Thursday, June 30, 2016

Photoshop Tutorial

Mom was tutoring today for Katie and Michael, so Dad went with Sam to the Summer in the Arts “Explosion”. After picking up Sam’s flip book in the cafeteria from Animation class, they went to the piano room. Sam was up first and played “Tiger Chase” (see video). 

Then Maggie (formerly known as Meggy) played "Spring Time" and finally Helen played “The Caisson Song”. 

There wasn’t much going on in the room for Sam’s Photoshopped and Digital Sketchbook classes, so after listening to a little bit of a poorly made “Melee” podcast (picture above) Sam and Dad went down to Room 406 and Sam spent about an hour teaching Dad how to use Photoshop. They took a picture of Ashe, and replaced her bow with one from a picture of Varus. It came out pretty nice. They called it “Varushe”. 

They skipped the stage performances and headed home after grabbing some lunch. Sam played his song a second time at home in the afternoon so Dad could get the hand positioning on the video, from a better angle.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Guessing Games

Dad and Sam were having lunch at Deli Italiano. First  they looked at a map to learn some of the local counties around Fairfax and Loudoun -  Prince William, Fauquier, Clarke, Stafford, etc. They were playing a few games. Dad asked Sam to guess whether a word was a county in Virginia, a football player, or both. Then Sam said he would name either a medical condition or a League or Legends character, and Dad had to guess. The first one Sam asked was: “Rheumatoid Arthritis”.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Shovel

Pete was waiting to make a u-turn somewhere in Tyson’s Corner after lunch, when Dad noticed this rather sad looking shovel on the truck next to them at the light. They began wondering how long it might take to fill up the dump truck with that rather shallow shovel. Also, what force of nature is preventing it from sliding out into traffic?

Monday, June 27, 2016


Pete got some practice driving in Tyson’s Corner today when he went with Dad to Smashburger for lunch. They got an Oreo shake that was 860 calories. Of course, the name of the place reminded them of Sam. There was also a cool Walmart with parking and a cart return on the second level. There was an escalator with a track in the center that brings your cart up to the top. They will need to go back there sometime just to try that out.

Pete returned to SmashBurger a few weeks later with Mom.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Driving School

Pete is going to be taking 14 mandatory hours of driving school. Dad gave him a pep talk to help prepare him. “They’re going to tell you a bunch of garbage about stopping for yellow lights and waiting until it is completely clear to merge. Just do whatever they tell you, and then after you get your license you can resume driving like the rest of us maniacs.”

It turns out that Pete's driving instructor actually told him some pretty good stuff.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Accidental Convergence

Dad and Pete accidentally ended up at the same place yesterday without knowing it. They were both at the “Leesburg Acoustic on the Green” concert. Dad arrived at 6:45 and got a nice spot right in the middle. Pete swung by the concert with Jennifer around 8:00 for about 20-30 minutes. This was only discovered when Dad and Pete were discussing it the next day at lunch. (Sam was at the mall that evening, seeing a movie and having dinner with his friends.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Falling Slowly

Pete has been playing a lot of piano these past few weeks. Some of it has been from his new book “The Giant Pop & Rock Piano Sheet Music Collection: Piano/Vocal/Guitar”. He is getting pretty good. Tonight he was briefly heard playing “Falling Slowly”, which was humorous to Dad and Sam, due to its appearance on some recent episodes of “Last Man on Earth”.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mental Preparation

Sam took a shower this morning before camp. After the shower, he sits in the pictured position for about 5 minutes before he is ready to get dressed and take on the day. Pretty soon he will outgrow his custom hoodie towel that mom made for him. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Driving Practice

Pete is getting a lot of good driving practice this week, driving back and forth with Mom or Dad to Manassas for his job at the Freedom Center. Here is an action shot of Pete driving on Route 28 in the rain:

Dad is also enjoying having a human to eat lunch with, after picking Pete up. Then on the way home they stop off at Dominion Trail to pick up Sam from the bus home from Summer in the Arts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

45 Percent

Dad asked the boys to play a new game called “guess the battery level”. Sam’s phone was surprisingly at 100%, even though not plugged in, Dad’s was 93% and Pete’s was 85%. Now it was time to guess Mom’s. Dad guessed 44%, followed by Sam guessing 45%. After hearing this, Pete guessed 46% which had Sam very annoyed, having essentially lost the game at that point. He tried to get Dad to change his guess to 47%, but Dad did not feel very honorable about doing that to Pete. Finally, the moment of truth arrived and they asked Mom to check her phone. She called out “forty five percent”. Sam and Dad went berserk. Sam had miraculously won after all. Mom must have been wondering what all the fuss was about.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Work / Camp Begins

Sam had fun at his first day of Summer in the Arts camp, once he realize the issue with the incorrect schedule card that was provided to him. He knew a few people on his bus, including Moksh, Sarah, and Aubrey. As per tradition, he came home and complained about not having the proper version of Photoshop. 

Pete also had a good first day of work in Manassas.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Family" Bike Ride

For Father’s Day, Dad wanted to take a family bike ride on the W&OD trail to Andolini’s for lunch. Pete and Sam did not care to participate in this, so it was just Mom and Dad. Later Dad selected Arby’s for his birthday dinner. Everyone agreed to join him for this. It was not very crowded there at 8:30pm on a Sunday evening. Dad handed out a matrix where everyone could vote on what they want to do during the family week off in late July. The winner was pretty close between “Ropes Course” and “Do Nothing / Stay at Home”. Sam and Dad ended up doing a Ropes Course with Boy Scouts, so the winning activity was changed to Escape Room (on the way home from the Philly trip). More details on this later.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Crawfish Ukelele

Today was the big Crawfish Boil on the street. Sam emerged in the late afternoon, and was hanging out with the growing crew of kids in the evening. At one point, he brought out his ukulele. He was in the middle of a circle of about 20 people near Mason’s driveway. (Sorry, no picture.)

