Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday Hike

On Sunday, we brought our neighbor friends with us on a hike at the Boone County Cliffs nature preserve.

The twisted trees

View of our destination from the trail

Arriving at the overlook

Pausing to tend to the Tamagotchi

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Big Bone Lick State Park program

Wednesday we went to Big Bone Lick state park with our friends from Georgetown, KY, who had organized a program that included learning about the Ice Age, some basic survival skills, and atlatl throwing. In addition, there was time to take a walk to see the bison, lunch at the playground, and; after the last activity of the program, an epic stick-sword battle in a big open field and through the river cane.

Checking out the outdoor exhibit -- an ice age salt bog diorama

Back indoors -- the line of kids move forward to re-create the movement of a glacier across the landscape. The pile of kids in the floor is the landscape, being, well, flattened by the moving glacier. Riley is stansing in the middle wearing red. I think those are Seth's feet & blue jeans sticking out toward the left at the instructor's legs.

Our instructor was excellent --fun, knowledgeable, engaging, and really flowed with the energy of this group of moms & kids from toddlers to early teens.

My camera battery died early into the program. Thank you, Shannon, for the additional pics of my kiddos!!!!
Watching the bison along the trail
There's me -- between Riley and Maya. Is Riley really that tall????

Hayes, Jacob, and Maya playing in the shelter

Riley throwing an atlatl

Maya throwing an atlatl

Shannon had to leave before the end of the program, so I don't have pictures of that epic sword battle I mentioned. I will never forget it though. We've been homeschooling long enough now that I can see how full life without school can be, but one of the memories I think about in those exceedingly rare moments of worry that my kids might miss out on something by not going to school is from a field trip I took when I was in school to Fort Harrod state park. Some of us were playing in the little one-room school house when a bunch of other kids invaded with tomahawks and various other gift shop purchases. We had a blast running all over the place, hiding, laughing, battling, and chasing each other. Watching my kids and their friends have this huge, fun battle reminded me so much of that experience. They aren't missing out at all.

Morning Joy


A few weeks ago I had the chance to take Seth to the Cincinnati Museum Center's animatronic dinosaur exhibit, Dinosaurs Alive. We had been to a similar exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo several years ago, but he was probably around a year old and doesn't remember. He had a blast and has been all about Dinos since.

Our regular stop before leaving the Museum Center -- the ice cream shop

Playing around the (dry for the winter) fountain outside

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Welcome, Spring!

I missed most of the fun on this first, beautiful, Spring-like weekend of the year because I was lying on the couch with some nasty flu-like funk. I did manage some Spring-welcoming activities and sites around our yard before and after the worst of the funk hit, including finding these little sprouting March Flower/Jonquil/Daffodil leaves.
Some of these pictures are from last Thursday and then a few more from yesterday.

Trampoline Joy!

Swinging Joy!

Dirt & Truck Joy!

Seth's dirt digging partner

Imitating bird calls -- and trying to imitate a tree branch in hopes of a close encounter

More bird watching!

Checking out field guides

Shirt and shoes ready & waiting just in case my shirtless & shoeless Seth from the picture above, so excited to feel the warm sunshine on his back and the earth beneath his feet, decides he wants them.


Maya found & bought a little robotic panda bear at a local second hand store recently and, as she's been playing with it, she's been wanting to know more about pandas -- what they do, what they eat, what kind of shelter/nest they make, etc., which she then incorporates into her play. She was (still is) really wanting to see real, live giant pandas that look like her toy, but our local zoo only has red pandas. I started to look for a nearby zoo with some but haven't found one so far. Thanks to internet and webcams, though, we did get to read about and watch the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo.

Whales & things

The morning started with several books and magazines at the breakfast table. Ri was reading a book about Gila monsters, and we were talking about travelling and how cool it would be to see one in the wild one day. There was something -- can't remember exactly what now -- that connected to something in the National Geographic we had on the table, so he started looking through that. He came across some blue whale photographs that were really beautiful and got interested in the article that went with them. A picture of one researcher shooting a satellite tag and another shooting a biopsy dart brought up a lot of ethical pondering and questioning and considering. We also spent a lot of time looking at the chart on the page that you can see here in this photo. It shows the feeding pattern of whales diving & lunging for krill, which we were talking about having seen happen to Marvin and Dory in Finding Nemo.

We decided to make a little Krill & Whale experiment. We came up with oats to use as Krill and a big jar for a whale.

Seth was kind enough to let us intrude on his bath.

Some of the observers hanging out on the side of the tub:


Penguins from the movie Happy Feet, which also happens to touch a bit on tagging/researching/human impact on wildlife. I just love it -- connections, connections everywhere, even on the side of our bathtub.

Some of our oatmeal krill sank to the bottom but other pieces floated. Here is the "whale" going after his food.

Before moving on to other things, Ri decided he wanted to work a sea life floor puzzle we've had for a long time. We talked about things from Finding Nemo, from our own trips to the ocean, from things we've read, and from visits to the Aquarium.

Pablo wondered why we were so interested in stinkin' sea creature puzzles when we have a perfectly cute puppy to shower with our undivided attention.

The joy of finally finding where that darn piece was supposed to go.

After the puzzle, Riley moved on to other things.
For future reference (or not), or for anyone else interested, I found some more cool stuff related to the National Geographic article on their website, here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Birthday catch-up

Playing a bit of Catch-up here.

We were a little slow getting to celebrate Maya's birthday. We had slumber party and family party plans for the weekend before her actual birthday on Monday, Feb 16. However, stomach bugs being what they are, we ended up postponing everything a bit while everyone recovered.

Happy 8th, sweet Maya!!!

Matt left work early so we could spend the afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese's

Matt playing skee ball...

...really, really well.

Maya with her ticket jackpot winnings

Later in the week we went to my Dad's house in Lexington (he's in the back in the UK blue sweatshirt). Maya's trying out her new baseball equipment that he gave her.

When we got home from Lexington, her American Girl twins had arrived.
Maya with her babes, Matt & Madeline

And we had an impromptu Packing Peanuts Party with the neighborhood kids

By the weekend, we were able to have the previously postponed slumber party.

Here are Riley and our neighbor friends making DIY pizzas