Woodworking #10

Woodworking class #10 (!) was at the Bannings’ a couple of weeks ago. Yes, I’m woefully behind on my blogging. It happened to be on Finn’s birthday so in addition to making boxes, we had a small celebration for Finn. First, the boxes. Kids collect treasures. Lots of treasures. So Rob thought making a box to keep them in would be a good idea. I think everyone agreed.

Rob demonstrates

Here’s Bruce’s instruction sign for the class.

Bruce's instructions

I didn’t ever get a good shot of the whole thing, but I liked the end picture so much I got a closeup of that part. “Assemble & Marvel”

Nice box

Personally, we had a pretty shaky start — Ezra didn’t want to do the project, yet again, but this time I wasn’t having it. The project was not complicated, nor was their too much sawing as in other projects, so I just wasn’t going to let him out of it. I mean, what’s the purpose of us doing these classes if our own kid doesn’t want to participate? After trying some bad tactics of the “just do it!” variety, I finally decided to actually ask him why he didn’t want to. Many tears later, it was determined that it was all the sanding he didn’t want to do. Aha! So, we did it together and then once that part was done he was off to the races and did the rest of the steps mostly by himself. Woot!

Here he is *patiently* waiting for Caleb to finishing drilling so he can have a turn.

Ezra waiting

Finally, Ezra’s turn.

Ezra drills

He got a little help from Bruce here.

Ezra and Caleb

And then he was done. He took an unconventional path to decorating his box, eschewing the shiny things, beads, paint, etc. that most kids were using.

Ezra shows off his box

It says, “Remember … do not look in here or else!”

Here’s how a few of the other kids decorated their boxes.

Bella, Jessica and Ruby

Theo and Josie

Once the boxes were done and dinner was had, we pulled out the cupcakes and sang to Finn.


He was pretty happy.


And so was everyone else, because the cupcakes were pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!

(More pictures here.)

Bruce’s Expert Presentation

Ezra’s class has been learning about becoming an expert in something. Each student chose a topic and wrote a letter home to his or her parent asking for help in becoming an expert in their chosen area. Here’s Ezra’s letter.

Ezra's expert letter

They have also had a series of presentations from parents on being an expert at something — either work or hobby. Bruce signed up to do a presentation and went in last week to talk about how he became an expert in Information Theory. His first step was to talk about how important it is to be able to communicate with spacecraft. Case in point, the Millenium Falcon.

B's expert presentation

He showed them the receiver, too.

B's expert presentation

And, trying to spark a passion for math in at least a few of the students, he talked about how beautiful math is to a mathematician, using musical notes to a musician as an analogy. I’m not entirely sure they got the point, but I thought it was wonderful.

Music and math

Clubhouse Progress

The second big push on the clubhouse came on April 5th when Bruce had a regular day off. Rob came to help. Ruby came to play with Ezra and Finn. Cari and Chapin came a little later in the afternoon. It was kind of a barn raising type party.

First, there were lots of decisions to be made. The great minds got to work.

Pre-work consult

And the kids got to riding. There was some construction going on down the block. The little bobcat filling the dump truck kept Finn, Ezra and Ruby entertained for quite a while.

Kids found something to watch

After a trip to the lumber yard for supplies, Bruce and Rob got to work on the deck/wrap around porch.

Working on the deck

Working on the deck

The kids deemed it necessary that we take a trip to In-n-Out for lunch. It was hard to argue, so off we went.

Trip to In-n-Out for provisions

The men-folk got right back to work after lunch.


Looking good

And pretty soon, the wrap around porch looked like this!


But there was no resting on their laurels. They got right to work on the walls.

Rob and Bruce

Finally they ran out of daylight and had to stop for pizza. Lots of progress was made!

End of weekend

Aveson Camping 2013

This year’s Aveson camping trip was a change from the usual trip to Anza Borrego. I think many people had had enough of the desert and so this year it was beach camping at El Capitan State Beach. I like going to the desert, but I was happy for the change, especially since, when I was growing up, my family spent a week every summer at El Capitan until I was about 14 years old. I couldn’t wait to see what had changed and what had stayed the same, and how the reality differed from my memory of the place.

Our group campsite was up on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The views were tremendous.


Here’s our little tent city on the first evening.

Tents at dusk

The kids were in heaven — there were bike paths all over the campground which afforded them quite a bit of freedom to ride around without adults. Here’s a picture of Ezra and Jack taking a break from bike/scooter riding.

