Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grandma's 90th Birthday

In May, my grandma turned 90. My aunt and uncles decided that turning 90 was an important milestone, so they decided to throw her a big birthday party. With my dad and mom in Africa, and all their children living at least a 12 hour drive away, Grandma figured none of us would be able to attend. But my brothers and sisters decided to travel from Long Beach, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Utah to Lethbridge, Alberta to surprise her. I think you can see from her expression that we succeeded!
After a delicious lunch with many cousins I haven't seen in a while, we got to pose with the birthday girl.
Back row: Kirk, Tyler, Kevin and Drew
Front row: Shannon, Kendra, Grandma, Amy, Heidi

The party was lots of fun. My grandma and grandpa have lived in Lethbridge for many years and are very involved in church and the community. There were so many people who came to see my grandma and tell her how much they love her. Lots of people came up and told me mischevious stories about my dad when he was a kid.
After the party, we headed over to the cemetary to see grandpa's headstone.
Then we went to another FABULOUS Lethbridge hangout, Bridge Valley Golf. My grandpa and grandma own this small golf course. It was always fun to visit the golf course as a kid and hit balls on the driving range (trying to see who could also hit the tractor that collected the balls) and more important, get a free soda and candy from the snack shop. Grandpa always had a sweet tooth, and always made sure his grandkids were treated right! We got a few buckets of balls and had fun!
Tyler, making it look easy.

Kendra is stylish doing ANYTHING.
I took a few shots, having NO CLUE what I was doing.
She's still got it at 90!

More shots from the golf course:

Why Bridge Valley Golf got it's name.
(I lifted this picture from my brother, who is a much better photographer than I am.)

My grandma is an incredible woman. She has been such an incredible example of hard work while having fun, love and kindness. Love you grandma!

Monday, August 4, 2008

End of school fun

So...since it's AUGUST already, I guess it's about time to post about some of the end of school year activities the kids participated in. I can't believe how quickly summer is passing us by!

Allison's preschool put on an Easter/spring program. It's just an opportunity to let the kids dress up before spring break and sing a few songs, but it was cute.
Preschool is SUPPOSED to teach kids about sharing and getting along. This is Allison during the last week of school, fighting and pushing one of her classmates to be last in line. Money well spent...

Enjoying some of the playground equipment.
For some reason, kids "graduate" from preschool. Ceremony and all.
Allison getting her diploma from her teacher, Mrs. Hayes.
Here's the "graduate" eating her "diploma"...again, money well spent.
Allison and her classmates.

Sarah's class put on a play based on the story of "The Great Kapok Tree." She was very excited about it, and sang the songs for weeks. She also got very interested in the conservation and is constantly reminding us of all the things were are doing to destroy the earth.

With her good friend, Liliana.
The sets were pretty impressive for a third grade production.

Being a 5th grader has some perks, especially if you have Ms. Colburn. She works the kids hard, but also does a few extra activities that are both educational and fun. Begining in January, her class started learning about and caring for trout eggs. It was a great lesson in the life cycle, and culminated in the kids releasing live trout into a river. I got to tag along on the field trip.
Checking out what other critters live in the river.
Nate's babies.
Letting them go...they grow up so quickly!
Tour of the nature center. Our guide was such a ham, and the kids loved him. I did too, til he draped this snake around my shoulders! I have a HUGE phobia of snakes, and he wanted to demonstrate how harmless this one was to the kids. I'd post the picture of me, but I have my eyes closed and a painful look on my face!
Probably the last picture I'll get of Nate and I on a field trip. I imagine that hanging out with mom is not cool in middle school!

Another great thing about our school is that they bring a science based activity to the campus for each grade level. I actually handle all the scheduling, etc for the PTA, so I sometimes get to pop in and make sure things are running smoothly. The 5th graders got to dissect squids! Not something I'd want to do myself, but Nate enjoyed it.

And finally, PROMOTION!! Nate has worked so hard, been such a great student, and really enjoyed his experience at Mark Twain Elementary. It was a fabulous school, but he is ready to move on. I know he'll do great at Stanford Middle School.
The Principal thanked myself and some of the other parents who worked throughout the year to plan and organize the special 5th grade activities.
Nate getting his diploma from Ms. Ryan, the principal.
Ms. Colburn was Nate's teacher. She pushed him hard, but was a great teacher.
The last day of school was the big "end of the year" party that I had to plan. We arranged to take the kids to a local pool, served them In-N-Out, and let them just hang out. It seemed like everyone had a great time, the weather was perfect, and it was a great way to end their elementary school experience.

Earlier in the year, the PTA thanked myself and a few other volunteers who have made significant contributions to the school. It was totally unexpected, and certainly not the reason I give my time to the school, but nice to thanked by the teachers and staff. This is my friend, AnnMarie Alvarez, who was also honored.
Brent had to get me there without explaining why, AND deal with Allison. Two snaps for you!