Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stinkin' Goats

Most of the time, I love my goats, but some days, I have a strong urge to call them names that I would not print here on this family friendly blog of mine. Goats are mischievous creatures by nature, and to some degree it adds to their appeal. I think that most people who have not spent time with goats would be surprised at the amount of personality they have. Some goats are actually comparable to dogs in that respect. I've raised sheep as well, but in my experience, they were much more skittish, much less intelligent, and far less interested in interacting with humans. My sheep were also semi frequent targets of our local coyotes, and finding the remains of your pet first thing in the morning was very disturbing for both  children and adults. So, we decided to stick with goats.

Why do I even have goats? I don't milk them because that is a really big commitment which I am not feeling like I want to sign up for. I like some mild goat cheeses, but my husband says that chevre tastes like a goat smells. I don't raise them for meat either. We've tried eating goat meat in the past, but it just wasn't really that tasty to me. Besides, the goats I have now are too old to eat and would probably be stringy and gross. Plus, I do like them most of the time, and I have a thing about not eating animals that I personally like.

We got our first goats when our human kids were tiny and we lived in some very poison oak covered mountains. Since I'm highly allergic to poison oak, and I pretty much was always getting it, we enlisted the help of a few baby goats to eat back the overgrowth. We named them Gretta and Ingmar (my husband had for some reason wanted to name one of his sons Ingmar, but I decided that by giving the name to a goat, I could get out of that idea.) They were tiny and playful and adorable. They had to be bottle fed, which I can tell you is a big pain in the butt, and really made me glad I just breastfed my human kids. Sadly, Ingmar was eaten by a mountain lion, but that is another long story in itself.

We've moved to a much less poison oak covered property since, but the land around us is steep and very dry in the summer. Goats are amazing at mowing the rocky hillsides and keeping the fire danger down. Our herd has grown, then shrank, and over all changed. Now we are down to 4 goats that we like- well the kids and I like 3 of them and dear husband says he likes the other one, but I can't imagine why. We still have Gretta who is a short, plump and sweet old lady who gets a beautiful full coat every winter that I really should brush out and make into yarn, but I never have. SweetPea is wonderful to humans, and was a great mother who nursed her triplets like it was nothing, but does not like dogs and will chase them down. Noah is a wether (neutered male) who is really tall and has huge horns, but is so sweet and has potential as a pack goat if I was ever on the ball enough to train him. The last goat is Abby who has a bad attitude and seems to have mental problems. She always looks angry and frequently has raised hair down her spine while she sharpens her horns on any nearby tree. It is not at all endearing or cute, and I'm hoping I've convinced my husband that the herd will be better off without her.

We often take our goats hiking in the hills around us. We picnic and read while they graze and try to steal our books and snacks. Those are the times we really enjoy our herd. Then, there are the times when they discover a weak spot in the hot wire fence and decide to climb it and eat most of our fruit trees. Those are followed by the times when they rub their horns on a water pipe and turn it on causing our well to drain. Chasing goats who are destroying expensive trees that you have babied for years in hopes of someday having your own fruit tends to make one a bit angry. When it happens in 95 degree whether, and I get all hot and stinky, and then find out I can't take a shower because they drained all my water, it's not easy to restrain myself from loud and ugly outbursts. When I have to immediately take my hot and stinky un-showered goat smelling self to my crowded Interpersonal Communication class, then I become bitter, which is where I was earlier this week.

The morning after this unpleasant incident, I had my Boy Child let the goats out and feed them as I was still holding a grudge. But later, when I went outside to do something else, there they were, maaahing their hellos and trying to look cute. At first I just flared my nostrils, glared and went on about my business. They followed me along the fence line wagging their tails like dogs and trying to get my attention. Maybe they just wanted more grain, but I imagined they wanted my forgiveness too (especially since I am the one who buys the grain, and who probably gives them most back scratching and attention.) Luckily for them, it's hard to be mad at cute things. Plus, I had been able to shower at the health club, so I no longer smelled like stinkin' goats and my water tank was slowly filling back up. I gave in and scratched their heads over the fence. They're on my good side again, for now at least. I just hope they don't have any more fence breaking, landscape destroying, well draining mischief in the near future.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trees in the City

I love cities- to visit that is. I was born in a fairly large one, and spent a good portion of my life in them. When my mother first dragged me to a rural area at age 10, I don't know if the thought of a mall that was only one story tall or the sound of crickets in the night were more frightening to me. In any case, I was not impressed with small town life at the time.

