Ezra had a play date with his friend Jenner this afternoon after school. They played inside and outside, and although both Bruce and I were home, we weren’t watching them the whole time. This evening when I went to use bathroom upstairs something had obviously gone on in there. The toilet seat was up and the toilet paper was pulled on the roll into the toilet. I got a little nervous about the potential flood, but broke the piece off and successfully flushed the toilet.
A little later, Finn said, “Mommy, do you know why there’s not much toilet paper left on the roll?” He proceeded to tell me how Ezra and Jenner had put the paper into the toilet and flushed so they could watch it unravel into the toilet. Needless to say, I found Ezra and told him not to do it again.
But then I asked him where he got that idea. After hemming and hawing for a while, he finally whispered, “Calvin and Hobbes.”
A little while after that I found this List of Fun he’d written out for the play date.
I love that it says not to do the toilet paper flush thing again. You might think that was added later because of my directive, but in fact, it’s because it wasn’t as great as Calvin and Hobbes made it out to be. Ezra said the toilet paper didn’t come off the roll very fast and it wasn’t much fun. Thank goodness.
I’m rethinking our decision to introduce Ezra to Calvin and Hobbes.
We have a very special guest blogger today. Ezra would like to share about a Lego microship he built. Take it away, Ezra!
So, first, I found a piece from my Samurai Mech (“Mek”). It was a perfect piece for a microship.
Next, I gathered pieces: two plates and two transparent pieces for the cockpit. Then I started putting them together. I started with the main piece, then I got a yellow piece. I put it inside the slit that there was. Then I put the red piece over it so it was held on.
Then I built the cockpit. At first it was just the two transparent pieces and a small slope. I put the slope over both transparent pieces. I put it on the ship. Then I thought, “That doesn’t look too good. I need another piece.” I found another piece to add detail. I put the cockpit right at the end of the piece.
Then I thought, “Hmmm, it needs details.” I found two dragon blades, two joy sticks and two pieces the dragon blades and joy sticks could fit onto. I put them on the two remaining studs on the piece from the Samurai Mech. Then I put on the dragon blades and the joy sticks. (The joy sticks were easy to find because I never use them.)
Next I gathered pieces for a tail fin. I found two pieces that could be a perfect tail fin. They were both blue. They have no stickers, although they used to have stickers. I took one off and then I thought, “Wait, I shouldn’t do this because that was part of another one of my inventions that a minifigure could go on.” But then I thought, “Bah! I could just do it because this another one of my microships.”
Then I put a gray grill piece on just in front. Then I found a way to put it on just at the right angle.
So then I thought, “Hmmm I don’t want the engine to overheat. It needs more grills.” Then I found a few pieces. I put them together. Then I put them on a few remaining spaces.
And then I thought, “Hmmm boosters and guns.” I gathered the pieces for the boosters and put them on the two remaining spaces that wouldn’t plug up the cockpit. Those were the final parts of my microship.
So there are boosters, guns, dragon blades to scratch other microships, a tail fin, a cockpit and some grills so it won’t overheat, and some joy sticks to add detail.
Editors Note: Ezra loves to read but hates to write. I think this is a two-part issue: 1) the physical act of writing is difficult for him and 2) he has so many ideas in his head, he can’t keep up when he’s writing and he loses his train of thought. But I want to encourage him to write and help him with the process, so we tried something new this morning — we decided to have him write a guest blog post. He started off writing a draft in his notebook …
… but after the first page he was frustrated and wanted me to write it for him. I decided to enlist the voice memo app on my phone and recorded him telling the story of how he built the ship. I then transcribed it for him and we went back and edited it together. I’m hopeful that having him see his story completed here will encourage him to do more writing in the future. We’ll see!
Whereas Ezra’s project idea came to us instantly, Finn’s was less obvious. We talked first about doing something with the palm fronds that had recently fallen in the yard. But then we forgot to move them to a safe place and the gardeners took them away. Oops. Somewhere along the line, Finn got an idea for dice. We searched the house but could only find seven of them. But … we could make them! And a project was born.
As much as we like the boys to do the lion’s share of tasks for these projects, some things only a grownup can do. Like cutting small blocks of wood with the table saw.
And sanding with the electric sander.
But drawing the dots? That a five-year-old can do.
It was pretty chilly last weekend, so Finn and I moved our dot-making operation inside.
They had a nice production line (sanded versus non-sanded) going in the garage. Ezra was the runner.
How many? 68 and counting.
Finally, we got to 100.
But we still hadn’t figured out how to display them. There was much deliberation among the design team.
Finally, it was decided — a clear plastic box with a hole on the top. Custom cut and glued by Bruce, of course.
He proudly took it to school today.
There are a few more pictures in a slideshow here.
It’s that time of year for 100th Day of School projects. We learned recently — to our relief and sadness — that they don’t do these projects in third grade so this is Ezra’s last one. And it’s a doozy!
It started from humble beginnings — he became obsessed with collecting bottle caps when we were in Belize over the summer and we brought them home in a ziplock bag. Over the last few months he’s added a few more from the random beer or Mike’s Hard Lemonade consumed at our house. The ziplock bag has been in this, that or the other place in the house until last month when we started talking about what to do for the 100th day project. It was a natural fit, so he started counting to see what he had.
