Saturday, October 3, 2009

[day 277... oct 4]

Finally a family bike ride! And at beautiful Marymoor Park, with lots of easy, safe bike trails so I didn't have to be *too* stressed about "Stay on the right!" with the little guys.

It was a lovely afternoon to be out riding. We started at the big climber, rode past the velodrome and climbing pinnacle, and all the way to the east gate. On the way, we passed a radio airplane flying field - who knew Marymoor had one of those? All these years that I've gone there for events, camps, fairs, and just to play, and I had no idea. We had to stop on the way back (on the left just past the bridge in this picture) and watch them for awhile. The planes are huge: 3 feet long, maybe, though they look a lot smaller up in the sky zipping around. Very cool.

[day 276... oct 3]

After spending a small fortune on firewood during our Oregon camping trip (well spent, as we so enjoyed having campfires every night, roast marshmallows, basking in the warm glow - no regrets at all), we have taken a fresh look at the big pile of tree limbs in front next to the driveway. Before, our (my) goal was to cut up the branches enough to haul them into the backyard to add to the burn pile (which we never actually burn - not sure we're allowed to in Woodinville - but we still pile stuff there).

But now we are inspired to cut firewood from the branches so we can take it with us on our next camping trip and have big, long-lasting campfires for free!

To that end, Tynor has been attacking the pile for a few hours on the weekends, sawing off campfire-sized pieces and making a nice wood pile near the shed. Cory and Niall are totally enamored of the idea of sawing, of course, and today Tynor took time to help each of them try it out. It was a lot harder than it looked! Niall eventually sawed off two pieces, with some coaching about slow, short strokes, not pushing down, and all that fun stuff you have to keep in mind so the saw doesn't bend and bind.

Much to my surprise (and pleasure), after Niall finished sawing, Tynor suggested that they all go for a bike ride together. The younger boys were so excited to be invited! Cory kept saying, "I'm going to come too! I'm coming for the bike ride!" Joining the big boys - it doesn't get any better than that. :-) I was touched that Tynor reached out to them like that. It's just not easy being a big brother a lot of the time, and actually choosing to spend more time with chatting, squabbling, busy little people is a real stretch for him. I hope he knows how much it meant to Cory and Niall. Sounds like a small gesture, but I know what it takes for him to do that.

[day 275... oct 2]

Our new special playtime game: Blokus! It's a game that's been around for awhile (Niall has played it at Extended Day) but we now have our very own copy and it's great fun.

I love the cool smooth plastic shapes, too. They just feel good to hold and place on the board for some reason. And neat designs emerge as you find just the right spot for one of your shapes.

[day 274... oct 1]

I love the Meadows Building cubbies at Little School. They're just big enough for little people to squeeze into, to wait for Ellen to come get them for movement time or to put on a pair of shoes. They have a spot at the top for a lunchbox or library book and a spot on the bottom for some spare clothes and a little blankey and pillow for quiet time. And it's fun to look down a row of them and see all the different faces looking back, and the assorted jackets, backpacks, projects, and papers in various states of organization and disarray. Kind of like life, you know?

The sweet photo of Cory posted in his cubby (and the pictures in the other cubbies)was taken by his wonderful lunch teacher, Colleen, who is a fabulous photographer. She takes the children's school pictures in the Fall, all outdoors shots of the kids in various places around campus, and it's like getting studio portraits but natural and relaxed. And she is warm and loving with the children. How lucky are we to have her right in our own classroom this year!

[day 273... sep 30]

Last week was Woods Parent Meeting, this week it's Meadows' turn. It made for a busy day, because we had Carissa time (Niall's OT) in Shoreline after school, then drove all the way back to Bellevue for the meeting. We got sandwiches at the Subway for dinner, and just as we were leaving, Cory's friend Theo and his family arrived. It was still a half hour or so before the meeting, so we stayed and visited with Theo's family while they ate their sandwiches, then headed over together.

It was great to learn about Cory's class and the various projects and routines. With Joyce as a teacher, they always have a huge variety of things going on - a characteristic I remember well from both Kellen's and Niall's tenure with Joyce! She works very hard to keep fresh, interesting material in the classroom and to integrate the children's emerging interests in a rich, educational mix that not only covers academic areas but develops their social skills and tends to their emotional needs as well. No wonder she's in the classroom every evening until at least the time I walk by on my way to picking up my kids from Extended Day.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

[day 272... sep 29]

As I drive back home through the valley, this is the view I often see to the south: a wide sweep of green grass and sprinklers (courtesy of the company that grows sod) and then Mt. Rainier at the far end. It's so beautiful.

We have another gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier on our way to school driving down 405 - at least on a fair day when it's still light as we drive down the freeway in the morning. It always makes my heart sing to see the mountain in all its glory. Just a normal part of our day but so awe-inspiring, every time.

[day 271... sep 28]

Breadtabs! Kathi's class started collecting breadtabs years ago, in response to the children wondering how many "a million" really was if you had that many items in front of you. This project shows just how long it takes to collect a MILLION of something. The tabs are collected and counted, then placed in bags of hundreds, then gathered into thousands. I believe there are four or five bags of TEN thousands by now - ? Perhaps more than that. But still a long, long way to go to get to a million.

Joyce's class took up the challenge several years back, so Niall and his friends have counted breadtabs for several years. And now that Joyce is Cory's teacher, Cory and his classmates are following the tradition.

I started saving and bringing breadtabs to school whenever I first heard about the project, sometime early in Kellen's career at Little School. I do it automatically now, whether my child is in the class that is counting the breadtabs or not. Someday we will get to a million!

[day 270... sep 27]

Keeping up with my new weekend plan for going on adventures on Sundays, we headed down to Snoqualmie Falls today. It was a beautiful day, perfect for an outdoor outing. I've never been to the Falls before (amazing but true) so it was a treat to finally see them, even at this time of year when they're relatively calm.

Unfortunately, the trail from the viewpoint near the top of the Falls down to the river at the bottom of the Falls is closed because they're working on the hydroelectric plant (which I didn't even know they had at Snoqualmie Falls - the turbines are all underground). So we drove around and eventually found the parking lot for the lower viewing area and river access. (They apparently don't want people to find the park because there are no signs or other guidance after a single sign off the main highway.)

We all walked over the boardwalk (which goes back around the building you see in this photo) to the viewpoint that looks "up" to the Falls, then walked back and climbed down the rocks to the water. Tynor decided to stay put and read.

There were lots of big river rocks exposed, with the river so low right now. Niall and Cory loved climbing around them. We watched a small kayaking group head out down the river too - very colorful, looked like a lot of fun. We can't wait to go back!