Sunday, September 4, 2016

Summer Begins

The end of the school year came around quite quickly. When you're a kid, what's better than summer vacation?

Sebby's end-of-the-year field day (outdoor games).

Misha and Melvin were partners for their school store activity, where they sold homemade mazes.

Our apartment pool opened!

Misha wrote this fantastic spider poem for school.

We celebrated Father's Day in style - with meatloaf!

And then celebrated Sebby's 7th birthday with bday brownies.

Presents! We also have been meaning to take him to a waterpark, which is what he wanted most for his birthday, but it just hasn't happened yet. Rain, people being sick, work - everything just gets in the way!

And Misha got to go to Robo Camp this year, something he's been thinking about since second grade. He got to work with a small team to build and program robots using the VEX IQ sets provided by the camp. Then they used these robots to compete against each other.

We practiced more music, and when the Houston Symphony happened to be giving its annual free concert, we didn't let that pass us by! It was amazing to see a full symphony - with great seats - and enjoy pieces from Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park, and more.

Sebby reminds me of  Calvin in this pool picture, swimming in the fountain.

Speaking of Calvin, Sebby loves to read Calvin and Hobbes now too, or have Misha read to him.

We also headed down to Galveston one day to see a play, the musical "Catch Me If You Can."

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Spring Projects and Hobbies

We just seem to keep adding hobbies to those that we already have, resulting in a lot of things that we have started exploring but by no means have become proficient in. Carving is one of those things. I became interested in wood carving recently (and bought pocket knives online), but realizing that wood is a rather hard substance, I decided it would be wise to first carve some softer materials. Ivory soap is extremely soft - so we bought ourselves a few bars and used wooden and plastic tools to scrape away. Sebby worked on a snowman, while Misha and I made turtles! Lots of fun.

We then moved on to carrots. Misha made a bear, I made a bunny, and Sebby made an edible spoon - which he used to eat his soup before eating the utensil itself. Smart!

Real wood, as I mentioned, proved quite challenging. We watched lots of youtube videos (Sebby still makes sure everyone is aware of the "Triangle of Death") and made ourselves thumb guards from masking tape. After Misha's birthday - when Grandpa spoiled the boys with complete sets of metal carving tools, filers, thumb protectors, and a book - we had considerably more to work with.

I managed to make a small spoon. We have other works-in-progress that are slightly beyond our current capabilities, including a wooden chain - and that will take some time! Now that the weather is getting bearable outside again, I'm looking forward to returning to this hobby.

Misha with his birthday book from Grandpa.

Starting off on the wooden chain!

My "eyeball in relief" experiment.

We also love to make critters out of polymer clay. Misha has been designing some of his own D&D games, so he makes wonderful creatures for his quests.

This is Sebby's bear, armed with a bow.

Sebby works diligently on his tree-house...


Misha made a really nice orc king and tarantula.

This little hobgoblin is mine.

Time for some of Misha's adventure games! Watch out for that tarantula.

Easter! The boys recreated our favorite commercial. (Specifically: "My butt hurts." "What?")

We also tried some natural dye for coloring eggs, as I have become very anti-food coloring. We used strawberries, spinach, and orange/onion for our three colors.

Our eggs came out very pastel - but still pretty, and far less disturbing to eat.

Sewing projects too! I made the boys cute little bats. I can share my pattern if you're interested.

"Magic: the Gathering" is always a good choice for a game night.

The wizard at work.

Despite being super-complicated and rule-heavy, the Lewis and Clark game is much loved by Sebby.

The boys create interesting game concoctions using pieces and boards from various board games, which I love to see. Let's call this "Risk Plus."

More tent building fun!

In this tent, Sebby even created hangers for water bottles.

The tent builder kit also lends itself to other projects, such as this "circus hoop" the boys devised and took turns diving through onto the bed.

Misha loves to draw dragons.

This cute little hut is another prop for Misha's games.

The boys help me make our grocery lists.

Obviously, Sebby is a huge watermelon fan.

Nerf war!

Tree climbing and all that good stuff.

The boys have a unique way of both reaching the upper branches without adult help. It does work, given enough tries.

For Misha's 11th birthday, we decided to invite a few friends to a pottery place. Each kid got to choose a clay figurine and paint it. The center then fired the piece for later pick-up - and they came out beautifully! Everyone seemed to really enjoy the painting. Unfortunately, when it came to the chocolate zucchini cupcakes - which my boys love - the invitees were less than enthusiastic. Sigh.

Mish and Sebby's projects, fired to glossiness.

Bubble fun - with glycerin! It's supposed to make stronger bubbles with a layering effect.

Don't you hate it when that happens?

More grill outs.

And hula hooping. We bought a hula hoop for another birthday party we attended, and it was so fun that we bought another for ourselves.

Since there was no basketball hoop available, we played a sort of "basketball tennis."

Bow and arrow war - with a shield!

Glow in the dark arrows! These are wonderful.

Papier mache - outside is best.

The continual rains make for enjoyable sand projects at the park.

A bit of reading before school.

More cute school stuff:

Usually, Sebby gets nothing but excellent "daily behavior grades." However, one day he came home with this note, saying he was "singing during quiet time," which is why he didn't receive his smiley face. I found this rather amusing.

I love kindergarten writing. Pretty good!

He has also taken a liking to writing his full name on things, which is a feat. His "aligsandr" rendition of Alexander is impressive, I think!

Sebby's clay fish project from school.

Last but not least, we have purchased a violin - full-sized, and then seeing how huge it really was for the kids, we got a quarter-sized as well. The quarter-size is great for Misha but still on the cumbersome side for Sebby. Since a violin is so enjoyable and yet relatively cheap, we decided it was high time for our family to experiment with this instrument. Josh, Misha and I are learning by ear and youtube, just for the fun of it. Josh has been diligent in continuing the boys' piano lessons too, and they are getting to be quite the little musicians. :)

I love Sebby's little fingers on the keyboard.