Ava was elected to student council this week! At her school, the council is comprised of fourth and fifth graders. Two are elected from each section of each class. She was pretty thrilled–most kids in her section ran, and she won on a platform that included more community service, as well as more of a focus on cats (over dogs) in the pet care drive. She saved a copy of her stump speech, which I’ll share in full soon. Congrats, Ava!
On Sunday, Uncle Tom noticed the Amtrak train was running about 12 hours behind, so instead of arriving at 5:45 am, the schedule was much more reasonable for a visit by his train-obsessed nephew. It proved to be further delayed, but Tom and Owen watched videos of train arrivals to pass the time as we waited at the depot downtown.
Owen was incredibly excited and clearly understood what was about to happen (also, he was super cute).
When the train came into view, he actually shuddered and didn’t say a word.
Owen and Tom were in good company. While there were a number of people at the depot, only one boarded—the rest were there to watch the arrival.
Owen regained his composure in just enough time to wave at a conductor and say, “Bye, bye, train,” and “Thank you, Uncle Tom.” (Indeed, thanks, Tom!)
Bryan: “Owen, what are you doing?”
Owen: “I bein’ naughty!”
Last month, we met the Smith family in South Dakota for a weeklong vacation. We stayed in the Black Hills—my first time in the southwest corner of the state. My brother-in-law Josh is from Spearfish, and served as a thoughtful guide as we visited Mt. Rushmore, Cave of the Winds and other incredibly gorgeous areas of his home state. Doug has a great photo set online–check it out here.
This might be one of my favorite shots from the entire trip—all eight cousins in a row:
The 1880s train was definitely a highlight, especially for Owen…
This was the moment he realized we were actually on a train. (The caption, obviously, is “Holy shit!”)
Thanks, Smiths, for a trip filled with unforgettable firsts!
Owen, immediately upon waking Saturday morning: “I need milk. I need a bowl of cereal.”
Olivia, to me: “Why do you always wear shoes? Shoes steal joy.”
Bryan, to the girls: “It’s not okay to fight, let alone draw blood.”
Owen, as he’s trying to remove Katie’s iPhone case: “I need that.” (Points to a hammer.)
Ava: “Mom, Owen’s doing something dangerous! Look, Dad!”
Bryan: “Owen, get down!”
Ava: “It gets worse, Dad. Watch.” (Owen tosses himself off the back of the sofa, from a standing position.)
Owen, gleefully, a moment later: “I fall down!”
Ava, after I asked her to check on her brother shortly after he showered: “Owen was just watching the neighbor mow his lawn.”
Rebecca: “On the deck? He’s naked.”
Ava: “Yes, I know. He was on the deck butt naked, watching the neighbor mow his lawn. Naked.”
Today marks the first day of school. Ava’s starting fourth grade, and Olivia first. My mom was here this morning to enjoy the blueberry pancakes, photos and general chaos.
Ava didn’t stay by our side long at school—she immediately reconnected with her girlfriends.
Here she is with her teacher and two of her very best friends. I questioned the seating arrangements, but Mom pointed out they’d likely be fixed in short order this morning.
Olivia felt a bit more trepidation than Ava. She wore the quartz necklace she gave me for Mother’s Day to calm her, and Sleeping Bunny was tucked into her backpack. She’s nervous about her teacher, and she doesn’t have many friends in her class (yet…).
I trust she’ll do just fine.