Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Visiting the Corn Maze

After church on Sunday we went with the Westfalls out to Newberry to play in the big corn maze. (Jonathan informed me immediately that the corn maze was not actually made of corn.) Here is our small parade making their way through the maze. The boys (big and small) had a lot of fun scaring one another in the maze as well as hitting each other with broken off switches of "corn". I was too scared that I was going to break my ankle on the uneven soil so I did not participate in any running.

There were other things to do there as well such as play in this corn bin. You can see Gavin making a corn angel with other children visiting the maze.

Here are Nathan, Noah, Hayden and Gavin climbing around on a scenic view of hay bales and fake fall flowers. This was just the best of many attempts at a decent picture... four boys do not exactly sit still for long.

I never really take pictures when we are out because I am too embarrassed or I am the only adult there to take pictures. This day I decided I would at least take a few so that when they were older I would have proof that we did things together. Nathan is not really big on snuggling so this is the best of him that I got.

Gavin, on the other hand, is a love bug. I can always count on him for a big hug!
He loves his mom.

A Busy Day with Grandma

A couple of weeks ago we had a very busy weekend to tackle and Jonathan was working so my wonderful mother came to rescue me. She helped me get through a busy weekend and here are some of the things we got to do.

Gavin's first soccer game. Doesn't he look like a skilled goalie?

Here is Nathan... I don't know that he is really doing much.

Next after running back and forth between two simultaneous soccer games we have to leave early in order to get Nathan to the Literacy Festival at the library so that he could receive his award for being the top reader in second grade at Terwilliger Elementary.

Here is Nathan getting his picture taken for the local paper. I am so proud of my reader.

Next we went to Bat Fest, the once a year bat event at the Lubee Bat Conservancy. The flying foxes here are awesome. Unfortunately a bunch of college aged kids hogged all of the good picture taking spots so I didn't get any pictures of the bats this time. I did however get this great picture of Gavin and Granny pretending to be bats. Nathan was in a bad mood so he refused to participate.

After Bat Fest we went and watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. We all had lots of fun. All in all, it was a crazy day and I am glad my mom came and rescued me from what could have been quite a miserable time.

Trip to Andersonville

Jonathan and his dad, Grampa B, took the boys to Andersonville, GA for a civil war reenactment. Here are some pictures of that event... I am not sure why there are no pictures of the reenactment, but pictures of the boys are cuter than pictures of strangers. So here they are.

Here are the boys with Grampa at the catfish buffet. Mmmm.....

First Day of School

Here are pictures from the first day of school for Nathan and Gavin this year. I guess it was my first day of school too. This was Gavin's first day of "real" school ever... sniff.

Here is Gavin with his new backpack. He picked it out on his own, but it looks just like Nathan's. He certainly admires his brother.

Here is Nathan going to second grade for the first time (with his newly broken arm). His wonderful teacher is Mrs. Sakai.

Here is my baby... sniff... going to Kindergarten with his very first teacher, Mrs. Renicks.
So cute!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Harn Museum Tot Time

The Harn Museum in Gainesville Florida regularly hosts something called Tot Time where young children come and enjoy tours of the art museum on particular subjects.  This was our first opportunity to go to a Tot Time since we've lived here and I only wished we had gone sooner.  I have a phobia of art so I guess I just avoided it.  The docents were wonderful and they asked the kids wonderful questions about the pieces that really helped them to think about the different pieces of work.

This week the subject was sculpture.  We learned that in the museum there were paintings, sculptures and art objects.  Sculptures are things that you can walk all the way around (at least that is how she described it to the kids, and that was good enough for me.)  I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked because you can only get pictures in certain parts of the museum, but the works there were beautiful.  The display that I was particularly excited about was the artwork by the author and illustrator of Caps for Sale one of my favorite books growing up (and consequently now on of the boys favorite books as well).

Here is a picture of the docent having the children try to pose in the same position as the person in the sculpture.  She asked them questions about how we "know" it is a person since the body parts don't really look like a person.  As you can see they had fun, and Nathan being the perfectionist that he is had to come up with reasons that their pose wasn't quite right!

Here are the boys looking at a Terra Cotta pot piece in an open garden at the museum.  Pottery is also considered a piece of sculpture.  This pot is open at the bottom so that when it rains the water doesn't stay in it, but runs out of the bottom.  It was a very pretty garden.

