Thursday, October 21, 2010

Impromptu Nature Study/Writing Session

Frankly, there are some days that I feel I'm dragging my child through the day's schoolwork.

Then there are days that he jumps in of his own accord, with his own interests and questions and ideas. Like this day.

In early morning, wearing pajamas still, he went out with binoculars, paper, pencil and clipboard to do a little nature study from our back deck. Then he wrote a fictional, but realistic piece on the hawk that frequents our back yard. As he shared it indoors with us later, he was quick to point out that his spelling was a mess, but that he intended to edit it and make corrections soon. I couldn't say a word - only smile and give him a hug!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photos from Orlando, FL, Trip

 Finally learned the difference between Chip and Dale!

 The bus stop was just as much fun as any ride.
 Some Minnie Mouse sweetness!

Some frozen, fruity sweetness!

 Some undersea awesomeness!

 Same shot I took of my oldest two about 15 years ago - unconcerned Dad and all.

 The new Harry Potter area was incredibly crowded, but cool.

 Gun show!

 The Lego-ness Monster

 Chuck made his acting debut in a big way! Go, Dad!

 The Lego store was a daily stop for us.

Cullen on safari. It didn't actually smell bad at all; he's just really good at dramatic anticipation!

The unavoidable waiting-around time gave us a chance to rest our feet and enjoy hanging out together. Overall, it was a terrific get-away!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Camping with Cub Scouts

Along with some of our fellow scouts and their families, we enjoyed gorgeous weather while camping together this past weekend. Other than chilly nights, it was the perfect time to do this - no mosquitoes or gnats!!!

Here's our favorite Cub Scout being his usual dramatic self. There's no telling what he's doing here.

The first morning, the scouts raised a tattered flag that my father-in-law had asked us to retire for one last fly. Cullen got to help his Cubmaster raise it. Later that evening, it was retired and burned along with three other old flags in a respectful and meaningful ceremony.

Along with the expected running around, football tossing, frisbee throwing, stick whittling, game playing, fishing and fort building, the boys (along with several sisters and one little brother) split up into teams for a nature-themed scavenger hunt, learning how to identify local trees during the process.

Several boys tried fishing a bit with their dads, though I'm pretty certain no one caught a fish. They surely heard all of the noise and swam to another part of the lake! Chuck and Cullen tried to find a quiet spot. 

Good thing for Cullen that Dad has excellent balance for getting a snagged line free when necessary!

There was a perfect balance of time together with the group...

and time one-on-one with Dad.

Of course the most anticipated part of camping was by far cooking over the fire.

Cullen perfected the art of roasting hot dogs and after a little practice, of not burning his marshmallows. I love burnt marshmallows, so I helped him out with those.

One of the highlights for me was finding an owl pellet! If you don't know, the pellet is the ball of fur and bones and other odd bits that the owl regurgitates after digesting all that it can of whatever animal it most recently ate. Disgusting, I know, but fascinating. I consider the discovery a reward for not sleeping much because of the owl's hooting ALL night long!

As much as I wanted to keep it and bring it home to add to my collection of odd things, one of the scouts in Cullen's den who is more of a nature-fanatic than even I am was just about beside himself to add it to his own collection, offering me all sorts of incredible things in trade. I did the right thing - though it really should have been easier - and let him have it free and clear - no trade required. I did get a big hug, though, which I accepted gladly. I also insisted that he not take it out of the ziplock bag I put it in until one of his parents could spray it with disinfectant or get him some gloves.

I absolutely love being outdoors. It heals and feeds me in ways that are difficult to describe. Watching the kids enjoy and explore what I already love so much was rewarding, too. I consider this to be time very well spent.

However, I must admit that I have a new and deeper appreciation for indoor plumbing. I'm just saying...