Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wordy Wednesday

Hello, everyone!
    So, lots of stuff has been happening lately.... definitely keeping me busy! I apologize for not having posted for a few days.
    First of all -- most of you probably know this from my mom's Facebook posts, but we're trying to adopt! We don't know how many yet, or what age, or even really gender... but it's exciting! We've had our first home study, where the caseworker assigned to us came over and basically checked to make sure that our house is safe for any kids we adopt. My brother is pretty excited about the possibility of getting a little brother that he can play with. I think it would be cool to adopt a girl, since I've never had a little sister, and honestly I think I could relate to a girl more easily. I think Aly doesn't have as strong of a preference as James and I do, as she will be going to college soon, but she seems to be leaning slightly towards adopting a girl. My parents don't have a preference either, at least not that I know of. However, I do know that my mom would love to adopt a younger child -- just yesterday, she was talking about a sibling set with a 1-year-old, 2-year-old, 3-year-old, and 4-year-old! The 1 and 3 are boys (because all boys are odd, haha!) and the 2 and 4 are girls. We've also looked at another sibling set: twin 6-year-olds, one boy and one girl; a 10- or 12-year-old boy, I can't remember which; and a 15-year-old girl, who goes by the nickname of Maddy, wants to be teacher, loves school, and reads/writes! ...she sounds like the twin I never knew I had.
    My mom's birthday was this past Friday! (Happy belated birthday, Mama!) I've also got a birthday coming up -- tomorrow, actually! It's kind of hard to believe that I'm going to be 16. I'm not sure if I'm ready... I've really enjoyed being 15! But then again, Sweet Sixteen!! Woo-hoo! And this summer, I think I'm going to take a Driver's Ed. course, so that I can get my license.... I'm pretty excited about that, too! FREEDOM! Haha. And presents, too... who doesn't like presents? And who doesn't love a good party? My grandparents are also coming over this weekend for a 'birthday dinner', which will be a ton o' fun! I've got one of the best, most amazing/crazy families in the universe.
    AP exams at school are coming up -- as are EOCs, EOCTs, Milestones, SPGs, etc. I'm ready for the last four (bring it on!) but I'm not so sure about the AP exams. I really want to do well on those, because not only will it bring up my grades, but it will also reflect well on my teachers and allow me to earn college credits as well. I'm fairly confident I can get at least a 3, which is passing, on both my AP World History and AP Biology tests, but I'm really wanting and aiming for 4's and 5's, aka "exceeds" and "superior". Let's face it: the odds of me getting a 5 on both tests is pretty low. But there's always the possibility! And seeing as how I've managed a 4 on my last two Mock AP Bio tests, I think I can probably get a 4 on the real thing. My parents have gotten me some workbooks and flashcards designed specifically for the AP courses, too, and they're super helpful.
    Does anyone here use Pinterest? I do, and I'm finding myself super addicted to it. As in, every spare moment is spent on Pinterest. I've got more boards than I know what to do with, almost 900 followers, over a million likes and two million pins.... yeah. It's getting a little out of hand. But I can't bring myself to stop, since it's so... *ahem* Pinteresting! I love it. I could, would, and quite possibly already do spend hours online every single day. The thing about this site that really appeals to me is that there is, quite literally, a pin for EVERYTHING. You can follow any board or person, like/follow certain topics that you're interested in, upload any pictures or sites of your own..... it's really quite amazing, actually. Hours are wasted, never to be regained.... is it worth it? I'm not sure yet. I'm trying to spend less time on there, though.... I've got poems to write, pictures to draw, and books to read!
    School's awesome, as usual. I've got all A's again -- yay me -- as opposed to those two B's I had as of last week! (...both of which were in my AP classes....) Here's hoping that the A's are here to stay~! Biology is really interesting right now -- we've just finished learning about neurons and now we're learning about the immune system. When we were talking about neurons, I actually managed to think of a question my teacher couldn't answer: I asked what causes some people (like me) to have high or low pain tolerances. Did their neurons have higher thresholds, and therefore send fewer action potentials? Or did the action potentials have lower frequencies? Or did the brain simply receive these potentials differently? ....neither my teacher nor the assistant teacher could answer, which was funny. I've never managed to render a teacher speechless before! In World History, we've officially stopped learning new things and will be reviewing until the end of the year. We play Kahoot a lot (it's an online review game), and I usually manage to end up on the leaderboard! In French, we've begun talking about prepositions, which is really interesting actually. It's all so different from English, which is to be expected, I suppose, but it's also very beautiful. French is an amazing language. One day, I want to move to Canada -- where people speak French, and where the weather is usually cool, which I like! Math: we're currently in the middle of our logarithmic functions unit. It's kind of fun! And in Language Arts, I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451. It was a pretty good book (but I'd read it three times before, so....). Different groups in the class will be teaching everyone else about different parts of the book. My group is going on Tuesday next week, and we're discussing the symbols and motifs! We've decided we're going to teach through a PowerPoint/lecture and then have our "students" debate over different topics afterwards. My teacher -- she's awesome -- says that usually when she does this with her classes, she gets other teachers to come and watch/listen/act like students! And apparently, they like to talk in class, play on their phones, etc. So I've talked with my team members and we decided that we'll be taking everyone's phones as they walk into the class, and send anyone who talks out into the hall, where we will then have to talk to them. We're supposed to act like we are actual teachers, which I think is really cool since I want to be one! My friends keep joking that I'm going to be a natural with this, since I love to learn and teach others. In my Journalism/Yearbook class, we've finished the actual yearbook -- actually, it was finished about a month ago. Now, we're busy completing various "journalism brush-up tasks" and coming up with different marketing strategies, so that we can get more of our books sold. We only have 125 of them left, as of this morning, which is awesome... and apparently we're selling more every day!!
    And now that I've finished this relatively-long update full of my ramblings about various topics, I shall leave you all with a poem and a picture. I hope you enjoy both of them, in addition to the actual post!

~Mattie <3

How do pencils
Leave such perfect marks on paper?
Curves. Sharp edges. Shading.
To draw,
You need nothing except
A pencil and paper, and a bit of imagination.
Start here, add some detail there, color it in, create a new person or place or thing.
It forms from your thoughts.
Flows down your arm,
Into your hand,
Your fingertips,
Out, down the pencil,
Guiding it across the paper.
And all of a sudden, you see it --
The picture you'd imagined, seen in your mind,
It is suddenly there in front of you,
Tangible, changeable, shareable.
Now it is there
For the entire world to see, if you choose to show it.
And then you reach down, and flip the page in your notebook --
And you see a fresh, clean, new page appear.
Perfectly smooth and white.
It seems almost a shame, a waste, to put any marking on it.
But as soon as you've gotten a new idea,
You have no other choice.
You place the tip of your pencil back down, move it across the paper,
Watch as the graphite trails behind.
And you cannot help but smile
As your new creation slowly
Begins to come to life.

Ruby Rose - from the show RWBY

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Treasured Tuesday

This poem is for the people who think they don't matter, or they're not enough.
They're wrong.

You walk into the classroom, not
Eagerly, but not particularly dreading it either.
You made sure not to be the
First one to arrive, not do you wait until the
Last minute before the bell.
If someone says "hi", you respond with a small wave, nod, almost unnoticeable smile.
No time for small talk. Not today.
You sit right in the middle of class.
The perfect seat: far enough from
The eager students in the front rows that you
Won't be called on. Not so far back that
The troublemakers can bother you, either.
As the other desks become occupied, you slowly
Begin to blend in. A small wave in the endless sea of faces.
I notice how withdrawn you seem.
Instead of taking notes, you sketch on the edges of your paper.
Instead of flipping through the textbook, you sneak a novel or comic book.
I watch it all out of the corner of my eye.
You always know the answers, but you never raise your hand.
You talk if called on, but only then. You never volunteer.
The majority of the time,
You get through the entire class without uttering a single word.
Just the way you like it.
But why?
You couldn't always have been such an introvert, so shy and quiet.
What changed?
You say there are the
Cute girls, the nerdy kids, the athletic guys. Hardcore, hipster, goth.
You are none of the above, so you assume -- falsely --
That you don't matter.
Unimportant. Replaceable.
But you are wrong.
You think that you are invisible,
Untouchable. Unwanted. Not needed.
Because you are imperfect.
But you are wrong.
I can see you.
I notice every detail: how you let
Your hair fall in your face; when you seem
Tired or sad; your smile, or lack of one.
I see it all.
You think you are invisible, but you are an
Entire universe -- galaxies, the unknown,
Beautiful and new -- all inside the body of a single person.
You are endless. 
Because, to quote one of my favorite authors, John Green:
Some infinities are larger than others.
And you?
You contain such marvelous, awe-inspiring
Ideas and knowledge that the rest of the world has yet to hear of.
You think you are invisible.
But me?
I see it all. And I understand.
You are unique, not perfect. Unique is better, anyways.
You contain an entire infinity.
