Art Vistas Lesson 4

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    I had another art lesson with Logan’s class today.  We have been so busy lately that I felt rushed last week trying to prepare for this one; fortunately I managed to get out from work early one day to go to school and get the supplies ready.

    Today, I arrived at the Art Vistas room to load up the cart, then as I wheeled to the classroom, I said hi to Logan and a few of his classmates while they were having lunch.  I had six moms volunteer to help and I prepared them quickly before the class returned.  When the kids were back and we were getting started, one of the girls came up to me to give me a rainbow loom bracelet and put it on for me.  She is a sweet girl that often gives me hugs.  I was so happy to receive her gift.

     Then the lesson began.  This was a fun lesson as the kids could use paint brushes and paint, and do they love to paint!  I reviewed previous lesson materials with them first, then moved on to the new topic, the value, which represents the lightness and darkness of a color.  We learned about tints (adding white to the color) and shades (adding black).  The kids were eager to answer questions.  Then we started our hands-on project by making a value scale as practice.  I showed the kids step by step how to mix in the colors with the overhead.  The kids were very diligent with mixing in white and black, and the scales came out quite nice.  Afterward we moved on to painting "monochromatic clowns" by using one color with its values.  Again, I walked them through drawing the face and the eyes, then they continued painting the rest of the clowns on their own.  The kids painted some creative one of a kind clowns, and the results were awesome.  It was hectic at times when the excitement became so high that it was too loud for me to talk through them, so the teacher needed to calm the class down.  One kid cried at the end when she wanted to paint more.  I had a few incidences of saying or almost saying “toothbrush” instead of “paint brush”, but other than that the lesson went well and we were on time.  The parents helped clean out the room and the supplies, so we could wrap up quickly.

    Logan did fine today.  He asked some random questions initially instead of answering my questions to the group.  But with the project, he did well.  He called out “Mommy, help me!” aloud a few times, but he was the first to finish painting the clown.  And with the papers I gave the class for free paint later, he painted another clown and castle.  He was quite speedy today.



Ball Machine

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   We went to play some tennis this morning.  Four of us started with the usual pairing and we hit the balls for awhile.  Connor enjoyed it the most when I stood next to him and dropped the balls for him to swing his racquet.  He had some good hits with this method.  After awhile, the kids wanted to take a snack and they had fun playing with each other on the sideline.  They finally returned to play with us but they were goofing around by then.  Rather than hitting from the far court, Stuart decided to toss the balls from half court to them to change things up.  The boys seemed to enjoy it as they had a better chance of hitting the balls.  Later I switched with Stuart and he became the ball boy to get more exercise.  I started rewarding the boys with more tosses if they were in a good position and had a good swing.  The boys enjoyed being challenged and were more motivated.  Their swings got better.  Logan made contact with almost all the tossed balls and the hits started to improve.  Connor improved on his contact and had some good hits too.  I was tossing to them as soon as they were ready again, so we were speeding up a bit.  They were so into it that they did not want us to stop until Stuart got tired of running around the court and my arm had become sore.  We must have been out on the court for over an hour and a half, and done a hundred tosses.  We will have to continue this trend.


Piano Class

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    I decided to sign Connor up for a piano class.  I thought it will be nice to learn to play piano the proper way as we now have a keyboard that Stuart purchased a while back.  Also with Connor’s age, a parent needs to accompany him, and as I have no music knowledge at all, I was curious to learn a little something too.  Connor had never asked to take lessonsimage, but he did not mind once he found out it was going to happen.  After Logan’s basketball and snack time on Saturday, Connor and I drove off to the recreation center.  We were the first to arrive and met the instructor first, then three other kids, along with their parents, joined us.  The kids tried the keyboards and colored the workbooks when told.  They learned the finger numbers and learned about low and high sounds.  They listened to the tunes the instructor played.  All the kids participated and listened to the instructor quite well.  I felt like we had learned quite a lot in 45 minutes.  We also have been given a home assignment and were told that we will have to practice 5-10 minutes a day at home.  I guess I did not realize what we had gotten ourselves into, but Connor had fun so far.

In the Gondola

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Point Guard?

