Saturday, April 12, 2014

Venerunt, Viderunt, Vicerunt

We're back from the North Carolina Junior Classical League Convention at UNC in Chapel Hill, and the kids, like good little Homeric heroes, covered themselves in Everlasting Fame and Glory. I'm so proud, and we had Such fun!

The convention started Friday afternoon. There were around 700 kids, and the "spirit event," in which the various clubs competed with their various cheers was very loud. But despite the noise, I enjoyed it. After spending so long with our little group, where the oft expressed attitude is "this is boring," or "I don't care about Latin/history/writing/etc.," it was lovely to watch a gymnasium full of kids just overflowing with excitement at the prospect of competing in Latin related events.

 (This isn't the group, but one group had a giant blow-up penguin mascot, and their cheer seemed to involve penguin moves. It was quite entertaining.)

 Ed did not enjoy driving on the streets around UNC, but he did enjoy this pizza place!

Getting around the city was... well, we got lost a lot! But once we figured out where the Student Union was in relation to the gym, the kids and I did very well finding the other buildings. What a gorgeous, gorgeous campus! Katie insists she is going to go there some day.
 Love. Sigh.

I offered to help out with the Impromptu Art event, which involved the kids being handed stacks of assorted craft supplies and a written prompt and being given a certain time to make something brilliant. Travis won first in this contest, but I was busy judging the middle school projects and didn't see his Leviathan.

 We missed the chariot races, but we did see a catapult. Ed wanted it to be quite a bit bigger. Maybe next year!

And Katie came in 3rd in two different art categories! She entered a jewelry set (Roman beaded jewelry), and a greeting card. Given the short notice she had to make something, I thought she did very well.
(These first ones below are not hers.)

The one awkwardly mounted on foam is hers. Poor kid. Clearly a good mother has things like fake necks lying around the house, so that her daughter's jewelry projects can be shown to best advantage! Fortunately, presentation clearly didn't count here!

And Katie's is the cute little mouse in a toga. The saying is "Carpe felem" (Seize the cat!).

And Travis entered our club shirt, which he designed the logo for, and won 2nd! Some of the shirts were really terrific, so that was particularly gratifying.

I don't know who made this map, but it shows the birthplaces of various Roman authors, and I thought it was very cool! There were just scads of wonderful, imaginative projects.

Today Travis had a couple meetings, both kids did academic testing (where they didn't cover themselves in quite so much glory -- we need to spend a little more time on Roman culture and mythology next year), and we went to a couple lectures by professors from the Classics department. Also, there was a series of short, "Latin-y" plays put on by students in the drama department, which was fun but made me realize how much pop culture I don't know. Still, we had a great time!

Did I mention how beautiful the campus is? Oh my!

 And then there was a closing "spirit" contest, and winners in all the various events were announced, and the new officers were sworn in. I'm not sure exactly what Travis's responsibilities will be as Technology Coordinator, but he liked the other officers, and all the people I talked with in the group seemed very nice, so I'm sure it will be interesting and a good experience!
 (New officers looking at the new president. Aren't they just sweet and sincere looking?)

And now, of course, we are completely unprepared  for co-op on Monday -- papers are not written, history is not read, Latin is not completed -- but I expect we'll get enough done, and we had Such a good time!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Bit Frantic

I meant to post a week ago, with some very lovely pictures of olive bread I baked in my new cast iron pan. And also the homemade pasta that I've finally got the hang of making (the drying rack makes All the difference!). Except... that was actually two weeks ago. Things keep getting away from me.

Last week I was going to post spring flower pictures. They are lovely, though the temperatures are still a bit chilly for my taste. And these are from last Saturday. Katie's G-Force group (a fitness group for girls) went for a hike at Stone Mountain. My parents came, and we poked along behind the girls and their young, athletic parents. Katie was with the girls, and she had a marvelous time. We admired wildflowers and had a pretty fine time too.
After the hike, the girls played on the rocks at the base of Stone Mountain.

 And here is a peek at the Homestead.

In other news, co-op is winding down. We have three meetings left. We finished The Aeneid two weeks ago. Sniff! The first time I read it, last winter, I didn't love it. This time I really did. Enough to resolve to really apply myself to Latin again this summer, in the hope that someday I'll be able to read the Aeneid in Latin. Of course, since our co-op will be no more next school year and I will once again be in charge of my children's Latin education, I have to spend the summer studying Latin anyway.

