Monday, April 30, 2007

World's most advanced kindergarteners?

This week, Cooper's class and the other six kindergarten classes are studying Australia. Their biggest project of the year is due Wednesday -- a diorama representing the Great Barrier Reef.

Cooper has researched the reef, drawn pictures of creatures for practice and created all kinds of sea life using construction paper, pipe cleaners, clay, little pieces of foam, glitter glue, etc. His work is detailed and appropriately messy. He's only 5, after all. The resulting diorama is great and clearly his work. (Though Steve did craft clever devices to suspend a jellyfish and stingray from the top of the shoebox.)

This afternoon I walked through the kindergarten pod and saw on display some dioramas already turned in. Wow! You should see these professional representations of the sea floor. Perhaps some of his peers are perfectionists with a flair for design? Glossy stickers are expertly placed in a seemingly random but clearly deliberate fashion. Fish and coral are crafted as if by artisans. One even includes a mini aquarium!

How much are these little folks learning by watching their parents -- well meaning, I'm sure -- do the work? I admit, it's taking some self-control for me not to scrape off some stray paint from a marble on Cooper's reef floor or add a few more flecks of silver glitter to the "water." If I had created the diorama, I would have made everything to scale. But, again, he's 5. Isn't it good enough that they're even trying to re-create the Great Barrier Reef? Isn't their own work good enough?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fifth disease

For the past week, I've felt horrible about the sunburns on both Cooper and Katie -- right across their chubby cheeks. It's my job, after all, to make sure they're slathered in sunscreen and protected from harmful rays. Skin cancer is the one cancer that's preventable!

So, I'm strangely and selfishly relieved that what they really have is fifth disease, indicated by a red rash across the cheeks. The rash has spread on both of them. It doesn't seem to bother them -- no itching, no burning. They were contagious last week, before any noticeable sign of the disease. The biggest risk is to women in their first trimester of pregnancy. We weren't around any newly pregnant women last week -- that I know of, at least.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy Easter!

We had a full, happy Sunday. Cooper and Katie were thrilled with the Easter Bunny's gifts. (Katie loved the candy so much, she was found later that morning sitting on the dining room table, devouring small candy eggs. Chocolate dripped down her chin and onto her PJs. Thankfully she wasn't yet wearing the special dress Grandma made.)

Steve left early that morning to rehearse for the 8:30 service and sing at both 8:30 and 11. The kids and I met him at church, and then we all came home to rest and get ready for dinner. Steve and Cooper decorated my annual bunny cake. My role has been reduced to baking and cutting one of the rounds into the ears and bowtie shapes. Steve frosts and Cooper decorates -- he did a great job!

We had a lovely dinner at Jim and Betty's and played there for a while before coming home. For many more photos from the day, go here. And click here to see last year's photo of the kids together -- Katie is so big now!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter eve

If you've lived anytime in Texas, you learn to expect unexpected weather. So, snow flurries on the day before Easter may not surprise you. The precipitation didn't stick, but the cold and wind did keep us inside most of the day. We did venture out for the egg hunt at church. The games and crafts were inside, and the actual hunt was outside. Of course, it takes almost no time for kids to gather eggs, so no one was outside too long.

Cooper loved the sack race, egg-on-a-spoon relay (though all the hard-boiled eggs quickly cracked and they had to switch to plastic eggs) and the beanbag toss. Katie enjoyed disrupting all those activities, so Steve and I took turns following and/or holding our little adventure girl.

I don't have photos of Cooper hunting eggs with the other kindergarteners and first-graders -- I was helping Katie with the younger, less cutthroat hunters.

Lots more photos are here.

Our sweeties were sleepy after the fun and cuddled a bit before bed.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Before we left Lakeland, we visited the local children's museum, Explorations V. It was one of the best hands-on museums we've visited -- the activities appealed to both Cooper and Katie, everything looked new or well cared for and there were unique exhibits in addition to the standard, beloved grocery store, doctor's office and fire engine.

More photos are here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fitting in

Katie Margaret, aka Margie, has adjusted so well to the Damm house. She doesn't bark much. She loves to snuggle on the sofa during the day or Cooper's bed for bedtime stories. She's gentle and patient with Katie and Cooper. She loves walks and aspires to chase cars and bunnies. Thank goodness she's on a harness -- she'd surely wiggle out of collar to hunt down a neighborhood rabbit. She enjoys playing fetch in the back yard and can't get enough belly rubs.