Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Silly Squash

A vegetable person Emma wanted to make today....inspired I believe by the books of this nature with the fruits and veggies, our squash has celery hair, black eye pea eyes, a carrot nose and a carved grin....may it brighten your day!
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Enjoying Outside

We are glad Daddy's leg is feeling better and that he is back home with us. We are enjoying being outside and doing all sorts of things outside that we can't when it's gloomy. Owen found an iris as tall as he is! May you enjoy the outside wherever you are....
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Giving Thanks

Spring always tries to win out as my favorite season over Fall....but then it see-saws back and forth weatherwise between lovely and horrid, and Fall wins out. I was having a hard time one morning finding the shine in our day, so I decided to do what I had heard someone say one day, to find the thing that was overwhelming me at the moment and turn it into a positive mantra. This particular morning, I had been alone with my dear children for six days (kurt was out of town), the weather had kept us cooped up, and me getting my energy from time alone--well, I needed to be alone! I took that feeling and decided instead of having that "I need to be alone" mantra in my head, I would go through our day making it an awesome thing what we had going on. I decided I would be thankful for time with my children, as not all the world's parents are blessed with this, and I would also not always be blessed with time with them. I would take this time that was previously overwhelming me and make it my mantra for the day. I am visual, so to keep it with me, I wrote it on the easel board that sits in the house. After a while, I had obviously shifted to the thankful mode, because I added the next two entries, "kurt's love" and "change" (I LOVE CHANGE, by the way:)). Sometime that day, Owen asked me what was on the board, and I explained that mommy had written down some things I was thankful for, which then led to explaining thankful to him. I offered that I could write anything he was thankful for on the board, too. You can see the things that Owen yelled out, and his voice caught Alex and Emma's attention and they then chimed in with things they wanted on the board. I could explain them all, but they really all kind of stand alone and give a glimpse into what was going on in our lives right then, so I'll leave them how they are, just things everyone was thankful for that day!
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Sunday, April 27, 2008


We enjoyed Panoply this weekend. The word Panoply means "wonderful array", and there was! There were lots of crafts, free food samples and bought food, lots of entertainment to look at, lots of art to look at and music. The kids liked the painting and the cardboard constructing crafts the most. Emma painted a scene and made a raccoon. Alex made a raccoon, also. Owen choose to make the cardboard 18-wheeler. We enjoyed the dancers from South Africa and the Drumming Tent with the Get Rhythm team the most. I was enthralled by the photography of a couple from Winder, GA of all places (near where we used to live)! They live half the year in China and half in Georgia. They had breathtaking color photographs from China. My favorite was of a hillside and valley terraced with rice fields, the colors ranged the whole palette--and made this a place I would like to see one day in person. Owen made an attempt at the oreo stacking competition. The roasted corn was the favorite food. At the end of the night we enjoyed the fireworks. Alex and Emma went to Panoply some on Sunday with Gram and Gramps after they went to see a Fantasy Playhouse rendition of Hansel and Gretel at Fantasy Playhouse, but the rain drove them home!
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Friday, April 18, 2008

June in April

We found all these wonderful white grubs in the dirt when we were digging the utility poles into the ground a while ago. Owen saved one of the grubs in our ant farm box with some dirt. The grub got brought inside and he apparently thought our inside weather seemed like June and he hatched. Owen came running with the box, he is the one that noticed the grub had hatched! So now we know that those chunky white grubs we see in the yard from time to time are June Bugs or June Beetles! I wish that I had a photo of the grub beforehand, but we didn't take a shot of it before...
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Botanical Gardens

Thank you to everyone that joined us at the botanical gardens. We had a fun day, and it wasn't too hot! The kids listened to some of the audio about the dinosaurs that they have positioned around the gardens. Alex was quite distressed that they didn't have the dinosaurs replicated to real size, for instance the one that said it had a 23 foot wingspan, Alex said, "that's not right, it's only as big as owen!" Alex has always been our realist, likes everything to be literal...The kids built dams in the stream in the Hope Garden, got really wet in several spots and really dry in the sunny spots. We spent a lot of time in the childrens garden once everyone got there. Here is Owen operating the water pump and with his friend, "Fia" (Sophia). I was worried when we arrived that the day would be bad because I didn't realize the plant show started that day, but it wasn't too crowded...
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Off to the Races

For some reason, Alex and Emma and Owen are planning early on what they want to be for Halloween. We checked out a book at the library this week about making costumes. These cars came from that experience, and although I have been assured they are not for Halloween, they are being much enjoyed! The kids spray painted them with leftover spray paint that we had, except the purple, which was requested. The straps were made from daddy's leftover leg wrap bandage. Kurt tore his calf muscle last weekend and is quite out of commission for a bit, but the kids found a great use for flexible bandage. We hope Daddy is back racing with us again soon. You can see here that everyone else is off to the races...
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Snail Days

The snails are all around the house, it makes me feel kind of slow and 'snaily' myself. That's what I like about Spring, days seem slower, and I know they aren't--they are longer......or wait that makes perfect sense...maybe that's why I yearn or am able to take them slower, there is more there! Makes you just want to lay around and soak up the sun and the sights and the sounds of nature popping up everywhere. To spend time creeping around at home until the pollen starts blowing, the mosquitos find some residences in the yard, and in our case the louder sounds of summer surround us (folks out of school and lawnmowers in the distance). Emma is as I've said a snail aficionado. I haven't told her yet that some folks eat snails....she is not a vegetarian in her other food choices, but this might be upsetting to her to think of her friends served up in butter and garlic. These guys pictured here spent a lot of time with us in a large Stonyfield Farm yogurt container with ten or so of their close relatives. They dined on organic spring mix, were misted with water, and traveled on emma's fingertips to the far reaches of the yard. She found every last one of them a moist home to spend the night, let them go, and saved the yogurt container for another day. Here's a snail poem the kids and I wrote around Valentine's Day when we made those beeswax snails. If only April 15th came as slowly as the snail, but that's another poem with a title more like "How the IRS snail slimed us All" :). Here is our poem "Love like a Snail..." :

Love like a snail... slow beautiful real round like a hug hard and soft
...sometimes likes to hide
...leaves a trail sticky can get slimy
...and like the shell it spirals on forever.

