Woodworking Class 4

Yesterday was the final installment of the first set of woodworking classes. (It looks like we’ll be continuing in the Fall in collaboration with the Bannings.) We had to postpone this class (originally set for two weeks ago) because Bruce and Finn were sick. Consequently, we had a smaller group this time with several families out of town, but once again a good time was had by all. The project for this class: tool boxes (painstakingly pre-cut, pre-drilled and labeled by Bruce and Rob).

We got off to a rocky start with many of the kids just home from summer camp. Exhausted, they were much more interested in watching the episode of Phineas and Ferb Ezra and Finn were watching. When I went to collect the kids for class, this is what I found.

Pre-woodworking meet up

But eventually the show ended and they dragged themselves outside for class, which started, as usual, with a “lecture” from Bruce.

Bruce's lecture #1

Bruce's lecture #2

And written instructions.

Bruce's detailed instructions

As unruly as they were during the lecture, the kids all settled in and worked diligently on their boxes. There was a lot of screwing …

Finn screws the side together

Which Finn found out is hard work!

Getting those screws in all the way is hard work!

The drill press made an appearance. Here Chapin examines his (well, Cari’s, actually) handiwork.

Chapin checks out how mom did with the drill press


Josie sawing

Ezra sawing

More screwing.

Finn screwing

Ezra working on the screws

There were some distractions. Finn took a break to check out where the spilled water would go.

Finn takes a break to chase the spilled water

And Chapin and Kylie were mostly interested in the neighbor’s sprinklers.

Kylie and Chapin found other things to do

But they persevered! Pounding in plugs to cover the screws …

Finn pounding in the plugs

Ezra and Jack making progress

Sanding …

Finn sanding

And finally, painting!


Here’s how they turned out. Ezra decided not to paint his.

Ezra's tool box

Finn went with orange and brown.

Finn's tool box

After the projects were done, we had our usual dinner and crazytown fun. The kids were starving so dinner was relatively calm and quiet.

Dinner time

Then the water balloons, hose and eventually the slip ‘n’ slide came out.

Of course the hose came out

Finn sits while the others wait

Ezra runs through

Marietta takes the crawl approach

Ezra gets a face full of water

Finally, it was time to put the water works away. Finn and some of the girls had dinner part 2. (How in his element is he in this [terrible iPhone] picture?)

Finn and the girls

And then everyone left with damp, happy children who hopefully fell asleep on the ride home.

Camp Crafts

The boys made some great crafts at camp yesterday; I quickly snapped a few pictures when we got home before they had a chance to destroy them.

Finn made a drum.

Finn's drum #1

Finn's drum #2

Finn's drum #3

And a picture frame.

Finn's frame

He drew a picture of him and Charlie but it didn’t fit into the frame. (I’m not sure what all the extra limbs are about.)

Finn's drawing of him and Charlie

Ezra made a box.

Ezra's box

And, my favorite of the day, this toilet paper roll penguin.

Ezra's penguin

Summer Camp!

The boys started summer camp this week and are having a blast. No photography is allowed at the camp, so I have no pictures to share, but rest assured that at the end of the day after the last “campfire” meeting they stagger up the hill like a couple of drunks, filthy, exhausted and [relatively] full of stories. There’s swimming, hiking, frisbee, Star Wars and water wars, crafts, camp songs, etc. The camp’s website says “the #1 rule is to have fun.” I think it’s working.

Finn rests after camp

Ice cream after camp day 1

I love this picture of Finn enjoying his ice cream cone. We went to Baskin Robbins after the first day of camp.

Ice cream after camp day 1

Snuggle Party

One morning this week the boys asked Bruce to get the giant box of stuffed animals down from the closet. He did and Ezra and Finn proceeded to divvy up the contents.

Box o' stuffed animals

I wasn’t really paying attention to their game because I was getting everything ready for them to go to camp. At one point, Ezra asked me what time we do books each night. Since our schedule is sort of a disaster as of late, I just threw out 7:00 but didn’t ask why he wanted to know. He confirmed that I meant 7:00 p.m. and went about his business. Later in the day, I found this sign he’d made and taped to their bedroom door.

Snuggle Party

He is such an enigma, that kid.

Ezra’s Backyard Art

Ezra did a little chalk art on the gate in the backyard the other day. I thought it looked pretty cool.

Ezra's backyard art

He went back the next day to finish filling in where he’d colored some of the wrought iron.

Ezra going up to finish the artwork

Mutant Zucchini

Our garden is overrun with zucchini and yellow squash this year. We almost always have an excess of zucchini, but the yellow squash is more prolific this year than ever before. They’re gorgeous and delicious!

First harvest!

I think we’ll skip eating this one, but it sure looks cool. It was growing crooked but the split side was underneath, so I didn’t know it would look like this until I cut it off the plant.

Mutant zucchini

Now if the tomatoes would start producing I’d be really happy!

1900s Day Photos

One of the Aveson dads is a photographer who took great pictures of the class for 1900s Day. I’ve finally had a chance to scan them in and share them so here goes. Here’s Ezra with the old-fashioned telephone, which he loved.

Ezra 1900s day

And the lovely Ms. Thea looking very proper in her 1900s teacher garb.

Ms Thea 1900s day

And here’s the whole class.

