Tuesday, March 31, 2009

National Youth Leader Training

Ben was selected to go to National Youth Leader Training with the Boy Scouts here. I felt like it was a great opportunity for him and made, er...I mean, "let" him go.

He was not allowed to take a phone so we had no contact with him for a week. This concerned me as this was not a camp out with his usual troop. These were boys from different troops all over the island. One of the first things they do is separate boys into patrols with people they don't know so they learn to work with strangers rather than teaming up with their buddies.

Friday night they held a feast and invited the families to join them for dinner and watch skits the boys had worked on during the week.

They definitely had the "feast" part down pat. I think there were five different kinds of meat. Potatoes and rice too. Definitely food scouts were happy about.


After the meal, they led us down to their campfire area. It was waaaaay back in the woods. We had to trek there in the dark. They had a scout posted every so often holding a tiki torch which did nothing whatsoever to help us see our way along. And they actually had us go down a lot of stairs. Not nice evenly spaced stairs either. Stairs built by boy scouts. You couldn't tell if you were about to step on a stair that was two inches wide on one end and twelve inches wide on the other end. Or if it was going to be three inches down to the next step or eight. Quite a navigational experience getting to the campfire.

The campfire very quickly burned out and we sat in the dark and listened to the speech about what the boys had learned during the week.

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We watched the skits. If you watch carefully, someone used a flash and you can see Ben's group performing a song. It's just a split second mind you. You may have to watch it several times to actually catch it. Yes, there! That's Ben!

Then the boys were presented with their certificates. I think this was Ben getting his. When they called out his name, the staff and other scouts exploded in cheers and yells which makes me wonder what the heck he does to get everyone to adore him so much in only a week when he can not be pleasant to his sisters for five minutes at home.


Then it was time to leave. We had to hike back up the stairs and trail in the pitch black darkness. I held on to the back of Ben's shirt with one hand and held on to the girls with the other hand while Ben trotted up the path like a mountain goat. "I've been up and down this path five hundred times this week, I don't need to be able to see it," he told me.


He told me all about his week on the drive home - I'll post his account of it tomorrow.


"Did you make any friends?" I asked. He looked at me and grinned. "Did you hear everyone scream my name?"

I guess that means yes.

Happiness Comes to Hawaii

Hawaii is a pretty fabulous place to live. The weather is perfect nearly every day. I've seen more rainbows in the past three months than I've seen in my entire life. There are some of the most incredible views I've ever had the joy to see. It has it's drawbacks though.

One of those issues was solved when the two Target stores opened here. Ahhhh. Target.

Our other common laments are that we miss Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. We don't complain about this often. It's not like we sit on a beach under a double rainbow watching the sun set behind the surfers and say, "This stinks! I want a Chick-fil-A sandwich and a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I hate my life."

But still.......there are just some things you miss sometimes.

But as usual, God always provides. This week I was driving home and there, on the street corner, was a group of people selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts for a fundraiser. I have no idea what they were raising money for. They could have been raising money to buy Paris Hilton a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I didn't care.

"How much?!" I screeched at the girl on the side of the road.

"Ten dollars," she shouted back (she might have said twelve, I don't remember, I was flinging money out the window at her, I didn't care how much they were).

"Where did you get these?" I sobbed clutching my box of doughnuts.

"We had them flown in, they're fresh," she grinned at me.

I think I got some of the glaze on the camera lens during the feeding frenzy which progressed when I got home.

Life just gets better and better.

Now where's that Chick-fil-A?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Need A Babysitter?

I have a great new baby sitter. Not that my kids need a sitter. Ben is old enough to watch the girls when I need him to, and even Emily is old enough to watch Katie now for a couple of hours. BUT...if you need a sitter, or just a mother's helper to occupy the kids while you have a moment's peace to go to the bathroom alone, have I got a sitter for you!

