Monday, August 31, 2009

T-minus 14 years...*

Another great FAMC outing. This time we went to the Selfridge Military Air Museum with 40 of our other FAMC moms, kids, and a few dads. Tom took the morning off of work to accompany us, which was wonderful, because Tom is an Air Force buff. It's also fun to share these kinds of outings with him, so he can see what really goes on during all of these great--but exhausting--outings that we do through FAMC.

The museum is only open on weekends and select holidays from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., but can be opened at other times for groups by appointment. So our group had the entire museum and airfield to ourselves...which was amazing. No strangers to worry about, and friends to share with--simply amazing.

Liesl and Ava had a great time in the outdoor display. The indoor museum paled in comparison--for them, anyway, Tom and I loved it. (We would have loved more time to take everything in. In a few years, perhaps.) But there were still really neat things to see, do and watch in the museum. I can't wait to go back next year--it's highly worth the trip!

* Why the countdown? That's how long before Liesl can enlist with the Air Force. I've been hearing for a week now that she's going to become an astronaut. She seriously didn't know we were going on this field trip--I find it's best for my sanity to inform her of such outings right before they happen--otherwise, I hear about it night and day until it does happen. It was a BIG surprise for her to see space shuttle exhibits today. She plans to take me up in her space rocket someday. I'm sure NASA will allow her to take her mommy on a pleasure cruise in space. The taxpayers will LOVE that.
Inside the cabin of the C-130A Hercules, the only plane we were allowed to enter.
Family photo inside the C-130A Hercules.
I'm so glad Tom could join us for the morning.

C-130A Hercules. It's a big plane!

This is a replica of a SPAD XIII, a World War I fighter airplane, one of the first fighter planes ever built.
This is just a replica, but it's actually flyable (is that even word?)

Side view of the SPAD XIII

I really enjoyed seeing this plane. Tom and I have recently seen the movie "Flyboys," a movie inspired by a true story of WWI fighter pilots. The movie was great, and seeing this plane really drives home how much aviation has changed in the last 100 years.

Liesl next to an unmanned tank. The C-130A Hercules is in the background.

Flown between 1990 and 1994, it was one of the newest planes on the airfield. Most of them were 30-50 years old.

Bell UH-1H
Flown from the 1970's to the 1990's
And Liesl signing "Helicopter"
F-4C Phantom II
Flown from 1978-1986
And Liesl signing "Airplane"

Ava freaking LOVES helicopters. She goes nuts when she hears them fly over the house, which is often because we are so close to several major traffic intersections.
Seeing the helicopters up close--she LOVED it. She had to be torn away. Loudly.

Screw the airplanes. Show me more helicopters!
(Beech C-45B flowninthe1900'sbutwhocaresgottagoseethehelicopters)

Liesl inside a cockpit of an F-16 trainer. She really liked that.

A small but meaningful airspace display.
Liesl spent a very, very long time here with the photos and models.
I see a family vacation/school field trip to NASA in our future.
Model of a NASA 747 Piggyback.
I had no idea that space shuttles were transported this way. Makes sense, though--rocket fuel is expensive.
I thought this was really neat, so I came home and looked it up on NASA's website:
I'll show this website to Liesl when she wakes up from her nap.

Tribute to the crew of the Challenger.
I still remember hearing about this in school, and everyone crying without really knowing what was going on.

Afterwards, we were allowed to eat our picnic lunch in the airfield, under the planes, since there was no other shade available.
Seriously...the coolest picnic we've ever done. When else can you eat in the shadow of a wing of a 40 year-old aircraft?

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Farmington Area Mom's Club Mom 2 Mom sale
Extra time to shop before and after my volunteer shift at the front door

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


One of the moms in our violin teacher's studio posted a YouTube video of her daughter, Kelly, rehearsing the solo in a very difficult chamber music piece. I showed it to Liesl and Ava. They were enthralled. Look at how they're not pushing each other off the chair. You just don't see that in our house very often. (It doesn't hurt that Kelly is only 7, flippin' brilliant on the violin, and that Liesl looks up to her.)

Whole-wheat pita bread baking in the oven

We had a tea party. My girls actually drank--and enjoyed--tea. I was impressed. I wouldn't touch the stuff until I was 34.

I think they were more enthralled with the novelty than the actual tea, but we had a very enjoyable tea party nonetheless.
(We ate the fresh pita bread with our tea.)

Aren't they gorgeous?
(The flowers are pretty too.)

Fresh corn on the cob from our garden.
My grandmother, a farmer's daughter who became a farmer's wife--always said that corn on the cob was best if you boiled the water and THEN went out and picked the corn, just moments before you planned to eat it. That's usually what we do.

At our homeschool co-op's pool party.
The pre-teen girls just love, love, LOVE babies, and Ava is a willing subject to their attention.

Liesl and Daddy in the big pool at the pool party

I set up a preschool-type bulletin board calendar that a teacher friend gave me. It's posted in our hallway now. This was a really fun "schooling" activity for the day.

Liesl found her birthday month with absolutely no help from me.
(Liesl picked out her clothes on this day. Notice the colors of her outfit, Aunt Karen. Thanks a LOT.)

At the Farmington Hills Annual Marshmallow Fly 'n Fry.
Ava and I sadly missed it because we weren't feeling well.
Liesl did not seem to miss us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Deep Summer

First corn on the cob from our garden
A tad immature, it still needs a few days to ripen, but the kids didn't complain, and neither did we


Our piano tuner came. Liesl loves him. Fortunately, he's a very patient, grandfatherly type.
He brought the girls coloring books and juggled for them.

Picnic and free concert at Pavillion Park in downtown Farmington on Wednesday evening
All of our husbands were either out of town or working late, so we hung out here for the evening. Kids could run and yell, and dance to the live music.

Folk music band, we all loved it. We gotta hear "Dualing Banjos" at least once per summer.
Liesl and Ava loved being out in the evening, hearing the live music, dancing, and running around like maniacs with their pals.
They slept pretty darn well last night....

Patio play

Forget toys. Throw out a couple of tubs of water, a few yogurt containers, and life is grand.

I added a couple of paintbrushes to the mix, and Liesl and Ava happily "painted" the house, patio, step stones, lawn furniture, flower pots...and my legs. Ewwwwwww.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Today's Adventure

I honestly don't know what I would do without the Farmington Area Mom's Club. When I first joined 3 years ago, I thought the club was just about playgroups and going over to other people's houses so that my kid (I only had one at the time) could play with other kids, their toys, and get some social interaction. Since my friends were scattered across several counties, I wanted to get the opportunity to meet with new people closer to my home. So we went to some playgroups during Liesl's first year in the Mom's club. That was ok for a start, but now we delve more into the "meatier" gatherings--and they are plentiful.

One of them is the yearly summer jaunt to the University of Michigan Dearborn Environmental Interpretive Center. With advance reservations and a minimum number of participants, they run an outstanding pond study for children of all ages, given by U of M students. It is a short hike through the woods lead by student naturalists to Clara Ford's former rose garden, which has been turned into an area for pond study and research. There, the kids were introduced to pond study in it's most basic form: Grab a net full of "stuff" out of the pond, pour it into a bin of water, and find specimens of all kinds to examine, identify, and then turn loose. This hands-on approach kept the kids rapt and, amazingly enough, fairly well-behaved. (Unfortunately for those of us with toddlers and older babies, it kind of turned into a waterplay fest for the younger sect, which is something we all do at home--however, not with bacteria-laden pond slop. Oh, well. Live and learn.) The whole thing lasted for a solid hour and a half, and a few families opted to stay after and do a little more learning on their own.

Afterwards, most of us went to lunch at the Yasmeen Bakery in Dearborn. It is a place that my good friend Colleen frequents with her 3 children about once a week, and since she is married to a Lebanese man and embraces his culture, religion, and food, we weren't walking into this place blind. This was very fortunate for us, because the variety of food available was staggering. After a fair amount of deliberation (and having to bodily remove my children from the refrigerated cases containing beverages and dairy products), we decided on some Lebanese-style meat sandwiches and some cold salads with lentils, chickpeas, cracked wheat, and tomatoes. I could have eaten that stuff all day long.

The social and learning opportunities just keep coming at us. Our only real problem is reining in our desire to attend every one of these tremendous events. After each one that we attend, I walk away thinking two things: 1) I don't know what I would do without my FAMC friends, and 2) that these events are 49% for the children, and 51% for the moms. The kids remain obvious to this fact. We let them.

Pausing at one of the larger ponds on the way to Clara Ford's rose garden

"Look, boys and girls! A slug!"
(No, it doesn't talk, and these U of M students have never heard of Monty Python. Dunno what kind of education they're getting....)

Student naturalist, Mary, describing pond life.
I kept telling this delightful young lady that she has a very bright future with children. She was incredible to our kids. I wanted to bring her home with us.
Clara Ford's gazebo is in the background.

Inside Clara Ford's gazebo

When people talk about the lack of socializing opportunities for homeschooled kids, I just laugh

My buddy Mattias. Already 5 months old. Wow.

A very small sample of pond sludge...but it yielded a very large variety of tiny critters and creatures.
What I wouldn't have given to have a microscope out there.
(Oh, wait. This event was for the kids.)

Examining the critters

Collecting samples

More collecting by the older kids in our group

Someone caught a very small crayfish, and Liesl was very proud to have a turn holding it...

...but she didn't know she was allowed to TOUCH it. Cool!

Mary explaining to Liesl how crawfish taste their food--and Liesl joining in on the fun.
I told you Mary was amazing.
At the bakery for lunch, Mattias was quite an attraction. They kept kissing his feet.

Can you guess where my kids are? (Hint: Look for the naughtiest ones.)

Two of mine and one of Christine's.
They just kind of blend together sometimes.
I never know if the blonde, blue-eyed kid that I'm yelling at is actually *mine.*