Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We spent time outside....and had fun!

On Saturday the girls and I went to a yoga class with our Girl Scout Troop in the morning. We came home and had some lunch and since we were already in comfy exercise clothes we headed up to The Wildlands Conservancy in Oak Glen. The weather has been fantastic lately and the girls ask everyday to play outside. When I asked Louie if she wanted to go hiking and she looked me straight in the face and said "No". We went anyways. 

This place is really awesome. Nice easy trails with lots of great things to see. 

Word Up Emerson. 

And they are off. Thanks to the incline Louie looks tall here! 

Lots of fun kid's quizzes to keep them entertained. 

And gorgeous landscapes. 

Poppa checking out the wetlands. 

My favorite part of his profile is his nose. 

Louie and Pee Wee taking in the sights. 

So pretty.

Louie watering a tree. 

My little explorers. 

My Babe, Mi Amor and My Lovey

Tracking ducks.

Yes it smelled amazing. 
This was such a great day trip. We literally did it all in about 2.5 hours. That included a treat of a cherry pocket pastry, iced coffee and an apple cider slushy. I hope that we are able to do this a few more time before the weather gets too warm. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ohhhh. I get it now. The Harry Potter Book Series

This has been my family's view of me for the last week or so...

Granted this is not unusual. A book for a face is pretty typical for me but over the last week its been even worse because I started the Harry Potter series. Yes for the first time ever. I am almost done with the 3rd book and at my weekly library visit I was very disappointed to find that they did not have book 4 and 5. I figured I would place a hold and just wait it to come in. Then I read another 100 pages of the 3rd book last night and knew that I would go through some major withdrawals if I didn't have the 4th book ready to go. So this morning I took a quick break from work to run a quick errand. That errand? Going to another library to pick up books 4 and 5.

I feel much better now.

So I know that I am like 10 years behind on the whole Potter craze but I am usually behind the trends. (Don't mind me while I watch Napoleon Dynamite in my Juicy Couture sweatpants.) Phi and I read the first book last summer and it was pretty good. I was needing something to read and noticed I had the 2nd book so I picked it up. I was hooked.

I never picked up these books, even when my niece was super into them, because I didn't think wizards and magic were my thing. I never even saw the movies so the whole storyline is completely new to me. So apparently wizards and magic are totally my thing. I want a wand and a cloak now. I have even found myself on the Pottermore website. FYI I suck at potions but I'm awesome at spells.

I now understand all these Harry Potter references. Like now I totally get the whole..

"I solemnly swear I am up to no good" 

So when my niece finished the series my parents took her to Harry Potter World in Florida. 
Think I can convince them to take me?? 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Homeschool Week 25: Stamps and Phases

Language Arts: Phi read 5 more chapters in the novel "Holes". The story has got very interesting and is split between the present and the past. This week along with vocab and comprehension questions we looked at similarities between the 2 stories. The project was to make some kind of diorama to show the difference. Phi used her drawing skills and made 2 different scenes.

Math: We finished up Chapter 13 by studying how decimals and money are related.  Phi is still not 100% there when it comes to decimals and fractions. We worked on the chapter review this week and she still has not memorized the steps. She forgets to simplify and is mixing up when to multiply and when to divide.

Social Studies: This chapter was called "Linking East and West" and was all about how communication between California and the rest of the US was forced to evolve quickly. Between 1850 and 1861 the time it took to get a message to someone in California went from 6 months to just a few minutes thanks to the invention of the telegraph. Her project was to make a stamp for the 4 different forms of communication that we studied.

Science: This week was all about Phases of Matter. We looked at the example of water and how it moves from the different phases of matter with adding and taking away heat. This was a simple chapter and a concept that Phi had learned about last year.

Next week is Spring Break and we are going to take a little desert adventure!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Another Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is known for bringing bad luck. For me Friday the 13th brought the end of my Tata's life and it changed my life. Only one month later and here we are at another Friday the 13th.

