Art Unveiling at Whole Foods

Our preschool works in conjunction with Whole Foods Arroyo in Pasadena for our big fundraiser in the Fall, the Apple Sale. It’s been marvelously successful for the first two years, and in an effort to solidify our relationship with the store, yesterday we presented them with an art piece. This has been in the works for some time — it was Ezra’s class last year that did the piece — but we are just now finding the time to coordinate the unveiling. The project was led by one of the Cottage teachers — beloved Teacher Ana — who is an artist. Here’s Ezra with the piece, a door that the children glued found and recycled objects to for a mosaic. He’s pointing to the piece he put on.

Ezra and the door

Here’s a close-up of his piece.

Ezra's piece of art

I like that it’s the tallest item on the door so I’ll always be able to find it when the piece is permanently installed in the store.

To add to the festivities yesterday, Whole Foods provided an ice cream social. Here are the kids lined up in anticipation.

Kids line up for ice cream

Mostly the kids sat together to chat with old friends.

Finn wanted to be alone ... with his ice cream

But Finn was very serious and wanted to sit alone. He does not take ice cream lightly.

Finn enjoys his ice cream

Then they even had a scavenger hunt for the kids — they each got a reusable bag and instructions to find items throughout the store, which they got to take home.

Cindy explains the scavenger hunt

Here’s Finn getting his bag checked by Cindy after he finished the hunt.

Finn gets his bag checked after the hunt

Of course, most of the items were quickly consumed by ravenous kids but we did manage to take a few items home.

All in all it was a fabulous event, which made me happy as I was Fundraising Co-Chair last year and will head up the Fundraising team in the Fall. So, get your checkbooks ready — I’ll be hitting you up to buy apples in September!

Weekend Fun

We had a good (and busy) weekend which included a visit from Grandpa Bill and Grandma Therese. The kids were in heaven. Finn, in particular, talked their ears off. Here they are at lunch.

Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa

I neglected my photographer duties, but if I get some more photos from Grandpa I’ll add some.

Also this weekend, Ezra discovered he can read the comics … well, some of them. I’m not so sure it’s a good thing, but I did enjoy how much he and Finn were entertained by them at breakfast.

Reading the comics

Late Sunday afternoon, Bruce was feeling the need for an activity with the boys and decided on an “experiment” with the big lens and some newspaper. Boys and their fires.

Boys make fire

On top of this, Bruce finished one more project for the house – adjustable shelves for the office closet.

Adjustable shelves!

They rock! And now we can actually see the floor in the office!

Office organization

How to Completely Wear Out Four Children

Start by sending three of them to school, two for their last day of Kindergarten and one for 4-1/2 hours at Cottage. Make sure no one has a nap.

Then provide six hours of constant play including …

Sand.

Sand!

Water.

Oops!

Ruby's slide

Cold!

And playing school.

Playing class

Not to mention, swinging, bike riding, scootering, playing house, etc.

It is advised to provide snacks, preferably on floating tables.

Snack time

Make sure they have plenty of time to formulate and execute plans.

Then feed them dinner and drive them around until they pass out in the car. Voila!

Ezra’s Last Day of Kindergarten

As hard as it is for me to believe, Ezra finished up his Kindergarten year yesterday. The morning started off like all the others — we parked at the bottom of the hill and made the long walk up to the top. Here’s Ezra on the lower level.

Last day!

Here’s our usual morning scene on the playground.

The usual morning playground scene

The mural is a new addition and I asked Ezra to take a picture by the part of the grass he painted.

Ezra by the part of the mural he painted

After Ezra went to class I ran Finn down to Cottage and then ran back up to Aveson for the class potluck. Here he is with his teachers, Ms. Jessica (in purple), Ms. Jennee (in green) and Ms. Vonni (in blue).

Ezra and his teachers

The potluck was fun — Ezra and his friend, Jack, hammed it up for the camera before digging in to some delicious food.

Ezra and Jack

Then they did a little ceremony for the kids — each one got a certificate for completing Kindergarten, a class picture and hugs from the teachers.

Ezra gets his certificate from Ms. Jessica

Ezra and Jessica

Ezra and Jennee

Then Ms. Jennee read a book about the end of the school year and all the adults — parents and teachers alike — teared up. Such a bittersweet day.

Celebration of Learning #3

Ezra’s final Kindergarten Celebration of Learning happened yesterday afternoon and was wonderful just like the other two. It’s so fun to see all of his work for the trimester and see how he’s progressed.

As usual, he showed us some of the jobs he does at school.

Creation station

Addition match-ups job

We got to see his latest artwork.

Ezra's tree

I LOVE this watercolor. He told his teacher that it’s how he sees the ocean.

Water color ocean

And he read us a book!

Reading!

He was very proud to show off the book he chose.

The book he read

His literacy teacher told me that he originally didn’t want to pick a book but then she found an Iron Man book and he was happy.

We measured him against the height chart from the beginning of the year.

Measuring

And, of course, he’s grown!

The height chart -- he's grown!

