Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mid-America Science Museum, Pt 2

As promised, here is our trip from Angie’s perspective, along with the rest of our pictures…

Our Friday Excursion

Angela Hibbard, 2/18/17

This Friday, our family went to the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

We explored the exhibits, did the hands-on experiments, and refreshed our scientific knowledge.  We had a very enjoyable time learning and doing, as well as laughing and joking.

One of the first things we did was messing with sound. We walked into a room and touched colored panels on the wall to put together a drum track.  The walls transmitted the signal from where we touched to a speaker, where the signal was turned into sound. The sounds then went together to create a very cool drum track.

After the sound room, we walked over to a motion room.  Olivia and I filled a pendulum full of sand and released it over a stone block to create a bunch of parabolas that alternated into a rectangle. Daddy and Steven sat down at a machine that amplified your heartbeat so you could hear it. The machine also showed the signals going through the machine as colors. Mommy and I joined them after the pendulum finished swinging. Olivia and Daddy put together a motion video called Attack of the Killer Hedgehog. Olivia had my hedgehog in her purse, so they put it on a table with a camera screen and moved it a little bit, then snapped a picture. The hedgehog slowly bumped into three snowmen that were there for movie purposes. Olivia and Daddy took twenty pictures and made a one second movie. The hedgehog zoomed through the snowmen and out of sight. Mommy and Steven cranked a wheel and spun a rope into an oval. I turned a wheel and created waves in a tower of bars. As they twisted and turned, the movement went all the way up the tower even as the lower bars went the other way. 

Next, we built paper airplanes in a long hall. 2017-02-17 10.50.49

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There were three rings set up with a target at the back, and various cabinets with paper, instructions, and angle measurements to build on. Steven built a paper airplane that went all the way through the rings before it crashed.

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Mine went up and looped.  It didn’t really get anywhere.  

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On the walls of the hall, there were glass light twisters.  The first one was a set of plain glass with a pattern like stained glass would normally have. When we looked through another glass, though, it wasn’t normal glass! The part of the window that was covered by the circle showed colorful glass. Next, there were colored pieces of plastic that you had to line up just right to cancel out all the color. Then there was a window with sets of blocks in it that, as you walked by, showed the outside in lots of little squares. That one was slightly disorienting. Steven played with a camera that you could spin back and look at the changing shadows and seasons.

At the end of the hall was a large contraption that used air pressure to launch balls down into a fountain on the lower floor.  We armed it, used a lever to pump until the PSI bar was green, and let the ball fly by holding down a button. The ball went up and into a spiral that dropped it straight into a tornado of water contained in a glass tube. The ball went down the tornado and out into the pool of water underneath.

We went down a ramp into a small room.  In the room was a maze with a mirror reflecting it, a door, and a square hole in the wall. I traced my finger along the maze itself. That was the easy part. Then I looked at the mirror image and tried to trace my finger along the actual maze while looking at the mirror image. It was hard! I knew that you had to do the opposite of what was in the mirror, but it was still hard. 


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The hole in the wall contained a spring.  It was right behind the entrance to the hole, so easy to find, right? Wrong! The spring was actually under the platform it looked like it was standing on, but there were mirrors set up to make it look like the spring was easy to reach.

The door was another room with light sensitive walls. At the end of a thirty second countdown, a bright light would flash, making it look like there was a picture of our shadows on the wall. We did some really crazy poses when the light flashed.

After light, we went into a soil/underground room. Olivia, Steven, and I crawled through a group of tunnels that showed the basic underground rocks. We climbed over rope bridges and went down slides. We even went through one room with an ultraviolet light. Everything was glowing.  In front of the tunnel system was a Sauropod dinosaur footprint.  It was a large dinosaur. There was also a large quartz crystal formation on display. The quartz is the official mineral of Arkansas. There were different colors on the crystal, showing where other minerals had gotten in the formation. There were even some clear spots, were the crystal was completely pure. There was also a cast of a mastodon skeleton.

We also looked at a terrain map of Arkansas, its minerals, and its main soil types. Going up into the northwest part of the state especially, there are a lot of variety and mineral types. Along the eastern border, it is mainly the same terrain. This is because of the Mississippi River.  One of the main soils is called Stuttgart soil.  It is very good for growing rice. This was especially exciting for us because we used to live around Stuttgart.  Almyra was on the terrain map.

