23 December 2012

Snowball fight

Here are our very own Wolfs (ugh...I just want to type WOLVES) performing an orderly flag ceremony.

And here are they are, at the height of disorderliness, pummeling their Packmates with balled up socks and trying to hide behind their self-constructed cardboard forts.  I'm pretty sure all the boys had a blast, but we had to call an early close to the meeting.  It was much, much more chaotic than the usual meeting and those of us on the planning committee have learned our lesson about these unstructured activities!  That's James on the left pointing and yelling...ineffectively, I might add.

Off the table

I hung out with a friend a few weeks ago and she casually asked if the homeschooling option were on my radar of late and I, without hesitation, replied that it was not.  This may be the first time ever that it's been off the table.  I realize that the kids' needs are being met...sometimes well, sometimes very well.  I have my own issues, what with the over-volunteerism and all, but that's not related to how well the classroom is working for the boys.  Of course, this could just be a temporary reaction to that week's events.  First, I witnessed a lesson of depth and complexity being taught in Kinder and then the Second Grade teacher drastically reduced homework (A1 usually has sooooooo much homework!) and mentioned that she would watch carefully where she would put a well-meaning but utterly incompetent (my horrifying description, not hers!) parent who was the source of so much consternation on my part.

In general, I think the boys have a pretty balanced day.  They often end it with a trip to the park where hand-feeding peacocks is a normal and regular event.

Winter class parties

...because I imagine that if I called them Christmas parties, I'd have to stand before some sort of public school tribunal.  (Aside: I'm clearly not offended by the term "Christmas party" but "Chinese New Year" drives me completely batty!)

I'm not sure I'm ever going volunteer (read: allow myself to be appointed) Room Parent in both classrooms again.  Strangely, even though the Kinder party lasted only an hour, I did much more prep work for them than I did for the 2nd grade party which lasted from the 8:15 opening bell of school until the very end of the day.

By the way, I will also never again opt for the cheaper route because the right tool makes the job so much easier.  I should have sprung for the dedicated round punch because the circle cutter took forever to cut through the photos--I had to use a straight blade for most of the circles because they were scored but not fully pierced through.  Bleah.

A2 decorated upside-down sugar cones to make winter trees (why are there no sprinkles in this pic?) and the usual sugar cookies. 

He then glued glitter tissue paper to an empty baby food jar to make a tea light holder.  I usually include a lesson plan/info sheet and meant to create one about the winter solstice, and light being used on Christmas trees and in Hanukkah and Kwanza traditions but I spaced it.  At least I added a poem to the project.  Kindergarten-level poems are a specialty of mine!

Snowmen ornaments using those photos in the image above as the face.

A1's party started with 5 centers of games, academic activities, a card making center with far too much paint (Yay! I love TOO MUCH paint.), an open option photo ornament station, and an area to work on the bells for use later on in the day for caroling.

After recess, they decorated goodies and practiced their singing.  I tried to compile holiday songs without the word Christmas in the lyrics that's just about impossible so I didn't bother.  I court trouble, eh?

They ended the day by caroling around campus.  Note to self: Children are incapable of singing Feliz Navidad without musical accompaniment! 


Self-portrait Sunday

I love looking at old photos of my parents from when they were young.  This is in direct opposition to how much I dislike viewing my own image.  But the latter sentiment loses the battle because this blog is actually for the boys.

I had a little gathering:

We set up the photo "booth" from A1's end of year school party last spring.

We always kick the husbands out of the pic for a capture of just the ladies.

And this shot is simply horrible--except for A1 who was the only one prepared for the shutter to open.  But all 4 of us are included and that's a miracle in itself so I'm adding it to the post.

22 December 2012

Christmas in July

Sure, everyone's heard about Christmas in July, but how about July 4th on Christmas?  It makes so much sense to me.  The boys usually go to bed early and sparklers aren't so fun until it's totally dark out and that only happens early enough for them near Christmas.

18 December 2012

A visit with Santa

I'm terrified of the mall during the holiday season--crowds are definitely not my thing.  We normally bypass all the long lines by riding the Christmas Train, a local seasonal attraction that takes the kids up to a beautifully decorated North Pole.  But this year, I passed on it thinking that the boys had gotten too old to enjoy it.  They corrected me.  So I had to scramble for their Santa experience.  Fortunately, my totally awesome MOMS Club throws a party every year for the kids.  Yay!

We brought undecorated cupcakes as the craft/activity.  I found a new recipe that I loved, but 5 dozen later, I think I'm done for quite a while.  I'm no baker!

A2 has a healthy skepticism, mostly because I've never perpetuated the fallacy.  He was harassing our poor Santa for as much info as he could squeeze out of him.

Oh, really?  But then how did Santa know your name and bring you EXACTLY what you wanted?  Magic, baby!  That's how.

This one knows exactly what's going on but he wants his present anyhow so he clammed up instead of persisting on his fact finding mission.

This is probably because A1 was the oldest child there by nearly a year.  That's big difference in kid time!

Monday study group

I don't so much have the kids studying as totally goofing off all the time! 

Both of these girls are slated to enter different junior highs in the district and that has me wondering if we made the right choice to attend the district's magnet school.  Drawing its student population from the entire city (and beyond) means that the kids are scattered to the wind after fifth grade...such a tender time in pre-adolescence to be forced to dissolve those social bonds!

These kids see each other a lot!  They're in school together all day and then we hang out together afterwards.  Here they are on a boat in Newport.

This is the seagull who saw our snacks and knew better than to leave the bow.  

And this...well, it's evidence that I love those 70s film presets too much.

We followed this day up with another at the park!  See?  What am I going to do when they have to go to different sixth grade campuses?

Winter themed projects keep comin'

This is not a political blog nor is it even intended for consumers other than the A's and my mother, whose love of seeing photos of our adventures exactly matches the boys' own excitement.  I have no novel words to share about the tragedy in Connecticut that has not been better said elsewhere.  But I will say that I have not talked to the boys directly about it.  They are aware that the vast majority of people in the world are good.  A tiny minority are bad.  That is enough information for now.  They continue on their path of playing and learning and growing and for that, I am indescribably grateful.

OCMA pics follow:

That A1 focuses with his tongue sticking out is awesome!

13 December 2012

More winter-themed projects


I composed the poem based on (plagiarized from!) the 5 little pumpkins poem:
Five little snowmen sitting on a hill
The first one said, "Oh my I'm getting a chill!"
The second one said, "There are flakes in the air."
The third one said, "We don't care."
The fourth one said, "Let's roll and roll and roll."
The fifth one said, "Let's get off of this knoll."
Then up wen the sun and on went the light
And five little snowmen melted out of sight.     

A2 was not pleased with a solo polar bear and thought he should be grounded on a snowscape.  

I have a bazillion pounds of salt because I buy it in bulk for playdough recipes.  Then, as fate would have it, I found this cool sparkly salt snowman craft online:

12 December 2012

Watercolor resists

A2 was already in his jammies but A1 didn't want to turn in yet so I made him promise to do so after I offered some art.

Masking tape shape:

Intense faces while adding the watercolor:

The reveal!  They made different shapes with tape and used white crayon as well.