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Category: Animals

We Got a Puppy!!

We Got a Puppy!!

Never did I think I would have a dog.  I’ve survived 39 years without a dog and I was just fine not having one.  Don’t hate me because I’m not a dog person….. if you go your life without something, well then, you just don’t know what you’re missing, right? Having a 2 & 3yo is enough to make anyone crazy as it is. Adding a puppy into that mix is something I was extremely reluctant to do. 

Well……. SURPRISE!!!! The dog I thought I never wanted found his way to our home just in time for Sebastian’s 2nd birthday. Once I got over my shock, I have done my best to embrace this stinky, so-ugly-he’s-cute, beast. 

Meet Lennox Hugo…..

Lennox @ 3 mo

Lennox is a Miniature American Bulldog


What does he look like??? Gargoyle? Ewok?? Gorilla? lol. He looks familiar but I just can’t put my finger on it…..


I hate his ears.  I wish we would’ve found him before the breeder chopped them off.  There aren’t many of these breeders around; it is still a relatively new breed, and is not recognized by the AKC.  His parents are pretty famous, pictured below.  Dad is on left and mom is on right.  He is going to grow into one fugly muscle dog.  They weigh about 40lbs and are very short in stature.  Basically he is going to get wider.

Lennox' Dad and Mom

Lenny is a very sweet dog and the boys are in love.  Bash hugs and kisses him all day long.  He is pretty well behaved (minus the leather computer chair and the seat in the truck that he chewed through), and has had minimal accidents in the house.  He has gone to puppy school and has been the star of the class.  He’s famous for his little tongue 😉

Puppy Love

He is playful but not super excitable like many puppies.  He isn’t an athlete by any means.  Our first walk around the block didn’t fare so well…. Lenny was not in the mood to walk that far….luckily we had room in the double stroller! lol

My Three Babies

So now I am the shit-bag-slinging mom of a dog I never wanted but he is growing on me. I hope that with time and more bonding I will grow to love him as much as the rest of my family does.

Weekend Field Trip

Weekend Field Trip

I have mentioned before how my guy and I like to go on leisurely drives sometimes, and this weekend we did just that!
First we went to Twin City Reptile where we looked at many cool little animals. Using Instagram on my iPhone was the perfect way of capturing so many 🙂

After we drove southwest to Richfield to A World of Fish. Took some video footage and made an iMovie directly from my phone!

We kept driving and ended up in New Prague (70 miles from home) around dinnertime where we stopped at Fishtale Grill for a very yummy meal.
It was fun!

Dog Herding {at School!}

Dog Herding {at School!}

You know how black labs get really excited sometimes???

Imagine how excited a black lab can be when surrounded by a bunch of excited children….


I stand near the front doors in our main hallway every morning and greet students as they head to class.

Imagine my surprise this morning when an adorable black lab followed some kids through the front door of our school and decided he was going to see where all the action was!!

I quickly caught this feisty cutie pie by his collar (luckily he was wearing one!) and herded him back out the front doors.  He didn’t want to leave but eventually did once the kids were out-of-sight 😉

I wonder what other excitement today has in store for me! There is never a dull moment around here, that is for sure!

Oh, Snap! {the-not-so-friendly snapping turtle}

Oh, Snap! {the-not-so-friendly snapping turtle}

We were on a drive through the beautiful countryside of Hugo a few weeks ago when we had to stop to let this guy cross the road…

I grabbed my camera out of my purse and walked up close to him.  I didn’t have time to switch lenses from my 50mm so I had to get in close.  I was maybe 2 feet away to get this shot and he snapped like heck at me.  Scared the bajeezus out of me and I jumped back and ran for my car! lmao

Totally worth the scare to get such a nice shot of him 😉

Purple & Gold Piranhas {New Vikings Mascots?}

Purple & Gold Piranhas {New Vikings Mascots?}

Meet Prince, a Purple Spilo Piranha.  He has lived with us for about seven or eight years now and he is pretty cool.  He is now in a spacious 75 gallon tank all by himself and looks pretty handsome under the full-spectrum light.  I did not do anything to enhance these photos, he is just a gorgeous fresh water fish.  He isn’t too aggressive as far as piranhas go and he doesn’t usually like to eat in front of an audience, so on the rare occasion that we see him eat, it is cool to see.  He usually eats frozen shrimp; the  feeder goldies are a treat just a few times a year.

A few weeks ago we traded in all of our other fish (there were just a few) for a second piranha, a Gold Mac.  He is much more active than Prince is.  If  you want to see him eat, make sure to watch the video of him eating at the bottom of this post!

