Summer 2010

Okay – here we go.

The last post I have here was from the last month of school LAST school year.

Now summer’s over and it’s back to the books!  And the chaos.  And the early mornings.  And the __________.  You fill in that blank!

But I want to hold on to summer for a little bit!  It was way to short, and it was just jam-packed!

School got out and that very next week, Aryn was in Culinary Arts camp!  This was a day camp/career exploration kind of deal put on by a local schools districts career center.  During the school year and even during the summer this place is busy, training young people – mostly high schoolers for careers in a variety of fields from welding and mechanics to early childhood education and culinary arts and hospitality.  Anyway – Aryn attended the Culinary Arts Summer Career Exploration Week that was held for middle and high schoolers.  She had a grand time and even got a chef’s hat and really cool apron to boot!  But most importantly she gained some knowledge and got to cook a lot of really cool dishes that she brought home for us to try!  And the price was SO right!  Take a guess at how much I paid for this camp!

I signed Zoe up to attend a local summer youth program that is an outreach of the three churches in our community.  They host this program every summer in place of each of them hosting a Vacation Bible School or doing their own thing!  Each week on Tuesdays she would head out to the church and enjoy a morning of crafting, games, bible study, singing and much more!  Then on Thursdays they’d take the kids on a field trip to a nearby destination.  One week it was to a horseback riding facility, another week it was roller skating or bowling or one of several different things!  This went on for 6 or 7 weeks!

The last week of June and the first week of July, found Ty back at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for his 4th summer as a volunteer!  This year he spent his entire two weeks in the Zoo’s kitchens learning the ropes of what it takes to feed many of the zoo’s thousands of animals!  One of his jobs was to prepare the fish for the sea lions for the entire day.  He also learned how to make bird mush for our zoo’s scarlet ibis population as well as other birds!  While he was there he stayed with a good friend of ours and biked back and forth roughly 12 or so blocks everyday, rain or shine!  Thankfully his first week was beautiful.  The second week – not so!  I do believe he’ll go back and do another year next summer unless he finds a paying job!  That would be nice!

Ethan also had something to do this summer – his first year at BOY scout camp!  That was the last week of June – likely the most beautiful week of the entire summer!   So it was a good week to sleep out in a tent, IF you made it through the first night which I guess was a stormy mess that had them huddled in the storm shelter for a couple of hours!

And would you believe I don’t have a single picture of any of that stuff!  Well that’s not entirely true.  Ethan did take a camera with him and took some photos of scout camp, but the rest of the kids – well there adventures are going to have to be remembered in words only.

But we did do plenty this summer that I did take pictures of!  Like these:

In June school was technically still in session for a few days but they were filled with things like –

Field day!

Yep Brian and I had a station with water!  And Brian took advantage of it!  But not a single child complained of being wet and only one child went to get a dry shirt from the nurse!  She really needed to so I approved!  And we only let the 4th and 5th graders get soaked to the gills!  That’s really what field day is all about anyway right?

And on the afternoon of Field Day — Talent Show!  Zoe did a really cute monologue entitled “The Audition.”  We tweaked it a little to fit our school and our circumstances!  She was so cute!  Now it would have been a lot better had she had a wireless mic!

And I took plenty of pictures of this little monster –

Don’t let that sweet face fool you!

And a few of this guy –

I also took some great pictures of my flowers and throughout Fort Wayne while waiting for Aryn to finish her camp.  Here are a few of them-

And here are a few shots of Boy Scout camp – Courtesy of Ethan —

And then something very special happened right around my birthday!  We got a very special visit from my Auntie Phyllis and Uncle Miles!  They were passing through on their way back to Massachusetts and came by for supper and a visit!  One of the best birthday presents EVER!

It was SO nice to be able to sit and talk and catch up!  This visit just made me realize how absolutely precious family relationships really are and that we need to take every advantage of the time we have with the ones we love!

Oh and of course the Zoo!

And on to July!  In July we had the joy of getting together with my parents, my niece Robyn and my nephews Miah and Kevin at Six Flags Great America!

Just a few photos from that weekend!

And my mom delivered the kids their Christmas quilts!

Aryn’s quilt!  Each of those butterflies is embroidered and there was a matching pillow with this one.

