Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mud and Water Play!

I think we have pretty well established that we don't mind getting dirty at home. We don't want to keep all the fun to ourselves, though, so we set up a Mud and Water Play Day at the library!

I really wanted to try some mud painting, but the dirt we had was too dark and crumbly. My idea was to have them paint some old white sheets I have, and then use them as tablecloths for programs. I ran the idea by some other librarians, and came up with this concoction:

Each bucket has one packet of RIT dye, two bars of Ivory soap expanded in the microwave, and about a cup of flour. It made a nice goopy, crumbly mixture that felt neat between the fingers (or toes!)

I also made a sign warning parents who didn't want to get THAT dirty:

Thinking ahead to messes, I also prepared a rinse station near the front door!

We took all our story time rugs and laid them from the front door down the hallway with the bathrooms - because you know as soon as a child gets all wet and covered in mud, he is going to have to pee!

These awesome guys helped prepare the mud pit, toting and dumping 20 bags of dirt (chemical, rock and poop free) in the 100-degree weather:

Pool: $20
Dirt: $120
Willing help with manual labor: Priceless!

See the little face at the corner of the window?

We were definitely attracting attention at this point.

I set up two small wading pools for the little ones:

with sequins!

One small wading pool with cloud dough:

And, of course, the mud pit:

We had this scheduled for after lunch, since it is served out on our lawn in the summers, and the kids were about to EXPLODE waiting for it to start! I finally gave some quick instructions and let them have at it.

Christopher went right to the RIT dye:

while others wasted no time being dainty with the mud:

Sheridan gravitated over to the painting...

...followed by Logan...

 ...while Shane just watched them like they were crazy.

The mud didn't stay in the big pool for long.

I had this bigger pool filled with water, too, 

but it quickly became a mud pit as well!

Eek! Zombie children! (I love this picture.)

Oh, we had squirt guns, too!

Kids hanging around, chatting.

Moms hanging around, chatting. I love pictures like this, too!

Front view of mud puppy.

Back view of mud puppy.

Making his own sprinkler.
The new A Team? The J Team!

Don't even think about it!

More zombies!
Where IS it?
 M. had spent quite a while searching for the plastic snake he knew was buried in there. He had already found the two lizards. We finally found it, and I opted not to tell him there was another in there somewhere.

It's importantto keep your reptiles organized!

We had a slip and slide, too:

Giant tarp with dish soap on it, and a sprinkler at the end.  That counts as taking a bath, right?

A few more kids finally got into the painting:

I have three beautiful new tablecloths now!

I hung them out and let them rinse in the rain, first, so they will be semi-safe for the washer.

Here we have our reference librarian:

explaining to her son exactly what horrible things will happen to him if he takes one step closer with that bucket of mud. He wisely stepped away...and snuck up behind a teenage girl, instead:

Do not mistake that incredulous smile for passivity. She spent the next half hour trying to kill him.

And then another half hour trying to get clean enough to be allowed to go home.

I think everyone had a good time! I made the mistake of waiting too long to clean up, and all my big kids were gone. It took a LONG time to get the mud scooped out to parts of the lawn we needed filled in, but my mother and kids were a big help, as well as one other mom and her son. We celebrated being done with popsicles, then went home to check out our sunburns:

Your librarian has some very white (now red) legs! 

(Thanks, Shannon, for the pictures!)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Medium Guy is Four!

Logan turned FOUR on Tuesday. He will start Kindergarten in 395 days. He is getting to be so big - but, still my mud and bug guy, so while we did cake and presents at the house Saturday, his 'party' was a trip back to the waterfall we discovered on our Mommy-Logan Day last year. This time, siblings and Grandma got to come along!

When we got to the bottom of the trail head, Sheridan said she could hear the water already. I told her it was probably the wind, because the water wasn't that loud. Well, Mommy was wrong, because we've had a lot more rain recently! The kids immediately found things to climb,

and Christopher (Mr. I'm-Too-Cool) declared "This is more awesome than I thought it would be!"

As soon as they saw this rock to the side of the waterfall, the big kids wanted to climb it. I glanced at the slope and told them to go ahead, while I set down our snacks and such.

 Up they go...

...and, they're out of sight.

Shane and I followed slowly, stopping to take pictures of the waterfall. 

I'm not usually one for scenery pictures, but I kept thinking about what a great place this would be for family pictures - or even a wedding shoot! 

There are the kids at the top...

 ...and there's Christopher again at the bottom. How did he get down there?

You went down THAT WAY?? Oh, holy cow...there go the grey hairs...

Fortunately, Shane was content with jumping back and forth over a tree root. For now.

More pretty scenery!

So many places to frame a family or a couple!

Or a mountain goat.

Logan wasted no time getting wet and muddy.

Then they all decided to climb UP the waterfall.

More grey hairs!

Logan made me hold my breath a few times, but he figured out the best way up with no help. He is four now, after all!

Shane was disappointed that nobody fell in. So he kept trying to shove Grandma in.

Then he would peer around her shoulder and say, "Helloooooo!"

There were flowers everywhere, including a couple creative ones trying to take over the picnic spot.

Evidence that this spot isn't used very often!

We were starving by 10:00, so we started grazing. Fruits, cheeses, and bread. The juice boxes were gross, but the kids didn't seem to care. 

They were very good about keeping the trash collected in our bag - except for bread chunks and veggie pieces, which some little critters are probably enjoying right now!

More exploring...

...and more picture perfect spots!

Something about this is not quite right...

We also talked about not taking anything out, but I decided this was okay! I don't know how he always finds these.

He kept losing it, so I finally convinced him to let me put it in my pocket. When he wasn't looking, I found another one and slipped it into the same pocket. Wide eyes when we got back to the car and I pulled them both out! Mommy is still magic sometimes!

 This looked like such a great spot for pictures, I decided to take one with all the kids sitting here.

You know, one with all four facing me,

eyes open,

smiling normally.



Never mind.

But Grandma got a great video of the attempt!

Ten seconds later, I realized I had lost Christopher and Sheridan.

Did I mention mountain goats?

Once the rest of us had picked our way up (Grandma and Shane were smart enough to go around and find an easier route), we found several smaller things to take pictures of.

Somebody is getting tired!

And lots of things to find books about later!

Back down again (the easy way!) for a little more splashing

 and posing!

And a little bit of...

butterfly catching (and releasing, of course).

By this time the flies were really starting to bite, so we headed back up to the car and changed clothes right there - the perks of very little traffic - then headed back to Cloudcroft for cold drinks and desserts at The Front Porch Bistro. Where Shane eyed a table full of cousins, all girls but for one boy, until the boy got up to go to the bathroom. Then he got up and took the boy's seat, grinning madly at the ladies. So much for being tired!

All in all a great day, though. Happy 4th, Medium Guy!