Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Father's Day Presents

Dakota is moving to a new college in the fall. She is transferring to a great art college in Chicago. We found out that she needs 132 credits to graduate instead of the usual 120, which would take four and a half years instead of four. She decided to take classes this summer at a local junior college instead of taking them at the school, which will save us a lot of money. Yeah! It also means she probably won't be getting a job. She has actually applied for a lot of jobs, but hasn't gotten one yet. She gave me these great silhouettes for Mother's Day and I suggested she make them for other people and sell them to make college money. They are $12 each for each 4x6 silhouette. If you are interested, let me know. You will have to take a picture of each child's profile and email it to me and she will mail you the finished silhouette.

San Diego WIld Animal Park

Dakota and I brought the kids down to the Wild Animal Park today. It was a great day, not too hot. I know we only have a few weeks left before public school ends and places get too crowded. We rarely go to amusement parks or the zoo during the summer. We have to hurry to get a few more fun things in before the end of June. Anyway, it was a really fun day. There is a fun exhibit on Dinosaurs there now. I think there are 20 robotic dinosaurs. They look very real, move and make sounds. We thought Brayden would love it, but that the girls might be scared. Brayden was scared and wanted to leave pretty quickly. Sasha got scared a couple of times if she heard Brayden saying he didn't like it. But Brookleyn was fine and even went up to a couple of the dinosaurs and pretended to feed them. Brayden kept asking Dakota if dinosaurs eat meat and if we are made of meat. He knows enough to be scared. I have to admit, they were pretty realistic. One of them even spit water out and got me as I walked by. As I took a picture of one I actually thought, "I hope this thing doesn't come to life and attack me." So, I understood Brayden feeling that they were a little too real for him. We did get a chance to see all of them and put stamps in a book for each one of them, which they all liked. We then saw the lions, elephants, took the tram ride, had lunch, let the kids play in the water area (thanks for telling me to bring suits, Kim), let the kids each buy a stuffed animal, fed the lorikeets nectar, and watched the gorillas for awhile before the park closed and we went home. There weren't many people there today, which was great.

Brayden's baseball pictures with trophy

Open House Nights

Last week was really busy with school, swimming and Open House. Brayden had been playing baseball twice a week for several months. I was the team mom and had fun. I am very glad it is over though. It was hard to watch the games while watching the two little girls. Also, Bradyen started on a local swim team a couple of months ago and he has practice from 4:00-5:00 four days a week. His swim meets start this weekend. It sounds like a lot, but it is just the way baseball and swim teams work. He will probably be on both for years and they will over lap for several weeks. I did it years ago for my older kids too. I don't really know how long we will keep him playing baseball, but I want him to to be on a swim team for a long time because it is such great exercise. Brayden also plays on a basketball team on Sunday mornings. Again, it sounds like a lot, but Brayden has a ton of energy and either we bring him someplace where he plays on a team, we play some ball game with him at our house, or we bring him to a park. He needs to get out an move his body or he starts acting out. I have found that our lives and house are a lot calmer and happier if he is involved in physical activity most days of the week. None of my other kids have this need, but it works for him. I go out and shoot baskets with him pretty often, but our basketball hoop is in front of our house and it is hard to do it and have it enjoyable with the little girls. We don't have very many cars going past our house, but it's still stressful. The swim team has been great. Brayden started out only being able to swim about twenty yards and now he can swim the length of the pool and is learning to dive. He really likes it. Some days I just bring him and some days I bring the girls too. There is a baby pool right next to the one Brayden is in. Brookleyn and Sasha love it. Sasha doesn't really understand why she has to wear her swimsuit in the pool and tries to take it off every chance she gets. She took it off once a couple of days ago and said, "No, THANK YOU!" as she threw it several feet away.
We went to Open House for each of their classes last week. The first night was for Brayden's classroom. I had dropped the girls off at home so Ray and I could focus on him. It was a really nice Open House and he showed us pink level (phonetic language program), a insect naming game, the broad stairs work, his workbook, and an insect labeling work. Then we all went out to dinner befoer we went home. The next day I brought all three to the pool and didn't have time to drop Brayden off at home so I brought all three to Open House. First we went to Sasha's. SHe LOVED having us there. She kept a tight hold of my hand or an eye on me the entire time. If I moved an inch she jumped for me. But she chose several pieces of work to show us and definitely seemed to get that that was the idea. She got the cutest expression on her face when she first realized we would be staying and watching her work. It was a little proud and kind of embarrassed look. Brayden and Brookelyn chose work from the shelves and kept themselves occupied. After about a half hour, the teacher read a book and they sang a couple of songs and it was over. We then went to Brookelyn's room. Brookelyn chose apple cutting work, bead stringing work (she made herself a pink and purple bracelet), and tea party work. It was really nice to have them show us what they liked to do in their classrooms.
I forgot the camera the first night, but have pictures of Brookelyn and Sasha's classrooms.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Golf Tournament For Schools in Vietnam

