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.

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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.

Ezra’s Drama Class

Part of the elective “wheel” the sixth graders do is a drama class. At the end of the five-week course, they put on a mini-play and parents are invited. Of course, we went. It was super fun to see Ezra up on stage — I think he really enjoys it. He had some funny lines, and he even took over the part of another kid in his group who wasn’t at school that day.

Here are a few snapshots (I didn’t take any video, although we have a recording of the whole thing from his teacher).

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March for Science

On April 22nd we participated in the March for Science in San Jose. We were a little late in getting our act together for the sign but Bruce came up with a great idea to have a beaker that was spewing steam (via dry ice). Luckily we had a big cardboard box to start with. Of course, we had to wrestle it away from Emmy who was just sure she could get inside.

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Bruce did have to make a trip to OSH for PVC supplies to make the dry ice tube, and then, of course, there was the trip to the party store for the dry ice itself. So, it was a little involved. Anyway, here are a few pictures of the sign building.

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It was a challenge to get it to dry.

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Almost ready!

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We waited until we got to San Jose to do the writing, just to give it a little longer to dry, so that happened in the back of the car.

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It came out pretty good!

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It was a huge hit with our fellow marchers. Lots of people snapped photos.

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Here’s a quick video of the action.

And here’s an example of the impromptu photo shoots that happened. That’s my friend, Rosie, who we happened upon, hiding behind the giant Neil deGrasse Tyson. I don’t know who the other woman is; she just wanted her picture taken with our signs.

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Post-march we continued to have fun with the leftover dry ice. Always a good way to liven up breakfast.

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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.

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They did some snowshoeing.

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Made a giant snowball.

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And had a snowboarding/skiing day.

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Lucky ten-year-old.

Finn’s 10th Birthday

Finn hit double digits this year!

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His birthday fell on a school day, so I made cookies (lemon, at his request) for his class and then we celebrated with dinner of his choice at The Counter. He opened one present early (just after school) and the rest in the car after we picked up Bruce from work.

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He got a few sets of LEGO minifigures which we opened and put together at dinner.

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After dinner we continued the celebration with ice cream cake.

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No party this year — he chose to go on a snow trip with Bruce instead.

Colorado Trip

We spent the last few days of Spring Break in Silverthorne, Colorado with the SoCal Moisions thanks to a generous offer of his cabin from Vanessa’s uncle. The cabin is enormous, with comfortable common areas, a nice kitchen, and, much to the boys delight, a pool table.

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There was still patchy snow on the ground when we arrived, enough for the boys to have a snowball fight.

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The first full day we were there we went snow tubing. I’d never been before and it was super fun.

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The second day we went skiing. I was a little nervous since it’s been eons since I’ve skied and I was worried about getting hurt. Bruce and I took a class for beginners, which was good (and we “graduated” early since we weren’t truly first timers). Here we are all geared up.

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I don’t have any pictures of us actually skiing, which also means I don’t have any of me falling when trying to exit the ski lift. Which is good.

The boys took a snowboarding class. Here’s video of Finn (it takes a while to become apparent where he is).

And here’s Ezra.

They were both very tired by the time we caught up with them in the afternoon and there had been some mishaps. Snow sports are hard, but overall they had a really good time. I thought they looked great out there!

Overnight we had a little snow storm so we woke up to a thin blanket of snow.

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Bruce and I got in a little hike around the property and then we packed up and hit the road. We were all happy to get home to our girls — even allergic Bruce.

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Half Moon Bay – Spring Break

On the first day of Spring Break I decided to take the boys to Half Moon Bay. I’d found what looked to be a nice hike along the coast and figured that would be a good outing. Sadly, once we got there I realized the trail is only open on the weekends. Here’s a shot of the cliff we would have been walking on.

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We did find a lookout point which was fun for a few minutes.

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So, in lieu of hiking, we just went down the long trail to the beach. Could be worse!

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It was a bit too chilly though, and after a while I talked them into another hiking trail a few miles up the road. We got a couple of miles of walking in.

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And then we went to lunch.

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Charming, I know. So, not the day I planned, but a good start to the break nonetheless.

Giant Spin Art

We’ve been getting monthly project boxes for the boys for a few months now — one Tinker Crate and one Doodle Crate. They’re fun, quick, self-contained projects. In April, the Tinker Crate was a spin art box that made small (5×5 or so) spin art.

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Of course, this being Moisionland, the inevitable next step was giant spin art. I was not paying attention at all (this was the same day as the cat cake) but when I came outside this is what I found.

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Here’s a video of the contraption in action.

We now have filled the house with both small and large spin art. The small ones hanging from the ceiling drive the cats nuts!

