Friday, April 30, 2010

I do believe...

Sometimes a surprise reminds us to believe in the unbelievable.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How's the backroad these days?

Have you been on the backroad laltely? I love the backroad when it's a winding, two-laner through the mountains, past farms with handmade signs advertising eggs for sale. Where it's safe to stop and lend a speedy hand to a turtle trying to make it across...that's the road for me. 

I'd rather avoid the interstate. It's quick, yes, but it's all the same scenery. The rest stops are predictable and the signs advertise the same choices from state to state. No variety (yet, no surprises) and I'm not a routine-oriented gal. They serve there purpose...reaching the destination...ignoring the journey.

But...there's always the four-lane backroad. The one that tricks you into thinking your journey will be smooth because there are miles of forest and farms...little white churches and produce stands. Then the towns appear. The ones where the journey is slowed by ten or twelve stoplights...the ones that lead past empty store fronts...the ghost towns created by the Big Boxes. These backroads don't completely hinder the trip, but the trip is slower, sometimes there's nothingness where there used to be life. Sometimes there's the best meal ever. Sometimes the road is closed, but it's for a parade, or because someone is moving a double wide through the narrow city blocks. But, it's interesting...and the journey is important because lack of attention can land you headed the wrong way. This back road can be the most challenging, and most rewarding, route.

Today, we are on the interstate...have been for a little while now. We are headed toward the backroads...but our time here will be long. We are focused on the destinations only. The destinations are lovely...finishing up our studies for the year, producing a play, summer vacation at the farm...but we are on that final stretch that seems to last forever. The part where there are no rest fruit decent radio stations. It's manageable, but a little too routine...and the next mile is a little too much like the last one.

Wait...there's an exit that we always pass because we are focused on getting somewhere. It isn't far off the road and won't hinder our progress for too long...I'm taking the detour. I'm stopping to make a take a enjoy a short adventure on the backroad today. We'll still get there and we'll see you when we do.

Happy travels!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day (Great Outdoor Challenge)

Happy Earth Day!
The kids spent the afternoon making Earth Day rocks. Then they had a ball passing them out at the dentist's office, dropping them in the neighbors' gardens, placing them on the steps of classroom buildings at the college next door, and gifting passers by who happened upon the sidewalk in front of our house.

Here's another little gift for you on this Earth Day...
a bit of shocking chartreuse.

Get outside today...and love your mother (Mother Earth, that is)!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge - Kite Festival

This weekend was the 
International Kite and Culture Festival 
here in Georgetown.
I love this festival. It's very small, but the food isn't the usual fair food. There's Hispanic, India, Chinese, and Native American fare. The souvenier tents sell fair trade and cultural items. Yes, there's a bouncy house and gem mining...but for the most part it's a festival where most all of the participants are like-minded...there for one fly a kite!

We bought these beautiful butterfly kites from a man who barely spoke English, but who knew enough of the language to laugh at me when I offered to save him some time and put them together myself. When I tried to take them apart at the end of the day I understood his laugh.

We never did get them off the ground. Not enough wind...too much wind...too heavy? Not sure, but it was fun trying and the bouncy house made up for the disappointment!

Watching the other kites was almost as fun as trying our own.
And in the end the day spent outdoors in the sunshine, with our whole family together (which is rare) was the best part of all.

If you haven't done so in a while...go fly a kite!
Happy Monday!

Build and Grow

Our kids love to make things from scratch. Embree's most creative artwork has always been in 3D form. Reeves builds fantastic contraptions with his legos. Brice spends tedious time constructing the perfect train track. I've walked in on forts, haunted houses, entire dioramas made of paper figures...building is fun for them.

Now, the big kids are planning, in minute detail, the fort that their Pop has promised to build this summer. While I'm sure he has a plan in his head...they have their plans as well. They are excited to help and to add their own touches...some of which include a spy glass, a pulley system, and flower boxes. 

While they've spend much time in trial and error, learning the physics of building, there has been little experience in the way of basic skills. How to hold a hammer. How to use nails to hold together wood. How one nail is not enough, but three may be too many. Basic skills and tools that can only enhance their creativity.

