Friday, June 20, 2014

Back to Topic

I like small groups. I'm not big on speaking in front of large groups, and I'm not big on speaking into a microphone. Small groups, however, I can do those. Sometimes it's like herding cats. I have actually said, "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty" to get the attention back on point. All of that is my segue into talking about en pointe! See what I did there? Did you see?

The big girl got fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes today. Yes, I have waxed poetic all over the social site, so now you get to hear me gush again! This journey started when the big girl was 4. She had just started kindergarten and wanted to be a ballerina. So we put her in dance. The best part of this story is that she didn't take ballet until 2 years ago. She's so beautiful when she dances ballet.

We were lucky enough to go with my friend N and the big girl's friend B. We were also blessed to have our ballet mistress and studio owner accompany us as well. It was so nice to have their eyes and N's eyes as well as the sweet girl that was fitting the girls for shoes.

The big girl debated about taking a pair of tights. She didn't. So they gave her these stylish socks to use while she tried on shoes. Tres chic, non?

I like this pic because it shows the beginning of the pile. The fitter was very good about taking away whichever shoes didn't fit and replacing it right away.

Once the big girl had tried on several pair, she narrowed it down to 2. To simulate the ribbon and elastic, they used wrist braces.  These shoes were the 1st runner ups. These are Russians and they are a beautiful shoe. Oh my catfish, they were hard to say no to.

But these were the ultimate winner! They are gorgeous and I hope the big girl is happy with her choice. If the crazy smile that still hasn't left her face is anything to go by, she is at peace with her choice.

This was the beginning of the final discard pile. The fitter was so quick at removing what the big girl didn't like, I couldn't get a pic of all the shoes she tried.

Look at those pretty, pretty shoes! I am so happy that she's happy. And I'm happy she finally took them off!
She also had to have a nice wrap skirt. The norm has been a black, gauzy wrap number. But you know any kid of mine has got to buck the trend. We showed Miss S a black lace wrap around and she approved it! Yippee!
The big girl diligently watched some videos on how to sew on the ribbon and the elastic. She got the ribbons done, but she has the elastic left. At least the shoes are off her feet when she has the needle in her hand. We start summer dance next week and she is probably the most excited out of all of us. With beautiful shoes like those, wouldn't you be?
Have a great day.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me

This isn't actually about pirates. Well, not the parrot wielding, eye patch wearing, rum swilling kind of pirate. We had an opportunity to go see replicas of the Nina and the Pinta, Columbus's ships. There is no Santa Maria because it crashed and never made the return trip. And guess what? Not only did I take notes, I took pics, too!

The Nina was built to scale of the original. It was also built with tools that would have been used back in those times. The builder wanted it to be as authentic as possible. It is small! The crewmen were relatively small compared to men of today, so they didn't need as much space. They were between the ages of 14-19. They worked in 2 crews of 12 each. Each crew worked 4 hours on then 4 hours off and repeat. The equipment used on the ship is as close to the original with some up to date electronics to help the voyage go a little smoother. The ship carried enough food for 10 months for a trip that was estimated to take 3 months. Round trip was 8 months. Good thing they were prepared.

The only people that had quarters below deck were Columbus and the first mate. Every one else slept where ever they could find space, which was somewhere top side. Below decks was reserved for animals and supplies. In the cargo hold they had a small farm with animals like sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs. To get the horses on board they used a combination of ropes, pulleys, and the windlass. The only means of ventilation down there were the cargo doors. Can you imagine the smell? It was definitely not Noah's ark!

There were only 2 cannons on the ship. They didn't really need more than that. They were used for defense, but they were also used for sounding, so the boats would know where the other 2 were. They still use them for that purpose today, but they don't use cannonballs. I was a little disappointed by that, but since I'm not volunteering on the boat, I guess I can't gripe too much. Well, I could, but I'm not going to. About this anyway.

And just for a fun fact, Columbus kept 2 sets of log books. He sensed a bit of treachery by the king and queen. His book was incredibly accurate, but what he turned in to the royals was a bit less so. That way they couldn't duplicate his journey without him. Sneaky dude...

This is both boats as we approached them. They are quite impressive when you see them. The Pinta is bigger, but wasn't built to the exact scale that the Nina was built. 

This is from the end of the dock. The Pinta is in front, the Nina is in the back. Still so cool.


This is the back of the Pinta from the deck of the Nina. We couldn't get all the way in the front, but we got as close as we could.

You have to love a shot of the cannon. Oh, to have a cannonball in my pocket at this exact time with a little gunpowder. Just a little boom. At least people would know where I was...

The ships are sailed by volunteers. They sail all around the world and show off these spectacular boats. They work very hard to make sure the ships stay in great shape and that the history of these grand ladies is known. If you get the chance, go see these great ships. You will not be disappointed. And if you're lucky, you can go to the beach when you're done. We did. And it was wonderful!

Have a great day.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Nip Here, a Tuck There

I am way behind on blogging. We just got done with recital, which is another post, and I have a little down time. But this blog is about science co-op. Ready?

One of my favorite things to teach is biology. I was so excited for one of my kids to get old enough for biology and the big girl got there first. My favorite part of biology besides the edible projects? Dissecting. This year we dissected a grasshopper, a perch, a frog, and a starfish. I won't show you any pics of the perch. Even I think they were yucky. And some of the pics of the frog may not be suitable for all audiences.

This poor guy never had a chance. We had 2 specimens and the kids were broken into 2 groups. I mixed and matched them for each lab so no 2 groups were the same. Their grade depended on each other and every one had to handle a different part of the lab. For the most part, that worked very well.

And then the teacher tells the left handed kid it was her turn to handle the right handed scissors. Because I'm smart that way. But she did it anyway.

Yeah, the pics just get a little grosser from here, so it's time to move on to the next victim specimen.

This one proved to be a little harder for the group. Just trying to get through the exoskeleton proved to be a chore. But they did it.

Part of the lab was to draw the legs and various outer features. There are some super talented kids in my class.

I liked the starfish. It was a little harder to distinguish some of the outer features, but the rest of the lab was way cool.

I had the best time teaching biology to this group of kids. We had the best discussions, and some not so good conversations. We covered a ton of material and they hung in there when it got a little boring. And, really, who doesn't like a class where you get to cut up dead things?

Have a great day.