Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chem Lab, Day 1

Zachary and Ryan are working through DIVE Chemistry this year, and I am leading a chemistry lab co-op for them and a small group of their friends.

Today was our first lab meeting, and we separated a mixture of sand and salt into its separate components, and then calculated what percentage of the total mixture each component comprised.

We used our bunsen burner to evaporate the salt/water mixture, and I was a little nervous about using it at the church gymnasium where we meet for our labs. Joe taught Zachary and Ryan how to safely operate the burner, and they did a great job of handling it for us today.

All in all, we got off to a wonderful start to our lab co-op year.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Girls' Morning Out

Last weekend my parents were here to attend Catherine and Elizabeth's dance recital. (I'll post more about that on another day.) I hadn't yet given my mother her Mother's Day gift, so the girls and I took her to our local nail salon to get a manicure and pedicure.

While we were there, both girls asked to get manicures. I told them they could if they were willing to spend their own money for them. So they did.

It was a fun morning and nice for my mom and the girls to enjoy themselves together while being pampered.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pharoahs, MacArthur, and a Trip Down Memory Lane!

The kids and I spent a good part of today in Little Rock.

This morning we drove to the Arkansas Arts Center to meet a group of friends and tour the World of the Pharaohs exhibit. We weren't allowed to take cameras into the exhibit, but here is a tiny sampling of the items we saw. (Click on photo/video gallery at the link.)

One interesting fact that our docent mentioned is that King Tut's father was recently identified. You can read the details of it in this article.

We learned a lot about ancient Egypt, and it was nice to get a little jump start on our next year's history studies as we'll be back around to the ancients in TOG Year 1.

After our time at the Pharaohs' exhibit, we met Joe for lunch at Juanita's Mexican Cafe. It is close to the Arts Center and is a restaurant where Joe frequently took me to dinner while we were dating. We don't go to Little Rock to eat out very much now that our town has grown and acquired so many restaurants, so it was fun being back at Juanita's with our four children.

Did any of you ever watch the show Designing Women in the late '80s or early '90s? (I loved that show for its first five seasons; after the original four women began leaving the series, it was never the same.) Do you remember the Sugarbaker house? Joe and I got married there. Actually, we got married at the Villa Marre in Little Rock, but it is the house that was shown as the outside of the Sugarbaker house on the show. (The inside of the house looks nothing like the inside of the Sugarbaker house.) The reason I mention it is that it is just a couple of blocks from Juanita's, and I never miss a chance to drive our children by it when we are in the vicinity. So we drove by today. You can read all about the history of the Villa Marre, along with some Designing Women tidbits, here.

On the stairs in the Villa Marre after our wedding.

Leaving the Villa Marre after our reception. Joe's brother, John, who passed
away last summer from leukemia, is in the foreground on the right. You can see my dad's head in the background on the right, and our niece, Dion, is standing in front of the steps on the left. Our nephew, Phillip, is the little guy on the far right. You can tell it has been a few years since our wedding as Phillip is about to get married himself.

After lunch, we headed to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. (Click on About The Museum at the bottom of the page when you get to the site.) General Douglas MacArthur was born in the building where the museum is housed while his father, a soldier, was stationed there. We spent some time looking through various exhibits detailing the participation of Arkansans in various wars. We also watched a documentary about General MacArthur's life.

MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

All in all we had a great day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Saturday morning we packed our bags and left the YMCA of the Rockies.

The day was sunny and bright, and we could see lots of snow on the mountain tops.

We headed down Highway 72, the scenic route towards Nederland.

The closer we got to Nederland, the less snow we saw on the mountains.

It was still very cold, though, with most of the lakes remaining frozen.

Once we reached Nederland and turned towards Boulder, 
the mountains grew smaller with no snow present at all.

Joe has a cousin on his dad's side who lives in Colorado, and he and two of his sons met us for lunch in Boulder. Joe hadn't seen his cousin in over 25 years, and the boys and I had never met this part of the family. We had a great time getting to know them a little while Joe caught up with his cousin.

Yes, the Dow men are exceptionally tall!

