Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Never Under Estimate Tornados!

My husband and I had one of those "duh" moments last week when we purchased something for tornado boy. We both had no idea why we didn't think of it sooner...especially since it is pretty much what my husband does all day. It makes me ponder just how many other things I just think, "nah, that's too advanced" or "that looks too difficult" would catch his fancy.

I introduced a Circuit Kit to him in a local store and his interest was peeked immediately. So the introduction to building circuits began. This kit was right up his alley - it came with a step by step book with 101 circuits to build. To my complete astonishment, he was so fascinated and taken by them that he literally went through all 101 experiments in under 2 days. He spent the entire day with hardly any breaks going from one experiment to another.

It was so cool seeing a new passion spring out and see his face light up when he began to just mess with the circuits to try to make his own ideas. My husband was able to explain to him how each circuit experiment worked and he was honestly understanding it because the next day when Daddy was at work and I asked him to explain his current circuit he was working on, he blurted it out so matter of factly like he had known about circuits all his life.

Well, after 2 days, the exploration began with him building his own ideas but he noticed on the back of one of the flyers that there were BIGGER kits (which he so slyly pointed out to me). Daddy went online and found the grand daddy of circuit kits complete with a computer program so you could build some on the computer and ordered it for him. For the next several days all we kept hearing...."is it here yet?", "how many more days", "I'm SO excited"....until the box arrived. Man was this thing HUGE! Tornado Boy's eyes about popped out of his head when he saw all the cool stuff that came with it! So off he went working on the 300+ experiments that came with this box. NEVER, EVER under estimate a tornado!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

10 Favorite Things About Living in Florida

We have done so many eco-adventures over the past few days that I just had to do a 10 favorite things about living in Florida!

1. We went to Cape Canaveral National Seashore to hang out at the beach and got to see the two shuttles both poised on their launchpads.

2. Here is a beautiful Zebra butterfly we saw while out exploring

3. We went on a Manatee finding mission yesterday and came across this cool canal filled with tons and tons of.....turtles!

4. One of the pretty views on our two mile hike through Turkey Creek Sanctuary

5. This fat little guy has had one too many peanuts fed to him!!

6. A view of our backyard - we had so many doves camped out.

7. Tornado Boy's butterfly garden he planted last year - it's now in full bloom.

8. We took an eco-boat trip this weekend and explored the Indian and Banana rivers - we saw several dolphins and one manatee hump :-)

9. A view of the sunset from our front window looking across the street. I swear the sky turned 10 different colors in a matter of a view minutes.

10. The angry Florida Sky right before a hail storm

I know there are many times where I moan and complain about living in Florida because for 99% of the year it is usually hot and humid and I miss having real seasons....but these 10 pics quiet the whining!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The newfound joy of Orienteering

A compass and a map are like Tornado Boy's favorite accessories....so begins the sport of Orienteering into our lives. I know that we enjoy geocaching - but it isn't "exciting" enough for our little guy so a friend told me about Orienteering. Let's just say Tornado Boy fell in love with it hook, line and sinker! We found a group that is about an hour away and they host a monthly Orienteering outing at different locations around the central part of the state. They offer all kinds of levels and certificates for the kids for completing a course. So last weekend, we decided to jump in head first and see what all the fuss was about. This group had a permanent course set up in a beautiful county park and we decided to tackle it before trying a group meet.

For those who don't know what Orienteering is about - basically you get a topographical map, a compass and you have to find your way from one "control" or marker to another until you find all of them and complete the course. So you are wandering deep into woods and forested areas trying to find the best route from marker to marker by reading the topo map. You learn what all the sections of the topographical map mean - higher areas/wooded areas/scrub areas/water.....and people compete all across the country to see who can complete courses the fastest. So the main gist...you get lost in the woods and find your way from checkpoint to checkpoint to learn how not to get lost in the woods.

My little guy was totally engrossed in this whole event and we had an absolute blast wandering through beautiful wooded areas. He was really, really good at finding his way on the map and locating the markers. We finished the course in 58 minutes and will be going back next weekend to complete the advanced course and then in May they have a large meet at another park that we hope to join.

While we were out wandering we came across the most unreal animals! We heard tons of birds, saw a rare fox squirrel, watched a "shnafalo" (armadillo) sniffle his way around, and then the best part of all - Tornado Boy was at a marker and looked up and thought he saw a bird but then figured out it wasn't a bird. It was this magnificent, giant owl way up in a tree. He was so pretty and just watched us as we putzed through the woods. When we showed the ranger a picture he said it was an immature barred owl and he was just as excited as we were and wanted to know where we spotted him so he could go look at him. I can't believe he was considered "immature" and that he was going to grow larger!

