Monday, April 16, 2018

Track: Now We Are A Shot Put Family

G added a new event, so now we've got two competing in the same event (different grades, of course):

First place with a PR:  35.5

Well done, G!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Botany Begins

A new class; one young scientist is excited to spend the next seven weeks studying botany!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Happy Birthday

The perfect cake for this awesome kid!  So simple and, well... K.  I was excited to show it to her, to see her happy smile. 

A day filled with the things that she loves:  pancakes, baseball practice, time with friends, a hour at a trampoline place, the unexpected gift of friends over for a pizza dinner, then a movie night.  (A couple of classes thrown in there too.)

I remember, of course, the day that she was born and the moment when they put her little body with her funny misshapen head into my arms.  I was already in love and when I looked at her that first time, I felt a delight that has only increased.  I both love and like her so very much.  She is so uniquely herself:  funny, responsible, logical, loving, opinionated, kind, caring, strong, stubborn, brilliant, and so wonderful.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Literature to Film Presentation on "A Little Mermaid"

Presentation by G for her Lit to Film class.  Great class; they've read and watched:

  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • Coraline
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • Animal Farm
  • Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent)


  • Life of Pi
  • The Book Thief

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A Night on the Trampoline

Magic!  Beautiful night, super cozy.  :-)  Our morning views in photos:

On my shoulder

With my sleeping beauties

One awakes

Monday, April 2, 2018

April Fool's Day

G had a plan:  Brownies... "brown Es."  :-)  She may have disappointed every single adult at Easter dinner.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter Treasure Hunt and Bunny Cake

Our traditions have evolved to include an elaborate treasure hunt and this year I gave it an exclusively Easter (religious Easter) theme.  After Mass, I hid plastic eggs outside.  Finding them isn't terribly hard, but the hunt is fun and they absolutely needed to find all 51 of them, since they are full of money (coins), candy, or clues.  (Afterward, I put the coins back in a spare change cup and swept the candy away; only the clues led to any real enthusiasm.)  Each clue had to be matched to a found answer, with questions like, "something Judas was willing to betray Jesus for" to the answer "silver coins."  Once together, they revealed another word; once put in order, they found their next clue, hidden, "on or near an old friend."  I thought they might think for at least a moment about that, but K went right for Ike's ashes and she was right.  I'd taped the clue under the table where they lay. (She complained later that the clue was too easy).  The clue that they uncovered  was another set of fill-in-the-blank Easter questions, this one based on biblical verses.  They also found a decoder to help unravel the next clue, which brought them to a specific bible and then more words hidden in the bible with a riddle that shortly led to the hiding place of their baskets.

K was a little annoyed with the bible-theme and left her sister to it for a bit, which gave G a chance to puzzle things out, with K shouting the right answers in annoyance from the other room when G didn't get them right away.  ("Cross, G, Jesus was up on a cross."  Oh!  I thought that the questions were set after the Resurrection!")  I thought that K would complain later, but instead she surprised me, describing it as "pretty cool."  Yay!  :-)

(Oh my gosh.  Just realized that I'm "that mom," the one who makes her kids look up bible verses before they can have their Easter baskets.  How did that happen?)

Continuing the Milar Family Tradition

Easter is close to Opening Day this year, so Puck was in his Giant's gear for the occasion

Friday, March 30, 2018

American Government Course

Just about done with this government course, which K has been taking online throughout this school year through a free Harvard program.  Very detailed; I learned a lot just listening in.  It is taught through a series of video lectures, readings, online discussions, and four essay assignments. I was impressed with how current it was, with examples from the most recent presidential election and other recent legislative events and debates.

American Government
Political Culture
Limited Government
Representative Government
Civil Liberties
Civil Rights
Congress and Constituency
Congress and Party
Presidents and Domestic Policy
Presidents and Foreign Policy
Federal Bureaucracy
Judiciary and Supreme Court
Public Opinion
Political Parties
Campaigns and Elections
Political Movements
Interest Groups
News Media
Social Issues
Fiscal and Monetary Issues
Welfare and Income Policy
Regulatory Issues
Foreign Policy
Dynamics of American Politics

Thursday, March 29, 2018

SF Shakespeare: The Misadventures of Falstaff

And the kids had their play, a never-quite seen before set of excerpts from Henry IV.  The kids are less-than-enthusiastic about shortened scripts that don't tell the full story the way that the Bard intended, but they gave this a try.  Their impression of the outcome is still pending reflection, but I thought that they did a great job on stage and the costumes were awesome.

The best part of the day was before the class began.  Two and then three of their friends arrived early at the house and they were all full of such happy energy...   The girls take their Shakespeare seriously and part of taking it seriously is having such serious fun.

K in gray in top left of photo; G in brown right center

She gets to "die" on stage again

Dragging her body off stage

Missing one... but my battery died after taking this, so I'm just left bummed...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Easter Crafts

Sisters!  One who loves crafts and one who... well, she surprised me this time!  I love seeing them work together...

