Posts Tagged ‘dinosaurs’

Hello gentle readers!  If you are still out there!  Sorry for neglecting the virtual world but have been busily involved in the real world.  I have given myself a boo-boo in the upper right quadrant of my back so this will be a short hello.

We took  the boys to see Jurassic Park on Friday.  It was just as good as it was on opening night 20 years ago.  They brought some of their JP dinosaur toys.  The theater had new seats and they were so comfy-recliners for everyone!  I want them for my living room.  The boys were simply in awe.  The 3D has come such a long way compared to the cardboard glasses with the blue and red plastic pieces of junk that I saw Jaws 3D with so many years ago.  That had been the last one I had seen…partly because of how crappy it was!

Then at home we watched Lost World.  And Ultimate Dinosaur Collection.  It was a very dinosaur-filled weekend.

The boys go back to school tomorrow.  There is great sadness in the house tonight.  But I reminded them that the end of spring break means summer break is just round the corner!  I can’t wait for summer.  Hopefully we’ll take some lovely day trips and go to the lake on Fridays.  Just a calm summer-which will end with the boys at camp…together…for a week!  They’re each going twice this summer but one of the weeks is together.  I can’t even imagine this house without them in it.  What will Hubby and I do?

Well, back to Wallander.  And more ice on my shoulder.

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As tomorrow is Sir Kenneth Branagh’s birthday, well, today if we’re going by his time, I share a joke that younger son made up on Friday morning.  Dead Again was on the telly while we were getting ready for school.  Younger son came up to me and asked “What’s a character in an ocean movie?”  I knew to ask “who” since both sons are on a making-up-jokes-kick right now.  The answer: Kenneth Piranha.  I think that was quite a good joke for a seven year old.  It was particularly good for a boy who still attends speech to learn to pronounce the letter r (like his mother did when she was a wee one).

Nevertheless, older son shot back with the following.  “No, it would be ‘What’s a character in a fresh water movie?’ because piranhas don’t live in salt water.  They live in fresh water.”  I tried to tell him that it is uncouth to correct a joke for scientific inaccuracies and that he can just let it ride.  He explained that wasn’t in his nature.  I do love the clarity each son possesses about their personalities.

Younger son is truly blossoming and forging his own path, distinct from his brother’s path.  It takes time for a younger one to realize he does not have to always do what the older sibling does.  We try to support the different areas that younger son has shown an interest in over the years.  He too likes dinosaurs, but kept away from them for a bit.  He finally asked if he was allowed to like and study dinosaurs too.  In hindsight, older son probably told younger son he couldn’t like dinosaurs because he had already claimed them.  They claim toys, why wouldn’t they claim areas of study?

I am very proud of my sons for all they do, but this weekend they also demonstrated keen abilities with Kenneth Branagh movies as well.  These films just happened to be on cable, I swear.  Younger son knew it was Love’s Labour’s Lost.  Older son realized that Nathan Lane (one of the actors in LLL) was the voice of Timon in The Lion King. Older son recognized Matthew Lillard as Shaggy.  Then as I watched Music & Lyrics (love that movie), they recognized Campbell Scott as “Doug” from Dead Again.

Yup…we’re making sure they have plenty of useless film and movie knowledge just like their parents.


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Youngest son enjoyed his day with Daddy.  They took G’Pop to the doctor’s office and had lunch at Friendly’s.  Then they went to the office that Daddy works at on Thursday afternoons.  He had a fun day and played with one of the patient’s boys.  Youngest son seemed to enjoy having Daddy to himself and having full control without oldest son around.

Meanwhile, at a campus not far away, oldest son had a wonderful day with Mommy.

He attended several “classes” including desktop publishing and radio/television but his favorite was the one taught by a paleontologist on how to dig up a dinosaur.  I’ve never seen oldest son so attentive.  He had his hands folded on the table, raised his hand, and didn’t complain when he didn’t get called on to answer.  He also got one question incorrect, but handled it in stride.

The professor was wonderful and oldest son was completely engaged.  As the professor unpacked his backpack, oldest son squirmed with excitement when the field guide was pulled out.  He took his own field guide out of his backpack.  I was very proud of him.  He was in his element and felt so accomplished to be able to answer all of the questions, yet he gave others a chance too.

There was a large fossil of a Coelophysis and the professor asked if anyone knew about the dinosaur.  Oldest son raised his hand and then shared that it was believed to be similar to a Velociraptor in size and behavior, it was bipedal, it was from the late Triassic, and it’s name means “hollow form”.  Several parents commented that he really knew his stuff and the professor was very gracious in allowing oldest son to share so much of his knowledge.

Oldest son wore his paleontologist outfit-khakis, shirt, vest.  It was the same outfit the professor was wearing.