Ezra and Jack enjoy the view

We all realized when we got back that none of us took pictures of the kids riding their bikes. I think we were so pleased that they were safe and we could relax that we didn’t think to pull out the camera!

After a couple of hours of bike riding on the first day, Bruce and the kids went down to the beach. Cari and I got in a great walk over to Refugio State Beach about two miles up the coast. Part of the path was closed due to storm damage but we took the little work-around the fence and continued on our walk. The scenery was quite pleasant.

View on our walk

When we got back we helped the kids get showered and de-sanded and Bruce and Rob got started on a contest for who had the best dinner. We were ill prepared for such a contest, bringing Trader Joe’s tomato soup and stuff for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Bruce during the dinner wars

Rob had Trader Joe’s cornbread (the clear winner) and spaghetti.

Rob during the dinner wars

I’m not sure a winner was ever officially declared, but the two participants took things quite seriously.

After our dinner, the kids roamed around with friends. Here’s Finn and some lady-friends, the Pinto girls and Sage from his class.

Finn and the ladies

Of course, there were s’mores. Taking an idea from Auntie Eli, we took Peeps to roast. They were a hit.

Peeps ready for roasting

Finn and friends roast

Finn and his Peep s'more

Ezra was more interested in burning marshmallows to make sculptures. He had a whole system worked out.

Ezra and Ruby

We all hit the hay pretty early. I made some attempt to read on my Kindle, but I’m pretty sure I was the first one asleep in our tent. It turned out to be a rough night with uncommon winds blowing the tents around. Our tent stands up to the wind pretty well, but it’s loud. Some friends’ tents nearly collapsed.

The next morning was chilly but comfortable as we all had breakfast and enjoyed the sunrise.

Campers down the line

Ezra took a little siesta after breakfast to have a quiet moment with his Calvin & Hobbes book.

Ezra takes a quiet moment

Later we went down to the beach (where Ezra and his friends had been for hours). They’d been creating structures out of sand and seaweed and generally just having a great time.

Ezra and Jenner

Ezra building

Aveson takes over the beach

There was the obligatory wave jumping with dads.

Ruby, Rob, Bruce and Finn

And finally Ezra slowed down long enough to have some lunch. He was starving.

Ezra dives in to his late lunch

Then he had a little rest in the warm sand.

Food coma

Finally we dragged the worn out kids back up to the campsite, got them showered and got ready for the potluck. Unfortunately, we also had to pack up and get ready to leave after dinner, but thankfully the kids had a great time with their friends while Bruce and I loaded up the car.

Potluck time

There was more marshmallow roasting, too.


We had to drag Finn out about 8:00. He was so tired he couldn’t see straight, but was insistent that he just needed to play a little longer. After we finally got him settled in the car, he fell asleep before we were out of the campground. Even Ezra fell asleep on the drive home, a rare occurrence for him these days.

I have a few more pictures here. We are definitely looking forward to next year’s trip!


Two of my favorite plants have had a blooming bonanza the last couple of weeks. First, there is this poppy (Matilija Poppy, I believe, but also known as the “fried-egg poppy”) which has gone crazy.


And second, my most favorite — Calandrinia spectabile — is showing off its gorgeous magenta blooms.

My favorite

We have several of these in the yard and they add such a lovely pop of color. Happy Spring!

I Am Finn

Finn is starting to write a little more lately and the other day he wrote a couple of sentences. Here’s the first.

I am Finn

It’s a little hard to read with the eraser marks, but it says, “I am Finn.”

He also wrote this one:

Mi last nam is Mosn

This one is even harder to read because, well, spacing is not all that important to a Kindergartener learning to write. It says, “Mi last nam is Mosn.” Spelling is not important either. I couldn’t be more thrilled that he’s writing and sounding out words!

Easter 2013

The Easter Bunny visited again this year thanks to a little last minute prep. Just a couple of baskets with a little candy and a couple of toys. The Easter Bunny doesn’t go too crazy at our house.

Checking out the Easter Bunny's gifts

Easter baskets

He also left a note with a short Easter egg hunt for the boys.

Letter from the Easter Bunny

Here’s Finn grabbing the ones off the Hattifattener.


They seemed to be having a good time during the hunt, but afterwards Ezra said it was way too short.