Friday, February 22, 2008


We had a wonderful day today in Birmingham. We went to see Cirqueworks Birdhouse Factory for FREE in Birmingham. This was a theater style circus show. Alex, who loves jumping of any kind was out of his seat with wonder during one of the acts that had trampolines in the floor. I could tell he would have given anything to be one of those guys jumping on the stage. We need to help him find more outlets to explore this love he has. Emma and Owen were equally, though maybe not as enthusiastically enthralled! After the show we ate our picnic lunch at Vulcan Park, and explored there a little. Kurt and I went to college and met in Birmingham. I didn't know then the uniqueness that I learned several years ago of the area having a valley rich in not only iron ore, but also coal and limestone the essential parts of steel making, and that Birmingham was named for the steel producing city in England. Then we headed to the McWane Science Center that we can visit for free with our local science musuem membership. Alex built a high tower with just two sheets of newspaper in a demo they had going on. Emma made a bone model of one of the marine dinosaurs that used to live in this area when it was under the sea. Owen loved digging in a new excavation pit they had that the sand was made out of recycled rubber bits. The place was mostly empty after 2pm which was nice. The car ride there and back was a joy for us, which hasn't always been the case, as Owen used to hate car rides. We discovered if he sits in a seat where he can see out and if he can watch a movie, then he is good to go, this is him happily riding in the car above. Alex and Emma and I listened to the Harry Potter book we are on-- on CD from the library. We are glad we took this last minute road trip, it was a joyful day!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

House of Snail

Emma has been creating things with some modeling beeswax that I bought a few years ago. Our friend Sarah had a neat magazine at her house the other day called Living Crafts . In there they gave us the idea to make snails with our beeswax. Emma always collects snail shells when we go hiking. She has them all lined up on the bathroom windowsills (as you might have seen if you've been to our house) and stashed in her room. This collision of beeswax, and collecting and spotting in a magazine seemed like destiny, so we spent a day making quite a few, giving them to family members for valentines and even sending one to grammie and papa in the "Snail Mail", it was real literal snail mail, it even took extra long to reach them for some cosmic reason! If you like to make things with beeswax, these are great fun. We found if we did it just right we could either use the speckled beeswax and make a speckle end up on the "eye" or put a fleck of pepper there. Here are some of the ones emma and i made on the windowsill and in the bathroom on one of the mirrors.
And Sarah recently sent me the poem in the magazine that was with the snails, here it is for your enjoyment:

Let us take a little journey
To the curly house of
Round we go until we find him
Hidden in his coat of mail.
Then we turn and go back homeward
Still a-winding all the way.
we come out of the tunnel
To the sunny light of day.
---M. Bucknell

thank you emma, sarah, living crafts, m. bucknell, and the snails that left their shells behind on all our hikes for bringing this shine to our winter day!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentines

What a blessing to spend Valentines with all these loves in my life! Hoping you all had a Valentine's filled with love and your loved ones and stuff you loved doing. We found out for sure, that we are going to have another love in our life, we are so excited!
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dragons, Dragons, Dragons

Well, Emma's dragon cake led us to some other dragons this year. We celebrated the Chinese New Year with a friend's daughter's birthday, it was a warm day outside in the country. The kids made her kids money envelopes. They live about an hour away, so the kids and I had lunch at a Chinese restaurant on the way there and on the way home! Since we have been sick, we missed the other nearby Chinese New Year celebrations, and I really wanted to take the kids to see the traditional Lion Dance, if we couldn't find a dragon parade to see. We found this awesome group to go see in Murphreesboro, TN. If you have a chance, watch this link Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville Lion Dance Team. This is the team that we saw perform at an amazing Chinese restaurant on Sunday February 10, 2008. They were great and the kids followed then all around the restaurant. They were honored that we had driven all that way to see them. It was a fun adventure. My parents rode up there with us, we had a wonderful lunch, watched the performance and then spent some time at Murfreesboro Children's Musuem, neat place! They have invited to come next year to Nashville where they have a dinner and a special performance, hope we get to go! I forgot the camera the whole day, so i have no photos, but we have wonderful memories. Later in the week we went to the Chinese Students Performance at UAH, which is where these photos are from. There were interesting traditional instruments as well as more modern performances by Chinese Students at the university. May you enjoy the Year of the Rat!
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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Alex Got Orange Belt

Alex, we are so proud of you! Alex got his orange belt in Tae Kwon Do this evening. The glow after he broke the board with a "knife hand" was bright. We are so thankful that the Kim's opened this place this fall, and that Alex has found a place that he loves to practice Tae Kwon Do with his Dad. Kurt will get his Orange Belt later this week as he couldn't come to the Friday night ceremony. Alex is excited about learning with the nunchucks at this level. He likes Master Kim a lot and complimented him to me the other day saying, " Master Kim is really getting better with his English." :) I look forward to watching this passion grow in Alex and in Kurt.
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Friday, February 8, 2008

Music Saves

There is nothing better to change the mood of a day, than to turn on some loud meaningful music and dance on the counters or the table. Yes, I believe there is something even better about dancing on something--a stage, an elevated surface, a box, etc.--it puts you out there, i guess. We had a blast with this today. Thank you to Amy Steinberg for providing the most inspirational music of the day. I love to hear Emma belting out the words in "SHINE" --"I'm Not Gonna Hold Back No More, I'm not gonna hold back"...........There were actually probably only about six songs that got rotated over and over again on the ipod, as the kids love to hear the same song time after time! Emma recently didn't want to take the dance class she had wanted to take anymore. I enjoyed how she loved to dance there and was a little sad to not see her shine like that. After today, I see that she still has all that love, and will unleash it at anytime she feels best. Today the best and the brightest was tapped and spun out on the counters. May you have music and dance in your life!
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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sending Light to Terry

This is a special candle some friends gave us. We like to light candles when we are sending our thoughts to someone that needs them. We are lighting it a lot these days to send light to my "Aunt Terry". She is my mom's cousin, but she has always been Aunt Terry to me! Terry found out in nov/dec of 2007 that she has a brain tumor. After her surgery, she is having many weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. I have loved getting your emails Terry! I love you and am sending SHINE to you and aaron, lucas, jake, & sarah while you are going through this. I look forward to hugging you and giving you my love in person at Grayton this year.
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Friday, February 1, 2008

MonkeyKids Coop

For those of you that might live in our area, a couple of families that we know started a homeschooling coop at a space at the Flying Monkey Arts Center here in town this month. They have a yahoo group that details happenings, it is MonkeyKids Enrichment Coop. We plan to go to the ones that interest the kids. But they have a loose schedule of having something going on every Monday and Friday afternoon. For February there is time that we will be doing: Making mini books (Emma recently made a mini book with me with a copper foil cover that she embossed), Traditional Childhood Games (Alex learned to jump rope and is loving this ever since, Owen played Mancala with several other kids). That was all we went to this month, but if you are interested in going our hosting something that your kids are interested in doing that works well in a group, contact them. We are going to host an egg drop like we enjoyed at the LiveNLearn Conference. That will either be next month or the next. The Flying Monkey Arts Center and spaces are in an old mill and it has a great outdoor staircase on one side that will be perfect for an egg drop.