Thursday, May 29, 2014

End of The Month Randoms

I'm all caught up on social events and sporting activities, so today's post will be rather random.


The sun is actually shining today, so I'm in a much happier mood than I was, say, four days ago when I was in the midst of my angry Sports Snit.  It's still not warm here in New England, but things are a whole lot better when the sun is out.  And it helps that I haven't had to watch any sporting events in the last few days.  

Our garden is really blooming.  The rock steps to the driveway are covered in flowers and our azaleas are bursting with blooms:


A bird started (and then abandoned) a nest outside my office window.  I'm not sure what happened.


Not everything in the garden is blooming:


About eight of our holly bushes didn't survive the winter.


I know exactly how they feel.

The gardeners came and replaced all the Winter Blighted shrubbery.


We're still waiting for some other perennials that need to be put in to the garden - peonies, mostly.  I'm excited to get them all planted and frustrated at the continual delay.  These are plants that didn't get planted LAST summer since it was too late in the season to install them.  I don't want another spring to end before we can get them in.

I usually bring my camera to all the children's events, but I'm also grateful to friends who send their photos to me.   I was emailed the following two pictures after the May Day concert by someone who was a whole lot closer to the stage than I was.




Thank you, Jen.

I also made another trip out to Block Island this week - it was the coldest, darkest, rainiest day I have ever seen on the island, but it was still beautiful nonetheless.

Gray seemed to be the color of the day.


I didn't bring my big camera, but I took some photos using my phone.  The above is the last shot of the mainland before we left the bay, heading to the island and the below photo is of the waves of Ballard Beach on the island.


By the early afternoon, the weather had improved.  The color blue was more apparent.  I took this shot from the deck.  The storm was headed off to sea and the sun was starting to pop out.


I took the last photo while in my car on the ferry, right as we were about to disembark.

It always amazes me just HOW MANY cars those ferry guys can squeeze onto the ferry.


We have a packed weekend ahead of us:  sports, sports, sports, an extra soccer game in Connecticut, two different soccer parties, a friend's birthday and a cello recital.  It's never a dull moment around here.  Henry finishes school in a week but the girls have another month.  We are also busy getting Henry ready for his first summer camp experience.  There are packing lists and paper work everywhere, but I figure it's better to be organized than wait until the last minute.  

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Canobie Lake Park


Memorial Day was a rare free day.  Neither of the girls' soccer teams made the finals and Henry's lacrosse team had the day off in honor of the holiday.  We woke up to another day of gray skies and cold temperatures, but according to weather.com, things were going to pick up by the afternoon (note:  it never really did).  We could have spent the day lounging around the house, but I figured that it was high time for us to do something fun altogether as a family.  

We made a split-second decision to go to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire.


We never made it to Canobie Lake last summer, so Josie was hopeful that she had grown JUST ENOUGH to make it on some of the more adventurous rides.  

We started at the Cork Screw:




And then we did a few other rides before we headed over to lunch.



I'm not a huge ride fan (although I did do the Chair lift thingy and the Antique Cars with Josie).  Instead, I played Ride Photographer and got some great shots.

Here are Gordy, Georgia and Josie on the Starblaster seconds before take-off:


And a few moments later, on their way back down:



I took the roll of Miss Daisy in the Antique Cars:


Which was a great opportunity for me to witness what it will be like in seven years when Josie gets her driver's liscence (not too bad).

And I was able to take some photos of Georgia driving behind us:


Georgia said she had a hard time with the gas pedal, as that is her shorter leg and probably not her dominate foot.

We did ALL the rides.  All three roller coasters, the frisbee, the in-the-dark twisty ride, the swings... we were there for five hours, and it wasn't that crowded, so you do the math.

Our last ride of the day was the log flume.  Gordy and I stood at the bottom of the last drop:




It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Monday, May 26, 2014

An Explanation (Which Will Lead To A Confession)

I didn't write my usual Sunday Blog post yesterday and that is because I didn't want to.

There, I said it.  It's out there.

I might have wanted to write a blog post, had I been enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning  - one which included ample amounts of sleeping in, reading The New York Times and consumption of pastry (or two).  But instead, I found myself waking up at the un-Godly hour of 5:30 so that I could leave my house at 6:30 to bring Josie to games three and four of her Memorial Day Soccer Tournament in New Hampshire.

(photo taken months ago as evident from the noticeable sunshine)


Game Three was scheduled for 8:00am and Game Four was scheduled a miserable three hours and forty minutes later at 12:40pm.  And to add insult to injury, it was freezing cold, gray skied and alternating between mist and actual rain. And to FURTHER add insult to injury, the game that we waited - huddled in the car to avoid the wintery weather and the rain - over three hours to play was a match between the club's U9 A Team and Josie's B team.   Which means that it was basically a practice, only at a field an hour away from our town and one in which we paid hefty tournament fees to participate in.

