Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last post of 2012?

Hi all. Bethany here. We've been posting a ton this month. With the excitement of Christmas and all, I guess we've had a lot to talk about.
It's hard to believe it's already been a whole year since I joined the family. Time sure flies. My first real Christmas here was awesome even if there wasn't any snow. There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when you wake up on Christmas morning. We got gifts, sang Christmas carols on a brisk trail ride outside, watched Christmas movies, sipped hot chocolate with marshmallows, ate pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and stayed up super late reinacting our own version of Annie. I never wanted the day to end.
Mom took a couple of pictures of us by the downstairs tree. It's a huge Douglas Fir that smells wonderful.



And a group shot with the pups:

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Little Late

Hi from Julie.

We got our first real snow of the year... late in the day on December 26. Oh, weather, why must you taunt us? There are about 3 inches of the white stuff on the ground now. When we saddled up the horses and took them outside, Dune wasn't so sure about walking in it - it's the first time she's had to deal with deep snow. But when she saw the other horses and the dogs having fun in it, she decided it was okay. 

Things have been much quieter here the last couple of days now that the busyness of Christmas is over. Soon we will be posting photos of us in our new outfits. I really scored big this year, for some reason. =^) 

Here is a cute comic to look at in the meantime.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25

Merry Christmas!

Some of Mom's presents were doll clothes! More will be posted once we've taken pictures of us modeling them.

Enjoy these photos from our favorite Christmas movies. 

It's A Wonderful Life - Lily's favorite

A Muppet Christmas Carol - Bethany's favorite

The Santa Claus - Julie's favorite

A Christmas Story - Felicity's favorite

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve! Daffy Floppy-Feet here. Well, that's my name according to the Christmas Elf Name Generator. I was surfing the web for something fun and Christmasy to post about and stumbled across it.

In case you are wondering, 

Bethany is now Peppermiz Bubba-Louie,
Julie has become Lucky Twinkle-Toes,
- and - 
please call Lily Wacky Tum-Tums from now on.

Here is the link in case you want to find out your Christmas elf name. <Link>

Boy, where did the time go? Christmas is almost here! We're supposed to get snow on Dec. 26, but zilch today or on Christmas. How lame is that?

I'd better go. Wacky is picking out our clothes for tomorrow, and I'd better get over there before she picks out a skirt and tights for me again. It may already be too late. *Sighs* 

After everybody's asleep tonight, the four of us are going to sneak upstairs to check out the presents for Mom under the tree. We're not going to open them, just scope out ones that look the right size for being AG clothes boxes. It's tradition. ;^) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter and Narwhals

Well, Felicity, we're still here. So much for the 12/21/12 apocalypse. ;-)

It's the shortest day of the year today, but luckily the days will be getting longer instead of shorter from now until June. It's also the first day of winter! We even got a little bit of slushy snow overnight to get us in the wintery mood.

Unfortunately, there's no more snow on the horizon, so we're almost guaranteed a green Christmas this year. Oh well. Like Mom says, green is a Christmas color too. This December has been such a mild one so far. The 3 times it's "snowed," it's been such a pathetic amount and the ground's still warm enough that it pretty much melts before the day's end. This evening we still have a little on the grass, but like it's really still going to be there by Christmas.

We are on Christmas break! No more school until 2013. I never posted about my arctic animal report before I presented it. I was holding off for last for dramatic effect. My arctic animal was... *drumroll please*

... the narwhal. Get ready for some narwhal fun facts!

* Narwhals are medium-sized toothed whales nicknamed "the unicorns of the sea" because of their spiralling tusks. During medieval times, narwhal tusks that washed ashore were thought to be unicorn horns.

* A narwhal tusk is actually a tooth that grows through the narwhal's upper lip. The tusks are hollow and relatively light, and they continue to grow throughout the whale's life.

* Female sometimes (but not always) grow a tusk, but males' tusks are bigger and more spiralled - up to 8.8 feet in length! Scientist don't know for sure what purpose the tusks serve. Occasionally, both males and females have been known to grow two tusks.

tuskless female

middle narwhal has 2 tusks

* The word narwhal comes from the Old Norse word nár, which means "corpse." This is because adult narwhals have grayish, mottled-looking skin (sort of like the corpse of a drowned person - yuck!)