As an adult, I've lived in lots of places both urban and rural, but since having kids of my own, I've mostly made my home in the country. It's been a conscious choice so my kids could roam and wander, get dirty, climb trees and appreciate things like the sound of crickets. I've come to appreciate the privacy, the space and being surrounded by nature myself, including the sounds of crickets. The thought of a mall that is only one story tall no longer bothers me in the least.

Still, I love to visit the city, and since I love to travel with my kids, they get regular doses of city life to balance out their home life in the woods. Our rural lifestyle does seem to make us a tad more sensitive to things like crowds, noise and pollution that city dwellers just accept as a normal part of life. Up close encounters with countless people and dozens of languages, hundreds of cars and buses, horns, shouts, lights and smog are all exciting and fun, but too much of it makes me feel like I've had way too much coffee. I can tell the kids get overstimulated too because we all act spastic and cranky after a couple of days of it.

So, one of the things I am always super grateful for when we spend any amount of time in a big city is finding the little refuges where nature has a little bit of space to do her thing, and so do we. Thank goodness people in the past had the foresight to set aside some land for parks before the sprawl of civilization took it all over. I do appreciate the tiny neighborhood parks, but when in a city the size of San Francisco, it's wonderful to have a huge open space like Golden Gate Park to spread your wings.

And I do mean huge- you could wander away and get lost for days in this park. Its' 1017 acres  of public grounds are home to gardens, museums, playgrounds, squirrels, birds and probably quite a few people. I read that it was inspired by New Yorks' Central Park, but Golden Gate Park is 20% larger. Apparently, back in the 1860's, some San Franciscans began to feel the need for recreational space in their crowded city. I can't imagine they could even comprehend how much more crowded the city has become, and how much more valuable that recreational space is to both people and animals.

How amazing is it to be in the midst of a million or so people and find a place to do a cartwheel on a lawn or a tree to climb? While I can be fairly certain my own kids won't be suffering from nature deficit disorder, I wonder in hindsight if I didn't have it myself as a city kid. I don't actually remember visiting parks as a kid, but I sure appreciate visiting them now. I imagine there are countless other city kids who would probably never see a flower or a duck up close if it weren't for urban parks.

Urban parks have their own little challenges for me. For example, I have no problem with my kids wading in a mountain creek, but I get a little grossed out at the idea of them putting their hands or feet in a fountain that someone without a home or shower of their own has probably bathed in. I also have no problem with the kind of dirt that I associate with nature, but grime and human litter really get my ick meter going.So, it's a good opportunity for me to practice my letting go skills, and hopefully for my family to build our immune systems.

There are also the many, many things that are no-nos in places with high populations, and the signs to inform everyone. One very long sign featured 9 things you aren't allowed to do, but I couldn't get them all in one picture. We weren't planning on squirrel feeding, or flower stomping, but were a little disappointed that roller skating and dogs weren't allowed. Thankfully, in the large park, there are other areas where both dogs and wheels are allowed. We didn't see any "No Tree Climbing" signs, so my kids did climb a few lovely old trees, and Boy Child attempted to climb the concrete base of a windmill. We learned that over 155,000 trees were planted in the first 20 years of Golden Gate Park- again yippee for foresight because they are like an oasis in a concrete desert. A few hours replenishing our souls in nature and we were ready to tackle more city adventures.

I'd love to hear about the best urban parks in other areas around the country. It feeds our dream of seeing all 50 states before the kids are grown, and gives us ideas of where to stop when we do go. So, what are your favorite places to find trees in the city?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


When it comes to education, a lot of people seem to get caught up in the idea of making sure the kids are "on track" as if there is really some magical bit of knowledge that a kid really needs to know at a certain age. I'm more of an end results kind of gal, shooting for long term and overall success. I know that's hard to monitor or pull off in a classroom full of same age kids, but since I'm only in charge of my own couple of kids, I feel pretty confident that several things are happening. They are learning, and they are having fun with it.

I've looked at the state standards for each grade once or twice a year to get an idea of what the "experts" have in mind. For the most part, the standards, at least in California, have not been rocket science so far. Most seem pretty easy to go over in some way, and some seem so ridiculous that I don't really see the point. For example, on the second grade standards, I seem to recall something about having the student interview a local athlete and write a report. Somehow, I didn't see the point in having my 7 year old do that, not to mention that he would most likely have thought it was lame. So, we skipped it, and I'm pretty sure he's going to be OK.

