Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lifestyle of Learning 2016 Edition: Volume One

December 27-February 5

The holidays have been amazing.  They have been full of family, family, family.  Perfect!!!

It was truly a time to relax...

and recharge...

 but as always there is learning going on.  Is there really any way to live and not learn?

Football is important to our family.  It is one of the ties that bind.  Regardless of all of the geographic locations we live in and the sheer number of miles separating us football helps keep us connected.  We are a family of six with six different favorite teams.  We do pick 'ems and fantasy football.  Beyond giving us pleasure and something to communicate about it gives us an opportunity to take in information (a considerable amount), analyze and assimilate it.  We make decisions based on our analysis and we get pretty immediate feedback.
So we finished up the season.  And I, for the record, am the winner of our fantasy football league.
We actively watched the playoffs.  Bishop's team won the AFC championship and Maceo's won the NFC championship.  Now I have a mega Super Bowl party to plan!

Keegan gave Bishop a book about popular food trucks that includes recipes.  He used this book to make beef and chorizo meatball sandwiches.  Amazing!

He also learned how to make Dad's spaghetti and meatballs and he and Dad experimented with tri-tip.
Herb went to a local butcher and found that they carried rabbit and llama meat.  I see some cooking adventures in our future.

Bishop tried new dishes at Creasian

and Nakato's.

The boys helped me out around the house.  The hauled out furniture and more from the basement that has been damaged by flooding.
Christian bought me a new door knob for the bathroom and Bishop installed it for me.

To bring in the new year Bishop spent a lot of time with friends.  He attended two parties.  At one he played "Four on a Couch," a memory and logic game.  At the second party Bishop spent hours long boarding.  Good times!

Maceo had his own events to attend when bringing in the new year.  He went to a party to watch college football, watched a local high school production of Clue, and then hung out with friends. Not too long after he attended another party.  He has a very active social life.

We celebrated Bishop's 15th birthday.  It's always a time of joyous celebration and family bonding.  He is such a fine young man - intelligent, witty, compassionate and fun!  I love being around him.

Bishop and I helped Herb move to his new duty station.  His quarters are really quite charming and the wildlife right outside his front door is quite a thing to behold.  There is a fox that seems to live across the street and there are bird feeders out front that are attracting a variety of birds.  And those birds are attracting at least one bird of prey.

Also just across the street from his apartment is the U.S. Cavalry Museum...

...and this memorial to those who have died fighting the war on terror.

Our trip just wouldn't be complete without a trip to Baskin Robbins.  We have to get it when we can because we don't have on anywhere near where we live.

Maceo participated in shooting a film.  He has a friend who is quite the playwright and another who is an aspiring film maker.  The two of them collaborated on a film project and cast Maceo in the film.  I can't wait to see this film.
Maceo also had a photo shoot as he needed head shots for a professional audition.

He, and a few other friends, traveled to Tulsa to audition for a professional production of Shrek.  He attended auditions one evening and callbacks the following day.  We have since learned that he was cast as the Captain of the Guards, the head dragon puppeteer and the Bishop.  This will definitely be a new adventure for us.

They are ready for their callbacks!!!
And so are the moms!!!
And some things began to return to normal.  Bishop has resumed attending scouts and pottery lessons.  The scouts had an election and Bishop was elected patrol leader (again).  They also had a lock-in and a patrol leaders conference.
Maceo has returned to Aladdin Jr. rehearsals.  He has also been having promotional performances.

The cast of Aladdin Jr. performed some musical numbers at the multicultural festival hosted by our local university.

Maceo also returned to his vocal lessons, acting and improv classes.
Maceo auditioned for YouthFest and was cast.

Bishop has been working diligently on his drawing.  He has made considerable progress.  He is working hard to figure out perspective and how to convey motion.  He is also learning more about the tools and what he likes and doesn't like, what works and doesn't work.  He bought a new sketchbook and pencil and was gifted new erasers to experiment with.

