Saturday, February 21, 2015

Molly's Russian Lapbook

Since we were reading about and studying the Russian Revolution with the boys for history I figured Molly would like to learn about Russia and do some school work related to Russia.

 We learned about onion domes.

 Colored pictures of kids in traditional clothes

I found a great map of Russia to color.

We talked about the looked at pictures of Fabrege eggs.

We read as many Baba Yaga picture books as we could find at the library.

This is the inside of the book about Baba Yaga. Sorry it is sideways. Molly wrote "Baba Yaga means grandma witch. She lives in the forest and her house has chicken feet".

 Matroyskas were her favorite things to color, cut out and glue into her lapbook.

 She liked it so much she had to color and cut out even more and more.

It is a good thing I have a Matroyska that sits on our shelf all the time. My parents brought her back from St. Petersburg when they went there years ago as one of the stops on their Baltic cruise.

She liked doing this lapbook so much I think we are going to have to do another one soon.

Hands On Physics

Sophie's STEM class has been learning all about the laws of physics the last few weeks and she has had to do a number of hands on builds or experiments. 

Here is a truss bridge she made out of popsicle sticks.

It is strong enough to hold a number of past years' Pinewood derby cars on it.  I love that she decided to us the colored popsicle sticks. It makes the bridge far more interesting when it has the colors of the rainbow.

Here is a marble run she worked on. We used tubes of pipe insulation and ran a marble through several lengths.
She had to include a hill and loop 

and a break in the track. 

The marble had to be able to travel through the entire loop and break and finish all in one go. This took us quite a bit of time to get the marble to complete the course consistently. Good thing we have so many perfect building materials availiable to make different parts of this marble coaster.

Lots of fun studying the laws of motion and about potential and kenetic energy.

Pinewood Derby

It is Pine Wood Derby time again.
Henry got creative with his shape and paint job. 

Henry always likes to pick a fun shape for his cars. He doesn't like to just make a car that looks like everyone else's. He did a shark last year and this year the watermellon was his choice. I admit I added some of the details in the painjob. I added the black seeds and the lighter green stripes on the rind but this car was his design.

 Like last year this wasn't the most airodynamic car.  The weight distribution wasn't the best for speed therefore his car didn't win any of the races it was in. I was happy he car passed the finish line each time it was sent down the track.

His wasn't the fastest but it wasn't the slowest either. He ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack.

He did have a good time building it and racing it.

He won the award for the "Most Delicious Car".

He was a little upset that his car had such a poor showing. He said next year he wants to build for speed and not have a silly car like he has had the two previous years.  We will have to see what he comes up with for his and our family's last Pinewood Derby next year.

Cloud Castles

We have been listening to the Audiobook of Brandon Mull's book Sky Raiders which is the first book in the Five Kingdoms series. My kids are very enthusiastic about this story and decided to build some cloud castles themselves out of legos.

 Here is one populated by princesses and such.
 Merida's three little Bear Brothers evidently must stay with Merida because they live here with the princesses in this cloud castle.

Here is one inhabited by pirate semblances.

I guess we have enough Hagrid figures (sorry you can't see all three Hagrid figures they included) to have this castle be the home for giants.

All the Emmets live together here in this one. I think bad cop showed up on this one too.

In the picture below you can even see the boats they made so the sky raiders can get to the different castles. 

I love it when my kids get creative with their legos and create things from their reading or in this case listening.

Stained Glass Valentines

 So I know the holiday was a week ago but I am finally getting around to posting pictures from the past few weeks so I figured I would share what we did for Valentines.
 We actually did these stained glass hearts at the end of January to decorate for the coming month. We took down the snowflakes that had graced these glass doors for Christmas/Winter and figured it sure didn't feel like Winter anymore we needed something new to make the place a little bit festive.
 I cut out contruction paper hearts and some tissue papers. We put them together and slipped the hearts into pouches for the laminator and sent them through and then cut off the extra plastic.  Super easy and they turned out beautiful. Even better than similar projects we had done like this using contact paper.