It's called Cyberlink Youcam. This is a program that allows you to create cool effects while you are having a video chat on your computer. We discovered it while chatting on Skype with Kerry.

The glorious thing about it is that you can also use it while you are not chatting with someone else.


Just sit your kids down in front of the computer (one at a time with a specific time limit, unless you like to watch them fight) and give them free reign with the camera. You won't have to tell them how it works. They will just know.


There are various fun-house mirror applications, which are an instant hit.
You can take snapshots, or even a video. Or many videos.

There are frames, stickers, stamps and animations you can add on to a photo.


It's certainly allowing my kids to be more creative.........



........and creepy.

Every time I sit down at the computer I find a dozen or so new photos and videos.

Even the adults in the house are not immune.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

iPod Tip

I really have to rely on my kids for my electronics knowledge. I don't know how today's youth were genetically altered to make them able to quickly figure out new gadgets and gizmos. Maybe there was something in the water we were drinking when they were in utero. But hand them anything new and shiny with buttons - even if it was just invented and is only about 40 seconds old - and they will have it whizzing along and know all the in's and out's of it before the end of the day. They usually don't even need the instruction manual which I hang on to forever "just in case".


I know this is not a new phenomenon. I can clearly remember my parents getting a suitcase which had a built-in-combination lock (new-fangled!) on it and they could not figure out how to set the lock to a combination of their choosing. My aunt and uncle were visiting and the four of them were reading the instruction manual and finally decided it made no sense and gave up. My cousin Bonnie and I - we were probably around 10 or 11 years old - looked at the instructions and had a new combination set in under a minute. Must just be the young brains that can comprehend new stuff.

I plugged my iPod in one day this week to charge it's little battery and the computer promptly informed me that the iPod was corrupted. It gave me two options:

1. Restore factory settings which would erase everything in the iPod, or
2. Try unplugging in and plugging it back in.

I decided to go with option #2 as it seemed less invasive, and I would still have option #1 available to me if #2 failed to please.

So I unplugged the iPod and then replugged it back in. This time, the computer did not recognize the iPod at all. It kept telling me, "I don't know what that is, I've never seen it before in my life" or something like that. So then I didn't even have the option to restore it.

I decided to just turn the iPod off overnight and see if it and the computer could work out their differences in the morning.

But the little sucker wouldn't turn off. It was frozen on the same screen and I couldn't make it do anything. I knew immediately (without being told) that the iPod would never work again. I started calculating the cost of a new one, and the cost of telling the kids that my iPod (which they use daily) was dead and irreparable. I decided to wait until the morning before telling anyone. Let them have one last good night of sleep before awakening to the news that their best friend had died.

Just for the heck of it, I went to a technology message board and described the problem I was having. When I got up the next morning, I had a message from a very nice person who told me to hold down the center button and the top button at the same time to reboot it.

I tried it, and low and behold it worked! Not only that, the iPod and the computer are back on speaking terms and appear to have resumed their former happy relationship. All because I held down the right buttons!

I wonder if Einstein felt like this when he discovered the theory of relativity?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Square Dancing Squared

Friday night we went to our second square dancing lesson.

Our second. That means last week was the first time we ever tried square dancing.

There were three new people there last night who had never square danced before.

On the way home, Ben laughed, "It's so much fun to watch the new people learning how to square dance! They don't have a clue what to do!"

(Re-read the second sentence if you need to.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Homeschool PE

We are fortunate enough to be part of a group of homeschoolers that meet to do PE once a week.

The kids always start with stretches and then sprint races.


They spend one full month working on a particular sport.

Last month it was volleyball for the older kids............


....and badminton for the younger kids.


This month it is tennis for the younger kids, and jumprope for the older kids.


You're thinking, "Jumprope? You mean they just hand them each a jumprope and tell them to jump for an hour? That doesn't sound like much fun. And it doesn't sound like a sport either."

You would be amazed at what kids can do with jumpropes.


