Amelie at 7 years, Mia at 5 years, Desmond at 2 years
August 16, 2011
This past month was a lot of fun. Uncle Dave and the kids came to visit right when the US Open was going on, so they headed down to the beach for some relief from the heat. Desmond was a bit afraid of the water, so he didn't actually go in.



The US Open was crazy, as it is every year.



Mia at dog beach in her new swimsuit. This picture was taken before she cut her hair to give herself bangs, the picture below is afterwards.



Cutting her hair for bangs gives her a whole different look. I admit, I liked it better before, but what can you do.



Sunset at dog beach. That's Mia, the little speck on the left running on the beach.



In the shuttle back to the hotel with Nick and Tyler.



Unfortunately, with everybody on the trampoline at once, Desmond got a fat-lip and a sprained wrist. He was okay, no breakage, but he couldn't use his left arm for a week. We couldn't get a digital copy of the x-rays from the radiologist, so I held the x-ray up to the sun and took a picture of it.



The Homeschool Association of California (HSC) had their annual conference up in Sacramento, and we all had a great time. This was a printmaking class. We brought those Motorola walkie-talkies for all the kids and parents to keep in touch with each other, and it worked great. It allowed us to give the kids free-range and still keep in touch with them.



In the exhibition hall they had a buoyancy demonstration where you fill up a canister with a combination of water and pennies to try and get it to float in the middle of the water bucket. It was insanely difficult, with a single drop of water affecting the buoyancy as you got closer and closer to the goal. In the end, we had to move along, as it can take literally an hour to dial it in perfectly.



This was the fairy princess face painting and tutu-making class. This is Grace-Ellen, Mia's friend.



The teenagers had a live Mario Brothers obstacle course they set up. It was pretty awesome, I have to say. Mia went through it over and over again. Here you have to take a red bean bag and throw it at the turtle, who promptly dies. At the end you got a marshmallow.



The water-play area was really neat and very easy to set up at your own house. This is just some PVC with holes drilled in it so you can pour the water in the funnel and watch it come out the holes. One of the coolest things about HSC's conference is all the ideas it gives you for your own projects.



While we were up in Sacramento we stopped by Castle Rock Farm, and it was pretty cool. The lady running it, Sarah, was really nice, and she had maybe 60 Nigerian dwarf goats, and they were all very friendly. This is a baby goat born last February. We bought some amazing goat milk from them, it didn't taste like goat at all. When you get it fresh, apparently, it's a whole different milk.



I know, I know, one goat picture just isn't enough, so here's another goat shot to keep everybody happy. Sarah had put so much work into training the goats to be friendly and not eat your clothing, it was so cool to be able to let the kids wander among all these goats with no problems.



Those baby chicks grow up fast. No eggs yet, but soon. Right after I took the picture, the chicken leaned over and pecked Amelie on her tooth!



I was scrambling before HSC to finish the chicken run so we'd be able to leave the chickens without too much maintenance for Naomi's mom, who was house-sitting for us. It came out great, I have to say, and the chickens have plenty of space even though they're enclosed. We also let them out in the yard, though.



This is our solar-powered chicken-coop. We have an automatic door opener that lets the chickens out at sunrise and closes at sunset, and the solar panel charges the battery that runs the motor. It's pretty slick, I have to say. If you don't let them out, they get pretty noisy, but with this setup, the chickens are very quiet. The whole floor of the coop is a tray that slides out for easy cleaning, too. I built this by looking at a ton of other people's chicken-coops at They are a great resource if you want to keep chickens.



Working at the lemonade stand can be tough, but the umbrella helps. I think Desmond was paid in lemonade, though.



Desmond is really enjoying dressing up in the girl's clothes, so here's this month's glamour shot. Until next month, stay cool!



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