Picture Perfect

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, get ready to read a novel. I have a whole bunch of stuff I’ve wanted to share but have been lazy about getting off the camera.

Christmas tree with presents

Christmas tree with presents

Stockings left by Santa

Stockings left by Santa

The destruction after opening presents.

The destruction after opening presents.

Scot got a wookie robe for Christmas.

Scot got a wookie robe for Christmas.

Outside Phipps when we went to see the Winter Flower Show at night.

Outside Phipps when we went to see the Winter Flower Show at night.

Also at the Winter Flower Show. These things changed color.

Also at the Winter Flower Show. These things changed color.

Scot does his best Vanna White.

Scot does his best Vanna White.

Eleanor Grace Rigby Roosevelt-Taylor

Eleanor Grace Rigby Roosevelt-Taylor

My Valentine's nail design

My Valentine’s nail design

I finally got around to making me look like me again. I dyed my hair. Subtle change but I'm back!

I finally got around to making me look like me again. I dyed my hair. Subtle change but I’m back!

This is how my kids play in the snow.

This is how my kids play in the snow.

This was Liam's birthday cake. I was pretty proud of it. It's festive!

This was Liam’s birthday cake. I was pretty proud of it. It’s festive!

 

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Dinosaurs At Phipps

Today Jamie and I had a date at Phipps. He asked me earlier in the week if we could go out somewhere and I told him that I’d have time to do that with him today. We talked about where he’d want to go and we settled on Phipps. We haven’t been in awhile.

They’re currently setting up for the winter flower show which doesn’t officially open until Thanksgiving weekend. But things were about halfway set up and it looks like it’s going to be a nice show this year. As usual the South Conservatory room was taken up with a huge train display.

And it was full of dinosaurs. Jamie was in heaven.

It was really cleverly done (which is only what I would expect from Phipps) with little details to discover in all corners of the display. There were buttons to activate a volcano (!) and a ka-boom in a mine (!!). There were dinosaurs riding trains and chasing cars and causing mayhem. It was a lot of fun. I wish I’d brought my long lens. I may go back by myself at some point.

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Oh nothing. Just a carnivore in a field of cows.

Oh nothing. Just a carnivore in a field of cows.

T-Rex! Run for your lives!

T-Rex! Run for your lives!

Anyone want a pet ankylosaurus?

Anyone want a pet ankylosaurus?

Dippy!!! (The Diplodocus, for the non-Pittsburghers)

Dippy!!! (The Diplodocus, for the non-Pittsburghers)

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Pteranadon nest on the side of the volcano.

Pteranodon nest on the side of the volcano.

Mad dino ripping up train tracks.

Mad dino ripping up train tracks.

Muncha Muncha Muncha

Muncha Muncha Muncha

Hanging out at the water's edge.

Hanging out at the water’s edge.

The only picture Jamie would let me take of him.

The only picture Jamie would let me take of him.

And I just now noticed that Jamie wore quite the appropriate shirt.

It was a good morning and we both enjoyed spending the time one on one. We even went to lunch together after we were done at Phipps. I need to make an effort to do some more of these types of outings with him before he starts school next year.

 

 

 

A Trip To Phipps

This week has been incredibly stressful and difficult.  I feel like I’ve lived through 3 months worth of crises in the space of seven days and, frankly, I don’t like it very much.  Neither does anyone else in the house and we’re all pretty cranky.

So, this morning we took the kids and went to Phipps.  We haven’t been in several months and this is usually a very relaxing family outing for us.  It wasn’t so awesome this morning (if you saw a woman carrying a yelling, screaming red-headed demon toward the exit, that would have been me) but we did our best to enjoy it regardless.

The fall flower shower is in full swing and the place is stuffed to the gills with mums – all colors, shapes, sizes, and statures.  The main room off the rotunda has been turned into a massive train display.

This was Jamie’s favorite room.  Hence the screaming when informed it was time to leave.
“Choo-choo!”
As usual, the display designers at Phipps have left their unique twist on things. Left amidst the idyllic scenes of farms, the country store, and outdoor activities we find a barn…
…with dinosaurs.  RAWR!
And oh, the colors!  Reds! Oranges! Yellows!

If this isn’t the definition of fall, I don’t know what is.

As we left, a quintessential Pittsburgh scene greeted us.

