Category: Cousins


Even cousins and neighborhood friends joined in.

This has been the summer of science. Summer is now done and we didn’t get to do nearly as much as I’d wanted. That’s mostly due to me. My back. Hi, Internet, have you met my back? It is the ruiner of fun, the pooper of the party.

I take copious notes for each lab. I know how to take notes because I had Mrs. Loyless in 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.

I’ve been laid up with back suckage most of the summer, but the few days that I’ve been able to DO things, we’ve done science labs. These labs have been ROCKIN’! I signed up for this deal for a summer science camp from Supercharged Science for an e-class type summer camp. It’s run by me and I’ve probably spent more time getting ready for the classes than the website suggests that I do, but I like to be prepared.

We learned about air pressure. We learned about Bernoulli’s Law. We learned about flight. We did experiments dealing with air pressure using water. We made a Cartesian Diver which demonstrates air pressure. We explored Bernoulli’s Law by playing around with a windbag made from Diaper Genie bags. We built a variety of paper airplanes and birch wood airplanes. Mainly, we had fun while the kids (and the adults, too) learned new things. (I failed to document these experiments photographically)

Using a battery pack, alligator clip wire leads, and LED’s, we learned about the flow of electricity and that diodes are “one way streets” for electricity.

We did get to go to my parents’ house toward the end of summer to see DJ and Mae and their dad. Abshie and Timmus came with us. I brought along the necessary lab supplies.

The first thing we did was learn about molecules and their parts. We learned about electrons and ions and electricity. We learned some basics through some static electricity experiments, during which we made our hair stand on end with a balloon, picked up styrofoam peanuts and bits of confetti, spun a meter stick around as it balanced on a spoon, and bent a stream of water. All with a balloon!

Motor and a rheostat

Then we broke out the electrical components and built simple circuits. First we lit up LED’s. We learned about making a series with the LED’s. Then we learned about conductivity. I gave the kids a list of things and asked them if they thought those things would conduct electricity. We tested their answers with our simple circuits. We learned about amps vs volts to find out why our little circuits weren’t a danger to us.

Simple switches made with index cards, brass fasteners, and paperclips.

We modified this simple circuit in a few ways. First we put buzzers in place of the LED’s. Then we added a push-button type switch so we could control the buzzer sound. Then we learned the concept of the switch by making one out of an index card, brass fasteners and paperclips. We learned that switches are like stoplights for electrons.

Adding switches.

We added motors that turn clockwise or counterclockwise based on the polarity. I couldn’t find propellers that fit these motors anywhere so we improvised with tags made of duct tape (this was the kids’ favorite part, I think). This helped to reinforce the idea of positive and negative. We replaced the switches with rheostats and potentiometers. We learned that these devices can control the speed of the motors by limiting the electrical current passing through them. We learned that rheostats were the best at motor speed control as they seemed to be more sensitive and able to run the motor at very low speeds.

DPDT switch made from an index card, brass fasteners and paper clips.

Then we upped the difficulty level and made double pole double throw (DPDT) switches. It’s a concept used in “4-way” switches which allow you to turn one light off and on from multiple locations.

Motor and potentiometer

We took these circuits and applied them to “robots” a few days later. But that’s a whole other post.

Some more pics from our circuits lab.

We almost couldn’t move on from this because they liked it SO much!

****NOTE***** “Droppin’ Science Like Galileo Dropped the Orange” is original to the Beastie Boys. It is from the song Sounds of Science from their Paul’s Boutique album.

Even The Littles got in on the circuit action.

Everyone was very proud of the circuits they made that worked.

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To Infinity and Beyond!

Kip, Chi, Mae, Abshie, Pynni, Timmus, Pieces

I spent last week at my parents’ house with my kids and their cousins. Seven kids all told. All 10 and younger. It was loud, chaotic, and amazing!

My mother took the older kids to an amusement/water park on Wednesday and I kept the two Littles. We ran some errands and I just listened to their conversations in the backseat. Here’s one.

Pieces and Timmus

Timmus and Pieces, counting by ones: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven….twenty-one…..forty-seven….eighty-eight…one hundred…

On they went counting, by ones, until:

Timmus and Pieces: One hundred and twenty-eight, one hundred and twenty-nine, one hundred and thirty!

Timmus: WAIT! WHEN DID I LEARN TO COUNT TO ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY?!? I used to only be able to count to one hundred and twenty-five!

Me:  If you know how to count to one hundred, you can count to any number.

Pieces: To infinity and beyond!

That thing where you ask a question and the person, who’s supposed to be knowledgable about such things, asks you a question back. One that’s already answered in the question you posited? You know? Right, well.

I went to Radio Shack because I needed more motors and more battery packs and more alligator clip wire leads than I had originally purchased for the Robots Lab I’m doing with the kids tomorrow.

**Note** My original plan included my three kids, but I’m now doing the lab with 7 kids that include my nieces and nephews.

