Adventures with hippos

In Central Park there is this cool playground that has a herd of hippos made out of fibre glass (?? I guess). The kids always think it’s fun to pretend to ride the hippos.

So do some of the adults.

Any playground means an opportunity to run to Marica!

And to get her fair skin all bright and rosy.

I sometimes wish I knew what goes on inside Esther’s head. She’ll just sit and talk to herself sometimes quite happy in her own little world.

There is a rather hilarious thing that happened at the hippo playground recently when Lizel was here. Let me tell you the story in pictures:

Marica climbed inside one hippo,

so Lizel wanted to try it too.

It was a bit of a mission getting in there from under the hippo, so she thought she’d just slide out the mouth.

Only… she got a little stuck.

So she manoeuvred herself back down to climb out its stomach again, while Esther looked on with concern.

Esther realised that poor tannie (aunty) Lizel needed some help!

So after a lot of pulling and tugging, tannie Lizel finally re-emerged from the bowels of the hippo, and gratefully embraced her rescuer.

The moral of the story? Make sure you always have a two-year-old with you when exploring the insides of a hippo!

Taking kids on a photo shoot can be interesting

And also pretty fun.

Perhaps “photo shoot” is too formal a title for what we did with Jeremy and Lillian, but I still tried to get a heap of photos while at the same time trying to keep an eye on two speedy escape artists.

Marica just ran and ran and ran. And loved it.

She ran into some photos too.

You get some pretty cute ‘family’ photo opportunities too. :-)

Now for the black and white engagement pics

As I said earlier, my previous post kept freezing up because I had too many photos in there, so I instead made the first post the colour post and this one the black&white post. I personally often prefer black and white, so this was fun for me. :-)

Pretty Lilly. But the yellow one is a dandelion.

Thanks, Jeremy and Lillian, for letting me get click-happy on you! I’ve realised it’s pretty fun to be around a couple head-over-heels in love once you’ve been married for a while. It’s both funny and cute for us old-timers (boy, Ben and I have been married just over 6 and a half years already!) and it reminds you again of that balloon-about-to-burst-inside-my-chest feeling you used to get every time you’d look at your spouse. But I’m also glad to be past (some of) that and to have settled into the deep, steady, solid kind of love that comes with time, and gets deeper and richer and better with every year. I wish that for you too. (Just don’t lose all the giddiness!)

The last one bites the dust

But that makes it sound like it’s a bad thing when it is indeed a very happy thing — the last of 8 children getting married. Yes, that’s right, Ben’s little sister, Lillian, is engaged to be married to a certain Mr Jeremy Fisher, uh, I mean Mr Jeremy L Eshelman! And yes, we approve. We even had a little to do with this whole new alliance. We hope that they remember us in their wills.

When the two lovebirds flew through before Lillian’s long flight back home (yes, did I mention that they’re conducting about the longest-distance relationship in the history of the world?! Christchurch, New Zealand to Philadelphia, USA), I got a chance to take some unofficial engagement photos of them at Prospect Park. So this post is for those of you who, like me, can’t get enough of photos. I had a blast taking these, though I wish I was more intimate with my camera by now — the two of us need to get to know each other a bit better yet. The rest of this post will be all photos, the first half in colour, and the last half in black and white. For some reason the post kept freezing up with more photos, so what I’ve done is to make this the colour post, and the next one will be in black and white. I’ll publish that later today. Enjoy!

The Ring. Nice rock set in white gold. If you click on the picture you can zoom in for more detail.

At Prospect Park there is this bridge/tunnel that must be pretty old — at one end it has this dome with nice wood panelling. The arch/bridge/tunnel gave us some nice photo opportunities.

The park itself, especially Long Meadow, was a pretty nice place for pictures too.

Another shot of The Ring.

It almost looks like they’re the only people there!

Yep, he passes the Strength Test. Not that it takes much to lift Bill.

I don’t know, but if I didn’t know any better, I’d say they’re happy or something!

These goofballs are perfect for each other!

And because I’m a goofball too, I couldn’t resist adding The Nostril Picture.

The gorgeous Lill.

Black and white coming up later today!

