Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dave the "Barber"

Dave cut Zachary's hair, or I should say attempted to cut Zachary's hair, when he was a baby and it didn't go so well. So, even though Dave cuts his own hair, I haven't trusted him to cut Zachary's again until tonight. Zachary desperately needed a haircut and Dave leaves tomorrow for Pensacola and I didn't want to have to take him to the barber shop. He actually did a pretty good job. I think Zachary was a little nervous at first and all the hair tickled and itched him but he seemed pretty pleased with the results.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

St. Peter's by the Sea Lobster Fest and More!

Today was a fun day! Even though it was rainy and gloomy we had fun going to the St. Peter's by the Sea Lobster Fest in Swansboro. We each had a delicious lobster dinner with a whole lobster, baked potato, slaw, role and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Grace and Zachary had never had lobster before and they enjoyed it, Zachary more than Grace. Dave and I had to crack them and get the meat out for them and then they ate it. Zachary ate his whole lobster and Grace only ate part of hers. But it didn't go to waste! Of course Dave and I finished what she didn't eat. After we ate, they played a few carnival games and each won a little prize. They had planned on having pony rides and jump houses and more games for the kids but the rain put a damper on things.

After the Lobster Fest we went to Christina's Collectibles, a shop of fine wines, vintage inspired gifts, gift baskets and more. This is such a neat little shop with something for everyone! We browsed there for a bit and after purchasing a few things, we went next door to another neat little shop, Harrika's Brew Haus. This is one of Eastern North Carolina's hidden treasures according to the Beer Advocate. There are 36 varieties of tea to choose from, over 200 varieties of Craft Beers, 40 different cold beers served, gourmet foods and eclectic gifts. There is even a patio and garden area out back where you can sit, relax and enjoy a brew or a cup of tea. Dave was very excited to see the huge selection of German beers that were available. What a fun and relaxing day!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Uppercase Living

Have you ever heard of Uppercase Living? It is decorative lettering and embellishments sold through in-home parties, called Open Houses. These expressions can be applied quickly and easily to walls, tiles, wood blocks, and other meaningful places, without enlisting the help of a professional decorator and they can transform your room in minutes. I went to a friend's Open House at the end of August and got a couple of things and this is one of them. I put it above the sink in the kitchen and I love it!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hammocks Beach State Park Field Trip

Grace is on the Turtle Team at school and two of the Turtle Team classes went on a field trip today to Hammocks Beach State Park . The Hammocks Beach park staff participates in a sea turtle monitoring program regulated by the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission. From June to August, the beaches are patrolled nightly as the staff gathers the necessary data. Soft red lights, which the turtles cannot see, are used instead of harsh, bright ones so the animals are not disturbed. The turtles are then tagged and nests are marked and covered with a wire screen for protection from predators. Hatched nests are inventoried to determine a hatching percentage. All information obtained provides a database to justify specific conservation laws.

When we first got there, one of the park rangers gave a great presentation on the different sea turtles and how they feed, nest, hatch and survive. The kids were great and were able to answer so many of her questions. Out of eight types of sea turtles found in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, five kinds may be found off the coast of North Carolina - the Leatherback, Atlantic Ridley, Green Turtle, Hawksbill and the Loggerhead.

After the presentation and looking around in the museum, we took a ferry over to Bear Island which is located between Bear and Bogue inlets and forms the major part of Hammocks Beach State Park. This barrier island is unique for its location, size and lack of development. It contains over three and a half miles of unspoiled beach. It is this characteristic that makes Bear Island an ideal nesting beach, especially for the loggerhead sea turtle.

Loggerhead sea turtles have an average shell length of three feet and weigh about 300 pounds. Loggerheads can be found in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean. The nesting beaches of the loggerhead are usually outside the tropics. In the United States, the nesting range extends from North Carolina to Florida. The coastline of Hammocks Beach State Park is a popular nesting beach for the loggerhead sea turtle from late May until August. Between sunset and sunrise, the female will crawl ashore to locate a suitable nesting site. After digging a shallow body pit, she will use her hind flippers to hollow out a pear-shaped egg chamber in the sand. The turtle will then deposit an average of 120 leathery, white eggs - similar in shape to a ping-pong ball. While she is nesting, tears can be seen streaming from her eyes. it was one believed this was from the pain of laying numerous eggs or the sadness of leaving offspring behind. It actually is a process the turtle uses to rid herself of excess salt. When the last egg drops into the nest, the female will use her flippers to throw sand over them. This protects the eggs and hides them from predators. The female then crawls back into the ocean, never to return to that nest. She will, however, return to the beach to nest again, as many as four times in one nesting season.

The sun-warmed sand incubates the eggs for approximately 60 days. After breaking out of the eggs, the hatchlings emerge from the nest. During the cooler temperatures, after sunset, the hatchlings, will dig out of the nest in a combined effort. Although the hatching at night decreases the chance of birds swooping down to catch the young turtles, hungry ghost crabs are abundant. Guided by the white of the crashing waves, the turtles crawl towards the ocean. Once there, the baby hatchlings enter the stage of their lives referred to as the "lost years" because it is not known exactly where they go for the next one to three years. It is believed they store energy and swim for several days until reaching large floating mats of sargassum, seaweed from the Sargasso Sea, which carries them away. As the turtles mature, they migrate to feeding grounds - from shallow coastal waters to oceanic depths of 60 meters. The loggerhead sea turtle can live up to 100 years.

After the ferry ride, it was about a 15 minute walk to actually get down to the beach where we walked along the shore looking for sand dollars and seashells. On the ferry ride back, the park ranger asked the kids different questions and gave them each a beautiful unique sea shell to those who answered correctly. Grace won a sea shell called the shark's eye by answering the question "what color can turtles not see" and the answer was red. When we got back to the main building, we had a picnic lunch and headed back to school.

What a great field trip! Thanks Mrs. Snyder!

Mrs. Snyder and her class

Maria, Carly, Grace and Katie

Carly, Katie and Grace

Grace's class has been studying storms and hurricanes in science.

Grace, Carly and Carly's Mom, Erin on the ferry

One of the students found some sea weed so they all felt and smelled it and Mrs. Snyder got it to bring back to class.

Mrs. Snyder and Grace

Grace with her Shark's Eye shell that she won

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First Splinter

Five years old and Zachary got his first splinter and it was a big one. Had he not been peeking underneath the bathroom door, he wouldn't have gotten it but he was and he did. Luckily, I had my tweezers out at the beach and was able to get it without hurting him too much.

Another Day at the Beach

After it rained almost all day yesterday, all night last night and most of the morning, the sky finally began to clear and go from gray to blue and the sun came out. Grace and Zachary were dying to get outside so we changed into our swimsuits and headed to beach where we spent pretty much the entire day. It was great! We practically had the beach to ourselves and it was so relaxing. Dave worked through lunch so he could leave early and join us. He got out here around 2:00 and we all spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. It was a great way to end our little spur of the moment beach get-away.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beach Get-Away

Yesterday when we were at the beach, we stopped in at the reservations office to reserve a beach cabin for whenever one might be available. It just so happened that there had been a cancellation and there was a place available this week. We went ahead and rented it for 3 nights and the kids and I came out this afternoon after school. Grace and Zachary couldn't wait to walk over to the beach so as soon as we got everything unloaded and the groceries put away, we walked across the street and hung out on the beach for a couple of hours. They had a great time just running around and playing in the sand and hunting for seashells. Dave finally got out here around 7:30 p.m. and the kids were so excited to see him and couldn't wait to give him a tour of the place and tell him all about their afternoon at the beach.