These glass doors have light streaming through them most mornings and the kids sit and do their school work here on the table covered with the shadows of the hearts.

It made for a lovely February decoration and fun craft project for the kids to do one morning.

The past Month

So a whole month has past as I haven't posted anything. Let me explain why......

 My mom has been in the hospital.

She had been sick since mid January with what she thought was just back pain or sciatica. She had been to mulitple doctors and they just wanted to give her pain medication and wait it out. She continued to get worse and worse until she colapsed and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance because her blood sugar levels were through the roof!

Finally, they figured out that she has in infection in her blood and that the pain was being caused by abcesses that had developed around her spinal cord. Also a large blood clot had formed in her leg because the abcess had blocked the flow of blood in that leg.  How they let her go three weeks in pain without testing her blood and such for infection is beyond me. My Dad had taken her to the ER twice and several different doctors and they always wanted to treat the symptom and never really tried to figure out what was the cause. So finally after weeks of pain she was finally able to get some relief and answers. We know what was making her sick but now the treatment is long and the healing is hard and currently things are still a bit scary and unknown.

She was at the local hospital which was nice because lots of her friends were able to stop in and see her while she could do nothing but lay in bed. They didn't want to have her up and about because of the blood clot in her leg.

 My Aunt and and cousins even flew out from Arizona to see her.

After a week in her local hospital they felt like they had done all they could do to help her and needed the expertise of a specialist so she was sent to San Francisco to see a hemotologist who could hopefully help her get the clot disolved and the infection under control. She didn't love her stay there. My Dad didn't either. My sister Julie spent a week at my house while my parents were in San Francisco.

When we went to SF to see my mom Julie quickly found a comforable chair and crashed out. Yes inevery picture of her she is wearing this same Orange SF Giants shirt. It is one of her favorites and everytime it came through the wash she put it on. It did get washed a few times while she stayed with us.

My mom was happy to see us since while in SF she only had my Dad to visit with.

Although we all tried to Facetime with her as much as we could. Here is my Uncle via Facetime all the way from Singapore where he was staying at the time. (The life of a pilot)

 This is what my kids did when they got to SF to see Grandma. They quickly grabbed her ipad and Kindle and played games.
 Our visit to San Francisco wasn't a long one. We didn't want to get caught in Friday afternoon traffic but at least we got to visit with Mom before she went in that afternoon for a procedure to disolve the clot in her leg.

A few days later and about 5 days after being sent to SF she was sent back to her local hospital since the specialist felt like he had done everything he could do and knew she would be happier at her local hospital where friends and family could more easily visit.

 She has been back in her home hospital for almost another full week and there is some progress. She is now able to get up out of bed and walk around, eat real food and while sitting there with her one afternoon I did the crossword puzzle with her. It is so nice to have her not foggy brained anymore. She had been on so many medications that she was mentally a bit whacked out and would say strange things but she is off all pain meds now and mostly needs to just continue to heal from the infection.

Just for the record and to keep things real.... just know that this isn't for a faint of heart.

 She has some black toes. The Blood clot was blocking circulation so some of her toes have turned black.  The nurse had just applied some iodine to her toes when I took these photos so the yellowish color is the iodine but the black is all dead tisue. When my niece went to visit a few days ago and saw her Grandma's black toes she fainted.  The doctors haven't done much to address this issue yet. But we are sure some of these toes are going to have to be amputated.
 So the last three weeks, with Grandma in the hospital having treatments and procedures galore and with one sister who lives out in North Carolina (Who just has her baby. Mom was supposed to go out to be there after the birth ) and another sister in So. California and lots of family out in AZ we have spent a lot of time chatting on the phone and texting eachother with updates.  I really gave my cell phone a work out the past few weeks while I passed on information I gathered from visits to see Mom and conversations with my Dad.

So for now my mom is still in the hospital and still very sick. The infection hasn't caused problems in her heart or lungs yet but it still is playing havoic on her system. She is in good spirits, loves to have visitors and talk on the phone. I really hope she will soon be able to head to her own home again. But the nurses have been so good to her and take great care of her. Continued prayers on her behalf are always appreciated.