22 June 2010

Dessert alfresco

After dinner, we ran (A1 insisted that we race, so we literally R A N ) out to the yard and picked crazy sweet & juicy white peaches from the tree and hurriedly plopped them into our mouths. We finished off with a few strawberries.
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These little moments make me so happy.

13 June 2010

Spray park

We love our local spray park and try to go at least a few times before the big kids get out of school for the summer.
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A2 likes to redirect the spray with his foot.
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And, well, A1 likes to use another part of his body to redirect the spray!
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For those who might care, water droplets are courtesy of a 1/1600 shutter speed:
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Iridovirus and the woodlouse

I know these fun little crustacea as roly-polies, but whatever you call them seeing them bright blue is definitely worth noting! As it turns out, it's a viral infection with temperature-dependent pathogenesis. This kind of iridescence happens about 7-10 days post-infection. So weird!
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And...um, yes...I rolled him over for a ventral view. Is that cruel?
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Lesson NOT learned!

I know not to forget to take photos of A2, but for some reason, I always have more of his big brother. Oh, the guilt!

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Gopher harassment

Our gopher teases us with his lack of concern. He's always popping up to see what we're up to!
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I wish I'd had my camera 2 week ago when a circle of 5 boys stood a foot away from the hole and the gopher came out and cleaned his face. No fear, I tell ya. What I do have is this pic of A2 wondering where his little rodent pet is. It doesn't demonstrate our peaceful cohabitation with these little fellas but it does show his crazy curls, so I didn't have the heart to delete the photo.
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Centennial Farm

The large animals (cows, donkeys, etc.) and the crops were all pretty exciting, but the kids were riveted by the baby chicks. Hmm...baby chicks. Because I like redundancy in my language.

Anyway! Here they are listening to the lecture before going in to touch the chicks.
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Poor chicks, who got handled by so many kids!
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These two photos are the result of a "mama, mama, take a picture" request.
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12 June 2010

Signs of summer

Summer closes in and her signs are everywhere

in extended playdates with friends,
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kids WIDE awake in the brightness of 7pm,
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box surfing at the park,
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lots of water play,
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swiss chard harvests,
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and general merriment.
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Combined birthdays

Man, I must have been having a great (or very busy) time, because I barely took any photos of the boys' joint birthday party! I wish I'd gotten some shots of the ENORMOUS bouncer--the rental site listed it at 31 feet long. Instead I got some shots of the pinata action
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and then it just skips to the post-party school/church event.
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Wow, considering there were 25 kids (I remember well because I only made 24 goody bags!!!) and started at 10am and ended at 4pm, you'd think I would have gotten more photos!

08 June 2010

Bereavement

I've been in a state of bereavement for a few months now and there seemed to be a dull film overlaying my entire view. But this past weekend (yes, that means I'm finally starting to catch up on the blogging), I was suddenly struck by such joy! I was weeding my vegetable patches, both of which are fairly large, and realized the abundance of life around me. Corny? Yes. Cathartic? Also yes.
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Lazy days

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So many of the boys' friends have multiple classes, sports activities, and other organized functions. It certainly makes me wonder if they would benefit from a little more structure in their lives.

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I'm starting to get a little bit worried about how A1 will take sitting at a desk for 3.5 hours, 5 days per week next year.

CELDT

As mandated by the state, A1 has been scheduled to take the California English Language Development Test as a requirement for Kindergarten entrance. The one-on-one examination process will steal one hour of his time and what I imagine to be a sizable sum of school district dollars.

Never mind that his general fund of knowledge, in addition to the fluidity with which he communicates that fund, exceeds that of same-aged native speakers. Forget that at barely 5, he can read novel, complex words and spell phonetically regular two to four letter words with ease. Ignore his own mother's assurances of his English proficiency.

So what, you might ask, is the single criterion for testing? It is self-reporting that English is not the primary language spoken at home!

This criterion was in effect when I was a child in a neighboring school district and its logic escaped me then as it escapes me now. I had friends who lied about the primary language spoken at home so that they could forgo testing. And then there I was--too honorable (or, more likely, too stubborn) to lie when the annual survey was sent home. This hardheadedness landed me in regular ESL testing.

Those who know me are certainly aware that I loathe playing the race card. But the assumption that choosing to use one's native tongue precludes the attainment of English proficiency is simply a racist one.

And while I'm completely riled up, I will also add that the prompt on race/ethnicity option on this survey form was, "Pick ONE." I surmised that I was being requested to check the Asian box, so I abruptly and willingly complied. It left knots in my stomach. It made me cry...out of sadness and out of rage. That this level of marginalization would happen in one of the most liberal states defies the fact that the proportion of bi- and multi-racial children is exploding.

I should have checked the Caucasian box. It would have been equally (in)valid.

04 June 2010

02 June 2010

Fair isn't always equal

...but maybe it should be when sheer number of photos is the variable of interest. A1 has twice as many photos as A2 did during their respective first years of life. I'm fully aware that photos drop off with each subsequent jump in birth order, but for some reason, I still make the error of snapping more shots of A1. Following are of A1's birthday 2 months ago; there are no (as in none, zilch, nada, nuthin'!) analogous shots of A2 during his special day last month. What's wrong with me?!?

First, A1 got to pick breakfast and dessert. For some reason, he chose fast food tacos! We all marveled at the table number, 55, as it was A1's 5th birthday.
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Then he got to pick the day's activity. He was unmoved by my begging, coercing, and general complaining and chose fishing despite what I considered to be quite convincing arguments against it. Egg (and bait...blech) on my face, because he loved it.
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I got tired of sitting around and so did A2 so I took him for a walk and some photos. Sorry for the obnoxious logo watermarked on the 2nd photo.
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A week after his actual birthdate, A1 had a school celebration. And as it turned out, he was the only one in the school whose birthday was in April so he had the platform all to himself.
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Then the class made a cake together. I made frosting. A lot of frosting. Frosting that equaled in volume to the cake! No one complained.
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We donated a book, Michael Recycle, to the school library.
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And while we're on an A1 streak, here he is during the Mother's Day celebration. He sang and made a cool representation of me...I'm wearing pearls!
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That's right, folks. An entire post and only 2 photos of A2! The guilt is like a ton of bricks!