Monday, October 28, 2013

River Dogs

This fall we got a very small taste of life with multiple children in sports.  We spent three nights a week at a sports practice, watched two games on Saturday and one on Sunday.  It was not supposed to be like this.  For a while I was insistent on Finnan choosing either soccer or baseball.  He seemed to be set on playing both sports, but eventually said he would play baseball over soccer.  Then it turned out Atticus wanted him to be able to continue playing soccer, so we caved and signed him up for both.    

Finnan loved t-ball from the start.  I was worried about Rory jumping off the bleachers.  Atticus wondered what he was getting out of it.  At the beginning it did seem like way too much for a 5/6 year old to grasp.  But, at some point this fall, things started to fall in place.  Finnan figured out how to watch a play, follow the ball, put his foot on first base, stick his glove in air, and he even managed to catch the ball for a couple outs.  He developed friendships on the team and loved the base running game of "pickle" that they played at the end of every practice.  On the field, he started to look more like a ball player (at least in his readiness stance).  

Finnan was always happy at t-ball games and practice.  In every game and practice there were so many opportunities to make a good play or a mistake.  He seemed to take all of those in stride, which is something he sometimes struggle with.  So, in the end, t-ball was a success.  Finnan thrived.  Jude practiced plenty of soccer tricks while at practices and games.  Rory did not have any bleacher related head injuries.  Atticus even ended up finding practicing t-ball with Finnan enjoyable.  If we can figure out how to make the schedules work with soccer, I would even like to do it again in the Spring (apparently in the Spring there are two games a week!).             

Friday, October 18, 2013

To China and back

Last month we read the boys Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.  It was Decatur’s On The Same Page book for the year.  I really can not recommend this book highly enough.  The boys were begging to read it each night and Atticus and I enjoyed the story as well.  It was full of adventures, suspenseful interludes and short parables.  A couple of weeks after we finished the book, the boys were drawing dragons (a flightless dragon was one of the main characters).  I could hear them comparing the virtures of each of their dragons.  Then I heard Jude exclaim.  “Now I am drawing a bomb!  It is SOO big it could even kill Magistrate Tiger!  He is so evil!”  I thought this was funny as I was unsure how much of the book Jude was processing.  Apparently a lot, considering Magistrate Tiger was only a minor character, who was indeed evil and very hard to kill.  I took a picture of the boys’ dragon drawings.  Jude drew the one to the right and the black circle is the bomb.  Finnan drew the other two.

We even gained a new family mantra from the book.  One of the stories revolves around a family that has found the secret to happiness.  You don’t find out what that secret is until the end of the book: thankfulness.  I think that brings us up to three family mantras:
- Treat others like you would like to be treated.
- Best brothers, best friends.
- The secret to happiness is thankfulness.
The boys have been hearing these often enough, that we are getting the very exasperated “Yes. I know. I know. Ugh. The secret to happiness is thankfulness.”  Ha.

Yesterday, at the grocery store, Finnan really wanted to get a frozen food dinner of Sesame Chicken.  Realizing that he hadn’t been to a Chinese restaurant since he was very young, I told him we could go out for Chinese instead.  Before agreeing he wanted to be sure they would have Sesame Chicken.  Of course, but I told him my favorite was Sweet and Sour Chicken.  He immediately latched on to Sweet and Sour Chicken (with rice, Mom!) and kept double checking with me that Sweet and Sour Chicken was indeed what it was called until he could order it from the restaurant.  Finnan was completely enthralled with the restaurant.  You would have thought we brought him to China.  He toured the restaurant several times, dutifully holding Rory’s hand (Jude has been in Florida this week with Weggi and Paw-Paw).  My normally very shy boy went out of his way to ask the waitress about the Chinese characters and thank them profusely, even on his way out. He received a lesson on how to use chopsticks.  Rory also insisted on using chopsticks.  (We would stab his food with one chopstick then he would eat off the stick.)  Both boys sipped their green tea and marveled at the dragons hanging from the ceiling.  Then the fortune cookies came.  Finnan saved all of the fortunes and his chopstick so that he could make a “Fortune Bowl” when he came home.  This bowl is now the centerpiece of our table.  It has dry rice at the bottom with all four of our fortunes displayed.  The chopsticks are resting on the side of the bowl.  I can’t help but think this was inspired by Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, in which one of the main characters' sole possessions was a rice bowl and her main goal through the book was to improve her family's fortune. 

