Sunday, 17 June 2018

Arts & Crafts

Just a few pictures of the arts and crafts going on around here. Last summer we had lots of time, and I made online art classes part of our routine. This summer...not so much time, but I'm doing my best. The photo below was a velociraptor that Johan drew this afternoon from a youtube tutorial. The real blood on the teeth and the smudge below were his finishing touch after he got his daily bloody nose.

 Yesterday I walked into Oscar's room to find him finishing up the jet below. There were no books or pictures anywhere around him, and he swears he did it without looking at anything. Considering that he reads his "Military Aircraft" book every moment he's riding in the car, I believe him.
And Irene has been really enjoying the pottery these days. Actually, everyone has, but she asks frequently. This was actually her first bowl. Today she made a second, identical bowl for me to put in my office. 


Just a few pictures of the blossoms in our back yard. My prickly pear cactus finally has a blossom! Most of the cacti around town have been blooming for about 2 months now, but mine did nothing. I'd been planning on planting it in the ground somewhere but hadn't gotten around to it. Turns out it fine where it is! The flowers below are some from a wildflower seen packet that my sister-in-law sent me about 2 years ago. They just keep coming back and I love it!


Another weekend, another swim meet. Sadly, this wasn't one of the best. To begin with the water was much colder than usual (one person said almost 5 degrees colder, but I don't know if that was a fact of guess) and during "warm-ups" Irene seemingly developed hypothermia (by my lay-person's diagnosis), shaking uncontrollably, blue lips, and frozen to the touch. After a warm shower and getting bundled up, she warmed up...too much. Turns out that she probably had a bit of a fever or was about to get a fever and the cold water was shocked her system. She's still got the fever, but hopefully it will go away quickly. She's got one more meet next weekend for which she is qualified for three events with her BB times. She had been hoping to qualify for two more at this weekend's meet, but I guess that's life.

 That said, Johan did have one victory! Although he added a bit of time in both the 50 & 100 yard breaststroke, he shaved off over 6 seconds in the 50 back for a new best time of 53.78 and a new B time!

Oscar also had a small victory. Although he added a little time to both is 100 Free and 50 breaststroke, he shaved off a fraction of a second in the 50 fly for a new best time of 57.42.

So, while this definitely wasn't one of their most successful as far as times went, Irene get's a pass for illness, and the boys get extra points for toughing it out in the cold, cold water. Now Young-Hoon and I are wondering the best way to add a bit of body fat to the kids for future cases.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

School's Out!

 Yesterday was the last day of school! Last day of 4th and 2nd grade for these kids. They had a half an end-of-the-year assembly where they cleaned up with the awards. 
 Oscar walked away with:  A honor roll for the 9 weeks AND for A honor roll all year. He also got one called "Honor Roll Royalty" for amazing Honor roll accomplishments. A certificate of recognition for having his art in the District Art show earlier this spring, a certificate for being on the student council, a perfect attendance award (despite being sick almost all of last week..hmmm) and the coveted "Listening Ear" award for always being a friend who is willing to lend a listening ear. Not too shabby!
 Johan also nabbed the A honor roll & A honor roll all year awards as well as the perfect attendance award. From his teacher he got a Certificate of Excellence award for excellence in Math, the "Spree Award" for always finishing work on time and helping to keep others on track, and the character Award for being  safe, respectful and responsible student citizen of his school.

Irene got AB honor roll for the semester and AB honor roll for the whole year. To be honest, she got robbed, and she should have been in the all As all year group...but I won't get into that. Anyway, she also got perfect attendance in addition to a certificate for being on the Safety Patrol (who helps kids get safely in and out of cars at drop-off). She got two PE awards: the Jumping Giant award for jump roping the longest among 4th grade girls and the Fitnessgam Pacer Test Phenom award for running the most laps among 4th grade girls. I guess the swimming is paying off. From her teachers, she got Fact Fanatic" for her fantastic math fact mastery and the Future President award. I thought this one was a little funny because, among all of her classmates, she's literally the one student who legally cannot become president. Not of America anyway. 
I also wanted to share this letter Johan wrote to his teacher. I had asked each of them to write a short letter to their teacher. Nothing fancy. I was expecting "Thank you for being my teacher." or something along those lines. He wrote this all up by himself and I thought it was pretty good! Here's the text, if you can't read it:

