Submitted by William on Fri, 05/04/2012 - 1:52pm

If Army Ants Invaded
by William

If army ants invaded
They would eat everything in their way
They would eat a corner of a rug
They would eat a whole bath tub
They might eat a door
They would eat even more!

The collage

by William

Ready to strike

[This poem was written through a poetry and collage artist workshop at the library.]

A week of recovery

Submitted by Sara on Wed, 05/02/2012 - 4:56pm

For those who didn't know, I had surgery on Friday. It was not my first surgical experience, but it was a first in many ways. It was my first surgery since we've had kids, my first surgery at the hospital, and my first open incision. As you can imagine, those firsts are not an upgrade from previous surgeries. But...

...my kids have been amazing! We've decided Eliana is going to be a nurse someday. We had already noticed her desire to be a caretaker when loved ones are sick or hurting. If not a nurse, a hairdresser would be another likely career path. William has been doing great on his schooling. It's nice that he's home #1 so I don't have to drive him to and from school every day which I'm not supposed to do for 2 weeks and #2 so he can help. He's been doing laundry and helping with meals.

Stuffed animals and blankies to help Mom feel better / Talented hair dresser

...while the hospital certainly wasn't the four-star treatment that I had gotten used to at the surgical center where they send you out the door with a rose or carnation, it is well equipped and well staffed. I have come to realize that it pays to live in a hospital town for your whole life. A very good friend prepared my surgical instruments - she said it was hard not to leave a note for my doctor. Then a woman I know from church growing up stopped to give me communion before surgery. While I waited (and waited) for my doctor in pre-op, a nurse who I'd had in a couple parent ed classes came to wish me well and chat a bit. So while the service might not be what I've become accustomed to *a-hem,* I can't say enough good things about the people. As much as I wanted to come home, once we got here I cried to my husband that we should have stayed. The nurses just know how to take care of a patient. As smart, talented, loving and handsome as Darren is, one thing he is not is a nurse (I love you, Honey!) And I was certainly more needy this time than ever before.

...having an open incision was the best choice for my surgery. The hernia that I've had forever is now repaired. I trusted my doc to make that call while we were already in surgery to remove an ovary totally destroyed by endometriosis. It required calling in a general surgeon, but it needed to be repaired. The hernia was also extensively involved with endometriosis. So it's good to have all that done, but it has made for a much more difficult healing process than I'd expected. As long as I keep up on my pain meds and rest often, I'm improving quickly.

I've been very grateful for family and friends who have been willing and able to help with groceries, watching kids, driving kids, driving me to appointments, bringing goodies to keep my spirits up, and just being nearby and willing to help. I love and appreciate all of you!

Squishy Circuits kit

Submitted by Homeschool on Wed, 04/11/2012 - 3:06pm

The electronics kit we ordered has arrived! William is having a lot of fun exploring electricity with Squishy Circuits and the activities created by the University of St. Thomas. Caution: The buzzer is loud on the video. So loud, in fact, that Eliana's ears no longer work :)

Plugging away

Submitted by Homeschool on Sat, 03/31/2012 - 1:19pm

It's been a while since I updated about our homeschooling adventures. William has mentioned a few things he's been excited about in his blog. Here are a few highlights from our last couple months of schooling:

Community activities:
*I have been teaching a show and tell/group games class for 6-9 year-olds at our co-op this semester.
*We started another, much smaller co-op twice a month that does Spanish, PE, music, art and show and tell.
*We went bowling with the area homeschoolers.
*We have gone to two plays: Winnie the Pooh and a puppet theater version of Peter Rabbit.
*The Annual Maple Syrup Festival at St. John's Arboretum was a fun and educational trip despite the slow sap flow due to warm temperatures.
*William has been doing swimming lessons through community education. We are thinking he'll pass level one this time!
*He will also start another youth enrichment league Lego group in a few weeks.

Metro activities:
*MN Historical Society in St. Paul - We got a family membership through Groupon. It was a great deal. We were surprised by how much there was for the kids to do at the museum. We learned a lot, had a great time, and with our membership we will get free admission to 26 historical sites around the state! Fun for this summer!
*Works Museum - What a great place for science exploration. Between our GPS and traffic difficulties, we ended up having only an hour to spend here. We will definitely have to go back. William made it through about half of the museum and could've spent hours just playing and exploring with ramps, pulleys, light, lasers, opitical illusions, and countless other exhibits not to mention the hands-on experiments that we could've done upstairs.

Online activities:
*Clever Dragons is a fun website for boys to do learning activities, watch funny videos, and interact socially in a moderated environment.
*Codecademy is an online tool that teaches you to program. It taught William some valuable concepts, but quickly became too difficult.
*Scratch is an exciting program developed by the smart people at MIT. It teaches computer programming in an exciting way. It uses sounds and animation to get kids interacting and creating. William has been really motivated and has created many mini games, learning a lot about computer programming in the meantime.
*KAHN academy has been on our radar since the fall, but we only just recently delved into it and discovered the power of it. It is a math program that takes students through exercises, tracks their progress, and offers helpful teaching videos to help them when they get stuck. The videos branch out into many other topics as well.

