During the weekend of Jason’s graduation I spent some time taking pictures of the kids. Not much of a background story, just pictures of the kids playing in their gong-gong’s backyard.
Emelia and Caitlin on the swings. Caitlin was upset because she was waiting to be pushed.
Emelia in motion. She has no problem getting going and pumping her legs.
Another crop of some vegetables just about ready to pick. I think this is romaine lettuce. Picked very young the lettuce is tender and great for stir fry. You just need a lot to make a dish.
A crop of 莴苣 being raised for seed. We got to eat one of these, but this crop was being raised to collect seed.
Ivan taking a swing using James’ big red bat.
Jason looking fit and trim these days.
A shot of the flag in the bakyard.
By this point Ivan was being a little less cooperative and wanted both the basketball and the bat & ball.
Ivan showing off and yelling.
After not getting his way he looks a bit sad. He wants to play with somebody, but wasn’t able to when keeping the toys to himself.
Now, he is watching the James and Jason kicking balls around.
A wider angle shot of the background fun.
My crazy kids riding a “surf board” like swing. For obvious reasons we keep the others kids away from the swing set when somebody is on this swing. It would be devastating to get hit by this.
James in mid-kick.
Without these monsters we wouldn’t be parents. Thankfully, we have them and they’re great kids. Happy Father’s Day!
A few weeks ago we made the trip to Marist college to see Jason walk at the graduation. Most, if not all, of these students were in masters programs, but this was different than the main graduation that was take place the following day. Due to nasty, wet weather we were stuffed inside with many others to witness the ceremony.
Despite leaving early it took much longer to get onto campus and to the building. By the time we reached the building the ceremony had started. Somebody decided to start the ceremony before 6pm so it was a rush to get any seats, let alone good ones.Only if we moved up a few rows could we get any further from the action. Thankfully for me I had my tripod and a large zoom lens that I borrowed from a friend.
As you can see with this picture from my phone the building was huge and full of people. Just for perspective I included the lens in this shot, since I took this with my phone.
Dennis Murray speaking to everybody. He was one of a few people that spoke. I don’t recognize any of the others that got up to the podium.
Here is Jason going up with the rest of his classmates in the MBA program.
The big walk.
I put my camera to work trying to get any shot of Jason on stage. Here he is getting his diploma.
Here is a cropped version where you actually see Jason. Not bad considering the far distance at full zoom, on bleachers moving from people walking on them with no lens image stabilization. I just wish we could have seen Jason’s face better.
Amy was enjoying some personal time with Karina.
Dad was able to make it to the ceremony. I believe this was the first graduation ceremony he was able to attend. James and all the other kids had some nice goodie bags with stuff to keep them occupied during the long ceremony. Here is James putting together a crown.
Caitlin already had decorated and donned her crown. She’s doing what she can to keep busy.
I switch back from the huge zoom to my more manageable sized/normal zoom. With this lens you can again see the big crowds.
Jason’s down in the mix, on his way out. Finding him again after this took a long time. Trotting through the rain, wading through scores of people, all while trying not to get soaked in the rain and puddles.
There’s Jason! I found him in the crowd. Just needed a little cropping.
I finally found Jason and we headed back inside for some quick photos. Jason with Ivan quickly posing for me.
We were on the tail end of the crowd that made it inside.
An impromptu shot of Jason’s mom.
Jason, dad and Ivan.
Jason, mom, dad, Ivan and Karina.
Lastly we have Jason, Lily, Ivan and Karina.
It would have been nice to take pictures outside, but the weather wasn’t being cooperative. There were moments where it just drizzled, but even then we would have ended up under umbrellas.
Seeing Jason participate in the graduation ceremony was fun. I had hoped it would be a good experience for the kids, but even after explaining it to them I think the significance was long on them. They dealt with the whole deal quite well though.
