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Oct 31 2013

Halloween 2013

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The boys are all ready to go trick-or-treating. Drew is Captain Rex, Will is Anakin Skywalker and Landon is Obi-wan Kenobi.

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As always, Daddy Darth Vader joined the boys for the house to house quest for candy.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 29 2013

Pumpkin Carving

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The boys getting ready to do some pumpkin carving.

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First up, gutting the pumpkins.

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Smiles all around as Drew, Landon and Will continue to clean out their pumpkins.

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Carving is done. Drew's is the headless horseman. Will's is Spider-Man. And, Landon's is Mickey Mouse.

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The final results on our porch for Halloween.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 26 2013

Pumpkin Town 2013

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This evening we made our annual trek to Pumpkin Town. For the first time, it was at a new location and bigger than ever.

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Will, Drew and Landon with some fine pumpkins...patiently posing until they get the green light to go have fun.

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Drew picked a huge pumpkin for his annual lifting of the pumpkin ritual.

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Will wrangling his pumpkin.

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Landon holding his largest pumpkin to date.

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Pumpkin Town had a huge corn maze for the boys to explore this year.

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Deep in the corn maze.

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Landon playing the part of Charlie Brown.

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The highlight of the evening was the new pumpkin canon. Drew took the first shots. You can see his shot about to make impact just left of the target.

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Will was up next and his shot is also about to nail the target.

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Landon was up last and, with just a little help from Daddy to balance the heavy canon, he made a bullseye!

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Drew and Will on the tractor ride.

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Daddy and Landon pulling up the rear of the tractor ride.

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Drew and Will finished out the evening climbing the hay mountain and capturing the flag at the top. God bless America and Happy Halloween!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 20 2013

Vacation GPS Map

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On our recent cruise ship vacation aboard the Disney Wonder, I took photos using my Canon 5D Mark III along with Canon's GP-E2 GPS Receiver. The results turned out exactly as I had hoped as evidenced by this screen capture from Canon's mapping utility. Our voyage from Galveston, Texas, to Key West, Florida, to Disney's Castaway Cay to Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas can be clearly seen.

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Zooming in to Paradise Island you can better see individual points such as the photo I took from Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge (Atlantis Bridge) looking toward Festival Place where five cruise ships had parked.

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Zooming in even more you can see the direction the photos were taken is additionally captured by the GPS receiver (along with altitude). For instance, the one in the top right shows the photo of the boys I took on the edge of the water with the Atlantic Ocean in the background.

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Finally, Canon's Map Utility can also switch to Google Maps view. Here you can see the photo I took of Drew sliding down the Atlantis' Challenger water slide. Adding GPS to photos is a really cool way to enhance the memories they preserve. As GPS becomes more ubiquitous, future generations may no longer have wonder where a photo was taken.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

816-disney-wonder-cruise-ship

We just returned home from the most amazingly incredible eight day and seven night vacation aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship. Along the way we spent a day each in Key West, Florida, Disney's own private island Castaway Cay and Atlantis Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas. The bow of the Wonder features Donald Duck doing a little touch up painting while his mischievous nephew Huey tries to cut his rope.

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As we pulled out of Galveston, Texas, we were treated to a cast off party by Mickey and all of his friends.

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Landon at the bow of the ship where it was surprisingly windy.

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Will and Drew looking over the balcony of our room.

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I got up early to get some photos of something I had never before seen...sunrise over the ocean. It was beautiful!

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The boys looking out over the ocean...actually the Gulf of Mexico as Drew is quick to remind us...from the stern of the ship.

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The boys enjoying a swim together in Goofy's pool, one of three pools on the ship.

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There was plenty of sun as we were blessed with perfect weather along our entire trip. Although we did get to see a waterspout off in the distance as the captain drove past a small storm one morning.

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Our dinner servers followed us around to the various ship's restaurants each evening. They could not have been any more wonderful. They were Gyongyi (who went by Gi-Gi for ease of pronunciation) from Hungary and Dinesh from India. We will never forget their genuine desire to make sure we were always enjoying our dinners and our cruise. They completely spoiled us. The first thing we missed when we got home was Gi-Gi and Dinesh taking care of us.

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In the ship's theater we saw some great shows including this one, the Golden Mickeys. We also got to see Toy Story the Musical, Dreams an Enchanted Classic, Remember the Magic and a remarkably entertaining comedian and ventriloquist Michael Harrison.

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A primary activity during the cruise was getting our picture taken with the Disney characters which resulted in a photo CD with 213 photos. This is one of us on formal night with Golden Mickey.

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Since our voyage took place in October, there was a Halloween Bash one evening for which the boys got to dress up and party on deck including parading across the stage while being broadcast on the ship's big screen.

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Our first port of call was Key West, Florida, where we went on a trolly tour of the island followed by our own walking tour starting with mile 0 of Highway 1 North.

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Next stop was Ernest Hemingway's Key West home. Descendents of his polydactyl (extra toed) cats still roam the estate. Hemingway's writing room just as he left it located in the second story of the adjacent pool house.

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Key West is home to the Southernmost point in the continental United States.

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The Key West Lighthouse stands about 86 feet tall. We all climbed the 88 steps to the top for a beautiful view of all of Key West.

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Next up was Disney's private island Castaway Cay where the boys posed with the Disney Wonder in the background before we started the day.

