Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Native American study day on Saturday went well. We all congregated next door and lightly covered the six tribes chosen by the Virginia Standards of Learning tests. Since the kids did the state and people presentations last time, a mere two weeks ago, this time the parents pulled together information and crafts. I did the Powhatans from where else, Virginia. I'm thinking I really want to get down to Jamestown the next time we're home.

I forgot the camera again. That was a bummer since the kids did great jobs on all their projects. For the Powhatans, we made dugout cucumber canoes. If I had to do it over again, I would have put every piece together and had them build it while I talked. As it was, 20 minutes wasn't long enough for each of the three groups (PreK-1st, 2nd&3rd, 4th&5th) to finish up. But that was OK, they turned out pretty good anyway. They seeded the cucumbers then stuck in popsicle stick seats, a straw mast and paper sail, some felt fish on a line, a felt skin and a bag of grains. Next time (next time!?), I'll have the mast and sail put together and the sail will have the tribe name on it. Having the kids weave the sail onto the straw with twine was too hard even for the oldest group.
The other parents did Inuit sugar cube igloos, Pueblo pots, Kwakiutl totem poles, Sioux shields and something by the Iroquois I forget. I'm always amazed by the creativity of the parents here. Our CLO, who organizes these shindigs, tosses out the groups and the parents run with them. It's really cool how it all comes together. We even had a "Native American" lunch, with fish sticks, fried potatoes, veg stew, fry bread, a sweet and peppermint tea. After all was said and done, the Inuit leader passed out "whale blubber" known to the rest of us as vanilla ice cream. Didn't I mention we were creative?
Next on the agenda is Explorers. I've already put in for Lewis and Clark. They were cool. But I have a feeling the Explorers meant were the ones who arrived on the North American shores, like Ponce De Leon. He would be neat too, him and his search for the Fountain of Youth, and the founding of the first settlement, Saint Augustine in Florida. Hmm, I think that's right.
I have to admit I'm having a great time with these projects and presentations. And I'm learning quite a bit too. Rebecca was so proud of her Virginia poster it's up in her room, just like Nicholas's Thomas Jefferson poster.
After we disbanded the Native American gathering, Jonathon and I took off with the neighbors to check out a gymnastics program. They have already registered their 5 year old, but I wanted to see what it was all about. No floor routines, no pommel horse, no rings, but akin to gym clubs back home with things to walk across and climb on and bounce over. Jonathon had a great time and wants to go back. For a year, it breaks down to about $4/class which isn't at all bad. I just haven't decided if it's something I want to do seeing as the instructors were a little clueless and not paying attention to basic safety measures, like one kid on an apparatus at a time.
Sunday, I slept in too late, and we missed church. That was a bummer. We attend the last Sunday morning Mass in English at 9:30, anywhere in Chennai. There are evening options, but not at the church we're accustomed to, and driving in the dark around Chennai to someplace we don't know, without drivers' licenses even = bad idea. I think this coming Sunday we'll check out a different church. The Sunday morning service is earlier, at 8:45. It means getting up earlier, but it also means less traffic.
We went to Cappuccino for lunch, then all three boys had haircuts. They look dashing. In the afternoon Rebecca and Nicholas had a make-up tennis lesson, and after the kids went to bed we caught up another episode of Battlestar Galactica. Don't snicker, if you gave it half a chance, you'd like it too. We received Season 2 of House last week, so once all the current TV shows go on break, we have something fun to watch. I catch an hour of TV a day just to keep up with the shows we like... Battlestar, Lost, Amazing Race, Survivor, American Idol (I cannot wait until it's back to a normal schedule, who thought 3 nights a week was palatable for anyone?), and Heroes. I'll admit that often it feels like way too much anyway.
What have I read lately and what am I reading now? I finished up The Stand, even better the second time around. I'm practically done with Little Women and Becoming Charlemagne. I've started Love in the Time of Cholera and A Fine Balance. So far, I'm unimpressed with the Cholera book and A Fine Balance has really caught my interest. It's set in India, so that probably helps.

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