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Ice Cold Truck.

I open the fridge this morning to find this.
Hummm...guess the truck had to be chilled before use?


Spring Cleaning.

Presentation:  Vacuuming

Technically, we didn't show him too much.
Just vacuumed 2 other spaces before handing him the machine.
We did demonstrate the hand grip, slow and exaggerated.
Right hand on the handle, left hand palm up to support the hose.
Right foot on the large button to start and stop.
Showed one foot stepping forward with each "push" so he doesn't trip over.

Then, just told him to run over the dirt specs.

Our semi-annual "Spring Cleaning":  Major cleaning, dusting, wiping, of all classroom items/space.
This was in January, he was almost 3 then in the clip.

We just did this again yesterday for the July one.
Love that "Crunchy" sound when you run over major good stuff with the vacuum, eh?


Super Z.

Meet Super Z.
He picked out his whole outfit this morning.
True Super Hero form, briefs and all.



Presentation:  Chinese Character Matching.

Our first attempt at "reading" Chinese.
I noticed a similar tool at a recent tour of a Montessori Preschool.
Not knowing where to start, I have been meaning to find a simple way to introduce Chinese written characters to Zozie.  The sheer numbers of Chinese characters is quite overwhelming:  47,035.  
Full literacy in Chinese requires knowledge of 3 to 4 thousand characters.
Chinese characters are the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world.

But before taking bites into the characters, we need little nibblets.

BoPoMo is a loose equivalent to the English "ABC's" in that it is a building block to phonetically sound out the way a Chinese character (or word) is spoken.  As if it's not already hard enough, we have to learn the characters to the SOUNDS in order to sound out the written final characters...the alphabet before the alphabet?

So...Our first letter is "Bo", shown in the green square in the photo.  
This is the preferred way to learn to read Chinese when I grew up in Taiwan.  Learn your BoPoMo's, then learn your words.  Perhaps a similar introduction to English can be done in this manner as well?

The Goal
Sight Recognition
Memory exercise
Hand eye coordination

The Set Up
1)  Tray
2)  Photocopy a page out of a book
3)  Clear sheet protector or laminate the page
4)  Photocopy a second page and cut out the various words or sentences
5)  A container or small basket

The Presentation
1)  Bring the tray to the work table or mat
2)  Take the basket of loose letters out
3)  Start with the main character/letter being introduced
4)  Continue with the other sentences
5)  Hover each new sentence over the base sheet in a linear and systematic fashion, doing an exaggerated motion of comparing, shake head if not a match and move on till a match is found.  Can even start with a sentence up-side-down, then reversing it upon hovering over the key sheet
6)  When a match is found, place the loose sentence over the existing one, then keep going until all sentences have been placed
7)  Have the child try, when done, place all pieces into container and return tray to shelf

This is both a typical memory matching game and a basic Chinese lesson.
Our boy seems to be playing it like a picture puzzle, not yet really reading the characters.  But since Chinese characters are considered Sinographs, it's basically a bunch of little pictures anyways.  Although Z did note that the target BoPoMo character was highlighted in pink to the right of the Chinese word.  So he's noticing that these parts make up the sound.  We'll need alittle more exposure and practice on this front, but a (free) and good start on pre-reading.


Final Atlantis.

The last mission in NASA's space shuttle program is now complete.
Atlantis rocketed into orbit on July 8th, 2011
It returned today ...

I remember watching the 1986 Challenger launch in my elementary school.  TV's were rolled into our classroom for the special screening.  68 Seconds into the launch, an explosion occurs. GASP.  Confused but knowing something went terribly wrong, our teachers rushed to turn the screen off and quickly wheeled the TV boxes away in hushed tones...That mixture of sheer excitement and utter disbelief can still be tasted as soon as I heard that Atlantis took to the skies a week or so ago.

We took the opportunity to make a "Space Lesson" out of this historic event for Zozie.  The evening began with a special viewing of the final Atlantis launch on You Tube (see below).  We brought out the blow-up space shuttle and the random astronaut figure that previously had no real purpose. 
We then busted out our Planets Table Puzzle that shows earth...
"That's my home, that one.  Errfff." says Zo.

After bathtime, we concluded "Space Day" with a reading of one of his old favorites:

This is the end of an era.  
We are pleased that we could share this historic milestone with Zozie, whether he fully comprehends it or not.
Through tragedies and triumphs, we are now looking to see how our future exploration of the universe around us evolves. 
Welcome home Atlantis, for the last time.

For the launch:


Beam me up!

We are getting our science groove on.
Our SF Exploritorium pass ends this month so we are packing in our homeschool science!  This place always challenges us to see the "Scale" of ourselves, body & soul, relative to the universe around us.
Our first visit was around a year ago and this museum continues to amaze us.  Looking at our old post photos, Zozie was tiny.  A year later, standing in the same steam vortex, his universe continues to expand, along with ours, on our life journey together.
Self Reflection.

