Monday, 12 June 2017

Camping Trip: Pederales Falls & Bonus!

To celebrate the end of the school year we took a quick camping trip to Pedernales Falls State Park this past weekend. We went there once last year, and it quickly became our favorite Texas State Park so far. We were lucky enough to get a reservation early in the summer before it gets too hot. In fact, the weather was perfect all weekend! We started our trip with a hike along the river. It got dicey at spots with a bit of vertical climbing which the kids loved. They like the "dangerous" hiking. 

After the hike, we needed to cool off, so we put on our suits and hit the river. It was shallow, but the water was moving pretty quickly so it added to the excitement.

They even got to do a little fishing (above), despite having forgotten our poles at home. I don't think anyone was successful though.
After a fantastic meal of beef and potatoes (thanks Young-Hoon), we got down to smores makin'.
On Sunday, we decided to take a side trip on our way home, and we stopped at McKinney Falls State Park. It holds a special place in our heart as it was our campground when we first came to Austin on our recon trip almost 3 years ago. Although we live less than an hour away, this is the first time we've been back. It was a bit of a nerve-wracking time in our life, and I think we'd been trying to block it out. The kids had a great time swimming in the lake, and I think we'll make it back again now that we've taken the first steps.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Summer Fun

We just finished our first full week of summer vacation...and we survived! Actually, we kept pretty busy all week between swim practice in the morning and library events, $1 movies, or chores in the afternoons. I've also reinstated the 20-20-20 plan of last summer: 20 minute rotations of reading, piano, and math. Last year I figured an hour of study/day wouldn't kill them. This year they were actually eager to get to it! Today we skipped it because Irene and Oscar participated in a typing class at the library, and I was reminded several times that we missed 20-20-20. We also have done a couple of Korean classes and some art time courtesy of Art for Kids Hub, and next week I'm hoping to add a guitar lesson courtesy of youtube (cause goodness knows, I can't do it!) This evening in our down time, I walked into the living room to find this: 

Yes, we now have a giant white board in our living room. I got the white board part free from someone in the neighborhood a while ago. Young-Hoon finally got around to making a stand. I think it will have to find a new location after school starts again, but for now, living room it is! The tree/tower problem is from Young-Hoon after he caught Irene doing math for fun. I don't know if she ever solved it. I'm constantly amazed by these guys. I'm pretty sure that when I was in 3-4th grade, I didn't spend my summer doing math problems and reading. Ok, I did probably read a lot, but I know I also watched a ton of tv. Not once today did they ask to watch. And after dinner, Irene, Johan and I played a little Ohajiki (stone game) and Irene helped me make pita bread for tomorrow's camping trip. Sure, now they are zoned out in front of the tv with Word Girl, but I think they've earned it.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Last Day of School 2017

Summer has officially begun in the Cameron-Jin household. Today I picked them up from school at noon and they're not going back till August. Technically, they're never going back since they will be going to a new (brand new!) school in the Fall thanks to population growth and rezoning. They're very excited, but I'll talk more about that later. Yesterday was their end-of-year award ceremony and these 3 cleaned up 
 Among a few others, Irene earned awards for all A honor roll both this semester and for the entire year, for excellence in math, for climbing the rope to the top in gym, for finishing in the top 20 girls in her class during the mile run, and for being elected to receive the "Sportsmanship Award" by her peers. Her most prized award, however, is the fancy one on the bottom awarded by her art teacher for her art project which was on display at the art show earlier this year. She was so excited about it.
 Oscar fared just as well earning a certificate for A-B honor roll, for climbing the rope to the top, for finishing in the top 20 boys during the mile run, excellence in handwriting, Patriot Pride (for being safe, respectful, and responsible), the "leap frog" award for being able to jump 50 feet. (I question this one, but I'll let it slide), and he was also elected to receive the "Sportsmanship Award" by his peers. Twins!
 Johan's awards were a little different because he's just in 1st grade, and they don't actually have grades yet. Still, he earned the Pro-Puzzler award from his teacher for being an expert in solving problems, the Rock Star award from the music teacher, the top 20 in the 1/2 mile run, and the climbed-to-the-top-of-the-rope award.
All in all, I'm a proud mamma! Above is their end-of-year photo. In comparison, below is their 1st day of school photo. I can see the difference!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

A fun Memorial Day Weekend here. While we would have loved to go camping, this weekend seems to be a magnet for huge storm in Central Texas. This year was no exception. The thunder and lighening rumbled through on Sunday evening, taking out our neighbors tree. Luckily, we'd had our fun earlier in the day at Inks Lake: our go-to kayaking destination. The weather was perfect, and the critters were out.

 In addition to all the usual turtles, we saw a snake and this creepy critter:
Turn out, he's harmless. But pretty cool looking!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Just a quick story from yesterday. I went out to the garden to harvest our first crop of green beans. After I'd brought them in to wash, I came across a bean with 3 holes. I called the kids in and said, "Look! It's just like The Very Hungry Caterpillar!" We got a good chuckle out of it, then I took a look and what did I see? A not-so-hungry-anymore caterpillar crawling out of the 3rd hole!


 Today was Johan's big day: his birthday party! Just like Irene and Oscar, we let him invite 2 friends over, and I upped it one more because I have a friend in the neighborhood with a 1st grader who Johan plays with after school sometimes. I'll admit it, I was a little less-than-excited about today. and the fact that there were thunderstorms all morning, assuring that there would be no outdoor play time, didn't help. But it turned out great! After the guests arrived, they played Pokemon for about 30 minutes before digging into some pizza. Then after opening gifts, they played Pokemon for another hour before I dragged them away for cake. Then we got a little silly. I'd researched some "Minute to Win It" games for Irene and Oscar's party but never got to use them. So I was determined to use them today. I'd say it was a hit. There was "cookie face," where they had to scooch an oreo from their forehead to their mouth without using hands:

 Marshmallow toss, where colored marshmallows were worth 3pts, white worth 1:
 Marshmallow stack. Note to self, mini marshmallows seem to have a maximum stackability of 4:
 And ping-pong ball toss. I had chocolate prizes for each game, and that took us right up until the parents started arriving. In fact, the first parent said the party sure sounded like fun, so I guess she could hear us outside. Success!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Johan's 7!

 Johan had his 7th birthday today! It was pretty low-key, being on a Wednesday and all. I joined him at school for lunch (croissants with tomato and pesto). He chose not to go to swimming, so we pretty much hung around the house until dinner.

 After a quick "I'm 7" photo shoot, we had his chosen meal of king crab, green beans and rice. Yep, king crab. It appears that our efforts to expose the kids to a variety of foods has backfired on us in a very expensive way.
 I baked him an Oreo cake as requested. It was a chocolate cake with holes poked in and Oreo pudding poured on top. Topped with whipped cream and crushed Oreos. Pretty delicious if I do say so myself!
 Finally, present time! He's all about Pokemon right now, so he was thrilled to get an entire lunch box full of cards, notebooks, pencils, and other Poke-goods in addition to a football from Oscar, a cube puzzle from Irene, and a Barnes & Noble gift card from Grandma and Grandpa. I'm pretty sure whatever he decides to do with it will involve Pokemon.
This Saturday he will have a few friends over for a little party. It should be fun!