Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Break Day 8

Can you put kids on Craigslist? Would that be wrong? I have two I would trade for just about anything. I think there must be some sort of settling in period before summer break actually becomes somewhat pleasant and manageable. We are not there yet.

Today's class went great again. The two kids came back! Phew! Cooper was so relieved. My favorite part of Coop's very serious instruction is when he says, " When I was younger... ."
Totally cracks me up.

Their favorite part was making pop-up books but the paper airplanes were a close second.

Summer Break Day 7

Coop decided he wanted to offer an arts and crafts class for the neighborhood kids. He created the flyer on the computer, I helped him touch it up a bit and he hand-delivered them to about 6 kids. He charged $5 for 4 classes, one hour each. He is donating the proceeds to the Rollingstone School iPad Fundraiser.

Two neighborhood kids "registered" for his class (via text message, of course.) That's what we do, right? If I ran into the moms that replied I wouldn't know them from Eve but we are cyber-connected, for sure. Sad, I know. Maybe I will invite them over on the last day of class. Nah, then I would have to get dressed. And they would, too.


On our way home from Iowa we stopped in my hometown metropolis, Hokah, MN, for a graduation party. The party was at a mini golf course (only in Hokah would this happen) so Gramsie treated the boys to a round. They had a super great time smacking the ball around and didn't even hurt anybody.

The highlight, of course, was Kyle hitting a hole in one and getting the prized trophy. Two things I should point out, 1) The trophy is from a track and field meet, I think and 2) Cam is ticked off that he didn't get a trophy.

The pot of gold is at our neighbor's house.

I know I post a lot, A LOT, of pictures of sunsets. Get over it. It's one of the few things in life that take my breath away. And it happens right outside my window.

Happy Father's Day! They look bored because the Steamboat Day's Parade is about 6 hours long.

Summer Break Day 6

Here's Cooper's favorite thing to do while camping. Yep, he sits in his chair and draws intricate maps.

There can be no camping without s'mores. It just wouldn't be right.

Summer Break Day 5

 On Thursday it was hot and steamy so we trekked over to the pool. The water was chilly so Cam sunned himself to stay warm.

It was fun hanging out but the best part was watching Jodi and Salesa (SILs) go down the water slides. I was content just getting charbroiled.

Coop is not much of a pool guy so he went adventuring with grandpa to the nearby pioneer village. This is the antique display. His favorite part was watching the blacksmith in action.

Cam had his big ole crabby pants on at Red Robin (Yuuummmmmmm) that night. He behaved so badly it was downright embarrassing.

To entertain ourselves after dinner we watched Brydon slurp on limes. He didn't like them but kept wanting more.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Break Day 4

Today we were off to the John Deere plant. The boys had fun sitting on the big tractors.

Cam tries his hand at driving the shovel. It was way harder than it looks.

Cam loves hanging out with his Uncle Jakester.

I wish I could explain this but I really can't. I have no idea what possesses grown men to throw open a hood and then stare at the engine like it's Miss January. Very bizarre.

Summer Break Day 3

Still in the Quad Cities camping. Today we did some sight-seeing. We drove on to Rock Island to check out the arsenal. The whole process is like trying to get into the Oval Office. Snarky guards made for some good conversaton later, though. We finally were allowed on to the island after some discussion. Apparently, we are a security risk.

 The little brothers and Corey's niece and nephew dressed up in period garb for some cute photos.

Kyle was in awe of all the guns. The arsenal was right up his alley.

Coop loves hanging out with his little cousin, Brydon. He is a fine caregiver.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Break Day 2

It's fun to be with cousins!

Summer Break Day 1

It's summer. Exciting.

Friday, June 8, 2012

One last goodbye...

And our final goodbye was at Goodview School. It was tough, I must say. Because it is an open school (no walls), GV School has an environment that fosters friendships. I have made many. From the secretary to the para-profs to the school janitor. So many wonderful people. GV School was a part of my life back in the early 90s so I was thrilled that my own sons would call GV their school. Until now. We have moved to a new home, in a new neighborhood and Kyle will be heading off to a new school to make new friends.

Kyle leaving his friends makes me very sad. I know he will be okay but I also know that he will miss his best buddy, Jayden, a whole lot. Kyle and Jayden looked out for each other in a really sweet kind of way. See you at the Middle School, Jayden. 

 Kyle's teacher Mrs. Gilliland (formerly known as Stephanie until she became Kyle's teacher) has been a great fit for Kyle this year. He has had a fantastic year and under Mrs. G.'s tutelage has blossomed both academically and socially. We have known Mrs. G. for a few years now but only as Stephanie so it was pretty weird for Kyle to be all official with her. I think he handled it very well. I, personally, will miss the communication with Mrs. G. and weekly tidbits and anecdotes regarding Kyle's behavior. She has blessed Kyle and our family and we are grateful to call her not only teacher, but friend, as well. Hoping for a few sightings next year at Jeff. Thank you, Mrs. G.,  For being a teacher.

 It was sad to say goodbye to V, Kyle's classmate and cousin. My cousin Rog is moving his family to Arizona and it will be hard not to see them on a regular basis. We love you all and will miss you very much. Please come back and visit.

How can I say goodbye to GV without an adios to my buddies Zane and Mrs. K.? Coop and Zane are in the same grade and we have gotten to be good buds over the years. Zane's crazy para is Mrs. K. I will miss picking on you both and laughing and joking and just being silly with you. You always make me smile. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me. I will miss you both dearly.

I know sliding into 2nd grade is scary, Kyle, but you will be okay. Goodbye GV School, thanks for the memories.

