Saturday, June 28, 2008

Not much going on.

I haven't had a whole lot to blog about recently. We are just doing our normal things and nothing seems exciting enough to post about. We are still "doing school" but very lightly. Since finishing the Felicity books last week we haven't finished our American Revolution studies quite yet. We are about half way through Johnny Tremain. I am surprised that Sophie is enjoying the story. Or at least she isn't opposed to it. When I say we are going to read or listen to it she quickly says "ok". She also doesn't mind telling Dad about it at dinner when he comes home. (This is one of our usual forms of narration.) We are also still plugging away at Liberty's kids. We are only about half way through the war. Ian always wants to re-watch the episode about the Turtle. Which was a very early submarine. Ian loves gadgets.
I also downloaded the audio files of the Burgess Bird Book for Children. We don't have the book and I can't get it from the library so we just listen to it and look up the different birds that are talked about in our bird book. Sophie always loves animal stories and these appeal to her.

While we listen to stories we often break out this game.It is a color pattern puzzle that we put together in different designs. Sometimes the designs are symmetrical and other times they are just haphazard. But the kids are getting really good at laying out a pattern. I have been helping Henry remember the colors using this game. He still gets a few mixed up but he is doing better.

We also play a lot of legos and even some knights while listening too.
No matter what we do we always end up with toys all over the house and a big mess of mixed up toys. So every evening we have to have big clean up parties to get everything back in their places.

Along with these few "schoolish" type things we also have been spending a good amount of time outside. The weather hasn't been ideal because of all the smoke in the air but we still head out to the park or on hikes around the block quite often.
Here is Henry doing the monkey bars. He is a very athletic kid. At 2 years old he is able to swing across the monkey bars. I don't even know if Ian can do this yet. Sophie has just started doing it.

We have also had a few birthday parties this week and those always cause a bit of excitement. We get to go shopping for gift to give and then count the hours and minutes until we finally get to go to the party.

So we have been busy but just doing normal life kinds of things.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hike to Castle Rock

We went today on a hike with a few friends. I haven't taken the kids on a hike (other than around the block or to a nearby park) in awhile. So today we headed out early before it started to heat up again.
We drove up into the mountains about 20 minutes away from home and hiked to a waterfall first. Then we decided to head to a place called Castle Rock.
The kids loved castle rock. It was a large rock with lots of little caves and holes in it.
The kids had a great time climbing under, over, around and through the rocks.

It was the greatest place for kids to play. They could have stayed all day and explored.

They did make me promise to bring them back there again sometime soon. They want to make sure their Dad comes next time too.

Castle Rock was a hit!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Meeting the neighbors.

Today was such a beautiful day. We went out early this morning on a bike ride. Our goal or plan was the reach a park that is about 6 blocks away, swing and climb for about half an hour and then bike back home before it got too hot. The way to the park passes a house where we often stop to look at the flowers. Sophie remembers this spot was where we got a really good look at tulips earlier this Spring. Well today when we were passing the lady of the house just happened to be out watering her flowers so we stopped to talk to her. These walks have been great opportunities to meet and talk to our neighbors.

She told us all about the different flowers in her little bed near the street. We have noticed the Hollyhocks many times when we drive down this street. I didn't know what the name of them were until now. There were a whole assortment of colors. And they grew so tall.

She also showed the kids the snap dragons and taught them how to make the dragon mouth open and shut.
Each of the kids gave it a try and even Henry was able to make the dragons snap. I don't think they will ever be able to see a snap dragon now without remembering to give it a light pinch to pop that dragons mouth open.

This neighbor was so nice to us. We stayed there a long time admiring all the different flowers she had planted. She even offered to let the kids pick some of her cherries.

After picking a few, and eating a few we left with a small bag filled with bing cherries. YUM!

This little guy sure looks like he liked them! I think each of the kids ended up with the cherry juice all over their faces and staining their clothes.

We did eventually make it to the park and we played for a bit. On the bike ride home I noticed some flowers down a side street and we had to go and look at them.
Morning Glories, lots of them.

