Story Land. What can one say about Story Land?
I’ll say this…Story Land is what makes New Hampshire more than just a drive-through state.
Today was Sammy’s first day of kindergarten, at the Manning Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, since Sammy’s been in daycare and preschool since he was four months old. Still, this is different.
He was a little nervous. This is only his third school, and the first time he’s gone to a new one in three years. It’s also the first time he’ll have been at school without his best friend, Charlie. Still, he’s never been a shy kid, and I have no doubt he’ll come home today with a bunch of new friends.
The school held an event last night, a picnic for the new families, hosted by the parents of the first graders. It was a great chance for Sammy to meet and play with the other kids, and for us to meet other parents and the teachers, before the frenzy of this morning. If nothing else, we all had a bunch of familiar and friendly faces greeting us today.
The Manning looks like a great community. It’s a small school, K-5, with one class per grade, and there appears to be a large group of active parents. We’re very impressed with his teachers and the principal, and the school’s focus on science and nature is right up Sammy’s alley. It seems like it will be an exciting place to learn, and that gives me great hope for the Boston Public Schools.
We’ve entered the ranks of suburban parents, with Sammy’s first soccer game this afternoon. He’s on a Division A team in Parkway Soccer, along with every other child his age in West Roxbury. Apparently, it’s just what you do, except that we didn’t know that in the spring when we had just moved here. Since he didn’t play last spring, it was a little dicey that he’d even get a spot on a team for the fall. Sammy would have been pretty disappointed, so we were pretty happy when we got an email from the coach on Thursday telling us to show up Saturday at 2:00 for the first game.
Sammy had taken soccer at the YMCA a few times. He really enjoyed it, but they played in a gym and mostly did drills designed for 3-5 year-olds. This was the first time he’d played on a team, and he did great.
Sign-up for spring T-Ball is apparently next week. We’re not gonna make the mistake of missing that one.
We took Sammy back to Futures at Fenway this year, and brought along his friend, Timmy, who lives across the street. We got there in the 5th inning of the first game, between the Lowell Spinners and the Hudson Valley Renegade. The game went into extra innings, with a walk-off victory by the Spinners, so we only lasted until the 5th inning of the second game. That one was between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Charlotte Knights, and happily, the PawSox had the game well in hand when we left.
Emma and Marjorie Bartlett, Sammy’s friends from school, were also at the game. They came to visit us for a little while, and we joined them in their seats by third base for a while as well. We were sitting right behind home plate, in the field boxes, and next to the radar guy. Don’t think we’ll ever get to sit there for a real Sox game, so I’m glad we had the opportunity.
The boys had a blast, and we’re glad Timmy could join us. I don’t think either of them needed to eat again for a week, after the hot dogs, Cracker Jack, ice cream, cotton candy, popcorn, and peanuts.
We’re back from Biarritz and London, and while it’s going to take a while to post all the good pictures, I thought I’d start with a manageable collection —the pictures that Sammy took. The first few were on the Nikon, and when we saw how much he enjoyed it, we just gave him the little Canon to use whenever we were out and about. He seems to have a fascination with feet, but overall, I was very impressed. He has a good eye for composition, and it’s great to finally have pictures of the two of us!
Sammy and I are driving home last night, past the Japanese restaurant we all like, when I start to hear some whining from the back seat.
“I want sushi. Sushi is the only thing that will make me feel better.”
“Feel better? What’s wrong?” I ask. “Why do you feel bad?”
“I feel bad,” he says, “because it’s been so long since I’ve had sushi.”
What kind of five-year-old comes up with logic like that?
We’re back from sunny CA, a little tired, and a little sad that it’s so cold here. Fun trip, with lots of family, friends, and adventures. We flew out on Christmas morning, got there in time for lunch and presents with the grandparents, then dinner in Saugus (not that Saugus, the other one). Turkey AND lasagna. Out of six nights in LA, Sammy fell asleep somewhere other than his bed on four of them. The highlight was a trip to Disneyland, for which we kidnapped our godson. Kit was a joy, and he and Sammy made quite a pair.
We flew back on New Year’s Eve, missing the turn of the new year somewhere over the western states. Got home in time to take a nap and then watch the Rose Parade. Now it’s back to work, and it’s supposed to be a high of 16 degrees tomorrow. Lovely.
Sammy turned five on Saturday. Hard to believe, but it’s true. This year, he asked for a pool party at the YMCA, so we went with a Hawaiian theme. A bunch of his friends came, and everybody got to splash around in the water for an hour before heading over to the aerobics room for pizza and cake. A cake, I must say, that was the most amazing cake I’ve ever seen. Party Favors in Brookline, if anyone ever needs to get a great cake. We wanted to get one in the shape of a surfboard, which they offered to do, but custom shapes don’t come cheap. The more affordable option included white chocolate surfboards and crustaceans, sculpted fish and a palm tree, and the most realistic surf I’ve ever seen on cake frosting. It was a work of art.
Special thanks to Jesse for being in charge of the camera.
We took a look at photos from the past couple of Halloweens and realized that we never posted photos from that time of year in 2005, which means we also missed Doug and Lena’s wedding (and Sammy’s first trip to New York). So, without further ado, here they are. Sammy was a giraffe in 2004, and a darn cute one, if you ask me.
There’s also a picture from Sammy’s birthday, which strictly speaking was not in October, but who’s keeping track?
We just knew that last year would be the last time Sammy would want to be some sort of animal for Halloween. So, we were pretty impressed when Sammy’s choice this year was to be an astronaut. We got him a great orange jumpsuit, with plenty of flight commander patches, and a space shuttle backpack, with flames coming out of the bottom. It was pretty cool. He was the only astronaut on the block, and got plenty of compliments on it.
It was a little dicey that we’d even get to go out last night…Sammy was running a temperature in the afternoon, and we had to go pick him up early. Still, he rallied, probably at the thought of all that candy. We didn’t get a lot of kids visiting this year, and had lots of leftover candy. Happily, we had tried to buy only stuff that we don’t like, so I took the rest of it to work, and it was gone before I knew it. I’m amazed the people I work with aren’t 300 pounds.
We also made a couple of jack-o-lanterns over the weekend to get into the Halloween spirit. Sammy helped, directing Jennifer on how to draw the faces. We, of course, did all the work…and it’s harder work than we remembered carving through a thick pumpkin, then scooping out all the gunk inside. This is not the first time that the realities of parenthood have conflicted with my memories of childhood, and I suspect it won’t be the last.
EDIT: Michelle took some pictures of Sammy when she and Kevin got home on Halloween, and sent us the link to the Kodak Gallery. Enjoy!