Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

We got out our telescope today to view the skies as a way to celebrate the winter solstice. We viewed some stars, Jupiter and some of its moons, and our moon.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I experienced my first eathquake last night. I first thought something had crashed into the house. Then I thought earthquake? Looking at the news today confirmed my suspicions. Here is a link to the article. It was a 2.6 on the Richter scale.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Uniquely U

A local photography studio was doing a food drive on Halloween: free photos of the kids in costume if you bring in a canned good. You can see (and order) the photos at the Uniquely U Photography site. (Click on 'Continue' and it should go to the right photos.) One photo is Sam Gribley from My Side of the Mountain, one is Jules, and one is Sam with a Garden Gnome. Kudos to Melissa, who was the only one to guess who they were dressed as. She emailed me that Orion was the kid from the book he was reading and that Jules was one of the seven dwarfs. Not bad guesses, eh? The photos will only be at the Uniquely U site until December 17, so go see them fast.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Anyone care to guess what the kids were for Halloween this year?

Jules Turns One!

Time just flew by and now our baby is one. (Actually it's taken so long for me to post this, that now he is thirteen months old.) Here are some birthday photos. He was sick on his birthday, so we celebrated a few days later, but the reminiscing started a day early. We recreated the feast that put me into labor. As I got into bed I announced with tears in my eyes, this time last year my water was breaking. A week later when Isaac and I just celebrated our sixth year anniversary and we both agreed that Jules's splashy birth has been our fondest memory so far.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Spider Monkey

Here is Jules, aka Spider Monkey.

He started his climbing career with stairs when he was 8 months old.

Then he moved up to climbing the slide of the kangaroo climber when he was 9 months old.

Ten months old: Without the toy in its place, Spider Monkey would get to the wires behind the sub-woofer. With the toy there he would climb on top. It was a win-win situation for Spider Monkey.

Now he wanted to get onto the bouncer. Perhaps the slide would do the trick.

No, but this will work!

He kept getting to the wires under this end-table, so we surrounded it with toys. Well, we were just asking for it. There are many more goodies on top of the table. We now have it surrounded with a fence. He hasn't conquered it yet.

Here he is at eleven months. I can no longer leave the nursing stool in front of the glider chair.

This is okay, right? He's almost sitting and it is a kiddie chair.

There he goes again!


He'd been getting into a box of tissues, so they got put on top of the couch. Notice they are not there anymore.

Sometimes you just need a few more inches.

I now have this room barricaded.

That garbage can has now found a new home.

Lately Orion has been asking me to tell him stories. Tales of Tie-dye Boy and Spider Monkey are now in the works. When Jules isn't climbing he is either chewing on something or working on walking. He has been trying to walk since he turned 10 months. He can go about 10 feet now, but is being hindered by a few things. First of all he is pigeon toed and has a hard time not tripping himself. Second, he crawls lightening fast, so walking just slows him down. And third, he would much rather be climbing!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Just a lazy day fishing on the carpet-front

No bites here

Oooh, there's a big Jules fish!

He takes the bait

Reeling him in

He's a keeper!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Side of the Mountain

We have discovered some wonderful books by Jean Craighead George. My Side of the Mountain is the first in a series of books about Sam Gribley, a boy who leaves home to live alone in the woods, and the peregrine falcon, Frightful, that he raises. The next two books are On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful's Mountain. I found them in the tween section of our public library. There are also two wonderful children's books that continued the series, Frightful's Daughter and Frightful's Daughter Meets the Baron Weasel. These children's books have beautiful illustrations by Daniel San Souci. I have really loved reading these books to Orion. There are so many interesting details about nature and survival that the stories were interesting to us both.

These stories about Sam and Frightful have led Orion to some imaginative play. Sometimes he would be Sam, I would be Frightful, Jules would be my eyas (falcon chick), and Isaac would be Bando (Sam's friend). My hamper would get placed on its side and become the tree house. Even Orion's stuffed animals would become characters from the book. We would eat acorn pancakes and turtle soup or go fishing.

Isaac and Orion playing Falcon-Dove

We also started playing a game we call Falcon-Dove. Orion would insist on being the falcon and Isaac or I would be the dove. We would run in circles around the living room, the dove saying coo-coo and the falcon in pursuit saying kotchi-kotchi. Sometimes A third would join in as an owl and chase the falcon saying hoo-hoo.


These games typically ended with Orion on the floor being tickled.

Our Eyas

Then one day we noticed in our yard at the base of a tree an eyas. Orion was so excited. (I always wanted my own eyas!)

Other eyas

There was another seemingly younger eyas in the nest overhead squawking. The one on the ground was silent and very sad looking. The wildlife people we called said to leave it alone and call them in a few days if it was still there. The next day the eyas was still there, but dead. We were very sad. We continued to notice the other smaller eyas in the nest and saw the parent as well in the next few weeks. Now however they seem to be gone I guess well never know what happened to the little one. I researched birds of prey in Oklahoma and have decided that these birds were likely Cooper's hawks. They are common in Oklahoma and live in wooded areas in nests up in trees. Sometimes they will nest in the same location over and over, so perhaps there will be eyases here again next year.

Once we finished the Sam-Frightful series we went on to read Tree Castle Island, also by George. Now Orion would imagine he was Jack and I was his dog Dizzy. He would walk around with a machette (a kid's toy plastic kitchen knife) and hunt for bears. He started cooking resin in his play kitchen. Mostly, though, he trimmed many imaginary trees and bushes with his machette. One day we were sitting on the back porch and he pointed to a tree and told me that is where he would like to build his home. It was near enough that he would still be able to come visit me.

Now we are reading George's Julie of the Wolves. It's about an Eskimo girl who lives with wolves. We'll see what kind of imaginative play he comes up with next.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Orion Turns Four

Our Starshine boy is growing up so very fast. Here is how we celebrated his fourth birthday.

His special day started with a birthday version of what I call The Clue Game(*).

He got a birthday card, "To the Birthday Explorer..." and in it was his first clue, "Go look under the TV."

Under the TV was his first present (a backpack with some books in it) and the next clue.

Under the piano he found headphones and a clue telling him to get on his boots. In the place where he keeps his boots there was another present, a new pair of boots,

and a clue telling him to look in the sandbox.

Out in the sandbox was a new shovel and a clue telling him to go water the new lilac bush.

At the lilac bush was a little watering can

and a note telling him that his last gift was in front of the garage. There he found a glider bike (no pedals), a special gift sent from Grandma Y and Aunt Alisa.

For dinner Isaac grilled hamburgers (local ground beef) that was very yummy. For dessert Orion requested an angel food cake(**), so that is what I made. He decorated it himself.

A few days later we had our friend party. We all met at a park for lunch. I provided "cupcakes" (chocolate chip banana muffins) and his friends all got to sing Happy Birthday to Orion. I brought chalk and the kids drew roads on the ground and drove matchbox cars on them. Later we all went for a walk around the park with the big kids all on three wheelers. Is was so much fun for the kids and moms, plus very easy and low stress, so I considered it is big success.


* Somehow Orion taught himself to read. We have always read to him a bunch and I guess he just picked it up. I think it was mostly because he has such a great memory. Anyway, I started playing the clue game to give him some fun stuff to read that didn't have too many hard words in it. Our everyday version has just a "prize" at the very end, usually a healthy snack.

** The angel food cake took 11 egg whites. What would you do with 11 leftover egg yolks? I made 5.5 batches of pudding. 2 vanilla, 2 butterscotch and 1.5 chocolate. I ate almost all of it myself. It was quite yummy. Maybe next time I should just toss the yolks.