Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moose Watching, Eh?

The thing about moose watching is, it's not the end of the world if you don't see a moose. After all, the scenery is beautiful...

...and it's nice just spending time in nature.

The other critters in the woods are awfully cute!

But if you're really patient... just might see a moose (or TWO!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer of Cousins (Part Three)

This time, we stayed home, and the visitors came to us. R. and S. and their adorable girls aren't actually our cousins, but we've been friends for so long, they are like family. (Dad and I went to college with S. back in the previous millennium! )

We decided to take them to one of our favorite places on Earth.

Yes, I'd classify this as the desert biome!

We packed a picnic and found some shade under an ancient cottonwood tree.

After the heat of the day broke a bit, we took a hike...

...chatted a bit with the locals...

...and admired this guy, who was kind enough to pose for us.

It was a lo-o-o-ong hike.

But look at our reward!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What We're NOT Learning

There are only so many days in our school year (180 to be exact) and in an effort to focus on what is truly important, we'll have to skip some of the usual school subjects. Here is what we're NOT learning this year:

Physical Education: My kids will NOT be playing Slap Tag this year. In this exciting game, one female player dares another female player to run past a male player and slap him on the behind. Traditionally, the game ends with a gang of boys chasing a gang of girls, screaming "Pervs!"

Social Studies: We will NOT be playing He Said She Said. This is a game where one female player reveals a crush on a male player, but makes her friends SWEAR not to tell. The friends keep the secret until lunchtime, when they approach the male player in the cafeteria and "accidentally" reveal it. Regardless of his actual feelings, the boy is required to exclaim "Gross!" and pretend to throw up. No one wins this game.

Math: We will NOT learn Friend Addition and Subtraction. This lesson has many variations, but it almost always ends with a small group of girls visiting the Principal's office to explain why another girl is crying. Some say this is a valuable lesson that kids need to learn in order to prepare them for the "real world." I say that parents should be teaching an alternate lesson: How Not to Arbitrarily Reject a Girl You've Played With Since Kindergarten Just Because Your New Friend Says She's Weird. As long as parents neglect this crucial lesson (also known as Kindness) society will continue to believe that bullying is a necessary part of the "real world."

Language arts: We will NOT be studying Hateful Vocabulary, Words My Dad Says While Driving, or Teenage Sister Vernacular.

Science: We will NOT learn about the effects of seven-hour school days on seven-year-olds. Nor will we study the effect that replacing Family Time with Homework Time has on the human psyche.

There are so many lessons to learn, but I simply have to be realistic and use the time we have to cover the topics that will benefit my kids the most. Math Concepts, Grammar and Punctuation, Creative Writing, World History, Music, Art, Life Science, and Physical Science will just have to suffice.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Peach Season

The first peaches are in! And I'm enjoying my morning Grape Nuts so much more...

Apricots, too! These are so gorgeous, they look like they might glow in the dark. They are delicious!

Have a beautiful summer Saturday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Our Summer of Cousins (Part Two)

If you think it's humid in Oklahoma, head south to Caddo Lake State Park in East Texas.

We love it here, in spite of the heat and humidity. There is just something magical about this place. It's a cypress swamp, peaceful by day and a bit eerie at night.

We've been coming here for years. When Super was about three, she thought the cypress trees were covered in "spinach moss" instead of Spanish moss.

There are gigantic pines and oaks as well.

Some people brave the gators and snapping turtles and jump right in!

We prefer to stay on shore and practice casting.

There are campfires...

...and gooey s'mores...

...and best of all, more cousins!

They blew bubbles, chased fireflies, had water pistol fights, roasted hot dogs, ate more Blue Bell ice cream, told ghost stories, collected pine cones, got a few mosquito bites, and pretty much looked like this every day...

A kid's perfect summer!

Our Summer of Cousins (Part One)

Our Summer of Cousins began in Oklahoma, where the wind goes sweeping 'cross the...gorgeous garden of my aunt and uncle.

Seriously, look at all that green! Their growing season is TWICE as long as ours. I'd be jealous, but they do have to put up with little things like tornadoes, heat, humidity....

...and BUGS! This is a potato bug. He's kind of cute until you see what he can do to an innocent potato plant.

All the kids got right to work picking potato bugs. Would you believe, they actually thought it was fun!

We took a break from the garden and visited Turner Falls, a cool oasis in the midst of the heat.

Just outside the park, there is a little store with a giant sign advertising FRIED PIES. Well, of course we had to support the local business. Wow, were they good. We washed our sticky fingers in the creek.

And we wondered why the butterflies like the fire pit so much. A great research project for school!

The kids picked vegetables, dug in the red dirt, played in the sprinkler, caught toads, collected wildflowers, played hide-and-seek, ate Bluebell ice cream bars, invented a crazy game involving a baseball, a catcher's mitt, and badminton rackets, and pretty much had a FANTASTIC time with their Oklahoma cousins.

We were sad to leave Oklahoma (oh, that garden-fresh produce!) but there were other cousins waiting for us to arrive.

Coming soon! Summer of Cousins Part II.