April 11, 2012

spring break at the coast

late spring snow day
Spring Break started early this year with a late snow day. Finally, we had enough snow that the boys could make good-sized snowmen! Of course the snow didn't last long, and the next day we drove up to my parents' place outside Astoria. We were treated to a couple unexpected sunny days, and we took advantage of one by driving across to Washington to visit North Head Lighthouse and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. The views were great, though very windy.

Right at my parents' house on the Columbia River is always good for viewing wildlife. This time we got a good look at a Bald Eagle in a tree, and a Blue Heron hunting for breakfast. It's great to get out and see something different, and to share with my kids the place where I grew up!

photo by Jennifer Kistler Pacific Ocean North Head Lighthouse
looking south from North Head Lighthouse, toward the mouth
of the Columbia River (I love how you can see the curve of
the earth in the horizon line here!)

photo by Jennifer Kistler Pacific Ocean North Head Lighthouse
looking north from North Head Lighthouse

Bald Eagle in tree photo by Jennifer Kistler
Bald Eagle in tree at my parents' house

Bald Eagle in tree Columbia River photo by Jennifer Kistler
close-up of the eagle

Blue Heron Columbia River photo by Jennifer Kistler
Blue Heron at almost low tide (here the Columbia River is affected
by the Pacific Ocean tides)

April 9, 2012

a wood louse pet

stuffed wood louse
My younger son is fascinated with all sorts of interesting critters, large and small. One of his favorites is wood lice, AKA pill bugs. We had fun learning that they are not actually bugs but crustaceans, they are one of nature's decomposers, and that some types can roll up and some can't.

He also has collected quite a few unusual stuffed animals. But no pill bugs. A while ago (I won't admit just how long ago!), I told him I would try to sew a stuffed animal pill bug for him. The right fabric had been secured along with matching thread, just waiting for me to tackle it. Finally, for his birthday yesterday, I sat down and did it. Now I am no seamstress, I just sew from time to time out of necessity to create something. This was definitely the most challenging project I have ever tried! And I am now in awe of the people who make sewing patterns for the nicely detailed plushies that my boys have collected.

It took forever (okay, many hours), and it's not as perfect as I had hoped, but I think he likes it! He would love to have pet pill bugs, but I think this cuddly and low-maintenance version is a great alternative.

my son with a pill bug friend, 2009

pill bug plushie design c. 2012 Jennifer Kistler