Monday, August 28, 2017
Last week I was walking to the kitchen and saw something swimming in the pond behind the house. I thought maybe it was an otter, but the way it was moving was different than I'd seen before. I grabbed my telephoto lens and went outside to get a picture and it went underwater when it saw me. I waited a bit and when it came up I was pretty sure it was a gator. I took some pics and when I zoomed in on the picture I could see for certain it was a gator. It swam away from me, across the pond, and it never came out of the water so I couldn't tell exactly how big it was. We've been much more cautious letting Chloe out after seeing it. Andrea spotted it one more time that day, but we haven't seen it over the weekend and hopefully it's moved on to another pond.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 6:22 AM
Monday, August 21, 2017
Today (August 21, 2017) was the first full solar eclipse visible since February of 1979. Our town was not in the direct path of the shadow, but we were up to 90% eclipse. The eclipse happened to occur right when schools were scheduled to release kids for the day and the schools freaked out and were worried that the kids would stare at the sun and go blind. As a result, any absences were excused and we decided to keep Connor and Paige home.
There was eclipse mania all over America and I wasn't able to find any eclipse glasses on Amazon or anywhere that would arrive on time. Thankfully Andrea found some on OpticsPlanet and we were able to get a shipment on time for the big day.
Unfortunately, as is typical this time of year, it started raining in the afternoon. I knew that around 2:45pm was the highlight of the eclipse in our area, but it was still raining pretty hard and I was super bummed out. I went to my office and pouted, but Andrea yelled for me that there was a little sunlight coming through one of the windows. Through some miracle there was a parting in the clouds at the perfect moment. We all ran out front and saw the eclipse through the glasses. It was definitely a bit more yellow and sunset-like lighting at that moment. It would have been nice to have a clear sky to see how different the lighting really was, but I'm thankful we at least all got to see it today.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 1:00 PM
Connor and Paige play pretty well together and recently they've gotten back in to Minecraft. We've played some survival together, but they also both love the creative aspect of the game. It is pretty amazing to see what they are able to put together in three dimensions. It's also neat to see Connor express himself with art in this way. Paige likes to color, sculpt, draw, and paint. Connor doesn't like to do much artwork, but something about the Minecraft medium is fun for him and he'll spend hours putting together all kinds of things.
The other day they saw a Youtube video where people would have a time limit and contest to build some things in Minecraft and they decided to play the same way together. They first created a couple of boundary boxes and were only allowed to build inside the box. Then, they set a timer for 15 minutes and built inside the box based on the theme, within the time limit.
They built farms, a wedding venue, a beach, and a campground. It was so cute I had to take a video of them giving us a tour.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 9:45 AM
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Today, we worked on Connor's "All About Me" school project. The assignment was to put together a poster that would show things about the student to help everyone get to know them. Connor had four sections for his poster, and he picked the pictures and what to put on it. Andrea and I helped with printing pictures and with printing out some of the bigger words so it would be nice and neat, and planning what captions to write.
Connor did a nice job with everything and I was especially happy to see that he really wanted to put pictures of his family and sister on the poster. I was cutting out the black and white picture when he was a newborn and he said "Wait, don't cut out you and Mommy!". I was also surprised that he included a picture from when he was in kindergarten holding Paige's hand. He's such a sweet brother to her.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 2:00 PM
Saturday, August 12, 2017
This week was the first day of school for Connor and Paige. Connor is starting 5th grade and Paige is starting 2nd. We did our pictures of the kids looking cute out front and then they got on the bus and started their day. Unfortunately, the bus driver is new and tried to be polite to the many cars that were getting backed up behind him. He pulled off the road to let people pass him, in the exact same spot as the bus driver last year and got the bus stuck. Another bus got dispatched and the kids transferred to the new bus and finally got to school about 20 minutes late. It wasn't the best start to their day, but thankfully the rest of their day went smoothly.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 4:29 PM
Thursday, August 10, 2017
On Wednesday, August 9th 2017, we went to meet the teachers for the new school year. We started with Paige's classroom and picked up her school supplies when we arrived.
