Celebration of Learning #2

Last night was Aveson’s second Celebration of Learning and we were lucky enough to share it with Jamma, who couldn’t wait to see Ezra’s school. First up, he had some “jobs” (do NOT call them games, trust me) to show us. Pattern match-up:

Pattern matching

Beaded stairs:

Ezra shows us a job

Note Ezra’s self-portrait on the folder.

Addition match-up:

Math job

Then, he took us around the room to show us some of his work. Color mixing:

Color mixing

Snowy trees:

Snowy trees

Ezra’s is the one on the right that reaches over the paper. Creative license.

Here’s the tile he made in their ceramics program:

Ezra's tile

Afterwards we had a celebratory dinner at La Grande Orange (Ezra’s pick because of the super sundae for dessert). Ezra made his name out of the Wiki Stix they give the kids.

Ezra makes his name with Wiki Stix

The boys fooled around with spoons.

Spoon trick

And finally, the boys got to dig into their dessert.

The boys dig in to their super sundae

The verdict? Four thumps up!

Ezra's verdict on dessert

Finn's verdict on dessert

What a great evening!

Palm Trees

We had our two giant palm trees trimmed this week and what a difference! Here’s a close-up of how they looked before the trimming.

Left before

And here’s after — much, much better.

Looking good

And some wide shots.


From across the street



The blue sky helps, too.

Ezra’s Building

Pre-bedtime cleanup was a challenge tonight because Ezra was obsessed with his Magna-Tiles building. He asked me to take a picture …

It's a house?

… which turned into several pictures. It looks like a house or something, right? Nope.

It's a garage!

It’s a garage for his big rig trucks.

Then he had to put the garage doors back on before he could continue with cleanup.


He didn’t want me to take that photo, “Get rid of it,” he said. But this one he approved of:


The Fort

Bruce built the boys this fort on Sunday with the palm fronds that have fallen in our yard.

The boys' new fort

The boys’ favorite activity is using kitchen scissors to cut “doors” (you can see some remnants on the ground). I’m not sure how long it’s going to last, but it’s super cool for now!

Squirrelly Cuteness

The boys were really sweet about our squirrel adventure yesterday. I forgot to mention in my previous post that Finn insisted on bringing a book in the car ride to the Humane Society because he thought the squirrel would like to look at the pictures. Ezra was sad because he didn’t get to hold the squirrel. (We would have let him hold him but we didn’t know he wanted to.) And, ever since we dropped him off they’ve been pretending to be baby squirrels. The first thing they did this morning when they woke up was ask to be wrapped up like a baby squirrel.

Two squirrels

Two squirrels

I should also mention that Bruce’s swaddling skills have not diminished in the last three and a half years since we stopped swaddling Finn.

Baby Squirrel Rescue

We heard some serious squeaking this afternoon coming from the front yard, but we couldn’t figure out what it was. Bruce and I thought we might have a nest of baby birds so we started looking, when Ezra spotted a tiny squirrel hobbling around in the planter. He (barring any gender determination, I’m going with “he”) made his way onto the walkway but was clearly not doing so well. Then we saw a neighborhood cat circling and decided we had to do something quick. We shooed away the cat, and jumped on the intergoogles to figure out what the heck you do for a sad little baby squirrel.

The site I found said the first thing to do is warm him up, so Bruce got a towel and wrapped him up. Cutest thing ever.

Baby squirrel rescue

We read about using a syringe to feed him and that he needed to be hydrated before any food was given. Then we decided to call the Pasadena Humane Society. The nice woman I talked to there said we could bring him in and they would take care of him. When we got there, we learned they work with a squirrel rescue group that will evaluate him and rehab him if possible, and then release him back into the wild. And by “wild” I’m assuming they mean the forests of Pasadena. With any luck maybe he’ll end up back in one of our oaks.

Finn’s Project

Today when I picked up Finn from school, he was insistent that he wanted to take his “project” home. His teachers and I thought he was talking about the project he did today but that one wasn’t dry. “No,” he said, “my project!” Not an entirely helpful description. Finally, Teacher Ana remembered that he did a project last week — and lo and behold that was the one he was talking about. (Thank goodness she remembered because I’d still be there negotiating with Finn if she hadn’t.)

This is his masterpiece.

Finn's project

He was sure Ezra was going to love it because it’s all green. He spent the entire car ride home from school telling me about every detail, down to which way it should be held. When we picked up Ezra, Finn immediately showed him his treasured piece, and said, “Ezra, do you love it?” As I was holding my breath, hoping that Ezra would say something nice, I heard, “It’s really, really neat!” Sigh. Such sweet boys.


I took another step in the great toy reorganization (and purge) this morning while both boys were at school (the only time this sort of activity can happen). Thanks to Bruce’s super cool new shelf, the toy boxes are now organized (and labeled!) and ready for play.

Ezra's closet

Stuff from the iPad

Some of the games the boys like to play on the iPad allow them to make and save their creations — new superheroes, for example. I was syncing it the other day and stumbled on some treasures.

First, a couple of drawings from Ezra.

This green one is not surprising — green is his favorite color. The second one, I have to say I’m at a loss. Ever since he learned what abbreviations are, he’s been only writing the first letter of words. I’m guessing something is on fire here.

Here are two of Ezra’s superheroes.

Redblue Man

Fire Man

And, for the softer side, Finn’s princess.

Finn's princess


We have come to the time when I can no longer do laundry without checking the boys’ pockets.


This was an entire travel package of Kleenex after the wash cycle. And this is nothing compared to what ended up in the lint trap in the dryer.

Meh. It could have been worse; it could have been a crayon in the dryer. I count myself lucky.

Mixing Cement

Vanessa and Thomas came up on Friday for a play date and to give Ezra what he later deemed “the best present ever”: a cement mixer that mixes. The Banning kids came over, too, for an impromptu play date, and all the kids couldn’t wait to try out the new truck. We didn’t have any sand so the kids tried dirt instead. It didn’t really work, but they were undaunted. Here they are filling up the water tank. At first it was a very civilized affair.

New cement mixer

When that failed to work fast enough, they moved on to just sticking the hose in.

New cement mixer 2

Pretty soon they moved over to the mud pit area from last weekend.

New cement mixer 4

At first, Thomas stayed a safe distance away, preferring to ride the old trike.

Thomas on the tricycle

But it wasn’t long before he was mixing it up, too.


Super Sundae

We went out to dinner on Thursday night and the boys got an ice cream sundae for dessert. But not just any sundae; this one came with little bowls and pitchers of accoutrements so they could make it themselves. They were in heaven. This picture looks like they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, but I think they were just stunned at their good fortune.

Super Sundae

These are some happy boys.

Super Sundae 2

Super Sundae 3

Finn at the Hardware Store

Yesterday Finn and I went to the local hardware store that sells crazy expensive reproductions of period-appropriate hardware for those of us nuts enough to attempt old house restoration. I was there in search of locks for the windows, specifically two-inch brass locks. While we waited for the next available hardware expert, Finn enjoyed sitting on the swiveling chair and I snapped a picture.

Finn at the hardware store


One of Ezra’s teachers sent me this photo of Ezra painting a rainbow at school. They’ve been learning a lot about Ireland for the last couple of weeks, including lots of stories about leprechauns and building their own leprechaun traps. (They didn’t catch any leprechauns, but the leprechauns did visit — leaving green glitter and green foil covered chocolate coins for the kids.)

Ezra painting a rainbow at school

They also made leprechaun puppets. Ezra was really tickled by his. He couldn’t stop giggling as he told me that his leprechaun only had one leg and his name is Ez. Here he is.

Ez, the leprechaun

Ez, the leprechaun