We had a BUSY week! On Monday Mama and Papa came up so Papa could help us get the sump pump ready for winter (it doesn't dump, underground, far enough from the house. Long-term we plan to tunnel a new pipe under the drive, but for this winter we now have a "speed bump" across the drive where the pipe lays across), and they could take their motorhome home (it was our "guest house" any time they were at our house all summer, but now it needs to be winterized). Little Bit was thrilled to have a couple days of lots of "play with Mama time". When Mama wanted to accomplish a few other things, I pulled out the arctic animals and some "icebergs" (various containers of water) I'd frozen when we read In Arctic Waters for circle time the week before. Little Bit played with it off and on the rest of the week (I just threw the ever-shrinking icebergs in the freezer between uses. She also figured out, after I took the picture, that she liked to have the icebergs sitting on a towel NEXT to the bowl of water instead of in the water, so that's what she usually did.
Last year for Christmas Lexie and Ashlyn received a slackline, but we had never figured out where, at this house, it would work. Finally this fall, I noticed 2 trees, in the weedy part on the back of our land that looked like they might be the right distance. They weren't, but in checking them, we figured out 2 that WOULD work, so the girls cleared the weeds and Papa helped them get the slackline set up. They discovered it was MUCH more challenging than they'd expected. I told them it's a win-win, not only is it teaching them balance, it's also teaching them cooperation LOL. Even Little Bit tried it out, and as long as someone held her under the arms, she didn't do too bad. After watching videos on the Gibbon site, they stopped trying to walk on it right away and just practiced STANDING (we have rather oddly trimmed tree now, as we trimmed the branches that were in the way, but left ones that made good "handles" for the first part of the slackline LOL). It's going to take them awhile, but that's a good thing! And it's great exercise. They both commented on how shaky their legs felt after standing on it for awhile :)
On Thursday, Mama and Papa took the motorhome home, and we tagged along to spend the weekend at their house. The big girls had ridden in the motorhome on the way up to campmeeting last summer (and probably home from campmeeting too), but Little Bit hadn't ridden in the motorhome since we took a trip to Tennessee in it a year ago in August. All three girls commented on how high up it feels to ride in the motorhome :)
When we got to Mama and Papa's, they all headed for their playhouse and the "craft room" that is the upper floor of the playhouse. That is definitely a hit, though I fear that means my grand scheme of getting all the random "craft supplies" out of my house by sending them to the playhouse craft room, may backfire if they insist on bringing all their creations home LOL.
Friday, we headed down to Washington DC and the National Museum of American History. It was closed for renovations for quite awhile, so if the girls were ever at that one, it was when they were younger than Little Bit is now, and they didn't remember it. We spent the whole morning looking at the First Wives dresses (they declared emphatically that the older ones were much prettier, and were disappointed to discover there wasn't one for the first couple of presidents' wives), and the rest of the President exhibit.
Little Bit wasn't too thrilled with that museum, most of it was over her head (making me think we probably didn't ever take Lexie and Ashlyn to that one pre-renovations), but the big girls didn't have long enough. We never made it to the Transportation exhibit and I think one, maybe two, others. One exhibit that all three girls loved was the Little Golden Books exhibit. There were pictures of the artwork and such, and then, at the end, there were some of the actual books that could be looked at and read. The three of them settled down on a bench to read together :)
Sabbath we headed back down to DC and spent the day at the National Museum of Natural History. That one was more Little Bit's speed. We all spent the whole morning in the "ocean" exhibit, since that's where we happened to go first. The big girls commented that they could spend all day in just that exhibit, but of course, there was lots more to see. So after lunch we looked at the map and they chose their "must sees". They remembered (or at least had heard me talk about it), getting to hold bugs at the Insect Zoo (it was memorable for me, they were 3 or 4, and one of them, after holding the huge hissing cockroach for a few seconds, decided she was done, and pretty much dropped it in my hand, SHUDDER!!!!!!). The path into the Insect Zoo took us through all different animal skeletons, so that was interesting too. Little Bit got to see for herself that her favorite animal, giraffes, have the same number of "neck bones" as humans.
At the Insect zoo, I wish I could have gotten to an angle to take a picture (but it would have been disruptive to those listening to the demonstration and I didn't want to do that), Little Bit and Ashlyn had wiggled their way to the front of the group listening to the woman talk about, and show them, tarantulas, and then, to make sure THEY weren't blocking anyone (I assume), they laid down and the 2 of them were laying there side-by-side, chins in hands, listening with rapt attention :) After the crowd dispersed, they went up and Little Bit joined in with her sisters, asking all kinds of questions. It's fun to see her starting to follow in their inquisitive footsteps :)
Abit later they DID get to hold creepy crawlies. Since the big girls were there to help Little Bit, I stayed way back where I'd have no chance of having to hold anything. Little Bit opted to just hold the caterpillar, but Lexie said she held the hissing cockroach.
After the Insect Zoo, we spent some time learning about mummies, and other skeletons they've dug up. I wish the language used on the exhibits was abit simpler, because Lexie and Ashlyn were interested, but the vocabulary was challenging to me, which made it hard to explain it down to their level. I don't expect it to be at a typical 5th grade level, but if it were at least at a high school level, I think they'd have understood most of it, and i could have better defined the few words they didn't understand. We still spent quite awhile there though. Then headed to the Gems and Minerals. That was more interesting to the girls since we've been learning about elements and such in Chemistry.
We spent our last while at another exhibit that Little Bit would enjoy (she wasn't much into bones or rocks), the Mammals exhibit.
And finished our evening by heading to our favorite Chinese restaurant. YUM!!!
So that was our super busy week!