August 2002

Doug blowing some of Aunt Judy's bubbles
Doug front left amongst the sea of humanity which is the Penasquitos Luthern's VBS
PJ and Doug check out a Prarie Dog at Life Enrichment Week
Bradley gets Baptized
Keith accepts award from Rev. Dale Suggs
Doug, Brad, Judy, Aunt Betty, Keith in front of Judy's finally-framed art
Brad reacts to the sand shark spilling its blood onto the pier
Brad and Doug waiting in line to see the pandas
Doug putting his swim lessons to work at the pool party

Keith painting a more difficult section of fence.

August started with Keith, Kristi, and Douglas done with their summer vacations and being home bodies. But Bradley was still out painting the Southwest, attending Grandpa Art and Grandma Leslie's "Summer Camp for Grandchildren 8 and Older" in Durango. Keith and Kristi celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary on the eleventh, and school started for the boys at the end of the month.
Brad spent July 29th through August 6th in Durango with Grandpa Art and Grandma Leslie and cousins Chris and Ben.  They hiked, camped, avoided forest fires, went into mines, and visited ghost towns.  This was the first year they had 3 instead of just two; they're in for a real challenge (or a rule change) next year when the last two grandchildren make the age limit and bump the number to five.
With big brother out of town, only Doug attended the Penasquitos Lutheran Vacation Bible School program this year. While our boys are quite fluent in their Bible Stories, they attend this VBS every year both to get a taste for other churches and how they do things, and the social aspect since so many of their friends go to it.  For instance, Doug's friends from school and the baseball team Riley and PJ also go.  It runs for 8 successive mornings, and completes in a carnival in the church parking lot. The thing is so darn big at over 400 kids that it must be one of the major focus points of the church.
Our own church held its version of Vacation Bible School, called Life Enrichment Week , later in August.  It occurs on four successive evenings, with two separate tracks for adults and children.  Three, actually, counting the Youth (Jr. and Sr High) that go off campus for activities.  For some years now Kristi and Keith have been foregoing the adult track to help stage the children's program.  It is much more intimate than the Penasquitos VBS at just 30 kids.  Also, for the second year, instead of buying a curriculum (did you know there are publishers who sell VBS packages every year?) the pastor's wife and children's education director co-wrote an original curriculum.  The theme was Pony Express, and the week included Native American Dancers, animals from the Wild Animal Park, candle making, corn bread making and much more.  Riley and PJ each attended an evening with Doug and had a great time.  
When Bradley was finally done with all his gallivanting about the country, it was time to schedule his Baptism, put off since May.  It was set for August 25th, the day before school started.  His Grandpa Bob flew out from Illinois, and local relatives Great Aunt Betty and Jeff and Chrysanne all came to church that day.  They ended up getting a double dose of Sherwoods as, in addition to Bradley's Baptism , Keith was the surprised recipient of the church's Layman of the Year award.  This had been awarded back in June, but the church was having a hard time nailing down the Sherwoods to present the award.  Guess they figured Keith was likely to show up to his son's baptism. After service we invited pastors and Sunday School teachers (e.g. Spiritual Leaders in Brad's life) back to our house for a reception.  
Summer officially ended August 26 when school started for the boys.  Doug is entering second grade while Brad is going into fifth grade, his last year at Deer Canyon Elementary School before middle school.  Doug has Ms. Dye, who we've never had before but of whom we hear good things.  Brad has Mr. Bueker, the fifth grade teacher everybody wants.  After a very structured fourth grade that was sometimes difficult for Brad, we're looking for a more "self-esteem" year for Brad.  Mr. Bueker has a very free-flow environment that allows Brad to move around and talk as opposed to sit quietly.  Keith, another talkative first son, remembers his fourth and fifth grade travails and marvels at the degree Brad is reliving his childhood.
If school is starting for the kids, that must mean that Kristi is starting the school directory.  That means two and a half months of collecting address forms; cajoling the office for calendars, class rosters, and teacher emails; typing and formatting on the computer; scrambling to include address forms turned in after the deadline; dealing with the district printing office; and miraculously including address forms turned in way, way after the deadline.
Keith's Aunt Judy from Virginia came for a visit in the middle of the month, staying up in San Marcos with Great Aunt Betty.  (Genealogy note: Judy is Keith's dad's sister, Betty is Keith's dad's father's sister.)  Judy's visit prompted Keith to finally get Judy's artwork (that he had purchased two years ago) framed and displayed prominently in the living room.  Betty and Judy came down to dinner once, and we had such a good time that we met again two days later for dinner in North County, at the restaurant on the end of the Oceanside Pier.  After putting our names in, we wandered the pier for 20 minutes.  It is doubtful that Brad will pick fisherman as avocation after watch a sand shark being gaffed, hauled up, slit open, and having its no-longer-in-utero babies magnanimously returned to the ocean. We all had burgers, not fish.
In an effort to squeeze every last drop out of summer vacation (and use our molding annual passes at least once) we went to the San Diego Zoo.  Keith had never seen the Giant Pandas, let alone the baby panda ( Hua Mei ) born at San Diego that caused such a stir.  The impetus for the visit was the impending departure of said baby panda to China. Keith was shocked to find that the baby panda was now 3 years old and as big as any other panda.  Still he counted himself lucky to see the sight, and was reminded of standing in line to glimpse the first ever pandas in the US at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. in 1973.
Both boys got a second and final dose of swim lessons at the YMCA before summer ended.  Doug had the opportunity to immediately put the lessons to the test at an Indian Guide backyard swim party.  He is slowly getting more adventurous: he'd go after rings on the bottom at depths he knew he could stand up in, but steadfastly refused to go down a water slide. Swimming may be like bicycling: Doug will require constant and repeated exposure, some times over loud protests.  He will eventually take off, but at a time of his choosing, not (by golly) at a time of his parents'. 
This summer has been pleasantly devoid of major house projects.  This state of contented affairs could not, of course, be allowed to continue.  So Keith picked “Paint the Fence” from the mental jar of Jobs Around the House, “Idea over 24 months old” category.  This was the perfect job for the boys to help with.  It was painting, which they are always wanting to help with when they see Mom or Dad do it, and it was outside, so drips and splatters were inconsequential.  Furthermore, the fence is a rough-hewn developer’s toss-something-up-fast-and-cheap fence, so they didn’t have to paint it to any degree of perfection.  With visions of Tom Sawyer, Keith set about painting one August weekend, and waited for the eager marks to show.  
And show up they did.  Keith handed them rollers and brushes, assigned sections of fence, and set about teaching the boys how to paint.  Several things became apparent almost immediately.  First, the boys were quickly cured of their notion of painting = fun. They learned it was hard work.  Douglas tired after 15 minutes and gave up.  Brad soldiered on, completing his assigned section but wanting no part of any other sections or painting jobs.  Secondly, Tom Sawyer was not a perfectionist.  Chief among his qualities was an ability to let go, something Keith absolutely could not do.  No matter how rough hewn the board, there was a certain degree of finish he had to have. This completely over done demand of quality on the undeserving, ratty old fence was probably a contributing factor to the boys' quick exit from the scene.  It is certainly the chief factor in making Jobs Around the House drag on for months.

Related Web Sites:
Bradley's Baptism
Life Enrichment Week

They Said It:
Kristi: “I want to let go and let God, but I’d rather leg go and let Paxil.”

They Read It:
Kristi: Nanny Diaries
Brad: The Boxes
Doug: Spacedogs from Planet K9

Text and Pictures Copyright © 2002 Keith Sherwood - All Rights Reserved