Woodworking #12

Our third set of woodworking classes came to a close on June 13th with chair making at the Bannings’ house. It was a complicated project but utilized many of the skills the kids have learned with other projects, and everyone loved the final product. Here’s Bruce’s instruction poster.

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And here’s a look at how the class went.

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I love this picture of Finn.

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The kids really needed a break in the middle of class since the project took longer than others. Ezra and Jack built a little train track.

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Back at work … Amelia and Bruce.

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Sofia’s always focused on the task at hand.

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The last step was sanding. Finn liked using the electric sander although with all that hair I’m not sure how he saw what he was doing.

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Here are a couple of samples of the chairs. These are Jackson and Bella’s.

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Our boys did a few enhancements on their chairs over the weekend that followed class. Finn decided to stain his and Ezra painted.

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Final products:

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And just like that we have our first furniture for the clubhouse.


Last Day of School 2013

The last day of school included celebrations/potlucks in each classroom, and big changes for both boys. The move from Kindergarten to first grade is big, and at Aveson the move from second to third grade involves a literal new level on the tiered campus. So, not wanting to miss photo ops in either classroom, I got Bruce to take the day off and join us. When we arrived on campus, Finn’s class was on the field.

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After PE (or recess, not sure which it was) they had their potluck.

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Here’s Finn and Charlie.

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At this point I went to Ezra’s class and Bruce stayed with Finn. He got some more good photos of the morning and the ceremony.

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Here’s Finn getting his certificate and goodies from Ms. Jessica.

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And here’s a picture I took of the two of them later that evening at woodworking class. She’s taking next year off to travel with her family — we will miss seeing her everyday!


Ezra’s class, along with the first graders, performed a few songs for the parents. Here’s one.

Then they chowed down.

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And finally got their certificates of completion.

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Here’s Ezra with his teacher Mrs. Diane.

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And here are my newly minted first and third graders!

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Aveson Beach Trip 2013

We had the annual K-2 beach field trip on June 11th. It was Ezra’s last time on the trip and Finn’s first official one — he got to ride the bus instead of coming with me. It’s a crazy trip but the kids love it. My boys pretty much dig in the sand the whole day. Here’s Finn and his friend Henry.

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Ezra made sand balls. A lot of sand balls.

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And here’s a group shot of the nuttiness.

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I generally like the trip, except for the part where we have to get the kids to stop playing and get showered off and changed into dry clothes. That part is no fun at all. But every year we all survive.

Blueberries at Underwood

On the last Monday before school let out, we took an after-school road trip up to Somis to pick blueberries (and strawberries, but the blueberries were really spectacular) at Underwood Family Farms. It took a little bit of time to get the boys away from the farm animals and trucks.

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But eventually we got to the berries. It was an oddly satisfying venture — I couldn’t stop picking them and neither could the kids! (Not eating them was also a challenge.)

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Finally, when we had loads of blueberries, Ezra pointed us to the strawberries.

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There were fewer ripe strawberries, but that didn’t stop these boys.

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Ezra and Jack even went back for more blueberries while Finn and Theo played. We came away with two big boxes of blueberries and one of strawberries. Before leaving we had to get one last picture.

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Despite the vast quantity of blueberries we brought home, they didn’t last long. They were just so delicious none of us could stop eating them.

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Definitely a trip to put on the calendar for next June!

JPL Mini-Tour

A couple of Saturdays ago Bruce took us and another Aveson family on a mini-tour of JPL. It was supposed to be the weekend of the ever-popular annual JPL open house, but the event had been canceled and the other family had a very disappointed space-crazy nephew who was coming into town for his birthday specifically to go to JPL. Bruce saved the day for them and we got to tag a long for the tour. It’s always fun to go to the lab. We started in the museum. Here are Bruce and Finn checking out the infrared display.

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We checked out the models of the spacecraft and then watched the newest version of their movie about the history of JPL. It was great — I wish I could share it but it’s only available at the museum for now.

Here are some other pictures from around the lab. Full scale model of Curiosity.

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Waiting outside the spaceflight operations room (which we ended up not being able to enter — the only disappointment of the day).

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Wildlife on lab.

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Mars Yard exploration.

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My favorite sign — Rover Crossing.

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The newest ATHLETE rover. (This is in a tent near the Mars Yard. Ezra was very worried about us going in to see it because he thought we weren’t supposed to be in there.)

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Our last stop was the observation deck of the clean room.

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They’re building something that Bruce worked on (the cylinder thing on the left side) which is going to the Space Station to do optical communication. It’s called the OPALS project and is set to fly in September. Very exciting!

The kids and adults really enjoyed the tour. I overheard several times, “This place is so much cooler than my job!”

Second Grade Campout

One of the perks of being a second grader at Aveson is the end of the year second grade only campout. To me, this sounded like a perfect activity for Ezra and Bruce. Here’s Ezra all packed up and ready to go.

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Basically, campers just took over the field and fun ensued.

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The boys had some sort of lightsaber battle going on and Bruce fixed two flashlights to a pole for Ezra so he had a double lightsaber. He was in heaven.

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From what I heard, a good time was had by all. Especially the soon-to-be third graders.

(Some non-second graders — Finn, Charlie and Chapin — got a consolation dinner at Islands. They were happier about it than the picture implies.)

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COL June 2013

Our end of the year Celebration of Learning took place on June 5th and 6th. Here are some pictures of the boys showing us their work.

