Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nature Study Time

Nature Study
This year we are doing some things a little different in school. Diella is much more into art and learns a lot differently than Alegra. So, we are doing some nature study. Yesterday we went to Maple Wood Nature Center to hear the meteorologist from WNDU talk about the weather. It was a little more than the children could understand, but I enjoyed it and it is good for them to have to sit and listen to an adult speak. After that we stuck around the nature center and learned about foxes. We brought a book with us and our writing paper. The nature center has a stuffed fox, so the children drew a picture of that (they did a mighty fine job too), then we read about foxes. watched a video that the naturalist, Scott Beam had recorded of two fox pups in Maple Woods, and then Alegra's reading book for that day was about a fox. It was fun and relaxing and a different setting for school.

Today, though after work was done, I sent them out to find something they wanted to draw. The girls both chose this lovely marigold in the garden. They took their clipboards and set out to drawing. The sun was quite bright as you can tell from Diella's shield, but the day has been just beautiful to not be outside.

Here is Diella working diligently on her drawing.

Josiah also wanted to be out there but he didn't want to draw. So, he got his little shovel and worked in the garden. Not sure that his "work" is always helpful, but he sure loves digging in the dirt.
We do enjoy the outdoors and all that it has to teach us and feed us. :) Well, I am off to give a massage while Jonathon plays ball with the children. Trying to enjoy and take advantage of this weather while we can. Soon we will be building fires and drinking hot cocoa. I do love that too, but prefer the cool breezes and warm sun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bonneyville Mill Celebration

We had a fun family outting to the Bonneyville Mill Celebration. It was a small group of us, but grew later as the afternoon went on with two other couples from church. It turned out to be a beautiful day, though a little on the hot side. But we sure enjoyed it!

We arrived there close to the same time as another family from church and had planned to eat a sack lunch before heading to the big event. After lunch was eaten, we walked over the hill and through the woods to where the horses were hitched to wagons for a wagon ride to the mill valley. Everybody loved the wagon ride!

The above picture and the one below are happy moments for my husband. :D The children loved seeing the old tractors and sitting on them, but he loved wandering through all the old tractors and cars. He was especially fond of this CASE somethingorother. I know that isn't really a word, but I really don't know what it was, but I do know how excited he was when requesting for the camera to take a picture of it.

Jonathon would have been happy to have had our day be finished right there, but alas, there was much more fun to be had by me and the children.

This garden was full of the largest dahlias that I have ever seen. What a beautiful garden just outside of the mill. A beautiful setting!

Inside the mill we learned a little about the milling process, but I'm not sure how much we really got out of that part. The children did learn that they used water to make things work. That's second grade terms for you. :)

Some of the group looking out of the mill onto the pick up location where there was a trio of ladies setting up their instruments to play music.

See the worm on Josiah's right arm. A wooly worm. The children all had fun finding him and holding him.

In the children's area they had lots of old fashioned games. We all had fun trying them out and seeing how things worked. Here is Alegra trying her hand at the peg game.

More games/toys. Checkers, some twirly carousel toys, a ladder game (never did figure that one out), the dancing man on the wood board that you sit on, and many others.

Our family enjoying the day. Josiah was hiding behind the toy that the little vegetable would zig zag down, and Benaiah was enjoying the day from the stroller, taking great rides and trying to stay out of the sun.

This is Alegra trying out the stilts. Was a task that did not get completed very well.

And Diella trying her hand at it. Again, not very good at stilt walking. We didn't get any pictures but we also tried the game or toy where you take a metal round piece and push it with a stick to make it keep going. Alegra and I tried it and did pretty well with that. Children in the olden days sure didn't go without fun things to do. They just didn't have video games.

This was a big high light- the corn eating contest. Everybody wanted to join in, but Josiah decided last minute it wasn't for him. He did get to eat his corn though.

