Aveson Picture Day 2012

I volunteered to help with picture day at school yesterday which gave me the opportunity to spend a little time in both the Kindergarten and second grade classrooms. It was great to see the teachers at work — what patience they have!

First up were the Kindergarteners. Very cute, somewhat rambunctious little humans being asked to wait in endless lines. Ms. Jessica is magical with them. Here they are in the first line.

Kindergarteners waiting

Waiting in line

I just love this picture of Finn and Sylvia.

Finn and Sylvia

To pass the time, Jessica had them practice their smiles, which became face-making. Here is happy:

Happy faces

And sad:

Sad faces

Finally, they were corralled into three perfect rows and ready for their class picture. Hopefully the official photographer caught one where they are all looking forward. I did not.

Finn's class

Then they did individual photos — here’s Finn.

Finn's turn

And, alas, more waiting.

Waiting afterwards

At least they got to go right to snack recess time next, so they were happy.

Snack time for Finn

At this point I excused myself to go to Ezra’s literacy class (and advisory). There was about a half hour before it was their turn for pictures, so I tried to help out a bit in the classroom. Unfortunately, Ezra’s group was over in the math/projects class, but it was still fun to see what the kids were writing about in their journals.

Soon enough, Ezra and the rest of the second graders in the green group came over and we headed down for pictures. It’s much easier to wrangle seven year-olds! Here’s their group shot.

Ezra's class

And Ezra’s turn taking the individual picture.

Ezra's turn

Between this crazy face and the fake smile the photographer was encouraging, I’m not all that enthused about how these photos may turn out. But we’ll see!

Endeavor’s Last Flight

I’m out of chronological order here, but on Friday we in some parts of California were lucky enough to see Space Shuttle Endeavor come through on its way to its final home at the California Science Center. It was a much-anticipated event and many viewing areas were packed. One of the flyby spots was JPL so some friends and I decided to go near there to Devil’s Gate Dam. Bruce joined us during his lunch break and a ton of other people were there as well. It was great to hear the gasping at the first glances of Endeavor; it was such a majestic sight. Here are a few¬†of my photos.

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In that last one you can see people up on the hill across the freeway from JPL. People were everywhere!

Our friend Aaron chose Griffith Park as his vantage point. He is quite a photographer and his photos are amazing. Here are a few.

Shuttle Observers

Shuttle Over Hollywood


Last Flight

It was a remarkable event, well worth the two-hour wait in the sun. We look forward to seeing Endeavor close up at the Science Center!


The day for the long-awaited trip to Legoland with Scott (planned when Scott and Dietmar were in Belize with us) finally arrived. We took the boys down there, dropped them off with Scott, and fun ensued. He sent me pictures all day long so I have some images to share.

First, of course, the boys had to scour the map to make sure they picked the right places to go.

Plotting a route

One of the first choices was to go on safari and see all the Lego animals.

Lego elephant

Heading for a safari

Lego giraffe

They also got their driver’s licenses and drove some cars around.

Slow and steady …

For lunch they had the usual theme-park healthy fare.

Ezra's lunch

Finn's lunch

Seriously, that is a giant rice crispy treat.

Rice crispy treat

They got to hang out with R2D2.


And Chewbacca.


And they saw Lego San Francisco. Wow.

Lego San Francisco

They came back exhausted, full of stories, and carrying two new giant Legos to build. Ezra said it was the best day of his entire life. Finn promptly passed out on the ride home.

Sleepy Finn

Thanks, Scott!


With three boys in the house, it’s hard for me to believe that I’m the one who ended up at urgent care tonight getting stitches. But so it goes. The odds are never good for the pinky when it’s going up against a kitchen knife.


Four stitches and a tetanus shot and I was good to go.

Laguna Day Trip

Cari and I made an attempt to beat the Pasadena heat by taking the kids to Laguna for the day. It worked. The temps were nearly as high there, but the cold ocean water and sea breeze made it feel much cooler. The kids had a blast, of course.

Finn gets a ride from Ruby

Kids in the "pool"

Hitchin' a ride

Late afternoon at the beach

After several hours at the beach, we headed up for baths and dinner.


Cari and I ate out on the deck and got this beautiful sunset view.

Laguna sunset

Laguna evening sky

We headed home just after 8:00 with four completely exhausted kids who fell asleep as soon as we hit the freeway. Now that’s a successful day trip!

