Travel with me: Picture 1 of 10

Thank you Yvette from Priorhouse blog for inviting me to share 10 travel photos. I tried putting all the pictures into one post but it got way too long. So I’ll post travel pictures across 10 days.

This science museum called NASA Ames Research Center used to be one of our favorite places to visit. It was a small, accessible, and free museum with informative artifacts and interactive exhibits.

When we went back to visit a couple of years ago, the museum had been transformed into a NASA gift shop. Disappointing as it was, we were still grateful to have had the opportunity to tour and learn from this place. Still a great place to buy some souvenirs.

These astronaut photo ops were a must with the kids. Funny to see how Ellis could barely poke her head out the astronaut’s helmet. We didn’t travel far from home but a few props and love for the solar system can take you to outer space.

From Wikipedia:

The NASA Ames Exploration Center is a science museum and education center for NASA. There are displays and interactive exhibits about NASA technology, missions and space exploration. A Moon rock, meteorite, and other geologic samples are on display. The theater shows movies with footage from NASA’s explorations of Mars and the planets, and about the contributions of the scientists at Ames. The facility is free and open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m to 4 p.m and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.[16]

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A poem about the terrors of homework from Jack Prelutsky

Here’s a poem that received rave reviews from Ellis and Elliot. Instead of scratching their heads and asking me what a poem means, with this poem they understood right away what the poet was talking about. They nodded their heads in agreement with smiles getting larger at the verse repetition. It probably surprised them that someone had articulated their exact thoughts into a poem.

I felt this way about homework too when I was a kid. Now I wish I had time to do homework in peace and silence. Desires change with different seasons of life. So is life…roll with the seasons.

Homework! Oh, Homework!

Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you
away in the sink,
if only a bomb
would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework!
You're giving me fits.

I'd rather take baths
with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion
alone in the dark,
eat spinach and liver,
pet ten porcupines,
than tackle the homework
my teacher assigns.

Homework! Oh, homework!
You're last on my list,
I simply can't see
why you even exist,
if you just disappeared
it would tickle me pink. 
Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!    

 - Jack Prelutsky
We planned on exploring moon phases with Oreos but we made the terrible mistake of buying only one pack. By the time we needed it, only the empty box remained. So kids ended up coloring it in complaining the whole time that I ate too many of the Oreos.

Have a wonderful February weekend and stay well! Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Me: video game noob and a very tired teacher

These days I’m dragging my feet into this video game world, its rules, terminology, and other related things. One thing is for certain: you don’t want to be called a “noob.” I could think of worse things but that term seems to push player’s buttons. It’s supposed to be insulting to call or be called a “noob” yet the term is teasingly used among friends for poor play.

According to Wikipedia, ” Newbienewbnoob, or nub is a slang term for a novice or newcomer, or somebody inexperienced in a profession or activity.”

I’m in the latter category: My kids call me “noob, “but it doesn’t offend me. My noobiness is obvious when I can’t control my avatar’s movements in the game and can’t pass through doors or climb ladders. I continually ask: “What’s that?”; “How do you do that?”; “Why do I keep…?”; or “What do I do now?”

We play “Bed Wars” on the BlockMan Go app. It’s a 4 team game of 4 players who buy gear, blocks, and weapons though coins earned at each of their base’s iron forge. To get better gear and upgrade your weapon’s arsenal, you build bridges to other lands to get diamonds and emeralds. You also need to build to other team’s lands to destroy their defended bed. If you die or get killed, you respawn but lose all your inventory; however, if your bed is destroyed, you cannot respawn after dying.

My role is limited; I defend the bed with blocks, build one bridge to nearby the diamond land, gather diamonds to upgrade our team’s forge, and try not to fall into the void. It’s stressful and I wonder how my fingers don’t move as fast as I want them to.

Still, they want me on their team. It’s flattering, but it’s too much together time. We already spend an inordinate amount of time together as a homeschooling family. This activity cuts into my nap time, alone time, bathroom time, phone time, etc. I’m guessing they want me to play so I’ll lose track of time and not yell at them to stop playing. Just sayin’…

When we play, we refer to each other by our usernames. They like to show off their skills and give me tutorials. Ellis comments that I’m like her little sister in video games and that she needs to teach me how to do things. Other times, Elliot tells me to “stay back…I got you” while he kills off opponents or gets revenge on the enemy who killed me.

Avatars: Ellis (Far left), Elliot (middle), me (far right); my updated Avatar is a winking eye

Another game we play is Skyblock; you mine for blocks and use them to build your land in the sky. This is my favorite game; who thought mining could be this fun and pleasant! Kids got me better gear and unbreakable cross/ slash thunderbolt staff that I can use to defend myself from other miners who want to steal your inventory by killing your avatar. fend off attacks from other miners in the advanced mining area for higher cost blocks. Rare and special blocks can be attained through trades with other players or by using coins to buy them by selling the blocks you mined or with gcubes (gold cubes you buy with money).

We’ve kind of gone overboard and have built all kinds of structures along with making up stories. We have an evil scientist who grows poisonous berries, a young Apatosaurus dinosaur that suddenly appeared on our land (we are caretaking and teaching him while we look for his parents), kids made their stone generator business that makes stones with water and lava (cost is 1 emerald per use). Ellis also made a graveside for my father in law who passed 7 years ago, as well as one for Chris’ friend who passed recently in Dec. 2020.

I’ve been on edge since kids love these games, along with Minecraft and others, and I feel they will never stop playing. But I can’t fight it all the time, so I’m reluctantly changing my approach. This may be my rationalizing, but playing together gives us an opportunity to reverse teacher and learner roles, learn about internet safety, make good decisions, problem solve, build creatively, research information they need, understand sportsmanship, and discuss different ways people think and act on video game platforms.

This is their new obsession, so I’m seizing this opportunity to revolve learning around it for them. Being my kid’s teacher has its rewards and surprises, but in uncharted territories like this, I find the ride wild, uncomfortable, and unbelievably frustrating!! I’ve emphasized the positives here, but it gives me migraines to work with it. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜…

For every teacher, parent, and others in the second month of this school year, praying that we survive, stay healthy, and help kids on their road to become their best selves!

“Show me how to do that?”

This picture was taken when these nuggets were 2 and 4 years old. Although sibling rivalry was at its height, there were sweet moments like these too. Elliot didn’t mind his sister when she was tiny in the bassinet, that is until she got mobile and got into his things. During their squabbles when both were not talking and in diapers, I’d sometimes find him sitting on her, but she’d lash out and scratch him with her little fingers.

But here’s a sweet memory of them few winters ago. Elliot wanted me to post these pictures since Ellis “looked adorable.” We’ve made lots of progress in their sibling relationship!