Friday, April 27, 2007

Olivia the superhero!!!!

Olivia the superhero!!!!
Originally uploaded by mandaroo63.
I was sitting out back watching Olivia play "Superhero". She had asked me to tie up some rope on the swingset so that she could "fly". As I sat there I was trying to think up some Haiku for an atc trade for the Imagination Tribe, when I came up with this one:

Wears her cape with pride
She want to be a hero
She is one to me!

I tried to think of one for the Petalnados too. Here's what I came up with:

Pink petals swirling
Soft breeze gently lifts them 'round
It's Petal-nados!!!!

Inspired by Violet at LIfe is Good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Petal-nados and other amazing discoveries from the Life is Good gathering

Violet & I had an AMAZING and unforgettable time at the Life is Good Unschooling Conference this past weekend. It started with a flight from San Diego to San Francisco, then on to Eugene, OR. Flying down over Oregon was breathtaking. Even though it is quite green in San Diego right now, it doesn't even compare to the hues of green, yellow, reds of Oregon! There are many little lakes and forests and patchwork quilts of fields, farm animals, farmhouses, barns. Oh, I think I just might want to live there someday! The drive from Eugene to Corvallis was just as breathtaking. You could just sense the quietness, the serenity that folks must feel living there. The houses were all well taken care of with soothing tones of color, and lush gardens, with forests nearby, and many with their own little lakes. We stopped at an Arby's in Junction City which had some really cool motifs about travelling on the walls. There were driver's license plates from all over the U.S. We made a game of looking for particular states and would find them. There was also some nice travel photography on the walls, with various types of classic cars on them. We then proceeded to Corvallis. We checked in the Motel 6 and were quite anxious to register for the conference over at the Salbassgeon Hotel next door and meet some our online friends that we had met, as well as those we knew (the Millers). We later found out that the hotel's name was after "Salmon, Bass, and sturgeons". Funny name, huh? We picked up our bags with the conference schedule, some Corvallis info, our directories and our conference t-shirts. As we checked in, I was a little nervous about meeting new people at the conference as it seemed many knew each other already, and this being our first unschooling conference we knew few, if any. But, Violet quickly started making friends, and I as well, was able to strike up conversation with some of the people there. There were many families with young children (5 & under). And we later found, many as well, with teens (there was a teen panel for questions and answers later in the conference which was very interesting, they were very intelligent, engaging, interesting young adults!)
Poke-pals for sale!!!!
Violet went through the program and picked out some funshops that she really wanted go to, they included; Nintendo friends, American Girl Play, temporary tattoo parlor. She also ended up helping out with the Un-entreprenerial fair (she left her beaded bracelets at home), by helping her new friend Michelle make Poke-pals, which were pokemon characters made out of clay. I enjoyed the speakers there which included: 3-2-1 Blastoff with Crystal Miller, Chat for Newbies, Scott Noelle, Jan Hunt, and really enjoyed hearing Diana Jenner's story and takes on parenting and spirituality. The evening activities were a lot of fun. There was a pajama party, in which the kids started up an impromptu game of Duck, Duck, Goose and Ring around the Rosie. I was so impressed with all of the children and the way they treated each other so respectfully, and would watch out for the young ones, slowing down and "letting" them catch them, and helping them to their spots in the circle. The Talent show was full of amazing talent! There were singers, dancers, musicians, contortionists, pogo stick jumpers, hula hooping, comedians, sign language performance, upside down skateboarding. I was brought to tears a few times by not only my own child but other's children. Violet played her wooden flute and joined in with her new friend Karen, and her sisters, Linda and Melissa, while Karen played her bongo drum and the girls danced in their swirly skirts. We enjoyed meals in town at the Sunnyside restaurant which had organic food and yummy chai tea as well as some great tai food at Cha-da where we had some pad-thai, & pizza with our new friends, the Canfields. Before heading home we strolled 2nd street and Riverfront Park which ran along the Willamette River. There were some nice little shops with lots of original art very friendly people that we met along the way.
Riverfront Park in Corvallis, OR
Mostly, I enjoyed spending time with Violet and seeing her enjoy her self so immensely in everything that she did, her interactions with others, her joy, her freedom to be herself, her compassion with others (she traded one of her newly acquired favorite cards with someone so that she wouldn't be "sad"). Although, there was a schedule of activities, we just kind of went with the flow and attended whatever struck our fancy at the moment. One moment I fondly remember was as we were walking to the Salbassgeon, a mild wind caught some pink petals and softly swirled them in a whirlwind pattern. Violet said, "look, mom, it's a petal-nado!" Just that one single moment, reminded me how insightful and truly creative my daughter is. Earlier, I was a little concerned that she would miss some things because she was so into her Nintendo so much, but while playing Nintendo, she was making so many new friends, she would come to me and show me her list of new friends on her Nintendo that she had met while in "bark mode". Some of her new friends even started calling her Pokemon Master!
Violet and some of her new buddies
Violet made friends with Karen who she actually met online before the conference. They hit it off any many ways and enjoyed lots of fun times in the pool.
Violet & Karen

