Up this week: the Keeping Company link-up for September will be posted tomorrow afternoon, so get your posts ready!
And later this week, some favorite books and audios for preschoolers and kindergarteners. This one has been sitting in my draft folder almost finished for over a week now, so it's time to polish it up and publish! Coming soon.
Part of our busy-ness the past couple weeks was a trip to the aquarium, which we hadn't been to in a couple years. The aquarium is always a treat, and they have a current exhibit of octopi and jellyfish that was amazing.
The kids' favorite was a toss-up between the puffins and the two-story deep sea tank. Pardon the following super-blurry photo (phone camera in low light), but I wanted to share just how impressive the latter is...
Those are gigantic tuna, surrounded by silvery clouds of sardines. I've stood in front of that tank ever since I was a kid and it never ceases to awe me.
We got a membership (it was literally cheaper than paying for one visit for our big crew!) and are looking forward to heading back.
We also had a birthday last week: Bridget turned four! She is the first of my three September birthday girls and has been counting down her birthday for months. Among other treats, she received--surprise!--a few special books. I'll share a peek at those later this month when I get a chance to recap what we're reading.
I'm 32 weeks pregnant and feeling every bit of it! But it has given me the perfect opportunity to start running with my older three kids while I'm going slower and shorter. We have been doing three miles on Saturdays and an occasional weekday morning run too. They're getting a little faster every week, so I'm guessing they'll be outpacing me shortly. ;) And that'll be just about the time baby arrives and Daddy can take over running duties while I take some postpartum time off!
I have a feeling running is going to be a family activity moving forward, which makes me really happy. I grew up running with my parents, but since having babies, I have been a solo runner for the most part. I'm excited to share this hobby with my kids as they get old enough to join in!
Several friends have written over the past couple months asking for field guide recommendations and suggestions for identifying what they see out on nature study outings.
My first tip: the more local your field guides, the better. We enjoy our national field guides (especially my lovely Golden Guides--I collect the vintage editions) for drawing from, but for identifying, we pretty much only use our California/Bay Area books.
So--a few of my favorite resources for my more local readers:
I pretty much always carry this comprehensive California guide with us while out. It's not the most useful, but it has a little bit of everything, so it's the best all-in-one resource I have found. (Ours got dropped in the pond a couple weeks ago by a certain unnamed toddler, but I was surprised by how well it dried out! So you can take it on my word that it's pretty durable too. ;))
I picked up this tree guide at a local nature bookshop and like it a lot. It's actually part of a series: Mammals and Berries are available too for this area. (And if you're in the Midwest or East Coast, the series has even more options.)
I haven't even bothered looking for a wildflower field guide because this county parks website is all I need! It's fantastic and I refer to it almost every week in the spring/summer months.
And for crawlies: this Peterson First Field Guide for Insects and Butterflies and Moths are the ones the kids grab most often.
I also have various laminated field guides (including this one for birds and one for butterflies), and although they are necessarily limited, they are a great option for eager toddlers.
If you have personal favorites, I would love to hear about them! I pick up field guides at thift stores and book sales so we have a big stack to pull from as we discern which styles and publishers we like best.
I notice a lot of families are starting up their new school year this week--wishing you a wonderful one! We're on Week 10 of Term 1, so I've started jotting down exam questions here and there and thinking about what I need to get done before Term 2 begins...
See you back here tomorrow to link up your Keeping posts!