Summer is here!

And we’ve well and truly been out and about enjoying it. We’ve only had two very hot days and for the rest of the time it has been pretty much perfect weather (25 – 30 C). We’ve been spending as much time as possible outside, which of course means that blogging has been put on the back burner a bit! I haven’t forgotten you all, though, and I have a bunch of blog post ideas floating around in my head.

I’ve also been very busy with lots of extra choir rehearsals (Ben has been a trooper here at home!) because this weekend the choir I’m part of is performing Brahms’ German Requiem. It’s a beautiful piece, but tiring to sing because you’re on your feet, fully concentrating and singing for the most part of 1 hour and 10 minutes. It’s been great to be a part of and I’m looking forward to the concerts this weekend!

Anyway, let me give you a taste of what we’ve been up to. (Forgive me if you’re on dial-up!)

We’ve been making good use of our zoo pass, and we visited the Prospect Park Zoo,

(Esther hasn’t quite decided that she likes animals yet. She keeps a safe distance!)

and the Central Park Zoo.

We’ve been exploring some of Central Park,

and we’ve developed a deep love for the beautiful Prospect Park, only about 20 minutes walk from our place.

We’ve been making good on our goal of discovering playgrounds in the city, and have so many more to explore!

We’ve been to the Underhill Playground,

The Harmony Playground,

The Imagination Playground (in Manhattan),

and The Third Street Playground, not to mention a couple of playgrounds nice and close to our house.

See, we’ve been busy, so if we’re quiet, don’t worry, we’re probably outside playing! :-)

Beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with our friends Julie and Abby Murphy and Damaris and her 2 cute kids, Elijah and Sophia.

The gardens were amazingly beautiful and dressed in their Spring finest. The cherry trees were in full bloom and we had a great time just marvelling at such glorious beauty. Spring is a really spectacular season here in New York, so I thought I’d share some of the beauty with you!

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has the largest concentration of flowering cherry trees outside of Japan. Talking of Japan, here’s a pic of the serene Japanese garden viewed from across a pond full of koi fish.

We made sure we got plenty of photo opportunities! Here’s the lovely Abby:

And some of the kids:

And Damaris and little Sophia:

Some close-up beauty:

And from below:

Marica had walked the half-hour walk to the Garden already, and yet she could not stop running and jumping and generally expending energy I would consider precious if it belonged to me! I am continually amazed that someone with such a low food intake can expend so much energy!

The lilacs were blooming too and their smell was amazing — I wish I could transfer smells electronically! But then again, maybe I don’t. :-)

Below the lilac bushes grew a carpet of Grape Hyacinths. They always look so cheery, like the kind of flowers that fairies would dance around.

There was also this very interesting sculpture made out of vines or branches. It also gave me plenty of opportunity to play with the camera!

Near the sculpture was a little stream with a tiny little bridge across. I thought I could get a cute picture of the girls together. As you can see, Esther expresses her feelings quite well with her facial expressions!

There is this walkway lined with Crabapple trees, below. (Isn’t it stunning?) When we were heading home we wondered what some commotion was about, only to look up and see that the resident falcon that’s kept at the gardens to keep the rodents at bay had caught himself a nice pigeon for lunch!

Walking home, I tried to capture a shot of a line of cherry trees in front of the impressive building of the Brooklyn Museum. It’s so big, I could only get half of it in the picture!

If anyone wants to visit New York City, I highly recommend the month of April. Not too hot, not too cold, and certainly very beautiful!

Marica the soccer player

Friends of ours recently invited Marica to join a little informal ‘soccer’ team that will practice just until the start of the summer. Marica has loved her Saturday morning soccer practices and all the games the coach lets them play. They’re of course learning just some basic ball skills and how to kick, etc., but to the kids, this is serious business! Marica counts down the sleeps: “Mum, how many more sleeps till soccer?”

On her first soccer Saturday she didn’t have running shoes yet, but she does now. And they’re even Fancy Nancy ones, which Marica is thoroughly pleased about.

The park where the kids practise also has a playground which Esther enjoys while the game is on. But watching your sister and her friends play before the game while you climb a tree is quite fun too.