Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 12, 2008


That's right. BLAH.

Three days of silence, and all I have is "blah"? Yes, that's right. Want to know why? Because our home was infiltrated this week by the sick. The pukey, high fever, whining, miserable sick.

Needless to say, there has been no animal-book-making happening here this week.

Today, both kids were starting to perk up a bit. No vomit, no temperatures. Just some over the top hysterics at the drop of a hat, I think because the sick has left the children a little tired. But by this afternoon, we were pretty much back to normal. With cautious optimism, I even packed up the wee ones and took Isabel to her first soccer practice this afternoon. She desperately needed to be OUT after being cooped up all week, and she did great.

This afternoon, discussion of the sick led us to look up the digestive system. As soon as I got around to mentioning that unused food is passed from our bodies as poop, Isabel was hooked. Yay, poop! We looked as illustrations of the digestive system, talked about how nutrients are converted to energy by our bodies and, of course, all about poop.

We also talked about that some creatures have more than one stomach. Apparently, this was a fascinating revelation and we discussed cows and bees, which then further continued into a discussion about how honey is made. Did you know that bees chew nectar in order to make it into thick, sticky honey? I didn't. Bees tongues are also hollow, like straws, and that's how they suck up nectar from flowers.

Isabel's most urgent inquiry was whether bees collect nectar from dandelions. I would have thought no, but it turns out that they do.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Back from vacation

It was a long week, but FUN. We spent all day Monday at the Toronto Zoo, which was fabulous. I can't say enough about that zoo. It's amazing.

Tuesday and Wednesday, we spent at the Americana waterpark resort in Niagara Falls, Canada. It was fun, but mostly just because Nick and I had a quiet moment not long after we arrived in which we murmured to one another that we were going to make the best of it and enjoy ourselves, period. It was an okay place, but not impressive. Our biggest complaint was that the cleaning service was poor. At best. In the end, I hunkered down with baby wipes and soap on a washcloth, and washed down the bathroom as best I could, myself. Now, I have a lot of sympathy for housekeeping staff at hotels - I think human beings, in general, can be fairly disgusting animals and people who are in the professions that clean up after people are like really badly paid zookeepers. But even my sympathy has limits, and clumps of hair on the floor in the bathroom are way, way, waaaaaaay beyond those limits.

The waterpark itself was also a lot smaller than we'd thought it would be, and the majority of the features were closed at any given time. I was actually fine with that, thinking that if the options were to have everything open but overextended lifeguarding staff, or adequate lifeguards covering fewer features, I'd opt to have things closed. BUT the lifeguard staff was pretty lazy. Or so I learned when the one at the top of the waterslide waved people through even while saying he was supposed to have them wait eight seconds but "who cares," and then allowed me to go down the slide situated backwards on the tube (something I figured out a quarter of the way down, when I almost toppled back on my head and spent the rest of the slide in a state of pacnicked struggle, trying not to knock myself out).

Don't get me wrong - we still had fun. A LOT of fun. The kids had a blast and we laughed and smiled all day long, both days. But we will not go back again.

We got a ton of pictures at the zoo, and next week, in addition to starting up our consonant review, we are going to get prints made of the various animals and use the Toronto Zoo map as a guide to look up each animal, write down facts about that and glue in the pictures to make an animal book. Isabel's favorite thing by far (mine, too!) was the stingrays. We'll spend a lot of time on them, I expect.

For now, a few pictures from our trip (animal pictures to follow next week, as we look things up):