School’s Out

2nd grade is history for Simon.  We’re proud of the year he had and feel lucky he had a great teacher.  One of my favorite things he wrote in school this year is this poem, the class’s prompt was “If I were in charge of…”

If I Were in Charge of the Car Industry

If I were in charge of the car industry
I’d cancel drunk drivers
car crashes,
pollution from big trucks, also pricey BMW 7-series

If I were in charge of the car industry
There would be only electric cars,
all cars would be safe, and
very, very reliable.

If I were in charge of the car industry
You wouldn’t have accidents.
You wouldn’t have high fuel or electric prices.
You wouldn’t have people hitting pedestrians.
Or school busses in Ghana with no seats.
You wouldn’t even have busses – you’d have small essential airplanes.

If I were in charge of the car industry
Super cars would be more controllable.
Every car would have to get a fuel economy of at least 12/20.
And a person who sometimes forgot to bathe,
And sometimes forgot to flush,
Would still be allowed to be

In charge of the car industry.

He really loves cars.  He’ll play his car racing XBox game as much as we’ll let him, and he’s got a spreadsheet of car facts.  He was thrilled last week that he saw a Nissan GTR while we waited for my car to get an oil change.  I had never heard of the GTR but he spotted it right away.  He was also a fan of the 370Z.  He’s got all kinds of car facts stored in his head.IMG_3577IMG_3579This week Simon started a park district summer camp.  Next week sports camp begins, followed by World Traveler’s camp.  Ingrid wishes she could go to camp.  It does sound pretty fun, but Simon would rather stay home more of the time.

Ingrid stays in her current preschool class until the new school year starts in August.  She played her very first violin recital last Sunday.  Here she is in our front yard getting ready to leave for it.  Unfortunately the video didn’t turn out at all – but we were proud of her being brave to play for a room full of people.  She’s been playing for about a year now and she takes it pretty seriously.


We’ve been reading Little House in the Big Woods and the kids are enjoying it a lot.  Except when they tell about animals dying.  Simon especially has a soft heart for animals.  I loved these books, and I think I was also in 2nd grade when I read them.  Ross got the kids to watch the Little House TV shows, which they love, but I can’t say they do much for me.  In the books Pa has a big beard, twinkling eyes, and a kind face.  Michael Landon has a smooth face and something aloof and smug about him that I don’t like.  I think they did a good job casting Laura, though.

We told the kids when we went to Nauvoo on Memorial Day weekend that these houses (the log ones) were like what we’re reading about in the book.  Ingrid called me “Ma” for about a week after that trip.  She got a pioneer bonnet and wore it to school also for about a week – one of her teachers said she can totally rock a bonnet.


Thanksgiving week

I haven’t written a post in so long that I didn’t recognize the WordPress dashboard when I logged in.  This will be short and mostly pictures, but I wanted to put something up about our trip to Utah before it’s old news.  We hadn’t been there in 4 years, and we’re grateful we got to go.  The kids were thrilled to ride in an airplane.


Ethan and Briana were married in the Salt Lake temple on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of them because they turned the lighting down in the reception center around the time Briana came out, so it was impossible to get a good shot with my phone.  But here they are looking very happy, just after the wedding (they’re the people you can barely see with their arms victoriously raised).



Here we are on Temple Square



Mom and Dad…


Ethan with Ross and Ingrid at the wedding lunch…



Reception shots.  The best thing for me was watching Simon dance.  He was 100% into it. It’s a thing of beauty, seeing a person so totally in the moment.

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We did lots of fun things that week, including going to a hot springs, the Hill Aerospace Museum, and a Nerf gun place.  Here I am looking hot and defeated after Cooper and the kids killed us again and again.

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Thanksgiving dinner was quite the feast (good job with that plate, Sienna!).  I nominated myself to make the food assignments and I think I over planned a bit.  There were plenty of leftovers, even with 25 people at dinner.  After dinner the cousins exchanged Christmas gifts (Ingy is modeling hers) and we sang some Thanksgiving and Christmas hymns.  It was such a fun week!

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Ingrid is 4!

Our Ingy babe turned 4 today.  She was thoroughly feted this weekend, with a celebration at preschool, a party, and birthday observances at home today.  She was really looking forward to her birthday, and I think she had fun.  Tonight her last question was, when will I turn 5?

Ingrid wanted to do a puppet show for her class, so we used our 4 puppy puppets and did “4 little puppies jumping on the bed.”  I also did a singing time for the class.  The Children’s Songbook comes in handy at preschool.  The kids especially seemed to like “Rain is Falling All Around.”  Here’s a picture of her with her class, eating cupcakes and yogurt.

