May   

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Alas, I didn't have time to come up with a new color scheme.  See how busy May was?  Or is that a June indicator?
Grandpa Rafferty judged the month of May interesting enough to come out for a quick visit.  In just 5 short days he got 2 baseball games by each boy, School Open House, and the Church Musical.  We let him spend a couple hours with his other grandchildren (Quinn and Kelsy), too.
The boys have been practicing every Wednesday night this spring for the spring church musical.  This month they added some dress rehearsals on Saturdays before presenting to the congregation in both services on May 18. The play is “ Rescue in the Night ,” the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. Last year Brad had the lead as Noah; this year the Youth (grades 6-12) joined the Children in the cast, resulting in Brad getting a bit part and a significant increase in the quality of the presentation.
Because it fell on the same weekend as the Musical, Doug and Keith couldn’t go with Indian Guides to Camp Marston this year.  A pity, because it was one of our favorite events last year.  In fact, we’re missing the June campout, too.
A week after 87 year old Great Aunt Betty (Keith’s father’s aunt) drove down from San Marcos to see the boys in the church musical, she had a stroke in her home. Every day since Memorial Day either Kristi or Keith has driven up to Oceanside where she is hospitalized to visit.  While she is recovering, it is slow.  She has her faculties and her wit.  While she doesn’t have paralysis, she does have “left side neglect.”  It will be a long while, if ever, that she is able to live alone again.  Susan Middleton, her step daughter, has been a true hero and angel during this difficult time.
School is wrapping up.  The amount of activity around school projects and presentations is accelerating accordingly.  Brad had two band concerts, one with just the jazz band (playing the world's slowest rendition of "Another Bites the Dust") and another with the full 5th Grade band.  Due to budget cuts, there won't be 5th grade band next year.  While the earnest performance was not so spectacular that everyone whipped out their checkbooks, it was sad to think that might be the last hurrah of 5th grade band in California.
There was an Open House at school, and both boys' rooms were open and displaying much of their work throughout the year. In the picture on the left, Doug is showing Grandpa the class project, "Three Things I want to Do in my Life."  Right after "1) Become a baseball player or umpire" is "2)  I want to live in Illinois and be a crop farmer."  
The world's greatest field trip, the last annual highlight of 5th grade, is the over night field trip on board the Star of India, a 140 year old, 278 foot long tall ship in San Diego harbor.  Brad's class was broken into 5 "crews" of 6 or 7 kids, and for a month before the field trip did team building activities like run a mile together.  Brad was made "mate," or leader, of his crew.  As leader, his job was to cajole everyone into completing any assigned task.   The last team building activity before the field trip was an after school hike up Mt. Woodson, a 7.2 mile round trip with 2300 feet of elevation gain (and loss) that will test any crew.  Keith has always wanted to climb this Mountain, visible from all over San Diego, and was jealous of Brad.  Fate intervened, however, and Mr. Bueker, Brad's teacher, invited Keith along as an additional adult hiker.  Apparently Keith impressed him sufficiently by completing the Ride Across California.  Mr. Bueker (late 50's) certainly impressed Keith by hiking this trail with kids 5 times in one week.
The Star of India field trip is “living history”: it's a total immersion experience.   Four professionals play the Captain, the First Mate, the Second Mate, and the Cook while the kids “play” the part of an inexperienced crew mustered and trained en route.  Every crew of 6 kids had a title and accompanying job responsibilities: line handlers, boatswains, riggers, deckhands, and galley crew.  For 16 hours you are sailing in 1874 from England to New Zealand, all the while tied up at San Diego’s Embarcadero.  Keith and Brad both had very high expectations of the trip, and it exceeded them all .
Keith also got something unique out of this field trip.  For the first time ever, he was invited specifically for his camera-wielding skills.  Finally, recognition!  If that wasn’t enough, to be given the job of “photographer” meant he weren’t assigned to a “crew” of kids.  While other adults had to stay with their assigned group, Keith was able to flit from group to group and take pictures of any thing interesting happening.  And a lot was happening as he shot over 250 pictures.  Since there were many more stations to visit and learn (and do) than crews, each crew missed one or two stations.  But not floater Keith!
Baseball season, like school, seems to pick up the pace in May as the end of the season in June approaches.  Both boys continue to play; Dad continues to coach Doug.  To help 5th graders get used to the idea of Middle School next year, they each get assigned a 6th grade pen pal.  Brad got his teammate from baseball, one of the two ace pitchers.  If you liked last month's animation of Brad playing baseball, you'll love this month's of Doug and his pitchback .
Kristi was supposed to be done volunteering for major school projects for the year, but then along came fifth grade promotion.  The core fifth grade parents plan the ceremony as the fifth graders “graduate” from elementary school.  Brad is a fifth grader, and Kristi is a core parent, so she is now involved in planning the event.  In a tip of the hat to her Directory skills, she’s doing the program.
Keith and Kristi had their first opportunity to appear in the Society Pages, attending a charity auction held at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla.  Alas, they did not appear in any of the major Dailies or Monthlies. Therefore the only real notable event turned out to be that Brad and Doug stayed by themselves. We couldn't get a babysitter on a weeknight, so we asked the boys to be responsible and old enough to put themselves to bed, which they did.  We may be out of the babysitter hiring business!   
On a more somber note, Doug's bike was stolen out of our garage.  We think we can pinpoint the time someone walked into our open garage and took the bike within 15 minutes.  I don't know what's worse: loosing the bike, or feeling that the neighborhood isn't safe any more to leave the garage door open.  Just when Doug was beginning to show interest in riding, too....
The musical was of course not the only Church related activity this month.  The minister takes over Keith's Fifth Grade Sunday School class between Easter and Pentecost for the Pastor's Class, preparing 5th graders for Baptism.  Brad took it last year as a 4th grader before he was Baptized.  His favorite part is the Lock-In, when the class and the minister spend the night in the Chapel.  Brad swears there's nothing as pretty as the stained glass at midnight.
May concludes with Memorial Day.  Traditionally in the Sherwood family we get burnt out in May, and end up doing nothing over the three day weekend except recovering from exhaustion.  It helps that no outside activities (e.g. baseball, church, school) are scheduled for this weekend since The-Scheduler-Powers-That-Be assume we already filled up our three day weekends ourselves.  We fool them by scheduling nothing, and just relaxing.
Well, not entirely.  We did go for a picnic to the Bigelows, and Doug did go camping one night with the Ayers in their brand new Fifth Wheel.  But really, mostly we did nothing.