Dear Mrs. Zamora,

Thank you Mrs. Zamora for being such a nice teacher all year long. Over the summer break I will do lots of things but during all of those things I will miss you. If I had to chose how nice you are on a scale of 1 to 10 I would chose a 10! You taught me lots of things in math and I will try to keep practising over summer! 
                                       Sincerely Johan


 Over Memorial Day weekend we did some serious Spring cleaning. At one point, I stumbled across my old pottery tools and thought how much fun the kids would have with them. So I put them aside in a safe place and decided to get some clay next time I went to Michaels. Well, last weekend I picked up some air-dry clay and couldn't wait to get home and give it a try. Only problem was, I couldn't find the "safe place" that I put my tools. Still, I was able to show the kids a few techniques, and we all really enjoyed it.

 In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I got myself a small wheel (manual power) and today we got some oven-dry clay to try. I think I'll stick with the air dry for myself though, because there is just something about getting your hands dirty and the oven-dry is more like playdough than potter's clay. Still, I can't wait to see what exciting works of art are hiding in these lumps of clay! (haha, corny, I know).

Monday, 21 May 2018

Lockhart State Park

 Our first camping trip of the year is under our belts, and it was even better than expected!  We've been slowly checking off all the state parks within a short drive from our house. This time, it was Lockhart State Park.  It's just a small park about one hour directly south of us. I was looking forward to the trip, but wasn't sure what to expect. It's not a big park, so I figured there might not be much to do. It turns out it was a nice little get away.

 We arrived nice and early and, after setting up the tent in the worlds coolest camping site (according to the kids), we took a short hike. I brought along our GPS and had stored 3 geocaches, so we looked for those. We found just one, but it was...interesting. Below you can see Johan were we found it - a rustic outhouse.
 After our hike, we grabbed our poles and headed to one of the fishing holes.  Young-Hoon started  a contest - kid with the most fish caught at the end of the weekend gets $10.
 Johan jumped out to a lead and finished day 1 with 2 fish caught. Oscar - 1. Irene - 0 (though she spent a lot of the time taking photos instead). Young-Hoon also caught 2, and I almost caught 1.
Back at camp, I got out one of Johan's birthday presents. He'd been asking for a pinata for a couple years now, but I always forgot when his birthday rolled around. This year, I found this super-cute little pinata and thought this would be the perfect time to do it.

 You can see from their smiles that this was a hit (no pun intended.) It was a very sturdy pinata, though, so after about 20 minutes the blindfold came off.
 While Young-Hoon and I got the dinner of salmon and corn-on-the-cob ready, the kids played in their "secret hideout." This was what our campsite backed up to. A very short path through the trees and  rock bridge across an almost-dry creek. Even I had to agree that this was a pretty cool hideout, and we were lucky to get the best site in the park! (there were only 10 tent sites total). We had our smores and sat around the fire then off to an early bedtime.

 The next morning, we were off on another short hike and some more fishing.
 Oscar really pulled ahead today, catching 4 more fish to be the winner of the weekend!
After fishing, we checked out one of the local BBQ restaurants in Lockhart, the BBQ capitol of Texas (and that's saying something). We had such a good time that we immediately tried to reserve for another camping weekend next weekend before the weather gets too hot. Unfortunately, Memorial Day weekend filled up fast, and there was nothing left. It's just as well though, because after getting home and showered, everyone but me discovered itchy red welts covering their bellies. We're not sure why I was spared, but hopefully we can figure it out before the next trip.

Thursday, 17 May 2018


 Johan turned eight today! It was a busy day, but I think he had  good one. He got to bring cookies to school for a treat. Then after swimming, home for the traditional birthdy photo shoot.

 His dinner of choice was pigs in  blanket and corn on the cob.
 There were birthday games.
 And of course, his birthday cake. He chose a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and it was delicious! Then after talking to Grandma and Grandpa, it was present time. Unfortunately, by then it was time for bed, so he didn't even get to play with his new remote control machine construction set or his nerf gun from Irene and Oscar.
We were all so busy today, but we'll have time to relax on Saturday when we take a camping trip (chosen by Johan for his birthday). Stay tuned for more!