Friday, July 29, 2011

School is FINALLY Out for the (Rest of the) Summer!


It was a rocky four weeks, but I am happy to announce that Benjamin not only now has summer school behind him but he has also made a lot of progress with his reading.

I thought it might be fun to have Ben's cousins all come and meet him after school on the last day, and they were more than willing to help out.


Ben was pretty happy to see so many of his favorite people standing outside the classroom.


We played on the playground in the warm sunshine for a while (yes . . . we also finally had a sunny day!) then went to a very kid-friendly location for lunch.


Later we had everyone over to celebrate . . . we even baked a cake, and the girls helped me make ice cream.

That evening, Ben sat down with a pile of books to complete his summer reading club daily requirement (and then some).


And this morning we all slept in :)

Let the summer holidays begin!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Modeling Shots Finally Make the Blog!

Summer is the time when my children get together with all their cousins.

With so many kids together, it seems inevitable that we occasionally end up at a park.

And somehow the older girls always end up posing for modeling shots . . . modeling shots which I always suggest will appear on my blog.

Somehow, though, I have never followed through on this highly anticipated modeling post. I guess it is just that I haven't known what to say about the pictures, besides the obvious: "Look at my nieces; aren't they photogenic?!"

But now that a few years have passed, and several dozen modeling shots have accumulated on my computer, I have a little more to say:

Look at my nieces--haven't they grown?? And aren't they photogenic??!!





And aren't my girls lucky to have such talented, smart, fun, kind, and beautiful cousins as role models???!!!


I think they are :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Almost Ready for a Real Vacation

Yesterday was one of those rare Saturdays when Jason wasn't working and we didn't have anything on the calendar that we had to do.

Being the fun-loving dad that he is, Jason suggested we take the kids out for ice cream.

I, however, had bigger things in mind :)


So, we ended up going to Manning Park. Janae cried during most of the almost two-hour drive, saying she wanted to go home. Once we got there, though, she loved the park so much she said she wanted to live there! She is definitely one for extremes.

It was easy to see why she loved being there, though. We spent the day hiking


(we didn't know the path would be SNOWY),


feeding the chipmunks,


picking wildflowers,


enjoying the scenery,



and just generally having fun.


As you can see, I took a few pictures, too!

After that it was more squirrels: we found out they really like crackers and nuts


and that they are REALLY comfortable with people.


We ended the day at Lightning Lake . . . and when I say "ended the day" I really mean it. Some of us were DONE.


But it was fun to get away, especially to somewhere so peaceful and beautiful. It made us think we are almost ready to go on a real family vacation. Almost.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Nothing Wrong with a Little Tradition


Benjamin started summer school this week, and my first impressions were pretty positive. We got to sleep in an extra half hour (the school starts a bit later and is much closer to our home),


Ben could wear shorts and a T-shirt every day (as opposed to a uniform),


and school was over by noon . . . allowing Ben to come home and spend the rest of the day doing whatever he liked--such as blowing bubbles in his pink milk


or playing at the water park.


The atmosphere at the school, and even the kids themselves, seemed a lot more laid back than what we were used to at the traditional school Ben normally attends.

I started to think maybe we should transfer Ben to a regular school.

That thought lasted about two days. On the third day I overheard a couple of conversations that changed my mind.

The first was between two boys, both Ben's age, but fortunately not in his particular class.

Boy #1: "I am going to come to school next time with dynamite in my pockets. When I get inside I'll light it and say, 'I never liked any of you anyway.'"

Boy #2: "I am going to put dynamite in my mouth, walk in and say, 'Hasta la vista baby.'"


The second conversation was between Ben's teacher and one of the parents, who had apparently sent his two sons to school on the city bus. The teacher was advising him to take the kids on the bus at least one time before sending them alone, just so they would know where to get off when they were making their way to school.


The kids at Ben's traditional school are so different. Their moms and dads hold their hands on the way to and from their cars. They are so respectful and positive toward their school and teachers. Even when there is an after school activity, such as a book fair at the library, they won't so much as walk into the building without taking their outdoor shoes off.

Maybe some traditions are okay.


And speaking of traditions, I was happy to see what happened with my kids this morning. There is no summer school on Fridays, but as soon as Ben and Janae got up they got out the library bag and starting looking at books about owls (their current topic of interest).


It's reassuring to know that even though Ben struggles with reading on his own, he loves books, learning, and stories--and these things are a big part of his life, even when he gets to choose what to do.

Hopefully his reading will come along, too, with all the extra work he is doing.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back to School???


There are few days kids look forward to as much as the last day of school.

For Benjamin, who has not yet gained a passion for academic learning, the last day of school is definitely right up there with Halloween and Christmas.

So, you can imagine how he is feeling today. Wednesday was the last day of school . . . and tomorrow is the first day of Summer School.

It just feels wrong.

Ben still needs time to sleep in, play with his sisters,


swim, go to the beach, practice on his new bike,


collect bugs, play outside, eat ice cream--all the things little boys do when they don't have school.

I know all the arguments about summer school being only half a day, only four days a week, only four weeks . . . but it is still school!

On the bright side, though, our countdown will start again tomorrow--leading up to the FINAL last day of school before we start again in September.


Only 16 more classes left!