More on the Latin front, and this is a shameless brag. Travis won the North Carolina Junior Classical League Website Contest! He created the website for our Latin club, and entered it in the contest, back when our club was planning to go the the convention in Chapel Hill. When the plans changed due to lack of interest, I forgot about the contest, but then we got an e-mail that He Won! So now, since Travis has to attend the convention for his win to be legit, we are off to Chapel Hill tomorrow for the Junior Classical League Convention. We are all a bit intimidated by the idea, but it will be an adventure! Katie has made some lovely jewelry to enter in the crafts contest, and Travis has high hopes of visiting a Dunkin Donuts.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Et tu?

Wednesday was Latin club, and the kids solved the murder of Julius Caesar. Casca did it, the rat! 

(Here a centurion helps Katie with her toga. Katie's personal centurion is incapable of properly wrapping a toga.)

 In fact, I make a lousy centurion in every regard. No wonder my subject peoples keep rebelling.

The senators enjoying a good feed. With Vivaldi playing in the background. Time does funny things in our empire.

No pictures of the death of Caesar, since I was working the lights (Travis points out that flipping a single switch should not have taken all my powers, but I had to flip it at Just the Right Moment in Caesar's speech and... well, I just couldn't do both.). Caesar was speaking, the lights unexpectedly went out, and when they came back on, Caesar was Dead!
 Katie picked up a bloody dagger only because it was lying on the floor and she didn't want someone to trip on it.

The senators, on questioning, admitted to various ambitions, opinions, and degrees of affection (or loathing) for Caesar. It didn't take long before Casca was outed.

  Her utterly ruthless nature is pretty apparent.

 Having solved the mystery early, there was time for a rousing game of Ninja. We are nothing if not even-handed in our cultural studies.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

From the Cave

No posts lately because....

I figure no one wants to read more about how it is Cold and I don't like Cold. At least, not until next winter!
So. The above is a view of my backyard this morning. Ick. Pretty, but.... ick.

Still, I have hope! There are daffodils, and darling pink buds on the weeping cherry. Hopeful little things are popping up in my poor, neglected flower beds. There may yet be warm weather before next winter comes!

And we have had some nice days!

And even a cold day is somewhat redeemed by a lovely, bubbling pot of chili!

(Katie picked flowers for the table. Daffodils, chili, and thoughtful children... I guess things aren't so bad after all!)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


 We've had some birthdays!
Ed turned.... well, something respectable... on Saturday. We gave him presents, but my mom baked him baklava!

 Ed and his birthday trifle. I make a good trifle.

 Photo boy, taking "selfies."
 And we finished his birthday off with a rousing game of Clue.

And Katie's birthday was today, Tuesday. This is the cake she requested. That creature on the cake is a dog. Not, as Ed kept insisting, a bear. It is from the American Girl website.
 Ed, bringing in the cake. We actually ate the cake on Monday, so that my parents could eat it with us, my dad having thoughtlessly made an appointment with the oral surgeon for today.

Katie's birthday breakfast. Crepes with ice cream, with bacon on the side. You only turn twelve once!

Katie with her Big present from my parents. She has been So excited about this!
 She got books. Lots of books. As requested.

Emma, all full of birthday jollity.

And a new pair of running shoes! She broke them in today at her running class. She says they are Very comfortable.

Travis, giving Katie the much anticipated present he got her...

Awww! It is so cute! (Whatever it is!)

She wanted to see Frozen, but it is no longer in the theatres so her second choice was the Lego Movie. It was surprisingly good!

Ed gave her a dollar for the crane machine and she won this bear. Talk about birthday luck! (I don't know why we didn't think to send her into the gas station for a lottery ticket. Actually, though, speaking of gas stations and birthday luck, we did have another bit of surprising good luck today! It seems that my understanding of how the car signals that it is really almost out of gas was not accurate. Katie and I got back from running class fine, but when we piled back into the car and started off for Katie's and Ed's birthday Chinese dinner out, it turned out that we only had three miles worth of gas. We live more than three miles from the gas station. But Ed drove strategically and we coasted into the nearest gas station on fumes, rather than one of us (that would be me!) having to hike to the gas station in the freezing cold. Hooray for birthday luck!)