Monday, September 29, 2008

How do I find out about all these cool events?

I am often asked after I tell people about cool things that I have done with the kids: "How did you find out about that?" Things like what we have done lately and blogged about... Darien Lake, Tinker Nature Center, WXXI.

I am going to fill you in on my little secret "Rochester Kids Out and About".

Just go to the link and look for events for the week or you can have a reminder to check the site and a highlight of upcoming events come to your email by putting your email address in the upper right hand corner. Even if you do not live in Rochester but occasionally come to Rochester it is a great resource. I have seen events listed on it from as far away as Auburn, Buffalo, Wyoming (the town, not the state my dear western relatives), Naples. It is a great resource. I have found SO many fun things to do with the kids from this site.

The lady that does the site is a homeschooling mom of two so obviously she loves to learn and explore with her kids. I highly recommend this site to everyone within an hour or so from Rochester!! Check it out.

WXXI's Open House

On Saturday for another "field trip " we went down to WXXI for their 50th anniversary open house. WXXI is a public broadcasting station downtown with several TV and radio stations. It was a lot of fun to explore the master control rooms, TV sets and radio studios. There were characters from various children's shows that they broadcast and tables for the many neat programs that they have available. There were also lots of other fun things going on. We really learned a lot and I was able to realize what a great resource WXXI really is in our area. Here are a few pictures of the fun things that we did:

We met Curious George.

We got to play with a SmartBoard on the set of Homework Hotline.

We got vision and hearing screenings done. We found out that Caleb has great vision and that both Hannah and Lydia may have a little bit of an astigmatism in their right eyes. We also found out how really bad my hearing is in my right ear. I had had a tempanoplasty and mastoidectomy done when Hannah was a little baby but soon thereafter got pregnant with Lydia so I never had the reconstructive surgery on my ear. The doctor who tested me said that I really should not be driving without amplification in my right ear or getting the reconstructive surgery because my brain can't tell which direction sound is coming from. I already know this because I always have to have my kids search for my phone whenever it rings because I can't tell where the ringing is coming from. I didn't realize that it was as bad as it is so sometime soon I should really get that dealt with. The doctor told Glenn he should raise his pitch and make sure to let me see his mouth when he talks to me for improved communication. The producer of Second Opinion that was there with him laughed that he was giving out marriage counsel :)

We visited the set of Assignment the World which is also made here in Rochester and broadcast across the country and Glenn disappeared. I love the look on the little boys face.

The anchor for the show said that she has to be very careful not to wear that shade of green or she looks really funny on TV:)

Another fun thing that we got to do was play with the RPO's (Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) Instrument Petting Zoo. Here are my little musicians in the making.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Deaf Awareness Day and Curious George

We went to the Strong Museum of Play yesterday because it was Deaf Awareness Day (homeschool field trip!!) and because we hadn't gone to check out the new Curious George traveling exhibit yet and to get out of Daddy's hair while he was working on his secondaries. We had a lot of fun doing all kinds experiments in the Curious George exhibit. I have included a few pictures here but I posted more to facebook here if you want to see more.

Lydia really loved the rocket ship slide. There was also a goofy mini golf course, a produce market, a farm, a place to learn about wind power, a construction site, a place to play with shadows and I am sure many other things that I can't remember right now. I like this exhibit much more than the Clifford one that just left though that one was fun too. This is the 4th traveling exhibit that has been here since we got our membership last September.

I like going to the Museum of Play on the special days that they have throughout the year when they have other activities going on. For Deaf Awareness Day they had a concert (that we missed - big bummer!) by the Rochester School of the Deaf and School #1. There was also a song time where we got to learn a few children's songs in ASL. There was also an interpreter for story time. Instead of just reading a book this time they did a performance of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with volunteers from the audience - Caleb got to be "baby bear." He was a good sport but he is pretty embarrassed about the pictures I took so they may not be on facebook long :) There were also finger spelling letters for the kids to make their names on either a crown or a necklace... as you can see in the picture Hannah made hers into a belt (like Grandpa Maas) so Abigail did as well.

As we were getting ready to go the Wii was available so Caleb got to play for a while. We also found that our favorite toys were back out - the create your own animal toys so we stopped and played with them for a while. We also made a quick stop at Wegmans for one shopping trip. We hadn't been to the Museum of Play in a while and they have all new grocery items (possibly not in the produce and bakery section but everywhere else). There are a lot more healthy options out there which is fun. I talked to one of the workers and she told me that the sugar content went way down. I like all the new options but they moved stuff around so I had a hard time finding where to put stuff back (just like when they move stuff around at a normal grocery store!)