So I go in the store and I’m the only customer (this is not surprising to me for some reason) so I get all the one on one attention I can handle.

Sales person: Can I help you?

Me: Sure. I need 3V motors, battery packs and alligator clip wire leads.

SP: Oh, sure. Here. What was that again?

Me: 3V motors.

SP: How many volts?

Me: Uh. 3.

Okay, so maybe he thought I was asking for three Vee Motors, but I’m not really willing to give him the benefit of the doubt cause I’m mean like that and have expectations.

Also? They only had one.

As he was telling me they didn’t sell alligator clip wire leads, and I was pointing them out on the shelf, I commented that, at this rate, I was going to have to clean out the Greater Louisville Metro Area of 3V motors and battery packs because I needed 14 motors and 19 battery packs. He laughed. I asked, “Where are the other Radio Shacks nearby?” He said, “Oh, you weren’t kidding.”

Heh. Yeah. NO.

Timmus: I, also, have my cwocks. (crocs)

Pieces: Cwocks?

Timmus: No, cwocks.

Pieces: …cwocks?

Timmus: No. Not cwocks. Cwocks!

Pieces: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

(They crack me up.)

Depression is dark and insidious and it has long, grasping fingers that refuse to let go. I thought I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when I made my last post. I just didn’t realize how long that tunnel was.

So here I am, blinking into the sunlight wondering where to start. With a story, I think. Let’s get to it, shall we?

*********************************************************************************************************************************

~My nephew, Kip, used to wake up and in his cute little 18 month old lisp and language make audible lists. “Cay-yub, Day-ya, Poppa, Gray-ya, Mom-ma, Sissy, Pootner, Chi-ya.” My brother, Kip’s father, used to call it his “systems check.” Like Kip was making sure he could, in fact, remember all the important words in his vocabulary. Kip sort of chanted this list to himself over and over as his brain booted up and started working properly.~

~Hubs told Pieces it was bed time. Pieces hid. Hubs, pretending his inability to locate Pieces sat down on the ottoman and put his feet on Pieces as if on the floor. Pieces giggled and giggled. Hubs, feigning surprise, at the little boy under his feet said, “Are you the boy I’m looking for?” Pieces, in a remarkably low voice, said, “No, I’m not a boy. I’m 16 years old.”~

~Chi, who is shoulder high to me now, sidles up to me and gives me a hug with his arms around my waist nuzzling into my armpit (which is a questionable place to put one’s nose). I hug him back and place my hand on the top of his head causing him to peer up at me. I smile and he says, “I know. I’m getting so big.”~

~On a recent trip to Louisville, my mom took the kids and I to see Seussical the Musical performed in spectacular fashion by a local high school. Pynni fell in love (she is my daughter after all) and really got into the standing, clapping and cheering that happened throughout the show and during the ovation. So my dad thought it would be a great idea to take her with Mom and I when we went to see the Broadway touring Mary Poppins. It turned out to be a really great idea and Pynni was already old hat. She stood and cheered, cupping her hands around her mouth to “WOOOOO!” punctuated by very mature sounding clapping after each number. Cracked me up every time.~

~My niece, Abshie, recently discovered texting via her iPod Touch. Since I have the appropriate equipment she can text me. She sends me strings of pictures, little comments about mundane things, thanks me for piano lessons, and says good-night. Too sweet.~

~At a stoplight at a busy intersection. Heard coming from the back seat, “Uh-oh, someone got copped.” Sure enough there was a cop with his lights on with someone either pulled over or broken down in front of him. It was gloaming and hard to tell. I was struggling not to laugh when I asked, “Copped?” Pynni said, “Yeah, people rob or kill and get copped.” Chi, highly exasperated, said…well yelled really, “NO PYNNI! Police sometimes just cop people because they can! They don’t just cop bad people!” So my kids think police nab the bad guys AND abuse their power. Nice. Oh! And I love the verb “cop”. Something only police do.~

So, as Chris Cornell has been known to say, “I’m gonna break my rusty cage, and run.” That may mean something completely different to him than me, but to me it describes what coming back to my blog has been like. Breaking out of the cage that seemed to stagnate my imagination and unshackle my ability to see the fabulous things that go on around me daily. ❤ you readers. It’s good to be out and free again.

For Becca. ❤

My heart is all splintered apart and part of it has returned to California to be with their mom for the school year. I can’t seem to let go and move on. I have to keep forcing myself to do something else besides wallow in sadness.

Today, I made a commitment to face forward and move on with life. I know that sounds melodramatic, and maybe it is, but the sadness is real. The depression is dragging at me like weights in the deep dark waters of time. I have to make myself turn away from the darkness and start swimming in the direction of the light because that’s where the air is. I feel like I can’t breathe. I need to breathe.

This summer was great and we had a royal blast. We did a lot and time flew by unheeded. I’m thankful that we had this time. I hope it’s not the last.

I made a video documentary of sorts because the list of things that we did and their stories would fill up too much of this white space.

