Tuesday, November 20, 2018

First 5k for Daddy and Daughter

Earlier this month Elisabeth and Daddy ran their first 5k at the 9th Annual Pumpkin Run. Elisabeth has been training with a local club for the past 8 months and felt ready for a 5k. All things considered, they both did great. Hopefully, the whole family will run the next one together.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Shrinky Dink Stained Glass

Using a printout template from our Story of the World curriculum, the kids made "stained-glass" Out of Shrinky Dink Paper. Once again, my art-loving daughter embraced the assignment whole-heartedly. This was a nice supplemental exercise for learning about the Protestant Reformation and Counter Reformation in our history curriculum.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Renaissance: Classical Architecture

Elisabeths clay reproduction of a Doric Column and drawing of an Ionic column.
While studying the Renaissance as part of our Story of the World history curriculum, we watched several videos on Greek and Roman columns including this one by Khan Academy on The Classical Orders. 

After studying the different column types especially Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, we reviewed photos of places we have visited such as the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London to practice identifying the different column types. When asked to draw or sculpt an example, Elisabeth fully embraced the idea (pictured above), while Jonah's sculpture of a column quickly morphed into a an unrelated, worm-like creature. He did, at least, enjoy the identification phase of our study. I was glad to find activities that allow both kids with their differing interests to engage with the curriculum. In this case, the art component added interest to the subject matter for Elisabeth, who generally speaking does not get quite as excited about learning history as Jonah does.  

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Our First Fencing Competition

Jonah and Coach Gromov (photo by Jason Davis)
Jonah competed in his first fencing tournament this past month. It was a local, unsanctioned affair but was still hard on the nerves for all of us. Jonah contracted a cold the week before and missed practice the whole week prior. My momma-bear side hated knowing the odds were against him performing well and that he would likely have a negative first experience with competing. Having never witnessed a tournament before let alone been a participant, there were a few things about the process which added a layer of bewilderment atop the frustration of not feeling well. He left with a combined sense of confusion, fatigue and disappointment. Afterwards, we chalked the whole thing up to a good learning experience over lunch and dessert at Culver's as a celebration of making it through his first fencing tournament.

The next day, he went to practice at my behest despite not feeling up to it. It turned out not to be a great idea. He became exhausted before practice was even over, and the next day awoke with a terrible cough that hung on longer than expected. 

As a result, I have come to the realization that we both have some things to learn that simply can't be taught except by experience. He has to learn how to lose, and by this I mean lose well, with grace and without taking it as utter defeat, while I have to learn how to judge when he is genuinely spent and not just uncommitted. 

There are other tournaments on the calendar in the coming weeks. Of course, I hope he does well, but more importantly I want us to enjoy the journey keeping in mind that sometimes the greatest victories do not come through winning. 

Jonah during a preliminary fencing bout (Photo by Jason Davis)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Emerald Village Museum and Gem Mine

In August 2017, we visited the mountains of North Carolina to see friends, be closer to the path of totality for the eclipse and to get a break from the Florida heat. 
When traveling, I am always on the lookout for unique learning experiences. The kids were very interested in gem mining so I researched a couple of places and decided on Emerald Village. It was a longer drive for us but I was intrigued by the history of the site as well as the gem mining opportunity. 
The mines at Emerald Village were started during the depression as a source for feldspar as the main ingredient in the Bon Ami cleaning product. Ironically, any other items found including gemstones were tossed away as worthless tailings. Today, customers can pay for a pass to glean precious metals and stones from those tailing piles. I would imagine that you really need to know what to look for. 
We toured the lovely grounds and museum for a fee and payed to sift through a medium sized bucket.

One of the mines with old equipment about.
Visitors can walk back in the shallow cave and feed the trout in the pond
The Bon Ami Museum and Mine tour entrance at Emerald Village
Inside the mine museum at Emerald Village

An old post office on site at Emerald Village
The Discovery Mill at Emerald Village
Antiques in the Discovery Mill building at Emerald Village are numerous and diverse
Gem mining flume at Emerald Village

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An Almost Teenager!

