Thursday, December 29, 2011

What to do during winter break:

 The first thing you can do during a long winter break is to check out an old building with a pool of slimy green goop that used to be the sole water source around here. Just don't drink it, or your entire winter break will be totally un-fun.

You can sit on a fence and enjoy the view of nothing, going on for miles and miles.

Take a walk through the woods and try to not get creeped out when squirrels and other small critters (such as armadillos) make noise in the brush, and you think something is following you...

like maybe this guy. When you get bored with the walk in the woods, keep an eye out for Skunk Apes (the swamp version of Big Foot). When you hear a loud knock, like something hitting a tree, that means the skunk apes are talking to each other.
We didn't see any skunk apes. Maybe next time.

You can also have Christmas! That's a good thing to do during winter break. Our tradition is to open up a present on Christmas Eve, and that present is always new pajamas.
 In the morning, you can open presents,
 show off the gifts you received,
and then feel loved because people were nice enough to give you cool things that you'd never buy for yourself!
 Play a few games on your new Wii. And dance for joy (or for points, either way works).
 Another great thing to do during winter break is to go to the beach with cousins!

 It's fun to jump over the man-o-war spread out all over the sand, or just play in the waves (while dodging man-o-war).


As you can see, there is plenty to do over winter break to keep you busy, if you live in a swamp!
The end.

Monday, December 19, 2011

peace on rth!

Tonight for family home evening, we went to check out the lights around the pond by the hospital again. It's so pretty, we wanted to see it one more time before Christmas.

 These ducks were going crazy, pinning one unlucky duck down, biting its eyes and pulling its feathers out (you can see a few of the mob behind the speaker there). Then they all ran straight at us. I think Ashley might be emotionally scarred for life. Every time she saw a duck, she hurried away from it, or hid behind me.


It still doesn't feel like Christmas, since it's warm outside. My kids like to sing, "it's beginning to look a lot like summer," or, "baby, it's warm outside." But we're not complaining, and are enjoying our first Christmas in the swamp!

Friday, December 16, 2011

a day in the life of Eternal Alligator

Today I got to go on the 4th grade field trip with Ethan (indian name: Nanemi Itori, or Eternal Alligator) to the Morningside Nature Center, where we learned about the Timucua indians, who are now extinct.
Most of the information about them came from French and Spanish explorer's journals. The Indians used this large hut to hold counsels and other important meetings. But their building was much, much bigger than this one (I thought the lady said 4 times bigger, Eternal Alligator thought it was 10 times bigger).

We learned the Indian's history up to 12,000 years ago. By 1831 there were only a few left. Sad history of a strong, successful society.

 We went to the kitchen hut, and learned which plants were edible, and how to prepare them. Ethan got to smash acorns with a stick and bone, and grind up root with a rock.

 He tilled a garden with a bone, then planted a few corn kernels. Then he ate something like grits and dried berries off a seashell. He said "no thank you" to the tea they passed around.

 Yes, we raise paper mache deer in the swamp. They are much easier to shoot with imaginary bows and arrows than real deer are. But they probably don't taste as good. Luckily our imaginary arrows missed this deer and we didn't have to eat it.

 Here is the living quarters, where we learned how to cut down a tree without axes (burn the lower portion, then push it over), how to hollow out a log for a canoe (burn the top and scrape the insides out) and how to make soft leather (don't just wash it and let it dry, rub the animals brains all over it!). All useful stuff :)

It was so much fun to hang out with Eternal Alligator all day, and fascinating to learn about some successful people who are now extinct. I'm glad the Alligator still wants his old mom around even though he won't hold my hand anymore!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

a few fun pictures

Chris's sister and her family came to visit over Thanksgiving break, she sent these pictures because I forgot my camera.

We went to the lake, and there were at least a dozen little alligators laying around in the sun, making her kids nervous. But we had fun digging in the sand despite the gators.

 I can't believe we actually have a picture of our entire family! It's rare, so I love when when it happens. Too bad we weren't dressed for a family picture -- imagine us wearing fancy clothes and consider this our Christmas card to you :)

Ashley's laying next to a sand man I made. He's a little creepy, and the kids couldn't wait to step on him.

This is Ashley's sandman. He started out as a woman, then became more like Hagrid.

 It was fun to hang out with family for a few days. Thanks for visiting us!

nutcracker field trip

I got to go to the ballet with Ashley's school today. This is the little group of girls I was in charge of.

It was a condensed version,
which is the best way to watch the Nutcracker...
You pay half the price, and get half the ballet!