Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Moody Gardens or 5 museums in one place

So, after much debate we got a 1 day pass to Moody Gardens. We thought about getting a 2 day pass, but finally decided that if we thought there was enough to do for a second day we'd convert it. I'm glad we stuck with the 1 day pass. There might be enough to do for a 2 day pass if the kids were a little older, or if it was tourist season and thye weren't on shortened hours and some of the other exhibits weren't closed.

Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a child who is excitedly jumping up and down?

Superman mugging for the camera.

We started off the morning watching a 3D IMAX movie about whales and dolphins. I learned from this that the kids are not quite old enough to really enjoy it. For one, their heads are too small for the glasses to stay on.


For another, they were really freaking out about the big whales. This was the tamest of the movies to choose from (though the Wild Ocean one, might have been about the same level). Halfway through Batman was desperate to go to the bathroom, but decided he could wait when he was sitting on Daddy's lap. Superman spent much of it hiding behind the chairs in front of him.


However they did enjoy the 3D effects and would occasionally try to reach out and touch the whales. They did like the dolphin parts. And they did have fun playing with the glasses........ As you can tell from the pictures Superman was having lots of fun with that.

And just to throw it in, because I think Superman actually took a pretty good picture. So, I have ridiculously huge numbers of pictures for 1 hour of stuff, most spent staring at a screen, but still.


We went to the Rain Forest Pyramid first. I thought it was pretty cool, and if we weren't trying to see it all in 1 day I would have meandered a little more. Well, that and it's a little hard to meander too much with 3 kids going, "Hey Mom, come here, I want to show you this!" I hear that a lot from Superman. That, and "I have a plan."


So, the cool part about this area was the lily pond in the middle. In the middle of it was a tree with Macaws on top of it. In the pond were all sorts of different fish. It was a rather interesting story posted with it. Apparently they were all in different ponds, and then Hurricane Ike hit. The rainforest pyramid got flooded and they slowly caught the different fish that had survived. Eventually they decided not to have many separate ponds, but have all of these different fish together. It was really fun to look in the water and see all of these different fish.


This is an excellent example of why my boys have so many different bruises. If they're left to themselves for longer than 30 seconds, they start wrestling. Oh, and I learned something very important on Monday. Much like you don't make jokes about bombs in airports, you also don't make jokes about beating your child at a hospital. I really need to work on thinking before I insert my foot into my mouth. But come on, the question she asked: "Was it an accident?" So I answered, "Yes, of course it was, it's not like I beat my child." In my defense, I did realize a second later they were referring to CAR accidents...... Sigh.


We ended the rain forest area with crayon rubbings. I tried this once a few months ago, and they definitely were not ready for it. They're almost there, but not quite. I think maybe as Christmas presents. There's some really cool stuff you can find as kits.

So final verdict on Rain Forest Pyramid: pretty cool. I think they'd enjoy it even more in a few years when they can read the cool stuff about the different trees and plants.


Colonel Moody Paddleboat

Not super impressive. It was a fun time to sit for 45 minutes, but I wish they'd narrated something or given some history or something. They were playing a cool jazz soundtrack in the background and had this random stint of information about Colonel Moody, but you didn't know to listen for it because the rest of the time was taken up with music. By the time we realized what they were doing it was almost over.

Oh, and they took a picture of us getting on the ship, and then went around trying to sell them, $20 for a 5x7 and 4 wallets, seriously? It was a good photo and I would have bought it if the price had been at all reasonable.

Discovery Pyramid

I thought this was cool but it wouldn't have been worth the price paid to just get in there. You go up to the top floor and there's a big room full of all sorts of skeletons. The kids had lots of fun examining them.


There was a potentially super cool human skeleton puzzle. I say potentially because there were pieces missing and we had duplicates of some of the pieces. So, they kept trying to figure out how to put the hip bones in when we'd already done that. Oh, and they had made the hip bones into 2 pieces. Now, I admit, I don't have a doctor's degree or nursing license or anything, I just have an Elementary Education degree, but I'm fairly sure that the hip bones are 1 piece. Right? So, how does this help the kids learn if you have the hip bones as 2 pieces? Grrrr, I hate when things are wrong and I can easily figure out how it's wrong. Oh, and feel free to point out if I"m wrong on this.


I thought it was hilarous as we were over at the "How We Protect Our Bones" exhibit the kids were happily and noisily trying on the different helmets and padding. There was an older couple that was tsking them as they were so noisy. All I was thinking is this is the CHILDREN's EXHIBIT! If they were screaming or being inappropriate I would shush them, but come on!


