Now she’s gone and done it…

“Very early, I knew that the only object in life was to grow.” ~Margaret Fuller

She went and turned seven!

This sweet little toothless-wonder is growing up TOO fast!! There are days when

I think back to my baby girl, the first ‘Little sunshine, who makes me happy when skies are grey…’

I miss that little face!

Every year I ask myself the same queston..”where does the time go?”

and every year I get the same answer.

……….

Ella’s birthday’s through the years.

Time goes, you say?  Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
~Henry Austin Dobson

Interesting. Now is it time moving through us, or us moving through time? Whatever the answer, moving forward through these years, there hasn’t been another like our “Boogie Bear.” She brought so much love into this world, seven years ago today. As hard as it is to see how much she has changed and grown up already in just a short span of time, I am so proud of her growth! She is the sparkle to everyday….questioning, reasoning and thinking her way to the ends and outs of life already. I feel so lucky as her mama to guide her through life while I can. I just know this little girl has big dreams counting on each of these candles today!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELLA ARIA!!!

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The Empty Nest: Part 2

To follow-up on our lovely little nest find:

Conveniently spread out over the span of a couple of weeks, we took our time with the study of our nest. We used a couple of bird worksheets (here and here for a few ideas if needed!) The kids also made this nifty little bird mobile which we found the printable for on this site. We changed it a bit however, and decided that it needed a sturdy oatmeal box as the tree and real leaves to make it more realistic. Fun stuff!!

The bird mobile

Then there was the bird nest experiment, that I found on education.com. I also needed to adapt this for our own use. This experiment could have been more thorough had we already invested in a microscope and some petri dishes, but we just aren’t there yet. It was a very neat little experiment though. I had Ella write out her official hypotheses on whether she thought there were other living organisms in the nest, besides the bird and egg/s that inhabited it. She decided that, No, it only has seeds and probably no other ‘living’ things really.

She was right… (unless of course a microscope would have shown otherwise.) But our findings after leaving the nest under a hot lamp for a few days, was that nothing else had set up home in the nest after all.

Come out, come out, wherever you are…

Looking for clues

After discussing the reasons why birds make nests the way they do, and the benefits to making a nest in a hidden, far to reach place, we watched a couple of videos that I was able to find on YouTube of a real bird building its nest. Then I challenged them at making a replica of a nest and for a minute we joked that they should make it without using hands! They quickly saw what a hard thing that would be to carry out, and now appreciate the amazing skill that birds possess to create a nest using only their beaks!

Here is what they came up with:

Looked pretty good to me!! (Bendaroos, yarn, plant base stuffing and burlap made nice materials for that.) While their nest wasn’t as structurally sound as the real one, its colorful style added so much ‘flare!’

Speaking of nest styles, the nest that we found had one particular clue which stood out about what type of bird was living in it. After desperately scanning several sites to try to identify this nest, we narrowed it down. I should add that this bird nest identification business is a tricky thing! We noticed that there appeared to be a hole towards the bottom of the nest and that the description of a House Sparrow nest stated that it might have a hole about to the bottom of it. Normally the sparrow nest might be taller than ours, but it also depends on the location. The position in the tree that we found it was about roof height which is also a quality of that type. Luckily we also saw the egg which was a smaller greyish, white color with speckles and about the size of a dime and connects it to the House Sparrow description as well. There were plenty of qualities that immediately crossed off other birds from the list, such as mud used on the nest, an enclosed nest, many feathers used throughout the design and the type of grasses used.

I think all clues point to one answer in my non-expert bird opinion: It’s a House Sparrow nest!! 🙂

Overall the nest study turned out a success and was a fun way to end the ‘official’ school year these past couple of weeks. Be sure to be on the lookout for abandoned nests… it just might be the inspiration needed for a little study on the sweet little winged friends, whom love to bring us happy song!

“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” ~Dale Carnegie

And then there were Legos…

Some of the best days are spent doing things I didn’t plan…

Like when Gavin is begging me to build him a Lego house.

And it literally takes me the bulk of the day to fulfill this wish for him. He know’s mommy has never known her full potential at Lego building and seriously doubts a successful outcome, but he had every bit of faith in me with this assignment.

 

I couldn’t resist a couple of details, like the flower walkway next to a pond… or the fancy barbecue on the upstairs deck…

 

And of course we have the living room… a side from the kitchen and bedrooms.

Yes, that’s a drill on the coffee table, why I don’t know. 🙂

Gavin and Ella both asked for the garage.

It was definitely a Lego day and mostly because we are three days out from the last day of school, workbooks are drying up, and summer fun days are starting to nudge at us. We took a run in the morning through our “old downtown” and had some real interactions with map/key concepts as well as stopped in the pet store for some learning. The kids got to pet a few snakes, Ella pet a scorpion and they watched the effort that goes into maintaining all the animal cages. It was an eventful day even though the Lego’s ended up as the bigger portion.

But every good day must come to an end, and the creation met its tragic end…

 

It’s a tough thing to see hard work fall on the floor to a million pieces. But what is remembered is the fun that was had while it lasted!

