Everglades National Park

July 31st, 2014

On Saturday, July 26, we took the a trip to the Everglades National Park to mark our fifth anniversary of our first family trip.

Now that we are licensed Hams, we allowed the boys to move ahead some several yards so that Ty could practice simplex transmissions. You can hear the transmissions at the end of the video, while we were on the Gumbo Limbo Trail.

There weren’t many people at the Royal Palm Visitor’s Center… Perhaps because it was July. Other than the mosquitoes and the intense sunshine, July is a great time to visit the Everglades because there is more green foliage and brighter flowers due to the afternoon storms. The prairie is brown in the dry season, when it is more pleasant to visit.

Black Point Sandbar in Biscayne National Park

July 21st, 2014

We made plans to visit the sandbar that we first discovered in a previous post. Dad came with us this time. I had looked up when the next low tide would be around nine in the morning, and, perfectly enough, the 17th was the morning.

We walked even farther down the sandbar because it was low tide, 25°31’52.9″N 80°19’03.0″W, to be exact. The children got some scrapes and cuts from the “knife rocks,” which were broken shells. All in all, it was a great outing.

Mommy Camp

July 8th, 2014

On June 13, we piled into the van and made our way out to the Everglades Amateur Radio Club meeting so that Dad, our eldest boy, and I could take our Technician exams. This is the club’s welcome board. Check out the last three lines!

We all passed our tests and are just waiting to see our names in the FCC database with our call signs. It’s taking almost a month because, well, paperwork, bureaucracy, and snail mail aren’t the speediest means.

Dad is, as I type, getting ready for a very important exam. We have been calling it the “Launch.” Literally, he’s shaving, shampooing, showering, and shining so that he can get out of here and on the road. While he was studying for his exam the past couple of weeks, I have been taking the children to several parks and outings to give Dad some quiet in the house. I call it Mommy Camp.

We went to Ocean Zone, of course…

the Chinese Bridge and Coral Reef Park…

Matheson Hammock (the children’s first visit to the park in a long time, since before they could remember. The lagoon was closed because of lightning, but people were still walking around, enjoying the balmy air thanks to the thunderstorms in the east that blocked the sun).

On the morning of Independence Day, we road marched to Whispering Pines Park to watch the parade…

I took the children to Black Point Marina, of which I have no pictures nor video but plan on returning, where we walked the trail into Biscayne National Park. We didn’t reach the end of the trail but could see the rocks and the sandbar in the distance. A storm looked to be approaching, so we made a run for it back to the van. We got as far as 25°31’55″N 80°19’8″W (click on the coordinates to see it on Google Maps). It was a pleasant walk if you don’t count the mosquitoes, but once the sun came out, they were gone. The children complained of its being hot because of the sun, but you gotta pick your poison here: mosquitoes or hot sunshine. You either slather yourself in mosquito repellant and sunblock lotion or simply wear long sleeves and long pants. Either way, you’ll be uncomfortable, but the view is worth it!

Finally, on Monday, I took the children to Larry and Penny Thompson Park, where the beach and water slides were closed, but the rest of the park was open for hiking, exploring, and playing. We found Florida star rush flowers and some pink water flowers of which have yet to identify.


June 23rd, 2014

“I love these new words that the French and Italians make up.”
Ty, Age 11.5

Studying Music History, particularly Opera History.


June 23rd, 2014

“When I was eating watermelon yesterday, I was crying because I didn’t want to get old.”
Talon, Age 5.94 and aging…

Ocean Zone and the England Game

June 13th, 2014

I turned 35 in May. It was a great day: really calm and happy. I took the children to our regular trip to Ocean Zone.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ave Maria Bomb

May 19th, 2014

I am hired to play for a Mass on Saturday and went into the Toy Room to practice the keyboard as the pianos in the common area are too loud for a homeschooling environment. I asked Kendall to help me record (so that I can judge myself). This was the seventh or eighth take. Taylor came in at the end.

You can hear Kendall trying to keep in a laugh and my asking her, “What’s so funny?”