The Cathedral of Learning against a perfect sky
The most exciting part of our visit (for me) was that I took my very first fully manual picture on my DSLR.  I wanted to get a picture of one of the waterfalls in the Tropical Room and I wanted to slow the shutter speed down enough to get some nice blur on the water.  
I did it!
It might not be the most interesting or most perfectly composed shot ever but I used the full manual function and I got the camera to do what I was hoping to make the camera do.  Holy cats, I’m not a complete camera imbecile!

Phipps Does It Again

The loyal readers of this blog (all three of you) know that we love to go to Phipps Conservatory.  On Sunday we were casting about trying to find something to do with the kids and we decided to head to Phipps since we hadn’t seen the Christmas stuff yet.

Now, as usual, the place was gorgeously done up for the holidays but I am now convinced that there is someone working there – someone who plans out these displays – who has a sick sense of humor.  And I love it.

In the Serpentine Room, they had some snowman vignettes.  And they were . . . interesting.

Let us look at this closely.  Scarves on the bench?  Check.  Sticks for arms leaning against the bench?  Check.  Top hats and carrots?  In the steaming water.  Implication?  Frosty and his two snowy besties tried to climb in the hot tub with disastrous results.  When it dawned on me exactly what this little tableau was implying, I burst out laughing and immediately took a picture.
Same room, different tragedy.  Skis and poles akimbo.  Snowball head (complete with top hat and carrot) separated from the snowball body.  In this scenario we see that Frosty pulled a Sonny Bono and bit it on the ski slope.
It was just macabre.  Delightfully so.  🙂  They were the Snowmen of Tragedy.
Oooh.  Good band name, that.
 

Phipps Conservatory: A Study in Innuendo

Before we begin, I would like to freely state that my mind lives not just in the gutter but the sewer itself.  I don’t know where I got the penchant from but it’s there and it makes me giggle at the stupidest things.  Yes, I am about as mature as a 12 year old.

So, with that in mind, I give you some pictures from recent Phipps visits that have me wondering if their gardeners are down here in the sewer with me.

First, a gargoyle from the current exhibit:

Ok, he’s more well endowed than any gargoyle has a right to be.  I mean, I know that gargoyles are all about scaring off bad spirits, but that’s going to scare off anyone!  What I find even more amusing is that upon entering Phipps this morning, they had planted more stuff in front of this gargoyle in order to hide his “prowess.”

Next up, I give you this little gem:

That flower is doing its damnedest to use its stamen to lick her nipple.  It’s not quuiiiiiittttte there yet but it sure is working on it!

And then we ran across this plant.  This is the pièce de résistance:

Yes, the leaves of that plant DO rather resemble certain male anatomical features.  Why do you ask?

They should advertise that place with the motto “Gardens are for lovers!”

Gargoyles and Dragons and Awesome, Oh My!

Yesterday morning we took the kids to Phipps Conservatory – always a popular destination in our house.  We missed the spring flower show but as we walked in the door to the Conservatory we were greeted with this:

(is it just me or is that Gargoyle well endowed?)
They’re setting up for an exhibit featuring gargoyles and dragons and it is going to be very, very cool.  I am so excited to see it completed.  They hadn’t finished setting up everything so we’ll be going back in the near future so we can see the whole thing.
But, even without all of it being set up, they had a TON of cool statuary and topiary and what not in the various room of the Conservatory.  Check it out!
A topiary Sea Dragon! (and it spits water, too!)
This dragon (and two more like it) is made of wood and tree parts.  Incredibly cool in person.
Also, the agave plant is blooming.  It only blooms once every 50 years or so and the flower stalk can grow up to a foot a day.  It’s already gone through the roof of the Conservatory and hasn’t yet produced the flower.  It’s really cool – look closely at the pictures for the stalk going right through the glass roof.
I also got a few cool pictures I wanted to share.  The first two are of a wreath made out of succulent plants that was hanging on the door of the room the agave plant was in.  The close up is one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken there.

This one is a random succulent that was also in the agave room.  I just loved how it looked in the sunlight and how it looked like flower petals but wasn’t.

Last, I wanted to share two pictures of the family.  The first one is of Scot and Liam being gargoyles in front of the cathedral tower.  The second is my new favorite picture of Jamie.

I swear, the Conservatory gets cooler and cooler every time we go.  If you have a chance to see this exhibit, do it because it is not to be missed.