Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh Wait, I Said I Would Come Back, Didn't I?

Busy busy busy. Well, I wasn't busy at the beginning of my blog break, I was at the beach. Every fall we head to the coast for a week to reconnect with nature. I'd like to think that we are always connected, and we are, but this is different: with a focus on relaxation as well as being away from our normal responsibilities we feel the connection more deeply. Plus there is just something about the ocean, a primal connection that grounds us

For us this is also our annual class trip, a time to have a week of science and nature learning that a week in the homeschool classroom simply can't give.
We went to Legoland; they have great prices for homeschoolers on Mondays during the school year. They've opened the new Star Wars area of Miniland which was a hit with this family.
This year there is a brand new Mindstorms class called Dr. Heartbeat which the boys really enjoyed.We decided to check out the SeaLife Aquarium for the first time. It was well worth the extra $1 per person we paid. J-Baby thought the jelly fish were exceedingly cool.

Tuesday the weather was mostly cloudy so we went to the Bolsa Chica Reserve. We hadn't been since the boys were much younger. To say that it was a wow experience would be understating it. This is a Great Egret (yellow bill, black feet) in flight.
We also got up close and personal with a California Brown Pelican. T-Guy has loved pelicans from his very first beach visit.
Bordering the Reserve is a fence and just on the other side were coyotes. They aren't fenced in and on display, but they are frequent visitors. Here you can see how close they get to civilization. We truly live with coyotes and other wildlife around us everyday.
Here is a close up of one coyote. We were literally 25 feet from her, shooting through the fence.
Wednesday we had sun! We spent an hour or so at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach. We mostly enjoyed walking the trails, but J-Baby did ask to have his photo taken grinding acorns.
This being our beach vacation we spent a lot of time at the beach. With the new moon came several nice minus tides that occurred in the late afternoon which meant that tide-pooling was on our agenda.
 Hermit Crabs
 A Big Crab
 The first sea star we have seen in the wild in Southern California. We've seen them on exhibit many times and also in Northern California and Oregon, but never here before. Unfortunately it was impossible to get a full photo as the sea star was vertical on the tide pool rocks.

We came home and that is when the busy began. Every year we host a Halloween party for our homeschool group; it is one of the highlights of the year for us. Of course, between vacationing and home remodeling we were woefully unprepared to host a gathering and so we busted our tails off getting the house ready. Something about a freshly painted exterior made us decide to clean the windows inside and out. The loss of the family room (in the reshuffling) meant we needed a clean outdoor space so the boys and I cleaned the patio/carport and all the furniture (which is good as we are once again in the kind of weather that we enjoy eating outdoors in). For reasons completely unknown I decided that we should wash the walls in our hall (they were grungy both because of child fingerprints and dogs rubbing along them). We cleaned the house from top to bottom as we haven't had a good go at it for a couple of months. We shopped, we cooked, and in the end, we partied! Only this morning did I realize that we didn't take a single picture, which makes me kind of sad. I'll have to see if anyone else got a photo of my boys in costume.

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