Friday, April 27, 2018


Evelyn and her fellow 5th graders had the most incredible experience today! Junior Achievement of Oregon runs a fun simulation called "Biztown", a mock town that the kids get to run and operate themselves. I have heard so many positive things about this program during my time at Fir Grove and was so excited that it was Evelyn's turn to go... and excited that I got to be a volunteer also!

The kids spend lots of class time over the past month or so getting ready for this big day. During that time they learned about personal finance, jobs, government and more. They got to "interview" for the jobs they hoped to do. They each got their own bank account and checkbook. They learned about free enterprise. Good stuff for sure!

Finally.. today... the big day was here. I went to volunteer training a couple of weeks ago so had some idea of what to expect.. unlike the kids, who were kept in the dark about what it would really be like.

Volunteers got their before the kids to get familiar with the town and learn last minute stuff. It is amazing how they have this little town set up so perfectly. 
My place for the day...
Let's do this!

I wish I could have taken photos of the kids when they first walked in (Biztown wouldn't allow photos until they made sure all kids were allowed to have photos taken, something they wouldn't know until the teachers arrived). They oohs and ahhhhs and amazed faces were priceless! The kids were super excited to start the day. 

My team in the Wellness Center. Ellie, my CFO, Chase, my CEO and Michelle, my wellness director. The kids did a great job!

Evelyn was the CEO of BZTV, the news station in Biztown. She was pretty excited to have this role. Of course I had to go and peek in on her thru the day. 
Looking over her to-do list. 
Gus, cameraman, and Loren, on-air personality.

All of the CEO's had to give a speech promoting their company and describing how it benefits the community of Biztown. Evelyn did a great job!
...she was glad it was over, tho! :)
She preferred to be here... in front of the camera....
....or here, on break where she could eat or shop with her biztown money....

...or here. This was truly her favorite thing she did all day. She LOVED working the camera.. and often got complimented on how well she did so. She even gave her real cameraman (another classmate) an extra break so she could spend more time filming. She managed her time and CEO duties well enough to be able to do it, too. It was a real eye opener for her to see how much she loved being behind the camera. 

All of the kids had a blast today and I think learned a lot... especially that "adulting" can be stressful! :) 

Love these faces!! 

Evelyn saved her money to adopt an animal from the animal shelter but that didn't work out for various reasons so she got this instead. 

This chair was made by 5th graders and we plan on raffling it off for money for 5th grade send off party. 

So apparently the Mayor of Biztown gets to pick a "Citizen of the Day", a person who he thinks has been an asset to Biztown during the day. He got feedback from lots of citizens and chose Evelyn!!! And to top that off, I had SEVERAL people, parents and JA employees alike, come up to me and tell me how amazing Evelyn is and that she is a natural leader with a great attitude. Love my girlie and thankful for the many gifts God has given her!

This will probably be considered one of the favorite experiences of all the 5th graders.. and certainly it has been one of mine as a parent helper. Such a fun day!!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Fun Nature Park Field Trip

Today Matthew and his class took a field trip to the local Nature Park for an educational walk thru the park. It was such a fun day and I am so fortunate to be able to go along!

Matthew and one of his good buddies Silas enjoying the bus ride.
It was as beautiful day to be outside... but it sometimes made it tough to get good photos..haha!
Kids getting a briefing from the Park staff before setting off. One half of the class was going on a big hike around the park first, the other half working with staff and learning about different plants, animals and the environment. We would have lunch in between. 
My charges for the day... Emme, Miles, Aileen, Matthew, Silas, Hayden. Hunter and Celeste would join me after lunch. 
Such a silly group of kiddos!

We climbed on lots of downed trees!

We enjoyed looking at plants, water and finding bugs, snails, and even a snake! 
The boys chillin'

We made it to Lily Pad Lake before lunch! The kids were pretty tired from hiking for almost 2 hours but I was proud of them persevering to get to this cool spot in the park!
Ahhhh... lunchtime!
Our afternoon guide/teacher was Edison. He was awesome with the kids and kept them engaged. He had some cool stuff for them to look and and talk about. 

I paired these two up to work together finding seeds. "But we ALWAYS fight when we work together!" They said. This actually didn't surprise me in the least, knowing these two. I challenged them to try to make today different and try to get along. And you know what? They did!! I was so proud of them!
Getting ready to play a race "Race to the veggies" game.

Look at him go!
And this, dear readers, is why I am going to start buying his pants at Goodwill. He's only had these pants for a few weeks... and the knees are already busted out. Sigh...

It was such a fun day! The kids were tired (one kid fell asleep on the bus home!) but were talking about how cool there time at the park was all the way home on the bus. This will be a field trip to remember for sure!!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Play Ball!!

Another year of baseball has started. Matthew is on a new team with AMAZING coaches and is already enjoying it more than last year. Since his surgery (and working with PT) he is moving SO much better and much more agile on his feet... and he is stronger and boy, he can HIT!  It has been fun watching him have so much joy and passion at practice and at home (he plays catch with Doug or me whenever he can). 

 After three rain-outs, we FINALLY got a baseball game it today!!

My Dodger ready to go!
Coach Jerry giving the boys a pep talk.

The team played SO well together and made great plays for outs and runs. Matthew had four hits and helped make several outs (including a cool catch to end the game).  It was so great watching him play!
Coaches celebrating a huge win with their boys....
Aunt Mary came to watch her great nephew.. Matthew was happy to see her!
The game ended around dinner time so we went to Red Robin to celebrate a great first game for our boy. 

So excited for the season! Go Dodgers!!