Saturday, June 30, 2012

Brushes with Fame

A "welcome" self-shot by Julia:

In May, Julia sent a letter to President Obama about the rainforest. In school she learned about deforestation and the many important things that come from the rainforest.

About a month later she received a large envelope from the White House and she was beyond excited! We were hoping she would be offered a cabinet position - Secretary of Rainforest Saving - or plane tickets to the Amazon so she could personally fix things, but the things she got were nice too.

The next event came in the form of some conversations between Amanda and PR people from Children's Hospital and Great Clips. The two organizations were getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the school re-entry program. A press release was sent out to the Twin Cities media outlets and WCCO was interested in doing an interview. We stayed downtown Minneapolis on Friday night in order to make the early-morning interview easier to handle.

We didn't arrive until Friday evening so we lounged in our room and ordered pizza.

The view from the 22nd floor was a good one! Directly below us was the WCCO studio. The black door behind the giant TV was where we entered.

After getting security badges, we were shown to the Green Room. It was comfortable, but not-so-green.

It didn't bother the kids that the room title was a misnomer; they found a makeup room in the back.

It wasn't long before an intern came and took us to the studio where the interview would be. The anchor would be interviewing Amanda, Julia, and Regina - one of the people who had started the school re-entry program.

Finn did some exploring while we waited for things to get going.

The anchor came running in, everyone got mic'd, then they got started.

The 3 minute interview can be seen here. Amanda and Julia just made short comments, but it was a unique thing for us all to experience.

Back at the hotel, I posed with the kids. Then we all went swimming before heading home.

Our weekend returned to normal after that. Amanda was at a conference for the rest of the weekend and the first part of the week. I took off of work Monday and the kids and I went to the Great Clips Bubble-a-thon at Children's Hospital. Bubble machines were setup all around the tent and the kids thoroughly enjoyed playing in them.

WCCO was at the event too and one of the reporters wanted to talk to Julia and me about the specifics of how it helped Julia to have the Child Life Specialist come to her school. I was pleased that Julia got so much camera time when we watched it later that evening. You can see it here.

There were lots of activities: hair coloring, face painting, food, hula-hooping, giant bubbles, and shampoo mascots!

Our last bit of exposure was when I wrote a short blog post that was put onto the Children's Hospital's Kids' Health blog. Read it here.

A "goodbye" self-shot by Julia:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

End of School, Start of Summer

Finn and I went to Willow River State Park on a rainy day. We were prepared so the wetness and sprinkling didn't bother us. We saw a deer on a hike and a turkey while driving.

Finn enjoyed playing in the shallows while it rained. He kicked at the sand and picked up seaweed.

The boy wanted to climb a tree. I looked around until I found one that looked like it might work. Once there, he wasn't too comfortable, so he didn't stay up in it very long.

Finn had already had his pre-school end-of-the-year festivities, so now it was time for Julia's. Westside Elementary had its annual Winner's Day events. The students participate (and the older kids run) different activities. Some were class-wide competitions and others were individual events that you signed up for.

The obstacle course is always a good staple of group competitions for kids.

Sometimes parents could participate too. Julia was thrilled that I got be on her team for cup stacking.

Another event was two kids trying to fight a large ball away from the other.

One of the individual events Julia chose to do was shooting baskets. She did a good job and I was especially proud of her because she was the only girl to do that one.

She excels at jumping rope and it was a pleasure to watch her effortlessly do her thing.

Another staple: the three-legged race.

A few weeks ago we traveled to Madison to attend the wedding of my cousin, Kia. The kids posed in one of the giant chairs on the Terrace at Memorial Union.

Before the meal, the kids ventured out near the lake to check out some of UW's fauna.

Finn was able to find a good sport in his cousin Kody.

It was a good opportunity for some nice family pictures.

Julia also had an end-of-the-year Girl Scout ceremony and party.

And sometimes when Amanda takes a nap, she wakes up with some extra baggage (but she doesn't complain).