Kid Activities

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Grant’s senior project

Posted by on 24 Jun 2016 | Tagged as: children, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Kid Activities, Uncategorized

How did I manage to NOT post this in May 2014? It is rather badly overgrown now, but the patio is one of my favorite places to sit and read, or work, this time of year.

Grant had to shift gears mid-year about his senior project. He came up with a really great idea: fix up the front yard that got trashed this last year from neglect and construction.

Fish pond and lilacs, after weeding but before planting new annuals.

Fish pond and lilacs, after weeding but before planting new annuals.

He has “roped in” a couple of friends occasionally to help — Thanks Mady, Gabe, Jake and Tabitha!

Here is the progress he has made so far, pics are a little rough, but I am trying to get caught up on blogging this weekend and no time for a lot of fine-tuning.

I am actually going to post these in a gallery, with no commentary to save myself time and actually get this up (started it yesterday, here 24 hours later sitting down to finish…).

I didn’t finish the post then, either. And now I cannot find where the pictures are that I took… so this will have to be enough for now.

A full week teaching!

Posted by on 15 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: children, education, Education Professional, Family Matters, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, Kid Activities, seasons, teaching, Uncategorized

I am still having pretty much the time of my life with the 7th and 8th graders I get to work with. There are plenty of things that are confusing, but I have so much support that I only have to ask a question (or if I have to fix things retroactively) and I get all the help I need. It’s a wonderful “nursery” for a new teacher.

And the students I have are quirky, interesting, energetic, and good-hearted. I have really lucked out with this assignment. Although I have a “full house” in my Language Arts class (30 students! – no room for more desks) I am having so much fun learning about them, thinking of ways to help them and challenge them, and I wake up smiling (most days) just thinking about going in.

And I go in earlier than I have to, most days — I don’t officially have kids until 4th period and could put off going in until partway through 3rd period — but as a morning person anyway I get up with Tom and go in early. So I am there early enough in the morning that I can see some of the other teachers (I catch one mentor-type at 1st period planning and another mentor-type at 2nd period) and then get a tutorial on anything I want help with for my students by sitting in on a master teacher’s 3rd period… (I get the room immediately after her kids leave).

It’s like a nice, soft cocoon where I can grow the wings I need for my next teaching assignment.

This week, we do some benchmark testing, establish regular routines and talk a little bit about setting personal goals for literacy. I am going to try a modified model akin to that of the “Two Sisters” whose workshop I attended in June. It won’t be as smooth or elegant as their approach, but I already see how I can incorporate some of their ideas in the well-rounded curriculum already established in this school.

And Matthew starts at Western this week (moves in to the dorms) and both boys start their classes in another week (Matthew as a junior, Grant as a freshman (H.S. senior)). Tom goes off to a college reunion in Walla Walla at the end of that week. I will be pretty busy by then just trying to keep up with my workload.

And then, of course, the house…

Buckle up, folks, it’s going to be a fast, fun year!

The rest of the story…

Posted by on 21 Jun 2011 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, citizenship, education, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, Kid Activities, Uncategorized

I have been remiss in my “mama” mode for quite some time. I reported my own finishing, but neglected to trumpet my elder’s significant events this month!

Here is a pic of him at his girlfriend’s house before the senior prom…

A lovely young woman - friends since first grade!

A lovely young woman - friends since first grade!

And here is a pic of him a few days later, with his brother, father and “Uncle” (our best friend) at his high school graduation. It’s a little blurry due to camera shake (of course I was a little emotional!).

stidkid #1 with younger brother, father and "uncle"

stidkid#1 and fan club

The new graduate hopes to continue classes at the community college next year, and is also looking for work (bad job climate though) and helping around our home and his grandparents’ in the meantime.

Meantime, the younger stidkid made it into the senior band ensemble without an audition… tuba for that one. He auditioned for the non-school orchestra with the trombone, no word yet one that. He is still deciding whether to do the high school jazz band next year…

For the summer, he is in “Anything Goes” (auditioned for a part today), “Honk” and “Pirates of Penzance” — the latter two begin rehearsals in a week or two. It will be a busy, interesting summer for both boys.

And, I suspect, for us!

Mother’s Brag

Posted by on 01 May 2010 | Tagged as: art, children, Family Matters, friends, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, Kid Activities, Uncategorized

AS in me, being a mother, bragging on my own child.

Proud as I am of the kids, every so often one of them is particularly cute. Here is a pic I took this evening after the Alice in Wonderland performance, he’s posing with his makeup artist! Wish you could see the really amazing silver eyelashes!

stidkid #2 and his makeup artist

The hair is real, the haircolor is fake... the creepy look is natural?!

