Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dance Recital

Ben and Emily's dance recital was this morning. Ben is in the black "leather" jacket on the far left. Emily wasn't on the stage in the beginning, but she is in polka dots when she comes out. Why, oh why, can't they put my kids on the same portion of the stage so I can video them both at once. I was able to video him or her most of the time although occasionally I got each of them at the far end of the screen at the same time. I ordered an official video of the performance, so hopefully I'll have a better copy in a few weeks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Sound of a Brain Sizzle

Katie really, really struggles with math. And I totally understand. She is me in a smaller package. I never understood math, I got left behind somewhere in the early years and always struggled to catch up. Math is just a foreign language to some of us. We can make the translation, but it takes a long time.

I still don't know my times tables. I'm sharing this with you and no one else.

Katie really doesn't retain information from math unless she has performed the same function 318 times. For the past several weeks she's been learning how to multiply fractions. Every day we have the same conversations over and over because she can not remember how this process works. She can never remember if she's supposed to cross multiply or multiply straight across. She can never remember how to reduce an improper fraction or how to turn a mixed number into an improper fraction. She had recently mastered long division, but learning to multiply fractions knocked all the division out of her head. Now, when she gets a problem involving fractions correct, she will invariably completely mess up her division problems.

Because this is such a frustration for her, she will need to eat, pee, poop, walk the dog, get something out of her room, eat again, sharpen her pencil, go see what Ben is laughing at, ask me a question about the moon, and pee again during her math lesson. Anything to keep from moving on to the next problem.

Today, after struggling with the first half of her math lesson, something clicked and she suddenly raced through the rest of her math sheet, didn't miss one single problem, and stayed focused the entire time.

"Wow!" I exclaimed in delight. "What happened to you?"

"I don't know," she replied with a grin. "All the sudden my brain went POP! •*¨*•.¸¸ Fizz!¸¸.•*¨*• Turn, turn, turn, and I just understood it!"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kerry Comes Home

Kerry got back from a month in the Philippines last night.

The dogs seemed happy. I don't know though, it's hard to tell.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Big Honkin' Snail

Remember the Big Honkin' Snail who does laps around our house?

He's now got a "special friend". Time will tell if this is a lasting relationship. I usually see the Big Honkin' Snail about every six months. He'll be in the backyard by the trashcans, or he'll be by the front door near the steps.

I think he's training for a marathon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The New Sofa

Our next door neighbors moved back to the mainland last week. Whenever friends move, we are always given items their movers won't pack. Usually it's cleaning supplies. Sometimes we get items from the freezer.

This time we got a leather sofa and chair. They were moving to a smaller house and didn't want to take it with them and didn't want to fool with trying to sell it.

Ringo loves the sofa like it's the mother he never knew.

He will walk past the sofa and rub his face against it, then turn around and rub his face against it again. He'll nuzzle the thing like it's his own personal baby.

And it practically is.

Storming The Beach!

If you are a homeschooler, and you live near a beach, there is only one way to help your students understand trench warfare.......

.....take them to the beach to dig trenches and fight World War III.

We took everyone out and let the young folks with strong backs dig the trenches;

Fortified the walls with boogie boards;

Trained the youngsters in how to use weapons;

And sacrificed our youth for the good of the revolution!

If you got shot, you could come back to life completely healed if your team mates could drag you back into the trenches.

Kerry very romantically tried to rescue me after I had been killed, but he was unfortunately also killed before he could drag my dead body back to safety.

Ben proved to be quite adept at violence.

I think he may have decided to become a terrorist.

After college, of course.

I took a water balloon right to the face and was unable to convince anyone that I hadn't really been hit as the evidence was still stuck to my head.

Viva la revolucion!

The carnage was terrible!

And glorious!

Next we practiced storming the beach. We came in on our boogie boards and noodles. The enemy was waiting for us.

The battle raged for hours.

It was a glorious day to die!

And I broke a nail.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hawaii Ocean Rafting

And last but not least, our absolute favorite activity on Maui - a whale watching trip with Hawaii Ocean Rafting.

There are some really big boats that go out on the whale watching tours, but after reading the reviews, I felt that a small, fast boat would be more entertaining for the kids

Boy, was I right. The kids were able to straddle the pontoons on the boat and ride it like a horse. They were bounced up in the air and tossed around and they had an absolute blast!

We circled the island of Lanai on our tour. We stopped in three different places to snorkel and saw several shipwrecks on the beaches.