Class 1900s day

Lastly, here is a picture of Ezra’s yearbook page where he filled in a few of the items. He lists 1900s Day as his favorite school event.

Ezra's yearbook

Book Club – Plague Edition

Bruce and I hosted book club this weekend. The book was Jerri’s pick: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague. Who doesn’t love a good plague book, right? Of course, this is our book club so only two people had finished reading it, two more were about three-quarters of the way through, one bought it but hadn’t started it, and two … well, let’s just move on.

Anyway, just because Bruce and I weren’t the two people who’d finished the book, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with plague-themed food. Actually, the food wasn’t so much plague-related, but the effects were. Bruce made a delicious cioppino but served it with dry ice. Here are some pictures.

First, he had to work out what to put the dry ice in so as to not cool down the soup super fast or break the pot. Finn’s aluminum cup saved the day.

Trying out the vessel

Here he is getting ready for table presentation.

The master at work


And voila!

The Plague meal

Later, he brought out a bowl of dry ice just to keep the mood going.

Playing with smoke

It’s really more impressive in video form, so here’s a 4-second video.

Towards the end of the evening we broke out a bottle of champagne to toast Craig (and the absentee Laura) on their recent engagement. The men-folk put dry ice in their champagne. Here’s Craig.

A smokey toast for Craig's engagement

And Bren.


And, of course, Bruce.


Summer Workbooks

I’m determined this year to have a little more structure to our summer. Not a lot, mind you, but I think some time each day to build up their skills is a good thing. To that end, I got them journals and these workbooks.


So far, so good — they’ve each been doing some of the activities. Finn is pretty enthusiastic about it.

Finn's workbook

Here’s his purple cow.

Finn's purple cow

Ezra’s not so excited about the process, but today he did a few pages and also some IXL math on the computer. I’ll call that a success!

Ezra's workbook

Beach Day!

Yesterday was [finally!] our first day of summer vacation. They’ll be starting summer camp next week, so I decided to seize the opportunity of a free day to take the boys to the beach. We went to Mother’s Beach in Long Beach where the Aveson field trips have been, and we had some friends come along. The Nuccio/Dyes brought boogie boards which were a huge hit.

Here’s Finn and Gigi negotiating a ride.

Finn and Gigi

Gigi won.

Finn pulls Gigi

Ezra liked the boogie board, too.

Ezra pulls


Here are both boys. We may need to invest in some boogie boards.

On the boogie boards

After the beach I took the boys to my favorite pizza place, Domenico’s. I used to drive down all the time for their pizza, but it’s too much of a trek for us anymore. Luckily, it’s just down the street from Mother’s Beach! Mmmmmm … ground pepperoni pizza!

Mmmm ... Domenico's pizza

Ezra’s Last Day of First Grade

Thursday was Ezra’s last day of first grade and there was a potluck and celebration at school. First, the potluck.

End of First Grade potluck

The kids had to walk by the dessert table to get to the regular food. Ezra was in awe.

Woh, look at all the desserts

After he grabbed a few desserts, he did make his way over to the fruit and sandwiches.

Choosing some fruit

And finally sat down to eat with his friend, Ben.


After lunch the kids went to recess and the adults cleaned up. At the end of recess the kids assembled on the rug to receive certificates and leis from Ms. Thea. All was going so well …

Ready for certificates

When it was Ezra’s turn, instead of walking up to Ms. Thea, he crawled up.

Crawling up

She asked him to stand, which he did. But then he crawled back to his place on the rug.

Crawling back

And then he hid under the table.

Hiding under the table

When it came time for a class photo, he hid in the back.

Where's Ezra?

After a while he came out and jumped around. We got lucky in that toward the end all the kids got crazy and Ms. Thea told them to shout “Second Grade!” So, finally all the crazy matched Ezra’s crazy.

Crazy class photo

Slip ‘N Slide

Wednesday after school, at Ezra’s insistence, we tried out the new Slip ‘N Slide. We invited his friend Jack and the boys had a blast.

At first, Finn and Jack were the only participants. (Ezra was upstairs building a train track with Jack’s little brother Theo.)

Finn and Jack

Finally Ezra joined in, too.

Ezra gets a face full of water

And here is my favorite shot of the day — Finn going end over end.

Best shot

Finn’s Wish

Finn and I had a few errands to run this morning, one of which was a trip to the bank. He likes to throw pennies in the fountain and make wishes. Today he sat for a while to contemplate his wish.

Contemplating a wish

Finally, he decided. “I wish that Kindergarten starts soon so I can play with Ezra.”

Making a wish

Plant Progress

It’s five months since our baby plants went into the ground and most of them are thriving. We’ve lost a few (monkey flower, in particular, seems to be very unhappy), but we have a variety of blooms and tons of growth. Here are a few shots of the front yard.

Plants after 5 months

Plants after 5 months

Plants after 5 months

Plants after 5 months

Father’s Day

The boys made Bruce some gifts for Father’s Day. Finn did a couple of drawings.

Finn's Father's Day drawings

And Ezra brought home lots of good stuff that he made at school.

Ezra's Father's Day gifts

Ezra's Father's Day letter

And I made a blueberry buckle cake.

Blueberry Buckle cake