Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whale Watching, or not.....

Lighthouse

This past Friday, we went to Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma to go whalewatching. It was quite windy, and as a result, many whitecaps, and we were unable to see any whales. However, it was well worth the visit for the view alone. We hiked up the hill to the lighthouse, from which there is a looking point that looks out over the ocean. And, what a view!!! Point Loma comes to a point, so you are able to see downtown San Diego framed by the Cuyamaca mountains, the Pacific ocean, Mexico to the south, the US Navy's Pacific fleet, the harbor, the lighthouse. Due to the winds, it was a very clear day, and you see very far. There is an exhibit area which highlights Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's discovery of the area, and we also saw a film about the migrating grey whales, which was very good. There's also a very nice gift shop, with many books and resources about the San Diego area, the whales, the plants, Cabrillo. My only wish was that we could have seen the whales, maybe next year!
Resting by the lighthouse Olivia looking through a prism

Friday, February 23, 2007

Burps, Vomit and Snot! Ewww!

Bad hair day
That should catch your eye!!!! Wednesday we went to the Ruben H Fleet Science Center in San Diego with our new friends, Amanda (from Growgreengrapes) and her daughter Lucy. The kids had a great time in the center exploring and learning about so many things. You really have to go more than once to experience all that they had there. Currently, they have the Grossology exhibit going on in which you learn about the different functions of the body often not talked about in an average science class! It displayed mucus, vomit, skin ailments, burping, all the things kids really want to know about in an interactive manner. There is also a great Kids Zone for the little ones. They have big buidling blocks, a grocery store, conveyer belts, little tikes pcs with fun games, telephone, airstream ways and balls. Olivia had a blast in there, and Violet enjoyed it too. Little Lucy and her baby cousin Lily had a great time too. Afterwards, we walked down the the Annie Liebovitz photo exhibit at the Museum of Art, which was quite interesting. I had a hard time viewing it with the kids, as they were pretty tired by then, so Amanda helped me out by watching the kids for a little while, while I went back in and took notes for my photography class. AL doesn't call herself a photo journalist, but she took some photos in Sarijevo that were very poignant and the one of massacre of Tutsi really affects you. I love the way that she photographs the many famous people that she did. She really knows how to capture the personality and mood of the person. I especially liked the one of Bill T Jones in a mid-air dance pose with a white backdrop outside in front of a silo shaped structure. I also enjoyed seeing the originals of Demi Moore, Mick Jagger, Brad Pitt and especially Johny Depp, oh, I wish I was Kate Moss in that one! (you have to see it to catch my meaning....) And I've always loved Barishnikov, so it was great to get to see the large version of the print of him being lifted in a pose by Besserer on the beach. We were lucky with the weather, it was sunny but cool, just perfect for a stroll through the park. I don't know why it's taken me a year to go down there, but now that we have, we will definately make it much sooner to visit there, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the San Diego area. There is also an IMAX theatre there that is currently showing Hurricane on the Bayou, and Coral Reef Adventure, of which we will have to check out next time!

Kids Zone Barf

Skin

More photos here

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Celebrating diversity through International Day

Violet's girl scout troop participated in International Day this week, by having the girls share about various countries. Violet shared about England. Her nana provided her with plenty of information about it, which included books about the royal family, coronation, jewels, history, jubilee, map and a Union Jack (flag). I thought it was so neat when we went over to my mom's house and Violet and she went through my mom's big chest of treasures, where nana told her the stories behind a lot of the things she had kept over the years. She often tells her stories about when she was a girl and what it was like during that time period. I love that they get to share those moments. My mom picked up this cute little "school girl" pinafore at a thrift store, and cleaned it and pressed it. She let Violet borrow her actual school tie from when she was a little girl. Violet did a great job of sharing about England and gave each of the girls an English pence and a scone. The other girls (and moms) also shared about other countries such as Africa, Italy, & Japan. The girls made passports and had them stamped at each country (table) that they visited, and got to enjoy foods from the other countries as well. They closed the meeting with this wonderful candle lighting ceremony in which they shared about celebrating diversity in our lives.

