Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lost tooth

Willa came home from soccer practice this morning and asked for some Cheerios.  While eating them her tooth came out!  It had been wiggly for a month or so.  She is really excited!  The first thing she asked was "Do I look cute?"  I'll let you decide.


Saturday, July 2, 2011


 The kids were having so much fun running through the sprinkler, I couldn't resist taking more photos than necessary.  Here are some of the best. 


Friday, July 1, 2011

More adventures in Boston

Every May dad goes to Boston for the Massachusetts Teachers Association conference.  The last two years we have tagged along.  Again, the kids and I have fun, while Dad gets to sit in a conference center discussing the annual budget, whether the union should support the single payer health plan and membership of charter school teachers.  Poor dad.   Here's my 2 favorite pictures from last years trip.

Boston Public Garden

Last year, during this trip, we visited the aquarium for the first time.  This year, we went back as they just opened their new shark and ray touch tank.   Since you've already seen several pictures of the aquarium, I'll stick to the new stuff.

The tank is really lovely, easy to access even for Cal and the rays, at least, have no fear (the sharks had no interest in us, either as a snack or for affection). The rays readily swim against your hand or even bump right into your arm.  Willa was a little tentative at first, but then warmed up the idea.  Cal was up to his armpit in the water right away.  By the time we were done, half his shirt was wet, so I bought him a glow in the dark shark shirt from the aquarium.  

We hit all the highlights again, but also used our passes to see an IMAX show.  It was in 3D, a new experience for all of us.  Cal watched most of it without his glasses on.  Willa kept reaching out, hoping to touch the fish.  We all became intimately acquainted with the cuttlefish, which is quite a fascinating creature.  

One of the most bizarre incidents of the trip, or maybe my life happened in the restroom on the way out of the aquarium.  I was helping Cal get soap from the dispenser, which was the long metal tube type that reaches out over the sink.  He had put his hand right up against the opening and when I pushed it down to dispense the soap, it sprayed up into my face.  This was kind of funny for about 10 seconds, until my eyes started burning.  I was cursing and crying and rinsing my eyes for a good 10 minutes, then just had to sit with my eyes closed on a bench outside until I stopped hurting enough to open my eyes.   I was red eyed and squinty most of the way home, though the kids seemed not to notice.
Sharing a seat on the T on the way home from the aquarium.

The next day we went to the Boston Children's Museum, which was level upon level of FUN!  I think we got to everything, but I'm not sure.  
Bubble room

W's science experiment

Many of the pictures turned out like this.

This was a huge climbing thing in the center of the place. I think it was three floors high. Cal loved it. Willa has recently acquired a fear of heights, so she didn't climb very high.  Cal went to the top and back down. There are times where you can't see your kid at all.  A lot of parents are standing around the bottom looking up.  I think there is an "emergency" exit near the top... 

She can't resist a dance floor.

Willa's favorite part: looking at the turtle butts.

We were pretty exhausted after.  Poor Dad. We were a little late coming back from the Children's Museum, but it didn't matter, as he was locked in the room with all the other teachers pending a vote (I think).   Fun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Finishing Spring

 On this warm summer day, knowing the week will end up with temperatures in near 100 degrees, it is nice to look back to the cool days of spring.  This spring we made two trips to see animal babies.  Our first trip was on a cold day, but we had fun despite the weather.  UMASS-Amherst had a Family Day at their animal barn. 
C & W hay ride. 

This camel kept nibbling kid's necks??

 The piggies were our favorites.  They were amazingly cute and very active nursers.  Teenage boys kept giggling while watching them.  I think there were three litters of at least seven apiece. The moms just kind of lay there, tolerating every kind of childish mischief.  The piglets would all start nursing about the same time, like they couldn't stand by and let another piggy get more than them. 
The runt of one litter.  So cute!

It was pretty cold so the piglets would pile up under heat lamp in the corner of their pens. 

This guy was my favorite!  He was quite frisky, as well as having a cute bum.
Communing with piglets.

Baby goats!

As we were visiting the alpacas, the kids were discussing the names they gave to some of the pigs including Eater, Milker and Two Spot.  Then they started in on the Alpacas: Brownie, Darky, Whitey, Hungry, Calpaca, Tanny, Lazy, Hoofy and Al.  (Well, I actually named Calpaca.)   I'm not sure if there were as many alpacas as there were names, but they had a great time doing the naming. 

The next week we went to Hancock Shaker Village with our friends Josie and Harry.  Hancock Shaker Village is near Pittsfield, MA.  HSV was established by the Shakers in 1791 and is currently run as museum. We did not explore the whole place, but made a bee-line for the round barn and the baby animals.
Here's what Wikipedia says about the barn (I think it's interesting... skip it if you feel differently.):

Inside the barn there are four rings. The innermost is also the smallest and is used for ventilation. This ventilation is necessary to help draw the moisture up and out of the hay which prevents mold from growing and the hay from eventually spontaneously combusting.  The next ring out is where the hay was stored. It was tossed in from an upper level. That balcony was accessible by ox-drawn wagon via a ramp outdoors. Because the barn was round the wagons could enter, unload the hay and then exit the barn without ever having to back up.
The third ring out was where the Shaker brothers would walk to distribute the hay in the second ring to the cows standing in the outermost, fourth ring. The barn could hold up to 70 cows at a time. They would go to the barn twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening to be milked. Inside the barn they were put into wooden stanchions. Standing there, the cows could eat while the brothers milked them. The floor of the outermost ring is split level, with the inner part raised up 3 inches. This was so that the milk buckets were not on the same level as the manure which was unsanitary.

Willa kept going back to hold the baby chick and ducks.  She seems to really like chickens...

This guy is a French Angora rabbit. 

Roof of barn

Turkeys were really showing off.

We were not sure what this was, but the kids figured out what they thought the best use was.

Josephine, Harry, Cal and Willa look at bees.

Sheep riding!

Seat weaving!

We thought the Shakers' adoptees probably enjoyed rolling down the hill too.

Tired out at end of day.
There was more to our spring adventures, but as it is already summer, I'll leave it there.  We miss you!  Wish you were here!

Bonus Pic: 

W & C with Becky Bunny

Monday, May 23, 2011

the grass has riz...

Our winter was long.  We had a lot of snow and it took forever to be gone, but when it finally did, we were outside.  (I really shouldn't complain, as friends and relatives in the NoDak had it much worse).

 Here are some shots from a few early spring outdoor adventures:
Fairy house in garden.  We even did a little landscaping.

Fairy house under apple tree.  A bit sturdier in a three-little-pigs sense of the word, but no landscaping.

Cal and fairy house.

Some digging in the herb bed produced some earthworms.  Cal is not eating it. (someone asked)

Willa's worm vacation condo.

Kite flying. 

Happiness is the sun on your face after a long winter.