Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anatomy and Physiology

It's been a crazy few weeks: last week Klenda started Spanish, Mxyl's Japanese class started up again, and we started Anatomy and Physiology!

This was my favorite class in high school, and it is what I consider the second most important class you ever take. 

The Emperor argues that English is the second most important, since you will always need to communicate, but I disagree.  You can move some where where no one speaks English, but wherever you go, you'll take your body with you.

The most important, of course, would be theology, since you'll need that even when you've moved where you don't take your body with you!

At any rate, I have 8 teens and we are having a great time learning about the human body.  We meet twice a week: once for lecture, once for lab.  We should finish up the A & P around Thanksgiving, and then we will add on a 5 class Bioethics course in December.

We are doing an amazing 13 dissections!  What you are seeing on that middle shelf is each kids dissection kit and specimen bag. 

The aprons and gloves go with the lab stuff.  I've found that lab coats are expensive, but aprons do a fine job fairly cheaply.  Plus they are easy to customize with permanent markers!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fun and Games

 The other day I (literally) stumbled upon Zorg and Leena playing a game in the front hall.

It turned out they had created a game using little drawings.

They drew various characters, situations and sayings, cut them all out and then used them on a another piece of paper.

The game is more like a story: the first person lays out a scenario and explains what is happening.

Then the next player added and removed items using their store of drawings, to tell what happened next.

Whenever they get stuck in the story, they can always draw more pieces.

Simple, fun, and completely limitless - very Zoomlian!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Poem of the Week

The Tyger

TYGER, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

HT: Day Poems

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things the Kids Have Asked Me to Put on the Blog

 Oob, playing with jewels and making pictures!

Choclo, building Angry Birds Star Wars structures with giant red bricks!
Klenda, having sculpted (in whipped cream) a picture of the Assumption on the cake she made for the Assumption!

Oob, looking like this!

Mxyl and Oob, looking like this!

Three friends who didn't actually ask to be put on the blog, but I love this picture!

It makes me think "A three stranded cord is not easily broken." (Eccl 4:12)

Being a reverse paparazzi is fun!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


We've celebrated a few feast days in August.

St. Dominic was August 8th, and we made white cupcakes with chocolate "cappas"  in honor of the Dominican habit

Although, admittedly, I've never seen a friar with sprinkles!
 August 15th was the Assumption.  I wore my Assumption shawl to Mass!

It was a gift from beloved friends who visited us from Spain when Mxyl was a baby.  The shawl is embroidered silk with elegant long tassels and is really a beautiful work of art!

Every Feast of the Assumption I wear it to Mass and pray for my friends, Tia and Tio.

Also for this feast, Klenda made an angel food cake and I made blue, raspberry flavored whipped cream.

We garnished it with fresh raspberries - yum!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy First Day of No School!

 We had a lovely playground hop - six playgrounds, which I think is a new record for us!

One playground we had not visited in over a year and we were quite surprised to find that the old tennis court had been turned into a new skate park!

 What a fun day - it was so nice to relax and play together.

We also made it to the library, a favorite spot. 

 Leena asked a librarian where she could find more books about optical illusions, and the librarian was surprised that she had homework already!
Leena, of course, just likes optical illusions, but I guess they don't often see a kid researching their own interests.

Speaking of which, one part of the skate park was very steep, and it had turned into a caterpillar trap.  We rescued four large and interesting caterpillars, of which we took home three to try to raise in our butterfly pavilion.

 Anyone know this fella?

We ended our day at the "alien" playground near the library.

We call it that because it looks like it was designed by and for space aliens.

Very fun!

Monday, August 19, 2013


My camera tells me I'm behind on my posting. 

Last Monday, the Emperor returned to school for his preparation week, and we began to prepare for our school year in earnest. I'm a planner: I love to plan, and I love to have a plan.

 And we had Shakespeare camp.  And I did a ton of fun stuff with the younger Zoomlians.  And I set up my Anatomy and Physiology class.  And life went merrily rolling along.

I think life needs a pause button. 

Really, I could have done it all if dishes, laundry, clutter, and the need for regular meals hadn't continued to pile up!  The Zoomlians usually do most of these things, but we've all slipped some over the summer.

We've also had a series of serious health problems in our extended family, and that, more than anything, made me feel overwhelmed - like I had way more than I could handle.  That spinning out of control feeling in the pit of my stomach... I hate it, and that comes out in me losing my temper and snapping at the kids.