Hee hee hee hee...... So the boys shirts say, "I'm the good one, my brother is the brat." Hee hee hee...... They ran around all day saying, "My shirt says, 'I'm the good one, and Superman (or Batman) is the brat.'" They have no clue what a brat is, but it's still cracked me up. Princess' says "Don't let the cute thing fool you."

Story about getting those shirts. So, as we were picking out these shirts Batman was happily running around in the store, despite being told not to... Well, he fell and split his head open. So Jeff is trying to find paper towels or anything to stop the head wound. Well, I finally look at Superman and ask him to give my his shirt. He did, and I used that to slow the bleeding. We buy the new shirts and Jeff heads off to get the car, so we can go to the ER, and I'm trying to get Superman to put on the new shirt and he doesn't want to wear it, and I'm trying to get it on, and he tries really hard to fall down the concrete stairs. I give up and let him wear his sister's new shirt....... I REALLY didn't want to be taking 3 kids to the ER.

So, while the bone part was pretty interesting and the kids had a blast wandering through it, I probably wouldn't get this ticket as an individual ticket, doesn't seem worth the $10 ticket to me.

This has turned into a ridiculously long post, so I'm going to show the best part of Moody Gardens tomorrow. That, and it's getting kind of late, and I want to get to bed. Or maybe a nice hot bath......

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mini Golf with preschoolers

So, we went to the Bishop's Palace in the morning. The kids did great trailing through the 100 plus year old mansion they're not allowed to touch anything in. REALLY great job. What a better way to reward a great job than to take them mini-golfing!

Okay, I really want to tell the Bishop Palace bits I can.

Batman and Princess looking off the balcony.

We waited outside for 20 minutes or so, and the kids had lots of fun checking out the stairs and how much they can go up and down.


So Superman, pictured above, has started sharing his wisdom with us, we've started calling it "The Tao of Superman." As he was carefully walking up and down the stairs he told us "You go down stairs slowly, so you don't fall down and get an owie." We also got, "You got to be little careful, so you don't fall down and get an owie like Batman." He also has now started telling us, "Hey guys! I got a plan!" Then he'll tell me his plan, and it usually is a pretty good plan and well thought out.

So, the tour was interesting, especially because we'd gone on it 2 years ago while Jeff's parents were watching the much younger kiddos. So, the thing I struggle with is why they don't let us take any photos. This seems to be the new trend nowadays, and it's a really annoying trend. I like to take pictures, come on people let me take pictures. And like I said the kids were amazing, they were fairly quiet and mostly didn't touch anything they weren't supposed to touch.


And we stopped to get lunch, because it was 1:00 something, and that means Ticia needs food. And, the foyer of the restaurant had these cool carousel statues. Does anyone else find carousels as fascinating as I do? I took about 7 pictures of these horses, they're just cool.

OKay, now to mini-golf for real. I love to go put-putting but sadly there are no real good courses in Austin. I was lamenting this point about the lack of good courses when Jeff named off 3 courses in the Austin area proving me wrong. Sigh....

Here's how you play mini-golf if you're a preschooler.


1. Keep hitting the ball over and over again, never let it come to a complete stop.



2. If all else fails pick up the ball and drop it in the hole of the animal/building, you name it.


3. Oh, and of course swing your club like it's a croquet mallet or a polo club.


4. If you fit inside of the hole, then you of course need to stand there. Regardless of this causes problems for whoever is trying to put.


5. If the windmill is in your way, than just stop the windmill and run in the house.


Meanwhile Daddy is actually trying to golf correctly, and that's not working super well with the extra help.


And how cool is this, the place has a cave. That and one of the holes was a pirate ship. This is the coolest golf course ever! Really.

So, I can't tell if the pictures are blurry because I don't have my glasses on or because it's blurry. Hmmm, maybe that's why I"m supposed to be wearing glasses.

Tomorrow, we're going to visit Moody Gardens.

2 MORE days until Batman can go back in the water. Read to the end of the post to find out why, for those who missed my first post yesterday.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Schlitterbahn Galveston!

The Hottest Coolest Time in Texas! Schlitterbahn!

I grew up in Texas and spent every summer going to the original Schlitterbahn at least once a summer since I was 12 years old, so that hmmm hmmmm years going. So, I'll tell you right now I'm prejudiced towards Schlitterbahn.

So, Schlitterbahn Galveston has an indoor area that's open year round, actually the indoor season started this weekend. And we had a blast.

