Friday, August 29, 2008

Castle Clinton

Inky and I have been having such fun that I keep forgetting to update my blog! Yesterday, Inky and I went to Castle Clinton. It's an old fort in Battery Park that's been tons of different things, like a fort, an opera house, an aquarium, an immigration processing center, and now, the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Inky and I had to do a really, really hard crossword to earn our badges. We had to ask the ranger for help- and even he didn't know the answers!

My visit to New York is coming to an end very soon. Inky and I have such a great time together, I'm going to miss her so much when I leave. I'm going to ask my parents if Inky can come visit again soon. Inky says she thinks our families should meet at a National Park between New Mexico and Utah. I'm crossing my fingers!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More NYC visits: Teddy Roosevelt NHS and Tibet House

Inky and I did another Junior Ranger program yesterday! Now we are officially Junior Rangers at the Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site. President Roosevelt lived ages and ages ago. He did some cool stuff like advocate for Universal Health Care, clean up the NYPD, and named his son Kermit.

Inky and I have earned FIVE Junior Ranger badges together. They are:
  1. Canyonlands National Park
  2. Cape Cod National Seashore
  3. New Bedford Whale National Historical Park
  4. Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
  5. Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
One of the best parts of being homeschooled is getting to do awesome stuff like earn Junior Ranger badges all the time! Inky's even luckier than me- she's unschooled, so she doesn't even have to do math homework (ew!).

We also visited the Tibet House, a museum and gallery about Tibet. This is me and Inky in front of a statue of His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama. He is one of my heroes because of his support for peace.

Who are your heroes?

P.S. You can see all our pictures from our trip here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Inky and I had another adventure last weekend! Since both of us are homeschooled, we often get to read really cool books that other kids might not have the chance to read in school. It turns out both of us are big fans of Edgar Allan Poe. We got the chance to visit one of his homes, in Philadelphia, on Saturday.

Here we are on the front steps of the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. In order to get in, you have to bang the knocker once. Then, a park ranger will let you in. We were a little nervous! The ranger reassured us that when they restored the house, they checked under all the floorboards!

The first thing we did was ask if the Site had a Junior Ranger program- they did! We got our booklets and got to work. We saw a video about Poe's life and looked over the exhibits. One of the rangers asked us if we'd like to go on a ranger tour. Of course we did!

She showed us all over Poe's house. There wasn't any furniture, but we climbed up the narrow staircases and looked out his windows. We learned that Edgar Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clem, when she was only thirteen! Wow! That's not much older than me and Inky. We agreed that we definitely are not ready to get married, even if a famous author asked us.

The last room we saw on our tour was the cellar. It was dark and damp. The ranger told us a scary story called "The Black Cat." Then she revealed the false chimney that inspired the story! Inky and I got shivers up and down our backs. You'll have to read the story yourself to find out why! This picture is of us climbing on the false chimney.

After the tour, the ranger gave us keys to a large trunk. We had to complete several activities with the items in the trunk in order to complete our Junior Ranger booklet. When we finished, we received our badges! One of the rangers took our picture with the ranger who led our tour.

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is definitely the creepiest National Park we've been to so far!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The United Nations!

Last Thursday, Inky and I decided to go an adventure to Manhattan. I was nervous, because we decided to go all by ourselves! We are both very independent and travel all the time, but this was my first time into the city without an adult.

We rode the train, then a bus, and finally we walked the last few blocks to the United Nations Headquarters. There were so many flags lined up outside! We had to go through security, just like at an airport. Inky and I had both packed backpacks with water bottles, a subway map, and our cameras. We put them through the scanner. Before we went in, we had to check our bags at a counter for safety. Luckily, we got to keep our cameras.

The first thing we saw was Sputnik! Inky is so proud of her country's achievement in launching the first satellite; I took this photo of her in front of the model. It is dark, because we couldn't use flash in that part of the building. You can still see how excited Inky looks!

After that, we walked through some exhibits of paintings. There was a special exhibit of paintings of the Olympics by children from all over the world. I loved it! Inky and I were very impressed by how well the kids could draw. There was a little station there to draw your own Olympic picture, so Inky and I each made one.

Then, we saw the portraits of the Secretary Generals. We asked another visitor to take a picture of us under Kofi Annan's portrait. He was the Secretary General when I was born, and only stepped down last year. Doesn't he look handsome?

Downstairs, we explored the different gift shops and the UN's post office. We each bought one another a little souvenir. I wanted to send my parents a postcard, but I didn't quite have enough money. Inky said that we might be able to go back again before I go home to Utah.

Finally, we posed for a photo in front of the UN flag. Inky says she thinks the flag is especially awesome because it shows the Arctic North, her favorite part of the world. I agree! We leaned really closely to see if we could see some polar bears!

On the way home, we pretended that we were both polar bears in the Polar Bear United Nations. We have matching polar bear toys and we decided that from now on, they will be diplomats!

Cape Cod II

Inky and I have been so busy that I haven't had time to update my blog! The last two days of our trip to Cape Cod were great.

We tried out a beach on the ocean side of the cape called Head of the Meadow Beach. There was a huge sandbar protecting a little part of the beach, so Inky and I could play safely without being afraid of the undertow. I did some boogie boarding. It was fantastic! I was riding the waves! When the wave came up, I would kick and kick and then I'd go flying on top of the wave as it crested. I can't wait to do it again someday!

We also built a sandcastle. The only flag we had to stick on top was Kazakhstan! Isn't that silly? Inky said she had a Soviet flag at home, but that was it! Inky taught me the Kazakh National Anthem. It goes:

Kazakhstan- greatest country in the world! All the other countries are run by little girls!

Isn't that silly? I thought so too! I decided to write a letter to Kazakhstan telling them their anthem is really funny, but when I went to research it I learned that Inky taught me a made-up song. Isn't she funny?

Before we left the beach, Inky checked her lobster trap- she caught a crab! I steamed it for dinner in a big, blue enamel pot. Yum!

The last thing we did before returning to New York was stop in New Bedford, MA. We visited the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and earned another Junior Ranger badge! Inky forgot the camera in the car, so we don't have any pictures. Stinkbugs! (Inky says that whenever she's frustrated.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cape Cod Weekend!

Inky and I had so much fun during our trip camping on Cape Cod! We went on Friday and got home on Tuesday. On Friday, it rained and rained and rained so hard that all we did was stay in the tent and play Scrabble. We didn't take any pictures because I left the camera in the car- I didn't want to get soaked running from the tent!

During all the rain, Inky and I worked on my Junior Ranger booklet! She had grabbed one for me when she was last there, so that I didn't have to wait to go to the Visitor's Center to start. I did ALL of the activities that I could do without a ranger's help- that's how much rain we had! Inky and I pretended that we were stowaways on a ship, so we had to be quiet and hide in the hold.

On Saturday, we went to the Provincelands. That's a part of the cape on the tip, with lots and lots of dunes. The European settlers stripped them all for farming, but since they were made of sand, it didn't really work. Now, the Park Service is working to let plants grow again on the dunes. Inky and I went on a Junior Ranger hike to explore the dunes and the bogs around them. We got to eat wild blueberries and bearberries! We also got to learn to read some of the animal tracks.
After the hike, we went to Corn Hill Beach for Inky's kayak lesson. It was so cool! I think I will ask Mama and Daddy if I can learn to kayak too! I stayed on the beach to watch- and guess what I found?It's a hermit crab! It was so tiny! Inky and I watched it for a long time after she was done with her lesson. If you sat really, really still for a long time, the crab would poke out of the shell and walk around a little bit. Some kids on the beach told us that you can keep hermit crabs as pets and if you take good care of them, they can grow as big as a baseball! We decided to let our hermit crab friend go before we left the beach.
A giant storm blew in only a few minutes after we left the beach. Inky and I huddled in the tent and listened as big pieces of hail rained down all around us. I was worried the sharp pieces of ice would cut the tent, but we were safe.
On Sunday, we visited a lighthouse called Cape Cod Light. It was so cool! They had to move the lighthouse 400 feet back from the edge of a cliff so that it wouldn't fall off; the cliffs are eroding. We learned all about erosion when we were at the Provincelands, but it was so cool to see it in action. It was really windy up there and you could see sand flying off the cliff.

Doesn't it look so beautiful? Inky and I loved looking down at the ocean. You can even see that the earth is round by looking at the very gentle curve of the horizon. Awesome! I bet Mama and Daddy won't be so happy when they see what we were standing next to! (It was a big sign that said "Sliding Cliffs! Danger! Keep back!")

I will write more later, but now I am going to help Inky clean up her room. I don't know how she gets it so messy!

P.S. I finally finished my photo album of our whole trip up to Cape Cod. Check it out!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Look who it is!

Inky and I are laughing and laughing. We just got back from a really fun trip to Cape Cod, and before I post photos from that, I wanted to show you what we found online-

It's me!
Inky, you should post one of yourself on your blog too!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stop #2: New York City!

Today, after a super long journey from St. Louis, I finally arrived in New York City! I was so excited, because I hadn't seen Inky since May. As she would say, "Stinkbugs!" There was so much traffic, but I finally got to her apartment. Inky moved from Wisconsin last summer; I hadn't seen her new digs yet.

I knocked and knocked... and knocked. No one answered! Finally, I pounded really hard on the door. I heard a voice yell "And it's Pavlova for the Gold!" Pavlova is Inky's last name, so I figured I was at the right place. I knocked and knocked some more, but no one answered! I decided to see if the door was open- it was!

Inky looked super confused at first, but suddenly she ran right up and hugged me!

Inky's roomie Iris was away at Violin Camp, so I get her bed. Iris was really sweet and not only made her bed for me, but she also cleaned out her nightstand and armoire! I'll make sure to leave her a thank you note. Inky gave me some awesome presents- 2 new shirts, a journal, and my own Ugly Doll, Abima! Abima Rules!

Once I was unpacked, we made cupcakes and hung out all evening talking about silly things and all our adventures. We get to stay up until one so that we can watch Olympic Gymnastics! Good thing too, because we had tons of stuff to pack for the weekend.

Guess what we're doing?

P.S. Don't forget to read Inky's blog to hear HER side of the story.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Double trouble

I'm in trouble - double trouble. Here is what happened:

Piper's sisters, friends and I piled into Katie's car in Missouri. We were headed to Kansas to spend a week on the lake. I was so excited, how could anything go wrong?

Well Piper and her sisters can do magic, real magic, and they go to a magic school, kinda like Hogwarts! Anyway, we got to the lake and were having so much fun! It is really really beautiful in Kansas. The air is warm and the water is cool. We were having so much fun on the dock. Whenever Phoebe jumped into the water she would come out completely dry. We were laughing and laughing, because all the sisters are really good at magic.

Anyway, here is where the trouble began... Piper wanted to know if I wanted to learn a little magic also, of course I did! I thought you had to have special powers or talent to do magic, but Piper said, no, if you are not born with magic, you can just wear these special red shoes and it can help you do spells. Plus, they made me my own magic wand! How could I say no?
Piper taught me some of her favorite spells, and I couldn't belive it, they were actually working! (I so want some of these shoes at home!). After I learned summoning and vanishing spells Piper told me I could try something myself. She said "just raise your wand and think of a magical thought." Well guess what I thought? I didn't mean to, but "twins" just popped into my head.

Oh dear....
I guess I'm talented, look what I summoned-
I didn't know what to do! I wanted to vanish them, and not get in trouble, but Piper said I wasn't in trouble, instead she was thrilled!

I guess I'm the next Hermione Granger! When was the last time she summoned twins? (To see the full album of our dock party and the magic lesson, check out our album!)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sleepovers with Piper

Why don't adults have sleepovers? They are so fun! I can't remember the last time my Mama or Daddy stayed up late telling stories, eating snacks, laughing and watching movies with their friends. These are the things Piper and I have been doing every night since I got here! A few nights Lily and Holly joined us, but mostly it has been just Piper and I. We sometimes pretend we are the twins in The Parent Trap, separated at birth, and now together again.

Wouldn't it be funny if Piper went home to my house and I stayed here for awhile, and we both tricked our parents? Sometimes that is what we giggle about the most, because Piper can't speak Russian at all, so nobody would be fooled. And I can't do magic like she can.

When I grow up I will still have sleepovers, I know it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm out traveling again!

First stop - St. Louis, Missouri. And guess who lives in St. Louis? PIPER!!! And Lily! I was so excited when I found out I would be traveling to see them again. Plus, there is a really cute little girl here that loves me. She and I have been playing a lot, and she has been teaching me about her three favorite animals, dinos, wolves and sharks. But the best thing about this little girl is that she made me a special bed right next to hers and let me snuggle with all her favorite stuffed animals.

Lily, me and Piper-A few days later we went to Mastodon State Park where they found mammoth bones. Of course Piper and I dressed like twins, and we pretended to be twins the entire day. Someone even came up and asked us if we were twins. :) The mammoth bones and all of the exhibits were really interesting, and I was so glad to learn more about prehistoric animals in the Americas.

After the state park we still had lots of energy so we headed to the zoo (yep, in the same day!). The zoo in Missouri is awesome because it is really big! Right outside the gates they have this really pretty fountain with seals. One seal is even popping his head out of the water near the edge. He was so cute. Piper and I both really like seals, especially babies.

Isn't this a neat fountain?
Inside the zoo there was so much to look at. The elephant area was really neat, and they even have a baby elephant that was born last year. We saw a cool aquarium and also an awesome dinosaur exhibit! I'm really learning a lot about prehistoric animals on this trip.

And guess what is next? We are heading off to Kansas to spend a week on a lake! Piper and Lily promised me we could have a dock party with the girls.