Subscribe: Jen and Derrick: Just Life
Preview: Jen and Derrick: Just Life

Team Teal

"Yes. Wait a minute... no." Our life in a nutshell.

Updated: 2017-05-19T07:21:34.014-04:00



Celebrating after Russell's music concert!


Russ has been so excited to join the swim team this year, and he made it through his first practice on Monday. His coach is great, being very patient with the group of younger kids who can't make it the full 25 yards in one go just yet. Russ was all smiles when he got out of the pool!

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Russ's spring music concert

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It's ART SHOW time! The piece below is titled Fun. In the thought bubble above Graham's head, he has included Snooch, dinosaurs, Legos, and more. Graham drew this free-hand! Graham calls the next piece The Maze of Nature. This was made with oil pastels and paint. Below is Graham's light-painting piece.  It's not a great photo because of the camera flash, but you get the idea. And here is his ceramic cupcake, which he would like to point out doubles as a keepsake box. Finally, each of the kids had a framed piece of art this year as a fund-raiser for the art program. Graham titled his still life painting Silent Forest. As always, we were BLOWN AWAY by the art show. We are so fortunate to have programming like this, especially for a kiddo who loves it so much. [...]


Recess fun in the sun

Graham baked bread from scratch...yummy!

Russ and his buds at the nature center

Russ's teacher is such a good photographer.


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Happy Easter! Beautiful weather, lovely church service, Grandpa for Easter dinner (he joined us; he wasn't the meal!), and fun outside as well as with Legos.


Happy 8th Birthday, Graham!

Graham got to celebrate with his youngest cousin, as Charlotte's 1st birthday is on Wednesday. She REALLY enjoyed her cake!

Graham and Russ were happy to help her open her present from us.

And here are the birthday cousins after an afternoon of celebrating together.


At a friend's birthday party!

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Batman and his lesser-known side-kick, Batdog

Graham on the high ropes course at a friend's birthday party



Yes, "compost" gets an exclamation mark. We have been wanting a tumbling composter for years, and Jen just got one as an early birthday present that arrived on Friday. It is AWESOME! We should be able to get two batches of compost a year, and it means that we will be recycling even more of our waste than before. The kids are also excited and helped Jen add the first collection of leaves to get it started after we all cleaned out the flower beds today. Hurray for composting!


 Last week, Graham asked us why the hot lunch service at school gives kids bottled water to drink. Having been raised by two people who vehemently complain about plastic water bottles, he was clearly confused. He added that most of the kids in his class just throw them away when they are done, and he was really bothered. So, we asked what he wanted to do about it. He shared that while there are big recycling bins in the main hall for plastic, aluminum, and paper, their classroom only has a paper receptacle. Graham explained that most kids just don't bother to take their water bottles and tin foil to the hallway containers. We offered the suggestion that he make some for his classroom, and he excitedly realized he could then volunteer to take them down once a week from their room (let's be honest, he loved the idea of being in charge of recycling!). Yesterday, he spent a couple of hours designing and making these boxes, including recycling facts and pictures for the front. He is super excited to help his friends learn about the importance of plastic recycling in particular next week. And who knows, maybe they'll get excited, too! Russell also wanted to get involved. We needed a new recycling container for the paper in our house, so Russell carefully designed this box for us. And it fits perfectly in the cupboard under the sink. Thanks, boys! A boy and his dog Since we're on spring break this week, we met up with Stefanie and her kids in Lansing at Impression 5 Science Center today. It's a great place, full of hands-on, science-y activities. And what could be better than finishing the day off with Jimmy John's? [...]


For those who want to see a WHOLE book read by a beginning reader, this is your 7 minutes to enjoy! For those who want to see a few super cute minutes, watch from 3:00-4:15.

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The boys enjoyed a wonderful performance of Shrek the Musical today, starring their babysitter, Andrea, as Peter Pan. They were talking about Donkey, Pinocchio, and Prince Farquaad all night!


Happy Anniversary to us!

We celebrated 12 years at our favorite anniversary spot: The Melting Pot.


Graham has been asking to go to the Detroit Institute of Arts for quite a while, so on Saturday, he and Jen headed down for the afternoon. He was so excited to see and sketch the artwork. The first stop was, of course, the Greek and Roman exhibit. Although it is small, Graham loved it. He ended up sketching all 5 helmets he saw.  He also really liked this antelope figure in the African exhibit. The workshop this week was on furniture making. He asked some great questions of the professionals on hand and even got to try his hand at some off the techniques. We also saw the contemporary exhibit space, and Graham was excited to see several of the artists who have inspired his art teacher's projects at school. This is one piece he particularly liked. [...]


A cute picture of Graham with his buddies at the school VERY COLD March weather

And here's Russell playing his drum at school during their music study. They are going to spend an hour with the high school band in a week, and he can't wait!


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Turn your volume up before you play this one, and listen to Snooch. 
Who needs a trainer when you've got a Snooch?

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We have been horribly delinquent about posting pictures of Russ from school, so here are some great shots from January and February. Russell's class made an ENORMOUS paper chain to decorate their room for their Spanish teacher's baby shower. It then doubled as nice Valentine's Day decor. The class is just wrapping up a study of airplanes. Here is their final product at the end of the study. The kids also drew and labeled their own pictures of planes and learned all about tickets, luggage, the cockpit, and more.  Valentine's Day with friends If we've never mentioned that Russ's teacher is also a professional photographer, this should speak for itself. These little cars just never get old. They are technically for the toddlers, but the preschoolers seem to spend most of the time using them. [...]


60 degrees in February? Yes, please!


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Valentine's Day at Doggy Day Care


Percy is spending a couple of days a week at doggy daycare (Shangrila, to be precise), and they took his photo on his first day. He is doing really well playing with the other dogs, and we can see him all day on a webcam. It's highly addictive. If you want to check it out, we can give you the link!

Tonight was Graham's 2nd grade concert. The theme was sleepy time, and they sang a great collection of lullabies and sleep-related songs. Watch for a video of one song sometime this weekend.