Monday, April 18, 2011

Crazy Weather Weekend

The end of the week we kept hearing about the chance of severe weather for Saturday and had heard the reports of tornadoes further west. But, my concern was hoping that we could get our games in this weekend after having so many games cancelled and rescheduled this Spring. North Carolina generally doesn't have widespread, strong tornadoes. Historically, our tornadoes are weak and sporadic.

Saturday evening was very scary for us. The warnings started over the air as I was driving Mary and Robbie home from Mary's soccer game. Shortly after we came home the storm started blowing in and we began hearing reports from nearby towns of massive destruction. Watching the local news we saw live video of the tornado heading into the downtown area of the local city, just before we lost the station over the air.

We lived about 10 miles west of the track of one of the tornadoes, but throughout the storm we heard debris hitting the house and found insulation and shingles that do not belong to us scattered around the yard and on our roof. We spent most of the evening calling and checking in with family and friends. Everyone was safe, thankfully and did not suffer major damage.

I've just been trying to absorb the scope of the destruction. Never have I experienced anything as widespread and destructive as this...and I've lived through several hurricanes here in NC. DH went to work late this morning, not sure what he was going to see as he drove into a town particularly hard hit.

Amazingly, we got all the games in this weekend. Two soccer games and one softball game. I had to miss Katie's softball game as Mary had a soccer game at the same time in a different town. After Easter I will finally be able to see Katie play and am definitely looking forward to it. Randy told me the Katie and her team did really well. Katie played first base for part of the game (her most difficult position) and caught everything. She hit the ball well and had a lot of fun.

Mary's team had a game against one of the top teams in the league. Their game started just about the same time as a rain shower moved in and played in the rain for most of the first half. It was a messy, slippery half. The second half the rain stopped and the wind started blowing.

Opposing teams are starting to pick up the Mary is one of the bigger threats with her ability to move the ball. Which means that often she finds herself being covered by one of the bigger, stronger girls on the other team. And, I do mean covered.

Mary had a good game and worked very hard, but the team went down 4-0.

Sunday, Mary's game was late in the day. DH used the morning to replace the brake pads on the van. Robbie was very interested in helping his daddy.

Mary taught him how to tighten the lug nuts on the wheel. DH did go around and finish the job, but Robbie was very proud of being able to work with Daddy on the car.

We had a beautiful afternoon for soccer on Sunday. Our first game without gusty, strong winds all season. The girls had a good game, coming out and being energetic from the go for a change.
Mary played okay considering they had her covered from the beginning and after she scored two goals figured that the only way to stop her was to just keep knocking her down.

Now it is Monday morning. Time to get organized and pack for our visit to the beach for a few days. A chance for us to get away from everything for a little while and take a break.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Making a list and checking it twice

We've decided to go to the beach next week for 'Spring Break'. We don't really follow the school calendar or even think about the school calendar, but when activities started being canceled next week I figured it would be a good time to get out of town.

The downside of planning a week away is getting done all the stuff that needs to be done before we go. I still need to finish the dresses for Easter (have not even started Mary's), finish planting some of the garden, laundry, spend time with kids, clean up around the house. Throw in a couple of soccer games, a softball game and getting DH to replace the brake pads on my van.

Not a horrid list, but then for some reason my body has decided to become sensitive to NC allergens this season. Never been one to be bothered by allergies, this year I feel like a brick wall has hit me. It has been difficult the past couple of days just to think and move.

Woke up this morning and the headache wasn't so bad. Hoping that I can knock out a lot of that list before I fall back into bed tonight.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back to the park and new surprises

We went back to the park today to do some more kite flying. We managed to avoid much of the rain and only had to deal with a few sprinkles. The wind was howling, so getting the kites into the air was not that much trouble today. Mainly we had to worry about the kites getting ripped out of their hands and flying off.

