Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Choosing High School - First Full Day

Found this nice note this morning.

Katie went to school for her first official day of high school today and she enjoyed it very much.  She went yesterday, but it was a freshmen only half-day.  I was glad she wanted to tell me about her experience and her day.  She said that she likes some of her teachers and classes, but doesn't like Spanish 2 or Health.  She had been a little nervous about being a freshman as she heard people refer to them as "fresh meat" and heard that they aren't treated nicely by older students.  However, the students (both older and younger) she has met so far have been very nice. 

Last night was the evening parents could come to school and follow their child's schedule.  Jim went with Katie and got to meet the teachers and hear about five minutes of what each class was about.  The health teacher invited parents to come into any health class anytime.  Jim told Katie he'll save her a seat (wink). 

Some of the classes use no books at all, like science class.  The laptops aren't ready to be given out yet and Jim said that the school made it seem like this was a big deal - the kids would have to take notes.  He said that it seems like the schools have changed since we went. 

We do know one teacher at the school who teaches the fashion design and discovering foods classes.  She is so nice and I do hope Katie enjoys those classes. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Frog On Glass Door

This was a cool thing to see!  The underbelly of a frog!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Neuc, Sabbathday Shaker Village

8/26 - Our room at Neuc conf...what a mess!

We stayed one more night then we had planned at the conference (yeah!).  On our way home Saturday, we went to a portfolio review sesson (where I met some really nice families!) at Pinelands (which reminded me of Delicious Orchards in NJ a little bit) and then went to the Shaker Village that we had heard all about by listening to a cd.  The cd was called Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918 (Dear America Series) by Lois Lowry.  It was such a captivating cd that we loved to put it on the minute we got into the car and sometimes wished our car rides were longer just to hear more!  Here's a review of it online: http://www.kidsreads.com/reviews/9780545144698.asp 

We thought that we would take a tour of the Shaker Village, but when we found out that you could not leave the tour and that it is more of a serious, quiet tour mostly appropriate for those who can remain quiet and are older (like over 12 or something), we decided to take the self-guided tour instead.  I didn't get to read nearly as much as I had wished to because the kids needed us, especially Kanoa who was full of energy.  We did get some pics though.  Here they are.  And I do wish someday to return and take the tour - that is, if there are any Shaker's around then as there are only three left today and they all live in this village, "The Chosen Land."  Maybe some of the kids will be able to go on the tour at that later time too.  It would be so fun to share that experience with them.  Oh, I read part of a book called, "Chosen faith, Chosen Land : the untold story of America's 21st-century Shakers" by Jeannine Lauber.  It said in the book that the Ken Burns documentary had some errors in it including that the Shakers called God "Mother/Father God." The book said that they actually did just say God, not "Mother Father God" but that it is true that they did think of God as being both genders.

This photo reminds me of something Li said on 9/9/2011 and I am inserting it here.  As we were cooking in the kitchen, he said he likes to do many different things each day so he gets good at many things, like the Shakers did.  He said they were smart to do that and he wants to do that too.  He wondered if he would be good at whatever he does when he's older.  Then he said after some thought, "The Shakers are smart, but they don't rely on happiness. They need more happiness." 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

8/20 - Misc Kanoa pics

Kanoa enjoying some computer time.

Katie holding Kanoa, who loved wearing Wolfgang's hat.  We eventually found Kanoa his own black hat to wear.

Busy Kanoa and our busy day

Today Jim and Katie went to S. Portland to pick up Katie's best friend Wolfgang, to photograph a lighthouse (Jim) and to shop for jeans (Katie).  Makana and Li hung out with our neighbors Joshua and Christopher playing street hockey and riding bikes and playing soccer (Kanoa and I tagged along when they played street hockey as I wanted to make sure Kana was safe in the street.  He and I played in our neighbor's yard running after balls and climbing rocks and retrieving the ball the kids were playing with when it went into the woods.)  Then home to take the brownies out of the oven as we were bringing brownies to the block party later in the day.  Sent a few emails, answered some calls and did some smart meter work.  Li considered going to the Knowledge Vault, but due to the time and his interest in food, went to the block party.  Kanoa ate quite a few (half sized) pieces of brownies.  Kana sat down at a table with a couple of friendly neighborhood girls and enjoyed chatting and playing cards and eating.  Li ate some, hung out a bit and joined in the card games too and then went home for a little while.  Makana borrowed a scooter and scooted around the block with her "new friend" whom she wants to play with tomorrow.  Kanoa was active...very active.  At one point he was pushing chairs (no one sitting in them) forward and I had to let him know that they couldn't be pushed.  Later he pooped (behind those chairs) and I took him home for a diaper change and we went back to the party with the wagon.  Twice he enjoyed running down one of our neighbor's driveways and up the short staircase toward her door.  At another time he spit water on a man's leg!  Yikes, I apologized and wiped it up!  He was a handfull!  The man laughed and didn't seem to mind.  But I sure didn't expect that as I was right there with him.  Overall, we had a nice time.  Even though I knew I would be with Kanoa and not chatting like everyone else, I still enjoyed seeing my neighbors and think this is a nice thing to do once a year.  Makana especially enjoyed herself - glad she did!  The kids and I went to Staples, then to get sneakers for Makana so she could be ready for soccer, and even went grocery shopping.  At the grocery store, I kept a good eye on Kanoa - and in spite of that I still had to literally run after him a couple of times.  He likes to go!  Well...the van just pulled up....so....off to say hello!  Said hello and now want to update....Katie showed me what she bought at the mall (she had saved birthday money and earned some from babysitting as well).  Jim, Wolfgang and Katie went on a boat tour in Portland Harbor and saw seals, a beautiful sunset and a thundercloud in the distance with beautiful colors underneath.  Sounds very nice!  And Jim took some gorgeous lighthouse photos!  So glad they had a nice time! 
More pics from the day/boat trip:

Friday, August 19, 2011

8/19/2011 - Wild Turkeys in our back yard

So exciting to see the local flock of wild turkeys in our back yard!

Our neighbor's white cat McGee was excited too, but I don't think he caught any!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kanoa loves to dress up as Spiderman!  He is also a huge climber, indoors and outdoors.  Unless I am forgetting, he is more active then the other kids were.  So glad he is full of energy, but sometimes I wish I had more energy to keep up with him (give me some of that!)  We joke that keeping up with him and chasing after him is like a free gym membership!  lol! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Katie has been very much into fashion design over the past couple of years.  She loves creating outfits and keeping up with what is in style or what she thinks would be cool.  She is also interested in graphic design and art.

I saw a newspaper article about a fashion show in Rockland this past spring and http://www.freepressonline.com/main.asp?FromHome=1&TypeID=1&ArticleID=12331&SectionID=61&SubSectionID=172 and thought I'd ask Katie if she wanted to go as it fits in with her interests.  (Just because she is choosing school doesn't mean I no longer look out for things she would like, I still do that!)  It would have been an interesting event to attend, but we were not able to make it.  I thought that maybe we could contact the artists in the show and see if they would be willing to speak with or meet with Katie and either me or Jim. 

In late spring I attempted to contact one of the people who was featured in the show, Orlando Johnson, to see if he might speak or meet with Katie to tell her about what he does and how he got into his work.  I wasn't sure if I had the correct email address, so I called the person who ran the event and asked her if she might pass on our information to him.  She not only gave him our information, but she also said she would give it to the other artist as well!  Cool!  Turns out that Orlando did get the email and said he'd be happy to meet with us either on the mainland or we could visit North Haven and he'd show us his studio and the island as well!  Cool again!  So....after a few emails, a couple calls, figuring on a good date and waiting for good weather, we all went on an adventure to the island of North Haven. 

Orlando was so nice and kind and he gave us a tour of the island, took us to a rocky beach with lots of sea urchins and an incredible view of the mainland coast, showed us his studio and artwork (he had a variety of artwork: printing, painting, wooden lobster doors, t-shirts, dresses - one of our favorite things was the h-u-g-e painting of the mainland coast at night which was in this lovely old barn) and played soccer with the kids and shared homemade scones.  Li said he was so nice that if he ever got to choose a big brother, he'd want it to be someone like him.  We so appreciated him giving Katie such a wonderful opportunity (and the rest of us also enjoyed seeing his art and meeting him as well).  It was lovely to not only hear about how he does things and see where he gets his inspiration from, but to be able to have a conversation with him and ask questions as well.  Thank you Orlando!!  Here are some pics from that Sunday-

Ferry ride from Rockland to North Haven.  And yes, we made the early ferry ride!  Turned out a friend and co-founder of Citizen's For A Green Camden, Pat McLean, was on the boat too!  Small world in Maine especially!
The kids pointed out the homes they liked the best - here's one of the popular ones.  Katie now thinks about living on one of the islands.  She loved one of the homes we saw along the way and the rolling hills in front of it.  Makana took pics of her fav homes, boats and sights.
The beautiful painting we love in the barn

Art in the barn

Lobster doors
Heading down to the beach
View as we headed down to the beach
Path back up
Those new blue shoes she loves so much....
Signature lobsters.

The studio. 

 Orlando also showed Katie more of his work on his laptop and also some of the clothing he designed.

While we were there, we found out that Orlando had just been interviewed for the Bangor Daily News.  Here is the article: http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/01/living/north-haven-life-inspires-british-american-artist/

Katie and Orlando

We then went to the Hopkins Wharf Gallery and saw Orlando and other artist's work.
Here are some of his clothing (esp comfortable designer T's) and other art. 

While we waited for the ferry back to the mainland, we explored the nearby area and took Kanoa to run out some energy at the local park.  Some more pics...

Kids had some ice cream here

It was a Foggy trip back...I mean, very foggy!!  Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Another similar ferry heading out.

Love this puffin mural.