Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lindsay Wildlife Museum Outing

The second weekend of Paul's European business trip (i.e., second weekend of single mommyhood) to keep the kids busy and entertained I planned a rainy day visit to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. It also was to make up for the first weekend he was away when Annabel was so sick and we all had to miss Sammy's preschool carnival. Not fun at all. We have a membership to the Children's Creativity Museum that offers great deals for half price admissions to many museums, zoos and the like throughout California, so it was affordable, too! It was our first time there and it was fabulous for everyone. It was open and airy (so I could keep track of all three), with animals around every corner. There were plenty of opportunities to learn about the different animals through presentations, interact with the animals during petting circles and, best of all, to watch an actual wild animal go through a veterinary exam and treatment live! All the kids love animals, all the kids love being busy, all the kids love learning, so this was a great experience for our family (minus one).

Sammy checking out something microscopic (?) with the microscope.

Annabel trying out the binoculars one could use for bird watching.

Here is Annabel sitting in an eagle nest model with her class mascot, Butterball, who came along with us on the outing. Butterball did something special each day during the week that we had him (the week Annabel was star). We wrote down all the fun in Butterball's journal that went back to class with him at the end of the week.

This contraption simulates flying like a raptor. Very cool!

Sammy's turn, except his little arms didn't reach the sensors, so he couldn't twist, turn and dive. He still had fun soaring though!

A barred owl perched high in the room.

A great horned owl perched up high. Most of the wildlife comes to the museum sick or injured (my nickname for the place is Almost Roadkill Museum). However, some animals come as babies and may or may not be able to be released into the wild again.

Petting a hamster at one of the petting circles.

Lucy's love of animals is evident. She even loves animal statues!

Annabel with Butterball riding in an armadillo shell. I'm not sure Annabel knew what was up with the shell or where exactly the animal was that used to live in it.

This is the bald eagle that lives there. He came from one of the Great Plains states. He flew into a power line and injured his wing, which eventually had to be amputated. He survived but can no longer fly, so he stays at the museum. They keep him busy with different enrichment activities, so he doesn't become bored in captivity.

Sammy sticking his hand in the raptor donation sculpture and watching the eagle presentation.

Annabel was enamored with the bald eagle and watched him for quite some time.

What is it about holes that makes children stick their hands into them? At least this time she was actually depositing a donation.

This was the live exam and treatment of a red shouldered hawk who was found in a field very underweight. They were unsure what was wrong with him but treated a couple wounds on his leg and tube fed him. We sat in a dark theater watching it all while the vet told us exactly what she was doing at each point during the procedure. There was a Q&A period after the treatment, during which Lucy asked some excellent questions. She hopes to be a vet someday.

All in all, a really fun outing at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sammy Is Dressing Himself

Sammy is dressing himself now. It's going really well, except for the part about him putting on each article of clothing backwards. And I mean every item, including underwear. All backwards! He's such a funny kid.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Overheard at Our House

Sammy found two safety pins from my sewing area and he and Annabel were using them as "clips" until I discovered them. I said, "These are safety pins, not clips. They are very sharp and not toys." Lucy chimed in, "Why are safety pins called safety pins if they are sharp? Safety pins are not safe at all!"

Sammy was trying on a shirt that looked two sizes too big, so I said, "Oh, that shirt looks so big. What size is it anyway?"
He replied, "It's size 20 miles. Yeah, about 20 miles."

I walked into the guest room and found Sammy jumping on the bed, so I said, "You are going to break that bed, and then where will Grandpa Red and Nona sleep when they come to visit?"
He replied, "I will not break it. It's big and healthy and strong, so it will not break!"

"OK, time to go to sleep!" I said to Sammy, who was stalling the inevitable lights out moment.
He said, "Mama, I have to tell you something. It's about something I was thinking or something I had to do, maybe in the morning. Uh, well. Oh! When is it Christmas?"

As we were driving to preschool Sammy said, "Look at the BOVINES, Mommy!" Apparently, that's what Daddy calls the cows that live in the field across the street. Nothing like teaching your kid a little about the biological subfamily bovinae!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

To Catch a Leprechaun

We were not going to do this whole leprechaun thing until Lucy, of her own accord, decided to build an elaborate leprechaun trap on the spur of the moment last night. We had zero green glitter, no Lucky Charms, no green decorations at all. So instead when the kids awoke to see if they had trapped a leprechaun they found a note from "Larry the Leprechaun" signed with footprints, some green chalk (originally slated for the Easter baskets), a can of green Play-Doh and a few printables for them to color. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Follow the precarious staircase of Girl Scout cookie boxes up to the trap.

Sign reads: "Welcome Lepercan! One at a time, please!" Safety girl made it. A chip off the old block.

There's the gold coin she made and placed carefully inside the box. It's resting on a platform that is supposed to give way when he steps on it, thus trapping him in the box. Will it work?

Nope. It didn't work. But he left a note: "Can't catch me! But good try, and thanks for the gold!" :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lucy Cousins Inspired "Hooray for Fish!" Art

We resumed our Friday Art a couple weeks after all the Valentine's Day crafting madness ended. Our Lucy Cousins inspired Hooray for Fish! art was a three part project. First inking and painting, then re-inking and cutting, and finally gluing. The kids loved the bright colors and the fun fish shapes. This was one that all three kids were able to do: Lucy did all parts on her own, Annabel did everything except the inking of the fish, and Sammy did painting and gluing.

Here's our battered copy of Lucy Cousins' Hooray for Fish! that inspired the project. First we read it yet again, and then we talked about the bright colors as well as the many shapes and sizes of the fish.

Here's Sammy painting the flying fish. I have no pictures of him painting the blue ocean backdrop, but he did that, too.

Serious business all this art making. Sammy tends to mix the colors, making things brownish overall. I even set out a paint brush for each color, but he still mixed them. This is totally normal for his age, as I recall all the kids did it.

The girls painting their blue ocean backdrop. We used two shades of blue to provide a little depth.

After inking in the fish outlines with a Sharpie, the girls began to paint.

After letting the fish and seaweed dry, we re-inked the black outline, and then cut out the fish and seaweed. Following that, we glued the shapes onto the dry blue ocean backdrop. Here is Annabel's finished project.

Here is Lucy's finished project.

Here is Sammy's finished project.

And just for fun, I did one, too. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spontaneous Blimp Detour

One day while on our way to Coscto, I glanced over in the direction of the airport and saw a great, big blimp. We weren't in a hurry, so I asked Sammy if he'd like to stop by the airport to see the big blimp. He said, "YES!" So that is what we did. There is a fantastic observation tower and it turns out it was a busy day for air traffic. We saw the blimp in all its stationary glory but stayed much longer to watch the airplanes take off and land. Wow! That's some spontaneous fun for a 3-year-old boy. I enjoyed it, too.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scenery Close to Home

Now that I am running three days a week (when I am not recovering from injury, anyway), I am out in the neighborhood a lot more. Here are some of the scenes I see close to home.

These are my tulips. I planted them about 5 years ago, and each year they have a beautiful surprise in store for me when they pop up again and again. Best kind of garden plant. Zero maintenance, yet gorgeous each year.

The cows in the field across the street from home.

Brushy peak in the distance as viewed from the trail I usually run on.

Ornamental plum trees in full bloom.

More blooming plums.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Super Slide

This is the super slide that Sammy made with our furniture while I was making lunch one day. It's super for sure. He is a mover and shaker (and slider, too). That's one happy kid.