Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Music festival

This past weekend we all drove to Los Angeles to go to a music festival at which my brother's band was playing -- and, not incidentally, to see my brother's family. It was the kids' first chance to meet their new cousin!

Cousins with baby Vox ...

... and 30 seconds later Vox falls asleep

The kids weren't thrilled with the long drive (it took more than seven hours to get there, but less getting back) but they held it together pretty well thanks to audio books and snacks. They liked the hotel, especially its restaurant and pool. They even liked the music festival, although it went on too long for them; we were there from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m. and they got tired.

But they really enjoyed seeing their Uncle Joel and Aunt Ashley, and they cooed over Vox for the brief period of time she was awake and out of the baby carrier.

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At first Craig and I wanted to watch the bands from the area right in front of the stage, but there was a visibility problem, what with the kids being too short to see anything from the midst of a bunch of standing adults. Laurel can be lifted up onto a hip easily, but Isaac is too heavy (and also too old to accept such a demeaning position). Once we moved off to the side and found seats with a view of the stage they had a better time (the seating was also in the shade, which helped).

The festival featured two genres of music: punk rock and rockabilly/blues/roots music. I was surprised that the kids liked the punk bands best; I had assumed they would find the rockabilly more accessible. But no, they didn't get up and dance until the Buzzcocks played -- well, at least Laurel danced with Ashley, and Isaac participated by drumming along.

But by far their favorite band was the Avengers, Joel's band. Laurel said it was because she liked recognizing Joel on stage, but also because "they played beautiful music." When asked what he thought, Isaac said, "Great!"

Not to minimize the impact of the music itself, but I think their enjoyment of the Avengers was due in part to the band playing inside the club (the festival had both indoor and outdoor stages) where the visibility was much better -- the kids could stand at the raised back of the club and look down on the entire stage. The band put on a dynamic show, and both kids were held rapt for the entire set.

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And what about the safety of taking small children to a show? No worries. It was a very mellow festival, partly because of the large number of performers from the old days (like from 1955 to 1977!) and most of the audience members were nostalgic oldsters well over the age of 45. But we did remain conscious of the greatest danger to the kids: hearing loss.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Writers' Workshop Folder

The kids' elementary school uses a workshop-based reading/writing instructional method developed by the Columbia University Teacher's College. It isn't always dyslexia- and dysgraphia-friendly (while reading, kids are supposed to jot down their thoughts on a Post-It, which is too small for Isaac) but it has some nice features.

One thing I do like is the Writers' Workshop Folder, which each kid covers with personal photos intended to jog their memories when it comes time to writing about their personal experiences.

Laurel's class hasn't made theirs yet, but here are Isaac's photos for this year's folder. A lot of these will look familiar, but it's still a nice snapshot of the last three months.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New shoes

I ordered new sneakers for the kids this week, since their shoes from six months ago were too small. I didn't go to the store to have their feet measured, so I simply increased the sizing by one.

Isaac had been wearing a 3 in March, so I ordered him a 4. Laurel had been wearing a 12.5 in March, so I ordered her a 13.5. When the shoes arrived, however, they fit too perfectly; they were right on the verge of being too small. The kids could have worn them, but it would have been a waste of money when they outgrew them in just three months.

So, back to the Internet with another half-size increase for both! It doesn't make sense to get the shoes a whole size too big because they tend to get worn out by the time they actually fit.

Laurel's shoes won't look as small as those in that cute little picture from the website.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Weight check

Note: sometime in the next few weeks I am planning to convert this to a "private" blog, which means anyone who wants to continue reading it will need to have a personal invitation from me. If you want one, please let me know via email or comment on this post.

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We weighed the kids on Isaac's ninth birthday, and here were the results:
  • Isaac, age 9 years: 56.2 pounds
  • Laurel, age 5 years 8 months: 37.6 pounds
  • Cousin Jesse, age 2 years 6 months: 36 pounds

Comparing my kids to Jesse, who is a big little guy, is funny. When Isaac was two and a half, he weighed 27.7 pounds, over eight pounds less than Jesse. Laurel at that age weighed just 24.5 pounds, which is 11 and a half pounds less. Really we should have measured Jesse's height as well, because I suspect there's just as dramatic of a difference there.

Comparing my kids to each other isn't as dramatic, although there is always a difference of a few significant pounds. Back when Isaac was turning five years old he weighed 38.6 pounds, but that was eight months younger than Laurel is now so you really can't compare, except to note that when she was just turning five she weighed 36.5 pounds, a two-pound difference.

Actually, comparing Laurel to herself is a bit alarming. She has only gained 1.1 pounds in the last eight months, which doesn't seem like enough. She looks really skinny. As soon as we returned from France I scheduled her a doctor's appointment for a weight check, but I cancelled it because she seemed so healthy and full of energy despite her weight, and I was getting tired of being the worried mom. (Well, I can't change that, but I was getting tired of being the publicly worried mom.)

But according to the online calculators she is only at the 15th percentile for weight now, which is a drop from the 28th percentile where she was holding steady at her fourth and fifth birthdays.

Monday, September 08, 2014

9th birthday

My baby boy turned nine years old yesterday! This growing up stuff is beginning to seem like serious business. I thought last year that eight years old sounded mature, but nine is ridiculous. He only has one year left in the single-digits.

We had a birthday party yesterday (with the theme of "Dragon Training") but I haven't uploaded the bulk of the photos yet. Here are a few to tide you over!

The fire-breathing dragon cake

Nine years old!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Laurel answers questions about kindergarten

Q: Did your teacher read to the class today?

A: Yes, she read us a book, but I was too old for it. It was a baby book, but I didn't tell her that. I didn't want to be rude.

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Q: What are you learning in kindergarten?

A: To be quiet.

Q: What is your favorite part of kindergarten?

A: Recess. I wish we could play more.

Q: Is there anything else you like about kindergarten?

A: I like to paint.

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Q: Your teacher said you got to paint today. Was it fun?

A: We only got to use two colors, yellow and green.

Q: What did you paint?

A: Everyone had to paint pictures of leaves.

Sunday, August 31, 2014