What is amazing to me, is how much faith people put in these standards. I mean, who exactly decided that a 5th grader needs to study US history and a 7th grader needs to learn medieval history? Will their life really be ruined if they don't? There doesn't seem to be a logical or chronological order to it, and most adults don't remember half of it anyway. What if a child who isn't "supposed to be" studying US history goes to the US Capitol and Washington DC, does the learning not count because they aren't in the right grade? Other than to do worksheets for school, why does an 8 year old need long division? Sure, it's good to know in the long run, but is forcing a wiggly little boy to do math drills in the name of the standards really going to improve his education in the long run? My guess is that it's more likely to just make him hate math.

Trying to follow standards certainly makes more sense in a classroom setting, but in a homeschool, really its all about the family. The family is kind of the whole point for us. I love when siblings and groups of mixed age kids get excited about some topic and go off on a self directed learning spree with it. My kids have loved the 39 Clues books, and have been led in a number of directions researching people and places in the world that weren't on the standards for either of their grades. They pulled out maps, books, got on the internet, and even made food inspired by what they read about. They were excited and motivated, they were having fun, and they remember what they learned. In my opinion, that constitutes a real education more than forcing facts in a textbook that has no current relevance to their real lives or interests. 

In the same way, the Percy Jackson series led to a study of Greek mythology that neither of them was slated to learn for years, and The Alchemyst led them to reading about all sorts of different cultures and times. They never really thought about whether they were doing something for school or for life. They were just interested and learning- and to me, that is homeschooling at its' best.

The cashier at the bookstore sometimes looks at me sideways when using my educator discount card to buy a book she doesn't deem educational. "This is for use in the classroom?" Well, since the world is our classroom, I can honestly answer yes to that, but she still seems to be puzzled that there are no textbooks in my stack.

This year, since we chose to homeschool through a charter school, we're having another look at the standards. I know that the schools' funding and the families'  freedom of curriculum is tied to the students doing well on the standards based tests, so we'll do our best to cover the material in a way that works for our family. There are actually a number of things that look interesting and a number of others that look pointless. There is quite a bit of repetition year after year, in some cases with the exact same wording listed multiple years in a row. The one thing we won't do is change our life learning style and try to force our kids into a one size fits all mold. We'll still follow our interests and learn together in real life ways, because for us, that's what it's all about. Worksheets will never take precedence over real life learning, no matter what the standards call for.

I'm always interested in hearing how other families make it work. What do you think about the standards? Do you use them at all? If so, how do you keep it fun?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Starting the Funschooling Year at the Academy of Sciences

Just one of the many wonderful things I love about homeschooling is the flexibility. While schools around us were starting up in August, we decided to hang on to summer and start our homeschool year in September. That just felt more like fall to us. We were thrilled that the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco offered a homeschool family day at the start of the month which was the perfect kick off for us. I love visiting popular museums on homeschooling days for a number of reasons, mainly that the adult to child ratio is nice and high. The crowds are usually smaller, the pace is slower, and no one is blowing whistles and trying to herd large groups of excited children on school field trips from place to place. Plus, they usually offer a smoking deal on admission, in this case, it was about $5 each instead of about $25.

I hadn't been to the Academy before, but I have been hearing all about it since it reopened after a huge remodel. Well, it was amazing! Having listened to the tips from friends who had been in recent months, we knew to try to hit the rain forest exhibit early before the lines got too long. It was an impressive three story walk through with birds, butterflies and plants that reminded us of visits to family members in Costa Rica. Next was a show at the planetarium. We took my mother in law, who had grown up in the bay area, with us on this trip, and she had fond memories of taking her own young boys to shows at this planetarium many years ago.

The kids and I had scoped the Academy out online before we went so we could know which exhibits we were most interested in. I've been having my kids do a bit of pre-travel research for most of our adventures this year, and it's the best idea ever. It's really paid off in a number of ways. First, they are more excited about the trip, and second, they make sure they don't miss what they really want to see. In most larger cities and museums, it's pretty easy to just keep turning corners to the next exciting thing, and end up missing an entire section. In places we aren't likely to be back to for a while, we don't want to be disappointed to find out that we walked right past something we aren't going to see next time. When we got home, I asked a friends' child, who had gone to the Academy a few months before us, how she liked the penguins, and she replied, "There were penguins?" Yes, there were adorable live penguins, and they even had a wetsuit made for an old one who had trouble keeping himself warm. They were one of our favorite exhibits, and we spent some time watching them playfully hamming it up for the camera. We were so glad we didn't miss them.

