Friday, February 29, 2008

Green Hour: Lesser Scaup

We went on a picnic today. Plan A was to get some tasty sandwiches at a new sandwich shop and head to our favorite duck-feeding spot with a trusty loaf of WonderBread. After we procured the sandwiches, we discovered that a pesky construction crew thought that their agenda was more important than ours. A large pile of gravel blocked the entrance to the park.

Not to be deterred, we abandoned Plan A, decided that Plan B would probably result in damage to us and our trusty van, and moved on to Plan C: go to another duck-feeding spot. This one is not our favorite because you can get right up to (and into) the nasty water - something that a certain toddler is very comfortable with - and his mom is N.O.T.

We sat at a picnic table very very far away from the water (about 10 feet) and ate our mouthwatering picnic (Gram and I split a cheesesteak and a club because neither of us could pick one or the other, #2 had his favorite - ham and bread, and #3 and #4 shared a grilled cheese - we all had fruit and the kids had cheese sticks and cookies). A Canadian goose stared at me the whole time. He must have been thinking, "She's going to eat that cheesesteak in front of me and then toss me some nasty white bread."

We finished eating and Gram and #4 watched #2 and #3 and I feed the geese and ducks. We tossed some bread at a goose, but he just ignored us. We tossed some bread at the other goose and she practically smiled as she gobbled it up. #3 was joyously tossing whole pieces of bread at the other goose. The goose was no longer ignoring us. He stared at me, obviously thinking "Get your kid out of my face, lady." I pulled #3 back by his shirt.

The goose hissed at me. And I could see his tongue. Why on earth it never dawned on me that geese have tongues - well, that I really can't explain. How did I think he got food and other things into his mouth without any hands? I don't know - I just never thought about it. Score one more for Charlotte. This mom got up close and personal with a wild Canadian goose today.

Anyway - the lesser scaup is the duck pictured above. I probably would have forgotten all about the smaller ducks after the goose accident, except that another mom and her two kiddos showed up a few minutes after we finished eating. They plopped down with their picnic and tossed pieces of bread in and mostly just watched the ducks because they were already full after being pelted with WonderBread by #2 and #3. Then the mom pulled out a field guide. I thought, "Hmmm, why didn't I bring a field guide? Actually, why haven't I BOUGHT a field guide? She's a better homeschooler than me."

A few minutes later, it hit me with a jolt - she was ANOTHER HOMESCHOOLER. Gram and the babies were already heading back to the van to prevent wet mishaps involving trillions of microscopic organisms that we didn't care to learn about on our nature study excursion. #2 and I were picking up our gear, and I spoke to her - "You aren't, by chance, a fan of Charlotte Mason? I saw your field guide, and I'd really like to know what kind of ducks those are." Turns out, she is, those are lesser scaups, and she's planning to come to the next CM discussion meeting. We frequent the same parks and library, so we'll may run into each other again before then.

But, because I was a bit scattered, I can't remember her name. It starts with a T, and it's a bit unusual. Hopefully she's come to the discussion group so I can meet her again and look like less of an idiot than I did while I was being hissed at by a goose.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Family Day

We've had a couple of nice days at home. #3 has an icky toddler virus that will soon pass. I'm working hard to keep him from contaminating the others. Yesterday, Gramma came over and we painted up a storm. She brought with her a huge Backyardigans poster book that has been collecting dust at her house and some poster paint that had been sitting around for a while. By the end of the day, the bathroom floor was covered, but we started out by covering the bed:

When naptime rolled around, we had all had a bit of practice controlling both paintbrush and markers. #2 even did one posted on which he abandoned his usual monochromatic tendencies. He was rather proud of his apron and its pockets - he kept stuffing them full of paintbrushes.

#3 was very busy with the paint, the markers, and the crayons. He's the little artist in the house:

And #4 was happy to eat cheerios, play with toys and explore while we worked:

Today marked our third year without #1. The Bookworm King took the day off from work. We were mostly lazy with a side of housework. I went to Target for eggs and bread and discovered an amazing price on Similac and bought the rest of what #4 is going to need (about six week's worth.) After naptime, we went off to #1's "Remembering Spot" - Gram had put out some new flowers and Mimi had written a poem on a balloon. We left another balloon and prayed and talked a bit, but it was really cold, so we didn't stay long. We did some more errands on the way to dinner, including at stop at our favorite bread store for a loaf of challah, which will become French toast in the morning.

But right now, I've got to go fold the laundry - all six loads. Darn virus. It had better go away quick!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Because I'm highly amused....

I have to tell you that #2 is using my digital camera to take pictures of whatever his little heart desires. This is a treat for doing his school work well today. It's not common for him to get such a surprise as a reward for doing his work well and promptly and accurately - not that he doesn't do such thing - the reward is what is uncommon - so he is enjoying himself immensely, and saying such things as:

"#3, smile at me!"

"See my blocks!

"#3, you are so cute! Reading a book!"

"Mom, that's a great smile!"

"Copper and Little Bear, look here!"
"There they are all cute"

"Oh, look! The Sun! It's very bright outside!"

"The Lightbulb! Oh, I L.O.V.E. lightbulbs!"

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Animal sounds

Long time, no post. I've been busy preventing #4 from eating dust bunnies and #3 from climbing bookshelves and #2 from dismantling the VCR.

#3 is in a funny stage - the animal stage. In one day he is fourteen different animals. And he goes around growling and meowing and cock-a-doodle-do-ing. And if I oink or moo or hee-haw back he just goes into gales of giggles - laughs until he almost can't breathe

He was also just riding his Thomas the Train push toy (his "car") through the house going to "Grandma's" (the fireplace) wearing a blanket around his shoulders (his "coat"). Think he's trying to tell me something? Oh - now he is "ready go home 'gain." I ask, "You're coming back from grandma's?" and he says, "Yes, mudder."

Oh, he's a hoot! If only I could record every moment!