Here they all are in action. Good little corn eaters we had, but there was a boy that tore up his corn (not in our group) causing our little eaters not to win. Oh well, they all got a little something for playing along and that was just great!
After getting some cotton candy and kettle corn, we headed up to the old schoolhouse to hear what is called shape note singing. We had never heard this kind of singing before, and found it to be very interesting. Caused my ears to hear and my mind to really think about what I was hearing. If you ever get a chance, it's worth a listen to at least once.
From there we headed back down to the wagon pick up and off we went riding through the woods to the parking lot. The children wanted to stop at the playground to play while us adults were just ready to get out of the sun. Do I even remember having all that energy as a child? Well, all 4 of ours fell asleep on the way home leaving two tired parents to converse about the lovely day. Okay, so those two tired parents fell asleep as soon as we got home, but we had to to be able to function the rest of the evening.
A good day was had. Good fun. Good fellowship. Good fresh air. Good friends! Good field trip.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Letterboxing Excursion in Somerset Center, MI

My parents wanted to take me out for a meal for my birthday that was a little while back. Well, with it being Labor Day the place we picked wasn't open, so we ended up going to a little, small town restaurant. Then I had a letterboxing adventure planned out at a park in the same town. It was a park that had been donated by a man who owned a cement company. The uniqueness about this park is that it contains 17 bridges that all look like they were made of wood/logs, when in fact they were all made of cement. What a neat place to visit. The park contained 7 letterboxes but we found only 1. It was a slight bummer, but the park was so enjoyable that it didn't really matter that we only found one.

Following the clue up to the top of the hill where the tall trees and the historical marker were.

These two tall trees were the chimneys of a building that was underground below us. The trees are made of cement. So amazing!

Our little family on one of the bridges. Don't those look like real logs?

On one of the trails that Jonathon and the children went on (the stroller didn't go too well on some of them, so we took the trail more heavily traveled with the stroller), there was a little mud hole at the end of the trail. Alegra neglected to see it when she got to it and stepped right in it. Yep, mud spattered all over her leg. Oh no! But she was a decent sport about it. Notice Jonathon now directing Diella carefully around the hole. Ha!

Especially once we convinced her to get into the creek to clean the mud off. This little creek was so delightful. It was chilly, but I can just imagine this being a hot spot for families on warm summer days. We loved it....once we found an area where there weren't any bugs and the water was nice and clean. Alegra wasn't real sure about it until I got in first to show her it was just fine.

Another one of the bridges. My dad was fascinated with this park as he used to work for a cement company. It was a little more intrigueing to him than the rest of us. But we all enjoyed it a lot.
The guys found the only box, nestled nicely outside and very close to the poison ivy vine. Yahoo, we found one!!! They hand carved their stamp that was a fish and glued it onto a small piece of ruler. Very clever. My mom continued on reading the clue to find out where the next one was while we did all of our stamping and writing in our books.

We sat on this bridge and listened to my mom read the next clue. All seven clues were in story format and interesting but kind of hard to follow, obviously since we only found one. This turned out to be a great picture with everyone included.

Here is a picture of that bridge from a distance. The guys tried to find the one near this bridge, but again poison ivy won and they decided to pass digging too deep into it. Aren't the details of this bridge amazing. He ropes (actually cement) even have knots in them. There was also a covered bridge at the park, but I didn't get a picture as there were other people sitting on it when we were by it. It was quite amazing though!
It began raining and everyone else was looking for a letterbox when I decided to get just one more picture. After clicking this one, we darted up the hill to get out of the rain and see if the others found the last one. Nope, it remained to be unfound. But we all did have a wonderful time enjoying this little unknown park. I highly recommen everyone checking it out if you are ever in the area of Somerset Center, MI. It is on the corner of US 12 and Jackson. Let me know if you go visit and what you think about it. Or if you go letterboxing and where you went. There's always an adventure out there with letterboxing.
We then headed to my brother's to visit with them and see how their twins were doing. They are growing and seem to be doing well. Still quite small but what a blessing doubly!

It's a Zoo out there!

The fun Zoo Day!
Jonathon's sister won some free tickets to the Cleveland Zoo and very thoughtfully asked us if we wanted to go. So, we made it a super fun day and called it Josiah's birthday celebration.

We walked into the park with extremely excited children. If we would have been in a building, I would have said they were bouncing off the walls Excitement was high as we entered the Rain Forest building, and they went from exhibit to exhibit with great enthusiasm about what they were seeing.
They picked their favorite creature to have a picture with. What fun they had. It looks like the tree frogs won out. Must be tree frogs have gained popularity in our house because of the one at our house that talks to us from the air conditioner unit. :)

We learned a great deal about marsupials. I even learned new things. The children got to feel the difference between the red and brown kangaroo fur. We also learned that a koala bear is a marsupial and watched a video of how the baby finds it's mother's pouch. Amazing creation!