Paige's teacher Ms. Mills seems very experienced and organized. Paige was lucky to have a few of her classmates from last year in her class. We unpacked some of her things and talked to her teacher briefly.
Connor is starting 5th grade and they're trying something new this year. His homeroom and main teacher is Mr. Zerrahn, but he also is splitting time between a couple of other teachers. For Math he has Ms. Barnette, and Language Arts is with Ms. DeGrasse. It is an interesting change this year, and since middle school will have 7 different teachers, it's probably good that they are introducing the concept of multiple teachers to the kids.
After meeting everyone, we went to the beach club for lunch. Connor's been begging for the chicken soft tacos and we decided to celebrate the start of the new school year with some milkshakes.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 6:56 AM
Sunday, August 6, 2017
On Friday, Connor and Paige went to their last days of summer camp. Connor did the neighborhood tennis camp and Paige went to the PVIC beach club camp. We were worried Connor's tennis camp would be canceled on the last day since it was drizzling a little and Andrea's tennis camp got canceled. Thankfully Connor's camp didn't get rained out and he got to play with his buddies and see everyone for the last day.
Paige went to her beach club camp and had another wonderful day. She has made a bunch of friends and the camp counselors are all so sweet and adore Paige.
Paige also made friends with a little 5 year old named Nate, who loves to play "puppies" with her in the pool. He pretends to be a puppy and Paige is the owner.
After camp, Paige got a little sad and she teared up a bit. Apparently all the counselors were a little emotional about it too since some of them are seasonal and would be going back to college after summer.
Overall, the kids had an amazing summer. Andrea did an awesome job finding entertaining camps and activities for them, and they were never bored. It's interesting to hear their perspective though. They had some summer homework assigned for their upcoming school year, and they did a little at the beginning of summer, but didn't get it finished. Now that summer's almost over, we have been checking on the work and insisting they finish on time. Connor is acting like it's the worst thing in the world and wrote on a piece of paper that this was the worst summer ever. We talked to both of the kids about their summers and to help them remember all the good times we have had together, and then had them make lists of the things they liked this summer.
Paige's list wasn't too long, but she had some good memories on it.
Connor struggled a bit with the assignment and the first couple tries weren't his best effort. He put things on the list just to fill up space like "Getting Haircuts" and "Doing Math Homework". Andrea coached him through it and made him come up with 5 things in some of the major categories. It finally came together.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 5:21 PM
Andrea and her friends from JCP attended the PVIC Leach at the Beach for the third summer in a row. Sandy, Michelle, Leslie, Tara, and Anna all came, and Dorri substituted in for one day for Sandy.
The weather barely cooperated most days, and unfortunately on Friday they got rained out. It is a hot time of year to do the camp, but it's neat that they all come together once a year to play together. It was a good opportunity for Andrea to play with her old teammates and to eat lunch with everyone.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 2:04 PM
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
This past weekend we went to Orlando for some family fun time. We checked in on Friday and ate at Uno's, and then wandered around the resort for a while before bed. The staff had set up a pirate hat and sword for Connor and a crown, skirt and wand for Paige. The kids had fun battling each other with their new gear.
On Saturday, we went to the pool area and the kids spent a little time in the morning at the "Kids For All Seasons" kids area. We all went around the lazy river for a while and then Connor went to hang out with his friend Patrick from England.
Paige and Shawn took on the rock wall after lunch. The last time we visited, we didn't bring tennis shoes so weren't able to try it. This time, we came prepared and both took on the challenge. Paige is super fast and strong and was able to get up the wall pretty quickly, but got scared when she got higher up. Each time she did it she got higher and higher, and came very close to the top. I went up it twice, and it does get scary near the top. Some of the handholds near the top are a little loose, and I almost fell the first try, but I managed to catch myself.
In the afternoon, Connor hung out with a 10 and 12 year old that he met while we were waiting for a brief rainstorm to pass by.
For dinner, it was Uno's time again!
We had a fun time hanging out as a family. Thanks as always to Andrea for planning and putting our trips together, and to Grandma Alice and Grandpa Rick for watching Chloe.
Posted by Shawn Vernon at 9:15 AM