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First School Bus Ride: About a month after school started, Alex had a chance to take the school bus home. Boy, was she excited about doing that!
A "Proud-as-Punch" Kid
School started some time ago, but it wasn't till this month that Alex rode the school bus home for the very first time. It wasn't for lack of lobbying on her part.
"Mommy?" (or Daddy, depending), she'd ask, "Can I take the bus home tomorrow?"
More often than not, Alex was headed to day-care immediately after her afternoon kindergarten class, or off to swimming, or we'd pick her up on our way into town ... or some other activity. It's a rare day that she can actually ride the bus and boy-oh-boy, was she eager to do so.
Riding the bus to school isn't really an option, since the bus comes at 8 AM and her kindergarten class doesn't start till 11:35 AM. However, riding the bus from school is an option and (somehow) she knew it! She was bugging us about riding the bus since school began.
Finally, the opportunity to take the bus home came up and she was sooooo excited!
To see how excited and proud a 5-year-old can be about riding a school bus for the first time .... read on ...
Alex turns FIVE today! We're throwing her a "surprise" birthday party at a local playground, this afternoon. See a slide show of her day, which started at 6 AM, and get a dad's perspective on what he thinks of his five-year-old daughter.
Our Little Girl is Five Years Old
Yesterday morning, Alex helped Dad bake her birthday cake. She got out the eggs, butter, flour and even managed to stir up the cake batter. But what she really wanted, was to "help" decorate it.
Last night, Alex - AKA "the Oop" to family and close friends - got her chance. While Dad layered on the frosting and made a couple of colored batches for the lettering, Alex feasted on the sugary dregs. No wonder she had a hard time hitting her normal 8 PM bedtime! (Of course, Mom had to help too - *cough* with the frosting).
Alex's birthday started dark and early this morning, because Rachel is working a day shift and wakes at 5:30 AM. Alex is off to day-care today, then kindergarten, then day-care again, then "the surprise"! (Mom has planned a birthday party at "Jump'n Jimminy's", a kid's play palace in Nanaimo) Alex doesn't know anything about it! Her cousins (Toby and Ella) and her aunt are even coming over from Vancouver and will be there for the festivities!
Our little girl is five. When did that happen?
For a slide show and more details about Alex's "big day", carry on ...
Today is Alex's first full day of kindergarten, although a week ago, Alex had her first meeting with her kindergarten teacher. It was an hour-long "meet-and-greet", involving a few kindergarten kids and their parents. We all got a tour of the kindergarten room and Alex got to meet a few of her classmates. Oh boy! Alex starts SCHOOL!
These are Exciting Times for Alex!
Today is Alex's first full day of kindergarten. One week ago, we took Alex in for her (official) first day of kindergarten, which amounted to an hour-long meet-and-greet between a few kids, their parents and the kindergarten teacher. Then, starting on Monday of this week, Alex began attending kindergarten, but it was only for one-half the time (one hour, instead of two and a half) and with only half of the class.
The new way appears to "ease in the kids into kindergarten". I guess some kids have a difficult time being away from home, in many cases, for the first time.
Not Alex. She is hugely excited about kindergarten and loves going. When I picked her up yesterday afternoon, she explained that there were, "So many kids there, dad!" (Alex loves people, so will have no problem adjusting to school.)
She even has "homework" to do, every day (including weekends)!
For more about Alex's kindergarten class, her very first day, the teacher and even a slide show about "A Day at Kindergarten" ... use your "inside mouse" and click "Read Full Story"
Alex stayed with maternal grandparents, during our recent canoeing adventure on the Bowron Lakes. They took her camping to Watch Lake, in the southern Cariboo Mountains of central British Columbia (not too far from where we were). Alex went on her first horseback ride! See the nice photo scrapbook that her grandmother made for her (viewed in the new AstonishMe! Photo Gallery)
Grandparents Take Alex Camping
Mom and Dad couldn't have gone on their 6-day canoeing adventure on the Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit if maternal grandparents hadn't been willing to look after Alex, during this time. Alex had fun in Vancouver, but it was the camping trip to Watch Lake, near 100-mile House, that Alex really enjoyed.
"Gran" and Grandpa took Alex in their Volkswagen Westfalia camping van to a recreation area in central British Columbia, just a few hours south of where Mom and Dad were canoeing on the Bowron Lakes. The area is in the Southern Cariboo Mountains and is renown for fishing, wildlife and contains a plethora of small lakes. Apparently, they've been visiting Watch Lake and staying at the Watch Lake Lodge cabins and/or campground, for years. It's the kind of place that fosters a long-term relationship with customers, reminding me of some of the summer resorts in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.
Alex enjoyed swimming, horseback riding, campfires, playing with other kids, playing games, feeding the ducks, walking the dog, eating roasted marshmallows and a BUNCH of other things!
Her "Gran" took lots of pictures and made Alex a scrapbook of her time at Watch Lake. It was very well done and Alex decided she wanted to share it. (It doesn't hurt that my AstonishMe! mate, ¥åßßå, has nearly finished the alpha-release of a very spiffy bit of jQuery-based photo gallery code!)
To see Alex's scrapbook at Watch Lake (and a cool online photo gallery) ... sally forth!
IKEA Svala Checkerboard Table Project: Alex got an IKEA "Svala" table from her grandparents. Most IKEA furniture must be put together and a finish applied. This was no different. What was different, however, was that Scott turned it into a checkerboard. (Step-by-step instructions, tips and photos are included for other do-it-yourself project types).
DIY Project for an IKEA "Svala" Children's Table
(or any other unfinished table, for that matter)
I had the idea of doing something special with an IKEA TRIVIA: What Does IKEA Mean? The popular Swedish home furnishings retailer - IKEA - has 282 stores in 36 countries (and plans on opening about 23 more stores during 2008). It was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad (17 at the time). The company name combines the first letters of the founder's name and the village in which he grew up (Elmtayrd Agunnaryd) ... hence: Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd! Now you know! Just remember it for the next time you play Trivial Pursuit! table that Alex got from her maternal grandparents, as a gift. Sure, I could have simply stained it, or applied polyurethane, but I wanted to try my hand at something slightly more fancy.
By adding a checkerboard playing surface, Alex could use the table for more than just tea parties and coloring sessions. The only question was, "What's the best way to add the checkerboard?"
The project languished, partly because of other chores and a busy schedule, but also because I was couldn't decide on the best way to proceed.
Ultimately, I flew by the seat of my pants, using a combination of spray paint, wood stain and polyurethane. I tried to add an 'antique touch' to the finished product and all-in-all, I'm pleased with the way it turned out.
I thought I'd share the steps (plus a bit of what was learned along the way and things I'd do differently) in case someone else out there wants to take on a similar project.
For step-by-step instructions and photos ... carry on brave DIYs!