Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Happy Birthday, Choclo!

Choclo is 11!

He had a great birthday!

We had been thinking of doing a beach trip, but what he wanted to do was feed the peacocks and chickens at Watkins Park.

That was super fun!  We got there at a quiet time and had very attentive animals all to ourselves.

There were llamas and rabbits, pigs and ducks (including a sitting duck, squatting in the middle of the path).

We even got to pet the pony.

As an added bonus, they had the carousel open!

This is the first time in ages that it's been open on a weekday.


11 Fantastic Things About Choclo!
1. He's always up for an adventure.
2. He loves silly jokes.
2. He's training to be an altar server.
3. He gives great hugs.
4. He's a master of Minecraft!
4. He's a Webelo scout.
5. He knows a lot about sharks.
6. He is a loving brother.
6. He has an enormous penguin collection.
7. He came up with his own proof that ther are larger and smaller infinities (it involved Legos).
8. He's a Lego master builder.
8. He's a pup lover, who likes cats, too.
9. He likes doing experiments.
10. He has his own magic show.
10. He likes to cook.
11. He loves GARLIC!!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

 We did our Memorial Day observances on Saturday to avoid Rolling Thunder and the President.

It turned out we also avoided the rain from the tropical storm coming up the coast on Sunday and Monday!

The one thing we did not avoid was the humid 90 degree temperature. I know that Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, but, really, with a high of 58 degrees earlier that week, 90 felt hot!
  This year we had loads of flowers, and I really enjoyed making up the bouquets for each grave.

Special flowers for special people: billowy peonies and foxgloves for Mom, Dad's beloved roses and irises for him. Old fashioned pansies and bleeding hearts for Moi (grandma).

Lots of family stories and happy memories!

Lots of prayers for our loved ones and their neighbors.

The Emperor's dad and grandparents are buried in the World War I section of Arlington (he was in WWII, Grandpa Frank was in WWI), so there aren't many graves still visited there, but we pray for them all.

 And then back home for a cookout, where Oob posted this helpful sign.

We did have a great time! 

The kids put on a play for us, the grown ups soaked in the air conditioning, and enough ribs, corn, and watermelon were eaten that everyone was ready for a nap!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Poem of the Week: Recessional


God of our fathers, known of old,
   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
   On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
   Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
   Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
   Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
   In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
   And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

HT: Poetry Foundation

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Still Here!

And I have a huge backlog of posts to write!

It's been that kind of crazy end-of-school-year-birthday-bonanaza-anniversary-family celebration that only May can bring.

Here's what's been happening:
It rained.  A lot.

And then it rained more. 

We've broken all sorts of records for consecutive days of rain!
 And then it hailed!

But all the rain had been fantastic for the garden- so much so that I see I have been underwatering for the past 12 years.

The front garden has turned into the glorious English cottage style garden I have dreamed of ever since I first read Jane Austen!

That's probably because we've had English weather: cool and rainy with some fog and extra drizzle.

The flowers think it's perfect!

Other stuff: we've wrapped up all the classes and I will be blogging them to finish the history, science, and religion series.

I had a birthday and we had an anniversary and I made a very fun visit to my folks (in which Mumpy had a birthday) and we are getting ready for another birthday- all of which I will get to on the blog!


Klenda got her driver's license!!


Both her driving class teacher and her testing inspector commented that she was a good safe driver!

 Hooray, Klenda!

Only 15 days until Zorg is eligible to try for his learner's permit...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy Birthday, Oob!

 Oob is 9!

He had a party with family!

And a party with friends at the Masters of Disasters class!

And cupcakes with his scout friends!

All on the same day!!!

He had a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and cherry filling (and the Bionicle symbol).

And he had chocolate cupcakes with caramel frosting and...mustaches!

And other faces, really.

This one on the left he made to look like Mumpy! (Her comment: I didn't know I had that much hair- or that many teeth!)

 And he got loads of great presents!

A very happy day!

9 Great Things About Oob

1. He really likes dressing up in costumes.
2. He loves to say the Rosary, especially at night.
2. He likes to tell silly jokes.
3. He will ride his scooter anywhere he can!
4. He can build anything with Legos.
4. He can write in cursive.
5. He's a very astute bird watcher.
6. He loves doing science things.
6. He loves cute little animals, especially birds.
7. He's pretty cute, himself!
7. He likes to snuggle.
8. He likes to write with lots of explanation marks!!!
9. He likes to draw tanks.
9. He loves to help out!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Poem of the Week for Mother's Day

Sonnet  18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
   So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Images: Gifts from the Zoomlians!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Guest Blog by Choclo: The Master Chef!

Yum-yum-yum! Your master chef...

is here! (calming down) Isn't that great!??
And I (the master chef) am going to cook...

 garlic!!!!!    Isn't that great!!!!???     
                                             That,s me. Choclo ----)-




 And that's my first customer,  OOB!!!                                                 

Will he like the garlic?  


 (and i love u very much!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Masters of Disasters: Earth and Volcanoes

I started out talking about the structure of the Earth (the crust, mantle, core, etc.) and we talked about how the Earth is not a perfect sphere.

To look at why the Earth bulges in the middle, we assembled these nifty contraptions.

You cut out two long thin strips of construction paper and punch

You thread the holes onto a pencil or pen so that you form a ball with the pen just inserted a little way into the ball (we stapled the part where the strips cross to give some stability).

When you twirl the pen, the ball flattens because of centripetal force.

Since we were already spinning things, I brought out a tray of 6 eggs - half hard boiled and half raw! I asked the kids to figure out which were which...

The trick is to spin the egg and stop it briefly. If the egg is hard boiled, it will stay stopped. If it's raw, it will start turning again because the inertial motion of the liquid inside will still be spinning.
Now for the act of faith! Once they agreed that a particular egg was hard boiled, I chopped it in half with one really quick hard blow from a heavy kitchen knife. They were correct!

  If you do it fast enough, you get a really clean cut and you can use the eggs layers as a model of the Earth with the shell being the crust, the white the mantle and the yolk the core. The core is not to scale (and you don't have an inner core), but the shell is. What I wanted the kids to see was that the crust is a very small, very thin layer of the Earth.

I then crunched up the egg a bit to show how the crust is in pieces (tectonic plates).

We looked at how the plates move using sponge continents in a pan of water.  We put the continents together, then heated the pan on the stove.  I added a bit of dye to visualize the heat driven currents.

This worked really well!  The only trick is to use push pins so the sponges don't get stuck together by surface tension.

A great interactive animation of this happening over the history of the Earth (including the future) is here.  And here is also a short video showing the last 600 million years.

We talked about how the plates move against each other, demonstrating with notebooks.

Transform: moving side ways, causing earthquakes.

Divergent: spreading apart to form a chasm (like the Rift Valley) or the chasm may open into magma which can form mountains (like the Atlantic mid-ocean ridge).

Convergent: smashing together to form folded mountains like the Himalayas (which we showed with layers of colored towels), one plate usually goes under the other(subducts), melting back into magma, and sometimes causing volcano inducing pressure (like most of the Ring of Fire).

Did someone say volcanoes?!

We built ours out of salt dough around a very small (1 cup) soda bottle.  I preloaded each volcano with a few tablespoons of baking soda, and then we took them outside.

Each kid gave their volcano a name, then I poured in the vinegar (spiked with soap and red paint).