Sunday, March 20, 2011

Snow Sledding Fail

One of the great things about Southern California is that we have access to both the beach and the mountains. It is possible to surf and ski on the same day. Of course, we don't surf or ski, but we do like sledding.

Last Year
Last year, on February 14, we headed up to Mt. Baldy, which is about an hour and a half drive from our house. The traffic up the mountain was pretty bad since there was both snow and some sort of traffic accident. It took so long that the boys fell asleep in the car on the way there. They conked out as we started the ascent up the mountain. Thin air, I guess.

Once we finally got there, the boys were in a good mood and had fun sledding. Well, Will immensely enjoyed the sledding. However, Alex could not be persuaded to play. We took him on a couple of runs, but he really wasn't into it.

Bundled Will Enjoying Sledding

This Year

This year, we waited until March 19. It had snowed two weeks prior and rain was in our local forecast, so I thought that there would be snow. However, were mostly rocks on the mountain, nearly covered with snow.

A tiny bit of Snow

We built a tiny, very dirty, snowman.

Will's New Catch Phrase, "That was not fun!"

Alternative Sledding
Fortunately, as we live in temperate weather, many of the schools host a Snow Day, our school being one of these.

Alex Dominating the Playground Snowball Fight

The Biggest Snowball!

Will Loving the Sled Run

Next year we plan to head up earlier. Or at least better track the snow availability. Mt. Baldy is a great location, it costs $5 to get an Adventure Pass allowing you to park on the side of the road. There is a nice, open space about 1,000 feet downhill of the ski area parking lot. Lots of long, gradual slopes, perfect for the little ones. And, as they get bigger, there are other slopes available right around there. You just need to wait until the rocks get covered by more than half an inch of snow.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

First Day of "Kindergarten"

At the beginning of January, Will made the transition from his pre-school level class to the next level. It's sort of like Kindergarten. The 12 kids in his class are focusing on improving their handwriting and letter formation so that they will be ready for cursive. They write sentences in their journals. They add and subtract numbers. They improve their reading skills. So, even though the names of the classes at our school are atypical, I declare Will's first day of Kindergarten to be January 3, 2011.

Here are the boys being goofy at home. Will is dressed in his school uniform, a school logo shirt and dress pants. He even has a PE class uniform of sweats and school tshirt.

And here is the fantastic, artfully posed picture of Will going into his school on his first day...
Alex also got to move up from the Toddler level to the class that Will had just vacated. So while some of Will's friends didn't move up, they had Alex to take his place, making the transition just a little smoother. :) Alex is currently working on writing words, since it is easier to create something than it is to interpret an unknown (reading). He also enjoys writing his name, although because there is another Alex in his class, he believes his name is "Alex K," not just "Alex." His academic focus is on beginning word sounds. His developmental focus is on 'using his words' when he gets mad. He is doing ok with these objectives. He also seems to think that he is too old to nap at school, so ends up in bed early in the evening most days.

Both boys love their classes and have great friends. They love the music class, art work, and Spanish curriculum. And soon it will be warm enough to do swimming.

Congratulations to both boys on their advancement in education. Now if I could only convince Will that he needs to go to college when he grows up instead of his plan to "Be an artist and live at home," we will be good.
Happy Birthday to Alex!

Four posts in all of 2010 to the blog?! That is crazy. I must remedy this by posting about many things. I will post a bunch of stuff, then go back and make edits as necessary. To start, since I don't think I have actually posted about Alex's birthday individually, here is the Happy Birthday post...

Happy 3rd Birthday, Alex!

Turtle Cake!

Months and months ago, Alex declared that he wanted his 3 birthday to be a turtle birthday party with a turtle cake. I didn't think this was a big deal, turtles sound simple, right? But, oddly, there aren't a lot of turtle birthday party supplies out there. Sure, you can go with a general ocean theme, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (where to even start explaining that one?) The bakery that we got Will's Blue's Clue cake from didn't really even have any turtle designs. Of course, I was actually relieved to hear this given that Will's special and delicious cake cost a fortune.

So how did the above Turtle Cake come to exist? It took shopping at two different places, Toys R Us for the turtle and Costco for the cake. For under $20 total, enough cake to feed a bunch of people and a turtle to make Alex happy.

Turtle Party Bags!
We managed to assemble some Party Bags full of turtle goodies. We make it a habit to purchase our party bag supplies from Oriental Trading as they have fun activities at bulk prices. The bags themselves? We have tried Oriental Trading and Party City in the past, but the best deal is to buy either white or colored paper lunch bags from Target. They are super cheap and don't suffer from defects like the others seem to. Probably because they have to hold up to carrying a lunch for a kid. Add in a roll of stickers from Oriental Trading and you have nifty party bags. What kind of turtle goodies? Mostly art activities. While it is easy to fill the bags with candy, as a parent, I really appreciate it when there isn't candy in a party bag.

Turtle Activities!
We only had one turtle activity which was a turtle craft where you use stickers as a mosaic to decorate a picture of a turtle shell. So far, at the age the kids are currently, they don't need organized activities. Sure, we had the trains out and the toy cars with the rug that has roads on it, but we were depending on the novelty of the merry-go-round and the fact that kids can make their own fun. Then, a couple of weeks before the party, the merry-go-round met its demise after 2 and a half years of happy spinning. So we got a bouncy house.

A bouncy house!?
I am anti-bouncy house. Not that I have anything against them in terms of kids using them and having fun. Rather, that they are a big to-do and they are part of the cause of kids' inflated expectations of birthday parties.
This inflated expectation of birthday parties leads to kids thinking that they need a bouncy house, a person dressed up as a super hero or princess, an ice cream truck, a balloon artist, a pony, a petting zoo, or other crazy stuff in order to have fun with their friends. So I told myself that I would never get a bouncy house for a party. But, we ended up with a bouncy house. It was the perfect size for the party, we got to borrow it from friends, and the kids loved it.

All in all, Alex's birthday party was quite successful. Except for the part where I don't have very many pictures of it. Poor second child!

So, here is a picture from around the time of his birthday party to document his appearance as a three year old. :)