So, we decided to try out the free Build and Grow workshops at Lowes. 

The projects are small. The hammers and goggles are kid-sized

There's no real room for creativity, but there's the following of plans, the hammering of nails, the learning of safety. 

And in a short while, there's a finished product to show for the work. A nice introduction to what I hope will be a summer of building. 
Next week's project, bird feeders
On the schedule in May...a catapult!
Then, this summer, 
hammer and nails and a pile of wood
Guess learning the handsaw is next!!

Great Outdoor Challenge - Japanese Garden

Our wonderful ASL/Science teacher took us on another outdoor field trip this week to Yuko-En, the Japanese friendship garden here in Georgetown. The International Kite and Culture Festival was coming up, and a delegation from our sister city of Tahara, Japan was on it's way to join the festivities. The Garden was in great shape for the weekend, and in bloom to welcome her guests.
We began the tour learning about the cane growing at the entrance. While it is meant to represent Bamboo of Asia, this type id actually native to Kentucky. It was used for spears, fishing poles, basket weaving, torch making, and food. Indispensable!

The Redbuds were in their glory.

Reeves, who picks out any shred of vegetable in his dinner, found the Red Bud blossoms quite tasty.

The kids found several of these pods (the name excapes me) that contain spores that are deadly to apple trees. Reminded them of aliens!
Mrs. Jawanna helped the kids locate small fossils in the rocks. Brice was so excited that there might be "dinosaur bones."

Dear one, on the path of life, take the time to stop and notice the little details.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Please help us plan a road trip!

We are in the beginning stages of planning a road trip for next summer. We would like to spend 10 days or so exploring some part of the U.S. we haven't seen. We pretty much have west of the Mississippi open to us, except for Dallas and Santa Fe (although I'd love to return there!). 

Here's where all of you come in...where do we go?
Southwest? Straight to the west coast and back? Yellowstone? National Parks? Route 66? A shorter loop with longer stops? Mt. Rushmore? St. Louis?

Our companions...two adults and three kids who will be 12, 8, and 4 (possibly an infant...but that's another post).

We'll be leaving from Central Kentucky so, we have a little bit of a head start.

ALL of your suggestions will be considered!

Thanks and Happy Thursday!

Who has time to blog?

Ohhh, I am woefully behind in posting, I know. We are so busy right now. So, here's my week's worth of posts rolled up in one neat package...

The Kids
Embree got braces on her top, front teeth last week. She's adjusting, though is not thrilled. We've already been back once to replace an errant wire. On the bright side, she's brushing and flossing more than ever. Oh, this could be the beginning of that little thing called "personal hygiene" for her!

(Sorry - no picture - she made me promise!)

Reeves went to the allergist last week to try to figure out just what we have to deal with here. It seems he has NO FOOD ALLERGIES after all, which is a big relief. Some of his issues could be digestive in nature, and still may need attention, but no allergies. He is, however, allergic to our cat, our hamster, the horses at the farm, molds, dust, most grasses, and pretty much every deciduous tree on the planet. I guess my dreams him becoming a world famous arborist have been dashed! :)

Brice...well, Brice has come into his own since he's been three...all three weeks of it! He's sure of what we wants (even when he's not sure of what he wants) and have become quite the vocalist. His vocabulary and use of sentences have blossomed...but they just aren't keeping up with his little brain and it can get frustrating for him at times. Still no interest in the potty, other than to tell me when he MUST be changed. My ultimate plan is to spend the first two weeks of the summer at the farm...outside...with a potty chair...and no more diapers!

My Creative Outlet
So, I am part of The Artistic Mothers Art Group. I am supposed to be taking a bit of time for myself each day to do these group projects. So far, I have completed one. I know I need to take some time to be creative, but I just feel pressured. I stare at my art table from the work area of the kitchen and wonder if I will ever have time? It's not that I am not spending some time on creative outlets. I am in the midst of directing a play. A large portion of the time I would have to create visual art is being spent at rehearsals, preparing blocking notes, or answering questions from the cast through emails. I received an email from the Art Group Administrator encouraging me to find the time for myself to work on our projects...what little I've done has not been posted. At this point, though I will be behind, I will have to work here and there with the goal more time in the the farm in the mountains...where creativity flows more easily and I can breathe. The count down is on!