Sometimes, life seems too small for you.

 Othertimes, life "should be" just right, but it's not.

Most times, it's just plain SILLY.

So who am I?

Just a tiny drop in the big splash pond?

So do we renew again?
Sure, why not.
We are no where near figuring this stuff out.


Classic POOH!

Looking for that perfect FIRST CINEMA EXPERIENCE?
All the Disney or Non-Disney stuff is, believe it or not, way too much for a 3 year old.  Or atleast, OUR 3 year old.  We have our 2 min rule:  If munchkin bursts out crying within 2 minutes of any movie, it's too much.

Just when we were giving up until his 6th birthday, Pooh comes to town.
Today, we took Zozie to his first "in theatre" movie, opening day. 
His eyes grew as we entered the dark theatre.  The seats are familiar to him as we've been to many life performances.  But when the screen turned on...WHOA.  He just stared.  His head kept snapping back to the projection box and the constant flicker...then back to the screen.
"It's a BIG movie, mama."
I kept watching him, watching the movie.
My own first was Snow White at the local YMCA in Taipei, sitting on the gym bleachers for the screening at age 4.  I remember being much more frightened than Zozie looks...burying my face into my dad's side.
That warty witch...now that's a scary one.

Soft, gentle, classic Pooh.
Eeyore lost his tail, BIG drama.
Barely 54mins with extended SLOW MOVING credits to pull it into the "Feature Film" category, there's even a surprise treat if you can sit through the end. *Wink*
And at dinner time that night...
"I have a tumbully in my tummy rumbully, mama."
"You mean a Rumbly in your Tumbly?"
"Yeah!  Like Winnie bear!"

Later on, after being tired from doing a chore..."Oh bother." 


Smoke & Mirrors

A swooshy side-comb.  
A twisty paper streamer.
A bedazzling robe.
(Making it's encore performance since the Dralion Show)

I now proudly present to you...

 And more the next morning...

 Thank you, thank you very much.
I'll be here all week.
Try the veal.


My Girl.

Meet Zozie's best girl pal.
He's "Charlie Brownie" for the day, and she's just plain sweet Charlee.
When they hug, it makes me want to take pictures.

"Damsel in Distress"

"My hero"


Summer Practice

We've watched some little league practice at a park near us.
Zo decided he was joining his own team this summer.



My DaLee.

It's DaLee's special day.
Zozie picked out the cake at the shop.
"Pink one PLEASE!"
No frosting Zo?  
"No thank you."
But that's only a slice, how about a whole cake?
"No,no.  We have little tummies, that's too much."
That's it?
 " Oh, and the flower mochi, one for mama, one for dalee, one for me!"

3 Candles for the 3rd decade something he's celebrating.
The sweetest non-sweet birthday treat ever.



It's time for the FAIR!!!  
We got our annual flag-on-a-stick and wore our Red, White, and Blues.
It was a BEAUTIFUL Monday morning and we rode our bikes to our local city park for the celebration.  Circus Imagination was in town again, one of the highlights from last year.  This is a unique kids circus since the kids are actually the acts so no two shows are alike.  This "No TV - Yes Backyard" motto of CI is very Berkeley indeed...  Zozie was interested last year, but now at 3, is completely entranced.  He smiled his biggest smile to be picked as a wild animal in the show, but oh well, better luck next time.

After the circus, we watched a magic show performed by the "Magical Nathaniel", a local student who won first place at his HS talent contest a few years back.  Zozie was silent, and staring.  This was serious stuff.  Especially his rope tricks.  It was great to see locals get the chance to participate in these community events, and Z went home with a new passion for *MAGIC*.

A couple of mild carni-rides, an ice slushy, 2 plates of Organic Thai food (again, we are in Berkeley)...it was time for a nap break, then back on our bikes TO THE BERKELEY MARINA!  It felt so refreshing to whiz by the long lines of cars to get into the festivities.  The dragon boats & kettle corn were big hits and so was the "Bike Valet".  Yup.  Park your bike for you, for FREE.  Gosh I love hippies.  
The Best part of the 4th?  The Fireworks - @ 7pm sharp.  In our pajamas, the 3 of us on the couch,YouTube clip of Stadium of Fire at BYU.

Call us OLD, call us BABIES, but those were the best seats in the house for the hottest firework display in the country.  Whoohooo...David Archuleta!!  Z actually asked "why the fireworks is NOT stopping?" and that "maybe I need to pause it".  It was seriously so much action that a toddler couldn't handle it.
Lights out by 9pm.  
Best 4th EVER.


Sad Froggy.

I know, sweet pea.  
Your froggy sandwich did not have a body.  
Just a funny face and 2 stump feet.
Life is hard, kid.
Take a deep breath.
Then...Take a bite.