* Adult narwhals are 13-20 feet long and weigh around 3,500 pounds. This is how big a typical narwhal is compared to a school bus:

* A newborn narwhal calf is about 5 feet long and weighs between 175 and 220 pounds. Calves start out gray-brown in color but grow more and more mottled with white as they age until they are quite pale.

* Narwhals have been known to live up to 50 years.

* Narwhals are some of the deepest diving mammals. They can dive up to 1500 meters deep and can hold their breath for up to 25 minutes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Polar Bears

Next week at this time it will be Christmas!!! I can hardly wait! We only have half a day of school after today, and then we will be done with school until next year! Tomorrow morning we are presenting our reports on arctic animals. 

My arctic animal is the polar bear! Here's a preview of some of the fun facts from my report.

~ Polar bears have black skin.

~ Polar bears are excellent swimmers and have been spotted swimming 50 miles from land or ice. Their blubber not only helps keep them warm but also helps them float. Their average swimming speed is 6 mph.

~ Polar bears have a dense undercoat and longer guard hairs to insulate them. Their fur is not actually white. Each hair is transparent with a hollow core, which reflects light a lot like snow and ice do.

~ When clean and in sunlight after their spring/summer molting period, polar bears look their whitest. Before they molt, the oils in the seals they eat can make them look yellowish. 

a bear before molting

a bear after molting
~ In the warmer climates of zoos, polar bears sometimes turn greenish because colonies of algae grow in their hollow hairs. This doesn't hurt the polar bear, but it looks funny.

~ Polar bear footpads are covered with small bumps called papillae to give them traction on ice.

~ Polar bears are the largest bear species. On all fours, adults stand between 3.5 and 5 feet tall. Adult females typically weigh between 330 - 650 lbs, while adult males typically weigh between 775 - 1,200 lbs. Standing on their hind legs, adult males can often reach heights of 10 feet!

~ Mother polar bears have twin cubs most often, but sometimes they have singlets or triplets.




~ Newborn cubs are blind and toothless and only weigh about a pound. 

This Week's Forecast

Here is this week's weather forecast.

This would've been better if I'd seen it on Sunday, but it's still pretty funny in a cryptic/sarcastic kind of way. (For anyone out there who doesn't know, some people think the Mayan calendar predicts that the world will end on Friday, 12/21/2012.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12... again

Hey everyone!

It's 12:12 pm on 12/12/12! Whoo hoo!

Enjoy this dino in honor of this momentous occasion!


It's 12/12/12! What a day!

I see that Julie posted about reindeer yesterday. The arctic animal I'm researching is the arctic fox. They are pretty cool animals too. Here are some fun facts about them:

+ Like all foxes, arctic foxes are members of the family Canidae, which includes dogs, wolves, coyotes, and jackals.

+ Arctic foxes are the only members of the Canidae family to have fur that turns color seasonally. Their thick winter coat is white or near white. Their summer coat is various shades of blue-gray or gray-brown.

Winter coat:


Summer coat:

+ Arctic foxes' winter coat is the warmest of any mammal in the world. Their rounded bodies, short snouts, small ears, and short legs are all adaptations to minimize heat loss. They don't start shivering unless the temperature drops below about -90 degrees Fahrenheit!

+ The dens arctic foxes live in often are quite complex with multiple entrances.

+ When arctic foxes lay down to sleep, they curl their bushy tails around themselves like fuzzy blankets.

+ Arctic foxes' hearing is so good that they can pinpoint faint noises of prey buried in the snow. They then pounce on the prey to break the snow layer and hopefully catch it.

+ Kits (baby arctic foxes) are blue-gray or gray-brown when they are born. Normally kits are born in litters of 5-7, but litters as big as 25 have been recorded.

+ The lagopus part of arctic foxes' scientific name, Alopex lagopus, means "rabbit footed." This makes sense, since arctic fox paws grow dense fur in winter to give them traction on ice. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Snow and Reindeer

Julie here. It's snowing! It's not technically the first snow of the year, but it is the first time snow has stuck to both the grass and the pavement. I'm hoping it will still be around after school so that we can go horseback riding in it. 