Grieving and loss is so strange. I was told that it was going to have its ups and downs, good and bad days. That I would feel not just sadness but anger. They were right. It's been one month and sometimes it hurts more now. Sometimes I wonder how I am suppose to just keep on with this pain. There are other times when I can feel my Tata's presence and I am motivated. I still cry everyday. It was so weird that life just kept going. And at the crazy pace we move, its hard to find time to grieve. To really allow myself to stop and feel whatever it is I am feeling. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Homeschool Week 24: I'm All About Biddy

Language Arts: We changed things up a little bit this week to help with retention. First we looked up all the vocab words and then read each of the questions that were going to be answered, then I had her read the book out loud to me. This seemed to help a lot with retention but the goal is to get her to work like this on her own. The book is starting to get more exciting which has made it a bit easier for her. The project this week was to create her own creature. This worked out well for us because this week at the library they made styrofoam cup creatures. Phi's was the Rainbow Paz Bird. A pretty bird that helps bring peace and happiness to the world.

Math: This week we did math every week day. We were working on converting fractions to decimals and vice versa. She seemed to grasp this concept okay. Each worksheet was short so we didn't have to spend more than 30 minutes on each worksheet.

Social Studies: This week we learned all about when California became the 31st state in 1850. We also talked a little bit about women in California during this time period. The assignment this week was to write a rap, poem or song all about one significant California woman. Phi picked Bridget "Biddy" Mason. She rewrote the lyrics to "All About That Bass"...

I'm all about Biddy, about Biddy, no slavery. (3x)
I'm all about Bi Bi Bi Bi...dy
Yeah it's pretty clear,
She was against slavery
But she can handle, handle,
everything you put her through
You think she works for you,
but she is strong 
All the right strengths in all the right places.
She walked to Utah all the way from Mississippi
She moved to California and then she said STOP
California's free free
She went to court
She won her freedom, grabbed her daughters then she moved to LA.
She was born in 1818 and died in 1891
She worked as a nurse and bought a piece of land
She was the first black women to own land in LA. 
She was a smart business women and made a whole lot of cash.
I'm all about Biddy, about Biddy, no slavery. (3x)
I'm all about Bi Bi Bi Bi...dy

She did a great job! She also did a drawing of Biddy Mason. 

Science: Last week we introduced the concept of matter and its properties. This week we talked about different ways to measure matter. We learned about balance scales and water displacement and the ever popular volume = length x width x height . We also went over the difference between metric and US measurements. This would have been a great week  to do some measurement projects with but they weren't assigned and we ran out of time.

One more week and then it's SPRING BREAK! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dirt Road Diary: Tierra del Sol 2015

Last year one of our first off-roading trips was to Tierra Del Sol (you can see last years post HERE). Last year was fun but thanks to the crazy winds it was also a little bit miserable. To be prepared Joey bought the girls goggles. Of course this year the wind was nice and calm and instead we had to deal with the heat. I am guessing next year we deal with rain.

We met up with the Mendez family to drop off some parts. The night before while driving into Ocotillo Wells they had some wheel issues. How they rigged the tire on their hummer was crazy genius and I can't believe it worked.

We started the day walking the booths. The kids had some fun doing a little bit of coloring.

And even some remote-controlled off-roading.

We then headed over to what I like to call the obstacle course. A place where vehicles can test out their skills. Joey really wanted to take the cruiser in and try some of the less scary ones but since I did not want to get stuck in the desert with the kids if the car were to break I had to persuade him not to. We did get to spend some time watching other people give it a try.

I am still so surprised that Phi likes this part of it. She is a chicken when it comes to actually being in the car and on trails, but she loves to watch rock crawlers.

Afterwards we headed to Truckhaven trails for some off-roading. Last year this was one of the first real off-roading I had done and I was super nervous the entire time. After 12 months of trips I was excited to be out on the same trails. As usual we let Matt take the lead and he really just went for it. I swear he was just flipping a coin to decide on right or left. We managed to get ourselves into some tight spots and even a few sandy hills we just couldn't conquer.

When we found the arch that we recognized from last year we knew that we were close to making it out of the canyon.

It was a great day out in the desert and a stunning sunset and some Mexican food was a great way to end the day.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Kinder Bound

I feel like this was Louie a few days ago.

My tiny little 6 pound hairy baby!

This week this happened.....

Our baby is going to kindergarten. Of course it's a homeschool kindergarten program but still. These almost 5 years have gone by so freaking fast. She wanted to turn in her application all by herself because that's how she rolls. 

