Saturday, June 17, 2017

Last Day of School 2017

Yesterday, the kids bid adieu to 1st and 3rd grade.

They'd been counting down to it for the past two weeks with great anticipation. This week was filled with "wrapping it up" activities, including cleaning out their desks at school, bringing home piles of art projects and graded homework, field day, field trips, and a board game party (for Annika's class).

As soon as the last bell rang, the kids came flooding out... and that is when the reality of change hit Conor and he decided he wasn't quite ready for 1st grade to end. The proclaimed that he would really like to have another week or two of school. We talked about how change can be a bit unsettling and that's OK. We also talked up 2nd grade and how much Annika liked having her as a teacher. He seemed a bit more at ease, but also might have just been humoring his crazy old parents.

After school, we zipped home to reveal the surprise we had in store: a family outing to the newly-released Captain Underpants movie followed by lunch at Five Guys. The kids were beyond thrilled!! Not a bad way to start their summer vacation, if you ask them. :)

As I write this post, I can't help but be a bit amazed by how much the kids changed over the school year. Annika has grown almost 3 inches in height and is very close to her goal of growing out her bangs. Conor started out 1st grade without his two front teeth and is now about 2 inches taller than when he started the school year.




Conor's Year-end Interview
My favorite thing to play is: Hula-hoop tag
My favorite color is: Chartreuse
My favorite book: The Book with No Pictures
My favorite TV show: Pokemon XYZ
My favorite food: Suckers
When I grow up, I want to: Be a famous soccer player
My favorite thing about 1st grade was: Getting to play Ga-Ga Ball
Something cool I learned this year was: How to tell time
Something I want to learn in 2nd grade is: Multiplication
Something I want to do over the summer is: Go to the Dollar Store

Annika's Year-end Interview
My favorite thing to play is: Kitties
My favorite color is: A glowing red pink
My favorite book: Captain Underpants
My favorite TV show: How to Train Your Dragon
My favorite food: Swedish Meatballs
When I grow up, I want to: Take a vacation to Hawaii
My favorite thing about 3rd grade was: Having a very nice teacher
Something cool I learned this year was: That a right angle is a point of a square or rectangle
Something I want to learn in 4th grade is: Grammar
Something I want to do over the summer is: Go to the pool

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cousin Frank's Wedding

Last month, my cousin Frank got remarried and we were invited to be part of the celebration. So, the morning of the wedding, we piled into the van and made the trek down to Portland.

Knowing that we'd be traveling on Memorial Day weekend, we were keen to avoid as much holiday traffic as possible, we we timed our time on I-5 very strategically. For the most part, we had an easy drive. We did encounter some slow downs in/around downtown Seattle (no surprise there) and near the bases south of Tacoma (again, no surprise). We got to our hotel in time to get settled and take a few breaths before changing into our wedding clothes and heading out to the church. It was rather hot that and we were quite grateful for the AC in the car... and later, the pool at the hotel.

The ceremony was sweet. My cousin basically cried the entire time. The priest was quite a character, and even brought Joy dish soap in to the mix. Troy did the readings, many of my cousins were in the wedding party (y'all clean up real good!), Troy/Staci helped performed the lasso portion of the wedding, and I was the Eucharistic minister. WHEW! I'm pretty sure Eric and Conor were most excited when I suggested they avoid wearing their blazers because of the heat. (Yeah, increasing my chances for winning wife/mom of the year right there!) :)

The reception was held at the Elks Club that very kindly had AC. A few of us (me included) were plagued by sore feet, but at least no one had to melt in the heat. (My van's display registered 102F when we left the church!!!) We were asked to offer marriage advice to the newlyweds, which we all did ... including our kids (see below). The band was quite good and many a twirl, boogie, and twist was performed over the course of the evening. At one point, I tried to get my cousin Ron's little girl (4) to dance with Conor, to which she replied, "EW! I don't dance with BOYS!" (Oh how she'll change her mind on that in another 10 years of so!)

I had a great time catching up with my extended family members, many of whom I haven't seen in years. The kids had fun meeting new (to them) cousins and dancing until they were exhausted. Annika and Conor were most tickled, however, when my Aunt Marie gave them $2 bills. Who carries those around with them?!?!?! Our kids didn't even realize $2 bills existed until she handed them to the kids.

After the reception, we make the short trek back to the hotel. The kids and I hopped into the pool while Eric lounged by the side of the pool. Eventually, we hit our pruny fingers and toes limit and headed back to our room, only to be invited by Troy/Staci to come over to their room for pizza (Bonus!!). We quickly changed into dry clothes and had a little post-reception reception. We recounted funny stories and shared memories from the day and our previous excursion to visit this side of the family during our childhood years. We fondly told stories about visiting our grandma "back in the day" and (perhaps) made her a bit of a known entity for our kids, who never had the chance to know her.

We practically fell into bed that night, to say the least! Lots of fun, but so tired. :)

Marriage blessing

The Olson Four

Conor loved the wedding bells

Conor's marriage advise (pt 1)

Conor's marriage advice (pt 2)
Aunt Marie and me

Annika escorting Aunt Marie back to her table

My cousin Terri, Annika, and me

Uncle Jim (also my godfather) and me

Terri and me

Doesn't Conor look THRILLED to be surrounded by us gals??

My little cousin Tonya is so darned lovable!

Conor showing off his dance moves

The men of the family

Staci is the BEST photobomber EVER

Troy, Annika, and me

My cousin Terri, her husband John, and me

Monday, June 12, 2017

Annika's Perserverance

More than once, Annika has mentioned feeling nervous as we approached the local pool for her diving class. I knew the inward dive was in her head, so we talked about it a bit and I encouraged her to find other dives that she could work on until her confidence rebounded.

The reason for her apprehension was rooted in another diver (her age) banging her face on the diving board while performing an inward dive. No one could possibly blame her for being skittish around the inward dive! (Personally, I hate watching her do them because it looks like she'll whack her head every time ... 'tis the nature of the dive, I guess.)

I didn't realize until yesterday that it wasn't only the inward dive that was in her head. It was flips, too. I think when that other little girl got hurt, it made Annika realize that diving includes some element of personal risk. She could get hurt, especially if the other girl (who is a very talented and driven diver) could get hurt.

Yesterday, Annika did her forward dives beautifully and without hesitation. When her coach instructed her to try the forward flip, she walked down the diving board and balked a number of times, and even lost her balance and plopped into the pool. On her next attempt, I could see her talking to herself as she walked down the board ... a self pep talk, was my guess. Eventually, she decided it was a good opportunity to give the flip another try and did it! The smile on her face after that initial flip was priceless and I couldn't help but clap for her, as did her coach.

From then on, she flipped without reservation or hesitation. So proud of her!!