Yes, I am very proud of my children, and think they are amazing. And every so often, they act as amazing as I think they are!

This particular play, which the stidkid almost decided to NOT participate in, is showcasing his abilities very well. The little video I thought I took with the cellphone didn’t turn out. Will have to try something else tomorrow!

What I’ve been up to…

Posted by on 14 Jun 2009 | Tagged as: children, education, friends, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, Kid Activities, school, Uncategorized

Kids. More stuff with kids. LOTS of stuff with kids, and a welcome break from incessant studying.

I officially finished my studies at Evergreen for the quarter on Wednesday evening when I showed up for an evaluation conference that was canceled at the last minute. Handed in my paperwork and gratefully went home early.

I officially finish my Geography class tomorrow when the finals are over; I am getting an alternate arrangement so that I can help out at the middle school that afternoon. We are in the last few days of class, and there are several loose ends I need to tie up.

I officially have six days between then and the start of the classes for the summer: three at Evergreen, one online through the community college. I have already read several chapters in two of the books and will be trying to read through the rest of the books this week. I want to focus during these five weeks on the lectures and other assignments, not the reading. While working some extra hours for the phage meeting and chauffering the younger stidkid for rehearsals and finishing those tasks at the middle school. Oh yes, and deciding on the actual paint colors for my office…

I just figured out how to download pictures from the G1 phone, here are a couple that weren’t too bad.

This is the elder stidkid in April, with his grandmere, ready to play the trumpet for a school of K-2 graders!
trumpet solo day

This is a picture of our yard in May, after the blueberries were transplanted, before the apple and pear trees leafed out, the plum in all its glory…

yard in may

And a picture of me from this last week, at the end of a long day, at the fruit stand that is open again!


The trebuchet the stidkid and his friends built for their medieval studies unit. They had significant help from Mr. D, the father of one of the students. You will see him in the video below, helping load and such. For scale, stidkid is the tall fellow in blue — he is about 5’10” tall.

This is the little video of the trebuchet, showing one that backfired, and one that worked.

Stidkid #2 in action

Posted by on 10 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: children, Family Matters, fun, good things, health, Kid Activities, sports, Uncategorized

The students sparred as part of their taekwondo test. Here he is, with the glasses and long hair, starting on the right. Unfortunately, I can’t rotate the board-breaking video, so this will have to do. This was light sparring, the fellow on the left (all of the people on the left) were either instructors or greatly advanced students who were helping administer the test. For more intense sparring, students always wear protective gear. Don’t try this at home!

He came home today wearing the yellow belt, but my camera needs new batteries, so that pic will wait.


Posted by on 02 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: art, Art Museums and Galleries, children, fun, Kid Activities, parenting, Uncategorized

Days like yesterday are the reason Life is worth living!    Unfortunately none of the pics of one of the kids turned out.

Oh well, here are:  The Tacoma Art Museum (a couple of establishing shots, and one each of me, stidgmere and a stidkid with the blocks or prints we made yesterday) and the Glass Museum in Tacoma, outside shots only.    As soon as they are scanned, I will add images of the three blocks that were cut and the prints we pulled from them.

The couryard of the Tacoma Art Museum

inking the stamp I made -- thick black ink1

stidgmere with her first print

a stidkid in front of the sign announcing the Renoir print exhibit

walking back toward the Museum of Glass, you can see the entire multi-story stack of the hotshop

Another Birthday, Another Millstone

Posted by on 24 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, environment, Family Matters, friends, fun, hope, Kid Activities, Uncategorized

 [Note:  this post is being written late and is subject to revision when I am coherent again…] 

Here are three best friends at a birthday party.  They were pretty excited and happy, having just come from a movie and anticipating a pizza supper with cake for dessert.  I did have to remind them a couple times to settle down, but they did, and weren’t overly rambunctious or loud (though they could have been if encouraged).

three musketeers ready to eat pizza

Soon after the supper was over, we took them to a park where they played frisbee with dads and brothers…

friends' dad and little brother with the birthday boy

And another, an action shot…

more frisbee play

frisbee is fun!

It was fun.

Today I am a quarter inch shorter than I was three weeks ago…   or the child is taller.

Today I am another year older, and the child is growing into his own.

We are not in a hurry to push him out of the nest, rather he is moving toward the rim on his own.

Here he is, in the morning, wearing the robe I made him (yes!  I finished it!), inspecting the starter telescope we got him with his daddy.  You see he is easily as tall as his taller parent…

A far-seeing object.  Can he see his future from here?