He also made some words with blocks. This boy has a one-track mind.

e-Iron Man f-Batman

All in all, we couldn’t be happier with Ezra’s Kindergarten experience. His teachers are kind, knowledgeable and adventurous. The activities were fun while still being educational, which made the transition from our play-based preschool relatively easy.

Now, on to first grade. Yikes!

(More pictures here.)

Homemade Iron Man

The other morning Ezra put together an armored Iron Man costume. We’ve been preparing for our trip to Belize, so the swim vests and sunglasses are around.

Iron Man masked

It’s hard to tell, but he has a swim vest underneath the life preserver vest. That can’t be comfortable.

And here he is unmasked.

Iron Man unmasked

He was very serious about this outfit.

Field Trip #2

Ezra’s second Kindergarten field trip happened this Monday — a trip to Mother’s Beach in Long Beach. This one Finn could go to as well, so I pulled him out of Cottage summer camp for the day and we headed for the beach. It was a little crazy because it included all of the Aveson students in Kindergarten through second grade — about 200 kids — plus many siblings and a whole lot of parents and teachers.

The beach is great for little kids — very calm waters and a large sandy area, plus a grassy area (where we had a picnic) and a park with play structures. The kids had a blast. Here’s a brief slideshow of my pictures.

Random Cuteness

I’ve been woefully slow at blogging this month but I’m trying to catch up. Here are some random shots.

Finn at Cottage last week on the day I worked. He liked that giant helmet for about 2 minutes.

Ready to ride

The boys trying on their new goggles and showing off their aqua racers. I got them for our trip but they couldn’t wait to try them out.

Goggles and aqua racers!

Finn’s garb one morning last week when we took Ezra to school — a Batman cape and his umbrella because it was sprinkling.

Finn walking Ezra to school

The boys riding a pink motorcycle at the mall.

Fierceness on the pink motorcycle

Finn fell asleep at the dinner table Sunday night. He must have needed the extra rest — he slept from 5:15 that evening until 6:15 the next morning. Wish I could do that.

Sleepy Finn

Ezra’s First Kindergarten Field Trip

Ezra (and I) got to ride on a real school bus — his first — for the Kindergarten’s first field trip last week. We went to Underwood Family Farm in Moorpark, where I’d taken him several times (with Lori, Devon and Trevor) when he was a baby and toddler, but we hadn’t been there in a few years. Here’s a picture of Ezra at 7 months the first time I took him to the farm. Check out those cheeks!!

Ezra Pumpkin (7 months old)

The teachers were incredibly good at wrangling 45 very-wound-up Kindergartners; one took roll while the other briefed the chaperones on our obligations for they day. We were each assigned a few kids to keep track of — mine were Ezra and his friends, Jack and Ben. Then we shepherded everyone to the bathrooms for one last potty break before the hour-plus bus ride. Once the kids had lined up and were waiting for the bus (which was a little late), they started to get a little unruly. So Ms. Jessica had them sing their farm song. Here’s the part I caught on video. (I can’t really understand a lot of the words, but I think they are saying farm animals in English, Spanish and sign language.)

Then the bus arrived and we loaded them up. Here are my charges and the girls who sat behind them.

Getting ready to go

Once at the farm, they piled the kids and teachers onto this giant hay stack for a group picture.

The whole group

After a quick snack, we moved to the outdoor classroom …

Waiting to learn

… to learn about fruits and vegetables from Farmer Kay.

Farmer Kay gives a lesson

Then we loaded up in wagons and went on a tractor ride through the farm. We had some picking to do.

On the wagon

Here’s Ezra picking some beets. He’s very choosy.

Picking beets

We came home with two bags filled with beets, turnips, cilantro and lettuce. Delicious.

After a break for lunch, we headed into the animal area where the kids could feed the animals. There were pigs, cows, goats, sheep, turkeys, etc., but really all the kids wanted to do was play on this thing.

The combine slide was a big hit

Here’s Ezra coming out of the slide. It looked like a very bumpy ride to me.

Ezra sliding

Here’s Ezra in the wooden train.

In the train

And just because I’m having a nostalgic moment, here’s a shot of him playing on these wooden structures when he was two.

2-year-old Ezra at the Farm

After that, it was time to head back to the bus for the ride home. Everyone was sufficiently hot, sweaty and tired to call it a great day and a very successful field trip.

On the bus home

Be Free!

Yesterday, it was time to say goodbye to our little ones. No, not the boys — the tadpoles and toads that have graced our dining room table for the last couple of months. We’d all become attached to them, but I was grateful when Ezra and Finn agreed to Bruce’s plan to take them back to the Arroyo this weekend since they’d balked at the idea a few weeks ago. Finn said that now the tadpoles could make friends and get married, since they’d find other tadpoles that weren’t in their family. I’m not sure where he learned that concept.

Anyway, we loaded them up in the van for their final trip.

Bye!

And took them here.

The big picture

I skipped out on this trip, but Bruce enlisted some friends — Cari with Ruby and Chapin and Jon with Kai and Caleb.

