Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Go Ducks Go!

This might be the coolest thing ever:

In our neighborhood, we have a small duck pond, populated usually by about a dozen or fewer ducks. This pond is on the way to the kids' school, less than a half-mile from our house, and only about a block from the school. In fact, some of the ducks have wandered up toward the school to explore the little fenced-off wetland next door.

Well, for the past few weeks, we've spotted two particular ducks, a male and a female, who seemed to have taken up residence right outside the school's fence. They saunter around and don't seem overly concerned if you're walking near them. Pretty laid-back ducks.

At the end of last week, the kids were abuzz. Turns out, this duck couple has settled down and decided to nest. IN THE SCHOOL PLAYGROUND!!! They waddle around the playground while the kids are playing all around them. Totally unconcerned.

They've built their nest in the flower bed right below the window to DQ's classroom. There are at least 4 eggs in there already, and the mama duck was laying again this morning.

I think I'm more excited about this than the kids.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Little House

I've been reading DQ Little House in the Big Woods, one chapter each night before bed. This is the first in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, a book I adored as a child, and one that I got based on DQ's newfound interest in "the oldie days." She LOVES it, but I have to admit it raises a whole slew of questions that have involved very long, drawn-out discussions.

  • The gun discussion. Why does Pa have a gun and talk about it all the time, yet Mommy and Daddy don't have a gun and don't want us to play with guns? I answered this by comparing Pa's circumstances to our own. There are no bears and panthers out our door. So we don't need a gun. She bought that.

  • The spanking discussion. Why does Pa spank Laura when she does something wrong? Well, that's how some people punish kids, more commonly in the oldie days. But Mommy and Daddy don't do that.

  • The yellow curls/brown curls discussion. Why does everyone love Mary more? Oy! I had no recollection of how much the book went into this. I remember it somewhat from the TV series, but seriously, at age 5? Geez. I totally avoided this one, rather than get into beauty image (whiteness or the the like) conversation. "Some people like yellow hair and some people like brown hair. And some people like both." Whew!

  • The Sunday chapter. Why couldn't they do anything fun on Sunday? Well, that was a day to think about God (yeah, another can of worms there) and so some people in the oldie days didn't think you should do fun things on Sundays.

  • The "where does meat come from?" conversation. Luckily, we've already paved the way for this. But still, it was a bit of a startle to her to make the jump from pig running around the yard to bacon in the smokehouse. (Although, hey, cool balloon from the pig's bladder. 'Member that?) She seemed to take it well. She was most worried about whether they would eat the horses. No, I told her, they need the horses to drive the wagon.

    I went ahead and ordered a copy of the boxed set for her, since she liked the first one so much. (As for the TV show and the constant threat of typhus/anthrax/scarlet fever that it brought up, we'll wait awhile.)

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  • Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    The Wild Boy Cooks

    Scene: WB playing in the bathtub, mixing cups of water back and forth, playing "kitchen."

    WB: "Would you like some hot chocolate?"
    Q: "Yes, please."
    WB: "Ok, first I have to make it. Put in some chocolate, and some milk, and some salt, and some vinegar, and some sugar, and some sparkles. And then we put it in the oven to get all melty. It's done!"


    ETA: Neel made the comparison to Elvis. Which reminds me...

    WB's first Halloween.


    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Wildlife spotting

    The weather turned beautiful in the PNW this weekend, so we went hiking! The whole family went to a nature park and did some hiking this morning. Along the way, we saw a family of deer (mama, daddy, baby), about a dozen snakes, a woodpecker, and sundry other birds and insects.

    And back home, we spotted a pair of this rare species:

    The hunt is now on a for a pair of white mice, which Wild Boy desperately wants to track down and procure.

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    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    Back to History

    I haven't done much in the way of history blogging recently. In a lazy effort to correct that, I present the following review of Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost:

    Holy crap, what an amazing book!

    We now return you to your regularly unscheduled brief posts about crocheting, basketball, and funn things my kids say.

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    Monday, April 07, 2008

    One Shining Moment

    I won my family's bracket contest, netting me $40. Not bad. Not bad at all. Almost makes up for losing to Neel in the college bracket.

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    Saturday, April 05, 2008

    The Wild Boy Performs Stand-up

    WB: "What do penguins eat for dinner?"
    Q: "I don't know, what?"
    WB: "Iceburgers! What do seals eat for dinner?"
    Q: "I don't know, what?"
    WB: "Fish! What do sharks eat for dinner?"
    Q: "I don't know, what?"
    WB: "People!"