Tuesday, July 29, 2008

on hiatus

Hey folks -- I'm starting to get comments (sheesh, it's only been a few days! LOL) at the lack of fun summer pictures the past few days. I'm officially on hiatus from the blog for this week -- I'm gearing up for some serious preparation work during August, and wanted to take this last week of July as a true vacation for myself -- we've seriously slipped into Summer Mode around here, including hanging out in bed until well after 8, getting not-much-at-all accomplished all morning, then spending as much time as possible at the lake the rest of the day. We even stopped going to and working on OT and SLT for a couple of weeks. So you're not missing much anyway!

Give yourself a little break too -- don't check back until after Aug 1! After that, I'll start posting REAL entries again, along with the photos you all love. Happy Holiday!

Friday, July 25, 2008

summer break, day 26

It finally stopped raining! So off to the zoo we went.

A Zoo Boy in his natural habitat, studying the various critters at the zoo (in this case, young Emus).

J enjoys -- REALLY enjoys -- an ice cream treat. (For those of you keeping count, this is the first time he's tried this particular type of treat.)

At long last, I'd like to introduce you to Zoo Boy's new Cockatiel, whom he proudly named Lucario (after a favorite Pokemon character).

Meanwhile, I couldn't control myself.

(Seriously, I think I may have a problem....)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

summer break, day 25

...and more rain. 8 inches of it, to be exact. Needless to say, it's a little soggy around here, but sounds like we've got the next week or so to dry out a bit.

summer break, day 24

It was a thunderstormy kind of day -- the kind of day where anything you plan gets washed away in a torrent of falling water and electrical flashes (and outages): We started the day with Zoo Boy reading us "The Family Book". Then we had breakfast and got ready to go for our walk. CRASH! BOOM! Change of plans.

So we played indoors instead, mostly musical games and explorations, where, amongst other things, Candy Corn got to see what life was like as a musical note, courtesy of J. Then it was time for swim lessons -- we got our bathing suits on and got ready to go. CRASH! BOOM! Change of plans.

So Zoo Boy treated us to a concert, singing every song in one of our Music Together books. Then we all got dressed to head out and run some errands. CRASH! BOOM! Change of plans.

So the kids got busy with independent projects. J made this cute dog mask -- it's a Shar Pei, he said -- you can tell because the paper (skin) is all wrinkled. We started to get ready so we could take The Map Man over to pick up our car that was in the shop. CRASH! BOOM! Change of plans.

So the kids stayed home with The Man (and J worked on his "space walking", which will come in very handy for his career as an astronaut) while I had a neighbor drive me up to pick up the car and run those errands we never got to.

The CRASHING and BOOMING continued throughout the night. We lost power for about 4 hours (it had been blinking on and off all day) after the kids went to bed. More CRASHING and BOOMING is expect for another whole day, so we'll see what sorts of changes of plans that brings about....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

summer break, day 23

my oldest ewe, Betty, seeks shelter from the sweltering heat in the woods

we had a surprise at swim lessons today -- they moved Zoo Boy to the Kinderswim class -- he was excited to have his "own" class, and this one is more game-based than skill-based so is a better fit for him right now -- I'm sure I'll have more to say on that when I'm back from my "summer blogging break" (that's the Boy in the light blue swim trunks next to the teacher)

J didn't seem to miss his brother in his class (he's the furthest to the left in this pic)

buoyancy experiments -- J loads his boogie board with rocks to see if he can make it sink -- Zoo Boy swims around in the background

A surprise awaited us when we got home -- a great big package with a lot of our fall school supplies, which the kids excitedly dug through -- I couldn't believe it, I only just ordered this stuff over the weekend -- everyone really MUST go shop at Swift River Toys and Enki Supplies right this very minute!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

summer break, day 22

Storm damage -- we lost a couple of limbs off of one of the prominent trees on our property, the "Dog Yard Maple". There is SO MUCH I am tempted to post about this, but I'm trying hard to stick to my promise to myself of a month off from "real" blogging, so I'll just leave you with this thought -- it's hard to watch an old friend slowly dying.

The limbs fell into Teak's dog yard, and he made himself a cool bed underneath the pile of branches I lopped off in order to allow him in and out of the gate to his yard. There's a lot more clean-up needed, but that's all I could manage by myself.

Our gardens were more than happy to receive all the rainfall (me too, since it meant I don't have to do any watering for a couple of days!). This is the "wild spot" in the children's garden -- we let one corner grow up to provide a spot for exploration and tunnels (you can see our milkweed forest in the background the right, a part of our wild spot). It's weedy but beautiful!