--alex, emma & katy bothwell 2008

Heard of the FairTax?

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Early Birds!

The doorbell rang, courtesy of FedEx, about 10 minutes after we had been awake (owen was still asleep). The eggs had arrived! Thank you Meg for packaging them so gingerly and getting them sent our way, we owe you! And we hope we have some roosters to bring you back in a while....We had the incubator set up for several days that we borrowed from a family nearby, so we unwrapped them and placed them in and marked the calendar to start looking for action around May 1st. The last batch that our friends did had only one success, so although we hope for more from our fourteen eggs, just getting to see one hatch will be totally worth it! The incubator is in the family room and emits this lovely glow at night, it appears to be some sort of UFO landed in the corner......
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008


We heard the hearbeat of our baby today! So exciting! A little hard to hear over the whoosh of the placenta, but it was thump, thump, thumping away.....Now I can't wait to feel the flutters.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lemonade out of Lemons

Our weekend not going to Georgia to get the chicken eggs turned into a fabulous one. Neither Kurt nor I worked in any fashion for three days straight, no office, no stores, no errands, no phone calls.... We haven't had a break like that since January, it seemed like life was back! We spent the rest of our 'mini vacation' after going to the frog pond hanging out together and working on the long awaited Treehouse. It has been named, "THE FOURT", in honor of our soon to be four tree climbers...The kids and I made a sign out of the 'capsters' that alex and emma have made that says FOURT, so we can hang it in the tree. Capsters are a Klutz idea that the kids have created a LOT of, so we found something to do with some of them. Alex and Emma have been drawing treehouses for four years, ever since we moved to this area. That was a requirement for the house we bought for Alex, that it have lots of trees. We have had the telephone poles donated by the power company for three years. We have determined the perfect tree for a while now, and Kurt has formulated a plan, and Kurt plans big which means it's our treehouse, too, we'll fit in it! Kurt and I had the conversation that we always wanted a treehouse when we were little, so maybe we are building it for ourselves??? I have a memory of being in the backyard that I lived in when I was younger that is just down the street from where we live now. One of my sisters and I were building a treehouse. We got as far as nailing boards up the side of the tree to get to the first branch like a ladder and then tying a swing onto that branch. I also have a not so proud memory of throwing acorns at passings cars from another neighborhood treehouse that was located right along a street. The feat we accomplished, which doesn't look like much from the photos, was to get four utility poles upright into three foot deep holes and cemented. We are proud and astounded to say that Kurt and I did this alone!!! with the help of a tag-a-long, of course. Kurt was the heavy lifter and heavy worker, but when we were done we felt like we could build a house! Emma and Owen made lemonade and here you can see them enjoying one of many snacks on the picnic table. Our change of plans seems to have been for the better, as we probably got more relaxing than we would have had we been travelling. We'll see our Georgia friends on another trip for another reason! May all of your lemons turn to lemonade...
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Treasures on Sinks Trail

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Treasures on Sinks Trail

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hike on Sinks Trail

We went on a Fresh Air Family hike with my parents the first weekend of the month. The hike was on the "sinks" trail in Monte Sano State Park. The hike was led by Loretta Lynn Winnegar (sp?) and she gave us all sorts of information about the wildflowers we saw that we were then able to come back home and see in our yard, neighborhood, and around town. Alex and Emma's favorite, forgive the lack of real name... was the "Velcro Plant". Alex has some on his shirt above...the little hairs on the plant make it stick to you like velcro. Emma has since found some in the yard and at the library. We hadn't ever hiked to the sinks when flowers were blooming. The hillsides all around were covered in bluebells, gorgeous! This picture doesn't do it justice....I'll post some of the other neat plants/flowers we saw on another post
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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Frog Pond Adventure

We drove to near Anniston today to participate in the Jacksonville State University Frog Pond Field School Tour. On the way we visited the Anniston Musuem of Natural History. They had a neat temporary exhibit of artwork made out of natural materials. My favorite was a bellycast that the artist had covered in the 'skins' of wasps' nests. It was beautiful and gave me the idea to cover mine in moss or lichen---I have been waiting for an idea to hit me to decorate it and it did today. The kids were really into the bird displays they have there. I imagine since they are excited about the chicken eggs coming and watching them hatch. Our visit to Georgia fell through late last night, as the eggs were not showing that they were fertile, so our friends are going to mail them next week. But we still went on the adventure we had planned nearby to hear the frogs. The stars of the show were Cope's Gray Treefrog which has a call that you can imitate by moving the headlamp hinge on your head-mounted flashlight, they sound identical to that! And the other star was the Spring Peeper. If you click on the links you can hear the calls, and if I get more technically savvy, I could put the audio clip we took on here, but that will have to wait another day. We learned that only the males call (in most species) among other things, and got to hold them and feel the vibrations while they sang... Thank you to Dr. Kline and his team of students that led the tour. The other photos above are of some salamander egg cases that we observed as well as a salamander "tadpole". Alex joined in the gathering of creatures off of the boardwalk area where most of the group stayed. His first find was this 7 to 8 year old salamander, which was a good 6 or 7 inches long, and we believe was a Spotted Salamander. This is worth a trip to enjoy an evening among the frogs if you are a frog lover.
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