Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Free Play

Saturday is play day around here, with our Explorer Club meeting tonight at church.  We are really having fun with our Club, and if anyone is interested in learning how you can form your own Club with your own ideas, you can check out the web site for Keepers of the Faith at: .  They sell club supplies with pins for hundreds of different activities and academics.  It is sort of like a merit badge supply house without having to join a national organization.  We created a youth club at church, named it Explorers, and are using the pins as merit awards.  I am also going to be awarding the kids pins for their homeschooling achievements as well, and Matt and Angela will be getting one for learning pottery.

Anyway, our play day today was totally laid back.  Olesya worked with Dominick at the cafe and earned a little paycheck.  Each of the 4 older kids is getting a chance to work a Saturday and get a small paycheck, and they all have a savings account so are learning about banking.  Joshie is going to help Dominick clean his detailing shop and get a little paycheck too.  I am really pleased that money does not burn a hole in any of our kids' pockets, and so far it is only deposits that are happening.  They are all saving for our big trip coming sometime in late spring, when we hope to use the last of our free airline miles before they expire and go to Washington, DC for a once in a lifetime trip to see special longtime Kazakhstan adoption buddies and a few sites as well.  We also are hoping to meet up with several Kyrgyz adoption families if the gathering they are planning comes to fruition.  Everything is tentative at the moment, but the kids are saving as much as they can for whatever we end up doing.

It is nice for the kids to have this kind of one on one time with Dominick as well, and we also feel it is important that they see how hard he and other have to work so that our family is clothed and fed.  For them, Dad's work is tangible and has been experienced to some degree, so when he comes home exhausted after detailing for hours or tired from being on his feet all day during the winter and "slamming sandwiches", the kids at least have some understanding of what he feels like.  It also gives them a greater appreciation for those who work with us at the cafe as they are invaluable and we know how fortunate we are to have such terrific employees who stick by us for so many years.

The rest of us remained home hanging out today.  I was feeling relaxed after having a Mom's Night Out with a friend last night, which was a much needed catch up time for us.  My life has changed dramatically over the past year and a half, and I have wonderful friends who have offered the gift of patience and understanding as we have settled into this newer, busier life. 

Matthew was Lego Man today...actually Angela, Kenny and Matthew were Lego Kings and Queens for the entire day.  Here is what the bedroom floor has looked like for two days.  I am glad that somewhere along the line I was able to learn to let go of expectations of a perfectly clean house!  Also, this has been so mind expanding for Angela, and I am really happy to see her learning to play, and to find something she enjoys doing for extended periods of time.  This is only part of the Legos we have:

Ridiculous, huh?  Most have come to us as gifts, or used ones from others who have outgrown them, plus Matt usually gets one set for his birthday or Christmas and has been playing with them since he was about 3.  And I have been stepping on them for...oh...about 8 years now :-0 See that gray carpet peeking out from under the sheets and blankets?  That gray is the exact same gray as the gray Legos, and creates wonderful camouflage. is the result of Matt's work.  Angela is starting to create things with plans, and a little outside of plans.  Kenny loves playing with them, but usually creating stories to go with buildings or castles that Matthew builds for him to play with.  Matt spent a couple hours on this one this afternoon, no plans, just free building.  I wish we could find a way for him to create drawings he could sell, this is one of his simpler ones:

Then we had our future scientist who wanted to begin working on the totally cool dissecting kit he received for Christmas from his best friend.  This kit is the real deal, guys, with a crawdad, earthworm, frog, cricket and more to dissect as well as a little study guide for each as you cut it open.  He loved this, totally loved it. I wanted to wait until we had a quite moment undistracted to work on it, and this afternoon was the perfect opportunity.  Oh man, this was cool...and totally gross.  For some reason this was way worse than the duck a few weeks ago.  I am NOT looking forward to the frog but have resigned myself to the fact that I will have to suck it up if I want to encourage him in this area.  I never dissected anything before in my life, and had a very typical 1970's - 1980's bad Southern California education where I never once took geography, never had to to take anything beyond one science class in high school, and learned next to nothing about history.   Things tightened up after I graduated, but we got away with a minimal amount of core classes.  Anyway, so I guess I am going to make up for it very quickly here...and God is going to be laughing like crazy as I hold in the contents of my stomach.

