Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dumpster Diving

Tonight we drove around and surveyed other people's trash! This week is Fargo/West Fargo's Annual Clean Up Week. It is the one week during the year that you can set anything at all on your curb and have the city pick it up for free. It can best be described as a city wide, curb side garbage garage sale. At any given moment, half of the town can be found cruising the streets and searching for treasure...heck, we even saw people on bikes carrying their loot. Most folks only look, of course, but it is quite entertaining. We saw freezers, couches, loveseats, televisions, satellite dishes, computers, firewood, clothes and 16 toilets...nearly everything a man would need to furnish his new home (exactly what the college students had in mind I think). We have never lived anywhere else that they do they have this where any of y'all live??

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Elementary Accolades

The end of 5th grade means the end of elementary school for Cayden...with that comes many emotions--joy, sadness, nervousness about middle school, and pride. That pride is well deserved. Cayden earned the Presidential Academic Excellence and Effort Award! He had no idea he was getting it until the awards assembly.

Here is a close up view of the award. It came with a letter from the White House. It is only given at the end of a student's 5th grade, 8th grade or senior year. According to the letter, this award encourages and rewards students who work hard and give their best effort in school, often in the face of special obstacles to their learning. Students must show tremendous educational growth, demonstrate unusual commitment to learning despite obstacles, and achieve high scores in at least one core subject (Cayden's was science-it's his favorite).

Braxton finished 3rd grade with excitement and praises of his own. He is glad to have a respite from homework but would just as soon continue going to school all summer if it meant he could see his friends everyday. He received several awards--he was on the A/B Honor Roll all year and received the National Physical Fitness Award. However, my favorite award is this classroom award. It was given to him by his teacher and, bless her heart, I am sure there were days that this quality nearly drove her crazy....there certainly is no truer statement than "Most Energetic" when it comes to Brax!

Goodbye school....Hello summer!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Life Lesson #101

What seemed an obvious bad idea to Mom seemed less obvious to 2 over zealous boys. Today was the last day of school, which according to the boys, should automatically be celebrated as the first day of summer. What would any self respecting, Texas born boy need to do on a day such as this? Play in the sprinkler of course! All of this might still sound OK to y'all until I add in the part that they chose this activity at 8pm on an evening struggling to hold onto 72 degrees...and no amount of convincing on my part would work. So like any good Mom, I gave in!

It all started like this.........

and ended like this....with a shiver and a look that says "Mom WHY did you let us do that??"

By the way, stay tuned for more Last Day of School pictures coming soon!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Deja vu (for a few)

I have been experimenting with a new photo storage and editing program this weekend. I have been adding and deleting the same group of photos all weekend long. Since some of you may have seen these (and, more importantly, since most of you haven't) I decided to post a few of them...and leave them up this time!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

SundaySaturday in the Park

Well OK, I guess it wasn't anything like the musical or the painting by Seurat but it was nice afternoon...if a leisurely stroll through a wind tunnel is your idea of fun. Honestly we had grown tired of waiting for the perfect day to take Max and the boys to the park so we decided to make the less than perfect day perfect .

Here is Braxton on the playground. This park and small man-made lake are behind their school. Braxton is still the adventurer and prefers climbing on anything tall enough to make me nervous.

Braxton can only be hanging from the highest bar or knee deep in something dirty, smelly and all boy. Here he is trying to dig a grave for some tiny dead fish he and Cayden found on the bank.

Well you didn't think I could get through this without making you view at least one picture of Max, did you? He is growing fast!

OK, are the 2 best waterfall pictures. For everyone else who wonders what the heck I am talking about, there is a small waterfall just behind the elementary school. It isn't a work of art but it is nice to walk down to it and hear the rushing water...very relaxing.

And here is my favorite picture of the day...the 2 best boys any Mom could have right before they tried to push each other in looking like the best friends they are, enjoying the afternoon.

We look forward to seeing most of you this summer and spending days as nice as this with all of you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Best Day Ever

Hi, its me Cayden...

All 5th grade classes get to go on an all day field trip to Bismarck. Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota and it took us 3 hours to get there. We got to ride in a big Coach bus. It was huge and there were 2 seats on each side and movie screens for each row (and a bathroom).