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One of the hands-on activities was a big wooden box filled with clay pebbles. A projector showed rivers and mountains wherever we built them or hollowed them out.  I built a really big mountain.  Mommy made a dam and lake. Daddy made it rain. After we built rivers, ponds, lakes, mountains, and whatever else we could think of, we smoothed everything out really flat and made Arkansas County. Olivia built a reservoir and rice fields. 2017-02-17 11.26.23

All the way downstairs was electricity and connection.  Olivia, Steven, and I played with the heat sensors. Olivia’s glasses looked weird compared to the rest of her face. 

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We experimented with creating electricity and Olivia put together gears to spin a fan. Then we learned about gyroids. Gyroids were originally thought to only be man-made, but scientists have found them in tiny places like butterfly wings. They are connected cell structures, but they twist so nothing can go from one structure to another.

Next we went to dinosaurs. There were three different types of dinosaur footprints in the concrete outside. I did not write them down, so I won’t try to spell them, the dinosaur names all started with C and the tracks were small, medium, and large.  Olivia, Steven, and I followed the footprints into a large area with a concrete cast of a dinosaur in it.  There were tools and brushes, and we brushed pieces of clay aside and uncovered a dinosaur! Then we covered him back up so other people could play.

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The last things we did were also outside. First we created a kind of circuit by two of us sitting on a bench with our arms on armrests and everybody holding hands. This closed a circuit and played music. We then went to an area with rope bridges and a large circular rope hammock. We climbed all over the hammock and I went over one of the rope bridges backwards. It was fun. 2017-02-17 12.18.33

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Then Olivia and I laid down in the hammock and read.

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All in all, we had a very good trip.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

Something about Today…Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Official spring has finally caught up with southern weather spring. Okay, so that was yesterday, but still. It happened just in time for summer weather to arrive!

Something about the Week

Pollen!!! It’s hilarious! Everything inside and out is yellow. We do have our windows open, but it wouldn’t really matter right now – we couldn’t shut the house up enough. It’s just that bad. We wipe a thick layer of yellow off the dining room table, and before we’re done with lunch, there’s a layer back on it. I have to dust off the computer keyboard periodically and swipe the dust off my planner before making a note or checking something off.

Something I Have Observed

A tiny bug hovering in front of my computer screen. I brush it away, and it comes back. I’ve smashed a couple of them, but more keep coming. In fact, I killed one just a few minutes ago, and I already have a new one. It’s rather distracting.

Something on My Mind

Time & mental ability to get writing projects done (can you tell from previous statements that mental acuity is a bit lacking right now?); the Choates as they continue to work through the translation consultation; upcoming dentist appointments; church & friend & family needs.

Something I’m Thankful for

That so far, no one has more than the regular allergy symptoms. We’re tired, we don’t feel super great, and it’s obvious our immune systems are working hard. But, no one is actually sick. Praying that continues!

Something about My Kids

They are funny. Just downright funny. In so many ways. Which is why things like this happen randomly.

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Why yes, yes that IS a stuffed hedgehog on the dashboard. Olivia said he was helpful for her driving.

I don’t know where they get such silly behavior.

Something I’m Working on

Preparing a school list for this fall. ‘Tis the season! Fun times!

Something from Hibbard Academy

It’s spring break week in Arkansas, but I’m the mean ole homeschool mama who is making her kids work right on through. But, the kids have not complained a bit. They know the end date we’re working for and why hitting that end date is important for our summer schedule, and they are 100% on board with pushing through well. I’m so proud of their efforts this year!

Something Coming

Another round of dentist appointments for the girls – fillings and maybe a tooth or two pulled to make space for other teeth to realign themselves (hopefully!). A youth bowling trip. Church work day.

Something That Makes Me Smile

Sunday morning, the girls and I all came out matching. We had the same colors on and all three of us had our hair pulled back the same way. Completely unintentionally. It was quite funny. Mom and I used to do that, too, and it always made me smile. It’s fun to do it now and then with my girlies.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Mid-America Science Museum, Pt 1

Homeschool parents of littles often look forward to the time when their kids are older and it will be easier to take field trips. But, we don’t think about balancing that with a busier schedule overall as our children get older. That, combined with a fuller schedule now that we’ve moved to Little Rock, has tended to reduce rather than increase our number of field trips as the kids have gotten older. We’re trying to become more intentional about getting back to field trips.

Last spring when we went to the Space & Rocket Center, we found it was more cost-effective to snag a membership to our local reciprocal science museum than purchase a one-day pass to the Space & Rocket Center. So, that left us with the opportunity to head to the Mid-American Science Museum at any point between then and May of this year. We finally had a chance to use that membership last month.

I asked the kids to each write a paragraph or so about our trip. Here’s what Olivia & Steven had to share.

From Olivia

As the collective nerds we are, our family went to the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs for fun. The science museum is an interactive museum, so we got to touch and feel and play, while qualifying it as a school trip. Daddy and I made a short video of a stuffed hedgehog attacking two snowmen by taking multiple frames and stringing them together at a high speed. Then, Daddy and Steven launched balls using different motors. Then, we went down to a shadow room where a bright light imprinted our shadows on the wall. We played with mirrors, and learned that in the right light, a reflection can look very real. We learned about the soil makeup of different parts of Arkansas, including the interesting mix of Arkansas county, which we are personally familiar with. 2017-02-17 11.30.26


My favorite part was experimenting with gears.

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I was attempting to use a number of gears and some rubber bands to stretch from the motor on one little table to the series of reactions set up on another table. Sadly, one of the gear’s lining was twisted, so I couldn’t make it work, but I enjoyed the inventing.

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After all the things inside, we went outside to a walk that let us do a good bit of climbing. There was a giant circular rope netting that looked like a cross between a hammock and a trampoline. Angie’s reaction was to plop down in the middle and start reading while Steven and I tried to see how fast we could run around her.

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Set apart a little were single ropes, thoroughly surrounded by netting up above my head. Even so, walking across them was not easy. 

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From Steven

One Friday we went to the Mid American Science Museum. One of my favorite parts was the “kitty litter display maker.” (Note of explanation: It was soft, clay-based absorbent that we were able to play with, so it was dubbed the “kitty litter” display by our silly children.) You could make rivers, dams, reservoirs, and rain.

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You made it rain by putting your hand over a part of the box. You made dams, rivers, and reservoirs by moving the “kitty litter.”

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So, what did Angela have to say?

Well, she decided a paragraph wouldn’t cut it, so she wrote a whole report!! Hers will be part two.

The “kitty litter” display really was neat. A projector sensed the changes in the depth of the clay-based absorbent and colored it accordingly, with blue water for the lowest areas and green for the hills

One more thing I enjoyed was a music maker that Angie fiddled with for a little while.

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The cylinder at the back had holes that Angie could put pegs into. Then, she turned the crank on the left, and the pegs would strike the keys and create a tune. Not all of the pegs stayed in well, but she was still able to make some pretty music, including some chords.

Meanwhile, Doug and Steven had another chance at stop-animation – this time with dinosaurs! A stegosaurus and t-rex, nonetheless. They had fun creating their short video sequence. 

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All in all, it was a fun day!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

Something about Today…Thursday, March 16, 2017

Well, when I started this post, it was a chilly, cloudy morning. It stayed chilly throughout the day, but it cleared up a bit and we got some sunshine. And, it’s Thursday! For us, that means we’re almost there – almost to our day of rest. After years of not having a consistent day of rest, we’ve quickly become addicted to our Fridays. But, we haven’t had the freedom to enjoy our Friday rest for several weeks now, and we are feeling it. We’re very much looking forward to tomorrow.

Something about the Week

Winter finally arrived over the weekend, with three nights of freeze warnings. We didn’t get the snow some of our friends a little further north did, but the wind is biting. I’ve often wondered what it is about southern winter winds. I thought I was just a “cold wimp” until I heard northern friends – more than one, on more than one occasion – comment about our wind. Even though the temperatures are not as low as they might be further north, there are certain times when that wind feels like a frigid whip.

But, in typical Arkansas fashion, we awoke to cold this morning and it is forecasted to be back up in the 70’s by tomorrow!

Something I Have Observed

Doug, Olivia, and I have to work hard on time management. We use planners and timers to try to keep us on track, but ultimately, it comes back to diligence. As Angela gets older, she’s increasingly needing the same tools.