Update on Olivia:

She got her stitches out yesterday, and was so brave, and is doing great now!!!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?
We've been going to Big Bear Lake, CA every winter with our dear friends the Rank Family for the last several years. Violet and Hailey have been friends since birth and are about 4 months apart, and Olivia and Evan are also 4 months apart. I've been friends with their mom Tracy for 20 or so years and our husbands have become good friends as well. Unfortunately, this was the first year that we didn't get snow while we were there, and also our friends were not feeling too well. So we did a lot of relaxing at the cabin, while the kids played and I got to toy with my camera. Our family made it out to the nature center the first day that we were there and there was an animal tracking class for the kids to make a cast of various animal tracks, and learn how to recognize them. We also went on a short walk afterwards to see if we could find any tracks. The only tracks we found were little dogs and little kids! It was fun though. There are eagles that nest up there, and we were able to see a huge nest from a telescope at the Nature Center. They also had a great display of nests, hides, photos, and various items from the area. We later went into town and had some yummy treats at the candy shop and the girls got a couple of toys at the toy shop. Violet got some puppets, Olivia got a Melissa & Doug wood tool set. Once our friends arrived the kids put on a little puppet show with the puppets which were 2 princesses, a knight and a dragon. On the last day there, Violet, Dan, Hailey and Scott went to snowboarding school. Dan and Hailey did quite well, both taking a 2nd part of the class in the afternoon. Violet enjoyed it but said it was hard and prefers skiing instead. And Scott had to rest as he was still not feeling up to par. We had a great time, and were only sorry that our friends were not feeling better and look forward to doing it again next year! More photos here.Daddy bear and baby bear

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Our first trip to ER

Boo Boo
We always knew that Olivia would be the first child to the ER. Yesterday, at a Valentine's day party at the park, we were just ready to leave to come home, when Olivia fell on the playset and split her forehead open. It was pretty scary at first, when I saw all the blood, but motherly instincts quickly took over, and I picked her up, asked my friends for some ice, of which we didn't have any, but applied some paper towels which did stop the bleeding, and asked my friend Dawn to drive us to ER. I've always been the kind of person who felt faint just walking into a hospital. Just the smells alone can make me feel faint, and I would often have to sit with my head between my knees in order to make it through just a visit to a friend or family in the hospital. So, it is quite amazing that I was able to make it through this without once feeling faint. I guess once you're a mom, you just do what you need to do in order to take care of your child. Another friend drove Violet to ER, and another friend took our dog Bone home with her, who we had brought to the park with us. Olivia was such a brave, amazing little hero. She cried initially and a few times on the way there, but Dawn pulled out the books and kept her distracted while we waited in the waiting area for her turn to go in. Once in the room, the nurses were so great with her, engaging her with conversation about Dora, and Boots and other things that she was interested in. They pretended she was a "mummy" and wrapped her up, so as not to lift her arms when they stitched up her forhead. She only cried when they injected the pain killer prior to stitching her forehead. It was so hard to watch, I felt myself tear up as she cried when they gave it to her. I couldn't watch the actual stitching or I probably would have fallen to the floor. Soon after they were done, she was smiling and laughing again as we played with a little bubble necklace she had gotten at the park. She pretended she was hypnotizing me, as she said, "you're getting sleepy", and I would pretend to fall asleep. A nice volunteer lady came by and gave her a little crocheted chicken, that she ended up sleeping with last night. My amazing little girl. She really is a superhero, unafraid, brave, and full of heart!
Prior to the accident:
DSC_0157DSC_0155
and thanks to my hubby for these beautiful roses that I came home to last night:
DSC_0169

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blogger 1 year anniversary

Hey, almost forgot! 2/7 was my 1 year blogger anniversary! (had this post in my drafts) I started this not really knowing where it was going. But, it turned out to be a documentation about our family's journey with homeschooling to unschooling as well as a creative outlet for me with pictures and posts that I've submitted to MamaSaysOm and Unschooling Voices. I've also made some great blogger friends and really enjoy reading about real people's lives, both their joys and sorrows, their humor, their viewpoints, their loves and hates. I love that they (you) can be so honest and open about your lives, and I will try to do more of that in my future posts. I have never been very good at writing, in fact, in college a teacher referred to boring journals as BK journals (Burger King), meaning that someone would write; today I worked at Burger King, I came home, I ate dinner, I went to bed.....etc. you get the point? And, I felt like I was one of those writers. So, this for me is an exercise in trying to write better, write more interesting entries and connecting with people in the blogosphere, as well as sharing with my family and friends.