And there’s always tomorrow….

P.S. Lego mini golf

I thought I would share this post this morning. I remember having such a love/hate relationship with the bubble sheet on those tests in school… You want to love them because they don’t require a written answer or true knowledge on the question at hand. I could essentially get away with the ‘best educated guess’ if it was something I wasn’t sure of. Or the opposite, which was hate it because the answers were so similiar that I’d end up stewing on that one answer, and over thinking it. And how much of that stewing and stressing was over something relevant in life today…that’s the real question!

Cooperative Catalyst

We know bubble sheets are unrelated to “real life”.

I think we made the “education thing” up by constructing much nonsense about the written word being the supreme method of sharing ideas and information.

I think we have forgotten that sharing experiences and doing things together are matters that (1) allow us to learn and (2) make us human.

I began asking a question of Paramedic and EMT students (HS grads/GED) to kick-start discussions about medical-legal issues. I ask them to write down the first word that comes to mind when asked “What Are You?” I ask that question three more times, and request they again write their answer down.

The answers generally deal with biological sex, sex/gender/family roles and issues, race/ethnicity, nationality and intellectual capabilities. We discuss how the answers frame their current worldviews and how their worldviews will affect their future work as EMTs and Paramedics. We then consider…

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A shout out to the Shout House!!

“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” 
― Dr. Seuss

I know it’s been forever, I talked and ranted enough about turning 30… I still am in my sleep I think. But regardless of that, the official celebration was one of the best nights of my life!!! I gave a brief preview of the theme presented to me a few weeks earlier here. I figured I would get a little post up about the festivities and the awesome job that my sister did putting it all together. I will admit, I had an inclination that the party was at a piano bar, but I had no idea which one or where. I’ve only been to one other in my life and it doesn’t even compare to this dueling piano bar known as The Shout House!!! in San Diego.

WOW what a great time we had!! The thing is that these big milestone birthday’s don’t come around often, making it just the perfect opportunity to do something grand when it does…celebrate this life, throw a party, take an amazing trip, climb a mountain… or take a limo to this fantastic piano bar and be thrown up on the piano and serenaded with humiliating/raunchy lyrics as a room full of mostly unfamiliar faces stares at you , and laughs, enjoying it all…. and  you of course will enjoy being in the spotlight because it’s your birthday and you are not too proud to face this crowd with a smile on your face and fully take in every moment…raunchy or not. ONE NIGHT to celebrate you. Just do it, and love it!! I will add that a night away from kids, in the ‘adult’ atmosphere was fully enjoyed… 😉

Here are some photos of the festivities:

My family had the pre-party at the hotel we stayed at… I was very excited to celebrate with my parents, my sister’s and their hubby and boyfriend, as well as my cousin and two of my best friends since high-school. Being that it was the people who I cherish the most in my life, aside from my kids, I’d call it the perfect crowd…

I have to say that my sister thought of it all for this party. Everything from the cute cupcakes, to the matching goody bags and nail designs for us to wear and of  course this sash she surprised me with… I don’t even think I had one of these things at my bachelorette party back in the day, so I was quite enamored with this one! 🙂

Okay, now dare I talk about a limo ride?! Well there just aren’t enough good things to say about those really. They just speak for themselves. When I set foot in a limo…all mommy/homeschool/seriousness of my world kind of gets left at the door. It’s just the entire thing… popping a bottle of champagne, toasting, music, and pure safe fun all in the dark confines of a car. It’s rare but so worth the experience!!

Here are my Dad and Mom. I just love that they don’t turn down a chance to celebrate like this with their daughter’s. They are still so young at heart and still know how to enjoy themselves of course!  My dad actually had his own moment that night as well. Being a long time drummer, who still has it, he will take any opportunity to ‘sit-in’ if the chance arrises. He is so funny about it too, any place near music you can catch him scoping out for a drum set as if he’s sending the vibes out that he wants to play. Anyway he got to sit in that night! He was awesome up there… they did “Johnny be good.” I won’t forget that moment, like the memories I have locked away of watching Dad play as a little girl.

This place is seriously a blast!! The crowds of people streaming in never seemed to let up. It’s in a very popular area of San Diego for all that nightlife stuff so I’m not surprised. If you are ever in the area, you should stop in for a visit!! They have other locations in Arizona and Minnesota too!!

Just beware of the celebration trap!!! That is, the trap of the pianist’s knowing, or someone in your party revealing that you are celebrating something when you go there. Otherwise be ready to get brought on stage as a piano prop while they riddle away at you and get the crowd SHOUTING things with the song that I won’t repeat on my blog haha… It’s all in fun, embarrassing but I didn’t know anyone besides my party so I really just played along with it while I could! (Notice Spongebob in the back…LOVE that haha)

So the night, and 30th celebration was everything I could have hoped for. I am so grateful to my family as always for being there to do these things and for planning such a special night for me. It was really like nothing I have ever done or experienced and I am so glad to have experienced it with them. I loved every minute and highly recommend The Shout House to anyone looking to fully celebrate something special, in the most unique way!