Thursday, February 26, 2015

Winter Wonderland 2015

While the snow/ice a few days ago was great, we got even better last night! We got 6 inches of wet, heavy snow that was great from sledding, snowball fights, and, of course, snowmen. We were at our friends' house in Yanceyville when the snow started, so we just stayed the night and enjoyed a fun-filled, snowy morning.

 The calf and goats weren't too keen on coming out. At least not until we brought the feed out...
Once a trail was blazed, the sledding was excellent. 

 The trees were quite loaded down with snow, so I couldn't resist giving one a kick as Rebecca walked under it. :)
"Who says old men can't have fun?" - Rebecca

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

FIAR: Very Last First Time

Our latest FIAR book was Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews. It's the story of an Inuit girl named Eva who goes searching for mussels at low tide under the sea ice in the winter in Canada. It was a great book and the kids loved the idea of being able to walk around under the ice. 

 We did an experiment to show what tides do. First we put rocks and a couple of animals (ok... dinosaurs) on the rocks. Then we filled the water a little bit (low tide) and the boys could see how they could still easily move across the rocks without getting wet.
 Then we poured more water in (high tide) making it so most of the rocks were now under water and so trapped the animals on the rocks where they were. 
 Rebecca picked up a bag of mussels from the store one evening and we let the kids see how they opened up when you put then in water. 

The artwork in the point has a lot of pointillist style, so we tried an art project we saw on someone else's page where they used spiky rings to paint with, creating a sort-of-pointillist effect.
We also read a couple of other books: Arctic Son (which our library thankfully had, since it's out of print) and The Three Snow Bears. We talked some about polar bears and how they have a thick (up to 6 inches!) layer of fat and how they can swim in the icy arctic waters. 
To illustrate how that works, Gabe and Ezra stuck their hands in ice water and held them there for a minute. 
Then we made a "glove" out of two ziploc bags with shortening in between them. They stuck their hands back in with the gloves on and didn't get cold at all!
Irene thought that was way cool, so she wanted to try it, too. :)
This was a really fun and interesting unit study for all of us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snow fun

After despairing for weeks about not getting any snow, we got an answer to prayer! :) I wasn't much, but it was something. We got about an ich of cnow and then another inch of sleet on top of it, so it was very slick for sledding. Our first idea was just to go down the driveway, but, as I discovered to my own continuing pain, it was so slick as to be uncontrollable. I flew down the driveway, across the street and slammed into the opposite curb. I now have a pretty good bruise and a good stiff limp to show for it. Olivia decided she'd try her hand at it so long as I was there to catch her. 

 After only one time, it was deemed too scary and so we moved to our traditional hill across the street. Ezra bailed before even going once because he was cold, but Olivia and Gabe were troopers and were in for the long haul.

 They had a blast! after only one or two runs, they too to having races down the hill. The ice made it certainly fast enough to be exciting.

There's a little more snow in the forecast, so we're hoping the weathermen are right!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Circus Came To Town

Taking the kids to the circus has become a biennial event for us, with this being our 3rd time going. The kids just love it, of course. We went early this year (like we did 4 years ago) and got to see the animals in their pens/cages before the show. 

Most of the tigers were lazily lounging around, but there were couple that were pacing like... well, tigers in a cage. 
The kids were very excited about the camels, since they'd never seen one up close before. 
Then, of course, were the elephants. 

It was nearly showtime, so they were getting their last minute preparations done, like getting blown off with a leaf blower and putting on their harnesses.

Then it was time for the show! As we expected, the kids just loved it. It was hard to get pictures of their reactions, but they were very animated most of the show, even little Irene. :)
 Olivia loved these aerial acrobats. They were lit up with blacklights and were doing all kinds of synchronized tricks on bungee cables.

Emma and Irene loved the elephants.

Gabe's favorite part was the guys on the trampolines doing tricks.
Ezra, not surprisingly, loved the cannon and the bmx trick riders.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Bunk Beds

So, with Irene getting bigger and being more "interactive", we decided she needed to move out of our room and into the girls' room. The only problem was that there weren't enough beds for the three of them. And if we were going to do something about their room, we probably should do the boys' as well.  Their rooms also needed insulation so, last fall, we decided to just redo the kids' bedrooms with insulation, new paint and custom-built bunk beds. We packed up their rooms and moved everyone up to the classroom to camp for a couple of weeks (which turned into 2 months!). I cut holes in the walls to pump insulation in. I patched those gaping holes and managed to make them disappear pretty well (if I do say so myself :). Rebecca picked out the paint colors and I slapped them on the walls. Finally, I bought some triple bunk bed plans online and got to work. They had two versions of the beds and it just so happens that only one of each would work in each of their rooms. The girls' room had a long wall that allowed me to build them staggered. 
These things are built with 2x4s and 2x8s and are lag-bolted into the studs. They aren't going anywhere. 

Irene's bed doesn't have a mattress yet because she's still sleeping in the Pack N Play. If we were to let her out, she'd never sleep at night for all the playing she'd do with Emma. :) But her bed does await her when the day comes.
The boys didn't have a wall long enough for the layout in the girls' room, but fortunately the plans had this corner setup that looked like it might work and it did! There's still a spare bed for any guests who might come to visit.
I can't tell you how excited the kids are to have their new beds. They just love them!