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2010: Our Year in Review

Posted on December 31st 2010 by Arthur in Personal, Photos

As I write this there are only a few hours left in the year. It has been a great year! We did a lot of fun things around the Chicago area and traveled to Holland in August to visit my family. Here are some pictures of our year, mostly for myself because I love looking back at these year-in-review posts of previous years, and it’s nice to go through our pictures again. Happy new year to everyone!

Snow in Round Lake Beach

â–² 10 February: We had a lot of snow last winter, but it was fun shoveling the driveway each time, and good exercise too!

Shedd Aquarium in Chicago

â–² 18 February: This day we took the train to Chicago and visited the Shedd Aquarium to see some nice fishes and the Art Institute to see some nice art.

Gull Frolic

â–² 20 February: Every year in February the Illinois Ornithological Society organizes a Gull Frolic at Winthrop Harbor. That’s me on the right in my thick winter coat. We’ll go there again in two months to freeze our butts off to look at gulls and attend education seminars.

Amy with Darwin at FCWR

â–² 23 February: From January 5th through March 30th Amy did a raptor internship with Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, which she really enjoyed. Here she is holding Darwin, an American Kestrel education bird, at her first solo walk with a bird.

Grant Woods

â–² 10 March: Here we’re on a walk at Grant Woods Forest Preserve, one of two county forest preserves near our house. I biked to Grant Woods many times this year, which was really great. I’m looking forward to taking my bike out there again when the winter is over.

Sears / Willis Tower

▲ 25 March: For a total of 19 times in the spring and fall this year we went downtown to volunteer for Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation’s Migration Rescue & Recovery. Each morning during the spring and fall migration period, volunteers look for injured fallen birds who have struck the tall buildings in downtown Chicago. Birds rescued by FCWR volunteers are treated at the Northerly Island bird hospital. Salvages are brought to the Field Museum.

Seinfeld

â–² 16 April: This day we saw Jerry Seinfeld at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

Nauvoo

â–² 1 May: We attended the spring gathering of our bird club in Nauvoo IL where we did this boat trip on the Mississippi. An Asian Carp jumped in our boat and almost knocked someone out.

Kirtland's Warbler at Magee Marsh

â–² 14 May: In May we went to the Biggest Week In American Birding in Ohio. We saw lots of colorful warblers at Magee Marsh and had a great time. One of the highlights was this rare sighting of a Kirtland’s Warbler.

Chicago Cubs

â–² 17 June: Amy’s parents took us to Wrigley Field for two Chicago Cubs baseball games.

Taste of Chicago

â–² 17 July: On one of the hottest days of the year we went to Taste of Chicago.

Transformers 3 in Chicago

â–² 17 July: In July and August Michael Bay was filming Transformers 3 in Chicago. We went downtown twice to look at the action and see some stars.

Street

â–² 9 August: This is a view from our house. The summer of 2010 was, weather-wise, the nicest summer I’ve ever experienced. So much sun, blue skies and nice temperatures! :D

Schiphol

â–² 11 August: From 11 August until 1 September we visited our family in the Netherlands and did lots of fun stuff.

Papagaaienpark

â–² 18 August: We visited the Papegaaienpark (parrot park) in Veldhoven, a sort of parrot, bird and animal rescue center and sanctuary near Eindhoven. The park took in its first birds in 1987 and is run by the Dutch Foundation for the Refuge and Care of Parrots.

Biesbosch

â–² 21 August: At Biesbosch National Park in the Netherlands we rented kayaks with my family. A highlight was seeing a European Kingfisher fly low over the water around our kayak. This year we got kayaks for Christmas (thank you Santa!), so I hope to be doing this a lot more in 2011!

Amsterdam

â–² 23 August: We took the train to Amsterdam for a day and did a canal tour.

Amsterdam

â–² 25 August: We took the Thalys high-speed train to Paris where, on my birthday, we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. :D

Amsterdam

â–² 28 August: This day we went to Antwerp and checked out the renewed train station pictured here.

Efteling

▲ 30 August: Toward the end of our vacation in Holland we went to De Efteling amusement park. Here my brother Patrick and I are getting wet in the Piraña river rafting ride.

Independence Grove

â–² 12 September: We did a lot of walking and birding at forest preserves around our area. This is Independence Grove, a Lake County Forest Preserve.

Independence Grove

â–² 19 September: This day we drove to our nearest drive-in theater and saw The Goonies and Back to the Future on a big screen from our car.

Bayfield

â–² 9 October: In October we drove up to the north of Wisconsin for an Evenstad family reunion. We stayed at the idyllic town of Bayfield. Here we are on a ferry to Madeleine Island with a view of the beautiful fall foliage.

Hawk Watch Open Day

â–² 16 October: At the annual open day of the Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch Flint Creek was there with education birds and Amy volunteered. Here she’s holding a Red-tailed Hawk named 0511.

Saw-whet Owl

â–² 16 October: That same evening we drove to Durand IL to attend Saw-whet Owl Banding at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory. Saw-whet Owls are my favorite bird and it was great to see them catch, band and release three of the owls.

Great Horned Owl

â–² 30 October: Flint Creek had an education program at the Wild Bird Center in Fox River Grove.

Operation Migration

â–² 31 October: We got up early this morning to drive 2 hours west before sunrise to try and see the Whooping Cranes that flew south with Operation Migration. We were extremely lucky and saw 10 of the rare birds fly right over us following the ultralight aircraft.

Operation Migration

â–² 9 November: This day we drove to Indiana with Amy’s parents to watch Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area, where they get together in the thousands! On the way we visited the Monon Train Museum.

Barred Owl

â–² 13 November: This night we attended an Owl Prowl at Ryerson Woods in Lake County and saw our first Illinois Barred Owl, which is Amy’s favorite bird. The picture above is that of Meepy, a Barred Owl in FCWR’s education program.

Justice

▲ 20 November: This day Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation released a rehabilitated Great Horned Owl at a public event in Winnetka. Amy handled Justice, a Great Horned Owl in Flint Creek’s education program.

Christmas

â–² 12 December: Our front door decorated with Christmas lights.

Home Christmas Lights Synchronized to Music

Posted on December 24th 2010 by Arthur in Funny, Life in America

The other night we drove to Kenosha WI to see a house with lights synchronized to music. There’s a sign in the front yard that tells you what FM frequency to listen to in your car so that you can listen along to the songs. The house we visited (at 6834 106th Ave in Kenosha WI) had over 25,000 lights programmed to 30 different songs. I thought it was hilarious and very nicely done. I had never seen anything like it, but there are apparently a few more people across the country who do this.

Below is my video of the house in Kenosha (sorry, it’s a bit shaky), followed by other ones I found on YouTube:

The next house is in Pleasant Grove, Utah (more info):

This house in O’Fallon MO has a lot of videos that you can see here (more info):

The following house is in Round Rock TX (more info):

This house with over 80,000 lights is in Sawyer MN:

This one is from Providence Village TX (more info):

Here’s a classic video that has been making the rounds on YouTube for over 5 years. This house is in Mason, Ohio: