Friday, January 31, 2014

A bit of January randomness:

 Edward's art teacher selected his Nutcracker drawing for a small art show this month sponsored by the UI College of Engineering. It's an annual show in memory of the wife of one of the professors, who was a local art teacher for two decades. Ed's teacher said she appreciated his attention to detail in his drawing, which was based on his class field trip to a local dance school's Nutcracker performance. He said he used watercolor, crayon and glitter pen to create it.

 Here we see the Christmas sweatshirts from Grandma employed as defense against the Arctic January 2014. The boys have their sweatshirt hoods up, masks down, and ski-mask hats over them topped off with jacket hoods.

This craft project completed with Grandma last night is as perfect a window into our boys' individual personalities as we may ever see. The one on the right completed exactly according to the specifications of the kit, each step meticulously followed in order. (Edward) The one on the left, all the same pieces but placed according to the whim of the craftsman (Daniel) who never met a direction he didn't want to question.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A few days before Christmas and right at dinner time, Daniel came to ask if he could do some construction with toothpicks and marshmallows. I told him that is a fun project and a good idea, but it wasn't the right time. "In fact," I said, "That's a great thing to do during your winter break from school when we have all day to play!" However, winter break hadn't yet started and he was just SURE we'd forget.

"Well, why don't you write it down then," I suggested. "We can make a list of things you want to do over the break." He got right down to business:
  • Mrshmelo and tuthpiks
  • pool (to go swimming)
  • ice skate (I think he must have made me write this, though my writing isn't much better!)
  • Ice crem (he reminded us that we hadn't made good on our standard reward for passing a swimming level)
  • Move nitt (movie night)
  • Monopoly (it took almost the whole break to complete one game; we can only play in short spurts)
I'm pleased to report that all items on the list were accomplished during our two weeks plus two days of break. (The Polar Vortex, with daily high temps in negative double digits and wind chills in -30 to -40 range, hit right when they were supposed to go back to school so the first two days were canceled.)

Soon after returning to school, Edward and his classmates all researched or interviewed family members about what school is like in other countries. Edward interviewed Uncle Joe over the phone about school in Brazil, where he and Aunt Brenda lived for two years before their current assignment in Mexico City. At left are the notes he took and a right the final report. Note the green school bus and the students in uniforms (pink/purple was not specified by the interview subject--artistic license by the reporter.) Boys are identifiable by the blue hats.

His writing is improving, but to help decipher it reads: 
In Brazil the children wear uniforms, and the school buses are not yellow. They go to school from 7:30 to 1:00 and then come home for lunch. Parts of their schools are outside and their summer break is in December and January.

Friday, January 10, 2014

It always feels weird to me to send Daniel to school on his birthday because it's so different from the type of day Edward has on his. But off he went with a bowl full of pineapple cut into star shapes to share with his Kindergarten class.

By quirk of calendar, an all-school fun night sponsored by the PTO at our community gym fell on Daniel's birthday this year. On the one hand--the whole school is having a party on your birthday, yea! On the other hand, there's not much time between the end of the school day and the start of the fun night and you still have to fit in presents and a pizza dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. Thankfully, they were gracious about our lightning speed celebration and dash out the door.

I wish I had video of Daniel opening gifts because even these smiles don't capture his pure joy in shouting, "Oh, wow, this is great! THANK YOU!!" as each present emerged from its wrapping.

 No more squabbles over taking turns on Edward's Razor scooter!

This is our attempt to indulge Daniel's rhythmic and musical interests while somewhat preserving our sanity (and hearing.)

Even with a box full of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, we didn't have any planes! I never even realized this, but Grandma always seems to find just the item to fill a gap in our collection.

Edward was much more restrained about Daniel's birthday this year--sign of maturity? Whatever it is, we'll take it if it just means a scooter cruise around the living room rather than a full body meltdown!

Just after Christmas, John received a reminder of a Groupon for Coldstone Creamery that was about to expire. Daniel, who is still very susceptible to any suggestion made in a breathless "you won't believe how lucky you are" tone, helpfully agreed to an ice cream cake for his 6th birthday.

When it looked like he was ready to plant his face in his plate so as not to leave any remnants, I handed him a spatula. I mean, a boy only has a 6th-birthday ice cream cake once, right?

Well, actually, this cake was so rich (and not gluten-free--sorry, Grandpa!) that half of it was stashed in the freezer so he ended up enjoying it twice.

So then on to the school party--bounce house, roller skating, and running around like maniacs with his friends for two hours. A very happy birthday indeed. Actual birthday party with friends forthcoming in the summer, when we can celebrate 6 1/2 in the best possible way--OUTSIDE!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Edward got bored while we were watching the Hawkeyes play the Outback Bowl and was being distracting/annoying. I suggested he go play with Lego if he didn't want to watch the game with us.

"What should I build?"

House. No. Skyscraper. No. Boat. I already have my Lego Coast Guard boat.

Football player? Yes!

Then he asked who we thought was the best player on the Iowa team. We suggested defensive lineman James Morris.

Although the Hawks ultimately lost the game, I'd say the day was a win for Edward and Lego James.

Yes, he's aware that defensive players don't see much ball carrying time, but when you have the pieces to approximate a Lego football, you just gotta run with it. Also, the helmet was hinged so it could flip down over the face.
No detail escaped his attention. The white piece here is supposed to be the towel he noticed players keep at their hips.