IMG_2695And some pictures of me passing out cupcakes and trying to light a candle at her party.  It was really windy that day.  The little babushka in front is Ingrid’s BFF.

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She wanted Else and Ana dresses for her birthday.  She’s at the prime age for princess stuff, I guess.  So after presents and breakfast this morning (bacon and eggs, her request), we YouTubed Frozen songs to sing along to.  She was loving life.

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And here she is blowing out the candles.



Oh my goodness, I love this girl.  I’m thinking of what to remember about her as a 4 year old.  She’s joyful and affectionate, and very squeezable.  She likes projects, and especially likes to help in the kitchen; she’ll stop whatever she’s to help make frosting.  She doesn’t like strange adults talking cute to her in stores – I swear she thinks she’s being condescended to and won’t tolerate it.  She loves music, and sings all the time, including for an hour+ some nights after she’s been put to bed.  Violin is going well now, after a start that made me think we’d made a mistake starting her at 3 1/2.  Paying attention in lessons still needs work, though.  She likes to stop and give Miss Julie hugs, which sounds cute, and I guess it would be if I wasn’t watching the dollars tick by as she wastes time.  If Ingrid wants a hug, I’ll give her one for free.

Ingrid said she wanted to be Else for Halloween (of course), but I may have persuaded her to join me in my “Sound of Music” costume idea.  For years I’ve wanted us to be the Von Trapps.  Simon won’t do it (fighter pilot for the 3rd year in a row).  But I finally bought a dirndl pattern and I’m making myself Maria’s costume from the Do-Re-Me scene (the beginning of the song, when she’s playing the guitar).  I found a $2 pattern for a little girls jumper so I’m making it for Ingrid, in case she’s willing to be Gretel.  She like the princess fabrics, and we found one that will pass – pink and white toile with princess scenes.



I hate fabric stores, by the way.  About once every 5 years I feel like doing a sewing project, but I hate buying the supplies.  JoAnn Fabrics has hardly any fabrics for clothing, it’s all quilting and crafts.  And it’s so cramped, and where they put stuff makes no intuitive sense to me, and the customers are pushy.

What else is new right now?  Simon is on fire with soccer.  He scored his team’s only goal 3 weeks in a row.  To be fair he’s on a team with a lot of kids who have never played, but still he’s doing virtually all the work on the field.  It’s kind of frustrating for me to watch, because the two teams will spend almost all the time on one half of the field, then Simon breaks away with the ball, moving toward the goal with like 5 kids from the other team on him, then he gets down the field and has no one to pass to, so the other team gets the ball back.  Over and over.  He doesn’t seem to mind, though.

I am also sick and tired of losing to Simon at chess.  At first I didn’t try hard, thinking I was letting him win.  Now I try, and I can’t beat him.  His strategy is to never lose a piece.  He’ll make tiny moves, while I try some lame strategy that ends up in a blunder so he takes my good pieces, and I’m left with pawns and the king and queen, and he’s still got all his rooks, bishops, and knights (and king and queen).  I could adopt the “never lose a piece” strategy, but it’s boring, and it would take forever.  He is very good at spotting my blunders.  I guess I just need to stop making them and I might be able to beat him.

One more thing about Simon, he and a friend in his class are making “books” of stories and poems together at school, for fun, which I think is just the best.  Here are two examples.

“Bailey the Dog” by Simon

Bailey was a dog.  Not a ordinary dog.  She looked like a big beagle but with black spots on her stomach.  Her breed was a treeing walker coonhound.  She was bred to chase raccoons up trees and wait tell their hunter came.  We were fostering her when we got her.  At first Bailey seemed like a grate dog but it turned out after a few days it was not so good.  It just barking and scratching and just positive noise.  When we took her on walks we could not even walk a block.  She would bark at other dogs, who knows why and she would spring so so so fast.  Nobody ever wanted to take her for a walk as much as somebody wants to take out the trash.  When Bailey went to the bathroom it stunk like icky socks.  Boy it smelled bad.  We gave her back to her foster owner and boy we were glad as much as if you got to get your own anything.  I was not joyful like the rest of the family.  It turned out she originally lived with a woman who owned like eight acres of land and was with her twenty-four seven.  That’s probably why she acted so odd.  End of story.

“Something’s in My Desk” by Simon

Something’s in my desk
It is most grotesque
He does not talk
I hear him destroy everything in my desk

He acts like a wild beast
He eats my notebooks like a dog
He acts as he is starvin’ to death
I tell my teacher all of this

But it’s a story


Incidentally, Ross has kept tabs on the coonhound rescue site, and Bailey has reappeared on it THREE times since we had her.  So, at least we know it’s not just us.