Thursday, April 28, 2011

our snake

We found this snake today under one of the rocks in the backyard. We've seen two more like him this spring, one of which was under the same rock several weeks ago. Originally, I thought it was a baby black rat snake, but after spending the last hour trying to identify him, I've decided that he's either a worm snake or a rough earth snake. (Or maybe a smooth earth snake?) I've also learned that he's not a baby, but full grown. I wouldn't have messed with him, except that I was concerned Eric might decide to mess with him. After giving him a few pets, I let him go, in an undisclosed location, under another, safer rock.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I've been taking pictures of wildflowers recently because I want to hang a bunch of them on the family room wall. (If anyone cares to know, this series will actually make it up on the wall, unlike the office photo project.) Anyway, this one is a windflower and it's my favorite photo so far. Can you tell why?


Back in February, while we were walking in the woods at a local park, Sarah and Eric happened upon a geocache. I had forgotten, but several years ago, I read an article and had thought that, when they were old enough, it would be a great way to get them interested in going on a hike. We've gone out a few times, and they love it.

They each take turns carrying the GPS unit, with Sarah constantly announcing the number of feet left and Eric ignoring the beep that indicates when you're close. Each time, Brian has gently taken it from them, walked a little farther, and then stood very close, but not too close, so that they could have the opportunity to find the treasure. We've learned to bring something old to trade for something new, and for a little while, whatever they find is their new favorite thing.

What I love even more than seeing their excitement is the exploring that happens on the way back to the car. (They are far too focused to do this during the first half of the walk.) Logs to balance on, streams to cross (or play in), and crayfish to catch (until they pinch) are treasures of their own, yes?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

owl pellet

I love that my kids weren't grossed out when dissecting an owl pellet. Because really, there's a very good chance that at least one of them would have been. (I have to admit, I was half-fascinated, half-grossed out myself. I decided that they should take off their sweatshirts and pull up their sleeves after seeing all the "dust" that appeared when they started to pull it apart. And, I questioned the use of the kitchen table for this project. Oh well, too late.)

At first, they were concerned that they may not find any bones, and then, they screeched each time they found something. We printed out a bone identification guide and learned that we had found rib bones, hip bones, femur bones, jaw bones, and best of all, a skull. Sarah took the bones for show and tell the next day along with the guide that we highlighted to show which ones she was sharing.

Gotta love it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nana's Sweaters

The other night, I thought it was warmer than it was and gave Sarah a sleeveless nightgown to sleep in. She loves the thing, and I knew suggesting a change of outfit wasn't going to go over so well. So instead, I offered her one of the sweaters that Nana made for her. She happily agreed and put it on.

With a big grin, she said, "Nana's sweaters are magical."

I agreed and then asked her why she thought so.

"They keep you hot and cold," she said.

I asked, "Do you mean they keep you comfortable, no matter what the temperature outside is?"

"Yes," she said, with another big grin.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just a Taste

We had a GREAT time visiting our California family. There's nothing better than getting to hang out my sister, not to mention her sweet boys, too. (And, really, I don't think I could ask for a better place to visit her, especially when it's sunny and warm.) I have lots of photos to share and stories to tell, which will come in the next few days. For now, here's a taste . . . a a