Oh, I love that place. It is so much fun!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The End Has Come

Several years ago (when we were living in Waterloo the first time) I ordered Family Fun magazine when a lady from Mothers Against Drunk Driving called asking for a donation. I had remembered that my mom had gotten it for a while and it always had fun ideas in it and I always enjoyed looking through it. I remember when I got my first issue and realized that I would be getting the magazine until Caleb was 8 and it sounded like forever! (I'm not even sure that he was 2 yet at the time.) But... Caleb is 8 now... "IT'S OVER!" no more Family Fun. I have decided not to continue the subscription because the magazine often just makes me feel guilty over all these cool projects that I never make time or get the materials to do with the kids. I figure with the 6 years of magazines (I have thrown some of them away... need to get rid of more when we unpack!) I will have ideas for years to come. So... good bye Family Fun... it has been fun :)

Our new favorite magazine is Ready Made. It is so much fun. There are all kinds of creative ways to re-use stuff and make your small space more usable. We got a free 3 year subscription to it from some free sample website. The issue we got today said "50+ ways to improve your shoebox." I thought... hmmm... I am moving into a small space (I just edited the blog about our new house to include a picture of the outside) with 5 other people... this will probably come in handy. I am looking forward to tomorrow night when Glenn and I will have a "date" looking through it.

Not Exactly Free

Tonight was Cold Stone Creamery's World's Largest Ice Cream Social to support the Make a Wish Foundation. We had never had ice cream from Cold Stone so we thought we'd make the trip over to Pittsford and check it out. Hannah, Lydia and I enjoyed Nutter Butter Ice cream with yellow cake, white chocolate chips, and Kit Kats mixed in - it was very yummy! Glenn, Caleb and Abigail had the other choice - marshmellow ice cream with fudge, Oreo Cookies and chocolate chips. I tried both and I am glad that I picked the Nutter Butter one. They were both so rich though that I don't think that I could have eaten more than the 3 oz free cup that we were given. (I took a picture of us enjoying our ice cream outside with my phone but with no flash you couldn't really see anything so no picture for this one.)

If you are a Maas and you go to Pittsford Plaza you are required (I think) to go to EMS. We miss the old EMS at Marketplace (especially when Galyans was across the hall to compete) but it is still fun to go there. Of course you always have to check out the clearance and returns racks (I am sure that we have never paid full price for anything at EMS) to see what is available. We went in looking to possibly buy biking shorts for Glenn but he also needs some kind of head light for riding his bike since it is getting darker earlier (boo hoo) I am looking forward to 12/26 when the days start getting longer again (though, I guess we have much more daylight today than we do then... hmmm... maybe I should rethink my theory on that one). Anyway, back to my story... I guess that a picture is worth a thousand words so the picture is to the left here. We bought a headlamp that straps to the front of a bike that the "batteries need replacing" for half price. Also a head lamp that Glenn can wear while riding his bike and I can wear when we go camping for half price because it was "removed from packaging." Glenn also got a Buck knife for half price because it had a "rusty blade." There were just a couple of specks of rust on it that will be easy to remove with a little elbow grease. He has been wanting a new knife so he was happy. He tells me all 3 will keep him safe on his ride home through the 19th Ward... I'm not sure that I think that he should carry the knife. This is the first time that we have found good returns since EMS has moved to Pittsford so we were excited. Oh, I am remembering some things that we have paid full price for at EMS so I don't want to lie but we have found some good deals there over the years including tonight. :) So much for going to Pittsford for free ice cream :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

An Unexpected Haircut

As the years have gone by I have escaped one of those experiences almost every parent has to go through and as the years have gone by I have thought "maybe it won't happen in our family"... Well, it happened. Today, while we were working on math, Lydia wandered off with a pair of scissors and I didn't think anything of it because cutting things is one of her new favorite pastimes and I told her she could cut up anything in the recycle bin. Oops... she came back in with a guilty look on her face and a fist full of pretty blond curls. Here is a picture of part of what she cut off. It could have been worse. I think that this is actually most of the hair she cut. She told me that she wanted to show her hair to Sammy (Brian and Kristina's cat). She gave herself a haircut on the side that is usually shorter anyway because she twirls that side and it snaps off. I am not sure if you would be able to tell a difference in a before and after picture because, thankfully, she has some natural wave in her hair. I am thankful that (so far) she has been the only one and she didn't to a major chop job like I have seen in some "after" shots. Well... one more life experience down... many more to go in this parenting adventure I am sure!


For most of last week during my quiet time I was stuck on 1 Thessalonians 5:24 "Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."

I love this verse and have been so encouraged by it lately. The verse is so freeing! He has called me and He will do it! It does not negate my responsibility to do my part BUT the end result does not depend on me! HE will bring it to pass!