We went to Custer House in Fort Abraham Lincoln. Custer is a famous Army General and this was supposed to be his last house but the real one burned down. His favorite food was onions and he would eat them like apples. One of his hobbies was to catch and collect all different animals from North Dakota and he kept them in his basement. One day when his cook went downstairs to get some vegetables for dinner she was attacked by a bobcat that he had caught earlier that day (but she did survive).

Next on our trip was the capital building. It was like a skyscraper and cost 2 million dollars to build. Each chandelier in the building has 152 lights. There were lots of steps out front and revolving doors to get in but they had to close them down because of security reasons-the Governor's office is right inside the doorway. We got to go to a courtroom and the legislature and it was on the 17th floor. A long time ago it burned down but they built the new building in 1980. The janitor left the window open in a storage room that had combustible liquids in it and the sun heated them up until they exploded.

My favorite part of the trip was the North Dakota Heritage Museum. We got to see a dinosaur they found near Bismarck. It is called Edmontosaurus and it is very rare and an almost complete skeleton that is mummified (its skin was still attached). They think that the T. rex was its biggest predator. You can only see if for a few more weeks because they are sending it to Tokyo for a display.

We left at 6:30am and didn't get home until almost 8pm. It was a long day but I had a blast and I want to go again!

Friday, May 8, 2009

On your mark...Get set...GO!

This weekend is the Fargo Marathon and Braxton ran in the Kids Run this evening. The kids don't run a marathon of course, only a mile or half-mile. There were over 1800 kids participating this year and it was organized chaos....ok, that may be giving them too much credit-maybe I will call it partially organized chaos. They expect 20 thousand runners in the marathon tomorrow. They said our marathon has one of the highest turnouts in the nation for a city of our size. They also said that 1800 kids puts us in the top 5 turnouts for a city of any size. I guess when North Dakotans do something, they do it big. Braxton came in among the earlier finishers. I was unable to get a picture of him crossing the finishing line because of the crowds. They begin the race outside but finish the course inside the arena so I was able to get this rather poor picture off one of the jumbo screens. He is the one in a white tshirt and blue track pants.

He seemed like he had a lot of fun and he did really well, especially for his first real run. With his talent and overabundant energy, we hope he will continue running.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Splendid Sunny Afternoon with Seven Friends

When the afternoon turned 70 degrees and the kind of sunny that warms your body and makes your heart smile, I suspected the boys wouldn't come home alone. It sounded like a football team coming down the front walk so I was happy when it turned out to be only seven hungry rowdy boys. Most of the boys are "regulars" here so they walked right into the kitchen and wanted a drink and a snack....don't get me wrong....I love being the house, the one all the kids want to come to. The older boys decided (as usual) to play war--nerf gun war. They are all fascinated by the military and spies. They split into teams, wearing nerf target vests, hiding, taking hostages and invading bases. I tried to catch a photo or two of the group but they gave me a twist on an old spy adage "We could show you..but then we'd have to kill you" and then threatened to hold me hostage. Since no one was around to pay my ransom I set off to take a picture or two of the younger boys. They spent the whole afternoon on the trampoline....doing tricks, teaching each other tricks. They complained almost immediately about how hot it was and because 70 did seem like a full fledged North Dakota heatwave I let them convince me of the necessity of going shirtless. You southerners will chuckle I am sure, but when laughing at the pasty white skin on these 3 cute boys, remember this is North Dakota after all!

About the only one not having fun in the sun today was Max...he wanted to be with the boys on the trampoline and had to settle for a view from the deck.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Excerpts from the diary of Max

What a weekend this has been!

I went to the park for the first many new things to sniff and explore. The boys took me to the playground and I got to see the world from a whole new vantage point.

I discovered the most wonderful!!! Someone always seems to accidentally leave one lying around and, if I am quiet, I can sneak off with it. I am trying out a new face...the innocent, "who me?, a shoe?" face....what do you think, will it work?

Today started off wonderfully. The sun was shining and the whole family was outside. I thought I had explored every bit of the yard but I stumbled upon an area still muddy and soupy from the flood. I had the best time!

For some reason, my fun led to what can only be described as torture. Who knew that when they asked me in that high pitched, excited voice "c'mon you want to take a bath?" that I should have run faster. They sure won't fool me twice with that!