girls. Frak loves to sleep inside my sweatshirt.
On the 26th we got our first snowfall. We walked around the base taking in the beauty.

The storm dumped enough to allow Kyle to stay home for work! This was the view from our front door.
Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 1:56 PM | 2 comments

Boston Museum of Science

Now that the weather is limiting our adventures, we are starting to take in some museums in Boston. We started with the Science Museum. It is on the Charles River bridge. The day was nice enough for us to walk from the subway station along the river to the museum.
the brown building is the museum.
The museum is huge. We certainly didn't get to see everything, and that is with spending 6 hours there. We did take a long time enjoying this piece of art. Looks like an extravagant roller coaster set up. The bottom section had billiard balls rolling around various tracks. Each ball setting off various items in motion. One of my favorite sections was when a ball would roll down a xylophone, creating some music.
We also look in the live animal show where they introduce three different animals each day. I didn't take a picture of the boa, but here are the other two animals:
Great horned owl.
I loved the porcupine. She would walk (or really shuffle) back and forth across the table following the bowl of squash that her handler had.
Another animal that I didn't take a picture of was the baby chicken in an incubator about to hatch out of his egg. We went by many times to see if he had left his shell, but after a full 24 hours of trying to break free, he was still in it.
The dinosaurs were ready for winter.
The triceratops below, Cliff, is 1 of 4 almost complete fossils in the world.
Another favorite part of the museum for me was this thermal infrared camera. I could finally show Kyle how cold my hands really are all of the time. Notice how they are blue/green ad Kyle's hands are white. Blue was the far end of the cold spectrum. I had just had my hands on a hot plate and they instantly went from white to blue. you can see how my palm is still a little white.
 Our last stop in the museum was a familiar site:
This little boy would jump and holler when the ball would go in front of him.
We ended the day by walking to Boston Commons and watching a little bit of the ice skating. I doubt we will ever do this ourselves, as the lines are incredibly long. It is neat to see so many people out enjoying what winter has to offer.
Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 12:58 PM | 3 comments

Holiday Treats

As usual, the holidays came and went at lightning speed. Seems like I can never stay on top of everything that I want to during those months. Now it time to play catch up on my blog. I'll start off with these treats I made:

I saw these on the web and had to try them out myself.


This was my own design.

This was our anniversary cake: celebrating 13 years with a Baileys Irish Cream vanilla cake.