Home activities:
*William continues to love practicing piano. He let me know the other day that he prefers playing piano over video games!
*The rainbow sticky notes have continued to be an important part of our daily routine.When I realized they weren't going to last much longer, I was pretty disappointed. Then, about a week before they ran out, I found one lonely, identically colored, crayon-shaped tablet of sticky notes in the dollar spot. Divine intervention!
*My ECFE classes are wrapping up for the year. I'm looking forward to being on hand more often to help William with learning new skills.
*We will be doing Iowa Basics testing in a few weeks. I am excited to be doing a test that most schools use. If and when we decide to go back to traditional schooling, we will have his test scores to show his progress.

It doesn't feel like we're doing all that much on a daily basis because, when William stays focused and gets his stuff done, he really has a lot of free time. That's been wonderful! He has time to play Legos, read for fun, play outside in this crazy, warm spring weather, and use his imagination. His sister really enjoys spending time with him, too. We're loving homeschooling!

Our Vacation

Submitted by William on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 4:24pm

History Museum:
We went to a lot of exhibits. We went in a grain elevator. In an old-time house exhibit, we sat on a bed where the words "Sit Here" were projected. Then, a lady's voice said, "I don't know what's wrong with this bed, but every time you turn over, the bed falls down." And we felt the bed fall down! There was also a piggy bank that we could put giant coins in, then we would pull a lever and all the coins would fall out. (It would be cool if they turned into real coins.)

Water Park of America:
All the water slides were really fun, especially the family tube slide, which always had a really long line. I also liked the lazy river. I went boogie boarding. This is what it looked like.

Sculpture Garden:
It had a giant spoon and cherry sculpture. The handle of the spoon was on the ground and the other end was on an island in the middle of a pond that had ducks in it. We took lots of cool pictures and we want you to check them out in the photo album. I especially want you to see the picture of me squatting with two heads!

The Works Museum:
I played the light harp. Eliana did, too. I played K'Nex. We built cars to race. Eliana built a wall. I helped her a little. We saw a robot that just kept looking at us. We moved and its sensor sensed us moving, so it turned that direction. We just couldn't get it to keep its eyes off us. Finally I just ran far away from its sensor, then ran to the right, and ran back to the robot. It didn't turn to look at me. The Works Museum was really fun.

Holiday Inn:
The Holiday Inn had a diamond shaped pool. We swam in it. It also had a triangle shaped hot tub. We swam in it. (I didn't really swim in it, but I kind of sat with my legs in it because it was too hot. They should turn the heat down.) They had two big beds for all of us. We slept on them. The Holiday Inn was pretty fun. (Wasn't this section of the blog pretty funny?)

Mall of America:
I played at Lego Land. I made a Star Wars ship, cops and robber Lego guys, and a robot that had a chainsaw and an ax. Eliana covered a giant Lego play station with Legos.

We went on a few rides. Eliana did a few more rides than I did because I didn't want to go on them. But one of them Mom made me go on. Some of the fun rides I liked were the mini roller coaster, the ferris wheel, the hot air balloon ride (though it made me feel sick), and the merry-go-round. The merry-go-round had a dragon that I wanted to ride, but a little girl got there first. I rode a horse instead, which is common for merry-go-rounds, but a dragon isn't that common.

The entire trip was pretty fun! The end. That is a true story.

Reading about electricity

Submitted by Eliana on Mon, 03/26/2012 - 3:05pm

[Eliana didn't have any comments about this video. I believe it speaks for itself. She is quite a proud little budding reader!]


Submitted by William on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 8:27am

Scratch is a place to make video games. Explode The Cat was the first game I made. Here are some rules from my rule book: the rules are simple all you have to do is...1. the cat is running to the bomb 2. you click the bomb for it to go off.

Dog programming this website!

Submitted by William on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 5:37pm

Whenever Mom leaves her computer open when she goes out of the house, Max sometimes types in google. Today he was programming this website! He opened a few other places (I don't know where he clicked, but I'm thinking it was Start) and he typed "-0p". I think he was trying to program this website by doing that. Maybe he thought that it would make our website more dog friendly. Now mom thinks he's got an internet addiction.

Cake decorating complete

Submitted by Sara on Sun, 02/26/2012 - 6:08pm

Eliana on cake decorating: If I took a cake decorating class, I would do something easy... like eat it.

I wasn't the most pleased with my final results. The cake ended up being a mash-up of techniques I wanted to practice. My friend's cake across from me looked like a beautiful wedding cake covered with frilly borders and tons of roses. But once I got my cake alone, I was more happy with it.

The final product - cake decorating level 1

The best part of the last class was bringing home all my frosting and practicing with the family.

Mom practicing roses
Eliana's name

I had to add a couple cute quotes from the day, off the topic.

Mom (dramatically): It's my last mint fields tea! My heart is breaking!
Eliana: My heart is still stuck together.

Mom: You need to try and go potty.
Eliana: I don't have to go! I already went last week!

Dancing girl

Submitted by Eliana on Sat, 02/18/2012 - 8:40pm

I was dancing in front of the tv when the songs were singing. And I was in a white dress.
(Watch this video before it gets flagged and removed for copyrighted content. Hopefully the sound of dishes in the background will disguise the music.)