Friday, October 30, 2009

SOEST Field Trip

We went on another absolutely fabulous field trip last weekend.

We went with our homeschool group to the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology open house. Talk about your hands on experiments! This is a homeschoolers dream come true! There were probably a hundred displays and experiments for the kids to participate in. I'm only going to show a few of them here, but there were many, many more!

There was a maze to determine which microbe we each most closely resembled.
There were experiments with sea water.

There were 3-D displays of the surface of other planets.

There was even an area to try your hand at tossing a rope onto a target as if you were a scientist on a ship. This went really well..........

........until Emily accidentally threw the rope directly at me.

One of the coolest experiments took place outside. The scientist placed liquid nitrogen in a container and put it in a garbage can of water. The resulting explosion was quite a crowd pleaser and they repeated it every twenty minutes. We heard the boom all day long, no matter where we were!

My personal favorite was a much smaller event. This man was sitting at a table talking to kids about dry ice. He would put some dry ice in a plastic tube and crimp the tube shut at the top and submerge it in a cup of warm water. He talked to the kids the entire time about how the dry ice doesn't melt, it normally turns into vapor (which is why it's dry ice). He would tell them if they watched closely though, they could see it turn into a liquid when he put it in a tube under water. The kids would all move in close to see the dry ice start to liquefy and then BAM! The dry ice would cause a mini-explosion and the water in the cup would shoot straight up and hit the ceiling. The kids jumped sky high and the man would laugh and laugh. Sometimes he would have to wipe his eyes he would laugh so hard.

I enjoyed this one so much, I stayed around to watch it four times.

There is nothing like watching a group of kids get monumentally startled for a good belly laugh.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blindfolded Square Dance

One of my friends sent me a video of us square dancing while blindfolded. Look for the part near the beginning where Ben smacks Emily right in the nose. Square dancing is extremely difficult when you can't see!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bachelor of Square Dancing

The kids and I have finally finished our square dancing class! Everyone kept warning us that there would be a final exam that we would have to pass. Emily's friends told her it was called the "Dance of Doom". I told her not to be worried. Usually in a case like that, everyone tells you there is some beastly test you have to take, but there really is no test at all. It's just a joke to psyche you out.

Turns out there is a test. Not to test our square dancing skills. Oh no. This was a test purely to entertain those who were watching.

The first part of the test involved making us dance with our feet in paper grocery sacks. It is extremely hard to do-si-do when you can't lift your feet off the floor. We all shuffled around like we were gimpy but we managed to make it through the entire set.

Next, we had to dance with balloons clamped between our legs. We all discovered quickly that the best way to get through this was to hop. It was too difficult to try to walk so we looked like a bunch of crazed bunnies.

Don't you just love Katie's hair in this picture?

Last but not least, we had to dance blindfolded. We never made it through the first few moves of this one. It is next to impossible to do a dance that requires catching hold of other people's hands over and over when you can't see them.

As I said though, this wasn't a test of our skills, it was a test to make everyone laugh a lot. We were finally all presented with diplomas showing we had earned our Bachelor of Square Dancing degrees. Really.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In Which GG Gets Married

Holy smokes! My Mama done gone and got herself hitched!

GG and Leonard were talking about getting married next summer, but when they found out Kerry was going to have to make a quick trip to North Carolina, they decided to kick it into high gear and have a backyard wedding while he was there. It was something like an elopement but with their kids and grandkids present as witnesses.

Having looked at the price of tickets to fly from Hawaii to Georgia, we were all well aware that the kids and I would not be able to make it. Having Kerry be able to attend was the next best thing.

It's always a good moment when the bride gets so tickled that she bends over in half during the ceremony.

See that fine hunk of manly flesh in the blue shirt? That's my honey, taking a quick break from Afghanistan to attend the wedding. I could tell you why he's really in the states but then I'd have to kill you. It could get messy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sea Life Park Hawaii

Last week, our homeschool co-op took a trip to the Sea Life Park.

This is what homeschoolers look like in case you were wondering.

Because we had set it up as an educational field trip we were treated to a special talk given by one of the trainers at the park. She brought a Sea Lion right out in front of us. He was close enough that the kids on the front row could have reached out to touch him.

She advised them not to do that though.

She showed us how they had trained him to do tricks and gave us an educational talk about the care and feeding of Sea Lions and how they differ from Seals.

She then showed us how they train the dolphins to do tricks and talked about their care and feeding. The dolphins did some really cool things. They did all kinds of flips and threw balls around. All the kids near the tank got splashed and were really happy about it.

I wish I was a dolphin trainer. Or a dolphin.

Then they had two penguins waddle out and we were treated to an educational talk about them.

Katie asked me to take her picture in front of this gray wall.

We then got to watch the "Sting Ray Ballet". A scuba diver swam around in a tank full of many fish and sting rays. He hand fed the sting rays. It was really funny to watch him poke food right in their mouths. He even got one of them to give him a kiss!

There was a "petting zoo" where the kids got to pet Sea Cucumbers and a Sea Urchin.

One trainer held a turtle on her lap for all the kids to touch. We aren't allowed to get near them when we see them on the beach, so this was a new opportunity for everyone.

Then we went to see a dolphin show. This is always one of the most fun parts of a Sea Life Park. Dolphins are natural performers and are very entertaining to watch.

I once read a story about a trained dolphin who was accidentally released into the ocean when the wrong channels were left open into his tank and he was able to swim right out. They found him at three o'clock that day, performing his routine out in the ocean for a boat full of tourists.

