Thursday, May 29, 2008

Visiting a Museum with a NASA Exhibit

Demonstrating Bernoulli's Principle using hairdryers.
Family Portrait
In the playscape!

Face painting

Space suit and under suit (much flatter clothes to the left).

Space food. All freeze dried.

Space potties (well, when ya gotta go...). If you were on the ISS right now you wouldn't think this picture was disgusting at all--you'd be loving it.

Space urinals (the big gold thing is the original one for men, there's a small, upside-down, clear-plastic thing next to the breifcase which is the equivilant for women).

Here's the actual NASA truck.

Before the kids went inside, they got to have their picture taken as if they were on the moon (the white suits) or Mars (the orange suit).

I recorded part of the 'moon visit.' What a commercial! NASA really produced quite an expensive commercial to try to indoctrinate kids on their supposed usefulness. You might enjoy it. When the kids are crawling all over the floor, there were interactive rock projections on the floor that would 'run away from them' when they tried to touch them.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Victoria's Math

Goofy Girls!

They'll do anything for an appreciative audience.

Interview

During our trip for a quick visit with Mom and Dad, Elisa interviewed her sister. She just updated her website to include the interview.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Visiting with My Folks

On the Saturday before Mother's Day, I got to meet Mom and Dad someplace in New Jersey. Even though it's Jersey, it takes them longer to get there than it takes me! We got to exchange Mother's Day cards (they volunteered to play mailman for me to give my cards to Mommom Loeper and Mommom McNeill), visit, Mom and Dad gave Elisa her birthday presents, and gave Victoria and Elisa some clothes. And, most importantly, I got to snap a pic of Mom with the girls! I think I chose a really bad position to take the picture. It seems that the sun was right over my shoulder. Memom let Victoria borrow her sunglasses!
It was a great day for a drive and the kids were so excited that they didn't even complain on the way. Elisa did practice being a reporter and shot a video interview with Victoria. Once she puts the videos up, I'll link to them. All they really wanted to do was leave with Memom and Pepop and say "hasta la vista!" to me.

Mother's Day Fun

Last night we moved the 5 month-old little guy into his crib. He's been too big for the bassinet for a few months now, I was just putting off the inevitable. Last night was the final straw when his foot actually got caught in a handle opening of the fabric. That meant moving the nursing chair and myself into the baby's room. Of course any transition for babies comes with a penalty, so he was up twice as often and had that much of a harder time getting to sleep.

In the morning, Aaron and the girls were nice enough to let me sleep late, though and I got to sleep until 8 AM. I could have slept later if Victoria didn't have a crazy-loud meltdown. I was presented with hand-made mother's day cards from both girls. No present because I'm a waffler and can't figure out what I want (or at least what I want that I'm also willing and able to pay for). After that, I enjoyed some pancakes for breakfast (hubby's Sunday morning breakfast) which I didn't even cook. We then loaded the kids, ourselves, some hammers, a crow bar, a nail claw, and a metal bar into the car for a ride around town.

some hammers, a crow bar, a nail claw, and a metal bar???

Yep! I recently found out that there's a place RIGHT NEAR US that has an old garnet mine. It's called Green's Garnet Mine in Southbury, CT. These aren't gem quality minerals, but when you have two kids who like to collect rocks, that hardly matters. We spent an hour getting lost (though we found a really old cemetary from the 1700s) and then found the place! It's someone's house.

You pay $3 per car (by putting the money under the front mat). We were quite stumped. Here we were at some stranger's house, walking in their driveway and yard not quite knowing what to do. Soon a cute, furry dog greets us a trots off down a path to the left of the garage. What else could we do but follow him. Lo and behold--the clever pooch led us to the exact spot.We didn't know what to expect. It was called a mine and I didn't know if there would be anything obvious or not. It turns out that it was just a sharp valley in the hill. There were a few other rock hunters chipping away. They had quite an impressive haul--though it turns out we did quite well ourselves. In many places the rock was chipped away leaving exposed garnets. The garnets were obvious where they were imbedded in the rock. We found a number that were a quarter-inch and half-inch in diameter. Hubby found some that were three-quarters of an inch. They were obvious by their color and their shape. We spent a couple of hours pounding and digging. Of course I forgot my camera, but here are some of the best samples.

After a hard day with hammers and crow bars, we headed out to the local Friendly's for dinner. By then we were quite ready for a rest.

Happy Mother's Day!

Let the fun commence!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Almost 5 Months!

Can you believe the little cutie is almost 5 months old now? Here's a new video of him in his exersaucer.

Party!

Elisa had her 9th birthday party over the weekend. It was a mystery party arranged and hosted by Aaron. The kids were characters who had to investigate their parents' possible involvement in a train robbery. They each had an heirloom that could give them a clue whether their parents were guilty. After going over the heirlooms, they then had clues to decipher to find out more about the crime. Some of the clues were letter substitutions, riddles, pictographs, words encoded from a book, anagrams, and word scrambles. Once the clues were solved, they gave the characters some place to search for their final clue. All of the kids were given a map of the town (different rooms in the house were the trading post, desert, saloon, train station, mining shaft, mayor's house, telegraph office) and then had to go find their clues. After these last clues were uncovered, Aaron led the kids through opening each one individually and discussing what they might mean for the guilt or innocence of some of the ancestors. Here are just SOME of the props that Aaron created in order to set the mood and lead the kids to determine the solution: There was an obituary, two love letters, an initialed wallet, a hat with an inscription, an article about the robbery, a photograph, a map, a map overlay (the 'x' was on a transparency that could lead to three different locations--the kids had to investigate them all to find the treasure), an invisible mark on a gold nugget (a rock painted with gold paint), a stamp with a note from the owner of the treasure, an article about a morse code contest, a doctor's notebook, the sheriff's notebook...AND MORE! It was really amazing how well the kids figured things out--even coming up with some scenarios we hadn't at all considered. They really had their thinking caps on. Aaron stayed 'in character' for the party and the kids really got a kick out of his accent and story. The kids got so excited at this point that we sometimes had a hard time getting them to settle down and open the next clue. Most importantly, Elisa had a great time and all of the kids really seemed to enjoy themselves. This was really great because we had quite a disparate group of kids: a friend from pre-school, a friend from Massachussetts (how awesome that she made the trip), friends from her old school, and friends made from our homeschool astronomy course. They all played together.