I think that it was an awesome day for him, except for the discovery that most fossils are replicas.  He had a hard time  adjusting to the fossils being replicas, or not real.  But the professor explained how expensive actual fossils are to purchase.  Sue, the T-Rex, sold for $8,000,000.  I explained that we don’t have that kind of dough lying around.  I hope he finds a way to resolve this for himself.  I can’t do it for him.  I wish I could.

Oldest son seems to have taken a big step forward toward his goal of being a paleontologist.  Youngest son took a big step toward his independence without oldest son around to boss him.  Happy day!

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Yep, ringworm.  The boo boo on my youngest son’s forehead is ringworm.  Yuck.  I kissed a fungus. I won’t even eat mushrooms!   The nurse’s office called me this morning.  She heard the concern in my voice and instantly calmed me by saying it was nothing serious, both boys are fine, except did I know the first grader had ringworm?  She seemed somewhat impressed that he reported I had been putting an antibiotic on it.  Pretty good for a six-year-old who typically only half listens to me.  So I took a wee break at work and got the anti-fungal cream and some hypo-allergenic band-aids.  I had put a band-aid on his little forehead the other day and he broke out where the adhesive had been.  I hope this band-aid is gentler on his little fungal infected skin.

I’ve been asking him for about a week how he got the almost perfectly round boo boo.  He stuck to his story that he and some friends were banging their heads against each other during recess.  Yes, I’m sure we could discuss that past-time for hours, but stick to the fungus.  I didn’t believe a perfect little round circle could be formed from banging heads.  Objects in the house began to stick out.  “Did you stick a Nerf dart to your forehead?”  No was the reply.  “Did you wet a marker cap and then stick it on your forehead creating suction and then pop it off to hear the noise?”  Nope he replied.  His older brother offered up the possibility of sticking a popper on his forehead, but that theory was rejected as well.  I really thought it was the Nerf dart.  Same size as the circle, a perfect match.  Alas, it was not a Nerf dart.

Where did he pick this up, I wondered.  The nurse offered up some possibilities.  Dirt.  Well, there’s the most likely answer.  With this wonderfully mild winter the boys have played outside almost every day, including digging  in the back yard and playing in the “lake” otherwise known as the kiddie pool.  They create exciting and mysterious environments in that.  They then rescue dinosaurs and Ian Malcolm from it. Who knows what is living in there.

The worst part of this whole affair?  The creepy itchy feeling I have had all day since 9:25am when the nurse called.  Uber heebie-jeebies.  The world’s most sustainable traveling itch.  And I kissed it!  I feel like Lucy when she kissed Snoopy.   The pharmacist said there was little to no issue with the fact that I kissed this particular fungus.  I will try not to obsess about it otherwise my mouth will start to itch too.  Obviously, this is not the worst part of it…my sweet little baby being attacked by a fungus is the worst part, but it’s still pretty bad.  This will not mark the end of kissing boo boos, but yech…I kissed it.

This will also not mark the end of fungal infections for my sons.  Oh, no, this is simply the beginning.  Yuck.


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What a wonderful day in Philly.  The boys loved the Franklin Institute.  The dinosaur exhibit was really great.  The promo stuff for the exhibit said you would learn about dinosaurs you never knew about.  Well, not so much.  I think there were two skeletons the boys didn’t know.  The others…not so new.  The boys enjoyed digging in the excavation pit and finding fossils.  They loved seeing the full-sized dinosaur fossils and hearing the sounds.  They loved seeing the Giganotosaurus.

There was a table with a Velociraptor skull, a T-Rex tooth, and some other fossils.  There was a volunteer there to explain the items.  The boys had a lovely conversation with her before going to the pit to dig.  After they walked away, she asked me what grade they were in and I told her third and first.  She then said how very impressed she was with them.  She said they were very knowledgeable for being so young. Made the mama proud.

As we were leaving the exhibit, an employee explained that there was no re-entry.  I asked the boys if there was anything they wanted to see again and our oldest said he wanted to see the Giganotosaurus again.  The boys ran off and the employees said they couldn’t believe how easily he said the word Giganotosaurus, “it rolled off the tongue”.  I can’t even say it easily.  They really do love dinosaurs and have learned so much about them.  It’s amazing how much they know.  It truly blows me away.

We saw the movie “Waking the T-Rex”.  The narration included the story of Sue, the most intact T-Rex skeleton found, and a lot of information about the process of a dig.  Our oldest was giddy watching it and learning behind the scenes stuff about digs.  I enjoyed learning about the process.  Even on film, it’s quite a rush, as the one paleontologist said.

