Landscaping Redo!

After months of planning, talking, budgeting, delays, more talking, more delays, the day has finally come! The landscapers showed up at 8:00 this morning to start tearing into the front yard. Here’s the end of day progress. Lawn be gone!

Landscaping redo day 1

Landscaping redo day 1

Landscaping redo day 1

Landscaping redo day 1

And, we have an actual start date for the kitchen remodel: December 12th! It’s about to get a whole lotta crazy around here!

Kids Club

We had Ruby and Chapin over for a play date this afternoon and the kids decided they wanted a Kids Club. So they made a sign. Well, Ezra made a sign.

Kids Club sign

What he was trying to say was:

Members: Ruby, Chapin, Ezra, Finn

Kids Club. No grown-ups allowed. If you come in you will be punched in the butthole.

Lovely. But seeing as he spelled it “panched in the bat hol” I just have to laugh. Needless to say, Cari and I stayed away. Neither of us wanted to be panched in the bat hol.

Our Day at Cottage

I was parent-teacher in Finn’s class today for the first time in a long time (Bruce has taken the last two shifts) so I took the opportunity to take some pictures. Being the first day back after the long Thanksgiving weekend, it was a high-energy, big emotion day. We had lots of fun and, as usual, I’m completely worn out. Here’s some of what we did.

We brought a box of Bernie’s old woodworking stuff (wheels and decorative items) for the kids to use in their creations. They really enjoyed it!

Kids enjoying Bernie's old woodworking stuff

We played in the sand.

Finn in the sand

Here’s our little sandcastle with Finn’s treasure poked in the top.

Our sand castle

During group time with Teacher Sahar (with whom Finn is head-over-heels in love), we built with little marshmallows and toothpicks.

Finn, Amelia and Charlie at group time

And we had story time.

Beloved Teacher Sahar

Here are Finn’s creations of the day.

Finn's Cottage creations

Laguna, Part II

We got to go to Laguna with the Bannings (well, three out of the four of them, anyway) again this weekend — a much welcomed post-Thanksgiving mini-vacation. First up on Friday afternoon was a walk to the beach for Cari, Bruce and the kids.

First day in the tide pools

I, on the other hand, got a nap … in this perfect spot on the deck.

My nap spot

Saturday, we took a morning trip to the little aquarium in Dana Point, which was mildly successful but I think we were all just too sleepy to really enjoy it. After a little rest back at the house, we took the kids down to the beach where a good time was had by all. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

Ezra and Rub "surfing"

Finn

Ezra jumps

Ezra and Ruby

After the kids did more running and jumping than I can imagine doing in a whole week, we finally made it over to some tide pools. Lots of warm water for the kids to jump in and some really interesting sea life.

In the "pool"

Tide pools

Tide pools

Sea star

Bruce found the tiniest hermit crab ever.

Tiny crab

Ezra and Ruby really enjoyed the tide pools.

In the tide pools

We managed to get the kids out and back to the house without too many meltdowns. The busy day paid off — they were all conked out by 7:30.

More pictures are here.

First 4-H

We’ve been looking, along with some friends, for some activities for Ezra and his fellow first-graders to add to and broaden the academics they’re learning at school. Bruce, being a former 4-H-er immediately thought of this group. In fact, he went so far as to pull out his old 4-H hat (he was apparently quite a superstar).

4-H hat

4-H hat

The songs and motto recitals followed shortly.

He dialed down the crazy for the actual 4-H meeting. There’s an Altadena-Pasadena group already established, although it’s small and mostly filled with much older kids. For this meeting, there was a cooking activity. I can’t remember the name of the dish, but it was basically a meat filling inside little pastries. Ezra loves cooking and was happy to participate. Here he is assembling one.

Assembly

And here he is eating the final product.

The taste test

Just Finn

Just a couple of pictures of my littlest Moision. First, as a “police” as he calls it.

Finn, the policeman

And now just his feet. Still cute.