With my Girl Child's awesome planning skills, I think we managed to catch about everything though. The Extreme Mammals exhibit was a fun look at the wide variety of fellow mammals there have been in the world from the largest to the smallest ever. The African dioramas were so incredibly life like. Of course, that is probably because they used to be alive, but unlike the obvious stuffed road kill samples you see in some smaller natural history museums, these were pretty darn good examples of taxidermy, and the backgrounds were great too. None of us had realized that zebras were so large, and there were a few animals we had never seen at all before, like this super long necked animal, whose name I don't remember, but who looked a bit like a deer with a half giraffe neck.

Another thing I'm glad we made sure to see is the living roof. I guess the Academy is one of the greenest museums out there, and all sorts of cool technology and design went into making them so. The roof is covered with native plants, sky lights and solar panels, all of which contribute to the museums goal of self sufficiency energy wise. My kids love the idea of burying our own house under a hill of dirt with little pop up windows in the ceiling. It would be fun, but isn't on the remodel schedule for this year anyway. I'll have to keep it in mind for a far in the future big building project. This living roof though, offered wonderful views of the city on an unusually clear San Francisco day.

The albino alligator would have been hard to miss, as he was a pretty popular exhibit. He didn't interact playfully with guests, like the penguins. In fact, he was so still that my Boy Child thought he was stuffed like the animals in the dioramas, but then he moved a finger and blinked, confirming he was still alive. He wasn't exactly cute like the penguins either. His pink eyes and long claws were kind of freaky, but boy was his hide fancy. I know it's a terrible thought, and I would never actually purchase an item like this, but I couldn't help but thinking he would make a gorgeous a handbag and boots. Of course, I would be appalled if I actually saw a purse made of real albino alligator, but I could see the inspiration for something similar in pleather. This poor guy is probably lucky to be housed here because I don't think he'd last long in the wild.

The aquariums were great, with both fresh and salt water tanks of all sizes. Some of our favorites were the beautiful jelly fish and the bizarre gator gar fish. I had ever heard of them prior to our happening to catch a documentary about them the night before. Girl Child gladly informed us that she remembered from her research that we could see live specimens on our field trip the next morning. They looked much more docile and peaceful in real life than they did in the movie, which dramatically played up their razor sharp teeth.

All around, it was a great field trip, and a day packed with the wonders of science and natural history. It was also a great way to kick off to our funschool year. I can't wait to see what other  fun learning adventures await us. Any exciting field trips you all are planning or have taken so far this year?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Enough with the Dire Predictions

Maybe I'm just feeling moody these days, but I have been really annoyed with other peoples' dire predictions concerning children lately. The negative outlooks start even before babies are even born. I teach Childbirth Classes, and so I talk to a lot of pregnant women. It is just awful how many horror stories about birth that people choose to share with women who are about to go through it. I don't know if it's therapeutic for the teller or what, but it sure isn't kind or necessary, and here's a news isn't the least bit helpful!!! 

The negative predictions grow as the children do too. It really bugs me how often so called experts slap labels on  kids, saying they won't succeed in school because they have ADHD, or that they'll never learn to read or speak well, but they need a bunch of formal interventions anyway because they have "special needs." I'm not saying that special needs don't exist, but it seems to me that people tend to live up to the labels put on them. How about focusing on a kids strengths rather than constantly pointing out their weakness? If you tell someone they aren't capable, and don't treat them like they are, it's going to awfully hard for them to learn to be. It also seems that when you give someone an excuse to act a certain way, they will probably feel justified in going for it.

It's like the attitude that every teen will go wild and become disrespectful and obnoxious, so we should just accept it. The fact that there are rude teenagers out there doesn't make them all rude, nor does it make it acceptable when they are. Sure, they have more hormones than they know what to do with, and they are stretching their wings for independence, but aren't we supposed to be helping them grow into adulthood? Giving free reign to idiotic and unpleasant behavior doesn't seem like very good training. And, what about all the awesome kids out there doing amazing things? Why don't people point out how many "good" kids there are instead of just looking for "bad" ones?