It’s fun to watch Olivia and Angela work on their time management, especially when I think back to myself at their age. I was not good at time management as a teen, and it has forced me to have to break a lot of habits over the course of my adult years. The girls, though, are learning young. They are recognizing bad habits, working to correct them, and seeking to build good habits. They are also asking for prayer and advice when they struggle. I never did that as a teenager. Oh, I talked to my mom about all sorts of things. And we prayed together over all sorts of needs. But I never even thought to let her know about my school-related stress, my feelings of never being able to relax or rest, and the constant weight that rested on my shoulders. My girls do, though. And I love praying and talking through solutions with them!

Something I Have Read or Heard

“We all need to teach and encourage another with the theology of uncomfortable grace, because on this side of eternity, God’s grace often comes to us in uncomfortable forms. It may not be what you and I want, but it is precisely what we need. God is faithful; He will use the brokenness of the world that is your present address to complete the loving work of personal transformation that He has begun. Now that’s grace!”

- Paul David Tripp, from New Morning Mercies

Something on My Mind

Work and writing projects Doug and I are both trying to get done.

Traveling friends.

The Choates and their upcoming consultation on the Lavukaleve books of Ruth, Jonah, and portions of Matthew. How exciting!

Something I’m Thankful for


Technology, even when it makes me crazy like it did today.

Changing seasons.

Something about My Kids

Oh how I wish I’d been keeping up with their silliness this week! I forget so easily. But they really are so much fun.

On Monday, there was much goofiness as we filled out the paperwork for all three of them before their eye exams. Questions like, “What is your marital status?” always incite laughter and jokes.

The exams showed what we expected: no real vision changes. Olivia’s current glasses are getting a little small for her head and are very scratched, so we knew it was time for a new pair. Angie and Steven were happy to not be getting glasses…until Olivia started the process of picking out her new pair. That’s when Angela saw a hot pink pair and tried it on, just for the fun of it. Then Olivia called her a prissy nerd. That was it. She wanted the glasses!

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Then there was Steven today. He delivered invitations and tickets to his Nerf gun show. First was an open house to display his arsenal. He walked us through each Nerf gun, it’s advantages and disadvantages, and details about which ones were his favorites and why. Stage two was a shooting session where we all got to try out our favorites.

And, Olivia is working on a song to sing at church soon. She loves music and is good at it, but singing is a talent she has had to work on. I’m so proud of her for working hard to practice this song and strengthen her voice and ear.

Something I’m Working on

Writing projects

Something from Hibbard Academy

We had an almost normal week. Yay!

Something That Makes Me Smile

The patience and creativity of my children.

Something Coming

A day of rest and a day of working down the home to-do list!

Monday, March 13, 2017

She’s Bored!

Is it wrong to laugh at my children as they try to navigate life with dilated eyes?

Angie & Steven both had to have their eyes dilated during their eye exams this morning. So, school is currently out of the question. Normally, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but right now they are both wandering around noticing all the things they CAN’T do!

Steven is just kind of meandering restlessly, and for once he actually wants to do school. He’s heading out for some canine therapy instead.

Angie, on the other hand, is going nuts because she can't read anything right now, do school work, or see well enough to sew. That child does not know the meaning of boredom, so this is new to her. She decided to go to the kitchen to make granola bars because she has the recipe memorized. But, she’s having to ask about measuring cup sizes because she can’t see the markings on the cups.

I probably shouldn’t be laughing, but this really is funny.

Only because it’s not happening to me!

In happy news, no glasses for either of them, and we already knew it was time for Olivia to get new ones. So, yay for great eye appointments!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Fun

When our kids were little, they usually played so beautifully together. They shared many interests and found a wide variety of mutually enjoyable activities.

Over the last few years, though, it’s been a little more challenging. The girls have become teenagers, and their interests have diverged. And, of course, their little brother is still young and all boy. The girls are good about trying to intentionally play with Steven, but it’s not always a natural thing.

So, on those days when I hear the laughter of all three kids flowing down the stairs or in through the open windows at unexpected times, it makes my heart smile. Yesterday morning they had a great time together outside while I finished up lunch. Then, this afternoon, I heard the laughter and imagination flow as they all spontaneously gathered in Steven’s room to play with Legos.

