Saturday, November 27, 2004

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with all our family present. My mother was up for her annual visit, my in-laws came down for the weekend and my sister-in-law drove down for the day. I cooked two turkeys this year instead of one bigger one, and they came out beautifully. Everything was delicious! My in-laws look forward to this meal all year long--quite a bit of pressure. I am so very thankful that we were all together for a wonderful meal again this year, that we all have our health and each other. I feel truly fortunate and daily grateful for my family--my husband and precious children--and the life we lead. Year long, our lives are filled with love and happiness and connection with one another, fueled by our mutual respect and compassion. I am grateful for the priority we each place on our family, for the time we take to be together and for each moment we are given to be together on this earth.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

This week the kids and I drove my mom up to Philadelphia to visit with some friends, and we took the time to go into the Franklin Institute. What a great time we had! We started out in the planetarium--an amazing experience. This was the first time the kids had ever been to a planetarium and the first time for me in a very long time. We were lucky enough to be one of about 20 people, so the kids could move around a bit without feeling overwhelmed. Sam thought it was absolutely incredible, and at one point, was convinced that we were actually moving. I must admit that I felt a bit motion sick at a few points!

After the planetarium, we played in the train room. Julia got to drive a huge engine and Sam served as the fireman--pretty neat set up where the engine actually moves. We also explored the Science Command Center, the Hands-On Science Center and the Giant Heart. The kids played around with water and air pressure, light, made shadows on the shadow-wall, and explored the inside of a heart.

The kids had a blast swimming in the hotel pool, and we spent Wednesday morning at a friends' horse farm. What a lovely place! The barns and the land were absolutely beautiful. The kids enjoyed seeing the horses and feeding them carrots. Of course, the trampoline and toy room were pretty fun, too!

We got to see the Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban while we were staying in the hotel, and the kids and I were all disappointed with it. We've had some really great discussions about the difference that new directors and actors can make in a film. It's been really interesting because Emily is probably the most disappointed, and this is the second time now that she's experienced the disparity between books and movies. It's pretty cool to watch her dissect that slippage.

Today we went hiking at Great Falls National Park. What a gorgeous day! We saw a pileated woodpecker flying around while we were hiking, and found lots of woodpecker holes in the trees. The geology around Great Falls is really cool--lots of schist and quartz.

While hiking we searched for the C & O Canal Letterbox. Unfortunately, the directions are a bit off, but we managed to find it nonetheless after a bit of interpretation. The kids did a great job on the hike, especially after they got over the initial whiny stage. Sam and Julia were troopers and even hiked back to replace the letterbox with me. The Canal itself is really cool, and we got to see a model of the boats and mules that pulled them in the Visitor Center Museum.

Friday, November 12, 2004

As part of her ongoing interest in Egypt, Emily has been building a papier mache pyramid. We mixed the glue, which Em thought was pretty gross, and then got a good layer on that we'll let dry before putting on a final layer. When it's all done, she's going to paint it, and who knows where it'll go!

Emily and Julia have been doing lots of science experiments lately with food coloring and oil, creating lava lamp-esque concoctions. The other day, they took the food coloring they'd mixed in water and used it to create really cool tie-dye paper towels with an eye dropper. We hung them out on the deck to dry when they were all done, but they disappeared! Wind, one might think, but no! We found the green paw-prints that led us to catch the thief green-pawed. Boo, our puppy, had eaten them, and boy were the next few days interesting!

Em continues to be quite interesting in playing with numbers and has been spending lots of time working on addition and subtraction, sometimes asking for verbal and sometimes written problems. The car is usually her favorite time for number play, but she also likes to do this late at night. Amazing what kids will do when left to their own devices!

We had our 4-H Gardening club this week where we harvested a bunch of seeds, shared some strawberry and blackberry plants and cleaned our garden beds.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Let's see if I can catch up here...

The kids had a really great Halloweeen. Emily was Mulan, Julia was her own version of Sleeping Beauty and Sam was Prince Philip. They are still just so excited about the whole idea of going around and collecting candy! My ankle was still pretty bum, and with all the hills and unpaved driveways in our neighborhood, I decided to let Jim take them around by himself this year. I was just going to hit the neighbors' next door with them, but I ended up doing all of our street with them before sendind them on their way--they were having so much fun!

Grampa came down for a visit after voting on Election Day, and the kids just adore him! We took him down to our favorite beach where we could all play with the puppy. They showed him how to dig for fossils in the cliffs, how to explore the wetlands on the boardwalk, where to build the best dam, and he helped them move some really big logs to make a bridge. The kids had him climbing on barrier rocks with them and hunting for fossilized sharks' teeth while I threw the stick for Boo--over and over and over!

We've been losing all our leaves the past week, which with all the trees we have means many huge piles of leaves for jumping! The kids help gather all the fallen twigs for kindling while Jim and I blow and rake the leaves, so by the time we have a big pile, all the sticks are safely out and the kids can just have a blast. Sam's been out with his Prince Philip sword and shield attacking the leaves while I blow them; I wish I had a picture of him shining! It's hard to say who likes the leaf blower more, Sam or the puppy!