When driving back to the airport I was pointing out so many sights that were attractive to me, and she had her head down playing her game. I had just treated her to the new Pearls Pokemon game while in town. But, once we were in the plane, she looked out the window, and mentioned how beautiful Oregon is. She didn't miss that! I learned from other children too. While not everyone connected with Violet, those that did were amazing children with their own unique qualities. I really hope that we stay connected with these children and their parents both at future conferences, and online, written notes, phone, and hopefully we can have visitors as well! Next year I really want Olivia and Dan to join us. I think they would get so much from it. Coming home, the pilot made a slight detour by Mt. Rainier. It was a very clear day, and we were so close you felt like you could reach out and touch it. There were a group of young men on their way to Camp Pendleton for basic training. I could overhear their excitement and expectations. One young man, it was it first flight, and you could hear him get nervous, then excited during different parts of the flight. One young man mentioned his girlfriend back home, and how he was gonna marry her when he got home. I couldn't help but think of their moms and of them as young boys and how hard it must be to let go of them. And how, some of them wouldn't be returning home. It made me really sad.
Mt Rainier
Many more photos in my Life is good set, as well as the group's pool.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ranunculus......and other stuff!

Violet amongst the ranunculus
This week we met Amanda & Lucy down at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. I had been wanting to go, especially since our science unit group is studying plants right now. They have a wonderful program there for kids. While we didn't actually do the children's' school program that they have, but we did go to all the stations, except one, to have the kids' stamp passports stamped. They had a Sweet Pea maze, sluice mining (where the kids got some really pretty gemstones), a rose garden, poinsettia display, tractor wagon ride and a playground. We had our lunch there and enjoyed the beautiful day. Then, we picked up some huge juicy strawberries to bring home (only they didn't make it home!!!) See here for more pretty flowers!
Corny girl Panning for gemstones
Last Friday, our science group studied plants. The children observed different types of seeds, identified them and taped and labeled them in a journal. They observed & identified different types of flowers and vegetables in the garden. They made journal drawings of earthworms and the life cycle of a plant from seed to plant. Then, we had a yummy lunch of homemade mac & cheese, garden salad, and strawberries.
This week we'll be heading off to Corvallis, OR for the Life is Good Unschooling Conference. We are really excited about it. Olivia will be staying here with Nana and Dad. Violet will be bringing her Nintendo DS to play games with the other kids, her American Girl doll, and probably some Bratz dolls too. She'll also be meeting a new friend there, who she has been emailing, so she's pretty excited about that.
Our house is almost done being painted. It went from a yucky bright blue, to a warm tannish color, with burgundy trim. I'll post a picture soon. It's coming out really nice! Our house will look so completely different, especially since Dan is re-landscaping the front yard as well.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Life is Good-Unschooling Conference