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    It was Logan’s second basketball game of the season on Saturday.  We had missed a game and a practice last weekend, but Stuart had warmed Logan up a bit on Friday after school with some shooting around.  On Saturday, the game started as usual where Logan stayed with the team but was not assertive.  Connor and I took a walk, but when we returned around the second himagealf, Stuart told us that Logan was doing better.  The teammates were passing the balls more, and once Logan had the ball, he became a bit more assertive.  Then I witnessed it myself.  Logan worked harder on defense and got closer under the basket to attempt rebounds.  I saw two passes that he received; he dribbled them down the court which was very different from the past where he would pass it right off to a teammate.  When he got to the other end, he did not attempt a basket but he passed them on nicely to his teammates to make the basket.  It was great to see more energy from Logan.  He was happy to receive praise from us too.

Tahoe (Part 2)

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image     It was another day of waking up earlier despite a late night for the boys.  We hung out in the bedroom to read (me) and play on Tablet (Logan) until all of us were up.  Then we headed out to say bye to the Tsaos and the Kaos who were getting ready for another ski day.  Since our plan was to hang out in the village, we could take our time in the house until the shops were opened.  At 10am, we drove over to park at Harrah’s and walked around the town.  Then we arrived at the ice skating rink.  The boys were curious looking at the skaters, but they both declined to try it.  As we were walking away, I talked more with Connor and he changed his mind.  At the same time, Stuart motivated Logan with the promise of some tokens, and to our surprise, Logan accepted the offer.  Since we had lots of belonging, Stuart was the one chosen to go in with the boys.  We decided one kid at a time and Logan did not mind to be the first.  Logan looked tense initially and held on to the railing around the entire rink, but he remained with a smile on his face.  While Logan and Stuart were doing another loop, Connor asked repeatedly when he could go in, and so I got him ready.  By the time Stuart and Logan skated around, I wanted to switch kids and give Logan a break.  However he wanted to stay in and was ok staying by himself as Stuart would be with Connor.  Connor had fun despite his feet being slipping around.  All three of them stumbled around the rink few more times before they came out for a break.  Logan was finally tired and done then, but Connor wanted another round before we wrapped up ice skating.  They had fun.

     We walked over next door to a pizza joint for lunch.  We spent a lovely time there eating while listening to live music at the patio.  After being relaxed for awhile, Stuart realized he was tired from skating, so we slowly headed back.  When we arrived at the arcade at Harrah’s, we kept our promise to let the boys play in there.  Stuart got a bunch of tokens; we split up and the boys had fun playing at different machines.  Connor played a fishing game and caught the lobster in a treasure box which led to a big win of 500 tickets.  Connor and I were thrilled watching the tickets keep coming out from the machine.  At the end, the boys traded in all their tickets to select their prizes.

    We returned to the house and took a nap, then the second half of the fun day began.  The kids ran around the house playing tablets or foosball while Mckayla worked patiently on her art and craft project with a little bit of assistance from me.  We had another good homemade dinner prepared by Dave, Ted, Theresa and Martin.  This time we split up to have an adult table and kid table, and there were lots of giggling came out from both tables.  After dinner, the kids paired up and settled down to play Tablets nicely.  At some point, we got the kids down to beds.  The rest of kids were tired and down quietly, but ours were having a difficult time so Stuart stayed in the room with them for awhile.

    The adults played a couple rounds of pool then we decided to move on to poker.  Dave, Ted, Martin, Stuart and I played while Michelle, Theresa and Robyn were our audience.  Snacks and drinks were accompanying us again.  It was a great fun playing and chatting.  At the end it came down to Dave and I; we had a very close game and I was lucky enough to get a “Flush” eventually to take the win.  With that, we all returned to our rooms to end the night.  I was still quite hyper and so I read while Stuart watched a video; we both went down quite late.

   On Monday we all gathered in the morning and had our breakfast.  Then it was time to pack up to check out earlier.  While the adults were busy, the kids played with the remaining unpacked Tablets.  Some cute moments were captured with cameras.  By 9am, we all packed up and ready to go.  We said goodbye to everyone and ended this fun-filled weekend trip.  We caravanned back to the Bay Area with the Kaos, and grabbed a dim sum lunch before we finally parted with them.  As soon as we returned home, the boys were excited to play a Xbox game together while Stuart washed the car and I unpacked.  I was so exhausted the rest of the day as if the last three late nights finally caught up to me, but the trip was well worth it.

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