So for those families who love getting lost in the woods - you should see if you have any local Orienteering groups around your area - at least with my little tornado around I know I will never get lost in the woods!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Life of a Squirrel

OK - we have this squirrel that has been part of our family for quite some time. He showed up when we of course placed the "squirrel" feeders in the yard (I mean come on folks, we would be lying if we called them bird feeders since the poor birds are usually left with nothing after Sir Squirrel gets his fill). I am convinced it is the same squirrel - but who knows! This goofy squirrel likes to play a game of taking mouth fulls of food and then hanging upside down on our screened in porch and eating. He(or she) pretty much devours anything in sight and will gorge himself every day. His daily schedule consists of...eating, lounging, eating, eating some more, lounging in the sun, eating....What a life!
He has a habit of "lounging" throughout the day all over Tornado Boy's playground set like he is king of the yard. At night, I have found that the little guy has a nest in one of our palm trees up front. Tornado Boy always gets a kick out of the crazy squirrel antics complete with the squirrel flicking his tail at Mach-10 all while making this "wha, wha, whaaaaaaa" sound while being suction cupped to the screen.
Tornado Boy loves messing around with my Microsoft Publisher and with my help we put a book together a few years ago called, "The Squirrel Ate the Sandbox".

I'd like to be a squirrel just for a few hours!

The Invasion Has Begun!

Well, we have finally broken down and joined the millions of other families across the world and are now proud owners of......tah dah....the Wii. It all started with my hubby's Nintendo DS - he has it to help with stress relief in the office and once Tornado Boy saw it and what it does, he confiscated it from Daddy. Daddy then was without his DS and ended up having to go out and get Tornado Boy his own DS. Well, we usually rent DS games instead of buying them and Tornado Boy and I kept noticing all the cool Wii games for rental. We had been talking about it for quite some time...we were even surprised to learn that one set of our Grandparents had the system. We are not into many of the games that are out where you have to battle or use weapons and "fight"...and Tornado boy seems more into race and logic games which is fine with us. Well, Hubby surprised all of us by coming home with one yesterday. Tornado Boy was fit to be tied! They had it set up in no time and we all looked like crazy maniacs bopping and hopping around the living room (I don't want to know what we looked like through a window if someone could have seen us). Who knew that you could flip hamburgers and feed them to a hungry walrus - or whatever that freaky animal was supposed to be on Raving Rabbids - and I quickly found out that I have NO rhythm when it came to dancing along with lunatic rabbids. I am now being introduced to the Mario race terms - chain chomper, mean mushrooms, and bullet bills :-)

Needless to say, Tornado Boy was COMPLETELY on sensory overload by the end of the night and had a complete meltdown come bed time. But we knew it was coming - I mean what do you expect - Christmas in April! We will need to learn some tricks on how to let him play Wii but counter-balance the over sensory input.....we also will need to figure out some tactics on how to deal with his UNDYING perfectionistic issues that leave him angry or upset because he "just missed" getting a new time record or winning.

Tornado Boys fell asleep with this comment....."mommy, wouldn't it be the coolest if they made a Tornado Intercept game for the Wii?" He and daddy programmed their own Tornado Intercept computer game using the super cool kids programming program - Scratch which is made by MIT...who knows, maybe he will make his own Wii game! Here is the Scratch site for anyone else out there with their own little programmers - and best of all - it's FREE!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

You Ever Have One of Those Moments?

I know, stupid question to ask other mom's of 2e Tornado children....but, do you ever have one of those moments that just makes you smack your head and think what in the world is up with this child? I had one of those moments tonight....

.....we have recently set up this really cool camera/Internet connection with Tornado Boy's grandparents in South Carolina where we can all sit down at the computer and talk for as long as we want for FREE! No more long distance phone calls....you just need a camera on the computer, speakers and download the software and viola...we can all see and hear each other...pretty cool huh?

UNLESS, your child has chosen that time to be as totally spastic and bananas as can possibly be to the point that you have NO idea who in the world this kid is! My little tornado child decided he wanted to be a full flown EF5 tornado and rip through the entire area in under a second, screaming at the top of his lungs, showing a million items on the camera to grandma/grandpa and just acting like a total SPAZ! The icing on the cake though is when the little hooligan decided to show his grandparents his lovely new camo underwear (yes, we were running around in just a shirt and undies...his favorite attire it seems) and then he took it a step further and pulled his undies down and totally MOONED his grandparents! ACKKKKKKKKK!!! As my husband put it, "it doesn't get any better than that now does it?"

The Life and Times of living with a tornado!