What on earth possessed them to do this I’ll never know, but Ezra, Finn and Ruby jumped in that gross water and started dragging out the algae.

Ezra, Ruby and Finn gathering more algae

Ezra's in heaven

Yuck

They eventually had this giant haul.

Giant haul

Kai and Caleb preferred to play on the shore.

Kai and Caleb on the shore

And Chapin caught a lot of toads.

Chapin, super toad collector

Here’s a video to show the toads. Bruce said it was hard to really get them because they would scatter when he got near. It’s hard to believe there were more than this.

Even though I didn’t get to go on this trip, I felt like I was there thanks to Cari’s awesome texts and pictures while they were there. Here’s a sampling:

“Our kids r going 2 come down w algae disease. They’re in heaven!”

Algae

“U might want to toss ur plastic containers. I’m just sayin’.” (They went right in the trash when the boys got home. Yuck.)

And my favorite: “Half step from Lord of the Flies.” I was on a nice walk up in Altadena when I got that one and laughed out loud.

All in all, it was a successful — if gross — trip. And my dining room is now tadpole free.

Bruce as Kindergarten Guest Speaker

Every Wednesday, the Aveson Kinders are treated to a guest speaker, usually a student’s mom or dad, sometimes a grandparent. The talks vary widely — they’ve had a veterinarian, an actor, a high school teacher, a special effects guy, a doctor, a coin collector, a rock star, and many more. This week, much to Ezra’s delight, was Bruce’s turn.

First, here’s the audience (46 or so Kindergartners).

The audience: 46 kindergarteners

He started off by talking a bit about Mars and showing, with his helpers, the size difference between Earth (the blue balloon) and Mars (the red one). Finn’s holding a Mars globe on loan from JPL’s outreach office.

Mars/earth size difference

Ruby helped to demonstrate how far apart Earth and Mars are.

Ruby assists

He brought some things to pass around, including a wheel just like the ones on the Mars Exploration Rovers.

Rover wheel

Turns out, Kindergartners aren’t really able to pass cool things around AND pay attention, so after a short bout of chaos it was decided they could look at those things later.

After watching the video of the MER launch and landing on Mars, he started talking about how the JPL engineers communicate with the rovers and how the rovers send data back to Earth. He talked about using something like a megaphone to broadcast data and a “big ear” to hear the whisper from outer space. Here’s the big ear. (He was listening to Ezra’s whisper from across the room but I was too distracted by one child losing a tooth and another child having a bloody nose — within minutes of each other — to remember to take a picture of Ezra. I swear, I don’t know how his teachers keep their sanity.)

Big ear

After the communication portion of the talk, he told them a little about the math he uses for his job. He told them that math is used to figure out how the world works, especially when you can’t do an experiment to figure something out. As an example, he showed them how to calculate how much water would fit into a glass. Then, to demonstrate his confidence in the math, he had one of Ezra’s teachers (Ms. Jessica — the math and projects teacher) pour 500 ml of water into a cup on his head.

Jessica assists

But, of course, he’d switched the glass out for a smaller one and got drenched when it overflowed.

Oh no!

The kids were cracking up.

That was funny

“So what went wrong?” he asked.

What went wrong?

One little girl shouted out, “It was the wrong glass!”

And they all watched in anticipation as he poured 500 ml of water into the correct glass. Math prevails!

Math prevails!

After a brief question and answer period, his time was up.

Questions

The kids split up into their blue or purple groups and went on about their day.

Sunday Morning Hike

We took the boys up part of the Altadena Crest Trail on Sunday — a short loop starting around Mt. Curve/Maiden Lane and ending up at Lake/Loma Alta. The beginning is an old road that passes by the backyards of the neighborhood houses (including our gardener, Vivien’s house). At one point, there is a rock sculpture that the boys thought was pretty cool. Bruce decided to do some “repair” work and put some rocks back that had fallen.

Rock formation

As he touched things, of course, more rocks fell. Ezra got a little worried and asked Bruce to STOP!

Stop!

Along the path, someone has put a swing which both boys enjoyed.

Swinging

Swinging

This is the only real climb — which is a good thing because Finn was about done at this point.

Hiking

All in all, this hike was very successful and just the right length for little Moision tolerance levels.

June Jubilee

The Saturday fun continued at Aveson’s June Jubilee. Sadly, I have only one picture — Ezra, Finn, Ruby and Chapin cracking confetti eggs. A perennial favorite.

Confetti eggs

Fun at the Heliport

The Pasadena Police had an open house at their heliport on Saturday and the boys and I had to check it out. Mostly, they had just been acting crazy at home and with Bruce busy relocating the sprinkler system, I had to get out of the house. We got to see a few helicopters, Pasadena’s SWAT strike vehicle (who knew we had one?!?), and two simulated arrests. Here are the boys in the SWAT truck.

In the SWAT truck

And here is the calm before the storm of the second simulation — cops pulling over a truck and calling in the K-9 unit for backup. Very exciting. And scary.

Watching the simulated arrest

More pictures and a story here.