Thursday, July 17, 2008

Issue 8

Chess Camp by Steve L.

Last week I went to a week long Chess Camp taught by Chess Champion Adam MacIntosh. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I went to private lessons with him where he taught me some special techniques and maneuvers and gave me quite a few tips on playing the game. On Tuesday and Thursday I went to group lessons with five other kids interested in Chess. We played chess, learned techniques, ate snacks and had fun. For all you people out there who are reading this, I need more people to play chess with. If you do know how to play chess, please contact me, and if you don't know how to play Chess, learn quick and then contact me!

Fact: Did you know Chess dates back thousands of years. The furthest we have been able to track it back is to the Crusades. It was a popular Muslim game. I LOVE CHESS!

Book Review by Whitney

Kicked, Bitten and Scratched

Author: Amy Sutherland

Type: Non-Fiction

Subject: Life and lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers.

Summery: Journalist Amy Sutherland, takes a year long look at Morrpark College's exotic animal training and management program if California. The students are essentially cut off from family and friends for two straight years and intensively train in the dangerous, yet potentially rewarding career of animal husbandry. She tells it as it is, not at all masking over the danger, controlled chaos, adrenalin, or blood loss. She follows the students of this program for a year as they make their way through their training. Students range from aspiring dolphin trainers, to retired plumbers. She tells of the many different events of the year 2005 ranging from Lulu the camel giving birth, to the big fire. (They didn't have a fire plan at the time and the first years found themselves trying to shove random animals into crates and cars while the advancing California flames claimed casualties.) I can only say it had greatly influenced my plans for future careers.

Rating: 10 out of 10 AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME.

Recommended for ages 12 and up. Has some things that smaller kids wouldn't understand.

Cup Scout Day Camp by Daniel

I went to scout day camp. It was really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really cool. At scout camp we drew the solar system and we went on an obstacle course and we carved soap and we talked about constellations. We did archery, and threw Frisbees through a course, shot Beebe guns, played a game called poker (not the card game), we went on a hike, and went to the trading post. We panned for gold in a river and at the trading post I bought an alien, a rubber band gun and a bow and arrow set. I CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK NEXT YEAR!
(Note by Mom: The first day of camp was a frontier theme and the second day was centered around space. He came home both days, so excited about the days events, covered with dirt from head to toe. He announced, "This is the LIFE.")

Summer Fun with Cousins

We were so excited to have our Idaho cousins visit us for 5 days this last week. We don't get to see them nearly enough, and since Steve's brother Andy was coming to town to do some work for Steve's company, we invited the whole family. It was such a treat to have them visit with 6 of their 7 children. (Calvin is a Boy Scout Camp Counselor and couldn't make it.)

Puppet Shows,


Playing games,
and voice lessons with Aunt Emily.

Even math is more fun with cousins! Whitney had her High School placement test on Tuesday and her cousin spent hours helping her brush up on her math facts for the test. Thanks!

Book Review by Steve L.

Abraham Lincoln by Tanya Lee Stone

This book is a biography of the entire life of Abraham Lincoln, from the time he was born to his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. With nice illustrations and fact boxes and easy to read, it is a very interesting book about the life of one of America's favorite Presidents. Did you know that one of Lincoln's first official jobs was being a lawyer? And did you know that Abraham Lincoln was elected President three times? And did you know he died just 4 days after the end of the civil war? I give this book 10 out of 10.

Ellie Update

I am happy to report that our brave Ellie has finally recovered from her 3 week ordeal. Unfortunately, the latest round of liquid steroids really affected her mood the last week. She would fall to pieces if you so much as looked at her. (Sorry Aunt Lilly!) We were finally able to wean her off her medications and she is breathing easy and back to her old cheerful, spunky self. That's the good news.
The bad news is, she saw the dentist yesterday and has almost $2,000 of dental work that needs to be done. The inhaled steroid that she has needed off and on for the past 3 years has weakened and damaged her teeth. Poor thing! Because of her asthma, the dentist is limited in how he can numb her for the procedure. He'd like to admit her to the hospital and put her under to do all the dental work. I can't even imagine what that bill would be. We are hoping she is brave enough for the cheaper (choke, choke) $2,000, in office solution.

Her last breathing treatment, in the shelter of her umbrella fort.

Phish Food by Steve

I''m hooked! Since trying Phish Food I must admit that I do enjoy chocolate ice cream as seems to have a soothing effect on my evenings. Packed with marshmallow and caramel swirls and stocked with fish shaped chocolate pieces, Phish Food brings it's fight from the first bite. The ice cream was named for a local Vermont band that formed in 1984 which while unknown to me was named by Rolling Stone magazine as the most important band of the 1990's. Which means that this is the third flavor I have tried that was named after a musicians or rock band. Hmm, any more to try? Well, this weeks flavor ranks second behind NYSCF for the fact that the chunks just keep me going. So, can a flavor climb to the top simply by it's flavor merits alone or does it need chunks to win my palette? Only time will tell. Next week a reader suggested flavor, Creme Brulee. See you then!

Abel Tasmin

We found the most amazing beaches in New Zealand. One of my favorite was the Abel Tasmin Bay at the northern tip of the South Island. It can only be reached by a very windy, gravel mountain road. When you finally reach it, it takes your breath away. The sand is the color of pumpkin bread batter with spices mixed in, and like all NZ, water it is a beautiful turquoise that you can see straight to the bottom of. Truly paradise.

I love the different ways my children approach a beach. Whitney of course immediately goes towards the birds. She always has, since our first trip to the beach in California when she was 18 months old. She has to follow them, feed them, chase them and tell you all about them.

Stevie, Daniel, and Janey go straight for the water. They just get their toes wet to begin with of course, especially if they happened to be fully dressed. They always end up drenched however, Janey ¾ dipped because she is so short. They always invent some game to play together in the waves, and Daniel loves to taunt the ocean, “You want a piece of me?” sure that it makes the waves come in further.

When Ellie approaches a beach, she goes straight for the sand. She immediately picks up two handfuls and examines it, as if judging it’s quality. She sits down where ever she is and digs, and builds and buries herself. She will play for hours alone in the sand and mud, and beware if you get anywhere near her, because she will always throw it playfully at you.

We often stopped at a beach to look at some famous or amazing sight as we are passing through, so the kids didn't always have their swim suits on. I’ve decided they have more fun in the water fully dressed, because they are not really supposed to be getting wet. This made for a laundry nightmare, but as Steve put it, “If life was only about clean clothes, we wouldn’t be in New Zealand.” It’s a good thing they usually had dry swimsuits in the car to change into for the ride home!

End of Issue 8