Saturday, January 24, 2009

Newport Aquarium & Random stuff from around the house the last couple of weeks -- Oh, and Shakespeare Alive!

Newport Aquarium

Maya and Seth and I met up with homeschool friends from Georgetown and from NKY at Newport Aquarium. Riley's snowboarding trip to Perfect North with friends was moved to the same day, so he was there instead of with us at the Aquarium; and, unfortunately, I have no pictures of that. He had a blast and can't wait to snowboard again.

Reacting to the Shark Cage Simulator

Playing in the Frog Bog

We got to watch one of the divers come into the tunnel and feed the fish -- dozens of them (fish, not divers) were swarming right in front of us.

Touching the sharks

The ride home after a fun day

At Home

Stair sliding with friends, morning after a sleepover

When Matt gets home from work:

Maya showing us how she made some things using Google SketchUp

Seth was missing playing in the dirt, which is frozen outside. We brought in a bag and thawed it out in a plastic tub to make an indoor dirt pile.

Riley, putting together a skateboard

Maya with her much-loved monkeys

Maya playing with Cuisenaire Rods in her own ways -- counting, measuring, making patterns, and pretending (hence the faces on some to make people and the bows drawn on the single unit cubes to make presents)

Some other things we've been doing the last few weeks:

World of Goo, a physics puzzle game for PC or Wii (all 5 of us have been enjoying this. We've just been playing with the free demo on the PC so far)

World of Goo reminded us of an unrelated but fun website to revisit, Game Goo, which Maya and Seth have been enjoying.

Riley's been using Spongebob Typing, which he's been waiting a long time to get from the library. It's apparently very popular!!!

MathBlasters computer games, also borrowed from the library & enjoyed by everyone including large groups of neighborhood kids.

Ri and Maya, Hannah Montana fans that they are, watched the Disney Kids' Inauguration Ball.

The Inauguration was on TV in the background all of Tuesday. I watched a lot of it. Ri watched Obama's swearing in and speech.

Negotiating numerous UB Funkey trades with each other and with neighborhood friends as well as playing the games & searching eBay for deals to add to the collection.

Maya and I have been playing an animal habitats/animal classification board game.

Riley's been writing a story. He really doesn't enjoy writing by hand much, so he's been telling the story, and I've been hand writing it. There are footnotes to a "how things work" kind of section with drawing and explanations of the worlds and contraptions mentioned in the story.
Seeing the otters at the Aquarium reminded Maya that they were some of her favorite animals, and she came home from that trip wanting to see more & to learn more about them. We found things on various websites. She especially liked the videos on National Geographic's site.

Riley still plays guitar almost every day, looking up tabs and video instructions for various songs and techniques.

Shakespeare Alive!
Today Maya and Riley and I went to see a Shakespeare Alive! performance at our library. It was put on by the Cincinnati Shakespeare company -- two actors and two puppets performing all the characters of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The library opened it to all ages, and I couldn't imagine they would hold the attention of the littlest ones there. It was so good, though, and really*did* hold most everyone's attention. The actors were so engaging and funny and interacted with the kids quite a bit & encouraged audience participation (as sprites in the woods). The "stage" was a taped off circular area in the middle of the audience, with paths cutting through the audience for the actors to move around and everyone to have a close up view of things. Maya and I both loved it. It was a little too "in your face" for Riley (and probably not enough puppeteering, which was his reason for wanting to see it), and he tried moving back out of the thick of things and then left about half way through.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Remembering the Dreams of MLK

This morning Riley and I listened to Martin Luther King, Jr's famous "I Have a Dream" speech from Washington DC. It is beautiful to hear this set against Obama's inauguration this week and reflect on the progress toward that aspect of King's vision & dream. My kids can't even imagine pre-civil rights America. I can't fully, either, for that matter.

I also listened to another of his speeches that resonates deeply with me, the Riverside Church speech in which he talks about the "giant triplets" of racism, poverty/materialism, and militarism. How sad that we could just change the names of the countries, the types of weapons used, the ethnicities of the victims/"enemies" du jour, and trade "communism" for "terrorism", and this same speech still needs to be heard and acted upon today.

Can you imagine if our children's children could only conceive of all 3 of those "giant triplets" as the stuff of history, long past?

"I don't know about you, I ain't gonna study war no more." -- MLK, Jr

Dreams still waiting to be realized.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jump Zone

Last week we met some friends at Jump Zone, an indoor climbing, bouncing, playing place to blow off some pent-up winter energy and have some fun. Little did we know that this week we would get a taste of "really* cold weather. Down from the hovering-around-freezing temps that we are used to in January and into the single digits and even freaking subzero temps!



Airborne Seth

Maya, giving her usual picture pose while Riley and their friend, Hayes, play air hockey.

Maya, Riley, and friend, Chooj

Icees Maya bought for herself and her brothers with some money she had been saving

Hayes, Chooj, and Riley




Maya, again with the thumbs up pose


Maya & Hayes

Monday, January 5, 2009

World Views

This is from Dr. Seuss' book, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Seth and I were just reading it again, but it's a book I've had since Riley was a baby. When we got to this page, he made a comment about the big red fish treating the other two badly, hitting at them. Riley and Maya have both made similar comments in the past when I've read this with them. It always makes me smile because *I* used to see the picture as depicting the two little fish being the ones who were "very, very bad" and getting in trouble with the big fish. I honestly never thought to see it as possibly meaning anything else until the first time Riley said something, years ago.
I wonder which way Theodor Geisel meant it?
Whatever he intended with this picture, I'm grateful that my kids know that big people hitting little people is not a good thing.

Winter Hike

Last Saturday was one of those Northern Kentucky winter treats -- temps in the upper 40's. We took Pablo along with Maya, Seth, and two friends from the neighborhood to an out-of-the-way park that has trails that run through a wooded area. It was so great to get outside and run free and explore and play. I even got to let Pablo run off the leash after the lone jogger left, leaving us the only people in the park.

Christmas Past

Here's a bit of what last month looked like here. We had a small get-together at the Cincinnati Museum Center with local unschooling families and a met up there a couple more times with our friends, Amie, Sam, & Eric. We went to a really fun charity carnival set up by some homeschool friends (Sara and her boys, Blake & Noah)at their house, and met some new friends there as well. Riley and Maya went to their last pottery class and brought home their abundant projects from previous classes over the last couple of months. There was lots of cleaning and baking and decorating and prepping for Christmas day.


A beautiful winter sunset

Museum Center Trips

Playing Spiderman on the flagpole-base-turned-skyscraper

Looking at Christmas books

Making ornaments

Christmas Program at our local library

Christmas Morning

I actually woke up before everyone else and had time to fill the house with candlelight and to spend a long time reflecting, meditating...

"For my heart has become the sacred crib
The birthing place of God-among-us."

--Edward Hays, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

And then the celebrating began

"...a feast for the young of heart,
a feast for finding beneath the tree
gifts to surprise and delight the eternal child."

--Edward Hays, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

"Peace on Earth and justice for all
will only become manifest in our lives
when enough of your sons and daughters
awaken to your divine design
that has made each of us
an emerging Emmanuel."

--Edward Hays, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

Peace & Love to You All