Finn’s First Hockey Game

On February 24th I was out for my morning walk when I got a phone call from Ali, who runs the travel teams for the hockey club where the boys play. She said they were in desperate need of a replacement goalie because the regular goalie had the flu. After much hullaballoo about which team he’d play for (there’s an A and a B team), he ended up playing on the A team. Luckily this is the team he practices with on Mondays, so he knows the kids, but they’ve all been playing much longer than he has so their skill level is higher.

He was nervous — and so were Bruce and I! — as he’d never played in a real game situation. There were all sorts of little things he didn’t know, like the goalie leads the team out on the ice, they switch sides each period, and the goalie leads in the handshake line at the end. Luckily, the other players were incredibly welcoming and supportive both for these little technicalities and during the game. Likewise, the parents were very nice to Bruce and me and super supportive of Finn’s efforts. It was a tough game — they lost 9-2 to a team that was clearly superior. Finn played well and had a good time, and even though he had moments of despair when the goals against kept coming.

Here are some pictures and video.





I have to say as a parent, watching him in this situation was incredibly nerve-wracking! I was so happy that the kids and parents were so supportive. Here’s the final score sheet, thanks to my friend Christina, showing that Finn had 19 saves.


Finn and Sangeet’s Game

Finn’s class periodically has a class store where they can make things and then sell them to classmates. For the first one, he and Bruce made a watermelon out of Papier-mâché. This time, he and his friend Sangeet decided to make a game. Here is their initial sketch.


It’s a little bit like skee-ball in that you throw balls and try to get into certain holes for more points. I don’t have any pictures of them building it, but here are a couple of them painting it. It’s made of chicken wire, cardboard, and plastic tubing.



Here’s a shot of Finn on his way to school the morning of the store. The final paint job took on an Olympic theme.


And here’s a shot his teacher took during the store.


They decided not to sell the game itself. Instead they sold turns to play it and win candy. It was apparently a huge hit.

Finn’s NASA Field Trip

Two years ago I got to go with Ezra on his field trip to NASA’s Ames Research Center, and this year I got to go with Finn. They have a great learning center there, and they’ve changed some things up in the last two years. There was a new flight landing simulator where the kids get to plan out flight paths and make adjustments to make sure planes land safely. They all seemed to enjoy it.


There was a movie about future space exploration that the kids seemed to enjoy. There’s also a good hands-on part with lots of spinny things.




And then this part where they’re trying to simulate how hard it is to land something somewhere when both parts are moving.


They also spent a little time in a simulated International Space Station doing experiments.


The only bummer about the changes was that they no longer have the model of Bruce’s project (LADEE). It’s been replaced with a poster placed in the stairwell with posters of other projects.


Finn’s Trumpet Presentation

On December 19th Finn’s music class at school had an informal presentation. It was in the classroom and included some instructional bits from his music teacher. I really enjoyed seeing how the teacher and students interacted in this setting. They’ll have a more formal concert later in the year, but this one was relaxed and fun. I have several videos of Finn here, but here’s one of them.


At one point, they turned the tables and made the parents play the instruments. Luckily, we got instruction from the kids! It’s really hard!


He’s had his ups and downs with the trumpet this year, but he really seems to be getting the hang of it and enjoying himself.


Finn’s Outdoor Science School

This year Fairmeadow changed its traditional fifth grade trip from the one-night Age of Sail trip that Ezra did to a three-night Outdoor Science School in Santa Cruz. Finn was mostly excited but had some nerves the morning they were set to leave. It’s hard to tell from the photos though.



The parents in Finn’s class didn’t hear anything from the teacher for the whole trip, which was pretty nerve-wracking especially considering other teachers were posting photos and updates. But we did finally get access to all the photos so we got a glimpse of what the camp was all about. There are a lot of photos in that album but here are the ones I could find of Finn.







He was tired and a little overwhelmed when he got back, but after a few minutes to regain his footing he was full of stories and excitement. He and I had a nice lunch just the two of us.


We were all happy to have him back home — the house is too quiet without him!

Finn Gets His Cast Off

Finn got to get out of the cast a little early because he was headed to Outdoor Science School and we were going to Belize for Thanksgiving — both places not very conducive to keeping a cast dry. The doc said the cast could come off and be replaced with a hard brace for the last few weeks. Here are pictures of the cast right before it came off.



The arm looked weird to me — swollen and curvy — but the doc assured us that the break was healing properly.


And here’s the new brace.