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Check out this girl as she jumps while sitting on the floor.



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And these girls who are learning to jump in tandem while turning in a circle.



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Or this boy who jumps rope while jumping rope.


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Even Ben is finally learning to make it through the ropes without getting hung up in them - and he even manages a shoulder roll after he goes through!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

News from the Front

Here is Kerry's latest story about military life in Afghanistan:

My briefing to the General went well and we survived unscathed. Originally, he was scheduled to arrive at 1530 and we had the conference room set up with coffee, danishes.....a really nice spread since about 20 people were going to be there. His aide called (after we waited for 20 minutes and I was poised outside to meet him at the door) and said they would have to re-schedule. Oh well.....so we opened the flood gates and invited all of the soldiers in the building to come and eat the goodies. The swarm of locusts descended within minutes and left nothing on the table. I dutifully took all of the classified briefings and put them in our classified trash can to be shredded and then burned.

Our boss left early (at 1700) because his wife (who is also stationed here) was in the area. Wouldn't you know it....at 1705 we received a frantic phone call that the General was en route. Panic! I was digging through the trash can trying to retrieve enough copies to brief him with while everyone else scrambled to get the conference room re-set up.

However, everything went well. I was not fired and he left satisfied.


Whew!

Happy St Patricks Day!

The girls decided to see who could go greenest.

I love the way Emily accessorized her outfit with a tray of green things and

Katie accessorized her outfit with a snake and a green pillow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

P-3 Orion Field Trip

One of the great things about being a homeschooler:

We get some incredible field trip opportunities.

One of the wives in our homeschooling group is married to a navy pilot who is fairly high up in the chain of command and he arranged an amazing field trip for us!

Here is our group of unsocialized homeschoolers in front of the P-3 Orion.

A lot more people wanted to go, but space was limited; we were very fortunate to be among the first families who responded to the invitation and made it into the group.

The absolute coolest thing about the trip was the P-3 simulator. It is just like being in the cockpit of the plane. When we looked through the windshield, we could see the Hawaiian islands down below us. I literally could not have told the difference between the real thing and the simulator if you put them side by side. I really felt like we were flying around, looking out the windows of the cockpit. We could see the military base below us and the waves in the ocean. When we turned the plane in a different direction the horizon would tilt and i would have to hold onto a handle on the wall to stay upright. In Ben's group one of the boys was trying to land and accidentally crashed into the ground.

They even showed us how they could change the weather we were "flying" through. They had rain, lightening, fog, snow, and could even make a (digital) bird hit the windshield although they opted not to show us that one.

The one downside: They wouldn't let me take pictures in the simulator.

We did get to go inside a real P-3 and sit in the cockpit.

For some reason you can take pictures of that.

We also got to try on all the gear the pilots wear.



Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Thing Most People Don't Do In Hawaii

In all my research about Hawaii, in all the time that I have been prowling around this island finding new things.........one thing that was never mentioned:

Square Dancing.

I never, not once, connected Hawaii and square dancing in my mind. (I'll bet you never did either.)

Oddly enough, we found out that a bunch of the homeschoolers who attend our church go square dancing every Saturday night. So we decided to try it out. I thought my kids would think this was way beyond the usual dorkiness factor that we have. But amazingly, since a lot of their friends were doing it, they thought it sounded cool.

Then we got there and found out it was actually fun! I kept waiting for Emily to dissolve into a tearful puddle, but she was laughing and having a good time! Many of their friends have been doing it so long they are in the advanced class!

It was an absolute blast! We all had such a great time! We are planning (by unanimous vote) to keep going.

But we're not going to wear the dorky outfits.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Letter From Kerry

An interesting aspect of deployments concerns the population of the different Foward Operating Bases (FOBs) where the soldiers are stationed. There are FOBs all over Afghanistan and they range in size from the large from the 17,000 person bases like Bagram all the way down to the smaller ones that have less than 200 soldiers. Unique personalities emerge while soldiers are on these bases for a year. A curious sub-species of soldier emerges. I am definitely plagiarizing, but I wanted to describe some of these types.

