Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eric and an Inchworm

Sarah likes her worms, and so does her brother. We went to the botanical garden today, and Eric found an inchworm. He spent a long time admiring it and letting it inch around his hands. However, there is a noticable difference between what they do with the critters they find. Sooner or later, Eric finds some other interest, puts the bug down, and moves on. If she could, Sarah would name it, bring it home, make a home for it, and feed it. Remember Tenty, the tent catepillars?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

worm girl

She found these worms after a recent rain, under a bag of potting soil. She wanted to hang onto them for awhile, so she got a cup, filled it with dirt, and made a worm home. She checked on them every few minutes while we played outside and I had to suggest that she let them go the following day. She really didn't want to do that, but did, for their sake. I'm pretty sure she's really going to like the worm composting class we're taking in May.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eric's Train Tracks

Unlike his sister, Eric doesn't spend a lot of time drawing (or coloring or scribbling or anything that remotely relates to holding a writing utensil in his hand). So - I've been trying to find activities that hold his interest and keep him engaged in this task, if only for a little while. While we were at the craft store, he found some train stickers he liked, and I suggested we go home and make some tracks for those trains. I drew the rails and he drew the ties, along with coloring the station, trees, a signal, and a tunnel. He stayed focused and was patient, and, for the most part, he was happy to take his time and do his best work. When he finally finished, he was proud of himself, and so was I.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

another tooth

The second tooth fell out - and, after I saw the blood that came with losing the tooth, I don't feel so bad about missing the first. Rather than a lovely-sweet-moment feeling, all I felt was a wave of nausea. So - I'm okay with not being "front and center" for the rest, and I've decided that tooth-pulling will be Brian's responsibility. I haven't told him yet, but I'm thinking that as long as I emphasize the "vomit" part, he'll be willing to be "take one for the team". (And - just to be clear - when I say "take one for the team", I mean pull ALL of the baby teeth in BOTH of our children.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

community farm

Oh my. I am SO excited.

We have joined Chestnut Ridge's Community Farm. I went for the first workday of the season on Saturday and brought Sarah and Eric with me on Tuesday. I wasn't sure how they would do, or if we could help in anyway, but they were more focused and interested than I had anticipated. (I've got to learn to give them more credit.) They helped mulch new beds, plant seeds, pull spinach and kale, and water the beds. They may not have been exceptionally efficient in their work, but as the farm manager graciously shared, "We're about process here, not product. It's about learning."

We used some of the spinach in our spaghetti sauce this week, which (thankfully) got two thumbs up from both kids.

And - not only are there lots of vegetables and fruits to tend to and enjoy eating over the next many months, but there are pigs, goats, sheep, and chickens too. There will be fresh eggs to gather and bring home!! If we're really lucky, we'll be able to milk a goat or two. As for the pigs, they're being raised for meat, which goes to campers at Chestnut Ridge. Although we won't be eating the meat, it will be quite interesting to learn about raising animals for food. (Side note - when I learn more about the cows that were recently taken to the butcher, I'll fill you in.)

Just in case you thought it was all work - here's some proof that there was a lot of play happening too . . . it's all about balance, isn't it? One of the spring workdays will be focused on building a swing set and a sandbox, so there's even more to look forward to . . .

Sunday, March 6, 2011

monkey bars = daredevil

Last weekend, while Brian went mountain biking, Sarah gathered up her courage and swung across the monkey bars. This was her first attempt - and it was a very successful one. After a couple of tries, she made it all the way across and then said, "Mommy, I'm so proud of myself!" She was really surprised that she could do it, which made this small accomplishment feel big.

We returned to parks three more times since then, because she wanted to practice her new skill. Something else - she keeps asking me (and her friends at school too, I've learned) if she's a daredevil. I guess she's decided that swinging across monkey bars makes her brave and reckless. I keep explaining that being a daredevil isn't necessarily a good thing. And, if she were to see exactly what mountain biking is and why her dad loves it, I'm almost certain that my words about caution would not win her over.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

salamander habitat

After learning about salamanders during a class at the botanical garden, Eric decided to create a habitat for the one he made. Let me point out the details, in case they aren't clear. First, the salamander is camouflaged, sitting on a black rock. Can you see her? She might be hard to see . . . Next, he wanted to make sure to include some water, grass, and leaves, as well as other things that you find in a forest. There's a tree, some rocks, and even sticks found in the water so that the salamander can lay her eggs. He also thought the salamander might like some friends, so he added a lizard (that was made during a previous class), a dinosaur, and an alligator. Finally, in the last picture, after realizing that he had blue and brown on, he decided that he could be camouflaged, just like his salamander. (I know, really, he's hard to see, isn't he!?)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

construction site

Sometimes, when left to his own devices, this boy can come up with some pretty creative ways to entertain himself. And when his creativity stays within bounds, not only am I impressed, but I'm quite pleased, too. Witnessing moments like this make my day, even if it's after the fact. (I didn't get to appreciate this one in person - Brian took these. I was out running on a trail, and that makes my day, too.)