Finn’s Broken Arm

On October 24th the boys left for school on their bikes just like every other morning. However, about ten minutes later my phone rang with a call from a Palo Alto number I didn’t recognize. Luckily, I always answer unknown local numbers because it was Finn who was distraught, having fallen off his bike. I jumped in the car to go get him and had a bad feeling immediately from the way he was holding his arm. I took him home briefly to have Bruce take a look and drop off his bike, and then we went directly to urgent care. He was pretty miserable, but some bonus screen time seemed to help.


The x-rays came back as we’d expected — it was broken. Or “transverse fracture of the distal radial metadiaphysis” to be exact.


He was much more comfortable once they stabilized it in a brace and sling.


Two days later we went back and got the cast.


Having a cast on is a pain, but he did enjoy the minor celebrity status it provided.



Finn’s First Goalie Mask

We’re borrowing (luckily!) most of the equipment Finn needs to be a goalie, but after a few weeks we decided he should have a proper goalie mask instead of his regular hockey helmet/mask. Not surprisingly, he was over the moon to get it.



Sophie liked the box.


Finn’s Goalie Tryout

Both boys have been loving playing ice hockey since they started last year. For about three months Finn asked me if he could try being goalie. I wanted him to remain a skater and hopefully learn the game before he tried goalie, so I just kept putting him off. Finally, he took matters into his own hands and asked the woman who runs the club if he could try it. Seeing how they are always in need of goalies, she was more than happy to oblige. So, on June 23rd he took his first pass at it. Here he is taking a shot from his goalie coach, Tony.


And, of course, I have video. Slo-mo!

He worked so hard during that first session. I thought he was going to come off the ice and say it was too hard and he hated it. However, he LOVED it! He hasn’t stopped talking about goalie stuff since that day.

He especially likes it that Ezra’s best friend Henry is also a goalie and they hang out at practices.


Last Day of School 2017

I don’t have any pictures of Ezra from the last day of school, but I did go to Finn’s class. He had a great year with Mrs. Johnson.



Another parent took a class photo and sent it to all the parents.


It was a good year!

Finn’s Third Piano Recital

On May 20th, Finn had his third piano recital. Here’s the video.

I think he’s made a lot of progress this year! And, more importantly, he seems to really like it. He sits down and plays at home all the time.

Gold Rush Day 2017

Finn got his turn to experience the magic of fourth grade Gold Rush Day on May 17th. He and the rest of his classmates had been preparing for this day for weeks and they were all very excited. His class was in charge of making this year’s town sign.


Finn’s work shift at the Assay Office wasn’t until right before lunch, so he spent the morning panning and mining for gold, buying stuff at the general store, and enjoying sarsaparilla at the Redwood Ridge Saloon.







Finally, his shift started and it was a doozy! He and his friend Satvik manned the scales during the busiest time when everyone was cashing out their gold for the day. Here’s a shot in the calm before the storm.


And here they are mid-transaction.


Once they were finally done, they enjoyed a miner lunch of chili and bread.


After lunch they had an auction, but I didn’t stick around for that so I don’t have any photos. I want to share a few of my other favorite shots from the day and you can see all of my photos here.

Here are Mrs. Johnson and Mr. Easton getting in some gambling time at the saloon.


A couple of girls from Finn’s class teaching school.


The opening gold rush.


It’s such a great day!

Finn’s Learning Celebration & Art

On May 9th, Fairmeadow had its annual Learning Celebration and Finn got the chance to show us around his classroom and all of the work he’s done this year. I didn’t take many photos while he was showing us around, but here’s one of him showing Bruce a book that they read.


We got to bring home his art portfolio that night — always a highlight. Here is 2016-17’s artwork.









Finn’s Fourth Grade Concert

On April 26th, the entire fourth grade of our school and another in the District got together at the middle school to put on a recorder concert. I have no video because I really couldn’t see the stage very well and I didn’t want to be rude and hold up my phone super high. I do have one still shot though! Finn is in the second row, about a third of the way from the left.


Finn practiced a lot for this performance and it went well. I think having the added complexity of so many kids and only a tiny bit of rehearsal time with both schools added to the excitement.

Finn and Bruce’s Bear Valley Trip

As I mentioned in my last post, Finn chose to go on a snowboarding trip for his birthday instead of having a party. He didn’t have to twist Bruce’s arm too much since he wanted to get back on the slopes again too. So, the weekend after Finn’s birthday they went to Bear Valley. They stayed at the Bear Valley Lodge. There was tons of snow.




They did some snowshoeing.


Made a giant snowball.


And had a snowboarding/skiing day.



Lucky ten-year-old.