Puppy Chronicles :  
Dancer has picked up the trick of passive resistance.  If you are trying to get her to go outside (or any place else she doesn't desire) she collapses on her side and forces you to pick her up to move her.  Since she is now 50 pounds this strategy is very effective in thwarting whatever human's goals were.  
The boys have officially taken over poop patrol duty in the back yard.  They work together as a team and doo a good job.
Even with a clean yard underfoot, however, they have pretty much abandoned the back yard to Dancer.  The good news is I don't have the boys wearing whiffle ball base running paths into my back yard grass any more.  The bad news is that the wear and tear induced by the boys is nothing compared to what a digging, running, curious puppy/dog will do to a yard.
We lost the doggy crate we were borrowing and had to come up with a plan B.  We figured she didn't need to be crated indoors any more, we just needed some place to contain her outside if we wanted to be outside but unhindered by her (e.g. eating dinner, mowing the lawn, etc.).  So we got a 6'x6' kennel, which Bob Rafferty built while he was here.  Dancer wasn't fond of the crate, and she's not particularly fond of the kennel, going so far as to rip asunder the assembly instructions when she had a chance.


They Said It:
Window shopping, walking past a baby boutique: Kristi, “If I had had girls, that’s how I would have dressed you.”  Brad: “Good thing we weren’t girls.”
Doug, lamenting the fact that Mom and Dad won’t let him take Communion, “I like Nana’s church better because they let anybody drink the wine.”
Brad, wistfully recalling both the Church Lock-In and Church Camp in Loch Leven: "All my favorite things start with 'lock'."


Related web sites:
Rescue in the Night Photo Album
Star of India Field Trip Photo Album
Star of India/Maritime Museum  



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Text and Pictures Copyright © 2003 Keith Sherwood - All Rights Reserved
Questions or comments? Write keith at virtualsherwoods dot com .