Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Camera Shy

Last night I went into the girls' rooms to snap some pictures of the sleeping beauties. Julia was hiding under all her animals and pillows . . . . . . and Evelyn was hiding under her sheets. Both girls were camera shy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Activity

Today's weather didn't allow us to go to the pool - thunderstorms kept popping up all afternoon - so we girls did a quick math/science activity. We read the book The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. The ladybug in the story runs into several animals, each one bigger than the previous one, challenging them to fight. When the blue whale (literally) slaps some sense into the ladybug, he goes back home, where he belongs.

I researched the lengths of all twelve animals in the story. Then we headed outside to mark off the sizes of the animals, with tape measure and chalk in hand. Julia totally got into the project, too, marking off measurements with chalk.
In the picture below, Evelyn is marking off how long/tall a boa constrictor and gorilla are (six feet). The highlight of this activity was measuring the length of a blue whale. 80 feet is pretty long, especially when you see the distance on the sidewalk!
After our math/science activity, the girls scribbled and drew some pictures.
Julia had to use every single piece of colorful chalk in her collage. Meanwhile, Evelyn worked on drawing a humongous tree and a sun.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Day vs Last Day

Way back on August 30, 2010, Evelyn went to her first day of school as a first-grader. I took a picture of the eager scholar in our front yard -Fast-forward nine and a half months to today, the last day of school. I don't know if it's the way her hair is pulled back in a pony tail, but Evelyn seems to look so much older in this picture -
Last August, I also took a picture of Evelyn as we walked to school -
Here's our little nature-lover this morning. She found some interesting leaves on our walk to school, and she kept her eyes peeled for herons or beavers in/near the creek by her school (we didn't see any today).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bald Eagle Sighting

Julia and I headed to Black Hill Regional Park for another pontoon boat ride this afternoon. Since today's event was scheduled for 4:00, Evelyn was able to come, too. The theme this time was bald eagles. All day we girls had been hoping and wishing that we would see one of the park's resident bald eagles . . .. . . and we got our wish! I don't think we had been on the boat for five minutes before I spotted an eagle perched in a dead tree at the water's edge. Without seeing its mate, we couldn't tell if this was the male or female; the two birds need to be next to each other in order to tell the male (smaller) from the female (bigger). Regardless, we were very excited to see a bald eagle, in the wild, so close!
As our boat floated closer to the eagle's tree, it flew off. We spent the rest of our time on the boat learning about eagles in general and the specific eagles that nest in the park. The male has lived here since 2006. He has had three different females as mates - the two previous ones died. There have been two bald eagle babies every year except last year (2010). Unfortunately, one of this year's babies died just last week. The parent eagles stay in the same nest year-round while the babies eventually fly away to make a home of their own.
While cruising around the lake, we kept an eye out for the eagle. We didn't see it again, but we did see a blue heron and this osprey, two other birds with huge wingspans. It was another awesome wildlife-spotting day at the park!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Recycling Field Trip

I helped chaperone Evelyn's class field trip to the Montgomery County Recycling Center this morning. This recycling center is where the recyclables are sorted before being shipped off to manufacturing facilities. After listening to some information about recycling in our county, it was time to pop in the ear plugs and go see the sorting in action.

There's a cat walk along one wall of the recycling center, where we got a bird's eye view of all the machines. It was really cool, watching all the machines and people sort everything. There were also windows overlooking the outdoor areas where we saw front-end loaders pushing mounds of recyclables onto the main conveyor belt. Even though it was a quick trip - we were there less than an hour - it was very informative and fascinating.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Evelyn's Little Gym Class

Today was show day for Evelyn at the Little Gym. She got to strut her stuff with the three major components of gymnastics: floor, bar and balance beam routines. She did awesome with all three exercises. The most important thing is that Evelyn really enjoys going to gymnastics and learning to do new tricks. After taking a break this summer, Evelyn will be back for more gymnastics in the fall.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Julia at the Little Gym

Julia has been taking gymnastics classes at the Little Gym this semester. We are nearing the end of the "Super Beasts" class, and I had a chance to take some pictures of our little monkey in action.

Julia's favorite exercise is, by far, the bars. She would be perfectly content to swing on them for all 45 minutes of class.
More bars, bear-crawl style:
And more bars! Julia likes to swing her legs side-to-side on this bar.
Julia doesn't mind the balance beam, but she isn't too keen on doing any tricks on it. She likes to keep it simple - walk forward.
At the end of class today the kids got to run around in bubbles. Julia was giggling uncontrollably while chasing after them. Julia loved going to gymnastics every week, so I'm sure she'll be back in class this September.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Back to the Pool

It's another pool season, so you know where to find us when the weather is sunny and warm: the community pool. Evelyn is still quite the little fish in the water. She does so well for a seven-year-old - swimming front and back crawl, treading water, and so on - that there really is no reason for her to take lessons this summer. She can just swim and swim to her little heart's content.What does Julia say when the lifeguards blow the whistle for break/adult swim? "Snack time!" Playing in the water makes her so hungry, she literally devours her Goldfish. See what I mean?

And, after break time, we're back in the water. Julia is much more adventurous this year than last year. She doesn't mind getting her hair wet, she ventures out to the 2 1/2-feet deep area without hesitation, and she loves playing with various pool toys. Unlike Julia's first two summers, when she would fuss about going to the pool, now she can't wait to go. It's still early in the swimming season, but I think I know how Julia's afternoon routine will go this summer: lunch, nap, pool (with a smile on her face).

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Let's Pick Berries!

The weather was perfect this morning to pick strawberries at Butler's Orchard. The girls grabbed their pint-sized baskets, I grabbed my camera, and off we went.

Julia wasn't very helpful last year. She would take the berries from my box and put them into her basket. This year, however, was a completely different story. She was all about plucking ripe, red strawberries from the plants.
And she couldn't wait to find another plant with lots of red strawberries. Check out Julia's red thumb in the picture below - cute!
Evelyn was also very serious about her work. She filled her little basket time and time again, dumping her harvest into the big box.
After we had picked practically all of the ripe berries in our row, I told the girls it was time to stop. They still found strawberries here and there as we made our way to the pay station, continuing to fill our box.
By the time all was said and done, the girls had picked 7 1/2 pounds of strawberries in 40 minutes. They were enjoying themselves so much, and were doing such a good job, that I only picked a handful. Now, how can I convince Evelyn and Julia to eat the tasty treats I will make with all of this fruit?

Friday, June 3, 2011

National Donut Day

After finding out today was National Donut Day, we couldn't resist getting a colossal donut at the grocery store. Seriously, that's the name of the store's donuts - colossal. It's almost as big as Julia's head! Don't worry, she didn't eat the whole thing. We saved half of it for Evelyn to snack on after school.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Turtle Boat Ride

Julia has become an old pro when it comes to the story time boat ride at Black Hill Regional Park. After we got on the boat, she promptly found a life jacket and a pair of binoculars. I'm not sure how much she could actually see with the binoculars, but she used them a lot this morning.Our boat captain took us to a new (for us) part of the lake today, in search of turtles. Here's little Julia, standing at the front of the boat, as we sped over the water.
We saw quite a few turtles sunning themselves on logs in the lake. We also saw barn swallows and blue herons flying around the lake. Another fun Thursday morning outing for Julia!