The boys loved the other exhibits as well.  The heart was a little bit scary the first time they went through it, but by the tenth time they were simply being giant goofballs.  They liked the trains, the electricity (except for the shocks!), the space command, and the building itself.  They both thought the building was just a little bit creepy, as many old buildings are.  It is such a beautiful architecture.  I love the pendulum staircase and the Escher-esque stairs.

It was truly a beautiful day with my family.

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We’re going on a family field trip tomorrow.  The boys don’t know it, but they will not be going to school tomorrow.  We’re going to the Franklin Institute to see the dinosaurs.  Last year we wanted to take them to the Museum of Natural History in NYC, but whenever we tried to go, there was a blizzard.  So I checked the Farmer’s Almanac to pick the date for the Franklin Institute trip-clear skies for the two days before and after, with mild temps on the day of the trip.  Yet tonight there was snow.  Okay, not actually here, but on the east coast.  I find it interesting that we have the power to make it snow by planning a trip to a museum.  It is an awesome power.

The dino exhibit should be pretty awesome too.  According to the Franklin Institute website, the guy who owns the exhibit was an advisor on Jurassic Park.  The boys will probably be impressed with that.  The info says you will learn about dinosaurs you never knew but I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys will have heard of them.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up the boys and get them ready for school.  Then when it’s time to go, I’ll make the call that they won’t be in school.  Then they’ll find out where they are going.  I hope their reaction is a positive one.  If they are blasé about it, I may have to weep.  But even if they are blasé about it, I’m totally stoked.  First, a whole day with my family…on a Tuesday.  Second, a whole day not at work…on a Tuesday.  It’s just lovely to shake up the schedule every so often.

It will also be nice to have a break from Pokemon.  My oldest asked me to battle tonight.  Now I explained to them a week or so ago that while I support their interest in it, I have no interest in it.  I am interested in everything they do, but I don’t have to do everything they are interested in doing.  Still, he asked me to battle.  I tried.  I don’t get it.  He even asked me at one point if I was even interested in battling and I told him no, but I was trying.  According to him, I won.  He could have told me I lost after the first round and I wouldn’t have known it.  The one thing I will compliment is the math review that happens in Pokemon battles.  But tomorrow, there will be dinosaurs.

I love museums.  They are filled with knowledge and open to interpretation.  They have a relaxing atmosphere, like a library.  I love to watch the looks on the boys’ faces as they explore in a museum.  Tomorrow is going to be a swell day.

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I suppose by now we meet every few months to have a quick lunch.  This day would involve a lot of discussion about my sons.  They are addicted to Walking with Monsters, Walking with Dinosaurs, and Allosaurus, all narrated by Kenny.  They sit and mimic some of the narration, echoing Kenny’s beautiful voice.  My husband thinks I pushed these DVDs on our sons just to listen to his voice all the time.  It’s actually simply a lovely benefit of choosing a BBC series.

The boys love the BBC commercial during the previews the same as their mother.  They especially like the part about if you “stole” whatever you are watching then we should take a few minutes to think about your behavior.  They like the line about the accents and hearing things pronounced correctly.

Which leads to one topic during this lunch.  Our oldest yelled at the television when he heard how Kenneth pronounced Ankylosaurus.  He pronounced the “y” as a long “i” and that riled up our eight year old.  He shouted “It’s Ankylosaurus (pronouncing the y as a short “i”)!  How can you not know that?”  I have to side with my son on this one.  Traditionally speaking, at least with dinosaur names, the “y” is pronounced as a short “i”.  In Kenneth’s defense, I explained to my sons that there were probably paleontology experts there advising him or that it could be because of the British thing.  Ironically, Kenneth pronounced the “y” in “dynasties” as a short “i”.  Go figure.

His narration creates a particularly emotional tone  in Allosaurus.  My eyes have filled with tears several times watching the story of Big Al unfold.  You watch this adorable predator’s life from egg to death and Ken’s voice makes you invest in this dinosaur.  The films are an amazing series.  You should watch it if you haven’t yet seen it.  The images are stunning, the writing is solid, and the music is  beautiful.  Add to that Kenneth’s beautiful voice and you’ve got several hours of educational wonder.

The emotional responses evoked from my sons as they watch these films is classic.  They say “aw” when the little baby dinosaurs hatch and waddle into the forest.  They laugh when he talks about the amount of gas produced by the sauropods.  They are now desperate to learn the metric system to understand the measurements being given about the creatures.  They get angry when the fates of various creatures are described by Kenneth.  They call out the names of the dinosaurs as they appear on the screen.

While I don’t get to gaze upon Kenneth during these films, his lilting, smooth voice fills the house day after day.  I’d have to thank him for all my sons have learned about the monsters and dinosaurs, the art of speaking eloquently, and for all the ways to use dung in a sentence.  I have to say, I’d have paid extra if just once Kenneth could have called it poo.