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Emmy & Sophie’s First Birthday

We don’t know exactly when the cats were born since someone just found them in the “wild” but the rescue we got them from put 4/1/16 on their paperwork. Finn and Ezra weren’t too crazy about that date because it’s April Fools Day. Finn wanted to make their birthday the same day as his, but Ezra was not OK with that. So, we finally decided on April 2nd. Here is a typical set of photos of them — Sophie, ever alert and Emmy, resting.

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At some point during the day, we decided we needed a birthday cake. And why not make it a cat cake while we’re at it? I found an online how-to (of course) and set out to make it. Two round cakes were transformed into a kitty!

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I made vanilla buttercream frosting, then Bruce and Finn worked on the coloring and decorating.

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We melted chocolate to make eyes and a mouth.

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And voila!

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The girls didn’t get any cake, but they got some roasted chicken.

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I think they have a pretty good life.

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Bruce at Winnemucca Lake

Continuing their ice fishing quest, Bruce and Andrei made a day trip to Winnemucca Lake in March. Sans children and armed with a longer drill, they gave it another shot.

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There were still no fish.

But it was beautiful!

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Spring Walk & Roll Day 2017

Way back at the beginning of the school year, I chose to have our Spring Walk & Roll Day in March instead of April because a) we had rain in April last year and b) April is when the standardized testing is happening and I figured everyone already has enough to worry about. Well, point b) was fine, but, unfortunately, we still had to fight the rain. I was really worried we’d have an unsuccessful event, but with the helpful ideas of a veteran Safe Routes rep, we managed to pull off another great W&R day.

It was a family affair — Bruce and Finn both helped make the poster and man the tables.

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The poster was a huge success!

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Here’s a video that shows all the post-it notes that the kids drew. I really was surprised at the outcome — such enthusiasm and creativity!

Choosing an Instrument

I don’t remember this happening when Ezra was in fourth grade, but this year the District held several events for fourth graders to try out and choose what instrument they’d like to take next year. Finn is interested in either the trumpet or trombone, and despite the ridiculous lines at the event, he got to try each of them.

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We’ll see which one he ends up with, and start preparing the sound-proof practice room.

Weekend in Laguna

I got to sneak into SoCal for a weekend in Laguna with Cari in March. It was beautiful and relaxing. I have no pictures of us, but several of the beautiful landscape.

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Also, here’s one from the airplane showing how temporarily green California is.

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Finn’s Sacramento Field Trip

On March 9th, Finn and I went on the annual fourth grade field trip to Sacramento. I was happy to get to go again since I had a great visit with Ezra’s class two years ago. It’s an early day though! We were on the bus at 6:30 am! Here’s Finn and his friend Floyd setting in for the ride.

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There was some confusion at first when our bus tried to drop us off at City Hall instead of the State Capitol building, but soon enough we were where we were supposed to be. We started off with a class picture in front of the building.

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Once inside, we waited for our tour time by walking around a bit. Here are a few shots.

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Los Angeles County’s display case (every county has one):

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Finn in front of the bear that guards the governor’s office:

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Our tour guide later told us that Arnold Schwarzenegger bought the bear from an art gallery when he was governor. He also said they call it “germ bear” or “bacteria bear” because everyone touches it. Yuck!

Here are a few shots from our tour. We weren’t able to see the Senate room because there were too many other tours happening but we did see the House. (As an aside, it did seem to be quite a bit busier tour-wise than two years ago. I’m attributing it to everyone’s increased interest in government since our last debacle of a presidential election.)

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While our tour guide this time didn’t harass the kids about how they are responsible for taking part in government (a good point with poor execution), this year’s guide wasn’t that great either. He did a pretty good Schwarzenegger impression though. But, he didn’t point out fun things like the tiled California poppies on the floor. Luckily, Finn’s teacher, Mrs. Johnson, did.

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After the Capitol, we still had two more stops on our Sacramento tour. Next was Sutter’s Fort, which had another school doing an overnight field trip in costume. Our kids got to see rope and candles being made, as well as the cannon being fired which was a huge hit.

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After lunch, our final destination was the Railroad Museum.

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Once again I had a little nerdy moment to myself while I admired the place setting display from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe line.

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Finn asked me to sit next to him on the way home. I think he had a wonderful day but was just done interacting with friends. Or maybe he just wanted to play games on my phone. (Sad news for him as there aren’t any games on my phone!) It didn’t really matter because about 20 minutes in he was out.

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Great day!

Ezra’s 12th Birthday

Bruce and Ezra got home from their snow camping trip in the afternoon of Ezra’s birthday. They were tired, but not too tired to clean up and have a small birthday celebration. All Ezra had on his birthday list was Anki Overdrive paraphernalia, so that’s what he got!

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For dinner we had Ezra’s choice of Howie’s pizza delivered and then ice cream cake.

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Happy 12th, sweet boy!