In this dolphin show, one of the trainers rode on the back of a dolphin like he was a surfboard. Then he propelled her into the air and did a flip. Who wouldn't love a job like that?

They also had a Sea Lion "Beauty Pageant". We watched the Sea Lions perform in the talent competition. This was an adorable show! I loved it!

It was a hot day, and right behind the stands for the sea lion show, some sprinklers were in full gear watering the lawn. All the kids begged to be allowed to run through the sprinklers and we moms all shrugged and said, "Sure, why not?"

The we sat in the stands and pretended we didn't know them in case they got in trouble for playing in the sprinklers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Boys Vs. Girls

Another difference I've noticed between boys and girls:

Body Odor. BO for short.

When teens get older they get stinky. It doesn't matter whether they are male or female. This is one area in which they do not differ. The difference is in their reaction to the stink.

We were riding along in the car the other day when the unmistakable smell of underarm BO wafted gently through the car.

I looked around and realized Emily had one arm up in the air as she was trying to scratch an itch in the center of her back. I pointed out that she was sharing some serious BO with the rest of us. She clamped her arms to her sides and scowled at me the rest of the way home for daring to point out something so embarrassing.

Two days later we were again in the car when the underarm BO invaded my nostrils. This time it was Ben with one arm up in the air.

"Ben!" I scolded, "Did you forget to use deodorant this morning?!"

Ben lifted his arm higher into the air, then lifted his other arm into the air as well, then blew across his armpit in my direction in order to lift a few more layers of scent and spread them about.

The girls were shrieking, I was fussing, and Ben was grinning.

As far as he's concerned..........he wins again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is It Any Wonder I Homeschool?

Okay, I probably should not post this, but I'm laughing so hard, I just have to share. I got this posted as a comment on my blog today:

hey you are so nice to help thoes peple kides who dont want to take care of there kides but they sit up there and have SEX and run in stree but cant take care of them!!!!!!!!!!!!


This was posted in the comments section under my review of a spelling curriculum. By a person who can't spell!

I love irony.

For those of you who don't know, in the cyberworld, this sort of person is called a "troll". They post something anonymously, hoping to stir up trouble. This hasn't stirred up any problems for me because I find it validates my decision to homeschool (unless of course "Anonymous" is a homeschooler, in which case I need to report them to the authorities because they clearly are not doing school work).

Even my nine year old third grader can spell "those", "people", "kids", and "street". I'd like to give "Anonymous" the benefit of a doubt and think that maybe those are typos, but "kids" is spelled wrong twice. My third grader also knows to put apostrophes in conjunctions, and that all sentences start with a capital letter. She also knows the difference between "there" and "their".

I don't have any idea what "Anonymous" is talking about as I don't believe I've posted anything about people who have "SEX" and let their kids run in the street. That would have been a heck of a post, wouldn't it?

Sorry, I'm giggling again.

I can only assume "Anonymous" is a first grader whose parents are letting him/her surf the Internet unsupervised. In which case they might as well be letting him/her play in the street - it's just as dangerous.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Thunderbirds

When I was growing up, my parents would occasionally take us to air shows. I never really understood the point.

There was always a lot of concrete and the sun was beating down on us on that hot concrete and we walked into a dozen airplanes and looked at the five million and two gages in every cockpit. All the planes, cockpits, and gages looked exactly the same to me, so I never found this as fascinating as everyone else around me seemed to.

Then some planes would fly by and everyone would ooh and aah. I just didn't get it. Had these people never seen Star Wars?? Planes just flying didn't seem like that big of a deal when you'd watched star fighters battle it out in close combat using amazing aerial maneuvers.

So, I wasn't that thrilled when someone told me there would be an air show here on the island. But everyone seemed really excited about it and another family offered to give us a ride, so we decided to go.

There was a lot of hot concrete. There were a lot of planes. There were a lot of long lines to get into the planes. I bought the kids water bottles for $1 a bottle. As the day went on and got hotter, they raised the price of water to $2 a bottle. Yay.

I was once again asking myself why I had come to this event.

And then..........

And then the Thunderbirds flew.

Oh. My.

They were amazing. I've never seen anything like it in my life.

Those planes flew so close together it looked as if their wings were going to touch at the tips. Two planes would fly by with one right side up and one upside down. A plane flew by that was so loud I had to plug my ears. They flew with smoke coming out making patterns in the sky. Two planes flew straight at each other and turned sideways at the last moment, passing belly to belly.

It was incredible. I was astounded that people could fly planes like that and not crash into each other.

I looked at the kids in delight. They yawned. They talked to their friends. They said, "How much longer are we going to be here?"

Then I got it. They've seen things in movies which makes this sort of flying pale in comparison. They don't realize the movie flying isn't real. They don't realize this sort of flying is rare and takes amazing training and phenomenal talent. They don't realize that not everyone can do this. They think this must be easy and anyone can do it; they wouldn't be doing it at an air show in front of all these people if it wasn't perfectly safe.

Just wait until they grow up and they realize they aren't immortal or gifted with the ability and opportunity to fly like that.

Then they'll be impressed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

More From Kerry

Let me know if this note from Kerry doesn't creep you out:

We just looked up in the light fixture above my head and there is a 4 inch scorpion crawling around. How cool! How disconcerting. What if he had fallen on me? I think it is neat, but I still have a slight case of the "willies."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Still Here

For those of you who have not heard:

Hawaii was not wiped off the face of the earth by a tsunami after all.

Thank you and goodnight.