Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Taste of Three and Half (No!--Almost Four)

Over the winter break, Oscar and I got to spend some extra time together. He's learning to play games (Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is a favorite), he continues to be obsessed with constructing things, he loves to count, notices numbers and letters everywhere, and he says "I love you" easily and spontaneously. Here's a taste of the funny little person he is these days. (And oh my, what a serious case of chapped lips! I doubt you'll be able to watch it without licking your lips at least once. Thankfully, that has passed.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

All Treats (No Tricks)

Halloween fell in the middle of the week this year, so John had to work. I hurried to scoop Oscar up from his school, helped him get his costume on, and we were off! First stop: the West Philadelphia Tot Parade.

We missed most of the "parade" (a trail of kids in costumes tumbling down the sidewalk), but did meet up with a few other animal friends.

Then there were treats!

 The bear and zebra consider their candy.

Finally, the zebra gets a taste!

Then it was out to Bala Cynwyd to visit dear friends, Art and Peggy, and do a bit more trick-or-treating in their beautiful neighborhood. After only a few houses, the zebra looked in his treat bag and announced, "I have all the candy I need." Can't argue with that.

Back at Peggy and Art's, we cozied up for a bit to watch "The Great Pumpkin". I couldn't tell if Oscar was mesmerized by it or just really tired--such a fine line.

After a fun-filled evening, Oscar fell asleep in the car on the way home. He managed to wake enough to walk into the house, lay his head on the chair, and fall fast asleep again.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Fall Moments Between All the Busy

I'm pretty sure I had predicted that I'd be busy this fall, and--with all that busy--that this blog would become a little neglected. And it has. It has been the fall of a never-ending to-do list, long long days, finishing work after Oscar goes to bed, and even going into school on the weekends. All that to say, our little family has somehow STILL managed to carve out some fall fun.

 It's "hammer-time"! O.K. practiced his hammering skills by pounding nails into a pumpkin.

 Oscar found this "recipe" in his Turtle magazine (thanks again, Grandma!). We had fun making apple smiles.

We spent the better part of a Saturday at Linnvilla Orchards--complete with apple cider doughnuts, a hayride, pumpkin choosing, and playing in the "playland".
Linvilla's Playland

We carved pumpkins.

 O.K. scooped.

 And acted as creative director of the carving.

 Nothing so nearly as fancy as these (done by a local West Philly acquaintance), but they certainly count.

Then we spent an afternoon turning this black sweatsuit into

 this swell zebra.

 No sewing required--gotta' love duct tape!

We're ready to trick-or-treat!

(This blog post brought to you by Storm Sandy, who we haven't met yet, but has at least granted me an extra day off from school this week. Perhaps I'll use some of this extra time to return a few overdue calls...)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Settling In

As you know, I'm changing schools this next year after eight years at Christopher Columbus Charter School. My new school is Wissahickon Charter School, an environmental school in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. I am excited about this transition, though admittedly, a little worried too. It is going to be challenging, but I think I'm going to learn new things (I have already!), and that is always invigorating.

One part of this transition has been cleaning out eight years of teaching from my old classroom, packing up what I thought I might still need, renting a truck to transport all of my thrift-store/trash-picked shelves, and unloading the truck at my new school. I haven't been able to get in and unpack anything until this last week because they were teaching a summer reading program in my room and then they had to wax the floors.

When I got there Tuesday morning, there were all of my boxes stacked in the windows, and all of the furniture was piled in the middle of the room. The cabinets were still full of random stuff from the previous teacher. I spent three days cleaning, sorting, consolidating, labeling, and rearranging. My very first grade partner, Leah, even came in and helped me one day. Here are a few before and after shots (all taken from the doorway):







Now that I know where everything is, I'm beginning to feel a little more settled, though there are certainly more "challenges" ahead--new curriculum, new management system, new-to-me students, etc. Here are a few more up-close pics, and then I'm done, I swear.

the doorway leading to the hall (from where I took the pics above)

the writing center

 my teaching assistant's work area (did I mention I get a teaching assistant???)

my "bean" table (I've always wanted one of those...)

my desk (and part of the library)

the rest of the library and meeting area 

I don't post much here about my classroom, but I do have a classroom website. Feel free to check it out this year.

Our Annual Oregon in August

I know I usually post around seventy pictures of our trip to Oregon each year, but this year on our return, I've had to jump right in to new-job-new-school preparation. In short, we had a wonderful trip full of family and friends. If you haven't seen the pictures on facebook, you can click here to check them out.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Camping Trip #2

 Since we now consider ourselves People Who Camp, we thought we'd share a bit from our second (and last) camping adventure of the summer`. It was another short trip--we left Monday and came home Wednesday--but that's just long enough to enjoy some time in the great outdoors without having to replenish the ice in the cooler. Our destination this time: Ricketts Glen State Park, known for its waterfalls and beautiful lake.

I'm pretty sure our little car couldn't hold another thing.

Unpacking the car is a bit of a process, but I think it is actually fun to set up our little temporary "home".

After getting set up, we explored the camp site a bit, and then got to work on dinner. We do manage to eat well out in the wild.

The next morning we woke to discover a small bear had been nosing around behind our tent. This is NOT actually the very bear, but our neighboring campers took a picture of it (I wish I'd thought to ask them to email it to us!). I found this picture online that looks awfully similar (though a little thinner than "our" bear). Glad he was little and not TOO nosy!

After breakfast, we went for a hike. OK hiked some and rode some in our borrowed external frame backpack--this was awesome to have on some of the trickier paths!

There are around fifteen waterfalls in the park. We managed to hike out to four of them, which was perfect for us.

Resting after some fun tossing rocks in the water.

 This was the big one--a whopping ninety-four feet, though the pictures don't show how big it really is. I took the next one, from the top of the fall (where we started before hiking down). Notice the tiny people down there?

 Exploring (in nearly the same spot as the tiny people pictured above).

 The long hike back up. There was more huffing, but it was just as beautiful.

After lunch, we headed down to the lake. Oscar was a little wary of the water at first, and spent a good amount of time enjoying the sand (aka "mixing cement").

But soon, he and Johnny were swimming like a couple of fish.

(I can't think of the right caption for this picture, but it is hands-down my favorite from this trip.)

My boys resting in the shade of our little beach tent.

 A little post-beach running to get...


 Around the campsite we found lots of ways to keep entertained, including riding the scooter. OK liked "riding fast with Daddy".

Camping, we love you. We are already looking forward to next year--or maybe sooner? We'll see...