Monday, June 22, 2015

On Minivans and Battlegrounds

We had a very eventful weekend which culminated in the purchase of a new minivan.  We found a nice 2012 model with lots of lovely upgrades for us--for instance the sliding doors both open every time you want them to, the speakers don't randomly make a horrific buzzing noise that only stops when you hit the dashboard repeatedly, the AC actually blows cold air, and (and this is the one that pushed us over the edge to finally get rid of old unreliable) the headlights don't randomly turn on even though they are clearly turned off making it necessary for you pop the hood and disconnect the battery every time you want to turn off the car.  It's the little things.  We didn't splurge on any actual upgrades but we were able to buy the car outright with the money we've been setting aside every month for just this occasion so that felt good.  Really good.

We ended up finding the van out in Manassas, VA which led to us visiting the Civil War battleground there.  Serendipitously, this was where the first major battle of the Civil War took place--which I did not know until we got to the visitor's center--so it was the best first battleground in Virginia to visit.  We enjoyed the park and the information there was really well done, but the Civil War is just such a depressing war since the enemy we were fighting was ourselves.  My knowledge of it is also fairly muddled, which I blame on my high school history teacher who, when discussing the subject and referring to "we" or "us," actually meant the Confederacy and not the Union.  A fact that I didn't realize until very close to the end of our studies.  Southern problems.  With the plethora of Civil War sites in the area and the boys' interests in all things 'war guys', I'm sure it won't be our last battle site visit so hopefully I can remedy my confusion on the subject soon.  

Do any of you have a favorite Civil War site to visit?

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Fairy Ring and Our Very Own Fairy

Ever since we built the fairy house, David had been checking it for signs that a fairy might have moved in.  This boy will sit still for huge chunks of time just hoping to catch a glimpse of a flower fairy--which is very out of character and also very cute.  Not so cute is the fact that he insists on bringing home every dandelion he can lay his hands on for the sole purpose of blowing them all over the backyard in hopes of luring a dandelion fairy in.  Well, a couple of weeks ago he came running in to tell me that tiny potted plants had shown up right outside the door of the fairy house which could clearly only mean one thing.  To say he was excited would be a very large understatement.

Now our particular fairy has been fairly illusive but today we were finally able to capture some pictures of her.  Also, and in completely unrelated news, I just finished reading aloud The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World {a true story} to the boys and they loved it--with a couple of kids pulling off a hoax on the entire adult world, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, what's not to love?  I like that although the book is very clear that the girls had taken staged photos of the fairies, they only did it because the grown ups wouldn't believe that they really did see them.  My boys loved all the naughtiness and looking at the pictures the girls took.  And the book may have also inspired a little naughtiness at the Reintjes house as well.

Have you seen any fairies lately?


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On Molten Rock and Bad Decisions

Henry bought a book about volcanoes while we were out garage saling a couple of weeks back and the boys have been pretty focused on all things volcano ever since.  They've even been begging to watch a volcano documentary on Netflix over and over again which isn't too terrible but it has made me completely rethink ever wanting to move to Naples--how did I not know it's right next to Mount Vesuvius?  And why don't people lead with that little tidbit when giving you the pro/cons list?  Crowded, lots of traffic, high crime, smelly, oh and it's next to an active volcano that's best known for BURYING POMPEI.

The other result of their new obsession is that the big boys have been begging me to let them make their own volcano.  I'm not sure how they knew that that is a thing people do, but they did, so I turned over my baking soda and vinegar.  A quick check for volcano recipes suggested adding dish soap to make it more frothy so we did that too plus food coloring, obviously.  I also read a suggestion to wrap the baking soda into a tissue ball for a fun delayed action effect.  Well, it would have been fun if my audience weren't all under the age of seven.  Delayed action isn't really something any of them are interested in.  So plenty of baking soda was dumped on top, just to get things moving.  And then the whole process had to be repeated for the neighbor children as well.  I think I'm going to need to hide my baking soda if I ever want to do things other than mix it with vinegar ever again.

Meanwhile John, tired of waiting for me to finish up with our volcano and push him on a big boy swing, took matters into his own hands, dragged a chair over and got himself into a bit of a pickle.  I'm not sure what his thought process was but he realized too late that being in a baby swing would still necessitate having someone to provide the forward momentum.  

It all turned out okay in the end.  Baking soda doesn't fizz forever and brothers always come to the rescue.  Eventually.
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