Enjoy.

I may elaborate in the future. I don’t know yet.

Kids Galore

It has been a crazy busy summer. Five kids are loud. Five kids are messy. Five kids eat A LOT. Five kids make a lot of dirty laundry. Five kids are needy.

And yet, as summer draws to a close as we near the day that Kip and Mae will return to their mother, I find that I am not relieved.

Five kids are loving. Five kids are funny. Five kids are snuggly. Five kids are helpful. Five kids are entertaining. Five kids say the silliest things. Five kids make my heart HUGE. Five kids fill the minutes and hours and make them fly.

Part of my heart will head to California in less than two weeks and I am at a complete loss. How do I impart my love for the two that are leaving? How do I leave them with certain knowledge that they are loved, here at my house, unconditionally?

I will miss these kids tremendously and I will look forward with excitement to Christmas break, when we will get to see them again.

Kip, Chi, Pynni, Mae, and Pieces

I may write about some of the things we’ve done this summer later. Right now, I just want to hold them close to my heart.

Notice the beautimous hair.

Mae says, “Aunt Beo, Pieces is upset.”
I say, “Oh really? Why?”
Mae says, “I told him his hair was pretty and he ran away.”
I go looking for Pieces. I didn’t have to go far. He was just around the corner with his hands over his face, whimpering a little.
I tell Mae, who is next to me, “No worries. His hair is pretty.”
Pieces squeals a little at that, but I leave it alone.
As I’m walking away, I hear Mae say, “I mean that your hair is awesome, Pieces.”
Pynni says, “Awesome like Sonic.

Awesome like Sonic AND Mario.”

Pynni, Mae, Chi, and Pieces

Chi Cure

Cousins

DJ and Mae are with us for the summer. They are the son and daughter of one of my two brothers, Doodle, and near in age to Chi with DJ and Chi being a year older than Mae. They come to stay with their dad during the summers and I’m lucky enough to get to keep them during the days while Doodle works.

Chi on the left

DJ is five weeks chronologically older than Chi, but he is decades older in maturation. DJ is one of those kids that was born middle-aged, and that is not to say that he can’t be silly and have fun because, lordy, that child has a wicked sense of humor. It just means that he is mind-bogglingly responsible and has insight that blows my socks off.

COOOOOKEEEEEES

This may not come as a surprise, but Chi has difficulties with daily things that most folks find just ho-hum. Most kids find his inability to cope and/or function to be strange at best and his little quirks that indicate that he is dealing and/or stimming flat out weird. He never really seemed to care until some time during the second half of second grade and even that was more acknowledgement that he was different without any real understanding as to why he was ostracized or what he was supposed to feel or do about it.

Mae, Abby, Chi and DJ

The one shining exception to this rule about other kids is DJ. DJ and Chi have always been close and DJ has never judged Chi as weird or strange. He seems to understand that Chi is Chi and will even say, “Aunt Beonin, he’s just being Chi” or “He’s just doing Chi things” when Chi has some sort of out of proportion reaction to something.

SUPER DJ!

DJ never loses his temper with Chi. When Chi loses his cool, DJ is there to talk him down. When Chi has a complete shutdown, DJ is able to get Chi out of where ever it is he goes. I have learned to ignore Chi’s reactions, when applicable, and DJ will take over and smooth things out.

On the stool at Grammie’s house

EXAMPLE: Chi and DJ were playing Starcraft 2 on the computers upstairs when it was time to go to the grocery store. I told those who were playing games to turn off their systems and told everyone to get their shoes on and go potty. Chi became floppy. He does not like the grocery store much and he really doesn’t like the store when he’s doing something he enjoys as much as video games with DJ. He REALLY doesn’t like the store when I spring it on him with no prior warning. (Yay, me!)

Fun on the water

So he’s the last one out the door and he practically lays in the seat instead of sitting. DJ just carries on a conversation with Chi as if there is nothing going on. As if Chi isn’t flopping and moaning and squeaking and twitching. When we get to the store, DJ grabs Pieces’ hand and Mae grabs Pynni’s and I forcibly push Chi into the store. I get the big cart that’s shaped like a car for Pynni and Pieces (two less to keep up with, right?) and admonish the older kids to keep up. Chi trails behind. Far behind.

(I’ve come to a point in this journey (the whole entire childhood one with Chi) that I don’t even react to the lagging behind. He never lets me get too far away.)

Goofiness

DJ says, “Aunt Beo, I’ll walk back here with Chi to make sure he doesn’t get lost.” I smile at him and

Best Buds

thank him. We get through the produce and past the deli. As we round the corner into the meat section, I hear a peal of laughter. I look behind me and there is DJ with his arm around Chi, cracking Chi up. There was no issue after that.

No, it’s not that Chi’s issues cease to be when DJ is here, but I am ever amazed at what DJ is able to accomplish with Chi. They are complements of one another and DJ loves Chi, Chi-isms and all.