Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Night in Bethlehem

Wonderful thanks to Covenant Church of San Rafael, which has a youth ministry program that offered an incredible “Night in Bethlehem.” It included (for free!) not only the reading and acting out the Gospel of Luke, but carols, fun atmosphere, and ten kid friendly activities, including a petting zoo, making leather art, writing in Hebrew with stamps and pens that dip into ink, making jewelry, creating incense, braiding ropes, grinding millet, oats, and wheat into flour, creating clay pottery, making sweet treats (like naan with sugar on top), fending off tax collectors, avoiding census takers, making ornaments (or dreidels), and shopping from the market. Whew! All fabulously fun and a taste, perhaps, of Christ’s early life. Or, if not, a chance to spark inquisitive minds with curiosity about what Bethlehem WAS like 2,010 years ago.

The girls were so enthusiastic about every single thing that I thought they were going to have to throw us out when it was over! The only flaw to the evening was that I FORGOT TO BRING MY CAMERA! I took it out of my purse earlier in the afternoon to capture these and forgot to put it back in. Cute cowgirl/nature girls, likely NOT like anything Christ or his human family saw in Bethlehem!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Entertainment at the Camper Store

We stopped at the Camper (shoe) store; a narrow store with no place for the kids to be out of the way except by the window. At first they sat in front of the display (left), then Katherine asked for some paper and decided not to waste time just standing around... she was going to BE the window display.

Her sign says "Come on in. You might see this on an advertisement." It worked! People stopped and read it; Aunt Elizabeth even got a discount (wish we could say it was a direct result of their gratitude for the marketing efforts, though that might be how we tell the story someday! Hee, hee)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ice Skating

First time ever for the girls! Not many photos, as I was trying too hard not to end up on my keester (two to the left were taken by my mom). The girls had such fun and can't wait to do it again... though going with so many well-loved cousins will be joy hard to match!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yeah, they sort-of like each other. Sort-of! Hee, hee.

We have much to be grateful for and this sort of love is not the least of it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ranger walk!

A cold day, fun and fast... the kids were more interested in running than in exploring the details of nature, but that was part of the joy. This great photo of most of the kids who were along was taken by our friend Christina, as Gabriana and I were trailing a bit behind.

We stumbled across these incredible jack-o-lantern mushrooms, which apparently glow in the dark! We also learned a lot about ferns, including a gold backed fern that left its impression on my jeans....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Restless Hearts

"You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

~Saint Augustine (Confessions Bk. I, Ch. I)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Siege the castle! Fabulous, fun birthday party. Jousting, shooting bows and arrows, and building catapults. Happy times for our eager soldiers.

Happy Birthday to Uncle Mike, too!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Country Day! Tanzania

We had fun celebrating and learning about Tanzania this past month, then even more fun getting together with friends to share what we learned.

In the first photo, K is dressed as a Maasai warrior. Oh, didn't she just love that!

All of the kids did presentations, which were informative and fun. This month, K was determined to do her own PowerPoint. We read and read, then she decided on two topics: the people of Tanzania and my trip to to top of Kilimanjaro. We found an appropriate book on the first topic, then she went through and took photos of the pictures in the book that she wished to talk about. I helped with some of the technical elements, though she did many herself and the end result was her work - her idea, her words, and then her presentation. She wasn't in the least nervous and read from some slides while speaking about what she had read in others.

I was super-proud, though being who she is, she certainly doesn't want to hear about it from me! She even survived the applause, always ys her least favorite part of any performance. This last photo is of the start of her presentation - doesn't she look cool and collected? I got few photos after that!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Science Class Photos

Such a cool class! Ken is a wonderful teacher (Charles helps) and the kids have so much hands-on fun, learning, experimenting, and keeping a scientific journal of their observations.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Day by 9:30

Went for a run/took the dog out.
Returned library books and visited ATM.
Went grocery shopping, then unloaded groceries.
Gathered and packed five boxes of things to give to Goodwill.
Swept floors, unloaded dishwasher, and did two loads of laundry.
Prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Fed the dog and picked up the house, including breakfast dishes.
Dressed for the day (me and girls).
With K: four books read, three pages of language arts, three pages of math (adding, subtracting, and multiplication), one grammar lesson from our new text.

By 9:30, we were en route to the rest of the day... kids' classes, time together, reading the wonderful "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch," preparing for Tanzania day, a full day for me at work, some editing, 90+ minutes of a commute, and more. By midnight, I should feel tired, but mostly I feel happy and productive... purposeful!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


We had fun at a local high school football game: Marin Catholic versus Redwood (Larkspur). Marin Catholic is undefeated this season and the game was a blowout. Friends of ours are involved with the Marin Catholic team (assistant coach), so it was fun to root for the winners while the girls played enthusiastically with their friends. Just look at these silly girls, having fun!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Club November! The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

Awesome day! As K always says, her favorite and least-favorite day of the month; she loves it so much that she doesn't like it to end.

We tried some imaginative group storytelling this time, combining the wisdom of Cat Thompson and Jim Weiss both with the story and the follow up book making. Lots of play and crafts around making lions and wands, too. The whiskers on G represent Feris Ulf, a wolf who was the White Witch's Chief of the Secret Police. K ended up as an astronaut (apparently not limiting herself to today's specific theme).


The Magician's Nephew is the prequel to this book and I hadn't read it before. Wow is it amazing! Aslan sings the word into creation, an incredibly beautiful image and then the children in the story enter C.S. Lewis' imagined version of the Garden of Eden and resist the temptation o f the apple. His depiction of a kind, caring, and deeply compassionate Creator is memorable, powerful, and lovely.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nature Day Spiderwebs

Walking through magnificent redwoods, we were struck by the beauty of these much-smaller marvels.

We also saw a banana slug eating a mushroom on a tree trunk.

In the final picture, the teensy figures at about G's shoulder level are miniature people, set to scale to show relative size to the giant redwoods. Since we can't actually see the tops of them from our vantage point beneath them, this was impressive.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Religious Education Class

"Mary is the Mother of God. I love Mommy."
Hopefully, her lifelong experience will be one in which these statements operate in meaningful relationship, as I do my best to help her to grow in her love of God and her relationship with Mary likewise brings her closer to her Son.

(Not shown is the drawing of Mary with the angel Gabriel, complete with a stable she delightedly decorated with bunk beds in lieu of a manger.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sugarloaf November

Fun with friends at a lovely park in Los Altos. (We'd been at a birthday party first, hence the fancy dresses at a playground.)