Getting Ready to Graduate

After three years at Cottage, Finn graduates tomorrow and will head off to Kindergarten in the Fall. Teacher Sahar sent me this photo she took of the two of them yesterday, their last real day of school since tomorrow will be mostly filled with a potluck and graduation festivities.

Finn and Sahar

It got me thinking about his first year in the Mulberry class and I dug up some old photos. These first three are his first day of school.

Finn First Day 1

Finn First Day 2

Finn First Day 3

Here’s one more from later that year.

Finn in Mulberry

And one from his second year when he was in the Oak Tree class.

Finn NASA Helmet

To say my emotions about his graduation are a mixed bag is an understatement.

Laguna 2012

We spent Memorial Day Weekend with the Bannings in Laguna and had a perfect weekend with shockingly little kid drama, lots of fun activities, good food, and tons of laughs from kids and grown-ups alike.

Of course, about five minutes after we arrived at the house, the kids were clamoring for walk down to the beach. And so we went. Happiness ensued.


All four


Finn and Chapin

Something's funny

Waiting for the waves

On Sunday Rob and Bruce took the kids down to the beach while Cari and I took a long walk. The kids returned to have lunch on the deck.

Lunch on the deck

And ice cream cones.

Ice cream on the deck

Next up was a very elaborate road drawing with sidewalk chalk. First, Finn did some urban planning.

Urban planning dept.

Although I think by the time he got outside the road was at least partially drawn. But it was definitely a work in progress, complete with a monster, a jail, weeds, a bat, a raccoon, etc. By the time I came out, they were starting the races. Of course, there’s always lots of discussion before the race.

Pre-race explanation

And Ruby and Finn showed the course to the participants.

Finn and Ruby explain the course

Finally they were off.

And they're off

Ezra took an early lead.

Ezra's in the lead

The course was a bit quirky. You had to stop to jump on the monster’s eyes.

Jump on the monster

And pull some weeds growing by the side of the road.

Pulling weeds

And say hello to the bat and pet the raccoon.

End of the race

Once running became commonplace, they had a bike race.

Bike race

And then a bike/scooter race.

Bike/scooter race

And then the kids decorated Bruce with chalk.

Face painting

The result

And that’s it for the pictures I have. Bruce and Rob took the kids to the beach on Monday morning as well where they all took turns riding on the boogie board while Bruce pulled them. I think it took all of them out of their comfort zones, which is great. Alas, I wasn’t there so there are no photos.

Thanks again for a great weekend, Bannings!!!

Tootho Returns

Ezra lost yet another tooth on Friday, necessitating another visit from the Tooth Fairy. But this time, she just sent Tootho alone in her stead. I didn’t get pictures of everything, but Tootho apparently shimmied down a string through the attic access door in Ezra’s closet and then walked across the room to Ezra’s bed. He left some footprints.

Tootho's prints

He ripped the envelope Ezra had left for him and took the tooth.

Tootho took the tooth

He also left a short note.

Tootho's note

And a new self-portrait.

Tootho's envelope

I’m not sure who is more delighted with this whole Tootho thing, Ezra or Bruce.

Aveson Musical Performance

The kids at Aveson have been working on a musical show for months now and the first performance was this morning. Each class sang a song; Ezra’s class did Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.”

Ms. Thea's class

Ezra wasn’t easy to see because he stood behind two kids, but occasionally his face popped into view.

For the last part of the song he got to play a kazoo.


Of course I took a video of part of their performance.

And later Finn and I were treated to a solo rendition at home.

Outside Time

We had a lot of outside time in the afternoons this week, with the sidewalk chalk playing a big role. Ezra was sort of obsessed with “sugar-free banana ice cream” one day. (He says he made it in Kindergarten and it’s mashed up frozen bananas and it “gives you a burst of energy.”)

Ezra's sugar-free banana ice cream

He also made a secret code that he was going to teach Jack.

Ezra's code

(sa = split up; saba = act like a normal kid)

Finn drew a map and then led me to the place in the garden where Ezra had peed. Quite a treasure.

Finn's map

Today, Ezra decided he was going to teach Finn to spell and have a spelling inventory. If I understand correctly, he does this in his literacy class. His teacher says a word and the kids write it down how they think it’s spelled. He had three words for Finn, but we got interrupted to do a concert. (More on that later.)

Spelling inventory

Finn did pretty well!

Finn's spelling

Flower for Sahar

Finn was home sick on Wednesday, missing a precious one of the four days he has left at Cottage. Part of the way he passed the time was iPad drawing. He drew a flower for Teacher Sahar. There were three iterations — every time I took a picture and got ready to send it to her, he said, “Wait, wait! I need to add something.”

First, it was fairly simple.

Finn's drawing 1

Then he realized there wasn’t any dirt. And how can a flower grow without any dirt?

Finn's drawing 2

Finally, he added his name. But he wanted to make sure that I told her, “The Finn words is the roots.”