It’s been raining off and on all day. Far from a terrible day, it’s making me feel lazy. Sue and I went to see Emelia’s Kindergarten celebration, where the class got a chance to share some songs that they sing in class regularly. We also got to see a video consisting of pictures and short clips showing what the kids have been up to all year long. The staff we anticipating plenty of tears with copious amounts of tissues at the ready. Most people enjoyed the celebration, while others made a big deal out of it by bringing in balloons and flowers for their child. I will have to post some of the pictures I took of the kids.
The celebration ended by 11:30 and most kids ended up going home with the parents. We were not planning to take Emelia home because we were going back to work. We didn’t take the time off because it seemed odd to take the kids home so soon after getting to school. Unfortunately, we discovered all but three kids, including Emelia, were the only ones staying at school. So, we relented and took her home. Fortunately for me my supervisor is very nice and was able to give me the rest of the day off.
We got some lunch and ate together. Emelia was eager to watch a little TV so she watched a couple of episodes of The Magic Schoolbus. She is in love with the books so watching the show is something she enjoys. Afterwards we decided to work on her memory box. Emelia got a really nice memory box kit that she has wanted to work on. She hasn’t completed it and I’m encouraging her to take her time and do a good job. It’s pretty detailed for a kids box and her painting up until now has bee limited to slathering paint onto big sheets of paper. Working on intricate details on a small memory box is far different.
Last weekend I took Caitlin to Home Depot for the kids workshop. We got there at 9am and I was disappointed to see that nobody else was there. Only the two of us were there and Caitlin got a lot of special treatment and attention. We put together a small, wooden lawnmower pencil holder. It’s pretty simple to assemble, which I helped her with the best I could. Hammering hard wood together with nails is not easy for a four year old, but she was able to hammer on the wheels and put together the glued parts. She painted it with pink and purple paint. She had such a good time we decided to switch kids and I took Emelia to build her own lawnmower. I was not disappointed. The workshop was hopping by that point. Emelia did a great job hammering away, gluing pieces and painting.
This weekend we plan to do something similar at Lowes. So far I’m not in love with their methods. You have to preregister online and have to sign up specifically for a class, and have to bring in a copy of your registration. I really hope it is worth it. The Home Depot kids workshop was much more relaxed and welcoming. We’ll see how the Lowe’s workshop goes.
That’s all for now. Enjoy your wet day. I’m ready for a nap.
Tonight we attended a “luau” at the girls’ daycare. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I think it was a good success. We were able to invite Amy, Mike, James and Olivia to join us in the fun. It all started at 5pm and our girls were one of the first outside playing. I’m not sure I would name this event a luau. The only luau related part is that the kids all each got a plastic lei to wear and take home. Other than that it was basically a get together.
The “luau” consisted of grilled burgers and dogs, along with sides that the parent’s brought in. There were salads, pasta salads and rice salads as well as crackers and finger foods. We brought in a large assortment of fruits, which was devoured in no time.
First up for the girls was the bouncy house. The kid running the bouncy house allowed about five kids in it at a time. Here are the girls waiting for their turn. Caitlin is showing off her big sister.
After “getting her sillies out” (Caitlin’s own words), she showed off a bit posing for daddy.
We headed off to the table where the kids could interact with a variety of bunnies. Here is Caitlin petting a standard breed rabbit of about 12 weeks. He was soft to the touch and well mannered.
One of the other kids joined Caitlin. She wasn’t listening very well and was being pretty nasty to her mother. The woman holding the rabbit told her that she had to be nice to her mother before she was allowed to pet the bunny. It needed to be said.
After checking out the bunnies for the first time we got in line for the pony rides. Caitlin hasn’t ever been on a pony or horse, but she was eager to get a ride tonight. Without hesitation she donned her helmet and waited in line.
Emelia has been on a pony before, but was also very excited to take a ride.
Caitlin was very proud to tell the man running the pony ride about her big sister. She was in rare form tonight, but it was delightful to witness.
Caitlin looked right at home and was completely without fear on the pony. She was awfully photogenic tonight. I love the smiles.
Emelia enjoyed the ride. It was very well run compared to other pony rides we’ve experienced in the past. The animals were well cared for and the ride was long enough to be fun for the kids. No walking in circles for the kids.
