Sunday, April 29, 2012


In school, the girls just completed a learning block on dinosaurs.  As part of the block, they had a student project to build a "scrapasaurus", a.k.a. a model of a dinosaur out of things laying around the house and in the recycle bin.  The primary goal of this project was to have a fun interaction between parent and child.  Secondary was the goal of using "scraps" to create the project, and maybe of third-rate importance was the need to model the likeness of the creation to anything close to "real life".  Having said that, I would note that the projects were ultimately grouped into "flyers", "long necks", "meat eaters", and "plant eaters".  See if you can guess where our projects fell!

Here is Mae, fawning over her beloved creation, "Rex".

Can you guess his category?

I have only Mae here, because Abigail brought her project in the week prior, and I just wasn't processing that THIS WAS IT--BETTER TAKE PICTURES at that time.  So here's Mae.  And Rex.

The children were enthralled with each other's projects (and so was I!).

Here is Cody--Abigail's project.  He was suspended above the class, smiling graciously, for a whole week.

The entire second grade participated in the Scrapasaurus project, and at the culmination, they hosted their own "Jurassic Park" for the entire school.  Here are Abigail and Cody, with their fellow flyers.

Mae and Rex, menacing the onlookers with hungry, snapping jaws.

This event was so fun on so many levels:  seeing the second graders proudly talk about their projects, seeing them interact with the younger children, and seeing the older children reminisce about THEIR projects and ask questions. 

Just one more reason I'm happy with what I see in our little schools!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Catching up on Easter

So...I guess I need to pick up the thread back at Easter.  Because we had some wonderful times, and they MUST be documented and shared!  OK, so Easter weekend started with attendance at the Qualls Annual Easter Egg Hunt & Picnic.  The excitement began with a scavenger hunt.  My mom is helping the girls interpret some items on the list.

The girls also consulted with Mr. Qualls

OK, I LOVE this picture.  The girls are running down the drive to check out the address at the end.  See how their feet are in sync?  Once in a while, my little point and shoot gets it right.

The search is on!  The Egg Hunt covers a huge area--so many places to hide treasures!

The girls visit Mrs. Qualls to "cash in" some notes they found for some non-candy prizes

What a fun event! 

It inspires me to think about our own family traditions. I think to some extent, we have not established many rituals of our own because we enjoy seeing and participating in what other people do. But I think we should be a little more creative, and maybe a little more grounded ourselves.

That sounds like work to me.  Maybe I'll go back to Plan A!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

China Peak

This year, we finally made it up to China Peak with the girls. Ironically, we are closer to skiing here in California than we were in Colorado! Here are our little ski bunnies Mae (purple) & Abigail (pink):

Our first venture was in February, and we had the girls in "Kids Klass", while Mark and I went skiing ;-) . Check this out--this deal was all-day skiing for the girls, with lessons, equipment rental, lunch AND an adult lift ticket for $89. It was a slow week, and the girls had their own private Brazilian ski instructor, Enrique. Apparently Enrique did a pretty good job, because our second venture was a LOT of fun! Mark and I took the girls up and skied "Academy", the long, classic green run, over and over again. We ALL had a blast!

We hope to make China Peak part of our family lifestyle. Skiing is expensive, but if you look for them, there are great deals to be had, and it fits in my worldview of supporting local businesses up here in the mountains. How's THAT for rationalization???

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ode to Cattle

In the past, I've tried to make the point that although cattle SEEM to be kind of...well...dumb, sitting out there eating grass all day, oblivious to things around them, they are not. Don't be fooled. They are ALWAYS WATCHING. And they are very curious.

On this particular day, Abigail took her life-sized "Flat Abigail" (made as a gift by Mae) out on a visit to the cattle. Really, just to visit Flash, our favorite. She's our favorite because she seems to enjoy our petting and scratching. It's a symbiotic relationship.

Flash showed polite interest, and briefly tasted the work.

The visit drew a crowd of observers.

These young ones are much more wary, but are overcome by curiosity. Abigail patiently waits them out, and they all come in for a sniff.

So remember...never underestimate cattle. They are watching!

On a sad note, this week we will say goodbye to the cattle. Yes, even Flash! My dad sold the herd, and will be taking a break from the "gentleman rancher" gig. First time there will not be cattle on Rolling Oaks Ranch in 31 years, although I think he leased out the land for grazing, so cattle may still roam occasionally.

I makes me sad too. Another "circle of life" thing, I suppose.