Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Racing a 5k

The race day finally arrived.  After training for the 5k with a cross country group for 3 months, I was ready for the big day.  Training for the 5k was tough. My group ran Monday, Wednesday, Thursday in our local mountain trails and our neighborhood streets.  

My day started on a chilly morning with the sun just starting to peek its way through the clouds.  I warmed up with my track and field group that were also getting ready to run the race.  There were a couple hundred people watching, walking, or running the race. While I was resting from my warm-up,  I looked around, and tried to  find the start line. Since there were so many people, I couldn't even see it! There was also a DJ warming everyone up before the race.  A giant clock counted down until 8:00 am and the horn blew the start of the race.

Our race course was a large loop around the streets in our neighborhood. The week before the race, I ran a couple times for practice and felt ready for this race.  After the half way point, I got a cup of water and poured it over my head to refresh myself.  It felt so nice that I sprinted the rest of the race.  While I was running the race, my siblings were at work making a me a sign to cheer me on.   As I made my way to the finish line, my mom, sisters, and brother cheered me.

When I had finally finished, I had run the race in 23: 30: 38 and came in 5th place in my age group and 20th overall.  

As a part of the Cross Country Team, we also had competitions on the weekends running 3k on mountain trails.  Below are some photos from my warm ups and races.  

What do you do to push yourself to achieve?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Guest Post By Michael: Thanksgiving Dinner

My sister with my cousin
Last night, we had an amazing Thanksgiving dinner.  We prepared for this party by baking banana bread, pumpkin bread, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a huge turkey.  The turkey and the rest of the meal smelled phenomenal. It took my sisters and I hours to cook all of the delicious foods.  It was a lot of fun, and I hope to bake more yummy cakes.  My twin sister Hannah did a post on my sisters Sarah's blog about cooking the foods.  

Next, my whole family came over such as aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. When they came they gave us each a hug and a kiss. After we were done eating our meal, I had to read a paragraph I wrote at school to my guests. The paragraph was about what I was thankful for, my family and having fun siblings.

Cutting up the turkey
After, my cousins and I played tag, hiding go seek, basketball, and handball. When it was dark, I played the piece Clowns on the piano to all the guest's. My sisters also played on the piano and the violin.  I love all the people that came, and hope to see them again on different holidays.

My family

Eating the delicious foods at the kids table

Reading my Thanksgiving speech

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 Edublog Nominations

I am very excited to be part of the Edublog nomination process.  I have been blogging for 4 and a half years, and I have come across many interesting blogs that deserve an award.  

Here is my list of blogs that I nominated:

 Best Student Blog

Come Somersault with Sarah

One of my favorite student bloggers is my sister Sarah.  Sarah has been blogging for 3 years when she earned her own blog in Mrs. Yollis class.  Sarah publishes a new post at least once a month and comments back to everyone.  Sarah even sends me some nice comments once in a while.  I really think Sarah's blog is an excellent example for other bloggers who have just started blogging. 

Best Class Blog

Mrs Yollis’ Classroom Blog

I have seen many class blogs but my favorite is Mrs Yollis.  She has a new interesting post up every week and supports her student bloggers by leaving comments on their blogs.  She also comments back to many of her readers on her blog. 


Best Group Blog

Mrs. Yollis 365 Project 

I love the 365 blog because it has really engaged me to take pictures.  It has grown and expanded so much, that people from around the world contribute to it.  I now carry my camera everywhere I go thanks to Mrs. Yollis.

Best Library/Librarian Blog

Bulldog Readers  By: Mrs Hembree

The bull dog readers is an excellent blog because Mrs. Hembree really gets us involved in reading even in the summer.  She also gives great recommendations on books to read.  I really enjoy visiting her blog and so will you.  

Check out these great blogs and let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Visiting Toyon Bay, Catalina

A couple days ago, I went on a school trip to Toyon Bay, Catalina Island.  I had an amazing time from the minute we arrived. That morning, I had to get up a 5 am and get ready for the bus.  After a couple hours on the bus we arrived in Long Beach and went onto the Catalina Classic.  Our boat ride to Catalina was about 2 hours and on the way, I watched the beautiful view of the island.  It was really special to have our school teachers accompany us as chaperons on this trip. 

In my bunk we had 10 girls, and during our free time, we played a card game called Gumpsh. It is a silly game played with six people. Each team of two must communicate through a secret code in to get four of the same cards in order to win.  We also had fun doing each other's hair and just having girl time.  Its too bad it all became messed up when we woke up the next morning.

Our bunk

Getting ready to snorkel!
Our first activity on the island was a snorkeling trip around the coast.  I had to fight with my wet-suit pants to get them on.  It was particularly interesting to watch the teachers struggle in the same manner as we did to get their suits on. While snorkeling, the first fish that we encountered was the orange Garibaldi, which is the state marine fish.  This was one of my favorite fish as its bright neon orange stood out in the murky water.  This was only one of many fish that we saw off the coast of Toyon Bay.  During our snorkeling adventure, we also saw leopard sharks.  There were 10 -12 sharks swimming by us as we floated above the water peering down upon their world. These sharks were a couple feet long and had distinctive spots on them.  After changing out of our wet-suits, we had our evening activity, a squid dissection. I was kind of grossed by the fact that we had to pull out the guts of our squid but I later warmed up to the idea once I saw the coolest part of the dissection.  Inside a squid their is a feather-like pen and an ink sack.  When you dip the feather in the ink you can write your name and even draw a picture on a piece of paper.

Leopard Shark

The next morning, we went to pet sharks, sting rays, and many other interesting sea creatures.  The tank contained small sharks and stingrays that we were allowed to touch.  In fact, the tank contained the same leopard sharks that we swam with the day before.  This trip was one of the best school trips yet, and I hope one day that I will be able to go back to Catalina.

What did you think of our school trip? 
What is your favorite school trip?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Visiting Jerusalem

Standing at the Mt of Olives Cemetery
Sarah and a tired camel 
Our last destination, Jerusalem, was probably the most exciting, the most diverse, and the most holiest place we visited.  Jersulem is the capital of Israel and the most populous. It also acquires the most diverse people and religions.  Jerusalem has been the holy city for three different religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim.  Jews believe that this holy city was the religious and political center during the biblical times.  Christians believe it to be the holy city because Jesus' crucifixion occurred in Jerusalem. Muslims deem this city as holy because the Prophet Muhammad rose to heaven from there.  All three religions have prospered in this one small but holy city, Jerusulem.  

Jerusalem has so many important sites that we visited the city twice to ensure we had time to see all the famous places. On both of the days that we visited, we had to where knee length dresses or skirts, and shirts that covered our shoulders for modesty.  The first day we visited, we went through an underground tunnel to look at the western wall from below.  During the biblical times, the city was actually much lower than it is today and so to see the actual streets, we had to go undergound. It was frightening walking underground, but then too see how huge each brick of the western wall was, just gave me the chills.  Its hard to believe that a brick the size of my stretched out arms,  could be lifted up and used to build the temple and its surrounding walls. After the underground tour of the western wall, we got to visit the remaining part of the wall today.  In the car on the way to Jerusalem, my mother gave us a small 
piece of paper to write our wishes, 
hopes and prayers for the future. 
We stuck the small papers into an already full wall of notes and observed the people praying to God at the Western Wall.   

Western Wall
The next day, we visited the city of David and walked through Hezekiah's Tunnel, a tunnel filled with fresh chilly spring water.  This hidden spring was a place where kings were coronated and an eerie dark feeling crept up my body as I started the long trek through a pitch black tunnel.  The first step into the spring water sent me shivering, but after a while, my body got used to the cool temperature as we silently, continued walking.  The water has flowed since the time of the Prophets and with our weak lit flashlights we saw the ancient shafts, walls, and fortresses of the city of David.  The city of David was the foundation of the holy city of Jerusalem.

Narrow streets and white stone buildings of Jerusalem 
The opening of the water tunnel

Under the Western Wall. Look at the size of those bricks! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spending time in Netanya and the Kinnerit

Our adventures in Rome came to an end, and we were ready to travel on to our next destination, Israel. Israel is a small middle eastern country that is located along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.  The country was only made the official homeland for the Jews in 1948.  This small strip of land is considered the holy land for the Jews, and according to to the bible, Abraham settled a small population of Jews in the holy land. We got lucky because while we were there, war had not started, but it is sad to hear about so many innocent people dying.
Preparing for a meatball toss!

Having dinner with friends
Last year, our friends from Israel visited us for one month.   After they left, they invited us to come visit them and we did.  They gave us a car to use while we stayed and showed us around Israel. 
Boogie Boarding
Our flight to Israel wasn't long, but our plane got delayed so by the time we arrived I was exhausted.  We stayed in a condo in the city Netanya which was located right along the beach about 30 minutes north of Tel Aviv.  Sarah, Hannah and I all shared a room together and it felt like a giant sleepover.  The next morning we woke up really early and went to the beach.  The water was so clear that we could see the bottoms of our feet.  Not only was the water clean, it was very warm and some days there were almost no waves.  Little black fish swam along side you and bit the bottoms of my moms and dads feet.  My siblings and I also made up a game called the meatball toss.  Each pair playing had to make a strong meatball and throw it back and forth taking one step back on every toss.  The team whose ball breaks, loses.  We spent a lot of time at the beach as it really was the best place to be.  We made friends with some cats, who were wandering all over the place.  Usually, after lunch or dinner we had bones and skin from chicken that we didn't finish so we fed it to the cats. They were really friendly and we pet them.  

At the beach in Netanya
Spending the day with friends

The next morning, we went to the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Kinneret.  We also visited the gravesites of Maimondes and Rabbi Akiva. Maimonides also known as Rambam was a scholar, physician, philosopher, and a talmudist.  Rabbi Akiva was an inspiration to many people.  He was uneducated at the beginning of his life and only learned to read and write when he got married.  After a couple years he had thousands of students that admired him.

Lake Kinneret is a fresh water lake that is located in the city Tiberias. The Kinneret is a gorgeous warm lake that has tall mountains called the Golan Heights standing above it.   The Jordan river flows into the lake.  The Kinneret is also the place where Jesus walked on water.  We left our condo early that morning as the drive to the Kinneret was very long.  We arrived at the lake and we ran to the warm water.  In the water we floated on our boards, had swimming races, and just relaxed.  It was a really great way to spend the day!

Rabbi Akiva's grave

What a gorgeous view of Tiberius!
Maimonides grave

Floating in the Kinneret

Overlooking the Kinneret and the Golan Heights

After the Kinneret we visited the Yardenit, the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.  In this place, the water from the Jordan river flows to the dead sea.

Awww, so cute!
In front of the Yardenit 

Where is your favorite place to spend the day?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ciao From Rome!

Ciao from Italy, Rome! Finally, after a gruesome 12 hour flight we arrived to our first destination, Rome. I finally get out of the airplane and outside it is hot and very humid.  Living in California should have prepared me for this type of weather but even I couldn't stand it, and I knew my siblings couldn't stand the heat either. But I knew that the three days we would be staying in Rome would be a blast and they were!

During our trip, we went to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps, the capital building, and the Trevi Fountain.  We walked from very early in the morning until late at night.  That morning we went to the Colosseum.  Riding the metro for the first time was a lot of fun, but the Colosseum was even better.  You can't even imagine the size of this amphitheater as it was the largest one back then and is still the largest today.   This amphitheater was able to hold 50,000 to 80,000 people   I was walking on the same place where people almost two thousand years ago sat and cheered for the gladiators fighting for their lives below.  The columns holding up the amphitheater stood like giants waiting to crush the people below.  Each column was built without cranes or any type of machinery we have today and yet they are gigantic, and are full of details.  How the people built this Colosseum without the technology we have today amazes me. 

After the Colosseum we walked to the Roman Forum which was nearby.  The Roman Forum was the center of government in ancient Rome. The Roman Forum was a huge area of land where there once stood important government buildings.  Surprisingly the Germanic people who invaded Rome weren't the cause of the destruction of the Roman Forum.  What really destroyed this great area of land was that the buildings gradually crumbled after Rome fell. The large area of land became so isolated and bare that it soon known as the Cow Plain.  Today, the only thing left is parts of the buildings, and exquisitely designed columns and arches.  Right outside the Roman Forum just a couple blocks away stood the capital building of Rome.  As you can see in the image the building full of details with statues everywhere.  We came at the right time and saw the change of the guards.  Both guards were in sync the whole time they did their salutes. 

View of the Entire Roman Forum

Capital Building

Our adventures had just begun that afternoon as we still had a lot of sightseeing to do but first we had to get gelato because isn't that what Italy is known for.  Before I even had one bite of the gelato my mouth was already watering seeing all of those delicious flavors.  There was a gelato shop at every corner in those narrow cobble-stoned streets that we walked through.  In a large cup, my 3 siblings and I chose and shared 4 different flavors every day until we were sure we had tried almost all of them.  I wish I could eat gelato every day! 

The next day we went to the Spanish Steps.  The Spanish Steps were built in between 1723-1726 by De Sanctis the Spanish Ambassador.  It was built in the Piazza Trinità dei Monti and it has a church at the top of the steps.  This Piazza also has this large fountain in the center.  Rome is full of different piazzas with miniature monopoly type cars driving around.The cars were so small they looked like monopoly cars.  We also saw horse carriages that carried people from place to place.  A couple blocks away was the Trevi fountain.  Even though it was under construction, the statues and the fountain still looked amazing!

Our last stop for the day was the Pantheon. The Pantheon is an ancient temple in Rome that has a round dome.  It was built by Hadrian and dedicated to the Roman Gods.  Pantheon means the place for gods and it became a Christian church and later a shrine.  Famous Italians kings were buried there and even the Renaissance painter Raphael was buried there as well.  As we were exiting this breath taking temple, we got caught in an extremely heavy downpour of rain with thunder and lightening. Living in California we don't get so much rain, and I have never seen lightning or heard such loud thunder.  We hid under the Pantheon for a half hour, and then ran to the nearest cafe to get something to eat. 

What we saw these two days Rome was just the beginning and there was still more to see.  To find out how we finished our fabulous vacation in Rome, look at my sisters blog, Come Somersault With Sarah.  

Have you ever traveled overseas? 
Where did you go?