Sue waited patiently while we waited for Emelia to finish her ride.
Emelia looking 10 feet tall on the big horse.
Next up was food. We chowed on some tasty burgers and hot dogs, along with some nearly tasteless salads. I won’t complain though. It was a meal we didn’t have to cook and the burgers were good enough to make up for the tasteless salads.
Not wasting any time after eating the kids headed over to get their share of the cotton candy. Thankfully, the girl working the machine was making the portions sensibly small.
James and Emelia hanging out on a small see-saw.
A quick show of Amy after eating her fill of chow.
Caitlin was busy eating her cotton candy while climbing on the toys and going down the slide.
Emelia with one of her younger friends. She goes to the same dance studio as Emelia and Caitlin.
The kids enjoyed the horses so much that we went back for many more rides. Caitlin really had fun on each ride.
I really enjoyed this shot. She looked very photogenic and happy as can be.
James got a chance to ride on the horses as well. He got to ride on the larger of the two.
Emelia continued to enjoy herself.
Olivia was willing to take a ride. This was her first ride and like the others she really enjoyed herself.
We headed back to the bunny table for some more petting. The girls got a chance to have the bunnies on their lap for a bit of one-on-one time. Nothing says happy like a smile on a kids face.
The woman running the bunny station insisted on swapping out the white bunny for a darker color one so that it showed up better in the photos. The black furred bunny was a bit too energetic to stay still long.
The black bunny was swapped out for Peanut Butter, the big, standard bunny. He was much bigger than the others, but very calm.
Olivia got a chance to hold the white bunny, named Snowball, on her lap.
Emelia took very well to the bunnies. Both girls haven’t spent much time with any animals or pets, but they spent plenty of time with these rabbits and we didn’t have to coax them at all.
Of course we went back for more pony rides. Amy was there to watch the kids take their rides.
After many rides Caitlin is still nothing but smiles. I think she could have ridden the horses all night.
Olivia also continued to take rides.
As well as Emelia.
After another round of rides Caitlin spent some time with the other kids (goats). I was shocked by her eagerness to spend time with the animals. This time last year she would have kept a distance from them. This year she asked to go in and spend time with them. She was absolutely fearless. The big kid in their with her was very nervous.
Before we left the luau we spent some more time with the rabbits. Emelia got another chance to hold Snowball. We and other parents spent time talking to the handler about the bunnies. This went on for about 10 minutes, all the while Emelia calmly petted Snowball. She really took to the bunnies.
Peanut Butter spent some time on top of the cage (pooping on the other bunnies).
This oddity was taken out. I forget what breed this was, but I have to say it was not what I would call good looking. This is a breed that should have been left alone.
This is a rex rabbit. It was an amazingly soft, short haired rabbit. This one would make an amazing pet.
Thankfully, the kids finally had enough pony rides and enough time with the bunnies and were willing to head home. We slammed down some cookies and snacks, then headed out. Unlike other events the kids had more than enough to do and were able to spend copious amounts of time doing what they wanted. We spent most of the night with the horses and bunnies. Despite its popularity we only went to the bouncy house the one time. I look forward to the next “luau”.
We had a bit of a shock when we went to Chinese class today. Emelias teacher decided to move up the final exam to this week instead of next week. We were reviewing the material recently with Emelia and had planned to use the remaining week to finish reviewing the material.
I am pissed knowing that the teacher pulled this stunt. All other classes are having their final exams next week. Her response was that she could make it an open book exam. That would not work with this kind of exam. I find it needless to say that Emelia didn’t do too well. She has not seen the exam material in a while and didn’t get to review it.
There is nothing new planned for next week’s class and they only plan to return the exams, which is a waste since we already know her grade. We won’t bother going. It would just be a waste of our time. Emelia will be moving up to the next grade regardless of what the teacher says. We know she is ready. If she gives up crap we can ask why she is never on time for class (often 10 minutes late for class and parents usually teach the kids during that time).