For some reason, the media, the experts and the world sometimes seem intent on forecasting gloom and doom. This frustrates and saddens me in general, but, when the dire predictions concern my children in particular, I get really miffed. In fact, I sort of almost made someone cry recently when she made a comment insinuating that I just enjoy my son now, because he would surely just grow up and make the same stupid mistakes her grown son was making. Well, this just struck me the wrong way, and I let her have it (I kind of sort of went off on her about the whole thing.) Sometimes, the mama bear in me is not so easy to control.

But, it seems just plain wrong to me to lump everyone into one category and then pronounce a bleak future on them. Just because one person, or even lots of people do a particular thing doesn't mean everyone else will- even if you yourself did it. I hear parents talking all the time about things they did when they were young, often with an acceptance that their kids will also do them. This attitude is usually more prevalent if the parents themselves and those close to them made it out of the teen years without any long term consequences. The parents I know who actually paid for their youthful mistakes with drug problems, jail time, abuse issues, or having babies before they were ready seem to be much more intent on trying to educate their kids not to make those same mistakes instead of laughing about or accepting the inevitability of it.

But it's not inevitable. Not all teens are doing drugs and having sex, and they don't all drive like maniacs either. I'm not delusional enough to think that my kids will never make mistakes. Of course they will, but their mistakes will be their own, not mine or anyone elses. I know there is no magic formula that will make sure kids always stay out of trouble or always make the right choice. Sadly, I've seen some really good and loving parents go through some really hard times with their kids' behavior. Frankly, that's a scary enough thought as it is, especially since my oldest is wrapping up her tween years. But, she's a good kid with a level head, and I'm thinking it's more productive for me to focus on the positive things we have going on than to panic about what may or may not ever come. I don't need people giving me dire predictions or bursting my bubble, so I'm making a conscious choice to avoid negative people and their doomsday forecasts. I prefer to surround myself and my family with joyful people and positive examples. I think I scared the poor woman who made the mistake of implying that my son would be irresponsible since hers was. She probably didn't mean to upset or offend me, just as I didn't mean to almost make her cry, but at least she'll probably be less likely to put labels on my kids again. Next time though, when the negative messages slip by, as I'm sure they will, I'll just breathe deeply while a little voice in my head blocks out their comments and says "I can't hear you and your bad news, I can't hear you."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Footing Across the Golden Gate

Ever since my youngest sister told me that her entire class walked across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco as part of their 8th grade trip, I've wanted to make the trek myself. I've driven over it dozens of times, but I guess the idea of crossing the monumental landmark on foot never occurred to me before that.
So, when we were headed to San Francisco on a recent fun trip, and I heard that the weather forecast called for a sunny, warm day, I mentioned walking across the Golden Gate. The kids had no idea you could do such a thing, and were all over the idea.

As we pulled into San Francisco, I noticed that while the sun was shining all around us, the bridge was shrouded in fog. But, we weren't that easily deterred, and figured that a little fog wouldn't hurt us.

The bridge really is the icon of the San Francisco skyline, and its' outline is plastered all over mugs and sweatshirts in gift shops all over the city. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in the 1930's, the project came in $1 million under budget (which is pretty rare with public works projects) and it seems to have withstood earthquakes better than many of the bay areas other bridges. Seeing the construction up close and personal, it really is an impressive structure.

We parked on the San Francisco side of the bridge near the Presidio, and bundled up in sweatshirts, even though it was still technically summer. Plaques and statues near the base give some history of the architectural beauty. Apparently, many experts of the time didn't feel a bridge could even be built in that spot because of the harsh conditions there. The tides are strong, the wind is fierce and the fog is blinding, but humans are determined, and while only one person, the chief engineer named Strauss, got a statue of himself erected, many, many people worked hard to design and construct the bridge.

It may be a beautiful spot on a clear day, but since it's usually cold, damp and beyond blustery there, I can only imagine how miserable the working conditions must have been. And, as is often the case, many of the people who did all the work, didn't even get any credit.

Apparently, some of the steel workers who built the bridge did get to accidentally test the movable safety net below them. As you can imagine, in the 1930's the safety regulations were probably a tad bit more relaxed than today, and it was pretty much their only protection from an over 200 foot fall. The net worked for nineteen men, but sadly, failed on another eleven of them.