Bishop has been doing lots and lots of long boarding, pretty much every chance he gets.  He long boards before scouts, after science group, to go to the grocery store, etc.  He did rip up his knee pretty bad - yuck!
Bishop even did long boarding when he went to a friends lake house.  He also did some fishing and hiking.

Science and history groups have resumed for Bishop
We are studying the cardiovascular system and the American Revolution.

It is hard for a red coat to hide.

Building a paper model of the heart.

Using the listen to music.
We also made an edible model of the heart.

Having tea before we revolt.

The king is taxing his subjects.  They did eventually revolt.

We went to a new exhibit at our local art museum.  It was a pop art exhibit entitled "The Electric Garden of Our Minds: British/American Pop."
It included Eduardo Paolozzi's portfolio "General Dynamic: F.U.N."

Also included were the full suite of Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans.  There were some from his Cowboys and Indians series as well.

And really truly so much more, like Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein.

We found the story behind this one to be particularly interesting.

We even got to be a part of creating an art installation.  The kids drew on these little red round post it notes and stuck them next to others offerings and it was a very striking display.

We also viewed an exhibit of still life watercolor paintings.
It was a beautiful exhibit.  They also had a still life set up with sketch books and pencils nearby for visitors to try their hand at drawing a still life.

There was a different watercolor exhibit that we looked at as well.  Here are two paintings that I found particularly enjoyable.

Bishop and I, along with our science group, went to the discovery center where we discovered that four new elements have been discovered.
Although we came to the center to specifically interact with the exhibits that had to do with the human body, particularly the heart, we looked at other exhibits as well.  The kiddos always gravitate towards this heat sensing exhibit.

This is Bishop.  White is the hottest end of the spectrum and dark blue is the coldest.  He most definitely runs hot.
I was curious so I sat beside him and you can see that the tip of my nose is green and you might be able to tell that the tips of my fingers are blue and that dark blue at the bottom would be my toes.  I run cold.
Then we noticed something of particular interest - that red spot on Bishop's knee.  He had a fairly significant long boarding injury on that knee and it was running hot.  It is red until...
he pulls up the pant leg and find that it is actually white hot.
The center had a very nice heart model on display which we had each of the kids identify the parts of the heart on.
They then each used this giant operation board to review some other parts.
While the other kiddos took off to explore other things Bishop enjoyed a little quiet time.

Bishop and I had a great conversation about heterochromia iridum.  He brought this up and he knew the term.  It is amazing to me what this boy knows, all the things he has learned independently.
A new series of Face Off has begun and Bishop has begun watching it.  We have also watched an episode of Patriots Rising: American Revolution.  The ensuing conversation has revealed that he also knows more about the American Revolution than I was aware of (..figures).

Maceo has had more promotional performances.  The cast performed at a happy hour for local businessmen and...
did another presentation for our state legislators.

And, finally, Maceo published a small promotional piece for his upcoming production
(I may be caught up now).

"Hi! I'm Maceo Cortezz, and I'm playing Jafar in Springfield Little Theatre's production of 'Disney's Aladdin Jr'! This role has been a dream role of mine for a while now, and to get to play it is a little surreal. I've played villains multiple times before. I've even played a Disney villain before, but Jafar is the quintessential perfect Disney villain, in my opinion, because of all his complexities. He's sly, clever, cynical, and most of all, absolutely insane. Finding the character of Jafar has been extremely fun, and a definite process; I had to learn to let myself go a little bit crazy. We're 2 weeks away from opening right now and everything is going extremely well. The cast has this special chemistry you don't get in every show. Everyone is dedicated to making this show the best it can be. Everyone wants to make every moment onstage the best it can be, and I think that's amazing. The cast is also a pretty tight knit group; we're all there for one another. If you miss this show, you'll be missing out on a great love story, very funny characters, mad villainy and the magic of this amazing story. So get your tickets, Jafar commands it!"--Maceo Cortezz, Jafar

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