Finn’s Last Day in the Oak Tree Class

Finn finished up his second year of Cottage last week and is now officially done with the Oak Tree class. As usual, there was a last day potluck — here are Finn and Charlie enjoying some snacks. Mostly Finn just liked the orange cups and plates.


He had made a book with pictures from the year and here he is showing it to Teacher Ana.

Showing the book to Ana

And to Teacher Art.

Showing the book to Art

He was very proud.

Here’s some of the group getting ready for the end of the year ceremony.

Getting ready

On to Rainforest!

Ezra & Jack

Most days, Ezra can’t wait to get to school to share some bit of information with his best friend, Jack. For instance, when he found out you can eat squid ink, he wanted to rush home to tell Jack. They are two crazies. Here are they are on a typical morning at Aveson waiting for school to start.

Jack & Ezra


A couple of weeks ago, my friend Cari asked me if we had plans for Memorial Day weekend. Of course, being the procrastinators that we are, we didn’t, and she proceeded to invite our family to join them at their family’s beach house in Laguna Beach. After a very stressful month, Bruce and I jumped at the chance to enjoy a relaxing weekend. And relaxing it was. Check out this view from the deck (where the kids were having lunch).

Lunch on the deck

Ezra and Finn did a little boating.

The boat

After lunch, the kids changed to swim suits and we hit the beach. Here are the boys showing off their new swim shirts.

Finn shows off his outfit

New swim clothes

Needless to say, they had a blast chasing waves.

Two approaches

Ruby, Ezra and Finn were in and out of the water for a couple of hours.


Here’s a video sample of the beach activities.

Chapin wanted nothing to do with the water, choosing instead to build a house of sticks in the sand.

The kids were pretty worn out and bedtime went better than expected. Since all four were in the same room, we anticipated shenanigans but I think they were just too tired. Here’s Bruce doing bedtime stories.

Story time

The next morning, the kids rose early, had some breakfast and got ready for a busy day. Finn did some exploring with Chapin’s “noculars.”

Explorer Finn

And everyone had a grand time riding bikes, tricycles and plasma cars on the cul-de-sac. We tore them away from their games to go to the aquarium at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, just down the road. They played in the fishbowl.

Fish tank Ruby and Ezra

Touched some sea creatures.

Getting to touch the sea stars

Checked out the ray. (Finn was not too sure about that guy.)

Finn's not too sure about the ray

And then Bruce said, “At 3:00 they’re doing a squid dissection!” Little did we know, what we thought was going to be a demonstration turned out to be do-it-yourself squid dissections.

Finn and Papa check out their squid

Ezra and his squid

I was lucky enough to be sitting with Ezra, who wanted to do most of it himself, so I only had to cut it open. He, for instance, got to squeeze the lens out of the eyeball. Ick. Bruce did most of the one he and Finn were working on, and Cari handled most of Chapin’s.

Here’s Ezra with the squid ink “tattoo” Bruce gave him.

Squid ink "tattoo"

Ezra was most thrilled, and grossed out, to hear that you can eat squid ink.

That night we went to Cosmo’s to visit Dick, Claire and Alex, and have a delicious Italian dinner. Unfortunately, I was too busy gabbing to remember to take pictures, but I’m so glad we got to see them while we were down in their neck of the woods.

The next day we planned to leave early, but just couldn’t drag ourselves away. Rob and Bruce took the kids down to the tide pools, leaving Cari and me with a quiet house and a nice conversation. The kids had more fun, came home starving and inhaled their lunch on the patio.

Lunch on the patio

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was watching the kids meld their different styles of play. My boys’ superhero play became superhero/princess play with Ruby. There was even a wedding between Queen Ruby and Iron Man’s alter ego, Tony Stark (played by Ezra, of course), complete with a bouquet of flowers picked from the neighbor’s yard and a procession down the cul-de-sac. Their imaginations and flexibility floor me.

Finn passed out in the car while we were still on PCH and slept the entire ride home. Ezra didn’t nap and had a spectacular meltdown about 5:00. All signs of a great trip! Thanks to the Bannings!!

(All of my pictures and videos are here.)