Friday, April 18, 2014

Little Town Field Trips

Washington Tractor showed the class how to use a swather and tractor. 

Last week all of the third grade classes in our area were invited to participate in a field trip to learn about agriculture in the Ellensburg valley. In the letter home it said parents were welcome to meet up and participate too so I took the opportunity to ask if the boys (almost 2 and 3) could come along as well. Since it was sponsored by local businesses and community groups, such as Washington Cattlewomen's Association and 4H, it was a little more relaxed and they were welcome to come along. The material was aimed at third graders so parts were a little over the boys' heads but they had a great time. 

Lincoln riding a pig statue, yeehaw.
We got there a little before the bus of students (yes one bus fit both third grade classes of about 20 some odd students and two teachers) so the boys had fun checking out the bronze pig statue at the fairgrounds.  
Huge Farm Equipment
 Warner didn't want to stand still for Q & A time so we wandered around a little and soaked up the perfect weather. 
Lincoln and Dylan listening intently during a demonstration, center of the picture.
Lincoln has grown up with all of Dylan's classmates so he just jumped right in with the group. I love watching my boys learn and show genuine interest even though I heard some other girls talking about the field trip claiming, "My sister said this is the boring field trip." Luckily only a few parts seemed to be boring to the younger boys (although I learned a lot about soil erosion and the use of PAM and the use of irrigation. They also didn't seem to care that hay is a million dollar business but 90% of hay grown in Ellensburg is shipped to Asia. 
Warner can't believe all the pokey things coming off.
Machines make the hay business much more successful. 

The boys did not want to pose with the animals but I did get an action shot. 
 I tried to get the boys and the cute baby lamb in the same picture but they kept moving around and Warner would rather dig in the dirt. The boys got to see dairy and meat cows and goats, chickens and chicks, sheep, and piglets up close and personal. 

Dylan and friend helped Lincoln (the short one in the middle) in line with the rest of the class. 

I love Dylan's small class size and amount of parent involvement. 
 The boys really take to anything outdoors involving dirt or animals so it was really exciting for them to see things, feel freshly ground wheat (and sneak a bite of it), to run their hands over the giant tread of a tractor tire, to hear the moo of a cow in "real life." Living in a small town these things are much more common but we still didn't personally have access to most of the things we learned about. Tagging along on this field trip gave the boys much more information than they needed on the subject but a nice jump start on the community and its resources. Don't worry, they will get to do it all over again in third grade too. 
Mrs. Ravet making sure Lincoln can see the demonstration on hay production
by standing him up on a hay bale. 

We all piled onto a covered wagon pulled by draft horses. 
 One of the sweetest parts of the trip was that Dylan's teacher, Mrs. Ravet, really cared about the kids learning. Not just her students but my little guys too. She would more Lincoln to the front of the crowd to see or pick him up to get a better view (Warner was in the Ergo a lot because he still isn't great at sitting or standing still). She always made sure the kids were being respectful to the speakers and even shared a bag of grapes from her own lunch with the boys sitting at her table. *Dylan did not sit with us at lunch, but he still held Lincoln's hand and hugged us goodbye so he's not completely grown up yet. She also pulled both of the boys up on her lap for the covered wagon ride. What kind of teacher does that? One that I would hope to teach my son if I am not doing it myself. Yay. I love the flexibility of homeschool preschool and the fact that we can call this a good day of learning while hanging out with brother and enjoying the weather.
Space was tight on the wagon so Mandy held both of my boys on her lap until things went south
and Warner realized I wasn't the one holding him.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just A Light Breeze

Ok so this is a picture of the Oregon coast, but it is a true picture of nature's beauty. 

Signs of Spring are all around.
Wind, oh the wind, is back. It has taken me about five years, but I have finally realized that the wind isn’t going anywhere and I just have to stop cursing it and remember to put on a hat when we go out to play. If I can keep my ears warm, it’s not that bad. I’ve learned to cherish the early mornings without the blowing of  sagebrush across our driveway or trying to keep my hair out of my lip gloss. Ellensburg in the Spring is too beautiful to let that four-letter “W” word get the best of me.
The days are getting longer. The sun is drying out the frozen ground. Soon we will be seeing colors of budding flowers and the lush green of fields of hay. Neighborhood kids are starting to stumble out of their cabin fever induced hysterics and harried mothers are ready for outside playdates, letting out a few shrieks of glee (children and moms alike!).

The Spring wind also bring along a sense of newness. A chance to rewrite the routine of our family and a new opportunity to create our beautiful mess of a life. With the changing of the season, I challenge you to embrace this persistent breeze… or at least learn how to tolerate it with grace.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Best Friends by Force

We weren't necessarily planning on having two under two initially but now that we are almost two year into it and survived the newborn stage, I can say with confidence that it is possible and we are starting to see some benefits. 
Lincoln, the two year old and my middle boy, wanted nothing to do with his baby brother Warner. He knew a baby was taking everyone's attention, including his beloved oldest brother. He admires and tries to be exactly like his older brother most of the time. Until recently the two youngest wouldn't even play together. Warner was too young to understand play. Lincoln was too busy to be bothered by a baby. When school started I was home alone with the two little boys for hours on end and they were forced to spend time digging in the sand box together, destroying each other's block fortresses, trading colds and playing tiger tag. Lincoln has been doing much more preschool with me and we always make sure to include Warner if he isn't napping. They are slowly learning to share and look out for each other. They are choosing to do similar things together. They have learned if they work together they have more power against me ha ha. 
Luckily for me, with a little time and ingenuity the two brothers have started to interact with more confidence and really love each other. They still have their moments but I think with more time they will become best friends without me forcing their hand. 

Playing at the new park in Kittitas. 

Painting on a double sided easel. Neither one likes to paint/draw/color
much but their attention spans are getting a little better every day. 

The day they gave them selves cool arm tattoos with markers.
Lincoln decided to wear arm guards over his to keep his tattoos safe. 

Warner always sleeps in his crib but lately he has become more apt to sleep
wherever he stops moving. The futon in the playroom makes a great place
 to rest for both of the boys. 

"Beautiful Hair" Bothe of them were due for a hair cut and since it was so long
they both wanted their hair to look pretty so we put it in little pony tails.
Warner couldn't stop saying beautiful. I love it.

Easy Spring Wreath

Spring has sprung and I love seeing my favorite plants bud and bloom. Forsythia plants, a bright sunny yellow flowering bush, is one of my favorites and a sure fire sign of spring. I have seen many decorating ideas using the blooms as well. I am hoping to propagate some cuttings from my friendly neighbors around the corner this year so I can have my own blooms next spring but for this year I will have to settle for a cheery door wreath instead. 
I have my standard grapevine wreath bought at the Dollar Tree and have hot glued flowers to it (using an old white tee-shirt and burlap). Plus my sparkly initial hanging in the middle. It is very versatile and can be modified for any season or holiday. For Christmas I just wove a sparkly green ribbon through it and it really made the door pop.
The next step was to find fake forsythia blooms. Luckily the Dollar Tree came to the rescue again! I found two foot long cuttings, perfect for the project I had in mind. I just wove the bendable branch through the wreath and let it naturally poke out the top. Took about two seconds and adds miles of style to the front door. 
Cheap. Easy. Beautiful. All of my favorite things.