This year we celebrated Solstice in town, and the day before actual solstice. Such a break from tradition!
Much time was spent reading (as every day)
We decorated the trees in the backyard for the birds.
We went on an extremely icy walk in the neighborhood.
Sora and Kyle made me a book of poems to commemorate various milestones in my life. So sweet!
Kyle and I made Sora a swinging chair. She loves it and spent 2 hours reading in it while Kyle and I napped.
For dinner, Sora insisted on sushi. Somehow we lost our mats and made impromptu newspaper sushi mats. They worked pretty well.
We had a sushi feast!
And of course solstice wouldn't be complete without candles and cupcakes, lots of family games, and a night spent together in the living room. This was the first year without a fireplace, but we made it work.
This was the first year Sora took her job as Kyle's sous chef seriously. Together they planned an elaborate menu, picked up the turkey from the farm, and did every step to make a delicious meal.
The theme this year was: no recipes. We did use a recipe for the desert, but the rest was all Kyle and Sora. Sora took care of the sweet potato biscuits:
while Kyle did a lot of various other things.
Together, they made a delicious pavlova for desert
complete with candied pecans!
We shared the delicious meal with Kyle's family, but no cousins so Sora got a lot of extra adult attention (both good and bad).
Other than that, we watched a lot of TV this weekend, played with Kyle's brother's family at the trampoline park, and I reintroduced myself to my knitting needles. I meant to make a slouchy hat for myself with some fancy yarn I bought in Seattle. It turned into a non-slouchy hat for Sora (that she won't appreciate nearly enough because it is a bit scratchy - hand dyed and a silk/wool blend but she won't be able to understand those nuances). It's cute though!
Kyle spends a lot of weekends up at camp without us, so Sora and I had a whole weekend planned when Kyle's plans at camp changed and shortened our mother/daughter weekend into a morning date instead.
We started off at the bakery with a muffin.
Downtown is often dead, so I always love when there is an event which draws people. Today, in addition to what we were downtown for, there was also a big beer drinking event with chalk signs all over the sidewalks. We even saw a political gathering at the town square.
We headed to a puppet and singing show. Sora took a while to warm up to the act.
She finally got interested and wiggled on the floor like an alligator with the other children.
And eventually, she even winded up on stage (yes, in her pajamas). She had fun and had a huge smile on her face the whole time!
We also went to the Dia de los Muertos exhibits. Different organizations and families make alters for various reasons. Here is the alter made by the library to honor authors and illustrators who died this past year. This is the third year Sora and I have seen the alters and Sora decided next year we should make one at home for my grandma.
The library also had a small alter in the downtown branch. I love that the whole community rallies around this holiday. I love it much more than Halloween. Last weekend, we all went to the Dia de los Muertos in a small town nearby. We ate tamales, made some crafts (Sora is making her Guatemalan kite from a kit that she bought there right now!), saw people we knew, and felt like a part of a community.
Some random things that have been happening lately:
My awesome dad and father-in-law came over and helped us pour this sweet cement slab in our backyard. Before this, it was known as the dirt patch (or the mud patch or the weed patch depending on the season). Now it will be known as a patio. Very classy. We might even dye it with some fancy cement acid stain and someday may even put a hot tub on it. We'll see.
Sora went to the dentist for her 7.5 year old birthday celebration. She was not very excited about this milestone. She had a cavity, but only one which is a win in my book.
Here she is just being plain adorable.
The other day, I went into her class to observe since I wasn't able to go to her open house (the downside of teaching at Sora's school - I had to host my own classroom's open house). Anyway, she was excited to show me something she called "Grammar in Art". She chose this picture:
Children Playing on the Beach by Mary Cassatt
There were a number of questions (grammar related, or course) to answer regarding the picture. The first was to name "at least 5" nouns. Sora wrote down 6, explaining that she always tries to do one more than is asked. She said, "5 is the minimum, and I want to do more than the minimum". It made my overachieving heart happy. 2 was to name some proper nouns that could be related to the picture. She wrote "Hawaii, Pacific Ocean, Summer Solstice". 3 was a sentence that she had to symbolize. Symbolizing sentences is something I especially love about Montessori elementary. I remember learning grammar diagraming in 7th grade and absolutely LOVING it. I love that Sora gets to start that 6 years earlier! She doesn't know all of the parts of speech yet - she knew all of the triangles (article, adjective, nouns) and circles (verbs) on her own. The other symbols (for conjunction and preposition) she didn't know. So, she walked over to a chart on the wall which explains each type of speech, shows the symbol and gives and example. From that, she extrapolated that "and" was a pink rectangle and "in" and "under" were green crescents. I was super impressed that she figured that all out on her own, and when she showed Kyle a few days later, she even remembered what those two types of speech were called.
Unfortunately, when she came to actual open house with Kyle, she face planted on the way inside and was pretty upset, which ended the evening a lot sooner than planned.
After living in the same town for 3 years, we somehow managed to avoid going to the local fair until now. One of Sora's favorite singers, Rachel Platten, happened to be playing at the fair this year, so we decided it was finally time to go.
We went on a weekday after school, so we had just enough time to ride two rides (Sora and Kyle on the "adult" roller coaster),
feed some animals at the petting zoo,
check out the children's village (if only this was a kid's museum - it was actually better than some of the museums I've been to),
eat dinner and pause for some photo ops
before finally grabbing an elephant ear and finding a seat for the show.
This is hard to see, but while we were waiting for the concert, there was a big screen that people could text messages to. At one point, a message saying "Hi Nora and Moose" came up! We had been spotted (and spell checked). Sora and Kyle tried to figure out the mystery of who sent the message, but couldn't figure it out.
Finally the concert started. My picture is terrible, but you could easily see Rachel Platten and she gave a great concert - just perfect for both Sora and us! At one point, she walked around and came very close to Sora before heading back to the stage.
This is how close Sora was (she and Kyle were down closer than I was). Her songs are so positive and upbeat - in addition to Fight Song, Stand by You and Better Place, the other lesser known songs were good too. Plus, there was a cover of my favorite (and only song I know by) Justin Bieber song - Love Yourself - which means I was in love with the singer after that!
The concert was just the right length and we stopped to bang on some random metal objects before we left. Plus, because it was a weekday, we found street parking and saved $5!
Our final verdict: the concert was great, and the fair wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. When Sora's a few years older, we will finally fork up for the ride pass and she will love it. But it's also not an annual event in our household.
Sora has been a very slow tooth-looser. She finally lost her fourth tooth this week. She apparently lost it but the tooth fairy took pity on her and still gave her a dollar. She also thinks the tooth fairy should be paying her $1800 per tooth. She knows this money comes from me or Kyle and she thinks that Kyle would pay her up to $7 per tooth while I would only pay up to $1 per tooth.
Sora has also been into tennis lately. I mentioned this already, but something about her with a racket and ball is adorable! She is getting a little better and has fun no matter how many times she misses the ball!
Okay, so this day would have been made more perfect with photos. Sorry.
Yesterday, we spent a family day with no extra obligations. This is the first in a very long time! First, we hit up the kid's day sponsored by PlayDate Magazine. It was filled with bouncy houses, venders giving things away to kids, watching dancers, snacking, and even a tour of the Capital Theatre. Very cool. The weather was perfect - sunny and warm, but not too hot.
Kyle made us a delicious late dinner involving sausage sandwiches.
Later, we went on a family bike ride to the park where we played a family game of tennis (our first ever). Sora was so funny - every time she tried to hit the ball and missed she would giggle incessantly. I loved how happy she was! She eventually hit the ball against the wall while Kyle and I played a "real" game of tennis (our first in YEARS - we used to play all the time before we had Sora). Sora was trying to hit the ball over the fence and she finally succeeded, so she was happy. Then she played on the playground while Kyle and I continued our battle Royale. While on the playground, Sora finally perfected the technique of getting her feet up on the monkey bars so she could hang upside down.
We ate dinner outside and even had some ice cream. A wonderful day of creating family memories.
Sora needed a family photo, so we had one taken at camp. The next weekend we all got our crazy long hair cut.
Sora's hair was either braided or looked like this most of the summer. It was so long that it got tangled and was impossible to brush.
We went to the Olde Letterpress Museum a few weeks ago. It was incredibly way too hot to be in a non-air conditioned building. Other than that, it was pretty cool.
Sora got to set her type (once she chose from a million fonts) and write her name. She is embracing her middle name lately and finally likes the color grey (we are embracing the British spelling)! She chose to write "Sora Grey" with the letterpress.
And finally, we had our first day of school this week. Even though it was over 90 degrees, my fashion-conscious 7 year old chose to wear this adorably hot outfit.
We took a few together since it was her first day of 2nd grade and my first day of my 2nd year at her school. She loved the way my hair is blowing in the wind in this picture (I think it was a poorly time hair flip).
And a more normal picture:
In Sora's school, 1st - 3rd is in the same class, so there isn't a lot drastically different on the surface for her this year, other than learning new things, not being the youngest group in the classroom, and having less teeth.
As far as my first day goes, I was crazy nervous with starting a new school year, especially after not having been in the classroom at the beginning of the last school year (I started out in the daycare and moved to a classroom in the middle of October). BUT, it went fantastic! I am very excited about my 19 students this year and have a great outlook on the school year as a whole. Yeah!