These days, even on the foggiest days, the bridge is full of traffic- cars, pedestrians and bicycles. By the time we made it across, our lungs felt very full of car fumes, and we were almost run over a few times by racy cyclists. But, then, miraculously, the sun made its' way through the clouds a few times and we were treated to some lovely views.

This led to spontaneous skipping and singing, which might be considered slightly embarrassing in some places, but no one even blinks an eye at such behavior in this city. So, we were free to rejoice out loud in the beauty of the sunshine.

At a little over three miles round trip, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on foot is a pretty easy walk. The weather seems a little unpredictable, and could have certainly made it unpleasant, but we lucked out and saw bits of blue sky before we hit Marin County on the other side. On the way back, we checked out the gift shop, and learned a little more about the icon that we, along with several hundred other tourists, had just crossed. The black and white pictures and film of the construction give a feel for what a huge task those men had taken on. Despite having had more than our weekly quota of carbon monoxide in the short time it took us to walk across the Golden Gate, I'm glad that we did it. It's just one of the fun and free things to do with kids in a very expensive city, and I'm pretty sure they'll remember it.

I love when everyday life inspires us, and after this walk we were inspired to learn a little more about the building of suspension bridges. I found some fun activities to explore. The kids are busy at work and making bridges now and I'll post the results soon. So far, they've passed by me with straws, tape, dental floss, and marbles. I have no idea what else will go into their creations, but I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Family Camp

When I was a kid, I remember a few summers spent away at camp. I recall the silly campfire songs, the cafeteria food, and the large number of children with very little adult supervision. We made plastic lanyards, rode horses, slept in cabins with teenagers in charge, wrote letters home and rarely showered. My mom came and visited on weekends, and we were away for weeks. Since I lived in the city, and my mom is not a woodsy fan, this was probably my main childhood exposure to the woods.
While I had fun at my childhood summer camp in the mountains, my kids have not yet had the overnight away camp experience. They've been camping dozens of times, and lived in the woods most of their lives, but they've never "been to camp." Someday they might, but the right opportunity just hasn't come around yet. I am one of those overprotective mothers' who wouldn't just send young children off with strangers, and the low number of adults in charge that I loved as a kid isn't so much of a selling point for me now. Besides, we've always been too busy enjoying summer as a family to have any time to pack them off.
They did however, get a taste of the camp experience recently when group we know rented out a YMCA campground at the end of the season, and we "went to camp" as a family. It was a church group, and my dear husband is always afraid they are going to try to convert him, so he opted not to join us. The kids and I had a great time though. We had our own family cabin, and while it was probably the most recently painted structure, the wear and tear of dozens of kids over the summer really showed. There are so many things you never notice as a kid, like how tiny the cabins are or how trashed everything is when so many other kids use it. Regardless, we didn't come for luxury, we came for for fun, and we had it.
 We did the evening campfire, complete with smores, skits and silly songs.
We went out in a canoe on a lake, and despite the fact that it leaked and took on a bit of water, we had a nice paddle. There were some heavy patches of lake weed which sort of freaked us out when our paddles started getting stuck in it, and of course the kids came up with lots of scary things that could be in those reeds. After learning to steer clear of lake weed, we found some geese and plenty of fish. We observed the beauty in nature and breathed in the fresh mountain air.

We also made camp style arts and crafts like pine cone people with mossy hair and googly eyes and leather bracelets with designs that we punched into them. We ate cafeteria style food. There was ping pong and archery, and even though we have both of these at home, and in much, much less worn condition, playing with them under the pines lent a different feel to the experience. The same for basketball, and tether ball. There was also a game where you rolled a pool ball down a long table and tried to knock the rest of the pool balls in a slot. We played a lot of it, but I never caught what it was called.
Our couple of day family trip to camp brought back lots of fun memories for me. I was able to look up my old camp on the internet and see how much has changed and how much is the same. I was also able to see how outrageously expensive kids camps are. That makes me even less excited about the future prospects of my kids heading to one. I think I'd rather save for a trip to the tropics, and when I mentioned the fact that we could almost buy a ticket to Hawaii for the cost of a week at camp, they agreed the tropics were the way to go. Whether they go off to camp on their own in the future or not, I'm glad we had this camp experience as a family for now.