Come in! Come in!

wheresidewalk
Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein starts with this poem;

Invitation

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer....
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

My kids love seeing their nana so much! We were over there Mon-Tuesday, because we were invited to a birthday party in the area for little Sophie, who turned 3, on Tuesday morning, (we had fun you guys!!!!). My mom has started this tradition that the kids really enjoy. We have a poetry reading, and it often (always) involves Shel Silverstein's poetry. We each pick out a poem and read it to the "audience". Violet decided she wanted to have a poetry contest, so she made a sign, and we took turns. She even made tickets to the show. Olivia recited a little poem (with some help from Nana). Violet then scored us on a percentage scale, and Olivia was the winner with 100%!
They also performed 2 plays; Little Red Riding Hood, and Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Olivia made a wonderful debut performance as the Big, Bad Wolf, and Nana starred as the Grandma & the Wood Chopper, and Violet starred as Little Red Riding Hood, while I enjoyed being the "audience". I got to play the mama bear in the 3 bears, Violet was the baby bear and Olivia was daddy bear, and Nana was Goldilocks.
We love Shel Silverstein's poetry and drawings. If you get a chance, be sure to check them out. Children really enjoy them (as well as adults) because they are so silly and fun to act out.
We are definately "great pretenders!"


Added notes:
Shel Silverstein sadly passed away in 1999. But there is a great website about him and his stories and illustrations here. Some great books by him are below:

Ones we've read:
The Giving Tree
Falling Up
A Light in the Attic
Where the Sidewalk Ends

Ones we would like to read:
Runny Babbit
Lafcadio, the lion who shot back
Who wants a cheap rhinoceros?
The missing piece

Monday, February 05, 2007

Who us? Do math? Nawwww

I was sitting at the table with Livie last night and she wanted to play with the sticker book Nana gave her (I say play, not work, because it's fun and she wants to do it) It's a pretty neat book. It has the alphabet, numbers, colors, and tracing and connect the dot, and you get to put stickers on the pictures. She was really enjoying it. She traced G, H, I, J & K and did some connect the dot, and tracing. I got to thinking of some of the stuff we've done this week; lots of books, tv, computer, dvds, playing with her castle, legos, visiting with friends, lots of fun stuff. Then, I got to thinking about Violet and some of the math she has done, unknowingly. I wrote a list: Tetris (geometry and analytical thinking), cooking (fractions, measuring), trip to thrift store (money), found some money in an old piggy bank in a box (money, counting), Bratz laptop (lot of different math), nintendogs (making, spending money, as well as architecture-yes architecture if you can imagine that!!!), Bratz Playstation game (making, spending money), origami (frogs), jumping comparisions (frogs-measurement), and at Brownies they made a Mobius strip, they made and cracked number codes, they made a chore chart and assigned dollar value and time value and created a goal, and determined how many chores they had to do to make the money to be able to afford their goal item. AMAZING!!! I don't think I did that much math at her age (7) and get to enjoy doing it, AND not even know you're doing math. When I get to thinking about these things, it really makes it clear to me that what we are doing (unschooling-if you have to label it) is working.
On another note, we saw A Night at the Museum with Robin Williams and Ben Stiller. It was a great movie, and I was amazed at the amount of history it included, that Violet knew. Everytime a part would come up with something she knew about, she would say, "look mom, it's Anubis..." or "look mom, it's the Moai". Even Olivia noticed some things, "look mom, it's a pyramid!" Really fun movie, that we all enjoyed!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ewwww! Frog guts!

Ewwww! Frog guts
We continued our frog study at our friend Renee's house this week by learning about frog anatomy, as well as how it compares to our anatomy. We learned how far frogs can jump (33ft5.5") compared to humans(27ft4 3/4"), a flea (13"), and a kangaroo rat(6 ft). We went on a nature bingo walk. The kids made a little tictactoe shape on a piece of paper with things in nature that they thought that they might see on a walk, then crossed them off as they saw them. It was a beautiful sunny day, great weather to be out for a little stroll around the neighborhood. Renee passed around a paper bag with "frog guts" in it and the kids put there hands in and felt it. There was actually spaghetti in there and also a marble. We got a lot of giggles and "ewwws!" with that activity. We also got to make origami frogs. Also,the kids got to play outside and enjoy the beautiful day!
Olivia stayed home with Nana and showed us the village she had made complete with drawbridge and mote (made out of a plastic tub lid, and the water was blue material) when we returned home. They always have a great time together, so much so, that Olivia is quite upset when she leaves. They both love their Nana!!!!