Thursday, March 29, 2012

So, this happened about a month ago...

One unseasonably warm February day, we were outside playing and Monkeyman decided he just HAD to ride his bike without the training wheels.  For reasons known only to him, it was imperative that this happen immediately.  He badgered asked Daddy to take them off, but instead, Daddy gave him the socket wrench and showed him how to remove them... so he took his own training wheels off and *poof* now he can ride a bike.  Here he is in action!


So I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day, and we were reminiscing about a local restaurant we used to go to every Saturday morning when I was a kid.

Me:  Ahhh, I remember that place!  That's where I discovered how well scrambled eggs and cream cheese go together... and the first place I tasted coffee... and that was where I learned Santa wasn't real!

Max:  WHAT!?!  SANTA. ISN'T. REAL?!?

Oops.  He was engrossed in playing a video game and it did not even occur to me that he was listening. I just chuckled and said, "Haha... I was just joking!" and he didn't ask any more questions - probably because he's not ready to ask those questions yet.  (When he does start asking, I plan to do a lot of "Well, what do you think?" and let him work it out for himself.)  Crossing my fingers that he'll forget about this conversation by Christmas...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Medina Ice Festival and Putt-ing Through the Ages

One Sunday in February, we headed out for an afternoon of family fun.  First we visited the annual Medina Ice Festival, followed by the kids' first foray into mini-golf, at Putt-ing Through the Ages, a FREE indoor course put on by the Medina County Park system during the months of January and February.

Our visit to the Ice Festival was fairly brief due to extreme cold that day.  There were ice sculptures scattered throughout the town square - unfortunately we got there just a few minutes too late to witness some chainsaw carving action - but we were still able to check out the amazing results.  We zipped up and down every path around the square to check out as many sculptures as possible before the kiddos got too cold.  Monkeyman thought it was pretty cool (no pun intended).
Here's Little Bug all bundled up and ready for some fun!

When we first arrived, the boys found this airblown dancing man to be more interesting than the ice sculptures.  They were fascinated.

Here is some kind of robot insect.


Wolf about to pounce on a rabbit

Here are some of the artists' tools.

A quick shot of the scenic courthouse on the town square.

Monkeyman aka Penguin Man

Bug's turn.

Pretty goldfish

This was our family's unanimous favorite.  It's a robot man in process of falling down.

Awesome robot man from another angle

Next we headed to Buffalo Creek Retreat at Hubbard Valley Park for Putt-ing Through the Ages.  If you recall, I learned about this from a discussion at my homeschool group meeting where a well-meaning mother issued the warning that it was based on (shhh...) evolution, and I decided that we *must* go.  The park's website described it as:
"an indoor miniature golf adventure that takes the traveler through Ohio’s geologic history. Discover the depths of the ancient ocean, work your way through the Swamp Forests, encounter giant amphibians, dinosaurs and Wooly Mammoths, traverse a glacier and acquaint yourself with Ohio’s prehistoric people."
Knowing that it was a free event, I was not expecting it to be terribly sophisticated, but it really exceeded my expectations by far - I though it was very nicely done.  There was a lot to see, and there were things to touch and read at each hole so you could learn about each period in time.  There was even a question sheet that you could take around and find the answers at each hole, and then turn the completed sheet in to be entered in a drawing for various gift baskets and goodies.  My boys are a little young for that and had little interest in reading every word but they were fascinated by all of the great visual details.

I must mention that taking a 2-year old mini-golfing is quite a challenge.  At one point we realized that we had 5 golf balls between the 4 of us because Bug had snagged one off the course from the family behind us.  Oops!  But overall the kids both had a great time, even though Shane & I were exhausted by the time we were done.

Bug, Monkeyman, and Daddy next to the totally sweet volcano.

Bug was totally enthralled with this Wooly Mammoth skeleton.

