Wednesday, August 8, 2012

unconference weekend, day 1

this past weekend was the hsc conference in sacramento.

i attended an afternoon of it two years ago and liked it so much that i insisted that the whole family attend last year and stay at the hotel, which we did.  it was a blast!

this year, though, with the change in family availability (i.e. steve's across the country), attending would mean that i would not get to go to any of the parent workshops and probably not get to see or participate in events with diana very much.  (ander's not much for separation from me or steve in an unfamiliar place and would be understimulated to tears in a grownup workshop where he'd need to be quiet if he came with me and is not always interested in doing the same activities as his sister.)

not that i'd have much of a problem sending diana off on her own for the day to hang out with her homeschooling buddies surrounded by other fun, quirky, and participative families, exploring and interacting in a responsible and responsive environment.  heck, we all breathe a sigh of relief when the kids can go somewhere with other people and instead of the first question being, "where do you go to school?" or, "what grade are you in?" it's more along the lines of, "hey, that looks cool - can i join in?" or a simple, "hi!" or just a gentle, welcoming smile.

but we had the added complications of swim lessons and soccer.  when we did a cost-benefit analysis about attending, even for a day, we decided that it was not in the cards for us this year.

another family reflected similar sentiments to ours regarding this year's attendance.  since our girls were practically inseparable last year (they both have long hair and had a length of it braided with ribbon and tied the ends together, which drew positive comments rather than odd looks), jen and i agreed to do something out of our regular routine and do it together.  hence, our "unconference."

we both had activities on saturday morning so we started off with a visit to explorit in the afternoon.  their community science project for 2012 is "spiders in your world" and we had so much fun with the activities last month, we had to come back again.  it's even more fun to explore with friends.  

handprint spider art
investigating the "ballooning" of spiders with compressed air tubes
that's me, holding an arizona blond tarantula
there's jen, holding a ball python
making edible spiders.  ander preferred to make his, then remove the legs and eat the body
the girls crafting their adorable arachnids

catching "food" like a spider's silk would
outdoor play time was as much fun as indoors.  an unexpected bonus - miss becky from lab rat academy was on hand to lead a spider safari around the grounds.

after the building closed, we spent a good deal of time enjoying the unseasonably cool, breezy, positively delightful weather.  then dinner at paesano's in davis, where the kids got plates of raw dough to play with while we waited and i had the most outstanding pan roasted cauliflower with paparadelle, bacon, arugula, and asparagus in a tomato butter sauce with feta cheese.  awe-some!!!!

the "boys" at dinner
i am happyer at home because we have some outstanding friends who were willing to have this unconference adventure with us.  on to day 2...

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