There was a pool area there for little kids with a giant pirate ship and lots of places to slide down.


Batman had a lot of fun driving the pirate ship. That was of course before he discovered that he could go down the slide forever and ever and ever. Then he figured out how to be a crocodile.


Princess refused to go down any of the slides. Towards the end of the day we spent a lot of time in this area. I think one of my proudest moments was when the kids started acting out "5 Little Monkeys Playing in a Tree." It was so incredibly cute.



Here's one of the few pictures of me you get to see. I talked Princess into going down the slide with me. She was horridly made at me afterwards.


Hurricane Ike came through here a couple of years ago, and I was super amused by this picture, showing the water level coming up to about 4 feet high.


Okay, so I think every waterpark nowadays has a lazy river of some sort. I think that this is the coolest one I've been on. The water level goes from 1" to 78." There's about 3 different areas where a wave machine pushes through the waves and it actually has serious waves. Princess loved this! It was really fun to see her giggling like crazy because she usually doesn't like water like this.

Sigh, but we're still struggling with her being a brat about going to her Daddy, silly girl.

Oh, and funny thing. Our kids are picking up my speech habits, and have started calling me "Silly Mommy" when they think I"m doing something silly like I do to them.


The boys loved playing with the inner tubes. It's so much fun to watch the boys sit there and splash each other.


So, this really isn't related to this picture, but I didn't have a camera while we went down tube chute. Superman LOVES tube rides. I"m so happy, and can't wait to take him to the original Schlitterbahn which has so many tube rides. This was probably my second proudest mopment of the day. Sigh, so many fond memories.


And when you're in a wave pool, what would you do? If it's my boys, you fight the waves and punch them.

We had a complete and total blast, and I can't wait for many more fun days at Schlitterbahn.

At the end of the day we got back and the kiddos were absolutely wiped out, but they weren't going to sleep. So, we found a solution.


Hey, it worked, and they all got a nice solid 3 hour nap.

Our first few days in Galveston


We're lucky enough to be able to stay in Galveston for the week. This is the first time the kids have gotten to see the beach and play on it. They've been really enjoying it.

We spent the first day just playing on the beach, digging, building sandcastles, and finding lots of "treasures."


We ran in and out of the ocean. The boys loved playing in there, and decided it was fun to fight the waves. Princess was quite sure she didn't really want to go in them. She would grudgingly go in to clean her hands, and that's it.


When we got back they had lots of fun going through and organizing the shells they found. About 30 seconds into it, they had to know why there are shells. So, I explained about where shells came from, and that little animals live in them. Then we talked about how the different shells could be matched up. And how some animals liked to eat the animals in the shells, and the shells protected them.

The next excursion to highlight. We found a jetty of huge boulders, that was just begging to be explored. (And this is in no chronological order).


So we walked down the sidewalk for a while (we weren't really wearing shoes meant for the beach, this was one of those impromptu excursions that comes up).

Princess as always went at her own pace. I really like pictures of the kids walking I"ve come to realize. Especially pictures of Princess and her Dad walking together.


The boys had lots of fun leaping from boulder to boulder once they got used to it and figured out that they wouldn't fall through the cracks.


Princess occupied her usual post on Daddy's shoulders, and was quite happy.

And we can't seem to have a vacation without some kind of accident. This time Batman was running in a store and did an impressive face plant that made a massive gouge in his face.

So, after spending 10 minutes trying to mop it up and realizing that our first aid kit was not up to snuff. We went to the ER.... I was super impressed with the Galveston ER, they got us back into examination before we finished filling out paperwork, and the nurse was already figuring out how to best treat him. Batman did really good and didn't freak out too much as they cleaned it out and then glued it together.


First shot is his "owie," and the second shot is him showing off. He had to show off lots, and needed lots of pictures.

Winner! SpellQuizzer

The winner of the SpellQuizzer is Julie, comment number 8! I'll be emailing you later today and sending your email address of to my contact. Congrats Julie! Sorry, no screen shot of the random drawing, it's a little harder to fiddle with my laptop than on my actual computer. If I'd been smart, the giveaway wouldn't have ended when I was out of town.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our Preschool Week in Review

Sigh, I hate when I accidentally hit enter instead of tab, then I publish silly blank posts.

So, what did we do this week.


We studied about nests. I'm sure you can tell that's what Batman drew in his picture. And right next to it is his bird, I got to teach them how to draw a bird.


We tried to find some more rhymes, but truthfully they're still struggling with this.