Monkeyman in action

On the final hole, "Hey!  Where'd my ball go?"
Overview of (most of) the course

Okay!  Next up, our trip to the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kalahari Resort trip

We made our second trip to the Kalahari Resort (read about our first trip here) in early February, once again with a group of homeschoolers (and great discounted rates - woot!).  My parents also went with us this time, and it was really nice to have a couple extra sets of hands to help wrangle the kiddos.  Also, the boys really enjoyed getting to spend some extended time with Grandma & Grandpa!  The only drawback was that Bug woke up the morning we were supposed to leave with a fever.  Monkeyman would have been crushed if we cancelled the trip, so I decided if I had to sit in the hotel room with a sick Bug while Monkeyman had fun in the park with Daddy and his grandparents, then that's what I'd do.  And that's largely how I spent the two days we were there.  I alternated giving him Tylenol / Ibuprofen throughout the day, which kept his periodically spiking fever mostly under control, but he still felt kinda crummy & clingy most of the time.  But Monkeyman had an absolutely wonderful time, which made the trip totally worth it for me.  He had fun showing Grandma & Grandpa around the park like a seasoned pro, and he got to play with his new buddy, fellow homeschooler E. a little bit too.  We will definitely be going back to this paradise-for-children again in the future!

Unfortunately I didn't get a lot of pics - and absolutely none in the water park (!) - but this blurry one is special to me because it was Monkeyman's first time bowling and he LOVED it!  This was a really cool coin-operated mini-bowling thing - perfect for a first timer.  Can't wait to take him to a full-sized bowling alley sometime soon!
During a brief period of Bug's fever going down and his spirits perking up, we decided to check out the indoor playground, which we missed the first time we went.  CONFESSION:  One of the coolest things about having a 2-year-old is being allowed inside these cool playground structures even though I'm over 52 inches tall.  I secretly LOVE going into these things!  Anyone else feel this way or am I just a freak?


This is what it looks like in the center of the play structure.  It's three stories tall, with air guns on the floor and on each balcony that shoot foam balls.  You can aim at that big guy's mouth up at the top, or just shoot at each other.  Pretty awesome - Monkeyman really dug it.

Up next:  Medina Ice Festival and Putting Thru the Ages...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stuff I need to write about

So, you may have noticed that I haven't been around here much lately.  It's not that we haven't been doing anything, I've just been too busy/tired to sit down and write about it.  Here are some things I need to catch up on:

Since I like things to be nice and orderly, I'll start at the top of the list with the bird feeder workshop.  It was held at the Seiberling Nature Realm which we have visited before, however, I didn't get any pics from the workshop because I forgot my camera that day.  While Monkeyman and Daddy were at work on their project, Bug & I walked around exploring the visitor center.   One end has a wall of windows that looks out on many bird feeders, so we did some birdwatching for a bit.  Another part of the building has a wall of terrariums containing many interesting creatures - turtles, frogs, spiders, snakes, etc.  As we looked into each cage, I helped Bug find whatever it was that lived within, and each time he spotted a creature he would exclaim "Oh, I see it!  He's gonna bite youuuuu!"  There are also lots of taxidermied animals too look at, and lots of hands-on exhibits to play with, so there was plenty to keep us busy.  When we got home, Monkeyman stained the birdfeeder out in the garage with Dad.  I had this shepherd's hook and the white birdfeeder already, but had the long-overdue idea to move the hook to a spot outside my kitchen window so I can watch my bird-friends while I'm doing the dishes.  Can't believe it didn't occur to me to do that years ago!  I cleaned up the neglected white feeder and hung both of them on the shepherd's hook, and right away we started getting lots of hungry customers.  I have since added a third feeder (a thistle feeder) but I am too lazy to go take another pic.

The kids can also easily watch the birds from the dining room window.  Here's Bug doing some birdwatching with the binocs.  I have been keeping a couple pairs of them on the kitchen counter along with a bird guide so we can identify the different birds we see.

So far we've identified cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice (titmouses?), carolina wrens, juncos, goldfinches, house finches, grackles, mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds, and my favorite visitor so far - the red-bellied woodpecker.

 And now here are just a few bonus pics of them being generally awesome little dudes:


So, now you know we're still here!  I promise to try to get back with more updates soon!