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There are many goals I set for this winter break, as I have the three previous years since starting at my job.  I have even accomplished some of those goals.  Yet today I have thrown motivation to the wind for a marathon of Cartoon Network with my sons.  We watched Scooby Doo and the Legend of the Phantosaur.  Now however they are watching the Amazing World of Gumball and it makes me physically sick.  I owe my sons thanks for helping me rediscover my motivation for my little goals.

Today’s goals are to clean my bedroom and paint the Brachiosaurus on the boys’ wall.  It’s been sketched on the wall for months.  Paint colors are chosen.  Just need to paint it.  The bedroom is another story.  It has become the dumping ground for things I don’t know what to do with.  I now need to grab a garbage bag and be “mean” about whether or not the items are actually important enough to save and find a home for.  The only good thing about letting these piles sit for months at a time is that when I finally do get to them, most of the stuff has become moot simply because of the passage of time.

The best thing on a personal level is not starting any new projects this week.  That’s one of my big problems.  I have thirty projects half finished and rather than finish even a few, I start twenty more.  Yes, starting a project feels great-an easy step forward showing clear progress, but I am focusing instead on the completion of projects to feel that sense of progress.  I will clean the bedroom, the shark room, and finish the two bathrooms before next Monday.  And now that anyone who reads this knows I’ve set these goals, you can check me on my progress and give me a good kick in the virtual butt if I get lazy.

One compliment to Amazing World of Gumball…nice use of the word “wretched”.  I told my sons they could use that word.

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Our sons have been resisting a certain fast-food chain in exchange for $10 a week to spend on Jurassic Park toys on ebay.  They went two weeks the first time and then went three weeks the second time.  Today was the end of the three weeks.  Onto ebay we went to search for a command compound.  Well, we found a lot of 60 JP toys for a reasonable amount that to them seemed huge.  The boys wished we had that much money hanging around.

So, we grasped the teachable moment.  We told them together they had $60.  That left quite a balance.  We had a long family discussion about their options from the Bank of Mom & Dad.  We explained what credit is, the conditions of repayment, and what happens if they don’t pay it back.  The two boys deliberated, asked what types of chores would be involved as Jurassic Park chores, and discussed it back and forth for a long time (for an eight and six year old).

They decided to buy on credit from the Bank of Mom & Dad.

They shook on the deal.

They stood on either side of me as I clicked “Buy It Now.”

They cheered!

They are now the proud owners of 6 JP vehicles, 3 T-rexes, about 20 dinosaurs (many with sounds or actions), about 20 action figures, a motorcycle, a fence compound with classic JP gates, and a Chaos Effect mobile command center.  They each grabbed a juice box and toasted their investment.  Then, being young boys, they began divvying up the toys.

They are now in bed, having difficulty falling asleep because it feels quite a bit like Christmas…except they paid for the toys.  The older son came out to ask if he could read a story to his brother to help him fall asleep.  He grabbed the big blue book (it’s a big thick book of children’s literature…same one I had growing up…a gift from my mom).   As I eavesdropped on the reading, I heard  “Night Before Christmas” being read.

Their Jurassic Park room just got a lot of cool accessories.  And we hopefully taught them a little something about managing their money and responsibility.

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My eight year old has been a paleontologist since he was about four.  Even more impressive is that he could spell paleontologist since that time as well.  He knows dinosaurs like the back of his hand.  The bedroom is painted with dinosaurs.  So far Mommy-artist has finished the t-rex, volcano, and velociraptor.  The Brachiosaurus has been sketched onto the wall but not painted.  That is a great project for this weekend, just a little note to self.  The other bedroom, which is more of a playroom, has the shark from Jaws and other sea creatures painted on the walls.  Neither room is ever very tidy.

But yesterday when I came home from work the boys proudly showed me they had made their bed and kept the dino room clean all day.  How?  Why?  They got new bedding as an early Christmas gift.  Dinosaur bedding.

Honestly, I think I was more excited than them at first.  I have looked for dinosaur bedding for several years and had only found “baby” or “toddler” stuff, nothing that was “grown up” enough.  This bedding has great dinosaurs, dinosaur tracks on the sheets, and neat stripes on the other side of the reversible comforter.  It looks great with the existing colors of the bedroom, including the curtains (What, the curtains?).   They feel very grown up with their new bedding and triceratops LED night-light.  Who knew it would help motivate them to keep their room tidy?

They also have been enjoying a dvd about dinosaurs that they keep watching over and over again.  But I don’t mind.  It’s narrated by Kenneth Branagh.

My little dinosaur hunters are becoming quite the big boys.

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