Does anyone else reading this have a piranha or ever owned one?

MataMata Turtle {Norman Smiley}

MataMata Turtle {Norman Smiley}

A few weeks ago I posted about a trip I took to Como Park Zoo back in February.  In that post I shared a photo of this strange turtle and told you I would have to tell you more about him.  Remember that?!

Here is a view of him from the top.  He is a MataMata turtle which means “kill kill” in Español.

This is the very same turtle who used to belong to us about eleven years ago, named Norman Smiley.

{Yes, I am full of surprises!}

My guy found him at a specialty pet store (was it Twin City Reptiles?) and thought how cool he was (and rare!) and bought him for roughly $300.  We had him for about 6-12 months when we realized how much work it was to keep an aquatic turtle (holy crap, literally!) and decided to donate him to the Zoo.  We know one of the head zookeepers at Como who was happy to acquire such a rare (to the U.S) species.  We knew he would have a good home.

Over the years we received updates about how Norman was doing and were happy to hear a few years back that they had found a mate for him.  As soon as the Tropical Encounters Exhibit was built in 2005, Norman was moved to his new home.  We have visited the zoo many times since then and had always looked for him, but with no luck.  The aquatic habitat they have him in is quite large and wraps around the entire space, so there were many places he could hide (not to mention many other species of aquatic animals).

I was thrilled to find Norman and his mate greeting me when I made the visit in February.  He was very visible at the front of the exhibit, right in front of the glass.

Matamatas are fresh-water turtles native to Venezuela and other northern countries in South America.  They are ugly-as-sin, characterized by their bumpy, long necks and triangular-shaped heads.  In the wild they stick their little reed-looking nose out of the water to breathe (see photo at bottom of post), while waiting in ambush for the nearest fish to swim by.  Check out this video I found of a matamata feeding

Wild, huh? It was cool to watch our turtle feed but he ate too much and we just couldn’t keep up with all the poop! lol
Like all turtles, matamatas can live for a really long time  and they get HUGE.  And believe me, they don’t get any prettier with age (quite the opposite!)

Want to know why he was named Norman Smiley? One look at this photo and you know why 😉 (photo by UmpBump on Flickr)

This might be a face that only a mother could love?!

A profile view of a matamata….

So there you have it, my little story about our former MataMata, Mr. Norman Smiley 😉

A Trip to Como Zoo {Sleepy Animals}

A Trip to Como Zoo {Sleepy Animals}

These photos were all taken about 6-7 weeks ago (mid-February) when I was out at Como Park for a work event (The District Spelling Bee was held in the ballroom above the Visitor’s Center).  After I finished working I walked around the zoo to check out the animals.

At first I was thinking, boy, are all the animals going to be sleeping today? Or just these big daddies?

But the other animals seemed to be more alert and awake…..

There was a very small orangutan who was wrestling with his buddy (older brother, perhaps?) It was the cutest thing to watch! It was somewhat dark and they were moving too fast for me to get any decent shots but they sure were fun to watch!

And last but not least is this MataMata turtle in the Tropical Encounters exhibit. He deserves a special post (I will tell you why later), so I will be blogging about him soon!

Albino Squirrel

Albino Squirrel

I was at a training for work the other day, at a location within a busy area in St Paul.  There is a walled-in sunken courtyard around one side of the building which you can see through the floor-to-ceiling windows.  Anyway, I happened to see two WHITE squirrels hopping around in the courtyard.  When we had a break, I snuck out and snapped some photos of this interesting little guy.  Can you see his pink eyes? We have millions of gray squirrels in MN and these guys obviously had the genes to be albino.  There are some near my parents house too but this is the first I have ever seen one up close and personal!

Rare Albino Squirrel White Squirrel Close Up Rare Albino Squirrel Rare Albino Squirrel Rare Albino Squirrel Rare Albino Squirrel

Monkeys & Great Apes ~ Como Zoo

Monkeys & Great Apes ~ Como Zoo

I was at a school-related event out at Como Zoo yesterday and had some time to check out some of the animals.  I also happened to have my camera & 55-200mm zoom lens with me which really helped me to get some good shots.  These animal photos will be coming in a series, starting with some monkeys and great apes.

The Natural Beauty of Austin….

The Natural Beauty of Austin….

On Saturday afternoon Betty and I braved the heat and took a very long walk through downtown Austin.  We started down by the Colorado River and worked our way north to the Capitol.  The nature down by the river was quite pretty……







Would you have guessed that the temperature was over 100' F and that Texas is experiencing the worst drought in 50 years?