We had lots of fun making our Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme for our books.


We played with the Melissa and Doug See and Spell puzzle. I have to say, this was a really great buy. They happily sit and play with it for 30 minutes all by themselves. The only fight that comes about is when someone else wants to make more words and starts to take letters from Superman's carefully arranged words.

It's really cute, once he has finished making a word he very carefully sets it to the side and spells the word again. Then he makes his next word and spells it, then he puts it underneath the last word, and spells both words. He repeats this with each word he spells. Of course this slowly but surely uses up all the letters in the set. This starts the fights.



We've been in school for 30 days now, so the kids are counting up to 30. Something has randomly clicked in them, because last night when we were counting the turtles in the book, they were getting it all. I don't know what clicked.

I've also started a button jar. When I catch them following directions or doing something I like during school time they get buttons. They also get buttons if they complete work in a set amount of time. So, they practice counting their buttons, because if they get their stickers done in 5 minutes they get 5 buttons. Whoever has the most buttons at the end of the week gets to pick a movie for everyone to watch.


Since we studied nests and animal homes we made a nest.

This was really popular, but also apparently very tiring.

We also played an animal homes matching game. I found pictures of different animals and something that resembled their homes. We made it into a matching game. I'm sure there are more animal homes I could have added in, but this is all I did at this time. I want to someday go back and add more in. Here's the game, such as it is.

Animal Homes

Social Studies

Since we're learning about animal homes, I figured this was a great time to head into the next step of "Me on the Map," and they drew their rooms. They really enjoyed this, and have been enjoying learning to draw more.

We also learned about where our traveling friend O-Mite is from, he's from Missouri, so we made a book all about Missouri.

Phys Ed


We played outside lots when it wasn't raining. They got so filthy from all the mud. But, I have my garden almost completely planted for the fall. So, I'm proud of myself.

And, I will hopefully get posts up next week of what all we did this week, but we're on vacation, and I'll just have my laptop. So, we'll see. I want to try....... But you know how that goes.

And lastly..... Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Great books about birds, nests, and animal homes

The Best Nest- I really liked this book. It's cute and was a great story. It tells of how all the different birds learned to build their nests and why each nest is built that way.

Crinkleroot's Guide to Animal Habitats- this was the hit of the week, we read it several times and enjoyed searching the pages to find the different animals.

Magic School Bus Flies from the Nest- this was a little stilted, and the kids didn't really enjoy it. They did have fun pointing out the stuff that couldn't really happen.

Is My Friend at Home?- I really didn't like this one. The stories were not appropriate for preschoolers. In one of them Rabbit says he cut off his ears to serve it to his friend for stew, and so his friend goes home and really does cut off his ears to cook them. It totally went over the kids' heads, and I do tend to enjoy this type of story, but this one wasn't my favorite.

Dragon Egg- this also was a learn to read book like the Magic School Bus, but this one was actually a lot smoother and more enjoyable.

How Animals Care for Their Babies- I had this book as a kid, so when I saw it at the library I had to get it. The kids liked it okay, and really enjoyed talking about the different animals.

Oh, and one I forgot to read with the kids that would have fit in well: "Are You My Mother?"

Oh and we also read "A House is a House for Me." It's super cute and while the kids weren't super into it, I can see lots of potential for it. And there is so much detail in the pictures to look for.

To see what else everyone is reading head over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

Me in My Room

The next step after drawing a self portrait. We looked at "Me in My Room."

The boys room

I drew a rough outline of their rooms. And then I sent them off to draw pictures of their rooms.

Batman did start off having a rough map of his room drawn, but then he started coloring. And coloring. And coloring, until he had a green room, except for the three red people that I drew for him. He wanted to have all the kiddos in his room.

Superman for the most part got this idea down. Then he went into a neo-impressionist bent, is that what Picasso drew? Honestly I don't know, and was kind of making it up. I guess I better find out before we start getting into studying that type of thing. Back to what I was saying. He started coloring it random colors, and it kind of reminds me of Picasso.

Then Superman wandered around with his drawing all day long, making sure to show everyone this is my room.


And Princess just kind of disappeared for a while, then showed back up again with a picture. Can you guess the color of it? I'll give you 3 guesses and the first two don't count.

Here is Batman's end result.

Here is Princess' end result.

And Superman has hidden his somewhere, and I have no clue where. So all you get to see of his is the little picture.

Join us next week as we look at maps of our whole house. This is kind of predicated on my being able to find a map of our house that's useful.
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