Ocean Zone, May 13, 2014

May 14th, 2014

The children and I went to Ocean Zone — again! We love this place. It’s always different. I know; I always write that about it because it’s true. This time, we saw sea foam, and it was incredibly breezy.

See more pictures by clicking here.

April Round Up

April 30th, 2014

This is getting to be a habit: posting an entry once a month on the whole month’s adventures, and what an adventure April has been! I think that I also say that about every month.

We began the month with our regular First Tuesday of the Month activity. The children and I went to the retirement village to play the piano in the Day Room.

At the end of March, Dad has replaced Windows in my machine with Ubuntu, but we needed to reboot Windows to do some printing. When we came back to Ubuntu, it wouldn’t boot up.Dad figured it out, and I got my machine back, which is fantastically awesome! There are a few comical changes, such as the pointer and cursor are gigantic, about four times the size of regular ones, but that’s okay. The rest of it works fine.

We celebrated Dad’s and his mother’s birthday at our house. At first, Dad said that he didn’t want anything on his cake. Coming up on his birthday, he didn’t drop any hints, and even on his birthDAY, he didn’t tell me what to draw. He is our fire-man, so I made a simple campfire. The details were the most elaborate. My “penmanship,” I think, was the best that I’ve ever applied.

Oh! The adventures with the Zucchini; that’s what the children call the Suzuki. In March, Dad replaced the brakes. At the beginning of April, he swapped out the radiator (pictured). The end of April brought tests of patience and endurance: The last Saturday in April, I went up to register the children for a recital at the music store. When I hopped back into the car to drive to another student’s house, it didn’t pop out of the reverse gear. I walked back into the store, told them my woes, filled my canteens with fresh, cold water, and was grateful that I had good boots and an umbrella to walk home. As I was sparing for change to attempt to take a bus at least half way home, a violin teacher and long-time friend asked if I needed a ride. I was grateful for that! The car stayed in a stall the rest of Saturday and throughout Sunday.

Talon and a beautiful day at Ocean Zone.

I kept 41 Monarchs and fed them milkweed leaves. On the left are their chrysalises; on the right are the caterpillars. Most pupated and about half made it to imago (adulthood).

This is a video I made starring the Monarch chrysalis that I found on the soil.

The Easter Mouse visited our yard, and the children went out to find goodies.
Click on the picture to see them full size.

March Roundup

March 30th, 2014

Goodness, what a busy month!

On Saturday mornings, Dad takes one child out to run errands. There is a rotation. When it was Kendall’s turn, she wanted Talon go along, “because we’re twins.”

I found a Monarch pupa on the ground and tried to help it. When it eclosed, it was weak and couldn’t straighten its wings because it kept falling down. We have been feeding it and trying to keep it happy. It doesn’t fly well at all. I’m working on a video about its life.

Dad had been working on clearing out the invasive exotic plants on the northern Ficus aurea. It took him a few hours over the span of a few weeks. When he finally got it done, the children were happy to climb the tree again. Talon was inside the house.

The last week of March, we had Spring Break. Taylor worked on an apron for her American Girl doll. She used the sewing machine that she received two Christmases ago. Instead of giving it power with the pedal, I cranked the motor with my hand. It was slower but more stable. Taylor was able to better guide the fabric under the presser foot.

We had great weather to spend time outside. I took the children to Ocean Zone several times.

On the 25th, we had a DTD moment.

Talon had a wiggly tooth for the majority of two weeks. She lost her first tooth on the 23rd. Taylor pulled it out. The second tooth was pulled out by their maternal grandfather on the 30th.

Kyle received the “Hand Cake” for his turning ten. What an ordeal that was! I had baked the cake early that morning to cool off. When I went to frost it, Nike (our Lab mix) had eaten a nice, big chunk out of it! I rushed the children to the store (because I have only the morning to work on the cake) to buy stuff for another cake.
Mission: Accomplished

I finally had a day off on the 29th and caused confusion and delay. They are not used to my being here.

Dad replaced my Windows computer and put Ubuntu.

Ty drew plans for a video game, made a map and everything. He worked on it for a few hours every day. The character is supposed to be in a tower, so all the maps look like round eyes… to me.

And that was March. Whew!