Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bribery Begins Early

So my kids are very helpful. Or they try and be helpful and instead make a mess. Like when they choose to count out my Ziploc bag supply in the kitchen.

Or sweep leaves only to throw them in the air.

Or feed the poor starving dog who isn't starving but just really wants people food. You get the idea.

One thing that Sophia always begs for is McDonalds. And it doesn't help that her school is right next door to a McDonalds! However, genius me decided to negotiate a deal with my 5 year old and 1 year old. If they would help me to gather the leaves (not throw them, not play with them, but trash them), I would so wonderfully purchase Happy Meals for both of them to enjoy AFTER we collected the leaves.

She tried to negotiate, wanting to play with the leaves AFTER sweeping them. She tried to manipulate me into letting them eat BEFORE the work is done. But, wise mom here didn't budge. But kept her word and they eventually kept theirs.

I was hoping to finish collecting and bagging all the leaves in the backyard, but after 1 hour of work outside and 7 bags of leaves, I decided it was time for a break for everyone.

And after playing a little bit after supper, they easily went to sleep (tired from all the work no doubt) that they quickly went to sleep. Well, Sophie took a bit of effort, but less than normal. Yes.... I feel like I've caught on to something here. Well, I did until my husband told me he didn't want the leaves bagged because he was just going to mow over them and use them for the soil. DRAT!

Honey, I love you, but I refuse to empty those 7 bags of leaves back onto the ground. Sorry.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Bartons Altogether Again

It's been about 11 years since the immediate family has all been together. With 7 siblings living in 4 different states, it can be complicated. Unfortunately, we were all together for a funeral, but we tried to make the best of it, by trying to get some pictures of everyone together.

Some of you know my family, however, for those that don't here are some recent pictures of us all together:

First all the Barton siblings (Left to right: Nick, Andrew, Stacey, Suzi, Elizabeth, Ashley, Ben)

Then the 'whole' family with spouses and children:

Of course, you might recognize this crazy bunch:

And this is my brother Nick and his wife Amanda:

And my sister Suzi:

My sister Elizabeth & her husband  Britt:

Ben, Andrew, and Ashley didn't get any pictures than of the group shots. While my children instead enjoyed posing for the camera at any possible moment. Yep.... those are my children.

Anyway, that is my family. We grew up loving each other and hating each other off and on. But as we got older, well.... we realized just how awesome, amazing, talented, fun and weird we were together. And well, let's just say, we always make life interesting. And if you think things are crazy with me.... you should see me with my siblings.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Botanica's Butterflies

Every other year, Fort Worth Botanica Garden hosts Cirro Energy's Butterfly Garden- Butterflies of Asia. I'm not much of a butterfly person although I do value their beauty. Needing an escape from working on school stuff, I decided to go and get a better education on butterflies.

There were several families there with their children... I alas was alone. But I'm sure Sophie would have enjoyed it. Connor on the other hand would be so busy trying to touch everything.

While there i did learn quite a bit. They provided me with a map of some of the butterflies that I would see along with their names. I didn't find all of them, but I did find several:

Paper Kite

Scarlet Mormon

Yellow-edged Giant Owl was everywhere and they were huge!

My favorite the Blue Morpho. Which was really hard to get a picture of, as you can see one side is brown when the wings are closed, but when they open they are the most magnificent blue.

There were also Tiger Longwings.

And the Zebra Longwing.

And the Small Postman.

And then there were a few that weren't in the booklet, and let's be face it I'm too lazy to look them up.

The other thing I learned is that butterflies are attracted to anything sugary. They had bowls out of fruit that the butterflies would eat.

And the booklet provided a list of the plants that would attract butterflies:

  1. Lantana
  2. Pentas
  3. Purple Coneflower
  4. Mexican Sunflower
  5. Summer Phlox
  6. Mist Flower
  7. Globe Amaranth
  8. Frostweed
  9. Asters
  10. Butterfly Bush
See.... I can learn something. 

Park Over the Freeway

Dallas is home to the only park ever created over an active freeway- Klyde Warren Park. The 5.2 acre park includes a performance stage, a restaurant, a splash park, a dog park, a children's park, and a splash park area. In order to support the weight of all of these amenities plus the grass, 322 trees, and 904 shrubs over a hollow tunnel of concrete where millions of cars pass daily, the engineers had to find a way to support the weight of the park without it collapsing under the cars travelling below. According to Dallas Magazine, the engineers and contractors solved the issue by using geo-foam which weights 1.8 pounds per cubic foot. And the area is composed of 200,000 cubic feet of geo-foam, which is lighter weighing 180 tons compared to the soil above it which weighs 12,000 tons. Below there is no steel beams to support the structure, only the concrete from the freeway bridges.

To prevent the roots from destroying the concrete below, park officials use root repellent to prevent the roots from spreading too deep. To prevent the saturation of the additional weight of rainwater, the park is slightly tilted so the water drains into the storm sewer. To be efficient, the park uses solar power.

Cool huh?

I've been wanting to visit for awhile, but timing just hasn't worked out. With Spring Break, and a beautiful 85 degree day, I couldn't resist going and visiting the park with Brian and Oscar after they finished work.

The kids would absolutely love this place! And being so close to Brian's work downtown, or uptown to be specific, I figured sometime this summer we'd perhaps meet Brian here for lunch one day while the kids play on the playground or splash park.

For more information on how this one of a kind park was built, click HERE.