My oldest turned 12 this month. It is hard to believe that I will soon have a teenager in the house!

Jonah has matured a lot this year in many ways. This momma is very proud of the young man he is fast becoming. May God continue to lead him and us, his parents, as he approaches adulthood. May God make his path straight, his faith strong and his future sure.

Jonah has taken up fencing this year. He is enjoying it and improving quickly. We are thankful to have found a sport that he is truly interested in and also challenges him, as well as the new friends God has brought to us through the sport.

He got braces this summer which has added to his mature look.

At this point, his upper body strength exceeds mine, so he was a big help prepping his room for painting over the summer.

On a recent hike in the notoriously steep Tallulah Gorge, he stayed ahead of the rest of our group the entire time. Here he stopped to wait on us. All that physical conditioning from fencing is paying off.

He may be maturing but he is still a bit of a clown at heart, who enjoys a good laugh and likes to entertain others.

I'm so thankful that God made me his mom. He may be my oldest and he may not be a baby, but I still can't help but call him that from time to time. Afterall, there was a time when he was my baby.


Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Science: The Digestive System

I discovered a science show called Horrible Science on Amazon. After watching the first episode, we read a couple of excerpts from books about the digestive system. I then tasked my 12 and 10 year old with drawing a diagram of their own digestive system. The results were pretty interesting!

By Jonah
by Elisabeth

Monday, July 30, 2018

Elisabeth is 10!

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This awesome young lady turned 10 last week amongst a lot of other milestones. Elisabeth actually enjoys track club and has no qualms about wearing a towel on her head in a Chick-fi-la. I continue to be in awe of her spunk, creativity, self-assurance and determination. What a young lady you are becoming!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dinosaur National Monument Fossil Bone Quarry

Entrance to the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument 
Dinosaur National Monument is a 200,000 acre park that straddles the Utah/Colorado border. Visitors to the park can raft the Green or Yampa Rivers, see petroglyphs, take a hike, camp or explore the Dinosaur Bone Quarry located on the Utah side. 
The Building that Houses the Bone Quarry
Dinosaur bones were discovered here in 1909 by Earl Douglass, a paleontologist representing the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. This quarry is often described as a "wall of bones" as fossils from several species of Jurassic era dinosaurs are embedded in an steeply tilted rock layer that was once a river bed. 
Inside the Bone Quarry
The Wall of Bones in the newly renovated Quarry Exhibit Hall is impressive in size, but it is only a small portion of the whole excavation area originally worked by Earl Douglass who shipped more than 700,000 tons of material to the Carnegie Museum.
The "Wall of Bones" at Diniosaur National Monument
Visitors are invited to touch real fossils in the Dinosaur National Monument Fossil Bone Quarry
Diplodocus leg bone @Dinosaur National Monument
Camarasaurus skull and spine at Dinosaur National Monument Fossil Bone Quarry
The Quarry Exhibit Hall and tram stop overlooks the Green River
Getting ready to hike down the Fossil Discovery Trail from the Quarry Bldg to the Utah side Visitor Ctr
Fossils can be seen at various spots along the Fossil Discovery Trail
Dinosaur National Monument Visitor Center
Sometimes I have to cajole my children into participating in the National Park Junior Ranger Program. Each park has an educational brochure/questionnaire specific to each site. Given the educational focus of this park, no cajoling was needed. My son jumped at the opportunity and really liked the unique, star-shaped paleontology badge.

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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Grand Teton National Park in Pictures

The Grand Tetons
T. A. Moulton Barn said to be the most photographed barn
Mountain Reflection, Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Lake Jackson, Grand Teton National Park
Log Cabin on Mormon Row, near Grand Teton National Park
Mount Moran and Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Grand Tetons from roadway overlook