He always takes care of the details so I don't have to freak out... what a blessing! I can trust Him. My future is in His capable hands. How great that I don't only have to depend on me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lydia's name

This morning while we were doing school Lydia and Abigail were playing with the letter tiles from UpWords. They were making towers and having fun then I noticed that Lydia was urgently looking for the letter "Y". She found all of the letters for her name and made her name on the table. She was so proud and I was excited. I knew that she knew that her name was spelled "L-Y-D-I-A" but didn't know that she knew all of those letters and could find them. It was fun because she did it herself. This is my first video posting but I thought that it would be fun to have video posts every now and again since we don't see our family very often... at least they can see how the kids are growing through videos... more videos to come.... someday :)

No Longer Homeless

Thanks for all the prayers of those of you who have been praying for us to find a home. We are no longer homeless as of when the Lishawa's return - yeah!

We haven't signed a lease yet but the landlord did a background check on us and we are good to go for this little house. The pictures are of the downstairs of our house... yes, I know, there is not a lot of living space. The stairs go up to the 2 bedrooms upstairs. On this side of the stairs is the laundry room with washer and dryer (which I am very excited about) and pantry. In there is also the furnace and tankless water heater. Beyond the stairs you can see the bathroom door. There is also a shed outside where we can store our bikes and there is a large yard. I will post some of our actual pictures when I take some.

At our new home we are again surrounded by Highland Park. It is about .8 miles uphill to Highland, where Glenn is working now. He has applied for a few jobs at Strong and it is a good location for working there as it is about a mile from there as well. (No parking fees!!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sweet Honey from the Honeycomb

Yesterday we went to Tinker Nature Park and Hansen Nature Center for their Harvest Festival and got to watch them extract honey from their hives. It was neat since I had never seen it done before. They had brought a large number of frames in from their honey boxes. (We didn't get to see them do this.) First they scraped the honey off the frame.

Frames were then put into this centrifuge extractor.

Here are the three steps we saw inside: scraping, the extractor machine and then the man in the tan shirt is filling honey bottles to sell.

We got to sample many snacks made with honey and took some recipes to try at home. Today we tried one of the recipes and made some yummy cookies made with honey. We bought this little bee filled with honey to take home. It was so sweet and it was fun to know that it had been attached to the honeycomb that morning!

While there we also got to listen to some live music while we snacked on donut holes and apple cider.

We also explored the Tinker farmhouse and the barn and got to learn about old farm equipment and even try some out like this potato sorter.

Whenever you go to Tinker Nature Park you always run into some kind of wildlife. There were LOTS of people there so we didn't get to see nearly as much this time but this snake was out sunning himself on the boardwalk so we took his picture.

It was a fun science, history, and PE field trip. School on Saturdays is fun!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Getting Wet at Darien Lake

This weekend and last weekend Darien Lake was running a "Carload" special that allowed everyone who could legally ride in your vehicle (were seatbelted) to get into the theme park for $24.99 plus tax and parking. We had never taken the kids to an amusement park because it is expensive but we decided that we should go because we could get in for such a cheap price.

Our first ride was the ferris wheel. We didn't actually get to get a real ride on the ferris wheel because it started to rain just as we got to the top so they got the other people off then brought us off and let us off as well. It was fun to get up so high to get our first look around the park though. Can you see how excited Lydia was??

Caleb was a little bit nervous of the height!

After getting off the ferris wheel it started raining pretty hard. We headed to the kiddy area where we got completely soaked from the rain dropping off the hot air balloons we rode in (sorry, no pictures, it was raining too hard to get our camera out!). We rode several of the kiddy rides (even Glenn and I got to ride some of them with them) then headed out to check out the rest of the park. Since we were already soaked Glenn and Caleb decided to try out this ride. It ended with a free fall into water that completely soaked the bridge that didn't leave them with one dry spot.

Hannah was the most dare devil of all the kids to start out with. She asked Glenn if he would go on this ride with her. By the end of the day we all (except Abigail who was too short) rode this ride.

I think that the kids decided that the spinning rides were their favorite. They all (again, accept Abigail but she was too tired by that point) loved the Sleigh Ride ride the best. I am not sure what they liked best.. that it took them up and down and in circles and into a cave part or the fact that they got to ride it 3-4 times in a row without getting off :) (going to Darien Lake on a rainy day in mid-September is actually very nice... there were just about no lines. Glenn walked right up to the Viper (roller coaster) and rode it. I think that my kids got an unrealistic view of what amusement parks are like from this day :)

The only ride that we had to wait in line for was the Tin Lizzies. Caleb and Hannah lead the pack followed by Lydia and me then Glenn and Abigail took up the rear.