A "FOBBIT" is a sub-species that never, ever under any circumstances leaves the safety of his base (except to re-deploy!). These people make every effort to remain in the safety of their offices or hooches in order to remain safe.

Closely related to the FOBBIT is the "TOC-ROACH." (A TOC is a Tactical Operations Post; the Army loves acronyms!) The TOC-ROACH is the individual who is always hovering around the coffee pot and drinking large quantities of coffee at the expense of everyone else. Whole bottles of French vanilla creamer have been known to disappear in the depths of one coffee cup. Likewise, a do-nut does not stand a chance once this creature becomes aware of its presence. Normally moving at the speed that makes even a ground sloth appear to be fast, the TOC-ROACH is capable of incredible bursts of speed over short distances (usually covering the 4-6 feet needed to pounce on someones unguarded homemade brownies when said person is not looking).

Another interesting personality is the "HARD LURKER". Chameleon like in appearance, the Hard Lurker exerts massive amounts of energy in the effort to appear to be contributing to the fight and outworking everyone else. These creatures thrive when a superior officer is around and always hover near someone who is actually working. Like a moth attracted to a candle the Hard Lurker hovers, sweats, and then disappears at the first opportunity. Normally coming in late (because he worked so hard that he had to stay late the night before), the Hard Lurker is frequently found in the coffee shop or the gym (although he is never working out!)

The SHOWER FAIRY frequents the bathrooms and showers of the various FOBs across Afghanistan and Iraq. In a land where hot water is scarce the SHOWER FAIRY often enters a stall and takes up as much hot water as humanly possible actually cooking himself. The inordinate and massive use of hot water is normally accompanied by incredibly off key singing. Not many people are brave enough to sing Barry Manilow in a shower full of Infantry soldiers. However, the full rendition of Copa Cabana often wafts through the air as the SHOWER FAIRY weaves his haunting and poorly sung melodies across the deployment bathrooms like a sick, twisted siren of old. The SHOWER FAIRY is normally identified by his or her 20 pounds of shower gear and bath gels.

The CAB CHASER is the hero-wannabe that always dreams of getting earning the Combat Action Badge (CAB). This badge is awarded to any service member who has received indirect or direct enemy fire or seen combat. The CAB CHASER, while dreaming of this award, does not actually want to be in combat. He or she simply wants to be near enough to a stray round to claim the award while still remaining safe. Once earned, the CAB CHASER, in a stunning metamorphosis, evolves into a FOBBIT and sometimes even becomes a TOC ROACH.

Closely related to the CAB CHASER is the GEARDO. The GEARDO is the soldier who simply has to have the coolest and most high speed equipment. The cost of his arsenal of special gear and $100.00 special operations style sunglasses rivals the budget of many third world countries. One simply never knows when he might need a $400.00 flashlight that has a compass, altimeter, flashing beacon light, and a GPS when he is in the dining facility. Who knows...the lights might go out and he can save the day.

The RUMINT is the soldier who simply knows the latest and greatest bit of information. "I heard from my brother's friend who used to have a friend who had a cousin who had an ex-girlfriend who once visited the White House on a tour who bumped into the Secretary of Defense on this tour that the army was going to start using invisible bullets in order to fool the enemy." The RUMINT always inserts himself in a conversation that he was not originally a part of and then drops a juicy bit of information that leaves his audience spell bound in utter amazement (The RUMINT thinks it is at his vast knowledge while the listener wonders who this bozo is and how he even got into the conversation in the first place.)

