Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sunny Sunday

It's another beautiful spring day here in Minneapolis... 40 degrees and rainy! What the heck. When summer finally comes, it's going to be such a shock to everyone!

Fortunately, we've had a few beautifully springy days here and there. This past Sunday was absolutely gorgeous - 75 and sunny! It was the perfect day to be outside. The girls played outside almost all day, while I relaxed in the hammock.

At one point, Aaron and Maisie went to run an errand. Ella wanted to stay home and play, so she and I stayed outside, me still in the hammock. It wasn't too long before I had some company, though!

She climbed in there with me, laid back, and enjoyed swinging gently in the sun.

Well, for about a minute. Then it was time to start making silly faces for the camera!

Silly pictures were followed by her jumping off and digging in a little dirt pile. She poured water into the dirt to make mud, then made up a game that involved throwing it at me! I was still in the hammock so I tried to wrap it around myself, but she managed to get the mud in anyway. I climbed out to brush the mud off while she laughed hysterically. "I got the mud on you! It looks like poop! I get two points!!"

Then, to add insult to injury, she got in the hammock and told me I couldn't swing anymore because I had to push her.

So I pushed her for a while, until she was ready to go in for a much-needed bath.

It was a beautiful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Willie the Millipede

This winter is really really reluctant to give up its hold on us. Every time I think it's finally over... we get another round.

Thursday April 3.

Today we're looking at a high of 38, but it was only 28 this morning at the bus stop... with a wind chill of 10. Tomorrow's forecast says "chilly with snow and rain." SNOW!

One side effect of the never-ending winter is that when it does warm up outside, however briefly, everyone immediately runs out to take advantage of the sun and warmth... and we're no exception! As you may remember, Maisie loved biking last year, but never really got the hang of it on her own - she either rode on the trailbike behind me, or used training wheels. This year it's a different story!

She worked and worked and worked at it until she mastered the art of the two-wheel bike! She was bound and determined to figure it out, and didn't stop until she got there. Now it's all she wants to do.

Saturday wasn't the nicest day ever - overcast and maybe in the 50s or low 60s - but it definitely felt nice compared to where our weather's been. So when we got home from Girl Scouts and Suomi-koulu, the girls headed outside to play almost immediately. They rode their bikes around the block (Ella's doing great on her two-wheeler with training wheels) and played volleyball and soccer with the neighbor kids. After a couple hours of that (seriously, HOURS), they ended up in the backyard where they climbed trees, dug holes, made mud, and found some little bug friends!

First the girls found a roly-poly, which they attempted to sneak into the house so they could keep it as a pet. I explained that it wouldn't be happy in the house - we didn't know what it eats, and the cats might get it, so we needed to put it back outside. They reluctantly complied... but we had to have the conversation again when they found a little millipede.

They really, really, really wanted to bring the millipede inside to keep as a pet of their own. They even named it Willie! Ella especially was unhappy when I said no way, absolutely not, Willie needs to stay outside. So I suggested we write reports about millipedes that they could take to the Science Museum to get points at the Collectors Corner, and that seemed to make everything better.

You may remember that Maisie did this once before, with her pine cones poster. She's also brought in small fossils that she found on the Mississippi River banks. Ella hadn't traded before at the Collectors Corner, so she was excited to get started!

The next morning the girls worked on their reports, using their observations and information we learned from a U of MN Extension website.

Maisie's had more text...

Millipedes have 400 legs. They curl up when they are scared. They are small. They eat leafs that are falling apart. You find them in damp places. They are dark brawn. from Maisie

while Ella mostly drew pictures, and then told me what to write for the captions.

They are long and skinny. They eat crumbly leaves and grass. They curl up and they go straight. This millepede is on my hand.

bonus pic, with Ella's new short haircut

At the Collectors Corner, the Science Museum staff asked the girls a bunch of questions about millipedes and their presentations... What kind of animal is it? How do you know it's not a bird or a mammal? Does it have a skeleton? How did you learn about it? Where do they live? Why does it curl up when it gets scared? The girls did great, and were each awarded 2,500 points. They now busy planning their next reports, so they can get more points!

We had plans to go to Gramma Liisa's house for lunch, but we had a little time to stay and play at the museum. I think the highlight for Maisie was getting to be the helper at the Science Live! show about cryogenics.

She's holding a ball and describing its properties (soft, squishy, bouncy) before it takes a trip to "Liquid Nitrogenland."

It was a great weekend of outdoor learning. I was (am!) so proud of how hard they worked on their reports. The Collectors Corner is such a cool resource, and a great way to get kids interested and motivated in learning about nature and science!