Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tuesday, January 24; 6pm
What: Owl Night Hike
Where: Sycamore Park/Batavia.
Organizer: Laura Riesenberg
Dress for the weather (low of 43 if you can believe the extended forcast) and if you have a flashlight, you may want to bring it (please don't feel you need to go buy one, we may not even use them!).

Ironically the kids received this month's copy of Your Big Backyard yesterday in the mail and it has a couple things on owls in it as well as a beautiful picture of the great horned owl. The book of the month is called OWL MOON by Jane Yolen about a young girl who gets to go owling with her dad for the first time. It also gives tips on going owling and recommends the website Journey North's Owl Listening Guide: Who Gives a Hoot? at http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/spring/OwlDictionary.html to hear the call of 4 owl species and a mourning dove, which can sound similiar to an owl.

Owl coloring page link:

Please contact Laura at
theriesenbergs@cinci.rr.com if you would like to attend! Also, feel free to come out even if you decide at the last minute, just be on time since I won't know to be waiting on you!

Directions: Take I-275 to the Batavia/Rt 32 exit (#63) and exit towards Batavia....follow out to the Main St. Batavia exit (you will pass all the stuff in Eastgate and then a Speedway and then a Salvation Army, just keep going and head down the hill)....follow Main St. to Foundry (this is either the first or second light) and turn right onto Foundry....follow it about a mile or so and you will see the sign for Sycamore Park on your left hand side.... We usually meet at the shelter that is straight ahead as you pull in.

The weather was perfect (a bit windy, but warm for January) and we had a GREAT time hiking in the dark and calling for owls! It was unbelievable how QUIET so many small children could be. Unfortunately we didn't get any owls to call back, but it was a fun time and we know how to "call" for the owls if we happen to be out on a dark winter night! Cade wants to go and try again, he was really disappointed he tried to hard to be perfectly quiet, he had spent the whole week reading his owl books! They are having a public program again in a few weeks, maybe we will go and try again!
Absolutely Awesome Activity!

Our friend Julieanne set up a tour of James Coffey's house for us. Her husband George maintains aquatic tanks for people and James is one of his clients. This man's basement is a reptile lovers DREAM! When you walk in there is a tank with a crocodile (about 4 ft), alligator (maybe 3 1/2 feet) and a caimen (the smallest, maybe 3 feet), it is so weird to walk in and be greeted by such fierce predators! James showed us a bunch of animal skins, pelts and skeltons, the kids were really fascinated! We headed into the next room where there were boas, an albino python, a huge fishtank, and a huge tank full of lizards. He had done an amazing job of building enclosures for all of his creatures. There were also display cases full of embolmed animals and more skeltons. He uses the animals to make replicas for display, teaching purposed and movies. We watched as he fed crickets to the lizards! He answered all the kids questions.

Next we headed into the back room. A HUGE tortoise was happily munching on an apple. Our attention was soon drawn to the 4 tanks FULL of mice, dinner for the snakes! Emily and Hannah both commented that it was a good thing our friends the Ridimans weren't with us because they would have wanted to rescue the very cute little mice! Kas has many a story of her girls "saving" rodents from being fed to larger predators at the pet store and I doubt yesterday would have been any different, I know Tabby would have charmed the grandfatherly James out of at least the cutest of the bunch! Besides the tortoise, the room held numerous snakes (probably close to 20) and box after box of tarantulas! James had just recently finished working on a book on tarantulas and shared some of his knowledge with the kids. There were also some more reptiles (a blue tongued skink and a leopard gecko are the only two whose names I can remember!). We saw numerous skins and sheds from his assorted "zoo"!

Like I said, an absolutely awesome outing! Cade was in heaven and I could see the wheels in Miss Emily's head just a turning (she wants to do animal rescue when she is older). From the outside of the house you would have never guessed the treasures that it held!

Once we were finished we headed up to pick up my dad from dialysis. It was the first time I had more than two of the kids with me and I could tell it was overwhelming for my dad! Unfortunately our schedule is starting to fill up on Tuesday mornings, so it is likely it will happen again soon. I will have to figure out a way to "bribe" the little ones into being quiet at dad's! Guess I could always threaten to go back and feed them to the alligator, crocodile and caimen!

