Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fifth Grader in the House!

Today was Ruslana's first day of school.  She's the big one on campus--a 5th grader!  Since we moved over the summer it was not only her first day in a new grade, it was also the first day at a new school.  Had it been me, I would've been scared and nervous all summer.  But not Ruslana!  This brave little girl loves school and even had a countdown to the first day.

Here she is--ready to go!
"Oh mom.  Pictures?  Really?!"  (R)
"Yep. Now let me see your backpack." (J)
"Mom, we are NOT doing this at school." (R)
"Yeah, yeah...OK give me a 5 for 5th grade!" (J)
Mark and Ruslana off to change the world
I'll admit, Ruslana may not have had nerves on her first day of school, but I did!  I couldn't wait to pick her up and hear how it went.  I let out a sigh of relief when she ran up to me with a big smile on her face.  She said, "it was great!!!" PHEWF!  She told me that she was the only student that was able to finish all the times tables in the allotted time, she played handball and soccer at recess, and even had her beloved P.E.  And, she liked her teacher and the kids were nice.  All in all, I'd say it was a very successful day.  It looks like it's going to be a great year and I can't wait to see her continued growth!

California Science Center

Ruslana's favorite subject is math, and her least favorite subject is science.  I think part of her preference is because she is still learning English.  Science is, after all, heavy on reading and full of words not often use in everyday conversation.  Regardless of the reason why, I wanted to show her that science could be fun.  So, we took a little trip to the California Science Center.  I mean, how could my daredevil of a daughter resist their bicycle on a high wire?

Well, turns out little miss math pants had a BLAST doing hands-on science.  She was zooming from each exhibit grinning ear to ear.  Here are some photos from the day:
Pedaling to see which lightbulb required the least amount of power
Scoping (pun intended) outside
On a snowmobile (to the left was an all ice wall)
Levi said hi to everyone who passed and
pondered the chemical makeup of Puffs
Trying out a hang glider simulator
Ruslana the rock climber 
And just as I suspected, she loved the bicycle on a high wire (3 stories up).
This girl is crazy.  And I love it! 

The scientists for the day
And since we were across from the Coliseum,
we had to send dad (who was out of town) a
victory shot.  Fight on!
All in all, it was a very successful and fun day.  Hopefully now that she's seen science applied in different ways she will enjoy it a little more this year.

And as a parting gift to you, I leave you with this video of "She Blinded Me With Science."  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Levi's 1st Birthday Party

Levi had his first birthday party on July 19, the day after his birthday.

Prior to the celebration, each guest received his/her invitation in a message in a bottle:
At the party, I tried to keep things simple but with a few cute touches.
We had a chalkboard sign on display (purchased here), giving guests an insight of Levi's personality at age one: 
The napkins were closed with twine and a lifesaver: 
and my mom made the most incredible fruit basket!  She put ground graham crackers on the bottom of a sand pail to look like sand,  and cut fruit into fish shapes, number 1's, and even had his name spelled out!  Way to go, mom!
We had a great time spending the day with our immediate family and my closest friends:

Ruslana had a blast playing with everyone.  Here are a few shots of her with my dad, her grandpa.  He's one brave (and fun!) guy to get in that cold ocean on an overcast day!  
Guests were extremely generous and brought a pile of gifts for the birthday boy.  He loved opening them and wanted to play with each one as soon as he opened it! 

After presents, we sang "Happy Birthday" and he had his first birthday cake:

We are so thankful for our precious one year old and everyone who came to celebrate his special day.