18 June 2012

New camera!

I totally acknowledge the fact that I didn't need another camera body.  Yes, I'd wanted to move away from the cropped sensor of my current and previous cameras but it wasn't a necessity.  But when James asked what I wanted for my birthday, I couldn't think of anything else.

The former is a quick D4 shot of A2, still sad from his MMR vax and the latter is a D7000 capture of A1 in a potato sac during his school's field day.  I'm sort of in love with the depth of field and the way the D4 makes even my cheap 50mm lens look good.

Daily projects

The boys absolutely love projects.  Okay, maybe A1 loves projects and his little brother agrees with everything his big brother says.  Still, I somehow got suckered into promising to arrange for daily project work.  Today is only Day 3 of summer and already, I'm seeing what a big mistake that was on my part.

We started with the 5 basics elements of shape via the Monart system (dot & circle and straight, curved, & angled lines) and applied them to animal drawings.  Check out the focused look on A2's face!

I tried to distract them the second day by taking them to the spray park

...but they still insisted on a project so I had them make marshmallow shooters (a cut balloon stretched over the bottom of an open paper cup) and we talked about converting potential energy into kinetic energy.  The shooting was fun, but trying to collect the marshmallows on the lawn faster the dog could eat them was pretty stressful.

Fair is not equal

...especially when it comes to swim class.  The boys had their last day of the session and A2's class was offered time at the slide.  Here he is going down...


and again.

Let's check in to see what A1's class is doing.  Oh...still swimming full laps back and forth, I see.

Hmm...A2 goes back on the slide a few more times.

Yup.  A1's class is still practicing various strokes.

Phew!  Finally, he gets a chance (to plank) on the slide!

Life is full of inequities.

Pool work

Our pool was pretty sad...plaster was coming off the bottom and the rust was seeping through and the flagstone was coming loose.  Never mind all the tiles that had fallen off and sunk to the bottom--it was like a pool game to see who could dive down and retrieve tiles the fastest.  It was definitely time for a redo.  The new tile was definitely not my first choice (I would have opted for a more natural finish to go with the surrounding unstructured stone) but the rest of the family loved the glossy blue tile (unpictured) so I was outvoted.  Here are some progress shots:

The boys were pleased to stand aside and watch while the jackhammers worked.  I was pleased to pretend to take a picture of them when I was really aiming at my pretty hydrangea. 

Scouting spillover

Notice that all the boys are standing nicely for their bridging ceremony EXCEPT for A1!

The Incredible Edible Park is a strangely positioned plot of divided land that was donated to the Food Bank.  It is planted and harvested by volunteers and then served to the needy.  We obviously had a great time--that's my kind of charity!

We've been building so much for Scouting that we end up building other things too.  A1 and his dad put together a PVC frame to create a backdrop for his end of year class party.

Free art

I'm a sucker for community events that offer arts & craft opportunities so we are at the OCMA a lot.  So much so that we made the brochure and the website!

Measurement error

I'm not into BMI calculations in general because it too often fails to account gender, muscle mass, and other important factors.  But this time, I'm really not behind it. 

At A2's 5-year check-up, I was told that we needed to begin restricting his diet because he falls above the 90th percentile for BMI.  I know that (1) parents tend not to see their children's faults (I do see that he is much rounder than his bony brother) and that (2) it's not cool to post a pic of your kid in his underwear openly on the web, but I just wanted to prove that while he may be on the overweight side, there's no way that in a room of 100 kids, he would be fatter than 90 of them!

Returning to chaos

I can't imagine I'm alone in the desire to come back from vacation to a clean house.  Since we are about to depart for a 10-day adventure in New York, I need to get a few things in order.  That means that I'm going to have do one of my photo dumps on this poor neglected blog of mine.

Napkins are of minor importance to A1.  Will it always be this way?  Will I follow him around as a teenager wiping his face?

Here is A1 at his school's Jog-A-Thon.  It's not a favorite of mine.  We participate in the school's 365 program, which requests a dollar a day for your child's education (we even get matching funds from James's work so it's actually an annual donation of $730 from our family).  They do this in lieu of smaller fundraisers like the dinner & auction or magazine/wrapping paper/candy sales.  I love the idea of 365--it's mostly because I hate selling.  I've been hit up by my nieces and nephews for years and swore I would never do that to any relatives.  But the kids are supposed to request donations per lap jogged.  Um...no, thank you.

We've had a late start to the garden.  The plantings happened early but everything was dying because, as we finally figured out, there was TOO MUCH sun!  Still, the boys have enjoyed watching the surviving plants thrives.

He loves sugar gliders now.  He knows more than anyone would possibly want to know about them.

Let's talk about GATE and differentiated instruction, which basically means that our fearless, tireless First Grade teacher is basically homeschooling 30 different kids and applying 30 different curricula. 

The class had an American Icons report, but instead of a person or a place, A1 decided he wanted to focus on an event.  9/11.  Yes, 9/11.  And the teacher encouraged him.  He didn't want to create a nice, neat little 2-dimensional presentation like everyone else.  Oh, no, that wouldn't do.  He had to have a ridiculous 3-dimensional one.  And again, the teacher encouraged him.  So on the afternoon before the project was due, I was informed of such and we had to rush home from swim class to dig into the pantry for random boxes to create his skyline/timeline.

I'm always so happy when I get to a fig before the birds do.

I folded 30 of these shirts and instructed the classroom to compose haiku to gift on Father's Day.  I'm unlikely ever to do that again!

06 June 2012

Fibber fibber, trousers aflame!

I'm always bragging (I've faced the fact that I don't have any self-control and love to pat my own back) about how our summers are carefree.  I even get a little snarky when I see parents who sign their kids up for a million summer activities.  That kind of packed schedule defeats the purpose of time off from school.

But here I am, having just signed the boys up for 4 4-hour days of golf, 5 4-hour days of basketball, and 5 2-hour days of tennis.  It's 3 consecutive weeks of...stuff.  Really, it's 4 consecutive weeks but I'm even counting the Scouting day camp since I'll be present the entire time.  Yes, I am a "key staff" member--the camp photographer.  I don't even know how that one happened.

In light of yesterday's A1-heavy post, here are a few of A2 to balance things out:

I wanted to snap a quick pic of the day lilies in the front but then A2 got in the frame and now the flowers are (purposefully) out of focus.

It's uncertain whether the first grade classroom knows A2 as A1's little brother or if they only know A1 as A2's big brother.  A2 pretty much owns the room so for his birthday, we brought treats and the first graders sang to him!

He did eventually manage to make a poster to present to the preschoolers.

Outside of the REI.

Hammers and nails are fun!

Birthday party dancing.

Podcasts: theory vs. application

I love the concept of podcasts so I subscribe to quite a number of them.  I can edit photos at my computer while listening to my favorite topics and I can be entertained while running around the house with my wireless headphones in the middle of the night without disturbing anyone.

But these things don't seem to happen.  I can tune out auditory stimuli with far too much ease.  Sometimes an entire episode is played but I've heard only the first handful of minutes before checking out for the entire remainder! 

Here are some totally unrelated Scouting photos that I finally processed from this last year:

Trip to Waste Management

Rain gutter regatta--we used this pic to demonstrate the red eye effect as part of the Photography belt loop instruction 

Archery with the pack

BB gun with the pack

Scout-O-Rama pics of A1 having a great time

A visit to the fire station was one of the Tiger requirements

Radio station visit--another Tiger requirement

Tiger Cub Safari

Doing a MyPlate poster

The Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach

Pinewood derby prep and race

Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Weeding as part of our Leave No Trace service project

Ice Skating belt loop