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Drew, Will and Daddy had an incredible experience feeding and then swimming with stingrays. Fortunately, they all had their stingers removed. Drew and Will proved to be quite the exceptional snorkelers. All their swim lessons really paid off.

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Enjoying the beautiful waters of Castaway Cay.

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All the boys enjoyed the water slide even Landon who had never before been on such a huge slide. He was quite the little trooper going down it all by himself...again and again! That us up at the top waiving, Will, Drew and Daddy holding Landon.

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The boys in their Mickey hats looking out over Castaway Cay. It truly was paradise.

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On our way back to the boat at the end of the day, we found the perfect spot for a photograph with the Disney Wonder in the background.

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Our final destination, Nassau, the Bahamas, heading over Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge (Atlantis Bridge) on our way to Paradise Island and the Atlantis Resort. Nassau's Festival Place has births for five cruise ships which were all filled up. From left to right, Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Sky, Disney Wonder, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Fantasy.

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The Atlantis Paradise Island Royal Towers with its famous Bridge Suite.

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After some play time at the water park, we spent the rest of the morning at Atlantis' Dolphin Cay having some quality time with a dolphin named Sasha. In addition to lots of petting, everyone got to give Sasha hugs, kisses, high-fives and feed her a snack. As you can see, they did a great job of taking pictures and the photo CD was a bargain compared to all the memories it holds.

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Next up we spent some time on Atlantis' Current River Ride. The boys loved the excitement created by the wave generating machine.

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Drew's favorite water slide was the Challenger. You can just see Drew at the bottom left. Will's favorite was the twisty Jungle Slide which, unfortunately, was not as easily photographed.

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Finally, the boys took a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Without a protective reef like at Castaway Cay, the boys got to experience some real ocean waves. It was a magical vacation that we'll remember forever!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 5 2013

Tulsa Zoo

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The boys and Daddy went to the Tulsa Zoo today. It was a little chilly and rainy before we got to the zoo but it turned out to be a beautiful day for us once we arrived.

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The Tulsa Zoo's famous/infamous globe. I've recently learned that these floating globes can be found all over the country but I haven't heard of another with our interesting little inscription: "the earth is our mother, the sky is our father." When confronted with the zoo's own proclamation that they only "display things that have been proven through the scientific method," zoo officials explain the globe's inscription "adds a Native American flair." Riiight.

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An Asian elephant, one of the many endangered species held at the Tulsa Zoo.

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Not to anthropomorphize it, but I think this Asian elephant is smiling.

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Landon showing that he's not quite up to Chimpanzee size.

(Yeah, I named this and the next two photos "monkey-outline." I know, I know...chimps are not monkeys. It was late, I was tired, and I just don't want to bother fixing it.)

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Will, almost chimp size but a little on the thin side.

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Drew, fills the chimp outline well but I'm afraid the boys just don't have the girth to really fit the job.

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A chimpanzee family taking it easy by the pool.

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A young chimp taking a rest.

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One of the best photos from our day at the zoo, the boys riding a camel.

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The boys really enjoyed their camel ride. Hump day will take on a whole new meaning now.

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A beautiful white rhinoceros. I am in awe of rhinos' immense power.

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The same white rhino up close.

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The male lion's beautiful mane.

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The lady lion taking in some shade.

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The Tulsa Zoo's young snow leopard Niko born May 10th just about five months ago watching me snap pictures of him.

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Niko being playful peeking out from his enclosure.

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An endangered Malayan tiger taking a nap in the sun. He must have been enjoying his nap...he never stopped wagging his tail.

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A sea lion taking in some rays.

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A flamingo snoozing away balanced on just one leg. What is the evolutionary advantage to sleeping on one leg? There are lots of theories, but scientists aren't sure: to let one leg dry, coincides with half their brain sleeping at a time, conserve energy pumping blood, conserve body heat, camouflage.

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An endangered black and white ruffled lemur walking on a branch.

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Another lemur sitting in a tree.

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We stopped at a climbing wall. While Drew was still putting on his harness, Will went all Spiderman and flew up the wall.

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Drew, not a fan of heights, took a couple of tries but persisted in making it all the way to the top on a little harder course.

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Two reticulated giraffes.

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An aldabra giant tortoise.

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Close up of an aldabra giant tortoise.

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Landon says that the turtle is his favorite animal.

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An American black bear.

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The boys taking a rest as we get close to finishing up our day at the Tulsa Zoo.

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A red kangaroo which couldn't look more relaxed.

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An endangered golden headed tamarin.

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An endangered jaguar checking out the boys.

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The jaguar was very cooperative with photographers taking a number of laps around its enclosure before laying down for a nap.

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I believe this is the mama that had two cubs, Chac and Kabah, last year.

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The jaguar has such an amazing coat.

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A brown bear surveying his surroundings before...

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...putting his head down for a rest.

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Something peaked this brown bear's interest.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 4 2013

Friday Night Chess

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We started joining the Tulsa Chess Club for chess on Friday nights at the local Barnes & Noble. All of the people associated with the club have been incredibly nice and welcoming. Will here has accumulated a fair amount of pieces and I think I see a slight grin on his face.

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Drew making a move in which he either has put a lot of thought into or is a little concerned about. If the boys keep enjoying themselves as much as they did tonight, this might become a regular Friday night thing for us.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |