Tuesday, June 18, 2019

How April Started

I withdrew Benjamin from school on March 29.  The short explanation for this is that he was in a classroom with an inexperienced teacher, and an overemphasis on discipline was taking the joy out of being at school.  So now, instead of having a zillion pictures like this on my phone: 
 I have a zillion pictures like this:
That was Sammy on his actual birthday, with a bracelet on each wrist that says "Happy Birthday," waiting for his community center preschool class to start.  
 B is still playing with friends from school a couple of times a week, and he's plowing through the homeschool curriculum he had started before we put him in kindergarten.  He went with me and Sammy to volunteer at World Relief Family Literacy, where he is close enough in age with a lot of the children to make connections and play together, and they were very, very silly together.
We love to have one extra person when we sit around and eat cake with the Christensens (and Lucas) for Sammy's birthday.
 Jared's 4/5 class combined with the other 4/5 class in his school to put on funny a musical about the writing of the United States Constitution.  Jared was pleased to be in the chorus.  He was given an understudy position, but he was really much happier to be Georgia.  He really wanted me to show Aunt Cheyenne that he was wearing the Georgia hat.  The musical was fabulous.  The music teacher at Jared's school, Mrs. Frank, is a wonder.  This is such a fantastic and fun way for the kids to learn about our constitution and the history of our country.  This is reason #198 that I'm glad Jared is in school this year.  It has been SO good for him.
 Spring arrived!  It felt like the snowy days were never going to leave, even though, otherwise, it was a pretty dry and sunny winter.  I love it when the trees blossom.
Jordanne and Megan went to Canada for a couple of days, but when they got back, we met up with them at Kelsey Creek Farm in Bellevue one day.  Sammy was happy to be reunited with Megan.  It was a really nice day to be wandering around the farm.  The sheep were very woolly.  We saw some fat, sleepy pigs. 
Sammy and Megan drove the tractor together while B was a bunny, and Jordanne and I caught up on each other's lives. 
Sammy had a doctor's appointment where he got his kindergarten shots.  Our doctor likes everyone to be fully vaccinated by their fourth birthday.  Sherrie needed someone to watch her little boys for a while, so we picked them up on our way to get frozen yogurt.  They didn't seem to mind. 
I found this selfie Jared took with Shadow on my phone.  Aren't they cute?  Jared tells me that cute no longer applies to fourth graders, even if they are the smallest in their class.  He also says that fourth graders should not be kissed by their moms in public, but you better believe I'm not stopping that anytime soon.  I make sure he gets a big pucker up in full view of the school bus every single day. 
We had spring break!  Everyone was ready for a break from routine, so we didn't plan too much for the break.  We did have our daily walk, and the trees were still blooming. 
Jared spent part of spring break working on his science project, "How are you Doughing?"  He tested the effect of different sweeteners on yeast growth.  His science loaves didn't taste very good, since salt is a yeast inhibitor, and bread needs salt. 
We had one field trip during the break.  We went to Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, Washington.  The weather was great.  We actually got kind of hot. 
We had a great time climbing on the rocks, finding exciting discoveries, and playing in the sun. 
We can't take anything home from the beach, thank goodness, since most of it stinks, so we had to document our most interesting discoveries.  I won't impress you with every single colorful rock we documented, but Jared found a pretty cool shell. 
We were there for over an hour before I remembered that every single rock in the tide plain has about a hundred tiny crabs living under it.  B was a little nervous about the crabs pinching him, but Sammy called them his little buddies, and carried them around.  He got pinched once, but that didn't deter him from picking up more crabs. 
In the future we have to remember to wear boots or sandals to this park. Eloise and B couldn't explore as freely in their sneakers since most of the ground was wet. 
Happy spring break from this glorious Pacific Northwest natural playground!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Rainbow Birthday, Sammy!

Sammy turned four!  This didn't actually happen until April 2, but we had a party on March 30 anyway.  Sammy had two wishes for his birthday party.  He wanted a rainbow cake, and he wanted to have a treasure hunt.  I'm pretty pleased with how this rainbow party turned out.  The rainbow candies disappeared pretty quickly.  
 Jordanne came!  She brought one of our good friends, Megan, with her, and they stayed for the better part of a week.  Sammy doesn't remember Jordanne very well, since she left here not long after he was born, so he kind of attached himself to Megan.  He forgot Jordanne's name once, and asked, "Who did Megan bring with her?"  Jordanne is so great.  She should be present for all turning four parties, and all rainbow ribbon dance parties. 
 The rainbow shirt I ordered fro Sammy showed up in the middle of the party, which was excellent timing. 
 Sammy was all smiles all day. 
 The internet saved me from dealing with a lot of food coloring by suggesting this M&M rainbow cake.  I made it with white mountain frosting, since it looks like clouds. 

 We kind of got a rainbow inside the cake.  We used Kool-aid to color it, so each of the layers had a slightly different flavor, which I didn't love, but the kids thought it was amazing, so we can call this success. 
 We even had a rainbow treasure hunt, with rainbow party favors at the end.  I may have gotten a little bit carried away with the rainbow thing. 
 Sammy was delighted with an assortment of rainbow/unicorn gifts.  The pink rainbow/unicorn beach towel he got may never be shared with the other kids.  Sammy fills our lives up with fun and excitement.  He may not always love being the youngest, but he is pretty good at it.  Happy birthday, four year old! 

Sammy told our favorite story time guy, Marco Cortes, that it was his birthday, and Sr. Cortes gave him a CD of Spanish children's music, which Sammy loves. He likes to blast it in the family room while he does his daily clean up in there.

Jordanne and Megan went thrift store shopping after the party and found B a $7 bike that is the same size as Jared's, so they can ride at the same time again.  B loves his red bike. 
I'm so glad Megan and Jordanne came!  Come again anytime, guys.  We miss you. 

Family Pictures

I wanted to get a new family picture, and I wanted a picture of Eloise that we could put on her baptism announcements, so I set up family pictures with Taylor at Eden and Me Photography.  She has done our last few family portraits, and we have loved them.  Picking out clothes for pictures takes way too much mental effort, and I was sure we were going to have to reschedule due to illness or snow, but everything worked out perfectly.  Here are a few highlights.  

Aren't my people gorgeous? 


We started March with an epic Knight-Christensen-Blackwelder dinner/game night at the Christensens.  
 I think we got approximately halfway through this game before a child came in and nudged the table, and all the pieces went flying.  It was a good try, though.  It's kind of crazy to be in the phase where we get three families together and suddenly there are 19 people. 
 Sammy and I got a book of yoga poses for kids.  I did most of them with Sammy, but the tortoise pose is way beyond me. 
 We had a lot of fun with this book. 
 Sammy and I started volunteering at World Relief Seattle in their family literacy program.  Family literacy is an English class for the parents, with a preschool class down the hall for the children aged six months to five.  The regular teacher was leaving to have a baby, so I took over teaching twice a week with another volunteer.  We loved it so much we would have done it every day if it weren't a 45 minute drive away.  Sammy made some good friends there. 
The great baguette mystery commenced!  All through March and April we found a new baguette lying along the side of the road at least once a week in different places until there were around nine baguettes.  We walk to pick Jared up from school almost every day, so we are pretty aware of this section of road, and some of the baguettes were covered in seeds, and some weren't, so we knew that they were different loaves. 
The first time I saw a loaf of French bread on the side of the road I thought someone must have been biking home with their groceries (I'm pretty sure we are the only people who walk along this section of road habitually) and lost a loaf out of their basket.  Then we found another one.  And another one.  The wildlife weren't eating them, so if this was a misguided attempt to feed the birds or something, it wasn't working.  Maybe someone was doing it just to keep us guessing.  
Eloise and B had dress like your favorite book character day at school.  B dressed like Brother Bear from the Berenstain Bears.  
 Eloise was in the process of reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, so she dressed like Harry (in Quidditch robes).  She was surprised and delighted that she wasn't the only Harry at school that day.  Welcome to the magical world of Harry Potter, Eloise! 
 Sammy heard it was a dress up day, so he decided to dress up like himself, only more so.  I mean, you can't really improve on this:
 Eloise had a big school project to do a book report by making a cereal box look like the book she read, with a new blurb on the back and a freshly designed cover.  Eloise made hers pretty with gold spray paint. Normally this would have been an outside activity, but it was snowing again.  *Sigh*
These book projects went on display in the school library, and we went over after school one day to take at look at the projects.  They looked fantastic. 
 Eloise hit the first major growth spurt of her life, I think, and started going back for seconds and thirds on all her meals.  Benjamin has always been growing at that pace, so I think he has officially caught up with Eloise in size.  In March he started riding Jared's bike around, since his own was feeling too small. 
 And then the flu hit us.  B doesn't do the flu halfway.  He was sick for most of the month.  Eloise got sick and got better, and B was still sick.  Sammy got sick, and got better, and B was still sick. Todd was sick for only a couple of days, and Jared only had it for a couple of days (right during a field trip, since life is cruel), but B had it for almost the entire time everyone else was taking turns with it.  When he had finally been fever free for 24 hours, I sent him back to school, only to have his temperature shoot back up that afternoon, so he had to stay home the next day again.  This is how B got sick last time we had the flu.  I eventually took him in to get his lungs X-rayed, just in case his flu had turned into something else, but he was just down and out with the flu.  We might do flu shots next year, although, anecdotally, we hear that it doesn't do much good. 
 Sammy was also taking a preschool class at the North Kirkland Community Center once a week, which he loved, and, when all the snow finally melted, we were excited to get back out to exercise.  Sammy is happy in the stroller as long as he knows we are going to end up in a park, or he gets to get out and run some of the time.  We're pretty hard core. 
 Eloise lost her other front tooth, with no sign of either adult tooth breaking through.  She is now officially a gaping mouthed jack-o-lantern, or, as Seth's novia, GĂ©nesis, says, una vieja.  Eloise hates having her teeth pulled, but she's always relieved when it's over. 
 Jared has loved doing trumpet this year.  He's picking it up astonishingly quickly. 
 On March 26, Jared had a band concert.  I love Jared, and I think band is wonderful, but making parents sit on bleachers for four bands to perform multiple songs each should be a crime.  I always performed in an auditorium, Mom, with actual seating, so that's something for you to be thankful for. 
 Sammy and I took a friend from our ward to lunch.  Sammy requested a "cheese hamburger."  I kind of love that doesn't know what a cheeseburger is.  We went to Wendy's. 
 Later we went to the dollar store, where Sammy brought some of his own money to buy a toy of his choosing.  He picked this pony, which came with a brush and a crown, and is among his most beloved belongings. 
I love the unselfconsciousness of childhood.  Keep being you, Sammy.  You do it so masterfully well.