On an amusing sidenote, James is missing his one thumb. Of course we all "assumed" it must have been lunch for one of his many "pets" but when one of the kids asked he said he lost the thumb to a punch press when he was younger and working!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Santa Baby!
Here are some of William's 18 month photo shoot. I didn't realize that I hadn't posted any of his pictures!

It is so hard to believe that it has been a year and a half since this wonderful little man entered out world.

Will RUN and CLIMBS like a pro. He amazes me constantly with his speed and fearlessness!

Although he will drink from a juice cup, he

prefers to nurse. He feeds himself with a fork and spoon. His favorite foods are grapes, yogurt and "candy"!

We are still really stuggling with his allergies. Red food dye really seems to make him react the most behaviorally, but his skin and digestive track seem more sensitive to apples, tomatoes and citrus. The poor guy's little bottom gets red and blistered if someone makes a mistake (or misjudges ingredients). I am so grateful though that he isn't in daycare so I don't have to constantly deal with

worrying about if someone else will forget and feed him something that will set him off!

Will has an impressive vocabulary. He can say all his siblings names, words for most foods and even says some sentences. His favorite sentence is "Mom boob boob now". Have to love a little man who knows what he wants!
He still LOVES to be carried, and luckily he isn't too heavy (most 18 months old we meet are far bigger than he is). Most of the time I can't say I mind it, it is nice to still have a "baby" to cuddle and snuggle with!

I feel like a kid in a candy store! Last night I attended the montly scrapbooking gathering hosted by the church we just recently joined! It was so much fun to be in a room full of women who shared my passion for scrapbooking and to glean inspiration and share stories with other women.

I actually managed to get 4 layouts finished and another one started. I stayed the entire time (from 7 PM to midnight) and spent way more time talking than actually working but it felt so good to nuture myself and my interests! It has been hard as of late with taking care of my dad and just our daily lives to find time for myself! I am counting the days until next months gathering!

Friday, January 13, 2006

So grown up!

When I look at Sophie I still see her as a toddler. But today during a visit to Boonshoft Museum in Dayton it was revealed to me just how grown up she is.

The kids had all scattered to play in the exhibits. Sophie had followed Emily and Grant and I sat and mingled with some of the moms, talking about nothing and everything at the same time. Suddenly, over the speaker an announcement was made. "Sophia would like Laura to meet her at the front desk". Emily and Grant came running up to me saying they couldn't find Sophie but that they thought she was at the front desk. They scurried off to claim her as I followed. Sophie was standing there waiting for us with her hands on her hips. The woman asked how old she was and I responded "three". She then told me that Sophie had come up to the desk and got her attention and said "My name is Sophia and I am lost. My mom's name is LAR-LA." She said she didn't even cry or anything!

I can't believe that my 3 year old is that capable of taking care of herself! I half joked that Brett at 15 wouldn't have even paged me, he would have just sat down and "pouted" and waited for me to show up (OK probably not, but he took my ribbing well!).

I told Sophie over and over again how proud I was of her! OK so your thinking none of this would have happened if I had just kept better track of her and you are probably right, but it is good to know she is slightly self reliant...well at least in a three year old way!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Architecture By Children

The kids are somewhat excited about an architecture program I signed them up to participate in. Each child (or team) is responsible for coming up with a design for a museum. Today we met with our architech for the first time and he spent a lot of time going over the ins and outs of the projects. In November we went on a behind the scenes tour of a local museum (the tour really sucked!) also as part of the program. I was surprised at today's meeting how many families with younger kids had signed up to participate and how few teens were doing projects!

Emily is leaning towards a dance or pet museum. Hannah hasn't decided yet (she and Em may work together). The boys are all thinking sports or video games and I am hoping Brett will be inspired to follow through on a forensics museum (we even have a "catchy" design in mind). The projects have to be finished by April, which means they have to start working on them pretty soon (of course we have the geography fair coming up beforehand!). I love to sneak all this learning in with engaging fun projects!

Now if we can just figure out how to make our model out of toilet paper tubes, cereal boxes and foam board we will be SET!