We are so excited that we will be going to the Life is Good Unschooling Conference in Oregon later this week. I just looked at the schedule and there are so many exciting discussions and activities that will be going on. We'll be seeing our friends Crystal, David, & Sorscha (from Daikini's Crossroads) as well as many other unschoolers that we've met and read about on the discussion boards, blogs, online groups. We discovered there will be a childrens' un-entrepreneurial table to sell their homemade crafts, so Violet decided, with the help of her friend Hailey, to make some bead jewelry. And, this totally ties into Unschooling Voices theme for May which is a picture of what unschooling looks like in our home. What better examples than creating art, developing entrepreneurial skills, social skills (her life-long, since birth, public school friend is spending the night-makes for some very interesting conversations as they compare what school is like and unschooling), spelling, to name just a few off the top of my head. Here's the kids making jewelry and a really cool bracelet that Hailey made; Life is Good (that I just may have to purchase myself!!!!)

OHHH! And by the way, if you read my blog and are going to the conference be sure to let me know in the comments, so we can look out for you and meet you!!!! We'll be in the directory.

Life is GoodHailey & Violet making jewelryOlivia stringing beads

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hostelling International

Ping Pong
Wednesday night, Violet & I spent the night at a hostel in Point Loma affiliated with Hostelling International USA. For those not familiar with hostelling it is a "supervised, inexpensive lodging place for travelers, especially young travelers." Girl Scouts is teaming up with Hostelling International and presently introducing the experience of hostelling with girl scout leaders all over to share with their troops. Our troop got to host the meeting this week. We cooked and served German food, the girls participated in some social interaction games, performed a flag ceremony, and just had an overall great time! The hostel was a very clean, bright, comfortable place at a very affordable price. They had a great gathering area, with tv, books, magazines, lots of information about the area for travelers in San Diego and S. California, ping pong, foosball, a kitchen with all of the appliances that you need to cook your own food as well as dishes. They served a wonderful chocolate chip pancake breakfast to the girls in the morning. We stayed in bunk beds which had clean sheets and some colorful warm comforters. The girls all had a really great time, it was a great experience for them.
German Food
German food that the girls helped prepare and serve to our Girl Scout leaders that were visiting.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy 4th Birthday, Olivia!

Olivia & MommyTwo birthdays in one week! At least they still don't mind us celebrating them together, as their bdays are 5 days apart! I know some day they will probably want their own "days". Olivia's theme was "Diego" (as in Dora the explorer's cousin, Diego) and Violet's was "High School Musical". We invited all of the their local friends over for games, crafts, and cake. We also had a little Diego pinata. It was the pull string kind, which is supposed to be a lot safer. But, alas, Diego would not open up and release the candy, so we let the kids take a swing at him with a bat! With a little help, we finally got the candy out! We also had some foam crafts in which the kids made mini megaphones (cheerleader type, along the High School musical theme) and some little animal critters; elephants, monkeys, and lions. The little ones played "Stick the Diego badge sticker on Diego" game. Our neighbors let us borrow their jumpy. The big girls sang Karaoke songs from "High School Musical"with the karaoke machine that our friends the Ranks let us borrow. There was lots of good food; deli meat and cheese, rolls, taquitos, honey bbq wings, chips, fruit, & veggies. It wasn't very sunny out, but at least it didn't rain. You just never know in April here, some years it does rain on their bdays. But, it was cool out, so the kids got to run around and play outside. They also got to enjoy the pinball machine and air hockey in the "barn". All in all, it was a great day with our friends and family.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Happy 8th Birthday, Violet!!!!

We spent Violet's birthday at Disneyland Sunday and Monday. The girls had a blast. Violet turned 8 yesterday, and Olivia will be 4 on Saturday.
Happy Birthday Violet, sweetie! We love you!

As promised, more photos from Disneyland on my Flicker, here.