The snowglobe conditions outside make it seem more believable that Christmas is only 2 weeks away. We are all getting excited, especially Bethany, since it will be her first Christmas Eve and Christmas morning here. 

For science class, each of us is researching a different arctic animal. I'm researching reindeer, and I thought I would share some interesting reindeer facts with you.

- In North America, reindeer are called caribou.

- The word "reindeer" comes from the Old Norse word "hreinin," meaning "horned animal." The word "caribou" is based on the French word for "snow-shoveler."

- Reindeer's double-layer coats are such effective insulators that when they lay in the snow, the snow doesn't even melt.

- Reindeer are the only species of deer that have been widely domesticated, though there are still large populations of wild reindeer.

- Reindeer are strong swimmers.

- In most reindeer populations, both male and female reindeer grow antlers (males grow bigger ones). Reindeer are the only species of deer in which females grow antlers.

- Mature male reindeer shed their antlers in early December. In my mind, that means one of the following: 
1. Santa replaces his reindeer sled team with young males every year
2. Santa's reindeer team is female
3. Santa's reindeer team is made up of males wearing fake antlers
4. Something about the magic that makes Santa's male reindeer fly also keeps them from losing their antlers 
* I like to think it's #2 :)

- Northern populations of reindeer tend to be smaller and whiter in color, while southern populations tend to be bigger and darker in color.

- Reindeer footpads adapt to changing seasons. In summer when the tundra is soft and wet, they become sponge-like to give the reindeer extra traction. In winter when the tundra is hard and icy, the footpads shrink and tighten to expose the hoof rim, which allows the deer to dig through snow and helps keep the deer from slipping.

- Scientists think that reindeer are one of the only mammals that can see ultraviolet light. 

And now for pictures of some of the reindeer subspecies.

Tundra Reindeer:

Barren-ground caribou (NW Canada, W Greenland)

Mountain reindeer (Arctic tundra of Eurasia)

Peary caribou (NW Canada and the Nunavut Islands)

Porcupine caribou (Alaska, the Yukon, and NW Canada)

Svalbard reindeer (Svalbard islands of Norway)
Woodland Reindeer:
Finnish forest reindeer (Finland and NW Russia)

Migratory woodland caribou (boreal forests of Canada and far northern contiguous US - not Alaska)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Wrapping Paper Test

Lily here. It's December, and we're really starting to get excited for Christmas. The 4 of us took The Wrapping Paper Test, a online personality quiz thingy. It shows you these 9 wrapping papers and tells you to choose your favorite. 

Here's what our favorites supposedly say about us:


You Are Merry and Spontaneous

You approach the holidays with joy and playfulness.
You refuse to let the holidays be stressful. They should only be about fun.

The holidays truly make you feel like a kid again.
And you believe it's your job to make everyone else feel like a kid too!

Of all the types, you're the most likely to give someone a gift early... because you can't wait.
You're also the most likely to wrap your presents quickly - or not at all. 


You Are Considerate and Mature

You approach the holidays with responsibility and cooperation.
You'll do your part to make sure that everyone else has a happy holiday.

You aren't particularly picky or high maintenance during the holidays.
You're happy to be in the company of people you love, and you're willing to "go with the flow."

Of all the types, you are the most likely to give someone exactly what they want.
You're also the most likely to wrap all your presents well - to prevent peeking! 


You Are Peaceful and Appreciative

You approach the holidays with harmony and thoughtfulness.
You realize the holidays can be a hard time for some people, and you're there to lend your support.

Not only do you enjoy giving during the holidays, you enjoy receiving greetings, love, and gifts. 
You graciously appreciate every holiday gesture made in your honor.

Of all the types, you are the most likely to give a gift that's meaningful for you and the recipient. 
You're also the most likely to hand deliver as many of your gifts as possible. 

Me (Lily)

You Are Whimsical and Imaginative

You approach the holidays with creativity and imagination.
For you, it's yet another opportunity to express your glorious view of the world.

Whether you're decorating your house or baking cookies, you like everything to have your personal touch.
You do your best to make the holidays a unique and special time for everyone around you.

Of all the types, you are the most likely to give delightfully surprising and interesting gifts.
You're also the most likely to wrap your gifts in an quirky, beautiful way. 

Pretty cool, huh? To see what the other wrapping papers signify, check out the link: