Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nature and Nurture

Apparently there's a nature center about an hour away from us that highlights, among other things, the spawning of the largest horseshoe crab population in the world, which is usually at the full moon in May (or something like that). This was the first year we were aware of it, so we didn't manage to see the live masses of horseshoe crabs that we were secretly hoping for, but there was plenty of evidence that they had been there.

Another piece of that ecosystem is migratory shorebirds that eat the crab eggs, and though we didn't see the little Red Knot bird that the video was all about at the nature center, we did have a lot of fun looking for them among the egrets, blackbirds, terns, gulls, vultures, and cormorants at a nature preserve -- though the pictures don't show much of the action, because our little point and shoot is sadly inadequate for nature photography.

And, being so close to the Atlantic and it being a decently seasonable May day, we went ahead and drove a little further, got the kids into their suits, and let them play in the sand and waves. Every time we visit the Atlantic I see dolphin pods swimming out there, and though I know they're farther than they look, they always look as if some brave swimmer could go touch one. It's amazing.

We actually ended up driving around a lot, to five different spots on the coast, trying to see a live horseshoe crab. (We ended up seeing ONE at the end of the day, which was vindicating.) Being in the car was a little boring for the kids, but it was nice to see them get excited about the creatures that live by the sea. Plus, I was able to talk to them about how all the water from the creeks and rivers near our house end up here, at this particular estuary, and see it click as their eyes got wide. ("The stream RIGHT by our house mommy?") I reminded them about how we try to compost, and use less water and soap, and recycle, and that THIS (all the marshes and beaches and birds and crabs) was one big reason why we did all that, to take care of it, even though at our house we usually can't see where it all will end up. I think they'll remember that.

S. and I always hope that our kids will be glad for our bent towards nature rather than video games, but often it seems like just video games would really be fine with them. So, this trip was a good idea. (Thanks, S., who was the one to push for it!) It was wonderful to nurture the kids with good experiences, and at the same time to feel that bond with the natural world.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Lucy got scared on an escalator recently, and tried to get off again right as she was getting on, resulting in a bit of a tangle and some tears as one leg kept going and another didn't. I was already halfway up, unfortunately, and couldn't comfort her -- I had to go all the way up and then back down to help her finally make the trip. She was very sad, but the rest of us found it mostly funny.

You forget until you have little kids how much practice escalators take -- but once they figure them out, they're a source of endless delight. Who hasn't had a kid beg to go up and down, up and down? (In fact, don't I recall a much younger Ian doing just that with Aunt Mish in the airport?) So, here's to the ups and downs of life -- and to playing catch-up after not posting on the blog in quite a while. Birthdays, holidays, cranky toddler days, they're all part of this amazing ride we're on. We're still alive, and (mostly) loving it.

A few favorite kid phrases we've heard lately:
"Come back here, you little peepsquirt!" (Lucy)
In response to Ian jokingly threatening to punch her lights out, "No! I don't have lights!" (Nora)

And some pictures, in roughly reverse chronological order:
Family Home Evening -- typical expressions, right?
Ian's party, which included the coolest obstacle course ever, but I have only videos of that part, no pictures
Mother's Day (sorry, Lucy took all the pictures that day, mostly self-portraits)
Boomer's (a Chuckie Cheese-like place), which the kids earned with piano practice and various other chores they've been working on since January
Ian in Cub Scout uniform, having earned his Bear badge
Ian's (actual) birthday
S. rock climbing
S.'s birthday

There! All caught up. Have fun on the escalators.