Something I have created...

The Great Outdoor Challenge
Finally, we've fully embraced the Great Outdoor Challenge over at 5 Orange Potatoes! That's where a lot of my person time has gone...we are spending hours outside each day! We are spending so much time outdoors that I  haven't had a moment to blog about it in over a week. Since my last post, we have viewed outdoor art in downtown Cincinnati, walked the same trail from last weeks ASL class again, planted our garden, set up an outdoor learning space where we've been having school, played in public spaces on campus where my husband works, run through the sprinkler with a friend, and toured the local Japanese garden with our ASL/Science teacher. While I attribute our success at getting outside to my need to complete the challenge, I can't deny the pull of this gorgeous weather, and the decidely wonderful fact that we have been without television for over a week now! What a great decision!

So, we'll keep being playful and creative. Our presence here may be scarce, but only because we are painting a mural on the sidewalk or chasing chattering squirrels. We'll be outside, if you are wondering...maybe in a creek somewhere...won't you join us?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge Day 3 (A day late)

I am a day late posting the day three photo...We normally attend a combination American Sign Language/Science class on Wednesday evenings. This week we met at a local trail to explore local flora and fauna with our teacher Mrs. Jawanna. Most of our time was spent discussing plants. The kids tasted mustard garlic and dead nettle, learned about poison ivy and poison hemlock, and viewed several rare and beautiful wild flowers.

Our hike began at 6:45pm and we arrived home a little before 9:00pm. So, after baths and cuddling a toddler who was three shades past rational behavior because he was so tired, this didn't get posted last night. Better late than not outdoors, right?

It's raining today, so I guess tonight's post will be wet. The kids will love it!
Get outside and have fun!!

Visit the other Great Outdoor Challenge players-
lisasandersangelinaphyllissarahchristiejenniferdebbie, dong dongdenise, luisajoystephaniecori,alexdawnkristencatherinetricia, beckychristyruthkaricourtney, branflakes, jessicareneehaiku,brynnamyclemenciasherryleslielisereneeanetjennmarinaamyellamarciakarenbeth, julie,kyndale, kelly, lizzieeileen, agmari-anncindyrobinnicoledebbiejuliareneeanita, lisajennmontessori,marita, jeanniehalliemandykangarooandrea, joeycarmenteenastephiniegidgetelizabethemma,rosinasamindamelissakatiebeccaatouriabarbaraariella, missyelizabethsaraheileen

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Great Outdoors Challenge Day 2 (and Tuesday 30 minute blog challenge)

Continuing the Great Outdoors Challenge, today we spent time outdoors finishing our schoolwork, playing dinosaurs, watching the bats come out at dusk. Brice even took another short snooze today.

It's been beautiful weather and we are all more content, more dirty, and more ready for bed than usual. We are using our porch and our yard...really, we spend so much time at our cabin in the woods during good weather that we forget to use our "city" yard. It's nice to remember.

Interested in the other folks who have joined the outdoor challenge?

Tuesday 30 minute blog challenge...can you complete a blog in 30 minutes or less and get back to your life? Once a week...maybe more? Tonight: 18 minutes!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, April 5, 2010

"go outside everyday, rain or shine"

We've joined the Get Outdoors Challenge over at 5 Orange Potatoes as a way of holding ourselves accountable for getting outside excuses. Our TV service was officially suspended today until fall (when football season starts back up for Dad!) as an experiment in all the other things we could be doing with our time. 

Today we spent three hours outside finishing our schoolwork, sketching, reading poetry, playing mom, Brice, and I even caught a few zzzz's in the breeze on the front porch. It was lovely. (Forgot the camera, so this is from last week...I'll post current pics the rest of the time...I hope!)

Planning to pack up our school books and head to a picnic table somewhere tomorrow to spend the day.

Join our project! Play along with us during the month of April for  Children and Nature Awareness Month  by posting a picture of your child(ren) each day enjoying the outdoors! Get outdoors and climb a tree! (Participants, you can copy and paste this line in your posts if you want).