Soccer, Week 2

The boys had back-to-back soccer games at Victory Park yesterday starting at 8:30 a.m. which was a blessing in our 100 degree weather. (In fact, I think they ended up canceling all the games that started after 10:30.) We brought lots of water — new larger jugs for each boy since we ran out at last week’s game.

Big water

Ezra played first and seemed to have a good time.

Ezra's Game 2

Ezra's Game 2

There was a mud puddle that they’d marked off in the middle of the field to keep the kids from getting stuck in it. I’m pretty sure jumping over it was Ezra’s favorite part of the game.

Jumping over the mud puddle

Finn was up next. Before the game we took some team photos.

The Blue Ninjas

And then they were off, running around in a pack after the ball.

Finn's Game 2

Finn's Game 2

Finn's Game 2

Finn's Game 2

I like the early morning schedule. We were done by 10:30 and free to go about our Saturday.


After a long lull of disinterest from the boys, bubble baths have returned to favor recently. They want “tons and tons” of bubbles and make good use of their time in the bath. Here’s what I found when I came to collect them after a bath this week. “Look at all the bubbles we made, Mommy!” Ugh.

Look at our bubble collection, Mommy!

Finn also needed to show me how one of the bath toy animals could eat the other, which caused a stream of giggles.

Bath time fun

At this point, they are so dirty most nights that whatever keeps the in the bath longer is a good thing.

Matchy Matchy

Finn and Charlie (and many, many other boys at Aveson) ended up with the same green shirt from Target and have been unsuccessfully trying since the first day of school to coordinate a day to wear it. The problem is twofold: neither knows how to do laundry and neither has an attention span long enough to remember to tell those who do know how to do laundry that they’d like to wear their special shirt the next day.

But finally the planets aligned today and they accidentally ended up matching. Smiles ensued.

Finn and Charlie match

Happy Birthday, Bruce!

We had a very low key birthday celebration for Bruce yesterday — just a poster (from Finn) on the back door and a blueberry buckle cake after dinner.

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Bruce had to convince Finn not to “help” blow out the candle. Ezra wasn’t sure Finn would comply so he took matters into his own hands.

Blowing out the candle

But eventually we all enjoyed cake.

Mmmmm ...

Happy low key birthday, Papa!


We jumped off the bridge they call AYSO soccer today, saying goodbye to our weeknights and Saturdays in the process. But we thought it was time to at least let the boys try organized sports, so we took advantage of last week’s late signups and got them both on a team. Unfortunately, their two-year age difference makes it so they can’t play on the same team, which translates into two weeknight practices and two Saturday games at different parks. Today we had to be an hour early for Ezra’s 11:30 game at Victory Park in order to let the kids collect their uniforms, choose a team name, and warm up for their game. By game time it was nearly 90 degrees, but the kids were troopers. Sweaty, tired troopers, but troopers nonetheless. Here are some pictures from the day.

First, Ezra’s team — the Black Strikers — warms up.

Pre-game warmups

The coin toss failed to hold Ezra’s attention; that’s him (#4) on the right looking off in the other direction.

Coin toss, Ezra not interested

Here are a couple of shots from the game and a short video of what Ezra looked like during most of it. I realized watching him that he had no idea what to do. We’ve never even watched a soccer game. He was a little timid but managed to have a couple of kicks, a block, and a throw in.

Ball coming at Ezra

Ezra's throw in

Ezra said he had fun playing, but that he was super hot. That’s an improvement over his statement as we were walking to the game: “Mommy, I wish you’d never signed me up for this.” Poor kid. I’m so glad he had a good time, but I do think his favorite part was the half-time oranges.

Halftime oranges - Ezra's favorite part

Finn’s game started at 12:30 in La Canada, so once Ezra was done we high-tailed it over there and caught the last 15 minutes or so of the Blue Ninjas. The under 6 set is really cute. Finn is an entirely different kind of player — he’s fearless and pretty aggressive considering he also doesn’t have any idea how to play. He told me later that he liked taking the throw ins so whenever he saw the ball go out he ran over. He took three of them while I was there. Here’s one.

Finn's throw in #3

I love the tongue out. He does it while he’s running sometimes, too.


Running to the coach

After the game there’s the traditional handshake.

Shaking hands with the ref

And the adults form a tunnel for the kids to run through — that seemed to be a kid favorite.

End of game tunnel

All in all a good day. And it’s nearly 7:00 p.m. now and they still haven’t taken off their uniforms.