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Finn’s class did a video of all the kids reading for Dr. Seuss day. here’s a still from Finn’s turn.

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Here’s the whole video. Finn’s part starts at about the 5:30 mark.

Ezra’s class did a Read to Feed project where they raised money for all the books they read. They learned about ways to help other people — buying livestock, etc. — and ended up overwhelmingly beating their original goal and contributing quite a bit. They wrote about and drew pictures of the animals they purchased. Here’s Ezra’s water buffalo information.

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They also learned a lot about life cycles this year. Ezra loved this unit.

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And, of course, there was art. Here’s Ezra’s Georgia O’Keeffe.

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A few more pictures here.

Finn’s Second Recital

The same afternoon as June Jubilee, Finn had his second recorder recital. So, after snow cones, bounce houses and tie-dying, we switched gears and he and Bruce rushed home to change Finn into his nice clothes. I stayed with Ezra for an extra half-hour and then we met at the church that was home to the recital. Finn, apparently, had refused to have his top button done or his tie tightened all the way. He looked a tad disheveled but cute as we waited for his turn to go on.

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Note the orange fingers left over from the tie-dye booth.

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Finally, it was his turn.

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I don’t have video from his solo (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) but I do have video of his duet with his lesson partner, Sami.

When they were done, Finn took a bow. Sami did not.

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While we waited through the rest of the performers, Finn was mostly interested in Ezra’s treasures from June Jubilee.

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And he had a hard time staying awake.

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June Jubilee 2013

I took a few hundred photos at June Jubilee this year, but it turns out only a few were of my own kids. I take a lot of pictures now for the Aveson website and sometimes this kind of lapse happens. Anyway, I got two. First, Ezra doing his favorite game — the fishing booth. He came home with pockets full of trinkets.


And here’s Finn doing the tie-dye booth. His shirt came out great but I really just like his level of concentration here.


I also used the boys as models for the June Jubilee t-shirt. I took a series of pictures in various jumping positions. Here’s a sampling.




But when it came time to post it, I realized I needed to highlight the shirts, not the jumping and used this one. Still cute!



I just love this picture of Finn. I snapped it just after he got out of the bath one evening.


Game 7

I got to see a lot of great playoff hockey this year thanks to my friend Sherry and her husband’s unfortunate (for him) travel schedule. The best was Game 7 versus the San Jose Sharks, which the Kings won 2-1. I don’t usually bother trying to take pictures there, but we had a cool celebrity sighting — David Beckham carrying his daughter (diaper in hand) during the intermission.

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I posted that one to Facebook, melting the hearts of moms everywhere.

Better yet, the end of the game handshake tradition after a hard-fought series.

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Bummer that the Kings lost in the next round to the Chicago Blackhawks, but they put in a great effort.

Field Trip to Eaton Canyon

The Tuesday we returned to school after the long Memorial Day weekend, Finn’s kindergarten class had a field trip to Eaton Canyon. The organizers asked for, and got, a lot of parent volunteers, which is a good thing. We walked from school over to the nature center and herding 50 or so 5- and 6-year-olds is never easy. I was hoping to get Finn and Charlie as my two charges, but got Finn and Rogan instead.

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It was fine. We stopped part way in for a snack.

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And then kept going to the nature center. Here’s Finn and Charlie in the home stretch.

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We got a nice presentation from the ranger (and helpers) which included this albino King snake.

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We learned that the King snake is not susceptible to rattle snake venom (thus, the king of the snakes). This one was probably someone’s pet that was abandoned in the canyon because it’s unlikely it would have made it to adulthood in the wild due to its lack of camouflage.

After the indoor presentation, we got to go in small groups around the nature center to see the native plants …

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… and animals. Yes, that is a rattle snake!

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He was kindly heading in the other direction after we inadvertently scared off the lizard he was hunting.

We continued along the trail, finding lots of poison oak along the way.

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And then headed back to the picnic tables for lunch. Here’s Finn’s gang (left to right): Luca, Finley, Finn and Charlie.

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After lunch we went on a scavenger hunt.

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And then sang some songs while waiting for the stragglers to come in.

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Finally, we took a bus back to school. Still all smiles.

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Memorial Day in Laguna

We had a great Memorial Day weekend with the Bannings in Laguna. Bruce and Rob spent a good amount of time rebuilding a fence and doing some repairs, and Cari and I got in two long walks and lots of time on the beach with the kids.

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Bruce discovered this awesome orb weaver in the garden.

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Ezra took a turn at being Sigmund the Sea Monster while building a penguin nest with Ruby.

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And there was lots of bike riding.

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All in all, an excellent way to spend a weekend! (More pictures here.)

Visit with the Fishers and Bohls

We were headed to Laguna with the Bannings for Memorial Day weekend and thought ahead for once to see if Dick, Claire and Alex were available for a visit. They were and as a bonus, Leah and her family were also there. Max’s wife Erin joined briefly at the end of our visit. Sadly, we were later than expected and Dick didn’t get to hang around very long. But we still had a nice visit. (And we got to see Max when we picked up yummy lunch at his restaurant!)

The three older boys (Logan is almost 4) bonded over the Ninjago iPhone game.

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And some toys.

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Later, much to my horror, Ezra taught Logan and Blake how to make farting noises. Charming.

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They thought it was hysterical.

We got to see Erin for just a few minutes and meet their new addition — Banyan. So cute and tiny!

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On the way out, I got this shot of Logan, Finn and Ezra just after they finished comparing Crocs.

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Great to see everyone!