Thursday, June 24, 2010

End of school; Fredericksburg

The last few days. I got lazy about blogging daily toward the end there, didn't I? I'll probably cut back during the summer, but not completely. We studied South Africa and Antarctica during our last week of school. We looked at the photos from our family trip to South Africa in 2008 - P was almost 4 then, and E had just turned 2. He has some very vague memories of the trip, and P remembers it fairly well, but the photos helped. We'd taken a few videos on our digital camera, including one of E at the lion park. I'm explaining that the lion we're looking at is a lioness, a girl lion, because it doesn't have a mane, and E lisps, "No! It's a boy dion!" This was greatly enjoyed by both kids. I think E enjoys seeing that he was once little and cute, since baby B tends to have a premium on that these days. Of course, E still is little and cute, just not the littlest and cutest. We watched "March of the Penguins" to go along with our study of Antarctica, and marveled at what those birds go through to obtain babies. Pregnancy may have its frustrations, but it isn't months of starvation in blizzard conditions balancing an egg on one's feet. During our math time, we played a lot of RightStart games, including a modified beginners' version of "Corners" which P loved.

Fredericksburg. We spent last weekend in the small town of Fredericksburg, TX where my inlaws are considering buying some property. Our major task for the weekend was to use a ground conductivity meter (glorified metal detector, AKA The Beast) to search for hidden trash on the property. There is plenty of un-hidden trash in a ravine on the ranch, including historical refrigerators, cars, and at least one wild hog carcass. They just wanted to make sure that what they saw was the total of what they'd get. However, it turned into an enjoyable family weekend. Ari's brother and his family joined us on Saturday morning, and we all went swimming except baby B, who napped, and Ari, who read the manual for The Beast. That afternoon, we all hiked to the top of Enchanted Rock (except baby B and my nephew G, who were carried). We got our new digital SLR the day before leaving for Enchanted Rock, so we went wild taking pictures. Unfortunately, I haven't loaded any of them onto this computer yet, but I have the best of intentions. Once our hike was over, we met up with Ari's parents and grandparents, and drove out to the ranch, which is only a mile or so from Enchanted Rock. It was too late in the day to be worth hauling out The Beast, but we walked around the property and admired its beauty while being sobered by the ravine full of trash. We spend Sunday relaxing around Fredericksburg - swimming, of course, to the kids' immense satisfaction, and falling off a large inflatable swan into the swimming pool. On Monday, there was a lot of teamwork involved in putting up evenly spaced flags to systematically scan the field they were most concerned about, but taking care of 3 small children in a field full of grass burrs was complicated enough that I wasn't able to contribute to the cause. Instead, I headed back to the hotel with the kids. We met Ari's grandparents, who were about to head back to their home in College Station, and had lunch with them at the Rather Sweet Bakery. As the name would suggest, their emphasis is on dessert, and the children each got to order a confection as big as their heads. I split each child's dessert in half, so that I got a whole dessert, they each got half, and we all got way too much. But decadence is half the fun of being on vacation. On Tuesday morning before we left, I took the kids to a hand-carved candle store, where we bought $1 candles made of wax remnants for each kid, and on the way back we paid 51 cents for the privilege of turning a crank to squash a design onto a penny. A great time was had by all.

Our next major adventure will consist of my brother's visit. He postponed it for a week to spend time with a young lady he's fallen head over heels in love with (at least, that's how my mom describes it), but we fully expect to see him at the airport tomorrow afternoon, ready to be interrogated about his love life.

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