I don't know if you can see it well but behind Sophie in the below picture is a picket fence that lines the yard of a house. The fence is covered with vines and vines of Morning Glories. And those blue flowers were our in their full glory today.

It was a very nice trip to the park and we all had a great time.
It never did really get too hot today. We could have stayed at the park longer. If only all Summer days were like today!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Schoolhouse Rock

In the mail yesterday I received a new CD. I CD Swap as well as book swap. This particular CD has been on my wish list for a long time and finally became available.

I decided to put it on this afternoon and my husband was thrilled. I didn't watch these as a kid but he did. He explained that it was the standard Saturday morning cartoon when he was a kid. Somehow the difference in our ages is really illustrated in the things we watched and listened to as kids. I thought it was funny that he could sing along to the songs.

After listening to the CD my husband went online and found the songs on youtube. He and the kids sat in front of the computer and watched song after song. Sophie got all excited when she heard and saw this one. She said "it goes along with our history".

I am sure we will be listening to the CD many more times. My kids sure loved it!

My Camera

I have had a number of comments about my photos over the last few months. I appreciate all the kind comments. I am not a photographer and don't have a fancy camera. I just tend to be taking pictures of my cute kids or the beautiful flowers and trees around me. So they are what really make the photos turn out well!

I do have photoshop and do know how to use it a bit but just don't have time to touch up each one picture. I have been known to play around with photos if I know I am going to print them. But usually they are ones that I like the layout of but the color is off a little. It is hard to fix a bad photograph, it is better to just take it well in the first place.

About 2 years ago I was given this camera for my birthday.This was a big jump from our little 2 mega pixel digital camera I had been using for a number of years. I do love this camera. I do generally just use it on auto and point and shoot. But when I can't seem to get it to look good I do try other settings. I do take a little thought into the layout of each shot. I also take a lot of pictures of the same thing and use the best ones. This is one of the things I love about digital cameras. I can check to see if the shot is good but also I can take them from a number of angles and try different things and just delete or not use the ones that aren't good.

Recently I have been figuring out some of the settings on my camera. I actually figured out that inside shots turn out much better if I change my ISO setting to Hi rather than auto. So my inside shots are getting better. Outside pictures have always turned out nice with this camera. There is still so much to learn about what my camera is capable of.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Just had to find out.

Since my boys have been pretending to be all sorts of super heros recently. I figured I better know which one I am.

You are Superman

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #18 - Looking for pollen

We have been venturing outside for our walks early in the morning the last few weeks. We are usually out and about by 9:00 a.m. to take advantage of the cool temperatures. By afternoon we are hidden away in our house trying to stay cool. This morning I told the kids we had a quest. Our assignment was to go out and look for pollen. I asked them where we should look for pollen. They quickly replied "in flowers".
We started our walk by checking on our few little garden plants.
The Tomatoes look like they are coming along nicely. Our little cherry tomato plant has bunchs of these little clusters.
Sophie was happy to point out that there were still lots of yellow flowers on the plant too so there will still be more.
I was happy to see this little bloom. I didn't know if my cucumber plants were going to make it. But there are a few little cucumbers growing already and one or two blossoms on the two plants so hopefully we will have a few cucumbers to go with our tomatoes.

Sophie said our quest was over. There was pollen in those flowers on our plants. I said yes there was but we needed to find more so the kids then grabbed their scooters and we were out to look at other flowers to find more pollen.

We stopped and watched this big "bee" bumble around a bush for awhile. It didn't quite look like a bee Sophie thought we should call it a beetle but I don't think it was that either.
Sophie went looking for pollen in these large fluted flowers.

Sometimes I think I have never paid that much attention to the plants and trees around me. This week I suddenly noticed that a tree on our block has all these pick flowers all over it.When driving around I noticed a lot of these trees all in flower right now. Here is a close of up of the flowers. They are more like pom poms or puff balls.
After looking it up online I believe the tree is called a Silk tree or often called a Mimosa. It's scientific name is Albizia julibrissin.
I love that I am learning to really look at what is around me. I live in an area where there is so much variety. I just never really looked at it. Before they were all just trees. Now I am actually noticing the different types of leaves, fruits and seeds that each produces.

