Monday, November 19, 2012

Science Discoveries With Autumn: Mt. St. Helens!

This is Autumn's most recent science portfolio project that she completed for her Michigan Connections Academy curriculum. She is really proud of it, and I think she did a great job too!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Reading

Our family does a lot of reading around the holidays, because there are always so many great holiday books to read, and I don't like reading Halloween or Thanksgiving or Christmas books in the middle of the summer. So, I encourage the girls to devour these holiday themed books in season. That means we are in the middle of reading a huge pile of books about Pilgrims and Indians and Turkeys, etc...
We have read a lot of great books, but our number one pick for Thanksgiving this year is called, "Thanksgiving Wish" by: Michael J. Rosen. This book carries important messages about family and tradition, and it is very touching. If you're looking for a great story for Thanksgiving check this one out!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Burial of Doggy

           About a month ago Alaina experienced a terrible loss. She had a warm-up stuffed puppy named Doggy that she slept with every night for almost two years. It was filled with lavender scented barley and was meant to be microwaved for about two minutes, and then cuddled with at bedtime to help her fall asleep. Alaina and Doggy were inseperable and slept together every night, which meant a lot of warm-ups. Autumn also has a warm-up animal (a rabbit) and she has been warming hers up on her own for a long time. I just taught her to hit the 'popcorn' button, which goes for 1 min 45 sec.

Since bedtime is always a busy time I thought it would be a good idea to teach Alaina to do the same. And, it was....for a while.....

However, on this fateful evening Alaina mistakenly hit a few wrong buttons on the microwave dash, and then ran off to brush her teeth, play with Autumn, listen to a story from Mommy, etc....

Sniff, Sniff...

"What's that smell? Did someone close the fireplace damper?"......

"What on earth!!!!!! Where is all this smoke coming from??????"..

Running out to the kitchen...

The microwave is counting down 31:52, 31:51...

I open the door, and there was Doggy. Well, I should say, what was left of Doggy! Alaina was right behind me, and before I could stop her from witnessing this horror she was wailing and hollering. Doggy was melted in some spots, and black and charred in others. His beautiful puppy face stared out at us from the mocrowave questioning how this could have happened to him?

I was immediately reminded of a moment in my childhood when I had let my favorite cocker spaniel dog, named Lacey, outside to go to the bathroom during supper. Little did I know that a deer had recently been hit across our somewhat busy road, and that Lacey would try to cross it to investigate. Our supper was interrupted by a lady knocking on the door to inform us that she had hit our dog. I remember running out to see if she was o.k., and my Mom shooing me away because she didn't want me to see. I cried for days.

Listening to Alaina weeping on her bed made me realize that she probably loved Doggy just as much as I had loved Lacey, and so the idea to perform a burial for her popped into my head. When Doggy had finally cooled enough to remove him from the site of his demise, I placed him in a cardboard shoebox, and told the girls that we would bury him when the whether was dry.

The girls buried Doggy next to our apple tree, and we prayed and talked about how much we loved him.

After that, for at least three weeks we were continually reminded of Doggy because of the odor he had created. The smell in our house was horrible!  And, the smell from the microwave was worse. I don't know if you've ever experienced a bag of popcorn in a microwave for a few minutes too long, but multiply that by ten, and you may be close to understanding.

Anyways, I am sharing this story with you, because on the day of Doggy's burial I told the girls that they could prepare his grave and arrange everything to be ready for when Steve got home from work. I was busy raking leaves and doing chores in the house etc., and they were working so well, that I wasn't watching them work the whole time. So, it was surprising to come across this video that I am about to share with you. The girls have been watching me enjoy videoing and documenting bits and pieces of our life, and they must have thought that this was an important moment to remember. They took this video on their own, and I just found it a few days ago. I found that rather touching.

Well, there is a happy ending to this story. Another doggy named LillyAnn has since been adopted by Alaina, (after some frantic hunting by Steve). She loves her just as much. The microwave has since been off limits to Alaina for a while. And, the whole incident sparked a few great conversations about how it was wonderful that Doggy could be "replaced" but that people can never be replaced, and thus people should hold immeasurably more value in our hearts.

We will miss you Doggy, but thank you for keeping Alaina warm, and for comforting her on so many cold nights. And, thank you for helping us to learn more about the value of life and how precious it is.