At this point he had 99 caps. Bruce added one more beer cap and they found a couple while they were camping at Joshua Tree recently. A project was born. Now, how to display them …
Bruce suggested we glue them onto a board, but Ezra was insistent that he wanted to be able to move them around and play with them, so glue was out. So Bruce came up with a second idea and built a prototype:
Ezra loved the idea. And so did I because it looked so cool I figured we’d get an art piece out of it! Last weekend, it came to fruition. I don’t have pictures of every step, but after measuring and gluing two pieces of Douglas Fir together, Ezra measured out the grid and marked where they would drill the holes. Then the fun part started — the drill press. Everyone loves using the drill press.
Finn got a turn as well.
Next was some careful sorting. Ezra had decided he wanted to group them by type. The biggest groups were Belikin Beer and Fanta.
Careful placement …
And done! Just waiting for the plexiglass to be screwed on top.
Come Wednesday when he took it to school, he was newly-shorn and very proud of his project.
But we forgot one thing — he needed to put his name on it. He was very excited when I answered yes to his question, “Can I write it any way I want?”
On Thursday afternoon they displayed all the projects for families to come see. I’m always amazed by the creativity! Here’s Ezra’s with notes from his classmates. Very sweet.
I have a few more pictures so here’s a slideshow.
For a couple of weeks now Ezra has been asking for a haircut. I think it’s because he doesn’t like to have his hair washed, and we’ve had a few warm days and that mop of his gets pretty hot. But this week he went the extra step and asked if he could shave it off so it would look like Bruce’s. I put him off as long as I could, but he was pretty insistent. Today was the day.
First, the before pictures. He was looking pretty shaggy.
That’s a lot of hair.
And here are the after pics. I made him take one with a regular face and then let him do whatever he wanted for the others.
Sorry, Jamma. It was his choice. (And you still have Finn, who refuses a haircut altogether now.)
Last week was Celebration of Learning week at Aveson, so Wednesday and Thursday evenings we spent some time at school discovering what the boys have been up to at school this semester. First was Ezra’s COL which took on a different format this year. Instead of small groups of kids taking their parents on a tour of the classroom, it was held in the auditorium with all of the first and second graders in his block. And, because their studies this semester have focused on food and access to food, it was also a potluck. The kids had made posters of healthy foods by color, which were hanging on the walls.
Ezra’s largest contribution was this awesome blueberry.
And these blackberries.
I like how his fruit have feet. And glasses, in the case of the blueberry.
Part of the evening was spent discussing their field trip to Vons and the food bank, and some of the kids read their stories about that day. Ezra did not want to get up in front of the crowd to read his. But I think he did enjoy the evening, despite it being a little chaotic for his temperament.
Finn, on the other hand, had a COL closer to the format we’re used to. The Kindergarteners had been working on their All About Me Boxes and a book about themselves. They also did a circle project showing increasingly larger circles to symbolize themselves, their house, the city they live in, their country, etc.
The big difference with this COL was that instead of just showing off their stuff to their own family, each student started by presenting their All About Me Box to other families in the room. It was done in small groups, so it wasn’t overwhelming. Clearly Finn was in his element.
I didn’t have a chance to snap many pictures of him because I was listening the presentations of the other students. They all did really well. Here’s the group Finn was with — they’re getting a pep talk before the presentations from their lovely teacher, Ms. Jessica.
For the second half of the evening, the kids returned to their own families and showed off their work. Here are some pictures of Finn showing us his box, his book and his circle project.
We helped him fill in the states he’s been to.
For his favorite part of his city, he chose to draw “Christmas Tree Alley.” He thinks we live in Altadena. Well, close enough.
Not surprisingly, Ezra wasn’t all that interested. But he did find his friend Ben (whose sister is in Finn’s class) and they looked at a book together.
After Finn’s celebration, Bruce took the boys out to dinner — their pick was Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. It’s become sort of a tradition.
I, on the other hand, went home and straight to bed. I’d been out with a fever all day and had just dressed myself up to make it to the COL. Luckily, the fever only lasted one day, unlike Ezra’s the previous week which lasted for 2-1/2 days. It’s pretty miserable, but luckily we’re all on the mend now.
And, we’re looking forward to what the second semester will bring!
Some time last year, our local Altadena Farmers Market put out a call for anyone interested in hosting a farmer each week. Apparently, lots of the farmers who come into town for our farmers market like to stay overnight and attend another market the next day. It sounded perfect for us and our rarely used guest room so we expressed our interest. At first there was no one to take us up on our offer, but last week I got a call from the market coordinator saying she had a husband and wife team from Fresno who would like to stay with us. So, this Wednesday were welcomed June and Ja Moua for an overnight stay.
The kids were excited to have guests in the house and made some welcome signs for them.
Finn drew the two farmers (the ones with the hats) and himself, and he wrote out Welcome Mouas. (Look how his letters are coming along!)
Ezra drew Pikachu.
They brought us lots of goodies from their farm — potatoes, onions, garlic, bok choy, carrots and more. I think this is going to work out swimmingly!