“Fortune Bowl” or not, Atticus and I know we have an overwhelming amount of good fortune and are so very thankful for our family.  And we can't wait to have Jude back at home tonight!!!

We love these three boys to China and back (again and again and again...).  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Finnan's first exhibit night

Last week, The Museum School had its first exhibit night of the year.  Their school year is divided into quarters, each of which culminate in an exhibit night.  This quarter the Kindergarten theme was "A Day in the Life of a Community Helper."  Their unit focused on learning about community, culture and traditions.  They took trips to the art museum, the Atlanta History Center, Avondale Estates City Hall, the butcher, the baker and the post office.  They did projects that corresponded to each of their trips and kept a travel journal.  They also had an at-home project.  For their at-home project, Finnan chose to create a diorama (the other choices were a scrap book, quilt, or video).  The project had 9 parts: 

-What do you want to be when you grow up? (Football player)
- Who is your hero? (Fire fighters)
- What is your favorite part about yourself? (Curly hair)
- Where are your ancestors from? (France)
- What is one word that describes your family? (Love)
- What is a celebration in your family? (Mardi Gras)
- What culture other than your own do you know the most about? (China....I asked him what he knew about China..."Pandas live there."  Fair enough.)
- What culture would you like to learn more about? (England)
- What makes you proud of your own culture? (Baseball and football)

Phew.  Let me tell you, Finnan spent many hours on this diorama.  I was certainly getting frustrated by the time commitment by the end, but Finnan was very proud of his finished product.  The pictures are of the diorama displayed at exhibit night.  Several people told me that they thought his "I like my curly hair" section to be precious.   

At the beginning of the night, all of the kindergartners sang three songs about community helpers.  Apparently, they were also supposed to dress up as a community helper, but I missed that.


Also on display were the travel journals and face jugs (they learned about these at the Atlanta History Center) that they had made.  

In the email from the school following the exhibit night, the principal said something about how the night showcased the work from the first 9 weeks of school.  9 weeks!?!  I was in awe.  These kids have done so much in only 9 weeks.  It's no wonder I feel like we are in some sort of whirlwind.    

Apple picking

Finnan was off from school on Friday, so we were able to continue our fall tradition of going apple picking at B.J. Reece farm.  The day was perfect.  The weather was awesome, the boys were great apple pickers, and my mom was even in town to provide an extra set of hands.  Finnan and Jude were chomping at the bit to fill up their bags and did so probably within five minutes of settling on a row (so much for a variety of apples :)).  Rory had just woken from a nap so was a little groggy and would not get off my lap for a bit, but when he did he was very excited about picking apples, especially ones high on the tree.  My mom ended up having to go back to the entrance to pick up another bag for him to fill up.  

After picking, we relaxed in the orchards for a while then headed down to the store to buy even more apples and some apple cider donuts (yum!!!).  I am slowly making my way through the bags of apples.  So far I have canned two batches of apple sauce and one batch of apple jelly.  I think I have one more batch of apple jelly to go and then we will be set to enjoy our apples for the rest of the year.

High! High!

A woman who saw me sitting with Rory asked for my camera so she could take a picture of us.  I am so grateful she did.   

My goofy boy.

My serious boy.

And it looks like we have another goofy one.

The boys' friend Andrew also came which added to the excitement of the day.

I have a picture of the boys in this spot every year since before Jude could even sit up.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rory "singing"

Rory has been attempting to carry a tune for the past couple of weeks.  This morning, while reading Spot Bakes a Cake, he kept pointing to the page with the birthday cake, swaying back and forth (his dancing) and saying bo-bo, bo-bo!  I took a chance and started singing Happy Birthday.  He joined right in.  After about 20 iterations, I took a video of our sing-a-long.  I think we will be ready for his big day in a couple of months :)