Joshie created lab notes as well, mainly to record observations and write down new vocabulary words.  He is going to type it up on Monday (which ought to take, oh, about 3 days! hahaha!) and then I am going to print out these photos for him to attach.  Since I have to suffer through this, I feel ALL of you should have to as well.  Fair, don't you think?  After all, you've come along through all the rest of the ups and downs the past 4 years, I am not going to leave you out now...nice of me, huh? :-0

Joshua LaJoy, PhD

Waddya expect, he's a 2nd grader, for goodness sake!  Of COURSE he needs a photo with him pretending to eat the specimen!!

You may have contemplated your navel before, but have you ever contemplated an earthworm's anus?
I TOLD you I was not going to let you all off easy...suffer along with me~!!!  Hey, be grateful I didn't show you the photo post dissection with the guts splayed open!  You can thank me later :-)

Joshua's lab notes, being taken on his special clipboard that our dear tutor friend gave each of the kids for Christmas.

On Wednesday Josh received a bad burn, which you can see here on his hand.  He was standing backed up to the gas fireplace which has a glass front to it, and accidentally touched it.  It had been on all morning and as you can see was extremely hot.  It blistered but is doing better now. 
What totally cracked me up though is that afternoon, even while it was hurting, he drug out the microscope to look at the injury, and the next morning when he could tolerate it to touch something, he flipped up the lid of the copier to photo copy it...both in color and black and white.,  "But Mom, it's going to change quick and I need to show Zack!"



Christina said...

Have you looked into lego online... I have seen the kids at the public school where I work create lego creations online, and I think you can order what you "create" so I wonder if there is a way to print out the "directions" from what you create...

Love the lego room, looks like my house! Those legos hurt when you step on them! I got the girl lego house for my daughter for $1 at a garage sale... missing the directions, but you can view them on line too!

Great worm disection! :) Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I feel that I am missing something in life--no Legos when my kids were little, but my daughter did say she and my grandson spent all last Saturday sorting the Legos and building "things"--some according to directions and some originals.

I do remember the building blocks large, small, columns and arches. There were never enough arches for me. They are still in my basement waiting for random kids to show up and play with them.

Thanks for sharing--anus, burns, guts, and all,

Anonymous said...

Our 14yr old son has loved Legos. I used to have higher standards for my house. Then we got two boys...and two more girls who came as savers! The girls brought home toys they'd saved from tripsto McDonalds in Guatemala, etc. But in fairness, they didn't own much so when they got something, it was important to the.

Our 14yr old is also very creative Legos, and spends hours making machinery of various kinds. I splurged and bought some bigger Lego Technic sets for Christmas a few yrs ago, some with motors. They're a bit more challenging, but not hard for that age. My husband was looking forward to helping put them together, but our son-in-law did it while hubby was busy on the farm. Hubby was kind of disappointed, so last year I bought him his own Technic set. Son-in-law owns a concrete business and wants me to keep my eye open for a Technic concrete pump truck. I found a cemet mixer on ebay forhim, but still keeping my eyes open for te pump truck. Hope they make one some day. I also think you can design your own creations online, though I haven't checked it out.

Looks like you had a fun day, learning all the while.

Nancy in the Midwest

Dee said...

Lookds like great Lego fun there. Mike likes Legos, but he completes something and puts it away, never to play with it again.

You need to get some local honey and put it on the burn. Tell Joshie honey is an amazing thing, it heals almost everything. I am reading a cool book about it.

Anonymous said...

I wish you'd been my teacher when I was little!