Ezra in uniform

Finn in uniform

End of Week 1

The first week of Kindergarten and second grade went well. Ezra got to do “share bag” and take in two items to share with the class. He chose Finn’s wooden snake from the Belize Zoo and the monkey Sergio carved for him from a coconut. The monkey was a huge hit, although I have yet to get any of his friends’ specific comments out of Ezra.

Finn is loving school and, in fact, has told me several times that he loves school. Naptime is his favorite, even though he doesn’t actually nap. I think he’s happy to have the rest, both physically and mentally. I snapped a couple more pictures of him this week. Here he is in line ready to go into the classroom on day 2.

Kindergarten, day 2

And here’s the hat he made and brought home on Friday.

Finn's new hat from week one of kindergarten

On Thursday they had a bit of excitement when a bear wandered into the neighborhood from the local mountains and the sheriffs made them lock down the school. They call it “shelter in place” instead of lock down which has a much sinister connotation, but the kids were kept in their classrooms until the sheriffs could make sure it was safe to release them. This happened at pickup time, so it had the potential to be quite disastrous as far as traffic and panicked parents are concerned. But the school handled it beautifully, walking each child to their car at an alternate pickup site in front of the school. Tedious for the teachers, I’m sure, but everyone was kept safe and sound. Here’s a photo that a friend of a friend took about a block away from school.


He was said to be in the neighborhood again the next day, but luckily he was far enough away from school that we didn’t have a repeat performance of “shelter in place.”

First Day of School 2012

The first day of school started with a huge traffic jam! Families were stacked up for blocks, waiting to get a parking spot at or near the Aveson campus. We squeaked in just before 8:00 and I ran with Ezra to get to his line as his teacher likes to start right on time and is always the first person to walk her class down to the classroom. Ezra seemed a little anxious, although Cari, who stayed in the classroom for some time, said the kids were having a good morning in Mrs. Diane’s class.

Ezra in line for second grade

Once he was safely in class, I went down the hall to Finn’s classroom, bummed that I’d missed my photo op of his class lining up for the first time. All the Kindergarteners were on the rug and Ms. Jessica was taking role.

Sneaking a peak at Charlie

After a story about going to Kindergarten, the kids got in a circle and introduced themselves.

Circle time


Then they drew pictures of their families for a display on the bulletin board.


Our family

Then Ms. Jessica read The Kissing Hand.

Ms. Jessica reads The Kissing Hand

And the kids (and grownups) made hands for each other.

Making a Kissing Hand

Adding hearts

Our trusty parent liaison, Stephanie, took pictures of all the kids.

Stephanie takes Finn's picture

Once everyone was done, the kids reassembled on the rug to start learning the ropes.

Learning how things work in Kindergarten

Then they lined up for snack recess.

Thumbs up!

And headed out the door. “Hi, Papa!”

Hi Papa

Recess was our cue to leave. Finn seemed to be doing just fine!

After school I got a couple of pictures for posterity’s sake.

First day pickup

First day pickup

And then we went for our traditional first day of school cupcakes. So many choices!

Choices ...

Celebratory cupcakes

When we sat down to dinner later, I got reports from their days: Finn already loves school and Ezra had a great day, too. Then we ran an errand and on the way home, at 6:45, Finn fell asleep. He slept until 6:30 the next morning. I think Kindergarten is very tiring.

Sleepy Kindergartener

The Week Before School

After we got home from Belize, we had one week before school started. We spent some of it recovering from the stomach bug (Finn) and some getting reacquainted with our toys (Ezra). I spent some time scrambling to make sure everything was in order for school — paperwork, school clothes, supplies, etc. We had a few fun activities as well.

There was some tent and fort camping.

In-room tent camping

Fort sleeping

We went to Aveson for the Kindergarten Open House, where Finn met his teachers (Jessica and Vonni) and some of his classmates.

Finn's Kindergarten Open House

Finn's Kindergarten Open House

We went on a hike in the Arroyo with some of our Aveson friends.

On the Aveson hike

Ezra, Finn, and Jack

Ezra got a new, bigger bike and we met some friends at the park for bike riding.

Bike riders and Gigi

Finn and Charlie

On Labor Day, Vanessa and Thomas came over for some physics, play time, and dinner. The boys played hockey and rode bikes.

Thomas stops a shot from Bruce

Finn takes a shot

Local biker gang

And then the week was done and we were staring Kindergarten and Second Grade in the face!