Friday, July 4, 2014

June Highlights: Beach, Birthday, Books, Boats, Bears, and Bugs

As you can see by the title, this post is brought to you by the letter B! June has been busy. Misha finished up second grade and enjoyed all the end-of-the-year fun involved. He has been reading a lot and doing projects, as usual, and Josh and I have come up with lots of extra projects to keep him busy. Sebby still goes to preschool in the summer, which entails going on fun field trips, like to the orchard, the Moody Gardens aquarium, plays and parks galore.

Shortly before the last day of school, we had a beach day at Galveston. Sun, sand, watermelon, brownies, and warm salty waves:

This vest has been great for Sebby in the water. He is starting to learn to swim, but he's not quite as capable as he thinks he is.

Misha brought home all his masterpieces! I especially loved his art projects and his compositions from writing class. Here he is with his clay fish he made for Father's Day. (Everyone knows art class clay days in school are the best!)

And these are his precious writings. I love these. The one below was written recently, called "My Trip to the Mountains," based on the two trips we did to the mountain villages of Kyrgyzstan, one each summer. The funniest part for me is: "We had to drive for 7 hours! I wish it wasn't so long. My brother fell asleep, but i stayed awake. I had to sit in the trunk with my dad." If you remember from last summer, it is true that we took turns riding in the very back. (But we actually drove for 12 hours.) He drew beautiful pictures as well!

I also love his slightly-embellished recounting of our adventures in the Egyptian pyramids. This was was written toward the beginning of the year, and you can see that he made considerable progress since then.

Since Misha's class made presents and poems for Mother's Day in May, they did the same for Father's second-to-last day of school, they got to read their poems to their fathers at school.

Meanwhile, Sebby has been learning lots at preschool as well. One day, we had to create a boat to take to school for a floating experiment. I made two little boats out of plastic coffee mix containers, which kept Misha and Sebby occupied for hours.

They have also been playing lots of chess. One day not long ago, Josh and I realized that Sebby knew how all the pieces moved and he was giving Misha a run for his game. Neither Josh nor I had taught Sebby the specifics - he had picked it all up from Misha. Playing each other is great practice for them. We have finally taught Sebby that the game is called "Chess," despite his long-time habit of calling it "Chest."

Misha's Superhero Growl is still around, along with his sidekick bear Grr, for whom I recently made his own costume.

Dr. Seuss and Easy Readers are great for Sebby's reading.

I made him this Fish Pond game, in which all the fish in the pond have a phrase or short sentence on the back. If you catch a fish, you can only keep it if you can read it. Sebby loves this game, so it's a great way to reinforce reading.

Though the weather is hot and muggy, staying inside is not possible for long. Off to the park for a jumping-out-of-swings competition!

We have also been admiring the lizards and bugs that abound in this tropical weather. Lately, we have been fascinated by the variety of spiders around here. The one below was in our bathroom, wrapping up a HUGE feast for itself.

These next amazing spiders are called Spiny-Backed Orb-Weavers, and they look as mythical as they sound. Check them out - they come in yellow and red varieties!

Sleeping in their tent makes nights fun.

The biggest event in June was, of course, Sebby's fifth birthday. Inspired by Tanya's vibrant, pink, fluffy ant pinata for Nara, I decided that I could totally pull off a frog for Sebby. We wrapped the balloon in two layers of newspaper to make sure it would withstand the beating. Then, the night before the party, I found myself not only making (and frosting) three boxes of cupcakes (half for school, half for home), but also stuffing, creating limbs for, and crepe-papering the pinata. Why was I diligently layering bi-colored, fringed paper on a frog that would only be demolished the next day? Because of that sister of mine.

At least it turned out pretty cute.

Bug cupcakes for preschool.
 Onto the big day!
Ashley's goodie bags!

Bday hugs from uncle and aunt.

Hot dogs and brats, all around!

Let the water games begin! Hot potato!

Target practice with Bud and Josh.

Over and under, pass the water balloon!

Let the war begin...

Sophia is not holding back.

Bring out the water guns!

The Brothers' revenge

Sebby on the offensive

Time for the pinata! First, it hangs so peacefully in the breeze from the water...

Sebby, first blindfolded (or hatted)


Misha like a samurai warrior, using his wooden sword from Ushu.

Sebby, round two. No hat this time.


Misha, like Peter Pan

OK, let's get that candy out already. That proved to be one tough pinata.

Onto the cupcakes!

Next day skyping with Grandma and Grandpa and opening more presents!

Of his new Spiderman shirt from Trisha, he said with disappointment before he put it on, "But it doesn't have a head."

Playing with circuits in a cute set we got for Sebby.

We have been enjoying the fruits and veggies and flowers and torrential rains, as well. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries inspire me to make muffins and crisps. Our garden has even produced a small amount of vegetables, to the boys' extreme satisfaction.

Lilies in the butterfly park

A post-pouring-rain walk around the block.

Sebby has a morning conversation with his toys outside before school.

Misha's own version of Morse Code, which he made for their walkie talkies.

Fruits of the season call for strawberry-blueberry muffins!

And blueberry scones.

Sebby rocking his preschool field trip shirt, which they wear on every outing, and his shades from a birthday party he attended.

One of Sebby's field trips, as I mentioned, was a trip to an orchard where they picked veggies. He came home bursting with excitement and he pulled he vegetables out one by one, saying, "This is a bay leaf! It can make a whole pot of spaghetti! This is a white squash, this is a plum..." (it was an eggplant). He also produced a pepper and a cucumber.

Our own garden sprouted tiny cucumbers, which we watched with hope, until one day we discovered the monster cucumber which had obviously been sucking up all the energy for itself. The boys were curious enough to eat a slice, as well as make "cucumber water" to drink. I also let them pull up a few carrots, to see how they're doing, and they were overjoyed to see that there were real carrots under those fluffy tops. Upon tasting them, they assured me that they "tasted like real carrots" too.

The Slip 'n' Slide from Bud and Ashley provides some solace from the heat. Last weekend, the boys lured Daddy outside and then squirted him until his clothes were completely soaked!