Monday, August 26, 2013

Busy, Busy Weekend

       We had nothing planned for our weekend so I thought it was going to be pretty boring.  Saturday morning I logged onto Facebook and saw that a local orchard was still advertising peach picking.  I thought that would be a fun activity, but Ian and Evan started grumbling.  Since Alec was the only one who wanted to go with me, my husband decided to take the other two boys to work with him.  They spent the day working on building us a spiral staircase and fixing the tractor.  They came home so dirty and black-- they loved it!  They learned how to bend metal, replace a tractor tire, and use a tape measure, among other things.   Alec and I spent the day making cards, picking peaches, and buying all sorts of yummy fresh fruits and vegetables from the orchard.  We talked about the best way to pick peaches and how to tell if they are ripe and juicy.  We talked about how plants grow, what types of vegetables we wanted to buy and why.  He practiced writing, spelling and spatial awareness while making his cards.  He measured, cut and combined colors while stamping.  Alec and I played Nine Men's Morris and developed math/logic strategies.  Then we played The Scrambled States of America game where we learned about geography.  We then took a walk to my husband's great aunt's house to play cards, work on jigsaw puzzles, and watch (and identify) the birds that flock to her bird feeders.  Alec has one bird book he received from her years ago that he brought with us to try and help him identify birds and she gave him another book on animals of North America that he couldn't wait to read.  It was great spending some quality one on one time with my middle son, who I think often feels lost in the shuffle.
In the orchard-- in the tree! 


Playing Nine Men's Morris
Playing the Scrambled States game
      


















    
    Once we all met up back at home at the end of the day, we decided to head out fishing. We walked around the pond trying out different areas to fish until they found their "honey hole."  Ian caught a few bass and a pickerel.  Alec caught a bass too, but Evan mostly just caught weeds and cattails.  We saw frogs, tadpoles, and turtles as well as many fish.  They had a great time fishing and no one wanted to go home and eat dinner even though it was almost bedtime already.  
  
16" pickerel

Alec's bass (he won't touch it!)


Ian's bass! 

So very peaceful! 
      Sunday we woke up and my husband headed out with Ian and Evan, once again.  This time the boys all headed out fishing.  They walked down the river with their poles and tried out various fishing spots.   Ian came home beaming with pride because he took a few of his own fish off his hook.  This is something we've been trying to get him to do all year long so it was a huge deal for all of us.  Evan came home all excited because he caught a few fish too. 
     We headed out to Southwick's Zoo where all the boys participated in a zoo wide scavenger hunt.  They filled in all their answers and each got a prize at the end of the day.   There were quite a few questions on each of the scavenger hunt papers that we hadn't known so we set out to find the answers.  Some of the answers we learned by reading the signs, but many required us to ask questions of various people working in the park.  Alec eagerly talked to everybody asking them questions and even asking them to spell the answers if he didn't know how.  We learned that Mandrills are part of the monkey family (not the ape family like we thought).  We learned what an Oryx is; it's a type of antelope and one that we've never managed to notice at the zoo before.  We watched the bird show and a few other animal ecology shows.  We rode the train through the elk forest and saw swans, elks, wild turkeys, geese, etc.  We learned the names of the giraffes and what a docent does.  The boys got to touch a Tagu lizard (which feels a bit like a basketball or a cluster of seed beads).  We had a nice picnic, some ice cream and a great day walking around looking at all the animals. 
Swans

Learning about the green iguana

Oryx


Getting their prizes

Tagu

Petting Tagu
     Once home we all took a quick dip in the lake.  I was amazed as I watched Evan swim so very far from the end of our dock.  He even showed us how he swims on his back using his legs to keep himself afloat.  I was so nervous watching how far he was swimming beyond where he could touch, but I knew with my husband and I nearby it was the best time for him to try.  He's definitely over his fear of the water and well on his way to being a champion swimmer like his brothers.  I couldn't help but think back to the start of the summer and my wish for him to learn to swim.
     After supper all the boys wanted fish for a bit off the dock.  They caught a few fish and it seemed like every time my husband and I came in the house to clean up from dinner they'd catch another one.  I thought I was going to be left on my own to clean up the kitchen but Ian offered to help Alec take off his fish that he caught.  He couldn't wait to tell us that he managed to get another fish off of a hook.  I couldn't wait to praise him for being so nice to his brother.  It ended up being a great weekend.  We kept busy yet it was at a nice relaxing pace enjoying the outdoors, soaking up the sun being surrounded by nature. 

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