It's that busy time of year, filled with parties and recitals and plays and projects due. I admit that I'm having a tough time keeping track of everything that needs to be done, I'm too distracted by the trees and the flowers. The dogwoods are in bloom and glowing beautifully in today's April showers. I think I do want to plant a pink dogwood in the front yard. I really do. Sorry, I'm rambling.
My daughter and I attended the annual mother daughter tea party with all of her little classmates. They had so much fun. I love admiring all the pretty little dresses as they run wild through the gardens, leaping and jumping on the trampoline. So ladylike, these seven-year-olds.
The kids have been drawing and painting here and there. My daughter is working on her upcoming class sharing project. She has plans... big plans. But secret. Here's a photo of her last sharing project about the fantastic and inspiring Jane Goodall.
The cats have been drinking up the beautiful spring sunshine...
Last week was Earth Day which spread into Earth Week at my daughter's school. Due to a bit of confusion, her teacher informed us that Friday would be a tie dye dress down day [she usually wears a uniform] and so I rushed around most of Thursday gathering supplies [Target does not sell fabric dye] to make a tie dyed shirt. Eons and eons ago, in a previous life, I was a camp counselor and an arts and crafts teacher at an overnight camp in Pennsylvania. Luckily, I had this previous experience in the art of tie dying and so I wasn't too daunted at whipping up a shirt at the last moment. And I think it turned out pretty cute. Sadly, her teacher sent out an email Thursday night informing us that only the middle school had a dress down day, not the lower school. I was so tempted to send her in a tie dye and jeans anyway.
Everyone in the family has been soaking up this spring goodness. Yay! I'm so glad that our garden has been coming back to life. We've been spending lots of mornings, afternoons and evenings at the playground and the nearby parks and gardens. I can't get enough of being outside.
I've been spending most of my free moments filling out forms and uploading files to Getty Images. They've expessed an interest in several of my photos, and so I've decided to give stock photography a try. We'll see. I might be fun. So far, it's a lot of tedious paperwork.
The last few years we've been visiting Blue Springs State Park. It is a winter home to dozens and dozens of wild West Indian manatees. It's a gorgeous park with enormous trees draped in Spanish moss, a playgound, an historic house and lovely boardwalks winding through the forest. It's all centered around this amazing spring that flows up through a deep cave that scuba divers are allowed to explore. And for unknown reasons, the manatee love to swim down into that deep spring cave. The water is so clear and blue and always at a constant 72 degree Fahrenheit temperature.
We've visited in the summer and the winter. The manatees congregate near the spring during the winter because the water is warmer than the nearby river, but during the summer they're out and about in the rivers, etc. So during the summer, visitors can go tubing and swimming. In the winter there is limited swimming and you are not allowed to cross the ropes to swim with the manatees. But, the manatees are allowed to cross the ropes and swim with you.
I went "tubing" once with my two-year-old son. I'd bought an enormous alligator float for him to sit on while I held on swimming in the water, guiding him downstream. I had the horrible feeling that there was an alligator lurking somewhere nearby, though the guy at the camp store assured me that they always remove the alligators that wander too close to the swimmers. My friend who floated along with us high up in an enormous inner tube, told me later that she'd seen the shadow of something long, large and skinny. But I'm sure it was only a Longnose Gar. One of these days, when the kids are a bit bigger, maybe we'll brave the cold waters again.
flashback, August 2010. My daughter reminded me that the gecko hopped on her brother's face first, and he cried. He had just turned two. He didn't know any better. And then the little critter landed on her nose, giving me the chance to shoot one of my most favorite photos ever.
Please bare with me as I try to catch up with weekends and adventures past. We had a great Easter weekend filled with a visit from my dad, lots of yummy food, egg decorating, and two Easter egg hunts. Though I did not prepare a traditional Easter dinner of ham and mashed potatoes, we did celebrate with a lovely Easter meal at the local Japanese steakhouse. Flying shrimp and volcanic onions... what more can you ask for?
The Easter bunny filled the kids' baskets with legos, Calico Critters and chocolates. Klaus the cat has made it clear that he expects to receive his own special basket from now on. Everytime I turn around, that cat has somehow managed to wiggle and squeeze himself into the tiniest of fur balls to fit snuggly into the nearest Easter basket.
I'm feeling so much better now that warmer weather and longer days have arrived. It's hard to believe that just a couple weeks ago, we had our biggest snowfall of the year, which really wasn't very much snow or long-lasting, but it provided a great opportunity for sledding... and ice jewels. Yay! I'll try to put together a post about our snowy escapades soon. I feel like my blog has become such a jumbled mess. I just haven't had enough time to keep up with all the photos that I want to share with you. I think I even skipped Valentine's Day. Oh my.
We've enjoyed many boxes of instant hot cocoa mix these last few cold and wet weeks of spring. It's such an easy solution for making everyone happy.
The kids and I did dye a few eggs. We were trying for the marbleized eggs using Martha Stewart's instructions as a guide, but for whatever reasons, the eggs didn't marbleize well.
But I'm loving the beautiful robin's egg blue that we settled on. Easter eggs are so much fun.