Monday, May 25, 2009

school days, school plays

Last week was mighty exciting at Erin's school. One weeknight was open house for the whole school, so after dinner we all came to her class together to have her give us a tour of the latest projects. Erin had a worksheet on a clipboard with different items to be sure to point out to us, and she took that job very seriously, and checked off each item in turn.

Open house lasted an hour and I couldn't imagine that we'd need to be there that long. We arrived about 10 minutes late and we actually were kept very busy for the entire remaining time. Erin has had a productive year! I'm always amazed by the creativity in so many of her assignments, meaning, the creativity on the part of the teachers to come up with this stuff, and Erin's creativity as well. There were many more poems she'd written that I saw for the first time that night, and some wonderful artwork and story writing too.

Meanwhile, Kate and Allison noticed a friend from their preschool, the younger sibling of one of Erin's classmates, so the three of them played together for most of the time.

Erin took time to pose with her teacher, and with two of her buddies, Elvis and Brandon.

Erin always talks about Elvis and his twin brother Conner and they've been friends and classmates for two years now. I hope they are in the same village next year so they can continue to hang out together often.

Two nights later was Erin's village's spring play performance. She played a butterfly in "Rumpus in the Rainforest", a story about some frogs who lived on the rainforest floor and wanted to reach the forest canopy in order to see open sky and bask in the sunlight for the first time.

They encounter and ask for assistance from a number of other animals along their quest. The butterflies (and bats) are not some of the animals who talk with the frogs about their dilemma, but they do lead the theme song about midway through the play, and again at the end.

Parents were invited to come to school during the day and watch the dress rehearsal if we wanted, which was especially recommended if we planned on videotaping the show. Otherwise, during the evening performance, there are too many parents with too many video cameras jockeying for position in the back of the auditorium. So I took Kate and Allison and we watched the rehearsal, video camera in hand, with an audience comprised of students from several of the other classrooms.

I don't know what's up with this video. On my software it looks normal, as soon as I edit it to just the content with Erin's song, it becomes the land of short, fat people. I don't get it, an I can't seem to fix it.

Erin was very proud of her play, and I thought it was really clever, and funny.

when in doubt, try a butt joke

Last weekend the girls and I attended a birthday party for my brother's wife's sister's daughter. I can imagine the look on your faces--it's the same look my coworkers gave me on monday when they asked me what my kids were up to over the weekend. It does sound strange when I spell out our relationship to the birthday girl, though it doesn't really seem strange to me otherwise. Our family sees their family now and again for the past 3 years or so, though it's been a while since the kids have seen each other.
Questions from my girls, as we were shopping for her present:
"WHOSE party is this?"
"Have we been to her house before?"
"Was I there?"

It feels strange to have to sell your kid on a party, "Yes, you like Kiana, she's nice, you had a lot of fun together!" Kate is especially good at giving me the "I ain't buying any of this. I bet you really plan to take us to take us to get shots or something" look.

Erin quizzed me more in the car:
"How many times have I been to their house?"
"When is the last time I was there?"
"Has she come to our house?"
"What are her parents' names?"

When we arrived at the house and my brother and his little dog greeted us at the door they finally saw that this WAS going to be fun after all.

Outside, my brother got the bounce house going, which ended up being one of the most entertaining features of the day, I thought.

The generators outside would keep the fans going and the house inflated for a while, but, overloaded by the home's air conditioning etc., the circuit breaker kept flipping off and as soon as the fans would stop the bounce house started caving in immediately. The kids all laughted and screamed at the top of their lungs and they pushed at it and each other in order to make it to the exit, while parents tried to hold of the structure as much as they could and yelled, "Everyone get out! Get out now! Hurry up!" After less than a minute, it was flat again.

My brother and Kiana's father spent most of the party experimenting with alternative places to keep the thing plugged in while turning off various other things in the house and pool in order to create a balance that would work. And so the cycle repeated: bounce, fun, laugh...scream, run, collapse.

While Brad worked on the ongoing electrical difficulties, and with all the kids getting bored with the on again/off again bounce house and complaining about how hot it was, Kiana's dad got out the garden hose and started spraying everyone. This was far easier and more popular than the bounce house ever was.

Other kids sat in the shade and splashed their feet in the pool.

Then a magician came to entertain the kids in the house. He asked for a few assistants to help him in the show and Erin volunteered.

He did the trick with her where he pulled silver dollars out from behind her ears and from her hair and under her arms and so forth, and each time he'd drop the coins in his metal can for a loud clink which was met with modest approval. But, as a truly experienced entertainer of elementary school-aged kids, he had her turn around and he held his canister at her backside and "found" coins in her bottom, which riveted the canister with a series of loud plinks and plops. This, of course, was met with the most overwhelmingly enthusiastic laughter and applause possible.

Friday, May 15, 2009

gallery opening

Among countless art projects over the past two years, Erin has done some nice paintings at school. Three of them were done on textured canvas board and getting them framed has been on my to-do list for a long, long time. Finally this week I mentioned to Erin that I was going to get frames for her paintings and hang them up and she seemed surprised.
"I don't want you to hang them up in my room!" she said. I didn't ask her reason since I really like them all and wanted them someplace that we could all view them regularly. I had a big empty wall in the hallway in mind.
"Okay, whatever you say."

I didn't date any of these, but I know this sailboat is the oldest of the three and was done more than a year ago, about mid-way through her kindergarten year:

Next is this one, done just before last year's summer break:

And this is from a few months ago:

And so here is Erin's finished gallery for now:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the sweater

Story and photo compliments of John:

While Erin was busy with her team at softball practice, Kate and Allison were drawing with sidewalk chalk on the nearby pavement. Kate laid down a sweater she brought with her, traced it, picked it up, colored the tracing in, then she laid down on her chalk sweater it to see if it "fit" her.