Cry Fest Part 3

Yet another end of the year event presented itself as a crying opportunity. Truth be told I was crying before the graduation ceremony even started. My treasure of a 5 year old was with me and kept staring at me and then would reach over and wipe my tears. So cute but so embarrassing. So Cooper graduated from 4th grade and is off to the Middle School in the Fall. Wow.

After Dr. Nelson shared that Coop wanted to be a civil engineer when he grew up, Coop received a congratulatory handshake from his amazing teacher, Mr. Paulsen.

Graduating is exhausting.

Mr. Paulsen has been just the right guide, teacher, supporter and encourager of Coop this year. Coop might possibly be a mini version of Mr. Paulsen. I think they will both miss each other very much. Thank you Mr. Paulsen for being a teacher.

Cry Fest Part 2

Our next goodbyes came at our Early Childhood Family Education class, otherwise known as ECFE. We have been a part of the ECFE family for 9 years. The ECFE staff has been a tremendous gift to our family. I have learned so much and my kids have been nurtured and educated by some amazing teachers.

My first introduction to ECFE was when these two wonderful ladies from Early Childhood Special Education came to our house to help ease our concerns about Cooper's developmental delay in crawling and walking. They told me about parenting classes and well, the rest is history.

At ECFE, I met the one and only Katy Smith and Barbi Bell. Thanks to Barbi, Cooper learned to cope with his social anxiety and today is quite a conversationalist. Thanks to Katy, I have learned to cope with challenges as a parent and often get through trials by asking myself, "WWKS?" (What would Katy say?)

Katy has been in Cam's life since the day he was born. It has been a great joy to call her teacher and friend.

Here are the 3 students, but here is...

...the graduate! I finally graduated from ECFE. I was no valedictorian but I may have top 10 honors in the class clown category. Thanks for being a lighthouse in my life. (Please note that only one of us has considerably grayer hair.)

Cry Fest Part 1

Well, it's time to get on with it, I suppose. That wonderfully exciting, yet horribly sad time of the year when we say goodbye to so many amazing people that we have grown to love and cherish. This year was particularly difficult with so many goodbyes that won't become hellos in the fall. Cameron ended the Hancock family's 7 year run at Redeemer Preschool.

On the surface, this appears to be a picture of Cam with his friend, Alex, however, I must confess that Alex is really MY friend. Would it be weird to cut Cam out and photoshop myself in? Yeah, you're right. I had the honor of subbing in the classroom several times this year and I'm sorry, Corey, but I have a new love. When Alex blurts out, "Mrs. Hancock will you play wif me?" my heart melts like a Hershey's kiss in the Sahara. In fact, Alex's mom told me that he has two loves, Jillian and Mrs. Hancock. At his home, he talks about me all the time. Ah, to be so loved and adored. I will miss you immensely, little friend.

We had the great honor of learning from the founder, Mrs. Flesch, who died a few years ago. She was an amazing lady and I miss her very much. While several teachers have come and gone, Mrs. Norton has been at the preschool every year that the boys have been there and we are so grateful for her love and care. Although I will miss seeing Mrs. Norton every day, I am excited that I will get to see her on the golf course on Thursday nights. Thank you for giving my three sons a solid educational foundation and a love for learning. We will miss you dearly.

Partying with Graduates

The wonderful JBD, who I have had the privilege of knowing since he was just a wee one, graduated from CHS this year. This young man is one of the kindest, sweetest young men you will ever meet. He hugged me at least 4 times at his party and thanked me profusely for helping. May the road rise up to meet you, our Irish friend.

Another party took us to Oronoco where we celebrated with a Pine Island graduate. I have known Marcus since he was born and we are so grateful to have stayed connected with him and his family even after they moved from Winona. Do great things, young man.

We had to rush off from the grad party to make it back for Cooper's recital. He did a fine job playing a 3 minute song he composed himself. His playing moves me. Keep playing, my son. You have a wonderful gift.

Building a Wall

Corey is building two retaining walls. The first one is well under way. The boys like to help and fortunately my husband was born with a tremendous amount of patience.

They love to wield a shovel and be part of the process. Way to go, sons!

Future Hall of Famer?

At catcher, Number 7, playing for the Rollingstone Rox, Kyyyyyyllllllle Hannnnnncock! (Crowd roars)

Is he cute or what?!

Yesterday afternoon after golfing I raced off to Ridgeway to watch the Rox. Golfing with my BFF is definitely in the top 3 of my favorite things to do but watching Kyle play baseball is very close behind. Kyle has a great enthusiasm for the game of baseball. I mean, how could anyone possibly be happy wearing all that catcher's gear in the heat and humidity of a Minnesota summer evening?

During the game, Kyle gives us all a thumbs up... Before he bats, while standing on 1st base, while playing defense and even while catching behind the plate. That's our secret signal Kyle gives us to let us know that life is really good. (Not so secret any more.) I'm really surprised I don't have a photo to prove it. Next time. Although Kyle has learned a ton about baseball this past month, we realized he still has a few basics to learn when he got in the van after the last game and announced excitedly, "The kid before me got out last this game so I get to be up first the next game!" Oh, well. Anyway, he is a joy to watch and I selfishly hope he plays baseball for a really long time. Stick around Coach Smith...

Memorial Day Weekend

Every Memorial Day Weekend (for several years now) we travel to Flandrau State Park in New Ulm, MN. We meet up with many of Corey's family members and several friends of Corey's family. It is a fun group that seems to be outgrowing the evening campfires. There is biking...

And bathing of Baby Brydon...

And cooking camper pies... and swimming, and chalk drawing and hiking and game playing and ball tossing and stroller pushing and dog walking...

At the end of the weekend, it's hard to leave.