Monthly Archives: July 2013

Summer Night

two hundred and one

Ever have one of those days when you know that the thing you least want to do is going to be a really good thing? And you still don’t want to do it?

I grudgingly brought the girls to our neighborhood kid’s talent show this evening. I was hot, tired and really just wanted to be in bed. We had a late night last night and a busy day today and I knew (as parents do) that we all should have been asleep instead.

But in the end, the talent was cute, the girls were (mostly) well behaved despite the yawns they tried to stifle, and Esme ran into a little girl she had met last night. They picked up where they left off and ran off, giggling in the post sunset darkness.

Not what I wanted, not what I planned, but exactly what summer nights call for.

Kratts and Cicadas

two hundred

Thanks to PBS, Netflix and dvds from the library, Chris and Martin Kratt have nearly become part of the family. Their three PBS shows, Kratts’ Creatures, Zoboomafoo and Wild Kratts are huge favorites with our girls, and I’ll admit that they are a favorite of mine as well.

The shows are, on the surface, a showcase of different wild animals. But the brothers take what could be a basic show and tell and make the creatures, their habits and their habitats interesting, relevant and memorable to their viewers.

I appreciate the way that the Kratts use accurate and scientific language, despite their target age demographic (preschool-elementary). I love that my four year old can tell me “This moon jelly is totally clear. That is its camouflage and it is a defense against predators.”

I also owe the Kratts a thank you for the way she can then go on to hypothesize, “I think their predators might be bigger fish…and maybe turtles. It must be something that lives in the sea.” She is learning the scientific method because the Kratts demonstrate it with enthusiasm, instead of just explaining it.

They have fanned a fire in our love of nature and animals. They have given us ways to connect the creatures around us with each other and with ourselves. They have encouraged confident, safe and appropriate interaction with animals in our daily lives.

And it is thanks to Chris and Martin that we were able to fully appreciate this gift of a cicada, left, in a home made cup terrarium, on our doorstep today.

We took time to observe its body, its clear wings, its six legs. “Look at his eyes, Mama! I bet he can see everything all around him!”. We guessed at what the coloring on its back might camouflage into- a rock, the dirt, a tree! One brave girl touched it, ever so gently. We looked for a mouth and Catherine found a proboscis instead. “That’s not what I expected!” she exclaimed.

The girls were anxious to let him go, “He’s happier in his house than in your house” Esme quoted to me from Zoboomafoo. So we opened the cup to let it free. It stayed for a while, giving us a closeup view not obscured by the green cup. We looked some more and finally, with a huff and a puff from Esme, it flew up into a nearby branch.

Biology, zoology, scientific method and awesome all rolled into one little bug. Nice.

Catherine Cab

one hundred and ninety nine

The bike trailer mentioned in yesterday’s post got a little more use tonight as Catherine gave her sister and a friend rides around the yard. I’m pretty sure two thirds of the Island must have heard their peals of laughter!

Bike Ride

one hundred and ninety eight

We went for a bike ride today. All told we were on the trail, wheels rolling, for about half an hour. It was great! We all had a good time riding and watching airplanes land and stopping in the shade for water breaks.

Saying that we spent thirty minutes biking today is deceptive, however. Here’s how the rest of the bike trip broke down (give or take):

*15 minutes spent getting the trailer from the attic and assembling it.

*40 minutes spent inflating six bike tires, fixing chain issues, adjusting seats and breaks and buckles.

*20 minutes spent connecting the trailer to my bike and a test ride.

*30 minutes preparing and eating lunch.

*10 minutes putting on helmets and filling water bottles and encouraging two girls to get a move on.

*10 minute ride to the car.

*15 minutes spent getting all the gear into the car (mine on top, minus the front wheel, disconnecting the trailer and folding it down, trailer and C’s bike into the trunk, front wheel in passenger seat, helmets scattered)

*15 minute drive to the State Forest, listening to C whine that she didn’t want to go biking.

*15 minutes spent reassembling all the bikes and gear, putting on helmets and buckling Esme in.

*5 minutes spent petting a dog in the parking lot.

{actual time spent biking goes here}

*40 minutes on the reverse trip (pack up bikes, girls in car, drive, unpack, park, walk to house, bikes away on porch)

*5 minutes spent making snacks and large glasses of water.

I’m not going to do the math, but I could really use a pit crew!


one hundred and ninety six

We headed down to Martha’s Vineyard today to spend a couple or three weeks with my parents.

I think that the Steamship terminal might just be the happiest place on Earth. I think it was for me at seven, and the girls seem to think so too.

Elusive North Dakota

one hundred and ninety five

Over our past two weeks on the road we have spotted license plates from forty nine states, Washington DC, and five Canadian provinces.

Despite our eagle eyes we didn’t see a single North Dakota plate.

Not completing our state bingo card is a huge motivation to get back on the road again. (as if we needed more motivation!) We’ll get you next time, Gadget! err…North Dakota…

Fluid, Soft and Yielding

one hundred and ninety four

” Water is fluid, soft and yielding.
But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield.

As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard.

This is another paradox: what is soft is strong. “