        Today was the calmest day we have ever experienced on our lake. It was so calm that sound was traveling great distances and normal things like woodpeckers, sounded like groups of Native Americans drumming in the woods today. This calm was mysterious.

        We have been playing a running game named "The Boggart" which is named after a scary character in a book we just read. It involves some pretending that the "Boggart" monster is chasing you. But, today on our run around the lake it was much easier to play this game. We really didn't have to pretend much with the strange sounds that kept emanating from the woods. It was so still and so special that the girls and I hopped on our bikes and road back out to the lake to take some quick video of the amazing reflections that were being cast into the water. They had fun dancing around and making their reflections do silly things, and even though my camera seems to be on the fritz or in it's last days, and isn't picking up color like it should, I am so thankful that it still managed to capture this amazing day. It must be the "calm before the storm," because it is just never this calm around here.

        Tonight the girls were asking Steve and I to tell them stories "from our heads." I told the girls a story of how their reflections creeped out of the water and switched places with them while I wasn't looking. This spooked them both a bit, because their reflections were really that clear! I wonder what kind of strange dreams they will have tonight? :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gemini Concert at LSSU Arts Center on November 13th 2012

 We went to the Gemini concert last year and thought it was great. Steve and I plan on taking the girls again and I thought I would spread the word about this concert, because last year the auditorium had plenty of open seats. These musicians really work to involve the audience, and their songs are awesome. We still sing the songs we learned last year! Our family can't wait to attend their show again, and we hope to see you there!

I copied and pasted the info below from LSSU's website:


Gemini - "A Musical Celebration for Children and the Whole Family

November 13, 2012
Tickets: $5

Tickets can be purchased by calling (906) 635-2602 .
GEMINI celebrates with their audiences the fun, warmth, and humor of family life. Kids and adults love to sing with them! From start to finish, a family concert with the twin brothers abounds with rousing sing-alongs, hand motion tunes, folk tales, and music from around the world. The highlights of their shows are Gemini's original, sparkling songs about the everyday experiences of childhood and growing up.
San and Laz combine uncannily matched voices with wonderful musicianship on nearly a dozen instruments. Gemini bring to their concerts a natural ease around children, and they're equally at home in an intimate setting or in front of an audience of thousands. The twin brothers have an up-beat flair for involving everyone, from tots to grandparents, in the music making. The result is a dynamic show ranging from laughter, grins, and boisterous fun, to the magic of hushed hushed lullabies and tender ballads.
Gemini has been performing since 1973, and are now playing music for their third—or is it fourth?—generation of young fans and families. From their home base in Ann Arbor, Michigan, San and Laz have performed to enthusiastic audiences at concert halls, festivals, community centers and elementary schools throughout the US and Canada. In 1997 Gemini added a new and very exciting facet to their music as they began performing with symphony orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Ann Arbor Symphony and the Kansas City Symphony.
Since 1979 San and Laz have released numerous recordings for adults and children and families. These recordings have won a number of awards including ones from Parents' Choice Magazine, the American Library Association, the National Parenting Publications (NAPPA), and the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. "Fancy That!" their first video, was voted one of the Top 10 children's videos by the American Library Association & Random House in their book "1992 Best of the Best."
In 2002 Gemini teamed up with an acclaimed chamber orchestra, the Phoenix Ensemble, to release "The Orchestra Is Here To Play!" This unique folk-classical collaboration—the perfect introduction to classical music for young listeners, through songs they love—has won awards from Parents’ Choice Magazine, as well as from the Children’s Music Web.
Gemini has received ASCAP's "Popular Awards", a songwriting and recording award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, as well as songwriting grants from the Michigan Council for the Arts. San and Laz have written music for educational TV and films, and have recorded twelve albums of international folk dance music for the High/Scope Educational Foundation. Since 1993, the Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation has published Gemini's first songbook, and two musical revues for Elementary schools based on Gemini's songs. These two revues continue to be performed by children in schools throughout North America. In 2004, one of their songs was used in the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and most recently, several of their songs were included in a new music education textbook (McGraw-Hill’s Spotlight on Music—Grade 1) which will be used by music teachers around the country.
Gemini’s newest recording, released in April 2010, is "Once Upon a Time... The Storytelling Album," featuring folk tales from around the world, with musical elements added to each story. This CD also features "Perfect Pitch," a new story by San, which includes original orchestral music interspersed throughout.