The kids also got to practice their driving skills in the bumper cars. Caleb was so excited to drive his own car!

We rode them several different times and one time they even let Hannah get behind the wheel on her own (even though I know that she was too short!) She was very excited though and did well.

Abigail was so bummed because she wasn't even tall enough to ride in a bumper car, let alone drive one. Late in the afternoon we found the kiddy bumper cars and she was so excited! (She looks like a drowned rat, doesn't she!) The bumper cars didn't work out as well as she though they would because she never actually left this corner and wanted to get out long before the ride was over. The other three liked it though.

It was easy to find the kids all day because of their rain coats. This is how the rides looked most of the day.... just us.... which was so fun! We were soaked and exhausted at the end of the day but Lydia wanted to go back again the next day anyway. I'm glad that we did it. I don't know that I would want to pay full price for all of us to go there but I think that if we could get in on another car-load deal we may just do it again and by then Abigail will be big enough for all of the rides too, probably. Anyway it was a fun day and we made some great memories... Next time I just need to remember to bring dry pants and underwear for myself and Glenn (not just the kids) but, boy, did those sweatshirts feel nice when we got back to the car! On our way home we stopped at Olivers in Batavia and each got a chocolate treat. I remember stopping there as a kid with my dad. We've noticed it many times over the years driving past but have never stopped. It was fun to bring Glenn and the kids there to share some of my memories. I'm so glad Glenn had last Saturday off!

Monday, September 15, 2008

O Great God

We sang this song yesterday in church and I love it. It has been going through my head ever since and since I don't know all the words I had to look them up (thank God for the internet :)) I couldn't find it on a quick search of youtube so you'll just have to read the words. This is the cry of my heart today.

"O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me”

“O Great God” by Bob Kauflin

The 3rd verse has particularly been meaningful in our Abram-like life... "Help me now to live a life that's dependent on Your grace." So often I don't want to live dependent on Him, I want to depend only on me but that is not how He wants us to live.

I am so sad today because Brian and Kristina are leaving today for Jordan for 4 weeks. By the time that they get back we will be in our own place again (still don't know where that will be but God does and He has always provided places for us to live before (at least 12 so far in our 9 years of marriage) and He rarely gives us much advance notice of where the next place will be.) It has been a very sweet time living with them and our friendship has deepened even though we didn't really see them a lot because of their work schedules. We are going to miss them as they are gone and even when they get back because we won't see them most days just because we are sleeping in the same house. If you could keep them in your prayers I am sure that they would appreciate it. They are going to be working in a tuberculosis sanatorium there in Jordan as the only doctors (it is run by a nurse) and getting another taste of what medicine is like overseas, this time in the 10-40 window.

"You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spirit of America

On Friday, being the cool homeschoolers we are we took a field trip downtown to Blue Cross Arena to watch the US Army's Spirit of America presentation. It was really cool! The US Army Orchestra and Concert Band performed. There was a walk through history through the eyes of soldiers by the 3rd US Infantry Regiment "The Old Guard." It was neat that all the "actors" were actually soldiers and neat to see from a soldiers' viewpoint why they do what they do.

Here is what the kids thought:

Caleb: "My favorite part was the war. " There were scenes portraying battles from various wars: Revolutionary, Civil, WWII, etc.
Hannah: "I liked the music." Her favorite was the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
Lydia: "I liked the woman with the baby but it wasn't real." There were a few scenes of soldiers writing to people at home and wives reading the letters from two separate parts of the stage area.
Abigail: "I liked the cow and then he's dead." I am not sure if it was a cow but when Abraham Lincoln was giving the Gettysburg Address she thought that there was a cow up by the fence and she was upset that it never came back out. She also liked the horses that came out and rode around during Paul Revere's Ride and at a couple of other times in the performance. She wasn't very impressed with the loud gun and cannon shots though.

I think that my favorite part was the US Army Drill Team. It was amazing to watch them perform with their bayoneted ten pound rifles. I didn't get a good shot of them but here are some pictures from the performance. I think that my favorite picture is the one where George Washington is talking to the soldiers with George Washington on the background.

Glenn says his favorite was probably the bugle and fife group too but all the groups at the end where they were in groups of 3 wearing the uniforms from different periods was very cool also.

It made both Glenn and I proud to be Americans. It was good to see how soldiers think and how proud and determined they are. If you ever get a chance to see the Spirit of America it is well worth it!! It is only being performed in Rochester this past weekend and in Worcester, MA next weekend this year. If you want to find out more about it check out the Spirit of America website. I just checked out the website again and saw that there was a 3 minute mini version of the 2+ hour show to give you a taste of what we experienced here.

This last shot is of Caleb with two of the buglers from the Fife and Drum Corps.