Once the tour of the museum was over, we got to go downstairs and participate in an art project of our own.  The boys were given model magic clay and told that they could make their own sculptures.  At first they were thinking they might have to make pots... then they realized they could make anything they wanted to.  We had a little problem when Nathan mixed his three colors so much that it just looked like a purple blob, but one of the docents had mercy on him and let him have her ball that had been less smooshed.  

Gavin is very proud of his colorful ball.  He really liked Nathan's sculpture and in the end just had Nathan recreate one for him instead of making his own.  That made me sad, but maybe the next time we come back he will have more confidence in his own creative ability.

Here is Nathan's finished sculpture.  He wants to name it Clyterratops.  I didn't interpret it while he was making it, but it looks pretty cool to me.  We had a lot of fun and both kids said that they wanted to come back.  

I would highly suggest coming to visit Tot Time if you have kids of your own.  The official age is 2-5, and you have to e-mail register beforehand, but it was well worth it.  We had a ton of fun.  The other plus is that if there was any works of art that might have been questionable for young children at the museum we didn't see it.  Our docent was great and was very enthusiastic about the whole thing.  The boys learned a lot, and I am less scared of art.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A-MAZE-ing Museum Trip

Today Nathan, Gavin and I took a trip to the Florida Museum of Natural History to see the Amazing Butterfly Exhibit which is a life-size maze that takes you through the life-cycle of a caterpillar/butterfly.  

Before we went into the maze we visited a little desk where the boys were able to dissect an owl pellet which is a nice euphemism for owl vomit.  Basically it is all of the parts of the prey that the owl can not digest, such as bones and fur.  

Nathan actually knew on his own that the bone he discovered was a jaw bone in the owl pellet.  The group of us together figured out that it was probably a vole that the jaw bone belonged to as you can see from this picture.  Awesome!  We had to leave after this so someone else could have a turn.  Thankfully the gentleman at this station did give us hand sanitizer as we departed.

Here we go!  This is the entrance to the maze.  As you can see we walk through a giant caterpillar which doesn't actually make sense since if we are supposed to be said caterpillars starting out as eggs we would really be getting laid by a butterfly, but whatever...

After we were hatched and we decided what we wanted to eat as caterpillars we had to learn how to walk.  This took a lot of group effort, but we eventually made it down the ramp.

Next we practiced crawling about on leaves.

We learned that there were lots of wrong turns we could take that were dangerous for a caterpillar to take.  The boys didn't like it, but we took all of the directions, wrong turns and right turns, just so we knew everything that could happen to us.

We turned into a chrysalis after we did all of our eating and shedding and eating and shedding and eating and shedding.  I didn't know this, but insect skin doesn't get bigger like people skin.  It is baggy for a while and then when it gets too tight they get rid of it.  Strange how wonderfully created we all are, insects and people both.

Now that we have hatched as butterflies we had to do some math to figure out which flower path had the most nectar.  We did the math and created a histogram and figured out that path three was definitely the best path to take for a hungry butterfly.

Gavin got trapped in the spider's web!  Oh no!  Lucky for us it was just play.

Now that they have eaten it is time for the butterflies to find a mate.  Here is Nathan getting his groove on doing a butterfly mating dance.  I don't think he really knew what he was doing, but he did have fun shaking his shiny butterfly wings.

At the end of their long journey it is time for the butterflies to go on their migration.  Migration at the museum was a short little zip-line across the room.  Lucky for my butterflies there weren't a lot of kids around so they got to migrate many times over.  Even the multiple times they migrated across the room is no match for the two thousand or more miles that real monarch butterflies migrate down to Mexico.  It was crazy to read that some of the butterflies that get blown off course have been known to show up in Great Britain.  Amazing!

Pizza! Yum!

Since we have started making healthier choices at home Jonathan has been making lots of breads from scratch.  We have even been grinding some of our own wheat at times.  This is a before baking picture of one of the pizzas Jonathan made with a whole wheat crust.  I guess we were so hungry for pizza that we forgot to get a picture of what it looked like after it was finished.  Either way, it was super yummy and we love it when we get to eat this slightly more healthy version of pizza!  (We put way too much cheese on it for it to be healthy for us.)