Thursday, February 21, 2008

District Spelling Bee

Well, thank goodness, the list we had been studying from for the past 2 months was the one they used at the District Spelling Bee. Jack was well-prepared, and hung in for 19 rounds! He was a spelling machine and even got the word hosta correct (which was one of the words he struggled with during our studies, always wanting to put an A instead of an O in it!) When it was down to just 3 contestants left, the girls were all giddy with excitement because they knew the top 3 places all got to go home with a trophy in addition to the plaque and medal that everyone got. The word he got stumped on was ERRAND, but unfortunately, Jack didn't hear it correctly, asked for it to be repeated, but still was uncertain. He did ask for a definition, which I'm afraid did NOT help at all. They opened up this dictionary that was as big as 2 or 3 Chicago phone books put together. The definition they read made absolutely no sense...I wanted to yell out, "What does your mom have to run at least a dozen times every week?" But I restrained myself. He thought the word was Erin, and spelled it like that, a girl's name, even though he knew it wasn't right. I'm so proud though, that he accepted his 3rd place finish with grace. I think he should have won the whole thing, as does his teacher, the assistant principal, and everyone else who was there to cheer him on!!! What an incredible achievement though, and he's just in 5th grade. We're looking forward to 3 more years of spelling bees for Jack!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh yeah, he's a MATHLETE too!

If I haven't bragged enough about my boy Jack lately, let me just tell you one more accolade he has added to his growing resume! Tonight, Jack was in a Mathlete competition held at the middle school he will attend next year. He found out last week that he scored well enough to be one of the 5 fifth graders from Allen School to make it onto the competition team. Unfortunately, there was a lot of snow this afternoon, and only Jack and ONE other boy from our school showed up for the meet. Each of the other 11 schools had a full team of 5 students. They didn't let that stop them though, the two boys won the whole darn thing! Well the speed round competition thing they did in the gym in front of the audience anyway. The individual testing, I'm not so sure about, I only know Jack didn't get a trophy for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd overall scores. We aren't too worried about that though, because WAHOO, our school gets to have the plaque displayed for the next year, and it's all thanks to Jack and Cesar! These pictures are not wonderful, I am really not happy with my digital camera lately. I'm almost ready to go back to film. But anyway...hooray for Jack, the little smarty pants. He gets that from me. :)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

That means Happy New Year in Cantonese, or so my Carmella tells me. She is learning a lot about China in her 3rd grade class. And for a special treat, I got to chaperone her field trip to Chinatown today. I love getting to spend one-on-one time with my babies!

We had a great time, got to learn a lot about Chinese history in this country and in Chicago. As we walked around after lunch, I had a whole new appreciation for all the dragons, lions, and different colors that all have special meanings. We ate a wonderful lunch at one of the 60 restaurants in this little 4-5 block area! We also learned that there are also about 50 grocery stores in Chinatown, and that most Chinese people actually prefer to go grocery shopping twice a day to ensure their food for each meal is fresh!

The shops we stopped in were so fun, the food store was just full of the most unique things. I recognized the Knorr brand but not the Chinese characters on the label! The dried seahorses were our favorite, though the ginseng's price (behind the glass case) was the most astonishing for me.

The one building with the most "authentic" Chinese look in Chinatown was actually designed by some people from Denmark and based it on some pictures of China from a German book. It's certainly beautiful though, and the carvings on it are amazing. Though we didn't get too close, we also saw the Wall of Nine Dragons and it looks equally impressive.

I'm guessing that Carmella's favorite part (other than lunch) was probably the shopping in the little gift shops. There she got her own set of chopsticks, a fan, some earrings, and a change purse. We also brought some goodies home for her sisters. We didn't see anything we thought poor Jack would like though.

Though I loved it all, this particular sign tickled me. Check out the phone number for the Hong Kong Noodle Company!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

More cards

Carmella went to spend the day with her friend Morgan, and Gina was mostly sleeping in front of the TV. Nora was a little bored, so asked if we could make some cards. She picked out one of my newer (read never been used) stamp sets, and we printed out 9 pages of card ideas. Here's what we ended up making...

And then this one...

And finally, this one...