- Posted by Shaun on May 12th, 2013 at 2:40 pm, filed in garden
Today was James’ first communion at his church. It was a great day for the event and I think it went well. James looked mature and held out during the whole event. I can’t say the same for the rest of the kids, but they (and we) all survived the day.
We all met up at Amy’s house for snacks and playing. I dragged James outside for a quick picture before he left for church. He wasn’t keen on smiling and looking at me with the sun shining behind me, but he made out well enough. All dressed up for the event, including a small, first communion pin.
We shuffled the rest of the family into the cars and made our way to the church. Mike got us a full row of seats close to the front, which afforded us a decent view. I was able to take pictures from James’ seat while he participated in the ceremony. Here he is walking towards the alter with another kid making her first communion. This was during the 5pm Saturday mass, which was much less crowded than the two masses that coming up on Sunday.
James carefully holding his candle as he passed by.
The father spoke to the kids and did a well enough job keeping their attention. I lost track of what was being said as I was interrupted often by my kids and spending time trying to get a few good shots of the kids. Here is James standing with the other kids.
Emelia and Caitlin made it through about 25 minutes of the mass before they couldn’t take it anymore. They were both restless and bored beyond belief. We finally took them to another area in the church “complex” where they could draw, play and make some noise. They made it through the rest of the ceremony by playing in this room.
Afterwards everybody was invited to a large, gathering room for small snacks, fruit and punch. We filled up with kids with some calories (it’s already past 6pm at this point) and took some pictures of the family and family members. Here is James with his sister and parents. The drawings beyond are some of the drawings that the kids made for this day.
Yet another picture of the boy of the day.
We took some nice family portraits outside the church. The sun was setting, but there was still some good ambient light around.
I was able to get Olivia and James to smile by being silly, which led to a full family of true smiles.
James was tired of being paraded around at this point and isn’t too good showing off any forced smiles. So, I told him to relax and not try to smile anymore. It worked like charm. These are our two favorite pictures of him. He looks very mature now.
Emelia and Caitlin insisted I take their pictures. They were just too energetic to stand still long enough to get any good ones. They were happy to be outside.
Emelia showing off her strength. Emelia currently weighs in at 47 pounds, but Caitlin is already 37 pounds. Emelia has no issue picking up her sister even when their weights are so close.
I accidentally changed the exposure settings (with my nose!), so this picture came out underexposed. It is still a nice shot.
Funny enough I raised the exposure because I thought the previous photos were too dark. I didn’t realize it at the time that I was the problem. So, this is overexposed. I’m still learning my new camera, but I think this came out decent, albeit overexposed.
Ivan joined in the fun and was playing with Emelia and Caitlin. Emelia was able to grab him to pose for a picture.
Emelia was being really silly. She wasn’t actually hitting Ivan, but she made it look like she was going to bop him on the head. I love the playfulness in this shot.
Before heading out I was able to get James to take a nice picture with his grandparents.
And, for the last shot of the day we have Jason, Lily, Ivan and Karina.
After heading back to the house from church the family got ready to head out for dinner. Unfortunately, Caitlin was showing signs of a sick stomach. She was gagging and had other symptoms. We decided it was best to not join the rest of the family and not end up with a rowdy, sickly feeling kid. So, we missed out on dinner with the family, but we got a chance to celebrate with James.
- Posted by Shaun on May 4th, 2013 at 2:31 pm, filed in House
Last evening turned out pretty nice. Handmade burgers on the grill, local hotdogs cooking and first corn of the season ready to eat. A tasty Friday meal washed down with a Magic Hat Wooly.
The grass hasn’t germinated yet but I am hopeful it comes out soon. I discovered some nasty crap buried in the backyard where the grass wasn’t growing. My house’s previous owner is full of surprises. He buried what looks like OSB and Masonite pegboard. Many years later all that is left are the binding glues. It ruined part of the yard. I had to hand shovel out all that stuff so I can put in new topsoil and sow more grass.
The garden is coming along well. I am mulching with old leaves but I didn’t keep enough from fall to mulch all of the beds. It will have to do. Time to enjoy a beautiful Saturday. Hope yours is just as wonderful!