Summer 2019

Summer is quickly coming to a close, and back to school is upon us. With Dwight still not working, things are a bit stressful, and we have not taken many expensive trips. That doesn’t mean we’re not having some fun, below are some highlights.

We’ve been going to the pool as usual, both kids are diving off the diving board, Claire more than Adam, but Adam is also trying to do flips like some other kids. He sometimes gets all the way around, but sometimes flops it. He doesn’t mind. Both kids are playing with the neighborhood kids a lot, which is great. We’ve had a lot of visitors and spent time doing the local attractions with them. We left the boat in storage to save money, so no boating this summer. Also, no Six Flags memberships. Both kids have been reading like crazy, so it seems like they are never really bored.

Our library does a lot of fun activities during the summer, and the kids went to a few. Their favorite was Harry Potter’s birthday party, which was quite a production. No adults allowed. They spent almost four hours doing lots of Hogwarts-like activities, like making potions and learning a magic trick. Many, including our two, were fully dressed up in costume.

Adam has been working on an ICER (science fair) project, a machine that de-tangles a slinky. He’s spent a lot of hours building and then refining it using his remote-controlled machine kit. He has lately started to enjoy going out to shoot hoops and practice basketball with me, and seems interested in playing again this year. He’s chosen tennis over soccer for the fall sport, so we’ve also spent some time practicing that with both kids out on the big courts. Adam plays his trumpet occasionally around the house, so he’s keeping that up. He also just started using the driving setup for the XBox, and doing a car racing game. He seems to really be enjoying it. As always, he continues to like biking around, but lately has been doing more scootering, and even puts on pads and asks to go to the skate park to do the jumps and ramps. He’s done a soccer camp, a choir camp (mom’s decision), tennis camp, and has Exploration camp with his best friend this coming week.

Claire has kept equally busy, doing a basketball camp (which she loved), tennis camp, a baking camp (which she also loved), and will do Exploration camp next week too. Claire spends every single morning outside on the sport court hitting a tennis ball around to herself. Sometimes she’s let me play too, but not always. We might have to shift one of her sports to tennis since that seems to be her subconscious choice. Claire still reads many books every week, and we could easily make a trip to the library every week. She got to New York and New Hampshire with her old Denver friend Chloe, and they had a great time seeing a show, eating out, and playing.

We went to the New England Air Museum to check out the airplanes.

We went to the Berkshires, saw the Norman Rockwell museum…

Norman Rockwell Museum in the Bershires

… and went on a ropes course at Catamount mountain.

Adam’s soccer camp.

Soccer camp for Adam

Lots of pool time, here with neighbor friend Ethan.

Adam loves to take bike rides.

Dave and France came for a visit.

Yes, that is France playing tennis with Claire.

Submarines in Groton

We visited a “Castle State Park.” Built by a famous actor from pre-talkies.

Skipping Stones

Bought some fireworks for the 4th. Adam was very excited about it all week.

Last of Spring

Well it’s not spring now but I’ll back-date this. Here’s a selection of the artwork the kids brought home at the end of 4th grade.

From our Iris plants, courtesy of Aunt Anna.
Adam loved playing with the robots
We’ll see how many of these come true, someday. Claire put “An Author”
Easter preparations

Spring Break I took the kids to grandpa and grandma Drefs. They had fun doing the usual things…

Spring Break at G&G’s
Playing catch with grandpa
Claire wasn’t a fan of Triominos, at least at first

Adam and Claire practicing no-hands riding.

Practicing no hands riding
Aiden and Adam showing their ICER research

The big school event in 4th grade is an Immigration Event – Simulating Ellis Island. Even the adults got into the act.

CIS Immigration Event – Ellis Island
They couldn’t get all the kids photos done on costume day
Costumes and all
Yes, we volunteered
CIS Immigration and Foods Around the World celebration

Another big school event is the 4th Grade Concert. Adam and Claire both played and were in the chorale.

Claire played softball again, and loved it. She got to be one of about six pitchers on the team and did great.

Adam played baseball, which he didn’t do last year. He enjoyed it, and got better as the season went on. His hitting was quite good, just didn’t get enough practice and playing time for the infield much.

The carnival comes to town right about the beginning of summer. The kids love to run around with their friends.

Late Winter and Into Spring, Claire’s Baking

Haven’t posted in a while now. With a lack of snow and a lack of a job, we haven’t done much except stay around the house. The kids have had their usual stuff, basketball and martial arts and instruments and so forth. We only went skiing once, and it was just a local trip. Winter appears to be closing out now, so looks like we won’t get much more in this season.

Clare’s local JCC basketball team won their little conference, and her Recreation team, which I was coaching, did alright and finished third of 8 teams. Adam also says he enjoyed playing, and his team won all but a couple of their games too, so they did well.

France was here for a week and the kids had fun playing games and showing grandma everything new. One new surprise was Claire suddenly took a strong interest in baking and cooking. She helped grandma make an apple pie, then made her own blueberry cobbler with no real help, and it was very good. Since then, she’s made biscuits and eggs, and more on her own, with no prompting. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Adam has also picked up a new “habit,” he’s taken to dribbling a ball inside the house a lot, just like Claire does. And they both play their own made-up version of volleyball inside too. Perhaps he’s starting to become more athletic-interested.

Kids report cards all came in strong as usual, and we have teacher conferences tonight but I don’t expect anything to come out of that.

We made a last minute decision for Dwight to take the kids to Toledo, to see G&G. They had a lot of fun as usual, a lot to do at grandma’s.

Claire wasn’t a fan of Triominos, at least at first
Adam has improved in skating since last time.
Playing catch with grandpa

Late snow. Note giant snowman in background.

Easter was relatively quiet, Justine and the kids made eggs and the Easter Bunny came after church.


At school, the kids did a very large section on immigration and emigration, studying where our families came from and learning about Ellis Island and the great migrations from the 18th and 19th centuries. They had to dress up in period-costumes, and then they had a simulation with the entire school coming in on the “boat” (in 3 ticket classes no less) and going through the immigration process at a simulated Ellis Island. Justine and I both volunteered along with a lot of other parents, many who were also in costume. It was very elaborate, and the kids all had bio’s of people to pretend to be as they went through the process. Really something. Really gave the kids more of a hands-on feel for what it might have been like.

Costumes and all
CIS Immigration Event – Ellis Island
Yes, we volunteered

A little later, they held a “Foods Around the World” buffet where kids brought in dishes from their homelands/families. Claire and Adam took in Crepes. Then they held an event with dancing and telling stories they wrote themselves based on their characters in the simulation. Adam and Claire both read.

Adam did a robotics “competition” at school.

Adam loved playing with the robots

I still haven’t found a job, so we’re staying pretty low key for the holidays. No plans for Memorial Day, we’ll see what happens.

Late edit: I should add that Claire has continued to make things for herself in the kitchen. Not so much baking, but cooking. I suspect she would bake too with a little prodding.