Friday, April 29, 2011

Birds at Night

We took a walk one evening and on the way back home, we passed a couple of bluebird houses in the park. I had read that you could walk up to them, give a gentle knock on the side so you don't startle the bird inside and then open the front of the house very slowly and they usually won't fly away. Sure enough, it worked! In the 2 houses we passed, there were birds in each one.

This was the first house. It's hard to tell what kind of bird it is when all you can see is the head.

This one had a rather tidy little nest that was packed down in the cardboard cup that was provided for it.

This second house had a different type of bird with a more cluttered nest. This picture came out blurry, but the bird was startled and flew off before we could get another one. However, that gave us the chance to look for eggs.
Sure enough, there wew 2 of them nestled in the bottom.

We also discovered that we have a small nest in the corner of the awning on our screen porch.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Horse Behavior

We observed some interesting things about the horses while we were home. They turn their ears in the directions they are listening and they can listen in two directions at once it seems.

The colt wanted to nurse as soon as the mare tried to take a drink. And I noticed that the colt was using some of his new teeth on the mare. (I know what that feels like; poor mama!) And he stomped all over her hay while she was trying to eat. I guess horse babies are intrusive like humans. :) (I say that with all the mother love in the world.)

Grandma gave Olivia some lessons on tack and horse grooming. Olivia doesn't really have the strength to clean the horses well but she tried. She said it was hard work. :) Just wait until for another year or so when Grandma and Grandpa really put her to work and maybe do a horse camp for her. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We did some fun learning while we were home too!

Olivia and I visited the Alphabet Museum at the JAARS center in Waxhaw, NC. It is a museum about the history of language and writing from its origins and then the present day efforts to continue to give people groups without an alphabet or written language that gift. There is certainly an emphasis on bible translation as this museum is part of Wicliffe Bible Translators and the idea came about from Cameron Townsend. Here is some info if you are interested in reading more. It was packed full of wonderful information and I would highly recommend it.

Part of our math curriculum this last year has been to count money. Olivia is also at the age where she has lots of questions about what things cost and what role money plays in life. My Aunt Kelly works for our bank. She graciouly offered to give us a little field trip. She gave Olivia a piggy bank 2-3 years ago. Olivia has been putting coins in it for 2 years and asking when she can take them to the bank. So we took her money, put it in the counting machine, and then wrote in the amount on her check register. She then got a tour of the vault and safe deposit boxes and met some of the various employees. The kids each got a bag of shredded money and some fun booklets and activity sheets. Then she and the boys got their photos taken for their accounts and received ID cards. My aunt gave her some play money and spent some time talking to her about money. It was a fun experience.

SECU calls their kid accounts Fat Cat accounts. The boys had fun climbing all over the Fat Cat himself!

A week before this trip, Olivia was dusting her room and accidently broke her piggy bank. My aunt presented her with a new one for her birthday. It is twice the size! Aunt Kelly's explanation was "Inflation", LOL! :)

Olivia deposited most of the money into her bank account. She kept some to spend and then put some in the "Dollars for a Drink" collection at church. There are a few guys at church that are from Sudan. We are working toward raising money to dig a well in the 1st Peter's village. (We call him 1st Peter because there are two Peters. :))

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Camp Duxbak Ranch

We spent 4 days with my parents last week. We started out at my aunt's house for a family birthday celebration. It is wonderful to gather with so many generations. I just love seeing my grandparents with their greatgrandchildren. Then we headed on to my parents' house. It was a wonderful time! There is always some many fun things to do.

My dad has been building and slowly adding on to a playground for a several years. It is always a hit.

There were wheelbarrow rides and tractor rides.

Horses. A colt. Barn Chores.

Playing in the hay barn. I used to love doing this as a kid and it is fun to watch my kids enjoy the same things.

Look close. It's the Pony Express. :)
Ezra listening close to riding instructions from my mom. ;)
Gabe didn't want to ride. At this point, he prefers the horses and the tractor more in theory or maybe from a distance. ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Olivia's 6th Birthday!

Our darling daughter is now 6 years old! It's so hard to believe. She growing into such sweet and smart little lady. I'm so proud of her.

For her birthday, she had a list of requests. :) She wanted a banner, macaroni and cheese for lunch and a hot dog for dinner. She also wanted to go bowling. Well... we had another surprise in store for her.

Rebecca had the brilliant idea to fill her room with balloons while she slept, so I pulled the air compressor hose from the garage and we stood in the living room filling balloon after balloon. We carried them in by the armload, trying to be careful not to pop any and wake her up. The end result?

A whole mess of balloons. :)

We did fulfill her other requests, too. :) We told her Sarah (the dog) made her the banner. She thought that was pretty silly.

This morning was actually really nice because I got to stay home and eat breakfast with everyone. We started the morning with some cinnamon rolls, which are a favorite of everyone in the house.  Afterwards, we let O open her presents.

First was a pretty pearl bracelet. She loves her jewelry, but what woman doesn't? (This was a free gift from the jewelry store and no we didn't have to buy anything. But don't tell her. ;) The charm on it says I am Loved.)

Next was a Ladybug Tea Set that Rebecca had picked up when O was just a baby. She immediately insisted that we had to all sit down and have tea once she opened her last gift.

Last was a new scooter. She already has a little pink scooter from her Aunt DD, but O's had a little trouble keeping her balance on it. This one's got two front wheels, so it's more stable and she can get used to the pushing and stopping with one foot thing. She plans on passing it on to Gabe as soon as she gets the hang of it.

Last week, her Grandma and Grandpa gave her this pretty bible bag for her to carry her bible to church. She got a purple hippo pillow pet that she was SO excited about. Her response, "I've wanted a pillow pet all my life!" She named it Purple and has it all the time. Not sure why we missed getting a picture of it. 
She did get to have her mac and cheese for lunch and we took her to Emma Key's, where they have some tasty burgers and hot dogs, for dinner with Nana and Pop Pop.

After dinner, it was time for bowling! Olivia just LOVES to go bowling. She loves to encourage everyone and tell them how well they're doing. She loves to give high fives to Gabe whenever he hits a single pin. Most impressive was that she said earlier in the day, "I going to get 100 when we go bowling tonight!" Her score for the first game? 100. Now, of course, she does use the ramp and have the bumpers up, but hey, 100 is 100. :)

"Daddy, I'm going to use more force than ever before!"

Both Nana and Pop Pop used to bowl when I was Olivia's age, but hadn't been in years. They had a great time and seemed to pick it back up pretty quickly.

Gabe just loves to run up, puch the bal down the ramp and run back. We kept having to remind him that he got to push the ball twice each turn. :)

At one point, Gabe was beating both Mommy and Nana. Bumpers and ramp work wonders. :)
All-in-all, we all had a wonderful time celebrating our daughter's birthday. I can't say I really look forward to celebrating more birthdays, though. I want her to always be my sweet little girl.