After having a nice picnic lunch the children walked down to the lake to feed the ducks the stale bread we had brought. Mary found our 'surprise' of the day; a large nest of frog eggs. We brought home a small sample to explore under the microscope and to hopefully grow into tadpoles.
Here is a picture of our home 'laboratory'.
Future scientists at work.
We love our new microscope and are thrilled with being able to photo and video our finds.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Fun with the kids

Spending a day with my kids is very interesting. One is never quite sure what they will come up with from day to day.

Katie created her own weight system. She wants to get stronger so she can "throw the ball across the field" at softball. Emily and Robbie thought it was fun to play with too.
Here is Robbie in his "little boy" haircut. Daddy took him out for the haircut at a real place, not at home like his normal cuts. Daddy thinks I leave his hair too long, but I do LOVE those curls.

That is green gum he is showing off in his mouth. Nice looking, huh? I just could not get him to let me take a picture without sticking out that gum.

Today we worked on our batiking project to go along with Emily's Asia study. I found a way to batik without using hot wax, hot irons or dye baths (all things I like to avoid as much as possible with my little ones). Instead it used glue, watered-down acrylic paints and lukewarm water baths.

Once all of them are done I'm going to make each of them into small pillows for the kids to remember the project. I think they had a lot of fun.

For a "Mudpies & Paint" blog it has been awhile since I have had one of my 'mud' pictures. Thanks to Emily and Robbie I have a new picture.

They managed to find a couple of mudholes near the soccer fields during Mary's practice tonight. Before I knew what was happening they were doing "cannonballs" into the mudholes.
It did keep them entertained for the whole 1 1/2 hour practice, and luckily for me the facility had showers I could rinse them off in before coming home.

I just love how my kids enjoy life so much each and every day.


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Day at Museum of Life & Sciences

A few weeks ago I promised the children a trip to the museum in Durham so that they could visit the butterfly house. Between weather, appointments and general life the visit kept being pushed back. We finally made it today!! Was it ever crowded with school groups. We even had to park in the overflow lot, a first for us.

Because the weather was so nice we decided to walk down to the animal exhibits first and hit a few other things on the way back. If we still had time we might actually do the museum itself. A great decision the kids made. The animals it appears were loving the weather as much as we were.

The turtles were everywhere in the pond sunning themselves after our long winter.

It may have been a little too warm for these black bears.
One seemed to really enjoy swimming to stay cool.
While I hung out with the younger kids at the pond activities, Mary took the camera to the red wolves area to see what they were up to. Apparently the female is pregnant again.

A couple of years ago she had a litter that was released to the wild to help repopulate the dwindling red wolf numbers.
The museum of Life and Sciences was one of the first groups to work towards red wolf revitalization.

Next was the lemurs. Very shy creatures, maybe once out of every three visits we will actually find the lemurs in their enclosure. Today they seemed to be looking for shade.

Mary searched and searched before finding these two hiding.
On the way back to the butterfly house we stopped and took a break at the boat sailing pond and then let the children dig for sharks teeth along the dinosaur walk. We came away with a nice handful of sharks teeth and fossilized coral with a promise to examine them under the microscope this evening.

The thing about the butterfly house is that it is a wonderful place to visit in the winter. I could spend hours just sitting in the conservatory. It is just as beautiful today, but HOT & HUMID. Knowing that the hot and humid is going to be our normal in just a month or so, I wasn't ready to spend so much time in there today.

The butterflies were vibrant today and very active. A lot were busy feeding.

As usual the immediately came to Mary when we walked in. She says it was because she was wearing a green shirt and her red hair - she looked like a big flower.

Before we left we had to stop by the donkey pen and visit with Lightning, the donkey Mary and Katie have made friends with.
He does enjoy having company.
Today he couldn't decide if he wanted some food or to play ball.
Maybe even take a nap once they finished cleaning out his stall.
Here is Lightning's stable mate, a very well fed goat. I thought 'she' might be pregnant, but HE is a neutered male.

It didn't seem like it, but we ended up spending 3 hours at the museum. We took our time and just enjoyed what we were seeing and doing. And, because we were outside we were never bothered by all the school groups.

Tomorrow we will spend a well-deserved day at home! I have chores to get done this week and maybe even start those Easter dresses I've been procrastinating on.

A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.