There were all sorts of amazing sights.

This rock formation looked like a castle. We saw another one that looked like a bear and also watched a blowhole spout.

There were sea caves we were able to go right up to, but not inside.

But the coolest part was watching whales (we saw LOTS!)......

.....and a pod of dolphins which ran along beside us for a bit! So cool!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Old Fort

This is what remains of the old fort in Lahaina. It was built in 1827 to protect the town from angry sailors. Apparently, the Rev. William Richards who was a missionary in Lahaina, converted the natives to Christianity and then told all the ladies they should no longer go out to the whaling ships and, ahem, entertain the sailors. The ladies were coming back from the ships with pretty beads and nasty diseases. One of the ship's captains fired a cannon at Rev. Richard's house in retaliation. No one was hurt but the royals at the time felt that a fort was needed to help protect the townspeople from any further incidents.

The fort covered nearly an acre and was constructed of coral bricks. Visitors to Lahaina remarked that the fort seemed more for show than for protection and that it was primarily used for firing gun salutes on the king's birthday. It was torn down in the 1850's and the blocks were used to build the town's first prison.

Better to lock them up than to just block them out!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lahaina, Maui

Lahaina is a beautiful little town on west Maui. It has a very quaint feel with a little bohemian vibe mixed in for fun.

There were lots of cool shops. I could have shopped all day if it wouldn't have caused Ben and Kerry to drown themselves in the nearest puddle.

There's even a mystery sailboat wrecked just off shore. Ask anyone in the town about it and you will get stories ranging from "someone wanted a tax write off" to "drug smugglers hide there".

The whole town is full of the most interesting sights.

You never know what you might see.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nakalele Blowhole

While on Maui, we drove north to the Nakalele Blowhole.
The view from up there is gorgeous.

We found a great little rock shelf where we could sit and watch the blowhole.

We didn't get too close. There was a cross nearby which I'm assuming was placed there because someone died. I know at the blowhole on Maui, there have been several deaths, usually because people get too close.

We stayed at a safe distance but watched others walk right up and look straight down into the hole. This is not Old Faithful, you never know when it's going to blow.

But there's no way to make it idiot proof.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Melting Pot

Kerry and I love The Melting Pot restaurant. We went to one in Florida when we were dating. Then we went to one in Virginia when we had small children and I was petrified they would burn themselves. A pot of boiling oil in the middle of the dining table is just not a good situation with young kids. We've never lived near one again. Then, while on Maui, we happened to spot a sign for the Melting Pot while we were riding down the street. We immediately abandoned all plans for the evening and made reservations to eat there.

This was easily the best meal we had on Maui. And the most expensive. Immediately after eating there we cancelled our plans to go to the circus because we had blown our circus budget on this one meal.

But, oh, was it good.

The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant. They start off by bringing you a double boiler and putting it on a burner which is right in the middle of your table. We picked a spinach-artichoke cheese dip and a fancy French cheese with a carafe of wine poured in it. Emily of course, could not eat the cheese dips because of her dairy allergy. But she happily noshed on the fruits and veggies which the rest of us were dipping into the pots.

I shouldn't have looked at this picture. Now I'm craving cauliflower dipped in that fancy cheese.

The plates are ultra cool. There are all these little compartments in case you are OCD about your food touching.

After the cheese was consumed, we had two pots of boiling oil and broth bestowed upon our table. Our entree consisted of bits of beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, lobster, duck, and probably several other things I'm completely forgetting. Scallops. There may have been scallops.

We each got three skewers with a different colored handle and were able to cook our meats in each pot and then dunk them in various sauces and then fight over who took your duck while trying to skewer the last shrimp before anyone else claimed it. Battling for your food helps build up an appetite and add a level of excitement not usually found in a family dinner.

Kerry was just as happy as a man can be.

Then, dessert. Oh, dessert was heavenly. Our fabulous waitress actually managed to scrounge up a dairy free pot of chocolate so Emily could participate. The rest of us had the yin and yang chocolate which was a glorious mixture of dark and white chocolate. We had fruit, marshmallows, and pound cake to dunk in it. Unfortunately, we polished it off rather quickly and tried to dive into Emily's soy chocolate. She viciously used her skewer to fend us off.

Who knew she could fence like that?

You do have to be very cautious if your kids get hold of the skewers.

Or you may find yourself impaled and dunked in chocolate before you know it.