Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm still here! Catching up...

Just a quick, overdue post to say - yes, I'm still here!  We've done lots of fun stuff over the last few months that I've been meaning to write about but can't quite seem to find the time to do so.  Here's a quick list.  Each item should be an individual post but at least this will provide some brief documentation and help jog my memory in the future.

Monkey's first, and subsequent, sleepovers (Jan-Apr)

Monkey had his first sleepover when his buddy S. spent the night back in January.

His beloved cousin C. spent the night a few weeks ago.  I love that Monkey never wants to skip story time when he has friends over - it is a non-negotiable part of his daily routine.

Monkey's turn to read.

Buddy, E. spent the night last weekend.  (This was his second time, the first was in either February or March)  We belatedly celebrated his 7th birthday with him while he was here.


Monkey got this for Christmas, but it took a little over a month for the ants to arrive in the mail.  Once they did, though, this thing was a BIG hit!  Sadly, the ants have since gone on to the Big Ant Farm In The Sky.  (Their lifespan is only a couple months.)

We attended two "Tales for Tots" nature programs at Wolf Creek Environmental Center in Medina - one about owls and one about groundhogs (Jan and Feb).  I only managed to get pics from the owl program, but both were excellent. 

Using their sense of hearing like an owl to identify where the teacher was as she moved around the room.

Trying on some silly giant owl eyes

We also got to dissect owl pellets.  Ours had this skull inside it!

Monkey lost his first tooth!  (Feb 23)

Homeschool Bowling and Monkey's bowling alley birthday party  (Feb/Mar

We had been attending homeschool bowling every week, so we decided to have a bowling alley birthday party for Monkey and his friends.  The party was SO. CRAZY.  I pretty much wanted to stab myself in the eye the whole time.  The introvert in me simply cannot handle being pulled in so many directions at once.  I mean, they were all people we love, but there were so many of 'em!  But Monkey had a blast, so that's what matters.  These are the only two pics of the party I managed to take.

Part of the party deal was that we got a tour of the area back behind the pinsetter machines.  That was actually quite cool.  And very loud!

Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland - Homeschool Day (Mar)

We watched an exciting demonstration about electricity.

Looking out the window near the play area at Steamship William G. Mather.  You can tour the ship - we haven't done it yet, but it's on our to-do list.

The Egypt exhibit was fantastic.  Lots of hands-on stuff like 3-d pottery reassembly puzzles, blocks of stone to pull using various techniques to reduce friction, and a replica of a tomb where you could reflect light with mirrors to see the hieroglyphics inside.  There was also a real mummy, and it was actually quite moving to be in the presence of the ancient remains of a young girl, and to read her story.

We've been doing lots of investigations with the new microscope Monkey received for his birthday from my awesome sis-in-law.  It came with a ton of prepared slides, and we also checked out some things from around the house; coins, newspapers, salt, sugar, fabric, etc.  It's really nice to have around anytime we come across something we want to examine more closely.

Cleveland Natural History Museum  (Mar)

I barely took any pictures this day, but this display really stood out to me.  Seriously, I don't know how anyone could look at these three skeletons and deny that they are closely related.  Very cool to see them side-by-side.

McKinley Museum in Canton (Mar)

View from the top of the hill.

LOOK!  It's Manny and Diego!  (Ice Age movie reference)

Lots of cool hands-on science-y stuff.

We LOVE the tornado!

I SO want my own orrery.  (Working model of the solar system)  Here, you can see how things are aligned during a solar eclipse.  The area of Earth where the moon's shadow is, is where the moon is completely blocking the sun's light and the eclipse is visible in totality.

They have a wonderful replica period town with homes, businesses, school, fire station, etc.

Wheeeee!  Sliding down the pole at the fire station.

Pump It Up - indoor inflatable playland (Mar)

If you need to get your kids out of the house and have them burn off some energy, this is totally the place.

Amphibian Migration at Sand Run Metro Park in Akron (Apr)

On a warm, rainy night in March/April, when conditions are just right, Salamanders migrate across a certain road in the park to reach vernal pools to mate.  I saw the notification on Facebook that it was time, so we dropped what we were doing and went to check it out.  Monkey ran out to my husband in the garage and exclaimed, "Daddy!  We are going to see salamanders migrate!" and without missing a beat, my husband said, "Oh okay!"  I love being a homeschooling family.  :)

There were also many spring peepers.  It was a very cool experience to hear the cacophony of their calls surrounding us in the woods at night.

Spotted salamander, just off the road

Peek a boo!

Monkey's first year of playing baseball (Mar/Apr/May)

Uniforms just came in - his first game is next week!

Trip to Cincinnati for the Homeschool Convention (Apr)

Made a day trip to the Cinci convention with a fellow heathen friend - it was a fun adventure and we both found some great stuff.  Here's my loot!  (If you want to read more about the convention, I posted about it last year.)

Completion of our first year of Co-op - a wonderful experience!

A new homeschool co-op opened up this past fall, and we decided to jump in - and we're so glad we did.  One of the boys' favorite classes was Exotic Animals.  They got to meet a new critter each time.  We met this hedgehog...

...this leopard gecko...

...and this conure.  We also met a chinchilla, guinea pigs, hamsters, a Madagascar hissing cockroach, and a dog.  And we missed class the week when a turtle was the guest of honor. 

Co-op group photo.  I am violating my policy of not posting pics of others' kids because you can't really recognize anyone from this crummy cell phone pic.  But it does give an idea of the size of the group - there are over 80 kids altogether.  We are really enjoying being a part of it!

Hand-feeding the birds at Seiberling Nature Realm (Apr)

Hello Mr. Chickadee!  Monkey got one to eat from his hand too, but I didn't get a shot of it.  I had heard that the birds at the Nature Realm were easy to hand-feed, but we hadn't had a chance to try it yet.  We were thrilled with our success!

Monkey and his friend, C.  She proposed to him on this outing, and he responded that he "already told another girl I'd marry her, but if she forgets, then I can."  LOL

Akron Zoo (Apr)

The octopus was a favorite... such a fascinating creature.  We could see it watching us.

Hello tortoises!

Rawr!  Hello Mr. Lion!

Look at the scary bears!

Preston's Hope playground in Beachwood (Apr)

This playground is amazing.  If you are even remotely near the area, you must go there.

The boys and their sweet friend, A.

Hansel and Gretel performance by Frisch Marionettes (Apr)

This performance was wonderful, and Monkey was riveted and giggling the entire time.  This is the only shot I managed to get, using the very high-tech method of holding my monocular up to the camera lens of my cell phone.  I tried to get more pics but just couldn't get it to line up right again.  That's the duck following Hansel and Gretel in the woods and eating the bread crumbs.

Whew!  I also want to post reviews of several exceptionally great books we've come across lately.  Will do that soon!