Games One and Two of this tournament were no better.  It rained steadily the entire time Josie and her team mates were summarily beaten by a team of girls who looked like they ate radio-active vegetables all their lives.  Has anyone seen the Vince Vaughn movie "Dodgeball"?  Well, most of the girls on this team reminded me of Bernice.  I think the final scores were 11 to 0 and 10 to 1.



And so having told you all this information, I'm ready for my big confession and I hope all you sports-mad people will forgive me:  I am completely over sports for this school year.

COMPLETELY OVER THEM, PEOPLE!!

This former violin-playing, coach potato has reached her maximum limit for sports in one year - and that includes sport matches on tv.



I'm done with sitting on frigid, wet playing fields, I'm tired of listening to all the crazy sport-parent politics, I'm tired of listening to nutty parents who coach their children from the sidelines.  I'm tired of washing water bottles and uniforms and checking to make sure that child-packed bags contain the appropriate sport items.  I'm tired of the scheduling and the carpooling and the scrambling to find rides.  I'm tired of the long drives to remote places that I would never visit were it not for sports.



I'm ready for summer.  The kind of summer where the only matches I have to watch are between two of my forever-squabbling offspring over who had more guacamole or had the longest turn with The Good Boogie Board.

I'm in the midst of an official Sports Snit and I think the only remedy will be to go cold-turkey from sports for a month or two.

Alas.  Soccer season isn't over yet - and between them, our girls play on three soccer teams.  And lacrosse season isn't over yet either - another three teams there.  My cure for my sports breakdown will have to wait until July.  Right before sports camps begin.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

The May Day Pageant


Today was our elementary school's annual May Day Pageant.  The forecast called for rain, so the principal moved the ceremony indoors in the middle school auditorium.  

While I'm sure some people grumbled about being cooped up indoors, I couldn't have been more pleased.  May Day is usually held outside on a field and in years past, no matter how early I've arrived, I've never managed to arrive early enough to get front row seat.

At least in the auditorium, most of the seats have a good view.

And I'm all about the view.

I got some shots of Josie walking in with her class:



And I got a few shots of Georgia setting up her drum:



The fifth graders sat on risers on the stage, but the younger children sat in the audience and did their performances from their seats (for the songs) or on the stage in front of the fifth graders and in the orchestra pit.  


Funny Josie-ism:  I asked Josie where she would be doing her dance (I meant which side of the stage) and she said "in the pit."  

It sounds so dramatic and biblical.


Josie's group was in the middle of the performance and they did the stick dance.



I got some great shots of Josie and her classmates dancing in the pit with the rest of the third graders dancing on the stage.


Next came the fifth grade band, with Georgia playing flute in the front.


And after the fourth graders had braided the May Pole, it was time for the fifth graders to do the Grand Finale - the "sword" dance.

Only it's really more of a Yard Stick Dance, if you ask me.


The Sword Dance is a big event - one that the younger classes look forward to dancing from kindergarten on.  It involves a whole lot of dancing in circles and then the creative weaving of the sticks to form a star which the fifth graders hold up to great applause.

Georgia was the leader of her group and therefore got to supervise the weaving and she got to hold up the star at the end for all to see:



Very thrilling.

And with that, May Day was over for another year.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Fifth Grade Art Journal


The fifth graders in our school are the only students who get art homework.  At the beginning of the year, the art teacher hands out a journal and periodically, she assigns an art project for the kids to do at home.  Georgia was working on her latest assignment last night after lacrosse practice.

The assignment involved an envelope - or decorating an envelope?  I have no idea.  I just wanted Georgia to finish up quickly, so we could all go to bed.


While Georgia created her envelope, I flipped through the other pages of her art journal and snapped some photos.  The above sketch is of a room.

And she had another one that I liked that was of a house.


Not all the projects were sketches:


I liked this multi-media weaving project - especially the parts that were zebra-patterend.


I would hazard a guess that all these art projects are another way to prepare the fifth graders for the homework nightmare that awaits them in middle school.  It's important for the students to learn how to manage homework assignments from multiple classes and how to budget their time.  

And while most times, I think these art journals are great and any education these children get in the arts is wonderful, the thought did occur to me while I waited impatiently for Georgia to finish, that this envelope assignment was also a critical lesson in how to force yourself to do all assigned busy work.  

I'm not sure how many envelopes Georgia is going to have to decorate in her lifetime.  

This is after all, the generation that will probably never write a check and all party invitations are on-line.

I guess there's always the thank you note.

The good news is that the envelope did eventually get finished, and we did, eventually get to bed.  There's only a month and a half of school left... the art journal is probably at it's end.


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