Finn's feet

Feeling the Beat

While Finn was at Cottage doing Stone Soup Day, Ezra and I had the morning to ourselves, so I let him choose what we would do. He picked a movie: Happy Feet 2 (which is an interesting choice because we hadn’t yet seen the original Happy Feet). Anyway, he loved it and let me tell you, that boy has the music in him. He loved, loved, loved the “beat” from lead penguin Mumble and was desperate to recreate it all afternoon. He and Finn begged for pots, pans and sticks so they could have a drum-fest. Here are the results.

The start.

Musical pots 1

Starting to get into the feeling.

Musical pots 2

Getting serious.

Musical pots 3

And of course, I have video.

Soon, Finn was dancing.

And I finally got him to show off some of his break dancing skills.

Later we watched Happy Feet, which I’d recently recorded. Ezra loved it; Finn was terrified. Nothing new there.

A Few Random Shots

Kind of unorganized here, but I have a few pictures to share. First, Finn loves to use the melon baller.

Finn using the melon baller

Next, Ezra perusing the New Yorker. (Well, actually, just the comic on one page, but I like to think we’re indoctrinating him early.)

Ezra and the New Yorker

And last, Ezra got to spend the day with Finn at Cottage on Monday. When I got there to pick them up, they were engrossed in story time with Teacher Art.

Story time with Teacher Art

A Bouncy Egg

The latest science experiment at our house was how to turn a regular egg into one that bounces. The process: soak a regular, uncooked egg in white vinegar for two days. Voila. So, how did it work? Well, see for yourself.

Of course, after trying out the bounce, we had to break it open to see what it looked like. At least they let me put it in a bowl first.

Ewwww

Yuck.

The Elves’ Faire

While I was at Cottage’s Open House showing off our awesome preschool to prospective families last Saturday, Bruce and the boys were at Waldorf School’s Elves’ Faire with every other family in a ten mile radius. The boys reported that they had a great time. Bruce didn’t have a camera, but someone at Altadenablog captured them in the drum circle, so I’m stealing their photo.

Drum circle at the Elves' Faire

Afterwards, all they wanted to do was practice (and talk about) the bows and arrows they got at the faire. I took a few videos.

Writing

Ezra wrote a story in chalk on the patio table this week. I think it was an origin story for his and Finn’s superpowers. I couldn’t get the whole thing in one shot but this was my favorite part.

Part of Ezra's story

I love how he sounded out “experiment” to come up with the spelling.

Today he started writing a story on his whiteboard.

The Pigeon Wants a Meatloaf

It’s patterned after Mo Willems’ The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! and meant to be interactive, so I’ll translate.

The Pigeon Wants a Meatloaf.

Hi, how are you?

Guess what I want?

[A meatloaf]

How did you guess? You are right I want a meatloaf.

[No.]

Why don’t I get anything?

Some Pictures from the Week

It was a busy but not particularly exciting week around here, so I just have a few random shots. First up, Finn and his friend Amelia at Cottage. Amelia had accidentally fallen into the Lego box; Finn decided to join her. She has an awesome giggle.

Finn and Amelia

Ezra was in full concentration mode working on the kids’ menu at Islands on Wednesday night.

Concentration

I found some treasures in the boys’ laundry — it’s always an adventure.

Laundry treasures

It’s a Small World …

This morning on the way to Aveson, I overheard this conversation from the backseat.

Finn [singing]: It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all …

[Pause.]

Finn: You know, it’s not a small world. It’s a big world.

Ezra: It’s a humongous world!

Finn: It’s our world.

A Tale of Two Pumpkin Heads

Bruce in 2008 in JPL’s Halloween race.

Bruce Pumpkin Run 2008

Bruce in 2011 “carrying” Ezra’s pumpkin costume when Ezra got tired of wearing it because it was super heavy.

Halloween 2011

(Photo credit to Gary for the 2011 photo; no idea who took the 2008 one!)