First day of swim lessons!

The boys spent the bulk of the afternoon practicing what they learned in class.

Monday, July 21, 2008

summer break, day 21

the kids kept cool in the tub during the mid-day heat -- the air quality was too lousy and the sun just too hot to go to our lake beach, so we had to improvise

The Weed Patrol, doing their job

an afternoon thunderstorm brought a bit of relief -- it's a little hard to see, but there is a sparrow and a robin both bathing in that driveway puddle

After being cooped up in the house all day avoiding the sun, we ventured out for ice cream and a drive up to the other lake in town that has a beach (yes, we have two good lakes to swim in our town, and yes, we know how lucky we are). This lake is on the other side of town, so a bit of a drive, as opposed to "our lake" which is just a minute down the road.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

summer break, day 20

Hazy, hot, and humid was the prediction for the weekend, and the weathermen didn't lie. Given that 3 of the 4 of us can't stand this sort of weather (J inexplicably doesn't seem to mind it at all), we chose to spend the heat of the day hiding in the air conditioned comfort of a movie theater (Kung Fu Panda, which we all loved!), followed up by the air conditioned comfort of a grocery store, followed up by a stop at the ice cream store.

the Rose of Sharon doesn't mind the heat, in fact seems to thrive on it, coming into bloom only once the days are ridiculously hot

Annie doesn't seem to mind the heat either, happily standing out in the blazing sun.

May I brag for moment? In late November a shaggy, unkempt, depressed, malnourished mare with horribly neglected feet was delivered to us. Today, she looks like -- well, she looks like this!!! Passersby stop to comment on how gorgeous she is, how shiny her coat, how gleaming with good health. Our Annie has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. And never was there a horse that more deserved a second chance at life. We love our Annie!

As for me, I'm spending as much time as possible this weekend hiding in our bedroom, air conditioner blasting, reading through Enki 1st Grade Stories, starting to piece together a plan of attack for September. (I previously said I might start up in August, but I've found something more important to do in August -- details to come then!)

I also spent a bit of time on-line at places like Swift River Toys & Enki Supplies, gathering supplies for our school year. Here's a portion of my shopping list. At this point, I just need a short trip to Staples to finish up and I think we're set -- just have to sit back and wait for everything to arrive on my doorstep. I love internet shopping!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

summer break, day 19

some scenes from our morning walk

The Map Man joined us at the lake this afternoon/evening

Our Milkweed forest -- sadly, we have no Monarch butterflies, which we were hoping to study from egg to adult -- we are considering buying a caterpillar or two to grow out and release next year to hopefully attract more monarchs to our milkweed stand. We introduced Milkweed Moths last year, so hopefully they've established and we'll get to watch their fuzzy caterpillars later in the summer.

Friday, July 18, 2008

summer break, day 18

a sunflower in our garden

those orange Echinacea I mentioned a week or two ago, really they are more pink than orange, but pretty none-the-less!

J spent a good chunk of yesterday like this:

poor kid was sick as a dog yesterday morning, so we didn't get out and do anything fun

Zoo Boy took the opportunity to work on his spelling -- he used these alphabet animal puzzle pieces to spell out words and phrases from his favorite books

Meanwhile, I used our "down time" to get the new parakeet cage set up in the bird room. We now have side-by-side large flight cages, one for the boys and one for the girls. We also have two smaller cages, one with birds that are for sale (it's easier to work with them when they are in a smaller space), which currently has two occupants from our last clutch, and the breeding cage (in which Pear and Apple just hatched out their first new baby yesterday). Oh, and a spare cage for quarantining new birds.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

summer break, day 17

we met some friends at Stratton Brook State Park

the kids had their usual great time swimming and searching for fishies, turtles, tadpoles and frogs (any place with water is a huge hit with them!)

a pretty damsel fly -- there were many different types of dragonflies and damselflies

J's depiction of the galaxy and our place in it (hm, I think I have it upside down, just realized the house the person is standing in has a roof pointing down....)

his interest in space has recently expanded to include space travel -- here's a drawing of landing on the moon -- and he talks about being an astronaut when he grows up -- he says that he wants to be the first person to go someplace no-one else has been

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

summer break, day 16 (I couldn't find my camera on day 15!)

we went to a park to visit the 2nd largest tree in the state -- this huge Sycamore, which the boys had a blast playing underneath

really something, isn't it? we were all pretty wowed

the kids were even more impressed with the nearby river access

didn't take long for Zoo Boy to strip down and jump in

while J preferred exploring along the shore, finding frogs and damselflies