Saturday, July 31, 2010

In Our Element

Gram and Pap have a cottage near Reed City, MI. They graciously let us use it for a week. We were ecstatic! It was perfect for us. It sits on a lake and is surrounded by wildlife. The lake is busy on the weekend, but is very quiet during the week.

The kiddos spent the week catching many frogs and toads. Eamon named many of them along the way. There was Willa, Spika, Croaker to name a few. He was the master frog catcher of the county. Each amphibian had to be released after a short time. They learned the hard way that frogs don’t particularly like captivity. They surmised it was the use of the snail habitat instead of the frog habitat that lead to the death of two frogs.

Eamon and Aine also fished off of the dock. Each of them caught a fish having oddles of fun just casting and baiting the hooks. They used snail innards, found along the shore, for bait. They both became quite good at setting up the line and attaching bait. Their only disappointment was Heather’s reluctance to agree to a fish dinner.

Benton spent much of his time throwing things into the water from the dock and playing in the mud. He also relished setting the captive frogs and toads free. He reminded Heather of Eliot from E.T. He loved holding the frogs in his hands and helping catch the animals. He loved spotting the frogs and toads and carefully walking behind them down to the water.

We did take a daytrip to Ludington, MI while up north as well as a visit to nearby Reed City for some ice cream and the laundry mat. Most of the time was spent reading, exploring and relaxing at the cottage. It was a lot of fun.

No technology was an interesting phenomenon. The absence of TV was not a factor for our family, but the kids were surprised not to have the internet. The kept asking to look up things on the internet. They wanted to send Daddy a picture of their frogs, investigate what species they had found and sent emails to people about their exploits. Aine kept asking me to just turn on my laptop, so she could talk to Daddy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Along the way to blueberry picking, we stopped in Bellevue.  The kiddos were able to see where Granddad spent his childhood.  We visited his childhood home, and Heather shared stories about her grandmother and spending time with her.  She told them that she remembered the house painted white with green trim, bushes by the front porch that would scratch your arms and legs when you climbed over the railing, the gravel driveway, and the sliding garage door.

We also took a trip to the cemetary where Great Grandma and Grandpa are buried.  Aine and Benton collected flowers to put by the gravesite.  They found many dandelions and were pleased with the result.

Kerplink, Kerplank, Kerplunk

In the tradition of Blueberries for Sal, Heather and the kiddos went blueberry picking.  We headed out for Mansfield, OH and The Blueberry Patch.  We grabbed three small buckets and headed out to pick.  Eamon and Aine quickly set to work filling the buckets.

Soon they decided that the small buckets were actually quite large and decided to combine efforts.

Benton started to snack on a few blueberries and proceeded to fill his bucket with grass, berries and sticks.
Everyone loved running up and down the rows of blueberry bushes.  We ended up filling two buckets full and a couple bellies.  We had an ice cream treat inside the store and headed back to Gram and Pap's house to eat more berries.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Amazing Library

With our love of books, we decided we needed to visit a local library.  Rumor on the street was that the Southfield Public Library was new and fantastic.  The rumors were true.  We each grabbed a stack of books and headed into a reading nook.  The nook was a hollowed out tree complete with pillows.  The children's area is truly a wonder for young readers.   Besides the tree, there is a large throne upon which to read, a dragon's lair complete with snoring dragon, a puppet theater, puzzles, and a gazillion children's books easily displayed.   I actually took pictures; I was so impressed.  If you are interested, you can view a tour here.  I hope one of our local libraries adopts some of the cool reading areas this library sports.

Detroit Institute of Science

Our membership to the Arizona Science Center allows us to visit many museums throughout the U.S. for free.  We took a few hours to explore the Detroit Science Center.  It was a lot of fun.  We even viewed the Planetarium show featuring the Michigan Night Sky.  Everyone really enjoyed it, since the museum has many exhibits which are different than home.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Batty for Bats

Cranbrook Institute of Science is home to Bat Zone.  We visited the museum and toured Bat Zone.  It was very interesting.  We learned a lot about bats and the guide dispelled quite a few myths (e.g. young feral cats/kittens are a bigger rabies threat, bats die from rabies whereas some animals are carriers of the disease, human blood makes vampire bats sick, microbats use echolocation and megabats do not).  We also saw some interesting exhibits in the museum including dinosaur skeletons, gemstones, and information of evolution.
In front of a fruit bat enclosure

Friday, July 23, 2010

Discovering a Second Generation

While in Michigan, we have visited Dave's family and a few of his friends.  One advantage of visiting with friends is that they have children around the ages of ours.  We spent the day with one such family.  Dave has known his friend since he was very young, and he now has three boys.  The kiddos loved spending the day with them at the park and dancing around in the subsequent rain.  We continued the day well into the evening and everyone wanted to meet again.