These are some of the types of soldiers that frequent your army. The types of creatures mentioned here are also found (in different variations) across the millions of cubicles and offices in corporate America.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

May I Have Your Attention Please:

To the lady next to me in Walmart today:


Your son is screaming and holding up his arms for you to pick him up. Quit griping at him and pick him up. Hug him for a minute. Talk calmly to him. Love him. Pick him up! Stop acting like a twit and take two minutes to calm your son down. Quit telling him that everyone is staring at him because he's yelling. It isn't helping, and frankly everyone is staring because you're being mean to him.


To the man in front of me at Walmart today:


I know you only have one item. Put it on the conveyor belt. Do not stand there and hold it. When you stand there and hold it, and I put my items on the conveyor belt behind you, my items scoot to the front of the line. Put it on the conveyor belt. The cashier does not know that the next items on the conveyor belt are not yours. Yes, she will start scanning my items before yours because she does not know that these are not your items. Griping at her will not make this process go any faster.


To everyone around me at Walmart today:


Yes, that is my son who just picked up a miniature battery powered fan, turned it on, and stuck it in his sister's hair. Yes, she is screaming because her hair is tightly wound up in it and I am trying to get her hair out of it quickly or I am going to have to purchase this fan and a pair of scissors. Stop looking at me. Mind your own business.

We Welcome Thee, Almighty Target

You can not imagine the delirious joy of living on an island.

You can not imagine the delirious joy of living on an island and having a new store open.

Target has come to Hawaii.

And the population has gone wild.

Crowd control has been activated. The parking lot is closed off when it is full and everyone circles like sharks waiting for someone to leave so they can take their parking space. The driveway in front of the store has been completely blocked off with orange cones and tape and has police manning it at all times to direct people safely in and out of the store.

When you live on an island, you can't just drive to the "big city" to the Target. You can't cross state lines for an afternoon of shopping at larger stores. You can look at the items on-line and pay astronomical shipping fees to have something sent to you, but you can't walk in the store and browse. You can't try things on to see if they fit you.

So when a major store like Target opens.........the shopping frenzy begins.

We didn't even try to go the first week it was open. I heard it was crazy. We waited for things to calm down a bit and waited for a weekday. I won't get within a mile of that store on a weekend.

When we rounded a corner today and spotted that big red bulls-eye, the girls screamed like groupies at a rock concert. "Target!!!!!"

The Beatles had nothing on a new store in a Target deprived community.

The girls and I had a great time browsing all the departments and trying on clothes in the dressing room. I sent Ben off to the men's section to look for shorts. He popped up five minutes later with three pair of shorts totalling $80.

"Did you try any of these on?" I asked.

"I don't shop, Mom. I just buy."

"Well, when you're buying with my money you don't get $80 worth of shorts."

Mean moms have good kids.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What's For Breakfast?

I don't often make a big breakfast around here. Kerry is the only one in the family who likes to eat first thing in the morning. The kids and I don't usually want to eat until after we've been up a couple of hours. And even then no one ever wants to eat at the same time. If I make breakfast, invariably part of it sits around getting cold and then no one wants reheated bacon and eggs. Most mornings, everyone just grabs what they are in the mood for, when they finally get hungry. This can range from cereal or fruit to an all-out omelet with everything in it.



This morning Ben walked in the kitchen and said, "What do we have to eat?"



I rattled off the litany, "Bacon, eggs, toast, grits, cereal, oatmeal, or fruit."



"So.........nothing good then?"

Friday, March 6, 2009

Luau, Luau


This week we attended our first luau! We went to the luau at the Hale Koa hotel.


The grounds were just incredible. There were men playing soft Hawaiian music, the plants and flowers were glorious. There were people in native costumes making headbands out of palm fronds, chopping up fresh coconut for us to taste, handing out flowers for us to put behind our ears and handing out seashell leis to each guest. It was very relaxed and peaceful.



This was a Samoan man who kept us entertained during the cocktail hour. He was very funny! Check out those tattoos. He said the tattoos were part of a rite of passage that he had to go through. He said it took fourteen days to complete the tattoo and, yes, it hurt. And yes, everything was tattooed.


