Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Break 2015

After spending most of spring break working on the renewal process for my national board certification and catching up on housework, the girls and I headed to Spokane for the weekend.  The trip was primarily prompted by Kaleia's eye doctor appointment (a separate post coming), but it was a great excuse to spend some extra time with my aunt, uncle and cousins.  

We were able to fit in a dinner and games at Chuck E Cheese's with Erica, Ryan, Titus and Micah. The next day we celebrated Micah's first birthday with the whole crew.  He is a pretty happy kid. 

We all loved his strawberry cake!

The girls lots of fun with cousins new and, board games, pretend.

We also got to meet our newest cousin, Corbin Leone. 

Baby snuggles are so relaxing after busy weeks, especially when you get to give them back when they cry. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Penguins (by Magnolia)


by Magnolia

Swish, swish, 
penguins like to glide and slide
down icy hills. 

Splish, splash, 
penguins like to swim about
deep down in the water. 

Crick, crack, 
penguins like to warm their eggs
until they hatch!

Published in the 1st grade poetry book

Friday, March 27, 2015 a car together.

Spring break and some new furniture inspire a joint car-making effort.
Tinkering under the hood
Click below to see more pictures and to watch the girls tell you about their car.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Chore Chart Modifications

When I woke up this morning, I went to create the day's jobs and I found this:

I'm not sure when this modification was made. Last I looked, Kaleia did have all of her jobs crossed off yesterday. The name is definitely written by Kaleia, but the Play! and smiley face look more like Maggie's writing. A combined effort? Are they sending me a message? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Cozy Cage for Tiger

Kaleia has grown especially fond of this key chain tiger, perhaps because he is small enough for her to take to school with her each day. This afternoon, she spent much of her free time building him a cage in the garage. She and Maggie worked together to saw the pieces using the vice and clamps. Maggie grew tired of the project and left Kaleia to put it together on her own. Several times her frustrated sighs or exclamations of "Drats!" drew me to her workbench to lend a hand. I helped remove a bent nail, then with a sighed "Thank you" she got back to work...until the next one. Lacking hinges for a lid/door, she added a hook to attach his keyring to so he wouldn't escape. Finally, Kaleia added the necessary comforts and decor.

Word of the Week: Exstinker

Exstinker (noun):  a portable device that discharges a jet of water, foam, gas, or other material to extinguish a fire.
"Why do we have the exstinker out?" -- Kaleia (5),  asked while we continue melting wax off our pysanky

Pysanky Eggs by Magnolia Rush

On Sunday, my family went to our friend Thomaida's house and we made pysanky. Pysanky are eggs that you draw on with bee's wax and then you dye them. Then you cover the parts you want to stay the dye color with more wax and you dye it a new color. When you are finished decorating, you melt off the bee's wax with a candle and wipe it with a paper towel revealing all of the colors. This is Thomaida's favorite part.  

When I had done the whole process and was melting the bee's wax off my egg, my paper towel caught on fire! Then the burning paper towel fell on my lap. Papa flinged it on to the floor and stomped the fire out. In the process, I fell backward in my chair (Ahhh!) and my second egg broke! After that some people cleaned up the yoke from the egg and the burnt paper towel. After the fire was gone and the yoke was cleaned up, I laughed for a very long time! It was crazy and everyone was talking about it for the rest of the night.

It was a fun night.  Click below to see more pictures.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Adult Mail

This morning I shared with the girls over breakfast that the recent letters they mailed to family members had been received and that the recipients loved them.

To this news, Magnolia starts laughing, "Of course! Because they are grownups and basically all they get is bills, bills, bills!"

So true.

If you need a break from bills, bills, bills, let my little letter writers know.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Wonder Week (by Kaleia)

Wonder Week is a time when you do lots of things that are hard working and you go with a teacher and get to go on the school bus to somewhere.

Click below for more details

Friday, March 20, 2015

Experiential Days (by Magnolia)

Experiential days are when you go to experience something you don't do in a regular day at school for four days. And what I did for experiential days is "We love Animals." "We love Animals" is where you learn about animals. My teacher was the fourth grade teacher who is also named Maggie. 
Click to read more about my Experiential Days

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It's alive!

"Mama! Mama! Look at the dead bug we found! Oh, wait...It's alive!" There are so many exciting things on the ground that we grown-ups take for granted.
We're curious and have decided to collect some data. Use the poll to the right to share with us what you call this bug. If your choice is not listed, leave us a comment. 

Web Week 2015

One of my favorite things about working at an independent school is the freedom to pause and do something different. Our school demonstrates its value of experiential learning by dedicating the week before spring break to learning outside the traditional classroom walls. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

How to Bake a Cake (by Magnolia)

How to Bake a Cake

by Magnolia

First you take the batter and stir it around.

Swish, Swish

Get a pan.


Pour the batter into the pan.

Splish, splash.

And bake it in the oven.

Cook. Cook.

Tick, tock,

Goes the clock.

The cake is all ready.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Divers by Kaleia

Recently, Kaleia's class had a publishing party. They have been working on authoring and illustrating stories of their own for some time. We've heard Kaleia share enthusiastically about these works in-progress and how she longed to bring them home to share. Normally noncompetitive, she surprised us with, "Today, we got to read out books with a partner at the publishing party. (My reading partner) only had one book to read and I had FOUR!" She is very proud of her work. We hope you enjoy the author reading below. Watch for more books by Kaleia in the near future. 

Click below to view close-up pictures of Kaleia's book.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Myself (by Magnolia)


                               by Magnolia

Magic making friendship powers,
Afraid of the scary black dark,
Good at having great fun times
Not enough of fun play time,
Orange is always so wonderful,
Loves a great organizations,
I love good playtime,
Always loves a game of freeze tag.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Student-Led Conferences and the Return of Rushcapades!

"Hello, Mama and Papa. I want to thank you for coming to my conference."

Her first student-led conference, and not surprisingly, Magnolia works through her checklist articulately, sharing her self-assessment, friendship reflection, and samples of her written work and handwriting. She directs us to recognize her growth, asks us for specific support to assist her in further learning, and shares her goal for the remainder of the year. Is this girl really seven?! My mama-eyes swell with pride at her confidence and growth.

At the end of the conference, Magnolia asks if we have a goal for her--we had been instructed to bring one.

We do. But a little background first.

Always an avid reader, Magnolia entered first grade hesitant to write, inhibited by spelling. This year, though, she has blossomed into a passionate writer, empowered by best gess sownd speling. She loves poetry, punctuation, capitalization, onomatopoeia, and especially the writing process.  From memory, she can explain the importance of each stage: prewrite - draft - revise - edit - publish. She loves to find and fix mistakes--like her Papa--and she loves to "add juicy details."

However, for whatever reason, she does NOT like publishing. Maybe rewriting in her neatest handwriting is boring? Maybe staple binding loose leaf paper is frustrating? Or maybe her passion for editing creates a feeling of the work never quite being done?

Whatever the case, to support Magnolia's passion for writing and encourage her to overcome her resistance to publishing, one of our goals is for Magnolia to share a piece of writing on our blog each week.

She loves the idea!

Selfishly, it is kind of a goal for me too -- along with some motivation and accountability!

Blogging is good for my soul, but it has been hard to find time the last few years. Currently, I have over 100 blog drafts in limbo. (Hmm, maybe I do know where she gets her resistance to publishing...) I may never get around to posting them all, but I'm hoping to at least start capturing some of our Rushcapades again.

Please support us by commenting and giving friendly nudges if we fall behind. And forgive any mistakes as we try to let go of worrying about being perfect in order to be published. As Brian likes to say, "Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good."