After lunch we enjoyed a street performer. He was hilarious.

And very talented!

Eventually we realized it was time to head for Denver if we were going to make our flight home. Our flight out of Denver was uneventful, but when we arrived it Dallas the American staff announced that the plane had been changed and 1/4 of the passengers would need to agree to stay in Dallas overnight and catch a flight out the next morning. We briefly considered it, but decided we should probably get back to Little Rock because we were scheduled to pick up Catherine and Elizabeth the next day and didn't want to wait to see them any longer than we had to! After a slight delay, our flight boarded and we arrived home after midnight.

All in all, we had a wonderful trip. The boys are ready to go to Latin convention again next year, and we all hope to combine it with a ski trip. We'll see how that works out.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Joe, Zachary, Ryan, and I had a great trip to Colorado this spring. Joe had been skiing there a few times in college, but it was the first trip to the Rocky Mountains for the boys and me. Catherine and Elizabeth stayed with my parents since this was an educational convention trip for the boys.

Joe had racked up enough frequent flyer miles for all of us to travel for free, so we flew into Denver and rented a car. Our first night was spent in Fort Collins, and the next morning we drove to Estes Park. These are some of the sights we saw as we left Fort Collins and approached Estes Park:

Once we reached Estes Park, we were amazed at the number of elk around and how tame they were. One night we were sitting at a stop light in town and four elk came meandering through the intersection, taking their time crossing the busy road.

This elk was right beside the road, about 10 feet from our car. It never looked up when Joe stopped and I snapped the shot.

They gathered in grassy patches beside the road.

And they made themselves at home in front yards.

This field full of hundreds of elk was in
Rocky Mountain National Park.

The Latin convention was held at the YMCA of the Rockies, just outside of Estes Park. The boys stayed in a dorm with some of their Latin classmates, and Joe and I stayed in a cabin.

It was quite rustic.

The boys joined us on our last night at the cabin, and the next morning . . . 

Zachary perfected his one-armed push-up technique.

Colorado is such a beautiful state! We are hoping to get to visit there again. The girls want to join us on our next trip.

Here are a few more shots of the scenery around Estes Park and in Rocky Mountain National Park:

Tomorrow I will post some photos of our stop in Boulder.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Latin Convention

Zachary and Ryan are finishing up an online Latin class with Karen Karppinen at Lone Pine Classical School. This is their second year of Latin with Ms. Karppinen, and we all are very pleased with the classes.
Each spring, Ms. K invites her students to travel to Colorado (where she lives) to participate in a Latin Convention organized by Colorado's Junior Classical League. This year, Joe, Zachary, Ryan, and I flew into Denver and then drove up to Estes Park so the boys could participate. The convention was held at the YMCA campground just outside of Estes Park. The elevation was about 8,000 feet, so we drank plenty of water to stay hydrated to prevent headaches.

Some of the competitions at the convention were not academic. Zachary and Ryan both competed in the fun pool relay events. Here, Ryan competes in an event where each participant was required to read a newspaper aloud as he/she swam.

Joe assisted with timing the pool events.

Ryan, Zachary, and two of their Latin 200 classmates participated in the Lower Division Certamen (quiz bowl) competition. Here they are relaxing before the round of questioning began.

Ms. K has posted more pictures of the Convention as well as results of the individual and team competitions for 2010 at her website.

Before we went to Colorado, Zachary and Ryan learned that they each had received Gold Medals again this year on the National Latin Exam. (They took the Latin II exam this year.) Zachary scored a Perfect Paper for the second year in a row. Congratulations to both of you!!

When the convention ended at noon on Friday, the Lone Pine students, their parents, and Ms. Karppinen traveled into Rocky Mountain National Park. It was early April and still snowy, but the snow plows had the roads completely cleared.

We drove to Bear Lake and hiked around the area. The elevation here was around 9,500 feet.

In some spots, there was still three feet of snow on the ground.

We all enjoyed meeting Ms. Karppinen and the other Lone Pine students and their parents on our trip. It was a great group!

Tomorrow I will post more photos of our sightseeing adventures while in Colorado.