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Identifying Feathers

It’s spring again, so I wanted to remind everyone of the Feather Atlas, our favorite resource for identifying birds by feathers found on the ground. The Feather Atlas is a searchable database of scans of feathers belonging to North American birds, run by the US Department of Fish & Wildlife.

ID birds by feather

It’s a great place to learn about bird anatomy, feather function & about our birds here in North America.

Just a reminder that it’s actually illegal in the US to collect feathers, nests, eggs, or parts of birds, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. I’ve never known a person who wasn’t willfully harming protected species to be prosecuted for collecting feathers, but as people are always shocked to learn this, I do pass on this info since people like to share about their collections online, never realizing they’re broadcasting what’s technically a crime.

Why The LEGO Movie is the best family movie of the year

We took the whole family to see The LEGO Movie last week & boy did we have a great time!

It was seriously the best family movie I’ve seen in years. Here’s 10 reasons why The LEGO Movie is the best family movie of the year!

My son brought Little Emmet to see his big movie with him!

My son brought Little Emmet to see his big movie with him!

1: It’s a multi-generational movie. My husband played with LEGO. I played with Lego. My son REALLY, REALLY plays with LEGO. We’re a LEGO family.

We all enjoyed this movie together. Like doubled-over-laughing enjoyed it.

2: This is a gender-neutral movie. The lead is a boy, but the ACTION doesn’t start until the girl gets there. And she doesn’t sit in a castle, rubbing her minifigure claws together pining for a prince.

3: The cast. Chris Pratt from Parks & Rec plays the lead. Liam Neeson plays Good Cop/Bad Cop. Allison Brie plays UniKitty, a cat/unicorn combo, BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE DOES! The cast is amazing. Amy Poehler’s ex-husband Will Arnett plays Batman. Nick Offerman! *forgets what she was saying, due to mustache-enduced swooning*

4: The movie was really clean. No sex jokes! Sometimes kids’ movies try to appeal to adults by adding innuendos. I hate that. Stop it. If you can’t go 90-minutes without a sex joke, you need to reevaluate things.

5: The references! There’s a reference in this movie for everyone. From riffing on LEGO series that didn’t take off, to history, to pop culture over the last 40+ years, to super heroes, to HARRY POTTER REFERENCES…

6: The music, by Mark Mothersbaugh, of DEVO or Rugrats fame, depending on your age, sticks in your head in a cute, chipper, inside joke way.

You could say it was AWESOME.

7: The morals: You don’t have to follow the directions. In fact, life’s more awesome if you don’t.

Secondary moral: Mom? Dad? Relax. Let your kid’s imagination guide you. Don’t be a Micro-Manager. (My husband & son would’ve rather the movie didn’t have the sentimental live-action part of the story, but still loved the movie.)

8: The details. The movie is made up of… Lego parts! The whole hour & a half, my son was squinting at the screen, deconstructing how they were making it happen. The muzzle flash when they fire their blasters? It’s the 3-prong flower stems (Part 3741!). My first comment leaving the theater? “We’re going to have to buy that, so we can pause it 100,000 times, because I did not catch everything!”

9: The LEGO Movie celebrates creativity. It sparks it. It ignites it. It causes hours of quiet play on my livingroom floor, creating:

10: The reason The LEGO Movie is the best family movie of the year is that it’s been weeks since we watched it & we’re still talking about it, playing out scenes from it, giggling at the jokes, and singing EVERYTHING IS AWEEESOMMMME! The online hype wasn’t wrong this time. Yeah, it’s a great big ad for LEGO & the kick-butt girl character is a bit of an angry-girl trope, but she’s still head & shoulders above what they could’ve done with her. It brought us together & I heard somewhere that everything is cool when you’re part of a team. 😉

I’m an aunt!

New aunt

I became an aunt this week!

I was even able to be in the room when she was born. I was an an oncology appointment with my father (who has plasma cancer, but is doing very well) & popped up to check on my sister-in-law.

But she was transitioning into active labor at the time & the father wasn’t there yet, so I got to stay!

It was fantastic. She’s just beautiful & healthy & is a whole bundle of precious. My SIL did great through the whole labor, was perky & happy even during the most intense contractions.

Definitely one of my top days ever. I am tickled pink to be an aunt. I can’t wait to watch this little princess grow up.

Seattle Japanese Garden Heron

On a lovely 2 Days in Seattle trip, my daughter & I visited the Seattle Japanese Garden. It was blustery day (our umbrella turned inside out, like in the movies!), so we practically had the park to ourselves. This provided lots of time for my daughter to practice her landscape sketching.

Seattle Japanese Garden

Seattle Japanese Garden

This Great Blue Heron is apparently a regular resident of the garden. He was so beautiful & still that for a long time, I thought he was a statue! I was SO MAD that I had forgotten my camera & only had my phone camera with us.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is open March 1st through November 30th & costs less than $10 a person to visit. The garden is beautiful even in late winter, but puts on a spectacular show in the spring & summer.