I heard about an organization that holds golf tournaments every year to raise money to build or refurbish schools in Vietnam. I found out about it last Monday and called that afternoon to see if I could volunteer. I was at the golf course from 9:30 am until almost 6:00 pm. It was great. I helped set up at the front in the morning and then spent the rest of the time at hole 10 talking to the golfers as they got to the hole and offering them food and drinks. It is a beautiful golf course and it was a beautiful day. I had a really nice time, though I was pretty tired and sunscreened that night. They raised over $93,000 in one day! They called me up the very next morning to thank me for volunteering and then invited me to lunch on Friday. I had told them that I want to be as involved as I can in this because it is such a great cause. The man who started it is Vietnamese and most of the people who worked the fundraiser were Vietnamese. All of the money goes toward building the schools in very rural areas and sponsoring children so they can attend. This was only their third tournament and they already had four schools. One of the men is in charge of flying to Vietnam to make sure things are going well. I told them that a lot of people who have adopted children from Vietnam would love to hear about it and get involved. If anyone lives in Southern California, email me and I will let you know when and where the tournament will be next year. I plan on getting involved and doing much more next year and hopefully will golf as well. I am not good enough to golf now so maybe that will be my incentive.
This tournament was on Tuesday, Wednesday I worked on jog-a-thon stuff, Thursday was the jog-a-thon, Friday I had lunch with the people from the golf tournament, and Saturday I was more tired than I think I have ever been. Because besides all of that stuff I still had to bring Brayden to swim team practice and his baseball games, shop, get dinners and lunches stuff. I love pretty much everything about being a mom besides getting up before 6:30 am, making lunches and dinner.

Hello Again!

I have been so busy doing some really great things. I spent a lot of time working on our school's annual jog-a-thon. I came up with the idea to have these jog-a-thons years ago while at my sister's girls jog-a-thon. This is now our fifth year. Unfortunately for me, I was basically the only one working it. I did have parents and staff help out with music, counting laps and giving the kids water, but I did the rest. I wrote a How To Run A Jog-A-Thon Manual several years ago with all of the letters to the parents and staff so it isn't hard at all. It is just really time consuming. We donated the money we raised to an organization that builds well in developing countries. It is a great organization and 100% of the donations goes toward building the wells. Outside donors pay for all of the administrative costs. All of the students from two years old to eighth grade collected sponsors, got t-shirts and ran. It was great! I had a really fun time. I love doing the jog-a-thon because we always give to a great cause and I get to be at the park with a megaphone and great music playing for hours. I had called our local paper and a reporter and photographer came and covered the story. It worked out really well. It looks like we will raise over $14,000! I tried to make sure the kids really understood what they were raising the money for. I showed them pictures of kids their age getting water from a very dirty pond, I walked from class to class with a pitcher of dirty water and explained how some people really had to drink water that looked like that, I held a drawing contest and the winner got their drawing put on the front of our jog-a-thon t-shirt, I brought a jerry can around and had the children pick it up to show them how hard it must be for children to carry it around full of water...I don't even know how many times I went into each classroom.
Another great thing is that all three of my little ones ran this year. The older kids run at a nearby park and the younger ones run at a playground at the school so I had to race over for a few minutes to watch them run. Sasha's teacher had her kids all practice running several times in the days ahead so they wouldn't be overwhelmed when they ran with all of their parents cheering them on. She even had them wear their t-shirts when they ran the day before so they would be okay with that. Smart woman. Brookelyn only wanted to run if Ray or I ran with her. It was easy for Brayden because it was his third jog-a-thon.