Though I love watching my children learn and grow, come into their own as people, it makes me wistful on occasion for the early years.  Can it really be that so much time has passed?  Are we really this close to “empty nesting” — to being excused from the daily reminders to brush teeth or hair, released from the duties of chauffering, dismissed from their lives?

If I am lucky, when my children are past their teen years, when they have survived their first tentative steps into adulthood, they will rejoin my life — as comfortable, interesting friends.

But right now, we are renegotiating our roles.  Some things I am still very much in charge, some things I am not.  Some things I remain the expert, but in many areas my child(ren) have surpassed me in both interest and knowledge.  It is curious how many ways they exhibit individuality despite their similar upbringings, the many subjects their father or I have studied and enjoyed.

The millstone?  As they approach the point at which they will enter the world on their own terms, I find myself worrying more and more about the state of the world, whether we will have the resources they need to gain a foothold in the lives they wish to lead.

This is the real burden of parenting, I think.  Not the long nights spent sitting up with a sick child, or the days traveling back and forth to doctors/schools/events, nor even the long, intense discussions on birds and bees and other hot topics.

No, the real burden of parenting is learning to let go, remembering my own struggle to find my place in the world, to learn to be a productive adult.  Though my parents were eventually in a position to help me/us along, there were many places I had to go alone, many financial and educational choices I had to make sola.

I made it — my task soon will be to let go, so my own children can make it.   So they can feel the same sense of accomplishment I did.  The same sense they felt the first day they woke up before me and dressed themselves, saying proudly:

Me did it meself! 

Bragging Rights

Posted by on 26 Jan 2008 | Tagged as: children, friends, fun, good things, Kid Activities, music, school, Uncategorized

As you-all probably know by now, I am unjustifiably proud of my kids. Well, it’s school play season again, and our younger has a great part (again). Here he is in a few pics from today, ladies and gents, I present Nicely-Nicely Johnson!

Makeup artist at work:

Nicely gets made up by a Doll

How to take a hat off, you can see the great microphone over his ear:

Nicely and Rusty rehearse

The gangsters all together, Nathan Detroit is in the blue tie:

A bunch of Brooklyn Gangsters

Left to Right: Rusty Charlie, Benny Southstreet, Nicely-Nicely Johnson, and Harry the Horse.

Nicely, Rusty, Benny and Harry the Horse discuss the crap game

Nicely singing “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” — and as he sank, and he shouted someone save me

Nicely rocks the boat

(That’s the moment he woke up — Thank the Lord!)

This production has been great fun. Frank Loesser wrote such great music and lyrics!

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Recovering slowly…

Posted by on 21 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: art, caring, celebrations, children, education, friends, fun, good things, holidays, Kid Activities, Making a Difference, music, parenting, Peace Making, school, Uncategorized

Initially, I didn’t have time or energy yet to write a full report on the last two three weeks, but I revised this the next day to cover the high (and low) lights. Suffice it to say, busy had been the operative word non-stop until December 20. And the next day I spent trying to get caught up on chores and such, and playing with the kids a bit, and doing a few online tasks I had been letting go. Except for this one. I have so many things to share! More tomorrow later, on this same post page… post begun 21 December 2007

continued on 22 December 2007And here I am again…Let me see… we started this month with a concert for one child on a Thursday. It was lovely, and I tried to post some audio files, but that didn’t work. Still trying to find a way to convert them from the format my little camera takes them in to MP3 so folks can hear snippets.That day was St. Nicholas day, the day our family has always given the children “gifts from Santa.” Because they are so grown up now, we decided to get only a few small items this year — books mostly; and a Wii. What a commotion we had that morning… but of course no time in the evening to do much with it. No matter, the weekend was close at hand…The following weekend was filled with a rehearsal Saturday morning, and a concert Sunday evening (both boys). I didn’t get to attend the concert, sitting on the gym bleachers on the Thursday threw my back out and I was laid up a couple days. Not to worry, it gave me a chance to rest before the coming week. And of course, in between the rehearsal and the concert, the children (and we — of course!) checked out this video game system.

Here is the trombone at the Sunday concert — the trumpeter was on the other side of the group so Tom didn’t get a chance to get a pic of him:

trombone player in his element

A bit of background: for over 15 years, I have resisted getting any sort of gaming system in our home. I didn’t want the controllers that are notorious for repetitive stress injuries. I didn’t want the distraction of something so mind- and time-consuming. I didn’t want the hassles of telling children to put the game down and go outside. I did finally bend a when the kids were little, and allowed first educational (but fun) games on the computer; then as they were older, just fun computer games. But I held firm to the no-gaming-system line because I wanted limited time for the games.