Robyn’s quilt.  Again lots of emboidered patches and lots and lots of Grandma love!

Ethan’s sports quilt.

Zoe’s sweet little patchwork quilt that is just the right size for her!

Ty’s music quilt!  This quilt – in material alone was the most expensive quilt my mom did this summer!

And just because she asked – Ty’s girlfriend Kelli got a Grandma quilt as well!

Isn’t that gorgeous?!  and just look at her reaction when we gave it to her when we got home –

On our trip to Six Flags – we decided a side trip to the Jelly Belly factory in Wisconsin –

And the kids did a bit of bonding with their cousins in the pool!

BUT I recommend you check your kids heights before going and pre-buying your tickets online!  Buy tickets based on height and NOT age.  AND the coupons offered on cereal boxes are NOT good with pre-purchased tickets.


On to August – the last 15 days of freedom before the school year starts!

This is Ty on pretty powerful pain killers!  If is face looks swollen it’s because he had just had 3 of 4 wisdom teeth removed.  He was miserable for several days!  The 4th one is scheduled to be removed in December.

And then swimming!  Lots of time spent Swimming!

And we attended a family reunion featuring the families of these four goofballs!

The sweetie in yellow is Brian’s Mom and the other three are her siblings, Brian’s aunts and uncle!  I love ’em all!

So that brings our summer to a close!

But quite honestly the best part of this summer was when Brian decided to give me the best gift ever!  He hasn’t smoked a cigarette since June 27th, my birthday!  As of this Friday it will be 2 full months without a smoke!  There have been tough moments, but I hope he can see past those moments and to the future and how much it means to me!  I love that man!

In a few days – I’ll have a post on the first day of school and I toss in some pictures of some of the creative things I’ve been doing lately!

til then . . .  Take care.


And finally we have May.

Fine Arts day!  I didn’t get to see or do much as I was teaching a class this year but I did get to enjoy a performance by a local baton twirling team and a great mini-concert by Elephants in Mud.  Jared the lead singer, (the one in the hat) is the boyfriend of our art teacher Sachi!

The kids earned free tickets to a local baseball game featuring the Fort Wayne Tincaps!

A bit of time at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo on Ethan’s birthday!

Speaking of birthday!  Ethan turned 11 on May 16th!  WOW!  It’s off to middle school next year!

Zoe’s Girl Scout Bridging ceremony!  She is now a Junior Girl Scout!

The 5th graders staged a GREAT performance of The Jungle Book!  The best part tho was that in attendance was a much beloved former teacher Mrs. C!  Ethan was ecstatic!

And a couple of last photos of the month.  The first is the first blossom on my peony bush!  It’s taken 5 years but I finally got this thing to blossom!!  And then Zoe getting on the school bus.  For some reason, unlike the rest of my kids, Zoe enjoys riding the bus!

That’s my May.

Take care!

Artwork created by some pretty talented 4th graders at our school!

A great display in honor of our great volunteers at our school!  The butterflies and caterpillars were created by some of our wonderful 1st grade friends!

A trip to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.  The painting here was created by a young man that attends Homestead High school – Ty’s school.

Easter Sunday!

Ethan at the shooting range for Boy Scouts.

My kiddos!  Yes that is Ty driving!

Spring Flowers!  My favorite time of year!

Our dogs!

And Meepo!

My kids at the Zoo!

A couple of cute Capchun Monkeys at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo!

And that’s a glimpse at our April!

Take care. . .

March –

Zoe’s chalk art!

Ethan finally bridging from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Zoe at Science Central’s elementary school science fair!

Learning to sew with Mrs. Tina.  Working on her Brownie Try-it for sewing.

That’s my little pirate there in the yellow head scarf!  The 3rd and 4th grade musical Pirates!

Zoe with Bubba and Lola looking all sweet and innocent!

And a few creative shots for good measure!

FAME Festival!

WARNING!!  This is a very picture heavy post!!!

The local FAME festival took place March 13-14.  This is a festival of Art and Music in Elementary and Middle School Education.  Schools from all over our region participated by either bringing artwork to share or performing musically.  There are performances of choirs, dancers, bands, bell choirs, and many other groups and individuals – But the focus is on the children.

Here are some photos I took of that day!

And then a few days later we had special visitors to our school all the way from Poland!  The Children of Plock, Poland, a scouting and dance troop, came and shared a little bit of their culture and art with us!  They were here as part of the FAME activities and schools could invite them out for performances in the week before and after the festival.

More photos!

These dancers ranged in age from 9 or 10 to 20.  Very enjoyable and hopefully both groups of kids learned something!

take care. . .

Okay – she’s been here for 3 months already.  Time to introduce the latest addition to the Thomas family!

Meet Lola.  She is now almost 4 months old and a holy terror.  She loves to torment Bubba, eat, torment Bubba some more, chase leaves, chew on important electrical cords, and bounce like a bunny.

She definitely is a puppy.

take care.

Okay.  So it’s been a month and a half.

I have not stopped reading and working towards my goal.  However many of the books have gotten much longer so it’s taking me a bit more to get through them and I’ve taken to listening to some, either on Playaway, via E-book audio from our library, or on CD.

Here we go!

0-3 years

Only one this time and it’s a substitute for one that is unavailable at our local library.  I only have two more to go in this section!

The New Puppy – Nicoletta Costa.  I really wish I could find Julian the Rabbit.  It sounds absolutely adorable and I would love a copy for my nephew!


Burgler Bill – Allan Ahlberg

Mr Archimedes Bath – Pamela Allen

Window – Jeannie Baker – This is an absolutely fabulous wordless picture book!  Both children and adult could enjoy this!  There is so much to look for and see and it is very interesting to see how time changes the setting of this child’s story.  The illustrations are gorgeous!

Mousehole Cat – Antonia Barber

Peter in Blueberry Land – Elsa Beskow

Mister Magnolia – Quentin Blake

Runaway Train – Benedict Blathwayt

Father Christmas – Raymond Briggs

Grandparents – Roser Capdevila.  This was a substitute for We are the Triplets.

Farmer Barnes Buys  a Pig – John A. Cunliffe.  This was a substitute for Postman Pat’s Treasure Hunt.

Pamela Learns to Ride – Gilbert Delahaye.  A substitute for Martine.

Hairy Maclary Sit! and Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack – Lynley Dodd

The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson.  I first heard this book when Zoe, now a 3rd grader was in 1st grade.  Very cute for the early elementary aged crowd!

The Story about Ping – Majorie Flack.  I read this book as a child but couldn’t resist reading it again!

Possum Magic – Mem Fox

Corduroy – Don Freeman.  A true classic!

Marigold Garden – Kate Greenway

Orlando, the Marmalade Cat – Kathleen Hale

The Story of the Little Mole – Werner Holzworth

Crocodile Beat – Gail Jorgensen

Who’s Seen the Scissors? – Fernando Krahn

The Cow Who Fell in the Canal – Phyllis Krasilovsky

Oliver’s Pool – Antoon Krings.  This is a substitute for The Garden of Little Creatures.

The Story of Ferdinand – Munro Leaf

Christoph Wants a Party – Mira Lobe.  A substitute for Little I Am I.

Ivor the Engine – Oliver Postgate

Freckly Feet and Itchy Knees – Michael Rosen

Little Ghost Godfrey – Inger Sandberg

My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes – Eve Sutton

One Woolly Wombat – Rod Trinca

Frog in Winter – Max Velthuijis

Ernest and Celestine Have Lost Gideon – Gabrielle Vincent

33 books


Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears – Verna Aardema

A Necklace of Raindrops – Joan Aiken

Miss Nelson is Missing – Harry Allard

Linnea in Monet’s Garden – Christina Bjork.  This is a great book especially of you enjoy the artwork of Claude Monet.

Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories – Joyce Lankester Brisley.   A collection of short stories.

Voices in the Park – Anthony Browne

The Giant Jam Sandwich – Janet Burroway

The Enormous Crocodile – Roald Dahl

Llama Llama Misses Mama – Anna Dewdney

Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep – Eleanor Farjeon

Joyful Noise – Paul Fleishman

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horse – Paul Goble

Wolves – Emily Gravett

A Balloon for Grandad – Nigel Gray

Yellowbelly and Plum go to School and The Devil You Know – Nathan Hale.  Subs for The Orange Cow.

The Night Pirates – Peter Harris

Old Tom – Leigh Hobbs

The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr

Henry and Amy – Stephen Michael King

Bridget and the Moose Brothers – Pija Lindenbaum

Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren

The Magic Pudding – Norman Lindsey – Just barely made it through this book.  Contrary to the claims made in the introduction, I did NOT laugh all the way through this book.

The School Bus Comes at 8 o’clock – David McKee

The Last Noo-Noo – Jill Murphy.  A sub for The Worst Witch.  Still hoping to find The Worst Witch.  It has to be better than The Last Noo-Noo!

Two Little Bears – Hanna Muschg

Haunted House – Jan Pienkowski.  Sorry, but if I were in charge of making up this original list, this book would NOT be on it.  I can think of at least 10 other books that are more worthy that didn’t make the list.

The Day the Babies Crawled Away – Peggy Rathman

Mrs. Pig Gets Cross – Mary Rayner.  A sub for Mr. and Mrs. Pig’s Evening Out.

Michael Rosen’s ABC’s – Michael Rosen.  A substitute for Mind Your Own Business.  Zoe and I enjoyed this alphabetical poetical offerings and the illustrations were amazing!

Captain Pugwash – John Ryan

The Stinky Cheese Man and Math Curse – Jon Scieska

A Bad Case of the Stripes and No David! – David Shannon

The Zaba Jaba Jungle and Grownups Get To Do All the Driving – William Steig

The Real Thief – William Steig

The Quinkins – Percy Trezise and Dick Roughsey

A Tree is Nice – Janice May Udry

Crictor – Tomi Ungerer

The Biggest Bear – Lynd Ward

The Boy and The Dog – Siv Widerberg

Fox – Margaret Wild

Detectives in Togas – Henry Winterfeld – This would be a cute little book if someone was homeschooling and doing a unit about Mythology.  Wish I would have had it around 9 years ago!

A Bee in Your Ear – Frieda Wishinsky.  A substitute for Jennifer Jones Won’t Leave Me Alone.

The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit – Christopher Wormell.  This is a new favorite!!  I absolutely adore this book.  Go and find it right this minute and read it.  It is a beautiful story that brought tears to my eyes!

Hey Al! – Arthur Yorinks

The Quiet Mother and the Noisy Little Boy – Charlotte Zolotow.  A substitute for Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present.

49 books!

I also listened to some retellings of several Japanese folk tales as substitutes for The Tales of Otogizoshi and The Adventures of Peach Boy.

So 53 in all in the 5+ age group counting extras!

8+ age group

My Brother’s Ghost – Allan Ahlberg.  Ethan is reading this now!  Ahlberg is a great author and seems to be able to write  for a variety of audiences!  This is a sub for Please Mrs. Butler.

The School for Cats – Esther Averill

Hitler’s Daughter – Jackie French

Betsy- Tacy – Maud Hart Lovelace

4 for this group.


I Am Not Esther – Fleur Beale.  This is an EXCELLENT book that tells of a young girls experiences after being left in the care of her uncle who is heavily involved in a pretty wild religious cult.  It tells of her early rebellion and her feelings of losing herself in the practices of this group of people.  And it tells of her escape and that of her cousin thanks to the help of a school counselor.

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe.  Great classic book- just very long winded is Mr. Defoe.  I listened to this one on Playaway from our local library.  I don’t think I could have made it through physically reading it.

By The River and Kissing Annabell – Steven Herrick.  Herrick is a very well known poet in his native Australia and for good reason.  His novels in verse are so vivid and real and compelling!  It’s rather easy to get through his books in a very short amount of time!  I would recommend starting with Naked Bunyip Dancing tho, especially if the person to read it is younger than the age of 16.

Number the Stars – Lois Lowry

Witch Child – Celia Rees.  Set during the era of the Salem witch trials and such.  This one takes place very early in that era and does have a sequel that I haven’t gotten to yet.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare.  Exellent!  Also about the Salem witch Trial era.

7 books in this grouping!

For a total of 98 books since my last post!  I’ve given up counting too as I tend to read extras that tickle my fancy by the same authors.  I’ll get a good count up with my next post.  I’ll be back in a few weeks with another list, but before that I need to catch up on the daily life around here with science fairs and art shows and basketball games – oh and the crashing of my computer and the arrival of the new puppy.

More next time!

take care.