So that's it. We are there. We have 2 kids. No babies, no toddlers, not even a pre-schooler. We have kids, in school.

If you know Louie at all than you know how she feels about going to school.

If you don't this is a photo taken right after she dropped off her application....

She is very excited. And I am very excited to see her learn, grow, make friends and become even more awesome than she already is.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Homeschool Week 23- The Golden Locker

Language Arts: Phi read chapters 11-20 in the book Holes. I think she is having a hard time getting into this story. It is not what she usually likes to read so I have found that her comprehension was not there. She was reading and working on her novel study and was not able to answer any of the questions. When it came to reading 16-20 we did things a little differently. First we looked up all the vocab words and read the comprehension questions. Then I had Phi read to me outloud and we discussed along the way. This worked but I need to get her to the point where she can do all this on her own.

Math: Phi had a substitute teacher this week and she focused on math and that made a big difference. This week we are working on Multiplying Fractions by Whole Numbers. The teacher went over each step and had the kids write each step down. When it came to homework she was able to pull out her notes and review. It made homework much easier. Update: I may have spoken too soon. We took 3 days off of math and are currently working on the last worksheet and it's like she is seeing this for the first time. As much as we all don't want to it looks like math is going to have to be a daily thing. 

Social Studies: We started a new chapter this week. We are moving from the Gold Rush and looking a the Business Boom that followed it. We talked about different entrepreneurs from that time period like Levi Strauss and Ghiradelli Chocolate. The project this week was to become a Gold Rush Entrepreneur with a product or service and make up a brochure about it. We had fun with this. Phi thought about something that miners would need and she came up with "The Golden Locker".

Science: We also started a new chapter in science all about matter. Trying to teach the idea of matter is not easy! When you say something like "everything is made up of matter" it tends to be hard to wrap your head around that. We talked about 11 different properties of matter and had some fun using those properties to describe things around us. 

Getting motivated to get back into school has been really hard for me. I am hoping next week will be a little easier. 

Monday, March 02, 2015

How La Santa Cecilia Helped Me Begin to Heal

We had got home a little after 2am and about 6 hours later my Mom called to say that my Tata had taken his last breath. And just like that my world fell apart around me. Throughout the last few weeks Joey had really stepped up, driving us back and forth 2 hours each way at all hours of the night, taking Phi to school and taking care of Louie even more than he already does. He had also bought me tickets to see one of my favorite bands, La Santa Cecilia at UC Riverside for Valentine's Day. The show was that night. He gently asked me if I wanted to skip it or go. It was totally up to me. I decided to go. 

To some going to a concert that day the most influential man in your life passes away may seen mean and cold-hearted. But if there is one thing that I know, from growing up with a musician Dad, getting through my teen angst and heartbreaks, in falling in love with Joey, in rocking my babies to sleep at night, is that music is powerful. It can bring you to your knees and it can heal you. I needed that because I was so sad that I was afraid that I had lost all things good. I felt that I would never ever feel passion again. I was afraid that the things I loved would not mean anything to me anymore. 

Live shows make me feel alive. They always have. They are one of my happy places and what I do to de-stress. This show was "Noche Cultura" and it started with Ballet Folklorico dancers. Traditional dances from different regions of Mexico. It was beautiful and the girls fell in love with the "very twirly" dresses. There was also a couple who sang corridos and had silly banter back and forth with each other. 

My sense of cultural pride is deeply rooted into who I am. A big part of that is because of my Tata. I am so very proud to be his granddaughter. To come from this man and represent him. I am so proud of him and being Mexicano is a big part of him and is a big part our family. 

La Santa Cecilia took the stage. This was my first time seeing them live and from the first note I could feel it. In the depth of my soul and heart I felt every word she sang. 

I cried through most of the show. I cried from pain, loss, pride, hope and love. For the first time since having to say goodbye to him, I felt my Tata with me.

I am so glad I decided to go to the show. It was exactly what I needed at that moment in my life. I reminded me that life is still good. I made me realize that my Tata is with me, always, and there is so much beauty in the world to show him. 

I am so grateful that I was able to thank Marisoul, the lead singer of La Santa Cecilia in person after the show. I was able to hug her and let her know how her voice and her band helped me so much that night.