Friday, September 15, 2017

Back to School Picnic, 2017

Thunder Hill Elementary hosted a back-to-school picnic this evening.

We swung by Little Caesar's on the way there.  Some days I just need to push the "easy button."

After our sumptuous meal, the kids played in the bounce house . . .

. . . and on the playground . . .

. . . then waited in line for a popscicle.  Simple pleasures of childhood.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Old Mill and Some Juicy Cereal

Last week, Todd and I explored . . .

. . . an old spinning mill that has been converted into a commercial center.

Buildings that used to house lots of spinning and carding machines are now home to antique malls, restaurants, and even a yoga studio.

Apparently we were there during a non-peak hour/season, because the only other living thing we saw in the courtyard was this sparrow.  I hear the place is fun and festive at Christmastime, though.

In other news, one of the women I visit teach gave us a bunch of books her grown-up kids no longer read.  The box included some classic picture books like Go Dog, Go! and Ten Apples Up on Top.  It is fun to see my kids enjoying books I remember reading as a child.

In other random news, this morning Daniel asked me to put apple juice on his cereal instead of milk.  He swears it was good.  I'll take his word for it.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Reading Day at Thunder Hill

The Thunder Hill hosted a special reading day today . . .

. . . so parents, grandparents, and grownup friends of the students could come read to them.

Daniel asked me to read this book to his class . . . 

. . . then I snapped a picture of Daniel with the other Daniel in his class.  They even sit at the same table.

My next stop was Joy's classroom.  Instead of having me read to her classmates, Joy asked that we sit behind these cupboards . . .

. . . where I could watch her silently read a chapter book.  I tried to read along too, but I discovered that Joy reads a whole lot faster than I do.  Fortunately, I had read that book many years ago, so I wasn't completely lost when she turned pages I hadn't finished.

Once we finished the book, I snapped a picture of Joy with the other Joy in her class.

I would have gone to Anna's class too (and no, there is not a second Anna in that class--what are the odds?), but she was sent home with a fever yesterday and couldn't come back to school today.  She's feeling a lot better today, so I took her and Todd to a playground instead.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Squirrel Food

Fall is approaching . . .

. . . and the oak tree outside our front door is starting to drop acorns in our yard.

Joy recently learned that acorns are very nourishing (after you shell them, grind them up, and soak the bitter tannin out of them), so she decided to harvest some and give them a try.

I thought her experiment sounded intriguing, so I pounded a few acorns with a frying pan in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, as we later learned from our friend the internet, early acorns are hard to shell, and are more likely to be infested with acorn weevil larvae.  Of the dozens of acorns we pounded, only a handful were usable.  Maybe we'll try again in a month.  Or maybe we'll just leave the acorns to the squirrels.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Swimming with a Bobcat

Daniel and Anna started swim lessons at the local YMCA today.

It was sweet to see their teacher gently and patiently coax them to step (or swim) a little outside their watery comfort zones.

Last night at Cub Scouts, Daniel earned his Bobcat rank.  I don't know if every pack has this tradition, but apparently in our pack the mom of the new Bobcat gets to paint symbolic designs on his face . . .

. . . then he gets to paint his mom's nose.

I thought the tradition was a lot cooler than Daniel did.  Oh well.  Good job, Daniel!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

First Day of School in Maryland

Today was . . .

. . . the big kids' first day of school!

Here we are waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for the school bus.  The school told us to be at our stop five minutes early, but the bus arrived five minutes late.  I guess they're still getting the schedule worked out for the new school year.

Once the bus arrived, Joy, Daniel, and Anna were eager to climb aboard.  They had never ridden the bus to school before, and were excited to give it a try.

Todd started to get on, too, but I reminded him that his little preschool group starts next week.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Back to School Eve 2017

Tomorrow the three big kids start school at Thunder Hill Elementary.  In the past I tried to make Back to School Eve special by preparing a delicious feast.  That was a lot of work and stress for me and tended to be underappreciated by the kids, so . . .

. . . tonight I pushed the Easy Button and served Little Caesar's pizza with carrots, grapes, and purple Mountain Dew.  And there was great rejoicing.

Tonight was also Family Home Evening night.  It was Joy's turn to choose the activity, and she opted to have us play a Flour Tower tournament.

This girl is having a great time.

This girl, not so much.

Right before bed, Daddy gave each of the big kids a priesthood blessing to help them in the coming school year.  Starting the school year with priesthood blessings is an annual tradition in our family and many other Mormon homes, and it was interesting to hear the unique blessings God prompted Phillip to promise each child.  It was a sweet reminder that God knows each of us individually, and can give us the unique help and encouragement we each need.