And then, about a year ago, I began to hear good things about the Wii. I saw pictures of people getting up and moving with this new system. I heard that there were many fun, non-violent games to play on it. And I decided to check it out. I wrote more about it on the stidmama LiveJournal page. Let’s abbreviate: I liked what I learned, and I knew the kids would enjoy it. So about three months before St. Nicholas day, we plotted and started looking at websites and ads for sales. Two months before, we ordered a system online (figuring that gave us some extra time in case it arrived damaged).

And then, for a few weeks, I sat on the biggest secret I had kept since I hid the fact from Tom that my parents were getting him a TiVo for Christmas a couple years ago… If you know me, you know what an effort that was!!!!

And sure enough, the kids were delighted. And so are we. After all these years, they are mature enough — and enjoy enough non-tech things — that they don’t overdo the games. An hour here or there, and they are happy and go off to read books, practice music or play with their animals.

So — that was the first week of the month. And yes — that was the week I wrote about the rain

The second week of the month, I spent Monday morning in First Grade (now up to 28 children, happy, busy, good children — but too many for this level and age) and in the afternoon I went to a physical therapy appointment; Tuesday mostly at home — what a treat. Wednesday morning First Grade and in the afternoon Helping with a 6th grade social studies class — testing on geography knowledge; Thursday morning binding cookbooks for the one kid’s Heritage Night — and the evening I went to Heritage Night while Tom took the other kid to his school concert. Friday was First Grade in the morning, shopping in the afternoon and home to recover…

Saturday and Sunday, I can’t recall too much — was I sleeping for much of it? perhaps… except for the Birthday Boy’s celebration on Sunday. Well, celebration might be too great a word. Observance, perhaps. Another year older, another year cooler. Here he is, enjoying some of the loot, a new T-shirt and the much-desired “Star Wars Vault”:

opening a gift from aunt and grandparents

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I helped in the First Grade again. Monday and Tuesday were “Sneaker Science” again, with a different set of first graders. Another big class, but not too bad. Perhaps the newness of the teachers helped. So did having FIVE adults in the room Monday and FOUR Tuesday…

Wednesday was the boys’ first day off of school. Instead of sleeping in, they managed to get up and come in with me to help their grandmother (insert very proud mama look here). The children were so proud and happy to have them come in again. The boys helped with projects, snacks, projects, snacks, getting to and from places (it was the day of the winter program, of course), snacks and projects. They carried supplies and materials to their grandmother’s car in the intervals, so she wouldn’t have to lug them herself. I took one of them home just after lunch (he wasn’t feeling well) and the other stayed the full day (insert another proud mama look).

Here is Stidgmere, enjoying a quiet moment with one of the children in her class. Toward the bottom of the picture you can see how many things the children were working on!

stidgmere talks to one of the children in her class

Thursday, early enough that we really didn’t get to sleep in, I took the older boy to the orthodontist for a check-up. He was seen a half an hour after his appointment was supposed to be. It threw the rest of the day into hyperdrive. BECAUSE we also had to get some groceries (three stores), deposit gift money (two banks) and we needed his father there for one banking transaction so the kid could open a new account and have both of us as signatories on it, get gasoline and the mail… about the time I dropped the kid off at home it was time for me to turn around and head back to the doctor for myself (minor thing). Between the appointment and picking up various medicines for various people in the family at the pharmacy… it was five o’clock before I started for home. Yes. I got caught in the traffic. I fell asleep at 8:30 that night.

So yesterday (are you still with me?) I slept in. All the way to 7, just in time to bid Tom goodbye for the day. And I stayed INSIDE all day. Except to step on the back porch to throw the strawberry (dog’s new toy) every 60 minutes or so. By the end of the day, the dishes were done, the bathroom was clean(er), the laundry was done and folded and away, my office was less cluttered (thanks to the kid who spent two hours working on sorting out what was mine and what was other peoples’), the kids had spent some time reviewing math, dinner was ready and I had played a prodigious amount of video games with the kids.

Today — aside from letting the dogs out at 7 and feeding them, I slept until 9! it felt wonderful… A quick trip into town to buy a few new shirts and pants for the kid who grows about an inch a month (now wearing a man’s size “small”) and get the mail, and I am home again… catching up on my writing!

Hoping for a repeat tomorrow.

Meantime, to make this a truly long post, here is a picture of me, wearing a scarf made by “jesdraggon” — a fellow babbler and needle-worker. Isn’t it lovely!

my new scarf, wrapped twice around my neck it still reaches my hips!

You can see how long it is — I wrapped it twice around my neck and it still is well past my waist!

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