Monday, August 25, 2014

Innovation Academy

Josh had the awesome opportunity to participate in Innovation Academy for 2 weeks this summer.  It was sponsored by IBM, and students got to work at the IBM campus for 1 week and then at Skyline High School for 1 week.  They were working under the Smarter Planet initiative and had to come up with creative and innovative ways to help our planet.  Josh's group was "Smarter Water."  They got to solve problems ranging from how to get people to drink more water to how to create a fresh drinking supply in a remote African Village.  They learned to apply the traits of innovation which are: collaboration, creativity, curiosity, persistence and risk taking.  Each day the kids made prototypes, testing their ideas and theories and then after receiving feedback from their peers they went though a revision process.  Innovation Academy culminated with a night where all the students displayed their favorite prototype and parents got to ask questions to the kids and hear how and why the kids came up with their fantastically creative ideas.  

I was blown away by this program and so very glad that Josh got to participate in it.  I was so proud of how he applied himself and used his creative thinking.  I included a few blog posts from his instructor, Mr. Lemon, below.  

Today we began our last design challenge. Students chose a problem on which to focus and began empathizing with their client. Since the majority of our clients are in Africa, students conducted research to find out more about who they are designing a product for. We have a group studying the Umgeni river in Africa and are attempting to create a fish that will kill bacteria and filter water throughout the river. We have another group that has an ingenious way to stop leaking pipes by rerouting the water through another series of pipes with an alarm system saying where the leak is occurring. There are many more ideas but I do not want to spoil them for you. You will have to come on Friday to find out the rest of our ideas.
All in all we had a great day. Students discovered what it means to compromise and be persistent. We focused on developing an idea all the way through and students struggled but persisted through their projects. I’m excited to see how they modify and better their projects tomorrow.
Here is what you children said about our day.
Lily, leaky pipes are really bad if you don’t fix them immediately.
Marina, I learned that just one broken pipe can make a flood.
Josh, it take lots of tries to find something that will work in a prototype.
Daisey, I learned that leaky pipes can cause a flood in your basement.
Willoree, I learned that if you put like a piece of trash on the ground that counts and that can add up to a whole polluted world.
Ella, I learned that you should never water your gutters to clean them.
Diego, I learned that when you prototype, you don’t just go through it one way, you have to go through it different ways. When you prototype, you can’t just think about it and do it, you have to go through the different phases of design thinking.
Tristan, I learned that when you work together, a really hard project can be an easy project.

We have reached the end of our two week stint at Innovation Academy. We had an amazing time, learned a ton, and collaborated everyday. Our students learned about the water treatment plant at IBM, how to filter water, problems involving water around the world, and how to solve those problems. Our students learned that one billion people around the world do not have access to clean water, countries with water facilities waste millions of gallons of water every day through leaky pipes, and that people can die from dehydration or water filled with bacteria and viruses.
Our students collaborated, invented, created, built, discussed, communicated, ideated, brainstormed, tested, presented, and discussed feedback. We asked a lot from the students and they in turn gave a lot. Everyday the students worked eagerly to help solve problems around the world. They compromised when their idea was not voted on by the group. They built off of each others ideas and had a blast doing so.
This has been a great experience for both your children and myself. Thank you for signing your children up and bringing them to Innovation Academy. We all had a wonderful time!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to school

This is the one and only year that all three kiddos will be at the same school.  Halle is beginning 5th grade, Josh is in 2nd grade, and Blake is starting Kindergarten!  The big kids are so excited to walk Blake to his classroom, and hopefully see him in the halls or out at recess. 
DSC_0572 Blake was super excited to start Kindergarten.  We read a book about the first day of kindergarten and some of the kids in the book were nervous about school.  Blake said, “Mom, I’m not nervous at all!  I’m so dang excited!”
Blake Kinder 
Halle is excited to rule the school, and learn lots in 5th gradeHalle 5th grade 
Josh didn’t even bother to say goodbye, he just parked his scooter and then disappeared into his classroom.  I came to find him to give him a kiss and he said, “Mom, what are you doing here?”  I said, “You didn’t even tell me you were leaving!  I wanted to wish you luck.”  He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Ok.  Well…BYE!”
Josh 2nd gradeDSC_0585
It’s been a hard week for me as I’ve thought about sending Blake to Kindergarten.  I’ve been teary on and off for days.  And as I was walking though the hallway holding his little hand, the tears flowed.  But, I pulled it together by the time we got to his classroom.  He confidently walked in, put his backpack away, sat at his desk and started working.  He threw his sweet little arms around my neck, gave me a giant hug and said, “Bye Mom!  You can go now!” 
It’s lonely at my house today!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Anniversary #12


Earlier this summer Rusty and I both made Inspiration Boards.  I did mine on Pinterest.  The idea was to pin things that you want to do in your life.  And to be as big and bold as you wanted.  One of my pins was of a sail boat.  I said I wanted to learn to sail, and then do a trip on a sail boat, just the two of us.  So, Rusty, being the awesome guy that he is, found a sailing instructor in Colorado and surprised me with a sailing lesson for our anniversary.  Bob was our very knowledgeable, very talkative, teacher.  Our lesson was supposed to be 2 hours and ended up being just under 4.  We learned about the main sail, the jib, the boom, how to tack and jibe, and all sorts of other fun things.  Bob thinks with one more lesson we’ll be ready to take a boat out on our own! 

Thanks Rust, for always making my dreams come true, even 12 years later.  Life is certainly full of ups and downs, and sometimes it seems like it’s mostly downs, but moments like these makes me sure that you are the perfect guy for me! 

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Back to School Bash II

The Back to School Bash was bigger and better this year!  We got to celebrate the end of summer with 50 ice blocks and over 100 donuts.  It was EPIC.

 ice blocksback to school bash IMG_5290

Summer Bucket List

Well, Boston got a post every few days, so I guess the rest of the summer deserves a post too :)  It’s been non-stop fun around here.  Boo for school starting.  Here are some of our favorite days:

We enjoyed many a magical sunset in the backyard.IMG_3446

Played lots and lots of Animal Town with our stuffies.IMG_4806 IMG_4810

Hiked above NCAR in Boulder for some breathtaking scenery.
Ncar hike

Attended the 4th annual TapInfluence picnic.IMG_4820

Family night at the Bay
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Had a AG doll camping/smore making party
doll smores

Participated in the Mighty Kids Triathlon. 

Camped out with all our ward buddies at the annual Father and Son campout.


Had a blast overcoming our fears at the X-arena.IMG_5303 IMG_5306

Ate yummy food at Civic Center eats in Denver

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Learned more about aviation at the Erie Air Fair

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Park hopped all over town and had plenty of slurpies. Our favorite new park is the Peter Pan Park in Westminster.


We drew, sewed and stuffed our very own animals.


Spent the day swimming and sliding at Pirates Cove
pirates cove

Summer, you’ve been good to us.