Friday, April 27, 2007

Philadelphia Adventure

We had a blast on our trip to Philly! While there, we saw the King Tut exhibit at the Franklin Institute, though of course no photos were allowed. The exhibit was wonderful—at least twice as big as the recent Pompeii exhibit we visited in Mobile. A solid gold sarcophagus of either Tut's mother or grandmother was on display, and it was truly phenomenal, as was the small canopic coffinette of Tut himself, a glimpse of which you can catch for yourself at this brief National Geographic gallery of the exhibit. The kids were fascinated by many of the objects we saw, especially what was likely the young Tut's royal chair. One of the neatest things is being able to look back at some of the original Carter photographs and recognize items we saw on display like this dummy folding stool. Of course, the rest of the museum was loads of fun as well, and we explored electricity, air and flight, the body and, of course, the heart, and we also enjoyed the IMAX film Mysteries of Egypt.

Our plan was to stay overnight at the Hotel Windsor, just three blocks away, and finish the museum the following day, and we'd planned especially to come on a Wednesday because the museum has extended hours. Unfortunately, best laid plans often do go awry, and the museum was closed for a private event on Thursday! Gathering ourselves and the four free IMAX tickets that were our consolation prize, we headed over to the Academy of Natural Sciences to spend our morning. We had considered but ruled out a visit to this museum in favor of spending more time at the Franklin Institute, but apparently the universe was sending us a message. Although much of the museum was a replay of the taxidermy displays we saw on our trip to Cabela's, the butterfly room was loads of fun and in many ways the highlight of our trip. Sam thrilled when he showed the curator one of the butterflies ready for release. The staff in the butterfly room was absolutely delightful, and we really enjoyed our visit overall. Not a wasted day in the least.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Whirlwind trip

I realized that I haven't blogged yet about our big adventure. Time being at a premium this time of year on the farm and all. We had a wonderful time down south, which began with a great visit with Ren Allen and her family. Unfortunately, I didn't get a single photo, but Ren did, so I'll post when she has a chance to send them.

Once we arrived at my mom's place on the Gulf Coast, we we joined up with some good friends from Albuquerque who met us there. We had glorious weather and loads of fun on the beach and at home. One evening, we sat up much too late and drank too much beer on the screened in porch. The kids were having so much fun, and we were all quite content. Sam was out picking jasmine flowers for the girls to make into leis. They must've been at it for about 2 hours! The adults, of course, were laughing about our sweat shop conditions, but the kids were really focused and intent upon their project.

During the week, we visited the Mobile Children's Museum The Exploreum where there was an exhibit called A Day in Pompeii with several of the body casts and artifacts. The kids were fascinated by the exhibit, though I thought it was a bit small. Em's favorite part was learning about religious worship in Pompeii and the variety of gods and goddesses from different cultures; Sam liked the cast of the dog. We'd watched the Discovery Channel dvd Pompeii: The Last Day before we went, so the kids and I had a sense of what we were going to see. The kids had the most fun in the permanent exhibits, however, which included a lab set-up by Ciba with several experiments the kids could choose. Jules is doing the tornado experiment while Em and Sam are playing with architecture and earthquakes.

On our way home, we stopped at the Lovejoy's to enjoy a fabulous house concert with Amy Steinberg. She puts on an amazing show, so if you ever have a chance to see her in concert, do! The kids had a blast hanging out with other unschoolers, and they were really looking forward to hearing one of their favorite artists. As Sam says, she sings "from her heart." Sam got to hear his absolute favorite song, "Exactly," before he fell asleep in between sets. I couldn't believe he actually went to sleep on the Lovejoy's living room couch! What a gift because I was able to enjoy both sets before needing to head back to the hotel with the kiddos. Of course, I managed to leave my camera on the emotional way out the door with tired kids and sad goodbyes, wishing we could be surrounded by such wonderful folk all the time. But, that meant I got to enjoy the Lovejoy's company one more brief time, as they kindly stopped by the farm to hand deliver my camera on their way home from Hershey. Man, what service!