He demonstrated how to climb a coconut tree using only a bandanna around his feet.


They picked people out of the audience and gave them a quick hula lesson. Katie was thrilled to be one of the people chosen and of course it irritated Ben because he thinks Katie is such a show-off.

They dug a pig out of the pit using an ancient Hawaiian tool called a "shovel" and then called us to dinner by blowing through conch shells.

When we sat down at the table our appetizers included lomi-lomi (raw salmon, tomatoes and onions), seaweed, pickled vegetables, and poi (that's the purple stuff on the pineapple slice there. Despite what it sounds like, everything was delicious; except the poi which is not awful, but just sort of tasteless.



Emily took one look at the appetizers and burst into tears.


I assured her that she didn't have to try anything she didn't want to and that there was regular food on the way which she would enjoy. But of course she was in a full blown pre-teen hormonal snit and her life was apparently ruined. She loves fresh pineapple, apples, oranges, and bananas all of which were on the table also, but she refused to touch any of it and kept snarling, "I'm just not hungry!"

(Note to future hormonal pre-teens: nothing ruins a good snit like finding something you actually enjoy, so in order to retain that "my life is horrible" attitude you have to refuse things that you normally like.)

The food was fabulous and plentiful. We each had fish, pork, beef, chicken, rice, and potato. The flower may have been edible but I just set it to the side.

Miss "I'm just not hungry" ate everything on her plate and the leftovers on everyone else's plates and then griped about how she couldn't see what was happening on the stage because the lady in front of her kept moving her head.


Dessert was a slice of coconut cake and a pink pudding/jello square. Emily ate the cake after scraping the coconut off and then stabbed her jello thirty or forty times with a fork.



I've never been to a luau before so I was expecting lots of slow soft music and gentle hula. Which is nice, but a little too calm after a while. I was very impressed to find that the show involved humor, many different style of dance, lots of costume changes, energetic music and FIRE.


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And our host was Glen Medeiros! Remember him? He was a teen star in the 80's with the song "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You". He is a Hawaiian native who now teaches high school history and sings at the Hale Koa. I can remember watching him on VH1.


Even Emily managed to have a good a time, and that's really saying something!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Low Carb Hormones

Emily's been having quite a time with the whole puberty issue. One minute she's deliriously happy and the next she's sobbing and I have no idea what happened in between. She doesn't have any idea either.


We've been discussing for quite a while the emotional roller coaster than comes with puberty so she knew this was coming. She just didn't know the reality of it would be so aggravating.


She knew that tears would come over ridiculous things. She'll even start laughing at herself while she's crying and say, "I have no idea why I'm crying!" Sometimes when she is frustrated she will just tell me, "I need to go to my room and cry for five minutes." She's goes off, and comes back five minutes later with a (slightly) better attitude.


I recently had another mom tell me that they were able to control her daughter's mood swings with a low carb diet. She said that they ate lots of proteins, fruits and vegetables, but not many carbs or sugars. That kept her daughter's energy level on an even keel and helped her be less moody.


I explained this concept to Emily today and suggested that we cut out most sugars and refined starches.


She sat there for a moment and then calmly said, "I'm unimpressed with this idea."


I don't think she's willing to give up dessert for the sake of a few tears.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Katie's School Lesson

Katie's Language Arts lesson for today tells her to "Write three sentences about going out to play in the snow, sliding down a hill, and throwing snowballs."


Here are her three sentences:


I live in Hawaii. There is no snow except on the mountains. Which I haven't been there.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

ANIMATION!

If you have not seen Cartoon Network's animation exhibit, you need to! Check around and see if it is coming to a museum near you. Take the kids and plan to be there a looooong time. Wear comfortable shoes.

The "Animation" exhibit (sponsored by Cartoon Network) is currently at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Ben was with his youth group so I only had the girls with me but we will have to go back and take him with us.

