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Monday, August 25, 2014

Oh Bother

Well, we are back from our family vacation to Yellowstone and I really should be back on track, but I'm not.  I'm getting that "SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER AND WE NEVER DID......" feeling; not to mention feeling a little stressed that I still have a bit of preparation to do so that I will be ready to start school next Tuesday.  Sigh.....this happens every August, so you'd think I'd have some list or other prepared to handle it, but I don't.

Today, the plan was to do our annual "Make Stepping Stones" project and then play in the pool and eat popsicles and try to stay cool during the first heat wave of the summer.  Well, first it was foggy, then rainy, then looked like rainy all morning.  We couldn't make the stepping stones or play in the pool because of the lightening.  Finally, after nap time, the weather cleared up and we headed out to do our project.  It was then that I realized I had made a big mistake: I had incorrectly remembered the sizes of my stepping stone molds and consequently under-estimated the amount of cement mix I need - by half.  Uffda.  So, we decided to let the boys make their stepping stones today (Because Cam, the baby, was very impatient and a boy) and the girls would make theirs when I got more mix.  I'll share all the pictures then.  If you still want to see stepping stone pictures, you can look at the projects from the last few years here, here, and here.

Happy end of summer, everyone.

Monday, August 4, 2014

June and July Ponding

August is here! Can you believe it?  We leave on our road trip to Yellowstone National Park and other points West on the morning of the third day from now (I know that sounds a bit like I am talking out of Lord of the Rings, but really it is how I am trying to stay sane while being asked constantly "WHEN ARE WE GOING CAMPING???").  Between preparing for the trip and spending a lot of time with family this past weekend, there hasn't been a lot of projecting going on.  However, I do have two months of pond visits to review, so prepare to see a lot of cattails.  Before we do that, though, you have to protect yourselves from the mosquitoes because they have been so bad this summer I am almost convinced they will fly through the screen at you!
Week 24 - Early June - all the plants were growing very fast.  Week by week we tried to figure out which person the cattails had grown taller than - first Cam, then Brynn, eventually Mommy and even Daddy.
Week 25 - we had a lot of rain, so the pond was overflowing. 
My usually dry vantage point for taking pictures was well underwater:
And this was also the week we discovered that the pond contains leeches (or blood-suckers if you prefer).  Thankfully we did not discover this by going wading!
Frogs are much friendlier.
Week 26
Missed Week 27 due to Independence Day activities
Week 28
This is the week that the mosquitoes got really bad.  Despite uncomfortably warm skin-coverage AND large doses of bug spray, our observational period lasted about two minutes, because I actually inhaled a mosquito.  The kids tried to be good sports but it really was miserable.
Week 29 - there's a kid in this photo - can you see him?
There he is!
Week 30 - the weather was drier in July, so the pond water level is getting lower and lower and the kids are venturing out onto the mud a bit further each week.
Week 31 - the water is almost gone, there are frogs everywhere, but a lot fewer mosquitoes, so today's visit to the pond lasted a bit longer then the past few.
 Despite her best efforts, I managed to keep Blair from dunking herself in the muck.  That girl!
Happy August everyone!  I'll see you again in a few weeks, when I am recovered from our "vacation."