You matter, and I see it all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Time-to-Rhyme Tuesday!

The title of this post may be a bit misleading. I will be posting a poem, but... it doesn't rhyme! Haha, it's a spoken-word poem, or as some people call it, a free-verse. I've already read this one to my family members, but I'm finally typing it up for the rest of you! Enjoy~

Light-brown hair,
And bright blue eyes
Twinkling with secrets and stories untold.
Pale white skin -- the color
Of the paper this was written on, or perhaps the color of the walls at school.
Long legs, made to run,
Though they don't do that often.
Walking is easier.
Pink lips, sometimes tilting up at the corners, tilting down just as often;
Sometimes wide open with a yawn or a laugh,
Revealing white teeth behind.
The mouth... of a singer.
Hands, pale and smooth;
Left hand calloused from violin strings, right hand a bit small and scarred from  one muscle too few.
Long, thin fingers, seemingly created only to dance across the keys of a piano,
And crafted to hold a pencil with ease.
The hands... of an artist.
Small nose, pointy chin, long lashes.
A shorter neck, stubborn and unyielding...
Never one to back down or, ahem, turn away. Not from any challenge.
A girl -- who takes in everything all at once,
And hopes never to forget it.
And hopes never to be forgotten.

~ Mattie

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sleepy Sunday!

Hey everyone~
     Phew! We've been getting a lot of work done around the house lately! It almost feels like it's not the same building -- like it's someone else's home. Today, I put the (hopefully) last coat of wax on the kitchen table; once we buff it, the table should be completely done! And my parents have been working on their biggest project yet: they're taking down the railings/banister on the stairs, and replacing it with a bookshelf! I wholly approve of this renovation. Books for everyone!
     So, yeah -- all this work is pretty exhausting! But to make things worse... sometimes, I am just so forgetful. Example: this evening, I asked if I was allowed to wait a while longer before I took my sleep meds. My parents said yes, because this week is spring break, so there's no school tomorrow. I cheered victoriously. And then proceeded to take all. Of. My. Meds. Including the sleep pills. Awesome, right? If I make it to 9:00 -- no, 8:30 -- without passing out, it'll be a miracle. I'd better write fast, so I don't forget what it is I want to say! Haha
      To stay in theme, I shall write a poem about sleep. I have no clue whether it's going to be any good or not, and honestly? Tomorrow, I probably won't even remember that I wrote it until I check my blog page. Let's see what I can come up with in this half-asleep daze that I'm in.

Why is it that
When you are at work, or school,
All you want
Is to sleep?
And then when you get home
Lay down in bed, lights off, blankets on
You can't lose consciousness.
No matter how hard you try.
That sleepy haze you fought earlier is now gone completely;
You wish that it would come back, but no,
Your thoughts come so fast:
Worries about the future,
Reflections on the past,
Wishing about what could be,
And what, in our minds, ought to be.
But finally -- finally,
After seconds that feel like minutes, and minutes that feel like hours,
You feel the fog of sleep slowly enveloping your mind,
And you sink into darkness.
Sometimes impossible to achieve,
The majority of the time, wanted,
And always so warm and welcoming to us all.

Usually forgotten, so quickly, so easily.
Did you know, that after ten minutes,
There is only a ten percent chance of you remembering your dream?
Most people don't.
Dreams, sometimes logical, sometimes nonsensical.
Happy, exciting, blissful.
But nightmares, too --
Scary, terrorizing, cold and hostile.
Nightmares are so much easier to remember than your average dreams.
I don't know.
But it's worth it, I think,
To experience the happy dreams.
The ones that you know could never normally come true.
Dreams allow you to experience what is usually impossible.
Flying, falling, being invisible; a hero, a villain, princess, knight;
Flashbacks to old memories, though sometimes with a few tweaks.
So beautiful and wonderful.
I don't understand them.
And I don't want to.

     Ta-da! I'm going to have to look at this again tomorrow... but for right now, I'm pretty happy with it! Hope you all enjoy this post -- you know, reading the poems and laughing at my craziness. (Go ahead, I won't mind. Promise.) What are some of your guys' oddest and funniest memories that have to do with sleep? Do you sleepwalk? Sleeptalk? Snore? (My brother does all of the above!) Let me know in the comments, if you feel like it!

    I'll post again soon!
~ Mattie <3

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thankful Thursday

Hello again!
    Phew... so, this post is just going to be a quick update about my Gateway testing. I went in and took my Social Studies Gateway yesterday -- and it was actually pretty awesome! The topic ended up being the art, architecture, religion, political/legal system, and economy of the Byzantine Empire. Not only can I write pages about that... but I did! Five of them, just a bit over what I wrote on the Science Gateway. When I first opened up the testing packet and saw "BYZANTINE EMPIRE" written at the top, I may or may not have said, "Yes!! Thank you, God!" ....yeah. My testing proctor and my nurse both laughed at me -- oh, who am I kidding? I laughed at myself. So, not only did I write (type, whatever) a ton, but I also finished my essay over half an hour early! Yay me! I was just so relieved that I didn't have to write about the Latin American Revolutions (though I suppose that means I did all that last-minute studying and cramming for nothing, doesn't it?). Since I was done early, I basically just got to sit there and "color"... I don't know exactly why I put quotes on the word "color", since that is what I was doing, but for some reason the word just doesn't seem to fit. I had finished a drawing I was working on, and was using colored pencils for a finishing touch -- how's that? Haha. Maybe when it's completely done, I'll take a picture and upload it for you.
    It's so weird... I feel like I might have done better on my Social Studies essay than the Science one! I never would have thought that might happen in a million years. Of course, I won't know for a while what my actual scores are, but I do feel fairly confident that I at least passed both of them. I can't wait for my scores to arrive!
     I'm a bit sad, too. See, today is the last day  before spring break -- we don't have school tomorrow, or all of the next week, either! I mean, it will be nice to be able to relax, read, draw, play music, etc. a bit more, but I'm going to miss my friends and my classes. Hopefully, the break won't feel too long... otherwise, I may just go insane at home with all of my family and the animals! (No offense, guys... you know I love ya!) 
     I know I said this post was going to be just a quick update. I lied. I've been writing more poetry lately, in a little journal my sister gave me that says "this is what LIFE looks like" on the front. Since I've got a few minutes before the bell rings for class, I'll go ahead and type one of the poems up for you! It's one of my favorites, and I wrote it just the other day.

Why do I like to read? they ask me.
It's an impossible question to answer,
Because there are so many answers that I could give.
I like to read because:
It's so easy for me, and so thrilling, to imagine myself as a character.
Because so often, I can sympathize with those in the story.
Because books are magical -- they let you escape this world and travel to another; they let you go on adventures without moving a muscle.
Because I am a writer myself. And I know that books are much, much more than the same
Twenty-six letters in a slightly different order.
Because it is quiet, and calming, and peaceful.
But also because I'll be jumping out of my seat in excitement.
Because even if I've read a book before, I will still experience that rollercoaster of emotions as I watch it all play out again.
Because the characters are my friends who will never leave me, so long as I never choose to leave them.
Because the plot, unlike life, is consistent and will never change.
Because books teach me important lessons -- about family, friendship, bravery, beauty, love, hope, strength, and so much more.
Why do I like to read? they ask me.
Do they really expect a one- or two-sentence answer?

Have a great day everyone. I'll post again soon!
~ Mattie

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Testing Tuesday

Hello everyone~!
    First of all: Happy late Easter! I hope you all had a great weekend/holiday! I know that I did. We went over to my grandmother's house for Easter; my grandparents, aunt, cousin, uncle, mom's cousin (second cousin?), brother, sister, mom, dad, sister's boyfriend, and I were all there. It was pretty fun! What all did you guys do? Go anywhere, meet anyone?
    So, this week at school, all of the sophomores across the county are taking the Gateway. In case you didn't know: the Gateway is an essay that you have to write and pass in order to graduate high school. There are two different essays -- Biology and World History. Yesterday, we took the science one. It wasn't terrible.... well, it wasn't good, either. But I suppose it could have been worse. See, I would have been okay with just about any topic (ecology, parts of the cell, etc.) except for genetics. Genetics are horribly confusing. Whoever decided that high schoolers should have to learn about genetic variety, structure of DNA, and expression of genes/traits is a horrible person. And of course... the one topic that I was desperately hoping not to receive was the one I was stuck with! But, hey, I did manage to write nearly 5 pages! Hopefully some of that writing answered the questions I was given. The Gateway is graded on a scale of 1 to 5; 3 is passing. I'm pretty confident that I got at least a 3, but it would take a miracle for me to receive a 5 on the genetics essay.
    Tomorrow, I'm taking the World History Gateway. I'm not sure what topic I'll get for that one, either. But, it has been narrowed down to three possible subjects: the Byzantines, the Mongol Empire, and the River Valley civilizations and technologies. Personally, I'm hoping for the River Valley topic; they were a lot of fun to learn about, so writing about them shouldn't be too hard! The Byzantine Empire wouldn't be super terrible, either. So the only topic that I'm not wanting to write about is the Mongols. They did so much, and there were so many different leaders! How am I supposed to remember who was who, and who did what, and where exactly they invaded? I'm sure that the documents they give us will help, but I'm still hoping for one of the other two main ideas. Good news is, though, even if I do have to write about the Mongols, I'll probably still do better than I did with genetics. There are a lot of names and dates to remember about the Mongol Empire, but hey, that's likely the most amount of detail they'll ask for. If I can, I'll definitely add more (you do get graded on previous knowledge and development of ideas, after all), but I won't have to worry as much about remembering every little thing.
     Well, wish me luck!

     UPDATE: Just got to AP World History. My teacher just said that she made a mistake, there are two other possible topics we might have to write about tomorrow that NO ONE IS PREPARED FOR!!! They are: the Indian Class Structure, and Latin America in general!!! THIS IS NOT GOOD. I REPEAT: NOT GOOD. I NEED STUDY TIME BUT GATEWAY IS FIRST THING TOMORROW MORNING!!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

....Oops, I meant to publish this yesterday. Oh well! It's "Writer's Wednesday".... on a Thursday! Enjoy

Hello! It's me...
    I was wondering -- if you wanted to hear about my idea for this book I'm writing!
    Don't worry, I'm not going to keep quoting Adele lyrics at you. Even though they are pretty amazing~!
    So, I actually got this idea from someone else; however, she isn't planning on writing it, and I thought it was pretty cool.... so I've adopted it as my own! I've already started putting my own little twists on it.
    ....I probably ought to tell you what the actual idea is now.
    I'm going to write a book, where the main character falls in love with the reader. A couple books like this already exist, but hopefully mine will still be unique! The one thing that I can't decide on is whether the main character will be a boy or a girl. Thoughts? Let me know what you think!
     I'm already working on... three?... other stories with my friend Kathryn. And, I've got a novel going that takes place in the future -- I'm working on Chapter 5 for that one. I'm hoping that it won't get too confusing/overwhelming, with so many different projects going on at once! My brother (James) keeps telling me that I shouldn't keep starting new books, and that I should just focus on one. He's probably right.... but the thing is, I'll get this awesome idea for a novel, and feel a very intense need to write it down before I forget it. And these new ideas are always so exciting, that I want to start working on them right away! *sigh* The struggle of being an author... or an almost-author, I guess?
    My mom told me that I ought to start looking at magazines and submitting articles to them. I think that would be really cool, but the problem is, I don't know which magazines I would want to submit to! There are just so many. Oh, and I looked up information about writing magazine articles... and they're supposed to be pretty short, usually no longer than two or three pages. I love writing long, detailed things.... how am I going to condense all of my writing into one or two pages?! I'll figure it out eventually, I guess... hopefully the magazines like my writing, when I submit it!
    Well, I'll post again later! Have a great week!
~ Mattie

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thoughtful Things on Thursday

Hi guys~!
   I told you I would post again soon, didn't I? And now I'm delivering :)
   Tomorrow, we don't have any school... I'm a bit sad about that. Sometimes, I really don't understand the point behind long weekends...! Oh well, at least I'll have extra time to read/write/draw/sing/play music. I hope. After all, we've been doing a lot of stuff around the house -- replacing the entertainment center, building a pantry, painting the front door, and other things too!
   Lately, I've been working more on my drawings, as well as writing poetry. Some of my poetry is rhyming/lyric, but most of it has been spoken-word, or freestyle. Honestly, I feel like there's more room to be creative and write about anything and everything inside a spoken-word poem! You don't have to worry as much about finding words that rhyme with each other. Though, if you can find a couple rhymes and you throw them in, that sounds pretty cool too!
   Here's one of my latest poems. I wrote it just yesterday. It's not very long, but I think it's one of my favorites right now.

I forget what it feels like
To be happy
Right now is not one of those times,
But I remember
What those times feel like.
Deep, dark, drowning in fear and sorrow.

I forget what it feels like
To be sad
Right now is not one of those times,
But I remember
What those times feel like,
Bright,  blissful, a bit bubbly.

I forget what it feels like
To be afraid
Right now is not one of those times,
But I remember
What those times feel like,
Useful,untouchable, upbeat.

I forget what it feels like
To be alone
Right now is not one of those times.
But I remember
What those times feel like,
Sad, searching, stuck.

I have never experienced a time
When I felt
I hope that I never do.
Because even to feel sad,
Or afraid,
Or alone,
Would always be better than to feel...
Empty, emotionless, evading others.
I hope
That always, I will be capable of
Empathizing with others,
No matter how they are feeling.
Without emotions,
What is life?

I hope you all enjoyed! I will update soon.
Have a great rest of the week and an amazing weekend, everyone!
~ Mattie <3

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Missed you guys! Here's a long post to make up for it...

Hey everyone~

    It's been forever since I've posted, hasn't it? I'm so sorry about that... but I have reasons! (Not all of them are very good reasons... but they are reasons, nevertheless.) First of all, I've not been feeling super amazingly awesome lately. I had some sort of virus a couple weeks ago -- except at first, we didn't think it was a virus! We were all convinced it was yet another line infection, and went to the hospital because I had a really high fever. Fun times. When the labs came back normal, my mom was like, "It's a miracle, she only has a normal kid illness!!" ...yep. That was not fun at the time, but I can laugh at it now! It was sad, though -- I was sick over Valentine's Day! Jake and I were planning to go out to lunch or something, but we had to cancel. However, because he's just plain awesome, he showed up at my house on Valentine's with chocolate, a card, and homemade chicken noodle soup -- so I can definitely say it wasn't all terrible! :)
     About a week after that incident, we ended up going to the hospital again.... this time, because my G-tube moved from where it was supposed to be, and we had accidentally pumped a bunch of Pedialyte into my soft tissue throughout the entire school day...! It ended being alright -- a couple X-rays, an ultrasound, and an antibiotic, and they let us go home! (Too bad it was already 5 in the morning... we were there literally all night. I slept until 2 in the afternoon when we finally got home.)
I can say that I am definitely feeling better physically -- though I'm feeling a bit guilty. My dad has been coughing a bit lately... we think he's most likely gotten the virus I had!
    This past weekend, my sister turned 18. It's so weird to think that she's a senior in high school, getting ready to graduate and go to college! And now that she's 18, she's a legal adult... she can go do things like vote, and buy lottery tickets.... it's really, really weird! I feel like she should still be about 12, and I'm still 10. Neither one of us should be in high school or college yet -- it's way too soon! I guess the saying is true, time really does fly. My little brother is already 14!!! It's not natural. I'm not supposed to be turning 16 next month! I mean, I'm totally excited for my "Sweet 16", and I really want my driver's license... but still. It's just.... it feels so weird.
    Oh, so this weekend, my sister's birthday isn't the only thing that happened! I also got to present at the Innovation in Action expo with Jake, and we represented our entire school there. And, I performed at a music festival for the Songs for Kids foundation! The Innovation in Action expo is basically another side to the regional science fair; however, unlike the science fair, it is invitation only. You have to submit a video pitch, and if they like it and think your project is interesting, then they may choose you to come and present your idea. You have only 5 minutes to present, and then there are 5 minutes for the judges to ask you questions. There can be up to 15 groups presenting, but they rarely choose that many; this year, there were only 6 groups including mine. Jake and I presented on our idea, which we call the "100% Apartments". We've researched and planned how to build an apartment complex that is as close to 100% sustainable as possible, and included technologies like trash generators, Durapanel, solar panels, cork flooring, and a ziggurat or steppe-temple shape. The expo doesn't 'grade' projects the way that the science fair does -- we still don't know exactly how well we did or if the judges like us, and there are no medals given out for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. However, sometime soon (possibly this week, actually), the judges will contact us to let us know what they thought of our idea and whether or not they are willing to help us move forwards with this idea, provide us with resources, and actually build the apartment complex. I'm super excited and can't wait to hear what they have to say!
    At the Songs for Kids music festival, there were some really good performers. They had bands and other music groups there performing -- and they also chose three kids who are connected to Songs for Kids to perform as well. I was one of those three; the other two were boys around my age, possibly older. The first boy to perform was named Nicholas, and he sang "Stand by Me". Then, I went up and played the keyboard while singing "Never Getting Back Together" and "Livin' on a Prayer"! I am ashamed to say that I have forgotten the last boy's name, but he did sing an awesome, funny song that he wrote and recorded with Songs for Kids!
    I've recently finished reading "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee -- the sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird". The book was AMAZING, but at the same time... some of it made me sooo mad!!! I don't want to ruin it for any of you who haven't read it yet.... but... AGGHHHH!! It's killing me not to spoil it!! If anyone has already read it, contact me so we can talk. I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT THIS BOOK!! HARPER LEE, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!!? ...Okay. I'm good now. But, even though it's driving me crazy, I do recommend this book! If you liked "To Kill a Mockingbird", you'll love (and hate) this one, just like me! :)
   Today at school, my friend Grace just  commented, "You know, in order for me to be graceful, I would have to be full of myself." ...She is very random, like me, which is probably why we hang out! And, at the Innovation in Action expo, they served dinner to the competitors and their families... and I got to hear Jake complain about the lack of hot tea. When I suggested that he get some sweet tea, his response was, "That is not tea! That is black, has been poured over ice, and is a pale substitution for tea!" ....which of course made me crack up. I think I'm going to use both of these quotes in one of the books that I'm writing... actually, I know I am! They're just too awesome not to use.

   I hope you all had a great Valentine's day... well. A great January through February is probably more accurate...! And I will try to post again later this week; I've got a few new poems that I'd love to share!

~ Mattie <3