Sunday, December 31, 2017

Yosemite with Cousins

And then the cousins arrived; what could be better?

A favorite rock at Curry for climbing and posing

Yosemite Falls in background

At Mirror Lake, below Half Dome

Evening fun in the lounge, playing board games and challenging each other with riddles

At the ice rink, Glacier Point behind her.


This never gets old: El Capitan on left, Bridalveil (Pohono) Falls on right

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Yosemite Day 3 - Hiking Favorite Valley Trails

A valley hike on favorite trails.

They opted to use nature's bridge

By a favorite creek, which leads into the Merced

Overlooking the Great Lounge at the Ahwahnee

A "Kodak moment" (to use an old term) in front of the Ahwahnee

Cool deer sculptures made from evergreen boughs


Friday, December 29, 2017

Yosemite Day 2 - Ice, Cold, and Beauty

Enough of the plush life, our next two nights were in unheated tents.  Brrrr!  I love that my fantastic girls consider this an adventure, not a hardship.  Wool blankets piled on double-sets of sleeping bags help.

Starting the day with a hike on a historic road and then play on the frozen golf course

Time for bed - bundled up!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Yosemite Day 1 - at the Historic Wawona Hotel

Oldest continuously operating hotel in Ca, but actually built several decades after our own house.  Wow, how's that for perspective on our own little piece of history?  I'd never stayed there before and we had a lovely time exploring the hotel, sitting by the fire in the lounge, and enjoying the very beautiful Christmas decor.

Never tired of this view (foreground and background)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas with Puck

Pure fun and silliness as Puck gets his presents - a lion's costume and a new "baby."

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

Mass and Posada with G singing; lovely!

Back at the house.  Four candles lit; Christmas is here!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bethlehem AD 2017

The girls had a wonderful time, as usual, in the tribes of Napthali, Judah, and then Levi, one each night.  They gave coins to visitors to "pay their taxes," learned Hebrew at the temple, made and sold bread and nuts in the market, forged metal, watched dancers while playing dreidel, held animals, and adored the baby Jesus.  The organizers do an amazing job turning an empty lot into a living history experience for the participants and thousands of visitors.

Cracking and serving walnuts

Kathleen visits!

Forging metal

Symbol for the first tribe

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gingerbread House Decorating and Speech Contest

The girls were a team and the outcome was a tie, with the other team (their cousins) winning in some of the categories.  The speeches were a surprise though and both teams did great jobs.  I don't have the other speech, but K's follows. Fun, festive evening...

"Friends, family... well I guess just family, I present to you a groundbreaking expression of the Christmas season: the Santa represents joy and love, the red windows symbolize a warm welcoming home, and finally the lights represent Jesus. We believe we have what it takes to win in all three categories ( creativity, beauty/ festivity, use of candy).  Just think of the breathtaking, mouthwatering, marshmallow roof, the fake candy lights, the Red Vine lined roof, you get the point. I believe you will vote your heart, let's see if you believe we can win! Thank you!"

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Service Project Success

Our Middle School Religious Education class was tasked with organizing the crafts for the parish Christmas party, no small task!  They didn't think small either, working in groups and then voting on all of the ideas.  They decided on slime, ornament decorations (two types) and a finger painting project.  The slime was the top hit, with the words, "the glue is gone; must mean the party is over' surprising me toward the end of the party.  (Never thought I'd say that!)  Both kids and parents stayed longer at the party because of the crafts, which is our true measure of success: building community.  Hurrah!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

Fall 2017 Classes

It helps to keep a log:

Math: Algebra with biology
AP Human Geography (through the Univ of TX)
US Government (an online open-access class through Harvard)
Hamilton Workshop (through Online G3)
The Tempest Workshop (through Online G3) Astronomy (through Athena's Advanced Academy) Production of The Tempest with SF Shakes (Prospero)
US History, using Stanford's "Think Like a Historian" series (focus on original sources)
Big History/Story of the World review
Religious Ed
Basketball (three leagues); baseball clinic
Writing (Using a L1 High School text with prompts)
Literature (Ron Chernow's 'Alexander Hamilton'), more...

Math: Decimals and Percents AND The Art of Math class
Human Anatomy/Physiology
Christmas Choir, Guitar
Ballet, Soccer, Volleyball
US History, using Standford's "Think Like a Historian" series
Big History/Story of the World Review
Production of The Tempest with SF Shakespeare (Ariel)
Sewing workshop (2)
Religious Ed
Herpetology (through Athena's Advanced Academy)
Marine Mammals (through Athena's Advanced Academy)
Spelling/Grammar (using language lessons and a spelling text)
Literature (Ron Chernow's 'Alexander Hamilton'), more...

I feel like I am missing something... something we did, plus (always) something we ought to have done.... Our spring will include some of the same and some new... much to look forward to (though now just resting is what I am looking forward to - no more final presentations, no need to prep for Religious Ed, no classes to prep for or grade... whew!)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

US History Mid-Term Presentations

G and her group created a play, an imaginary interview with John Hanson, the first person to serve a full, elected term as President of the United States under the Articles of Confederation (pre Constitution). K didn't want to show hers yet - her group was out sick and their research/presentation is incomplete, but they looked at the Puritan perspectives on Native Americans. Hers was inspired by a cryptic editorial comment in one primary source book that mentioned that some people objected to sailing to the Americas based on the concern that "others had long occupied these lands." Who were these concerned objectors, their voices ultimately overruled?



Thursday, December 14, 2017

It's Stuck

I was woken in the middle of the night with both of G's hands on my head, pulling at me. She complained, "it's stuck!" apparently upset that she couldn't get my head to separate from my body. I woke right up (uh, yeah!) and told her, "yes, and I like it that way." She giggled and went back to sleep and by light of day can't remember what she was dreaming or thinking.... We got a laugh out of that this morning! :-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Craft Prep

K's class is in charge of the crafts for the parish Christmas party. Are these ornaments cool enough? Santa's belt, a snowman, and Rudolph (is it bad that I feel the need to explain them?) I think that they are cute, though crafts aren't my thing. My hope is that the Middle School kids enjoy coordinating and that the other kids have fun with these and the three others that the class elected to do (slime, fingerprint lights, and rainbow snowflakes.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sociology Final Presentation

Well done, G (with some technical and voice support from K). For G: Three final presentations down (math, anatomy, sociology), two to go (history, herpetology); for K, two down (The Tempest, astronomy), one to go (history). Our academic Advent (season of preparation) winds down...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Religious Education Advent Service Projects

K's class had some work to do:  pack bags for the homeless, make cards for people in the community, create coupons for parents, and write something affirming about each person in their group. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017