A trip wouldn't be complete without a family pic. Even Benaiah looks like he was ready for the camera. We did have such a good time!

Aunt Mandy joined us since she won the tickets. What a great time of sharing a fun day with her. The children sure love her!

This was a slide that was like a snake that came out of the side of a big ship. It really looked neat from the outside, and everyone was wanting to go down it until we got inside, and they saw what the opening was. The two younger ones chose to take the steps down with me while Alegra braved it and went down through the snakes belly. She beat us to the bottom and said it was really scary, but she loved it.

Of course every zoo has a petting farm. These sheep were super cute and the girls didn't want to miss out on petting them.

This little train would have been a fun ride, but we chose to just watch it. Josiah was such a friendly bystander, waving to the riders everytime we passed it. So cute!

His hand was so small compared to the big gorilla hand. We did see the gorilla but from a distance. Alot of the animals weren't close enough to really enjoy...except the beaver. He was right along the glass where we stood. Details of an animal are truly a wonder, and we were glad to get to see some of them up close.

This was Josiah's favorite part. He knew these were reindeer, but he said that reindeer are buck deer who like the rain. Very funny. He actually got a camera in the mail that we got through a Kellogg's cereal box before we left for our day away. We told him he could take whatever pictures he wanted to. I'm sure we will be surprised by what the pictures end up being, but the majority of his pictures were of the reindeer and their big antlers.

The amazing giraffe! They got to see this guy up very close. Josiah was always too short to see over top, so he usually took the low road. :)

The highlight of the children's day was seeing the dinosaurs. This T Rex was quite large and Josiah really didn't want to go stand by him. The little girl beside him wasn't scared. In fact she walked over to Josiah, put her arm around him and smiled at her daddy taking a picture. Too funny! Josiah quickly got away from her. I'm not sure who he was more scared of then. Ha!

You have to know that this was the Dad's idea, of course, and had I been thinking better, I would have had the people standing on the side laughing at his set up, take our picture, and I would have joined them as the horrified, screaming mother on the side. Would have been funny, but this picture turned out cute enough I think.

Here Alegra is climbing the rope tower. In the distance you can see the domed rain forest building (on the right hand side of the rope tower).

Josiah demonstrating what a lion does. The lions are so neat even though they just lay there. When we went to the van to eat our packed lunch, we could hear the lion roaring. What a sound of power! We must have missed their lunch time and not wanting people so close to their food because they didn't give us any good shows.

Here is our happy boy. He enjoyed the day and was so good, as usual. It sure is enjoyable not having to worry about having a fussy baby to deal with. What a blessing and enjoyment he is to us! The end of the day and he was still smiling.

We rode the tram a little before we left so the children could take a ride. It didn't turn out to be quite what we were planning (poor Jonathon had to walk back to the van from the drop off point), but at least the children got to ride a little. Free rides are enjoyed so much more than the ones that cost!
They could only be serious for so long, then they busted loose. Josiah was still in lion mode.
Actually, the majority of the time he seems to be in lion mode. He's a boy!

Me and Benaiah on the tram. What a nice ride on a warm day.

All in all, we had a wonderful day together! It was a long day, but well worth it. This was our kick off for school and a good one at that! Have you visited any zoos this summer. Please comment about it. What zoo, where, and how was it. We love to hear what zoos are good ones for future zoo trips.

Our busy weekend- wedding bells

I am just getting around to posting about our fun filled last weekend. It is the start of this weekend, and I thought I should go ahead and get caught up before needing to post on a field trip we are doing on Sunday.
Last Friday night, we had the priviledge of attending an absolutely beautiful wedding. Some friends from church, Joel and Bethany made a marriage covenant outside in the bride's parent's backyard. It was a perfect evening and wonderful. We made it a date night (well with Benaiah too) and had a splendid time at the reception too. What a blessing to see the start of a marriage that is firmly built on God and HIS ways.

The new Mr. and Mrs. Joel Hawkins!

Our friends, Phil and Casie and one of the other babies that got to attend, Amalyah.

Jonathon and I with a sleeping Benaiah on the floor in his seat beside us. What a lovely evening!