Thursday, April 14, 2016

evidence of spring

spring has been around here for a little while, though the weather has been somewhat temperamental. these photos are primarily for my readers who don't (yet) have access to warmer days and pretty blooms. it's nice to see some familiar ones from last year and add new ones to my collection.

i didn't go to d.c. for the cherry blossoms, but i saw lovely things at meadowlark:

these final shots are from an exploration around the campgrounds where diana and her fellow cadettes meet for girl scouts. i couldn't figure out why it was here, but it was pretty and almost magical.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

homeschool conference

conferences can be a mixed bag of emotions for me, especially as i get older. i used to love them as an undergraduate in college, probably because i felt comfortable with my peeps. it was all about circle k back then. (did you know that steve proposed to me at one of the state conventions?) in graduate school, i attended SIOP conferences to present research and connect with academics and practitioners in the field and try to find work. later as an employee (in a company i found via those conferences), i went to those same conferences as a service vendor.  later, as a breastfeeding mom and subsequent volunteer leader, i attended la leche league conferences.

in this particular section of my timeline i attend homeschool conferences. they can be enjoyable and informative, but i do need (once again) to anchor myself to supportive people in order to participate. our family had a great time at one particular conference when we were living in northern cali (i don't have a post for it because it happened pre-blog but i did put together a great little scrapbook for our family) and i had been hoping to find something similar here in NOVA.

this year we attended the organization of virginia homeschoolers conference and resource fair. we had attended the year prior but i don't remember taking many pictures and only noted it in last year's birthday post.

it actually went better than i expected. maybe it's because we all worked together to make it happen.

crazy kiddos taking selfies in the car on the way to the cultural arts center at glen allen
ander's singular goal was to participate in the talent show. he'd been planning it since last year's conference where he saw several of our homeschooled friends perform: singing, playing guitar, playing violin. he's wanted an opportunity to get on stage in front of an appreciative audience doing something of his choice. he wanted to see his name in a program and be introduced and have people cheer and applaud for him. no evaluation, no criticism, no interrupting. his moment to draw attentive people into what he enjoys. this was the perfect venue for it.

he knew exactly what he wanted to do: recite the *prophecy of the piece of resistance* spoken by vitruvius from the lego movie:
One day, a talented lass or fellow, a special one with face of yellow, will make the Piece of Resistance found from its hiding refuge underground, and with a noble army at the helm, this Master Builder will thwart the Kragle and save the realm, and be the greatest, most interesting, most important person of all times. All this is true, because it rhymes.
it wasn't enough to just deliver the lines, which he did with clarity and aplomb. he was in full costume, too, which we created ourselves.

he declined to view himself on video, but agreed to let me share the recording with others. thank you, my son. you did well. you felt it. i felt it. your audience felt it.

i would show pictures of diana at conference, but she pretty much disappeared and did her own teen things, including making herself useful by volunteering. she made several friends and fashioned a little rocket and stamped leather for a tiny notebook. she was especially pleased that we were able to squeeze in a haircut (by a friend's mom) and color (by me) the day before we left. she fit right in.

selfies courtesy of diana

i listened to and asked questions in some really good panel sessions. steve made it all come together by hanging out with ander in ander's comfort zones, which included minecraft, the force awakens, and trapezing into foam pits at the nearby jumpology. and thank goodness we rediscovered gino's for dinner. they had everything to satisfy our family.

ander's lego engineering instructor was there to represent play-well teknologies
i will cherish all the moments in which i saw ander happy in preparing and performing the way he wanted to, in which i saw diana smile and laugh with new friends, in which i received an infusion of enthusiasm and ideas for our homeschooling future.

on our way home

Monday, April 11, 2016

meet the new girls

we were all pretty sad when prince ivan came to the end of his long life just over a month ago. he was gradually declining in health, but we made him comfortable and had our opportunities to say farewell. diana knew that she wanted more ratties, so we started looking around for a new pair to adopt (rats are social and thrive with company, so they shouldn't be intended as solitary pets). fortunately, we found a rescue resource that offered us an option to choose among several female babies from litters born around the same time (they'd also been cross-nursed by the mothers and handled every day to be comfortable with people).

now willo and petra have come to join us in their forever home.

i can't yet tell them apart, but diana can easily identify them by the depth of color in their eyes, their specific markings and color patterns, and by their temperaments. and they've only been with us for a day! they are sweet and chittery and curious and just darling.

photo credit goes to diana. she's much more comfortable sharing her selfies than of any photos i take, and she gave me permission to post these.


more kisses

on the move

action rat!