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Seder Meal

A fantastic Religious Ed class where we shared a ritualized Seder Meal, believed to be what Christ ate at the Last Summer.  I tried to arrange so that the day belonged to the kids and they rose to the occasion.  My girls worked hard for hours with me setting up.  Two sixth graders showed up with musical instruments and kicked off the meal with a live band.  Five kids volunteers to read the traditional readings.  The tables were decorated with tissue flowers that they'd made in a previous class.  Everyone dipped the maror, tasted the matzo and haroset, tried the pasch (veggie lamb), and drank their four classes of "wine."  The craft table that the sixth graders suggested was a definite enhancement that I doubt Christ had with His meal, but the kids enjoyed seemed to enjoy making Easter-pastel glitter slime.... and who knows, maybe kids have been drawn to crafts since the very birth of Christianity.

Wow... just wow!

29 kids plus some helpful parents...

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Track Begins

G's first meet!  Both did well in running and (for K) in her field event (G is still trying everything).  Thanks so much, Dad, for being there!

A new personal record (and the meet win)

Proud of this tough kid, running hard, running long, and running while sick.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Black Lives Matter Origins Class

Thought-provoking assignment, to review, museum-style, poster reproductions of advertisements for runaway slaves.  I appreciate the detailed learning of this "Black Lives Matter Origins" class.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Finishing her second season with this league, they had a close game and then they won!  Yay!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Baseball Begins

She's officially done with Little League and is an Intermediate player now.  First game was a tie, but her team won game #2.  When I arrived, her coach patted me on the shoulder in greeting and said, "it's our best hitter's mom!"  :-)  She's happier when she is doing well and that makes me happy too.  I'm glad that she can play the game she loves so much...

Saturday, March 3, 2018

NDNU's Into the Woods

We had the privilege of attending a performance of "Into the Woods" at NDNU.  Awesome voices, great acting and costumes, a lot of fun.   The best part was that I sat between the girls and they both kept whispering to me, predictions, comments, thoughts about what was coming next.  They had seen the movie and had comments and comparisons.  They are so much alike in some ways that what one would whisper to me, the other would unknowingly repeat... it was pretty funny.  They really loved the show and poured over the program afterward, reading the performer's bios, remembering some from previous productions, and generally talking about them like true fans.  Love it.  My experience was slightly marred by the temperature - I've never been so cold in a theater!  The girls thought something was wrong with me because I tried to wrap my cold nose in my scarf and that made them think that I was crying... not this time!  :-)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Balancing Chemical Equations

Oh my gosh, I remember this from long ago!  It's been so long, but now that the pressure is off, it's like algebra... almost (dare I say it?) fun.  I tried explaining it, did okay, but also found a Khan Academy video (or two) that explained it better than I did and suddenly K was better at it than I ever was.  Thank goodness for the internet and a wealth of ways of teaching any topic...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


We were driving to one of G's classes when I glanced east and saw...snow covered peaks!  As K said, "where ARE we?"  The temptation to see more, to touch was great - it is so seldom that we can see snow from home, even at a distance.  I traveled to a satellite campus that afternoon and at the last minute girls decided to come along too.  When I found myself with extra time before my next student meeting, we drove south as far as we could on beautiful, remote roads that we hoped would lead closer to the snow.  We got closer, just not quite there... but it was a fun attempt and beautiful diversion.  (These photos were taken at about 3PM after a day of sun, so don't reflect the amount of snow that we saw - albeit at a greater distance - earlier in the day.)  We also saw beautiful rolling green hills, lots of blossoms, and gorgeous hills and valleys that we'd never seen before.  Who knew!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Community of Prayer

We lost a dear friend yesterday and I am at a loss for words.  He collapsed suddenly and apparently as a result of an infection and over about ten days of attempted medical interventions, his body just began to shut down.  Losing Jay is hard to process.

During this time, I felt deep gratitude for prayer connections.  I barely slept the night after we were notified that he had been taken off of support and put on palliative care.  When I did doze, I'd wake to begin another rosary, groggily reaching through concern and grief to familiar words, repeated with love, hope, and comfort.  Around the Bay Area and across the country, friends were doing the same; others gathered at the hospital to be even closer.

The prayer connection was tangible.  The beauty of that union, of feeling a part of a community of prayer warriors similarly engaged in such acts of love, felt powerful and sustaining.  It was an agonizing and sacred night, feeling the connection of participating with so many others in intentional acts of love and reverence so that the final hours of his journey were imbued with the solicitude of shared faith in a connection to the eternal God.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Basketball Rose Ceremonies

This was lovely and totally new to me. Each school celebrated their Varsity team's last home game with a rose ceremony, playing "Pomp and Circumstance" while calling each player's name.  The player then gave the rose that they received to their mom.  The ceremony took very little time, but the music and the commemorative effort reminded me that these kids won't be playing again together and that they are all off to high school soon.  Too bad; it is thrilling to hear the announcers when they chant each kids' name, especially after a basket.  "That was K from IHM, Number 52!"

Great games this weekend, too.  K had three games among her two leagues and they won all; G had one and won that one too.  I missed pictures because I was driving between one and the other, unfortunately, but I made it for the rose ceremonies, at least!

Friday, February 23, 2018

So You Wanna Build a Snowman?

Our neighbors went skiing this week and brought back... snow!  It's been cold, so the little guy did last through the night.  But by the end of the next day, all that was left was this sad face...

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Working with "geoboards."  I (almost) liked geometry myself - it seemed more tangible than other forms of math.  But I think I would have liked it more, understood it better, with a teacher and materials like these!