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As littles, the relationships were natural. Growing up has forced them to be more intentional about keeping their sweet friendship alive. Some days, like today, it flows more naturally. But it’s a blessing to watch my children willingly work to maintain their relationship even when it isn’t so easy, when growing pains and diverging interests make common ground a little harder to find.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

Something about Today…March 1, 2017

Twenty years ago today, I was in my dorm room enduring a muggy, stormy Saturday. Campus was almost deserted because so many people were gone that weekend. That turned out to be a huge blessing. I was watching the weather on TV when I heard, “A tornado has touched down in Arkadelphia,” as sirens began to wail. Those words were barely out of the weatherman’s mouth before power went out and the roaring began. I raced for the stair well, but the roar was gone almost before I made it to the stairs. I discovered later that the storm had, in fact, touched down on OBU’s practice fields. It jumped up and flew over campus before slamming back down into downtown, pretty much flattening a mile-wide path through town. Within minutes, the sky was blue and the air was still as the storm continued on its destructive path elsewhere. So very many memories are connected to that storm. Some of them are terrible, but others are so beautiful – memories of watching a town come together and of being a part of helping Arkadelphia clean up and rebuild. Those memories are especially strong when March 1 is stormy as it was again this morning.

Something about the Week

It’s been a crazy, fast week. We’re all finally feeling rested again after a weekend of Doug and the kids running here and there while I joined my boss for a really wonderful weekend working the Ft. Worth Great Homeschool Convention. Despite my boss being sick and me doing crazy things like leaving my overnight bag under a table at the convention hall, we really did have a great trip. The reduced sleep and heavy peopling have taken a bit of recovery time, though!

Something I Have Observed

God is the God of truth. Oh how I love that! This life is a mess, my friends. A royal mess. But, we can always trust the God of truth, love, mercy, and justice.

Something I Have Read or Heard

“Be sweet to homeschoolers – They don’t get out much.”

- Tim Hawkins

Yep, that’s about as deep as it gets this week. (And, yes, I saw some of those homeschoolers last weekend! Haha! We’re a strange bunch sometimes!)

Something on My Mind

I have friends waiting. Friends praying for wisdom. Friends being challenged on every side. Friends seeing new doors opening. Friends trying to figure out which direction they are supposed to go. But through it all, God is so incredibly faithful! It often hurts when we’re in the middle of it, but oh how faithful He is!

Something I’m Thankful for

The cool air wafting through my window. It was warm and muggy yesterday and this morning. But, the last bout of rain and storminess pushed through, and immediately the air turned fresh.

I’m thankful, too, for friendships and for reminders of God’s hand.

Something about My Kids

Okay, so everyone who knows our family knows we’re major bibliophiles. Among other books and series, my kids love the Lord of the Rings series as well as The Hobbit. They have never seen more than a few clips of the movies, though. There’s a good reason for that. Over the weekend, Angie caught glimpses of portions of Hollywood’s rendition of The Hobbit as it aired on television multiple times. I got several texts from Doug describing her responses. While out grabbing a quick supper after bowling Friday night, they finally had to leave the restaurant because the “critique” of the movie was getting a little intense. After they were home and the kids were in bed, Doug asked Angie if she wanted to get up and come quickly so she wouldn’t miss the scene where Legolas and Thorin fight the pale goblins on the frozen lake. Her response? “Wait. What?! When does that ever happen?”

It has been determined that Angela never wants to watch any of the movies based on Tolkien books. Or Janette Oke books. Or at least a couple of the Narnia movies.

Yeah. She’ll just stick with the books.

Something I’m Working on

Getting my writing routine back in line. Pondering Olivia’s birthday. If the months keep flying this quickly, it will be here before I have time to even begin to contemplate it!

Something from Hibbard Academy

A light couple of weeks. Thankful for the leeway we have in the overall schedule, because it’s giving us a change to be flexible in a stretch where our normal times of rest are not at all possible.

Meanwhile, I’m beginning to look toward next fall! That’s always fun!

Something That Makes Me Smile

Cow goofiness. I’m not sure how the insurance company will respond to putting a cow driver on our plan, though.

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Something Coming

Dentist appointments tomorrow. Doug is speaking at a men’s retreat on Friday (not staying for the whole retreat – just for a while on Friday). Hopefully some real rest and family time on Saturday since we’ll be missing that on Friday.