Back to our quest for pollen.

The agapanthus are almost all out in full glory around the neighborhood. We have seen a lot of purple and get excited when we see some of the white variety. We peeked inside a few to see if we could see the pollen inside.
We also stopped to really look at the parts of this white iris as well.When you gently lift those purple petals in the center it reveals some little stamen I think. We figured that the yellow lines down the petals must lead the bees to the nectar.

It started to warm up quickly so we headed back home to get out of the sun. But we had a great walk and took a good look at some more plants around us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday again - Travel

I haven't done a Top Ten list since November... so today I thought I would try it again. Today's topic is travel.

I have been lucky to be able to travel a bit in you younger years. Since having kids I haven't been doing to much away from home. It is amazing how just having one or two extra plane tickets suddenly makes big trips less likely. But here are 10 of the big trips (get on an airplane type) and places I have been lucky to have been taken on.

1. Oaho, Hawaii - I think this was my first plane trip. At least that I can remember. My Uncle and his family were living in Hawaii and we went to visit them. I remember visiting pearl harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center. And I remember playing on the beach and watching people surf those big waves.

2. Cancun, Mexico. I was about 10 years old and I went with my mom for a 4 day trip to Cancun. We saw some Mayan Ruins at Tulum. I got to swim with big sea turtles. And I remember I got really sick and spent the plane ride home sipping ice water. Montezuma got his revenge

3. London, England - I was so excited to have to actually get a passport. (I guess you didn't need one to go to Mexico). This was my first trip to Europe and at 13 years old it was very exciting! This was a trip my Dad had "won" through work. So we stayed at a very Posh hotel and got taken on a lot of the usual tourists places and tours. We saw the tower of London, Stonehenge, the Victoria and Albert museum. We also rode the train out to Bath and wandered through the town. I remember this was my first real experience of Jet Lag. There was a point the first day there where we were literally asleep standing up.

4. Williamsburg, Virgina - I can't seem to find any pictures of this trip. It would have been nice to show some to Sophie while we are reading about Williamburg.

5. San Jose, Costa Rica - I spent 2 months in Costa Rica as an exchange student. It was an eye opening experience! I learned a little spanish too.

6. Paris, France - Almost my whole family went on this trip. We had two weeks. One in Paris and one traveling around France to see Normandy and some of the chateaux

7. New York, New York - I don't know if you can count a mission as travel. And not to make light of this experience but along with being a missionary, I certainly saw a lot of New York and even a bit of Connecticut. I did many of the usual tourist things but also got to see and be a part of the every day life of the people there. I still got to go to a few Broadways shows, see the statue of Liberty and take a tour of West Point along with countless other things. This was one of the greatest times of my life! The scenery and attractions were just a bonus.

8. Venice, Florance, the alps, Italy - We spent 2 weeks in Italy. Part of the time up in the Italian part of the Alps and a few days in Venice. Then we traveled through Tuscany staying in a different town each night. We saw so many beautiful places! We were all done looking at Duomos by the end of the trip though.

Here I am standing on the top of a mountain in the Alps.

This is a picture of my sister standing in St. Marks square in Venice.

9. Orlando, Florida - What could be better then 4 days at Disney World. We could have passed on MGM studios but loved Epcot. Sophie doesn't remember this trip but she was 1 1/2 at the time and kept us busy with her running around. She loves to look at the pictures of this trip and pretend she remembers meeting Winnie the Pooh and Mary Poppins.

10. Cruise to Mexico - Cruises are one of the best ways to travel! Even with three small children. We didn't love Mexico it was just a place to get off the boat for a bit. We just had a great time swimming, playing and eating! It was so much fun and the kids keep talking about our next cruise.

Looking back on all these great trips... We have gone to a lot of really wonderful places. But the best part of these trips have always been the hanging out with the people/family on them. Thanks Mom and Dad for making all these trips possible for me. They all have left me with very fond memories.

Where to next? Alaska?