Surprisingly, me losing my temper often results in the kids losing theirs. Who'da thunk it?

At least I know what to do:  apologize, go to confession, and get to Adoration.

"Way more than I can handle" means I'm not supposed to be handling it, I'm supposed to be handing it to God.  And... peace. 

Did everything magically get done?  Not everything I wanted, but everything that really needed to happen, and we were happy doing it.  I was able to talk to the kids about what needed to happen, and they stepped up to the plate and helped out. 

Of course they did!  Why do I get so stressed that I try to force what they invariably freely give when I tell them I need help?  Because I think I can do everything, which means, deep down, I still think everything relies on me.  It doesn't, it relies on God. That's a happier way to live.

My class starts tomorrow.  Today is the First Day of No School.  I'm ready!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Poem of the Week

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
                               Pied Beauty
    Glory be to God for dappled things—
        For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
            For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
        Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
            And áll trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
    All things counter, original, spáre, strange;
        Whatever is fickle, frecklèd (who knows how?)
            With swíft, slów; sweet, sóur; adázzle, dím;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is pást change:
                                                Práise hím.'

HT: Bartleby

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Math Mania: Round One

 This week, the older Zoomlians have been off in the morning at Shakespeare Camp (run by my favorite Horsewoman).  This year they're doing Much Ado About Nothing, to be capped by a Free-for-All performance in the park.  They are having a marvelous time, and I'm having extra time to focus on the younger Zoomlians!  

We've been doing math!  

One fun thing has been Baby Teddy Bear Teeter-Totter.  In this game, all the cute baby teddy bears like each other, but they have special friends. I set out groups of special friends, and these special friends have to stay together.  Meanwhile, the teeter-totter has to balance.  

We started out with four groups of special friends, with 1, 2, 3, and 4 bears, but we quickly moved up to five, six, or even seven groups of varying numbers.

We've also done some patterning with the bears, although it quickly turned into Cute Little Baby Teddy Bear Armies ... of Doom!  

I have gotten interested in a concept called subitizing, the ability to recognize groups of numbers without counting them, a foundational math concept.  I had found a bunch of different subitzing games and activities on the Internet, and I also ended up making this one of my own.

It's basically a memory game.  I printed out two blank grids and added dots.  One sheet has dots in the "dice" configuration, and the other has the dots in a random, unrepeated order.  I started with the dice grid and covered the squares with pieces of construction paper.  From there on, it was played like Memory, and for each match, they got a jewel. When they were quick with the regular "dice" arrangements, I moved on to the randomly placed dots.

They really like this, and it's great for building number concept.  The key is to show them the dots briefly: you don't want them to count, just "know" the number. Here's a good site for younger kids.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Practically Perfect

The one minor flaw in our practically perfect vacation was that the Emperor forgot his razor.

Honestly, that's the worst that happened, so it really was very nearly perfect!

But electric razors are expensive, and the Emperor doesn't like the non electric options.

So, after a few days he looked like this:


Which I suppose is better than him looking like this.

So, practically perfect! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

More Vacation

Klenda Stylin'
Lest you think our vacation was all lolling about on beaches, it was not so!

We also went shopping with Grammy!
 We exercised! 

This was unexpected.  Next to a very nice playground was an exercise park for grown ups and teens.

Mxyl took full advantage!

 We rented a surrey!  This is like a big bike that will fit 8 people.  We've done this many times since the kids were little, and each year it gets more squished.

But we keep squishing in there, and now we have many more active pedallers.

 I got to fulfill my lifelong dream of riding in a surrey without pedalling! 

For a little while anyway.
And we lolled about inside and read!  I read the entire Glamourist Histories trilogy.  They are rather like Jane Austen with magic: very fun and relaxing.

Of course there's no Austen like actual Austen, so I ended up reading Mansfield Park when I got back.

It was a practically perfect vacation!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Poem of the Week

One of my favorites, called back to mind as I think back on our vacation, picking up shells.

The Chambered Nautilus

By Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
   Sails the unshadowed main,—
   The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
   And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
   Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
   And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
   Before thee lies revealed,—
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
   That spread his lustrous coil;
   Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
   Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
   Child of the wandering sea,
   Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
   While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
   As the swift seasons roll!
   Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
   Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Before and After

Zorg's hair was getting pretty extreme.  By extreme, I mean his siblings were having fun taking pictures of it!

So, we have before...

 And in the middle, when I had a Duran Duran 80's moment.

And after!

He likes it! 

Plus his head is cooler. 

And possibly lighter.