Finn's drawing 3


Ezra lost another tooth last week. And by lost, I mean really lost — we never found it. (We’re assuming he swallowed it.) The Tooth Fairy came, bringing the usual four quarters and a letter.

Letter from Tooth Fairy

But what really caught Ezra’s attention was the envelope.


He was so excited about “Tootho” that he wrote a letter to the Tooth Fairy and left it under his pillow last night.

Ezra's letter to the Tooth Fairy

And, of course, the Tooth Fairy responded posthaste.

Tootho close up

Oh, and here’s a shot Ezra’s crazy mouth.

One more lost tooth

Solar Eclipse

We enjoyed a great viewing of the solar eclipse on Sunday evening even though we didn’t have proper eyewear to look straight at it. We started out with two pieces of paper, one with a small hole. That was fine. But then Bruce brought out the old binoculars and that worked better. The boys were interested sporadically.

First, here’s Bruce’s visual explanation for the boys.

Eclipse explanation

And here are some shots of our viewing.

Eclipse watching

Eclipse watching

Eclipse watching

Eclipse in focus

Woodworking Class 3

Today was the third installment of Bruce’s woodworking class series; the kids made boats. It was by far the most involved of the three projects and we were both a little worried about how it would be executed. Due to some great organization and planning on Bruce and Rob’s part, it came off without a hitch.

First, there was the usual instruction from Bruce.

Class begins

And this time a written list of the steps.

Instruction Sheet

He made a sample of what the main part of the boat would look like after the first step, which I thought was funny.

Bruce's example

He fit in a little demonstration about gluing wood. Here’s video in two parts.

There were lots of stations set up with a parent helping the kids at each one. There was gluing with Jon.


Drilling with Allen (everyone loves the drill press).

Kai at the drill press

Sawing with Ian.

Sawing masts

Nailing/sawing with Rob.


More nailing. (Finn’s here with Mark; lots of parents helped with this one!)


Getting ready for nails

Of course, the hot glue gun made an appearance.

Gluing the mast

And general chaos.


Ezra and Jack

Once they cut out their sails and had a grown-up help them attach it, they could decorate. Here’s Finn.

Finn's sail

Finn's sail

And here’s Ezra working on his string railing.

Ezra works on his railing

While the glue dried, we had lunch and the kids ran around, played with the hose and the trough (originally built for boat races but a little too narrow), and generally had a good time.


Filling the trough


Finally, in a quieter moment, Finn, Chapin and Ruby floated their boats (and themselves) in the pond.



Ezra at School

Ezra’s teacher, Thea, sent me a couple of pictures from her iPhone the other day. Apparently, he was feeling a little squirmy. First this:

Ezra at school 1

Then this:

Ezra at school 2

Bruce said he looks like an amoeba. Ezra got a kick out of seeing what he looked like. I like that Thea didn’t send the pictures in order to have us reprimand Ezra, but rather she sent them with a smiley emoticon.

Early Mother’s Day Gifts

My sweet boys both brought home some lovely gifts for me today that they made at school.

Mothers Day booty

Finn did the art card at the top with gold glitter, a little pink and a lot of orange (his description). Ezra did the letter and bookmark.

My heart melted.

Cottage Lacy Park Day

Today was Cottage’s annual trip to Lacy Park, so we packed up some snacks and Finn’s bike and headed to San Marino.

Finn, Charlie and Kai ran around like crazy people.

The three amigos

Later, Finn spent a little time in this tree.

Finn climbs

Finn and Ruby climb

The big event of the day is a “parade” around the big loop. First, all the vehicles needed to be decorated. Finn is a minimalist.

Finn's decorations

He enjoyed his two ribbons (once I assured him I’d be able to cut them of later) because they showed how fast he was going.

Other kids were much more interested in the decorations.
Bike/Scooter decorating

The parade itself turned into a very spread out ride around the loop as many times as Teacher Art could manage on his skateboard. They never stopped before the “official” beginning (the orange cone you can see them riding past) so this was the only shot I got.

And they're off

Here’s Finn finishing the first loop and heading around a second time.

Finn finishes the first lap

All in all a very successful “field trip.”

Restaurant Surgery

Bruce has been playing the surgery game with the boys since they were tiny. They love the game — he basically pretends he’s doing surgery on one of them while the other one assists. There’s lots of pretend sawing, grabbing, sewing and poking with needles. And lots of giggles.

Last night we decided to take advantage of Neighborhood Night at La Grande Orange and go out for dinner, but the boys were right in the middle of the surgery game when we were trying to leave the house. Apparently, Finn’s Squirrelly and Penguiny were in desperate need of some emergency surgery. So, of course, we brought them with us and continued the game at the restaurant.

We had the added bonus of the Wikki Stix they give the kids there; Bruce and the boys made a host of tools for the surgery.

Surgery tools from Wikki sticks

And, thankfully, it looks like Squirrelly and Penquiny are going to make it.

Surgery for Penguiny

I also caught this very sweet picture of Finn snuggling up to Bruce while we waited for our food to come. What a sweetheart he is.

Finn loves Papa