This exhibit gives kids a chance to see the science behind cartoons. They get to play with hands-on exhibits that let them be the animator.


In this exhibit (featuring one of the characters from The Kids Next Door cartoon), we could see how the character's mouth would change depending on what sound he was making. Using just those five images, we had to lay each picture on the gray square and take a snapshot of it. It took 21 images to say one short sentence. When all the snapshots were strung together it actually looked like the character was talking and we could see if we managed to make the mouth movements match the words.

There was another exhibit where we were shown a clip from a real cartoon and then we got to record our voices for the clip. It was much more difficult to try to match our voices to an existing cartoon than to make the cartoon match the voice!


We got a chance to be Foley Artists. I actually knew what that was from an old episode of ZOOM. (Come on and zoom-a zoom-a zoom-a zoom!) The Foley Artist is the person who makes the sounds (other than voices) for a cartoon. In this exhibit we were shown a cartoon clip, then the same cartoon clip was played in silence while we supplied the correct noises: fingers tapping on a table, paper being wadded up, etc. Did you know that an electric toothbrush provides the noise of a buzzing fly? I may never be able to brush my teeth again without being annoyed by the sound, now.


This was one of my favorite exhibits. First, you would arrange colorful shapes on the dark grid. Each time you moved them a little, then you took a picture, then you moved them a little more and took another picture. It takes a lot of patience to make even a short video clip. You also have to remember to move your hand out of the frame before you take the picture, but we all forgot to do that a few times.


This was Emily's animation:


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This was one of the girls favorite exhibits. There was a camera which would take their picture every five seconds, giving them a chance to move to a new position between shots. Then it strung all the pictures together into a mini-movie. The girls staged a mock battle for this scene:


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This was their other favorite exhibit:


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This exhibit had a row of cameras which all took your picture at the same moment. Then it would string the images together so that it looked like you were frozen and the camera was moving around you. We tried this one over and over. (This is the part where comfortable shoes are necessary). Everyone else at the exhibit wants to try this one over and over also. You stand around a good bit watching all the different videos as each person thinks up a new pose they want to try out. It is a lot of fun though and you get great ideas for what you want to do when it's your turn.

If this comes to a museum near you, go! And take the kids!

Birthday Card

Today is Kerry's birthday. I had each of the kids make a card for him and we sent them in a care package with his gift. Of course, the girls made beautiful cards with hearts and lots of love enclosed. They drew pictures of themselves with their Daddy. There is love in every square inch of those cards.


Here is Ben's contribution:


"I heard that it's your birthday!

I also heard that it's about time for your mid-life crisis.

So when you waste your money on a big vehicle..........


(open card)


Make sure it's a Humvee!!!


(back of card)

PS - Sorry about the cheap card, but I think you're old enough to understand that with the economy as bad as it is, I had to make some big cuts on the materials."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Murphy's Law of Deployment



Why yes, that is my Honda being towed in to the shop because it won't start.

Why yes! I did just get my Honda out of the shop two weeks ago where I spent a large sum of money to have a new distributor installed, thanks for asking.

This is a common lament among wives of deployed soldiers. Major things go wrong while our husbands are not here to help. Not that I can't take care of this myself, but it would be so much nicer if Kerry were here and I could just let him handle it while I pretended to swoon.

Last time he deployed my washing machine decided to just empty itself out and flood the laundry room less than 24 hours after he left. About a month later an upstairs toilet chose to leak through the dining room ceiling. In both cases I would normally have said, "Tell me what the plumber said when I get back from the mall, honey."

Being a single mom for a year (against my will) makes me stronger. It pulls me out of my comfort zone, makes me handle the duties I would normally foist off on my husband whether he wanted them or not. It makes me appreciate Kerry more when he is home. I am becoming a more independent, confident person.

Not that I wouldn't accept a free vehicle if anyone is so inclined to donate one to me in my hour of need (or the money to buy one, I'm not going to be picky).

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?