Fortunately, Sam did not feel the need to keep any of the crawfish as pets this year.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Sam decided not to go to the pool today; perhaps to give his sunburn a chance to heal. Also maybe he is recovering from last night’s end-of-school party at Taylor’s house. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

No Pizza?

Dad and Sam have been eating leftover pizza for lunch all week, from the pizza that Pete somehow brought home from the last-day-of-school bonfire. (Pete has been going out with his friends every day for lunch.) So goes the first week of summer. Today Dad asked Sam if he wanted a slice of leftover pizza for lunch and Sam said “not really”. So mark it down – the day that Sam turned down pizza for a meal.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


The first family game night in quite some time featured two card games. The first was called Kabul. Pete explained the various rules and then everyone played a few practice games. Mom did really well in the practice games, but then Dad won the regular game. Sam would have won if Dad hadn’t received one especially timely bit of help from Pete. This was the first of many Kabul games over the next few weeks.

The second game was called “BS”. This game was a lot simpler, and pretty fun too. Dad did not like it as much, since it involved some “bluffing” when you didn’t have the necessary card. Dad is not a fan of bluffing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Yearbook Candids

Sam and Pete received their school yearbooks last week. Sam’s official picture was in the 6th grade section of the book. They also have the candid shots of various people in and about school. Among the amusing things was that this section of the book featured more pictures of Dad (1) than Sam (0). The picture of Dad was in the background of a shot at the “Donuts with Dad” event.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hole in the Wall

Dad went to Sam’s Troop meeting tonight, now that he is officially an Assistant Scoutmaster. He noticed that Sam was rough-housing with a few other scouts just prior to Kevin notifying Scoutmaster Roll (his Dad) that there was a hole in the wall. Apparently, Kevin’s elbow had made contact with an un-reinforced section of the wall. Stuart said to Dad, “I always knew the day would come when we damaged this place, I just didn’t think it would be my own son.”

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Zero Pilots

Today was the day that Sam was supposed to go to the 21 Pilots concert with Sarah. But Sarah went silent about 1-2 weeks ago, so nobody knows what happened. It seems most likely that she decided to go to the concert with one of her boyfriends instead. Sam made the best of it by going to the pool with Colin. Pete worked on his original song about Lord of the Flies that he wrote for his final project. After returning home from the Broad Run graduation at George Mason, he was heard playing the guitar late into the night.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Creeped Out

After Pete’s haircut, Dad rode along with him to his American Inline training class. After class, Pete drove with Mom and Dad through some back roads up to a party at Jennifer’s new house in Waterford. Mom and Dad went to an outdoor concert in Leesburg and then went to Windy City Red Hots and brought home Wendy’s for Sam around 9:30pm. Sam had been reading some creepy original fiction on Reddit, so he texted Mom and Dad a few times asking how soon they would be home.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Just Hanging Around

Pete did not need to go to Math class today, since they were taking a test that he could skip due to having an A already for the semester. And he didn’t particularly want to go to Theater class either. So Dad wrote him a tardy note that he would be arriving at school at 12:10. Pete was at school, but not at school at the same time. He spent some time with Christopher in Study Hall and then sat out in the courtyard for a while. He took advantage of the time – finishing his English paper, as well as the first Economics / Personal Finance module for his summer class.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Tick Check

Sometimes Pete disappears for a while with Jennifer. Above is a video that Dad found that could explain some of it. Hopefully Pete did a good tick check when he got home.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Song Pop 2

Dad came to the realization yesterday that, despite only being 15, Pete is already beating him about half the time in Song Pop 2. This includes regularly beating Dad in categories such as 80s and 90s music. Soon Dad may have to resort to choosing 50s and 60s music to get an advantage. (Or Amy Winehouse.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Sax Progress

Today Sam showed Dad that he had learned to play The Pink Panther on the saxophone. Dad called grandpa and asked him to guess the song. Grandpa was at the checkout line at WalMart (wiring some money) and had to go, but he emailed Dad later that he heard Sam play it and knew that it was The Pink Panther.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Musical Chairs

As you can see in the picture, Sam made a big change today. He replaced his chair at the kitchen computer with one of the stools from the bar. Dad asked him about it, and it seemed to be primarily an ergonometric decision. This is a pretty significant move, since it is where he spends most of his time. More on this in a future post.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

An Hour

Sam asked Mom if he could go to the pool “for an hour” with Colin before his Scout meeting. Mom thought this meant “I will go to the pool and after exactly an hour I will text Mom that I am ready to be picked up and then wait outside for her to pull up so I can quickly get in the car and be home in plenty of time to eat dinner before my Troop meeting.” As you may have gathered by now, that is not exactly what Sam means when he asks if he can go to the pool for about an hour.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Graduation Parties

Today Sam enjoyed a quiet day at home, since Pete was off at another graduation party (for Marietta) and Dad was downtown at his crossword puzzle tournament.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Kia Spectra

Pictured is Grandma’s Kia that she is not driving anymore. She was going to give it to her neighbor, but Dad convinced her to sell it to Pete instead. Soon it will be time for a family road trip up to Philly, driving up in one car and returning in two. There should be plenty of opportunities coming up, as Grandpa is continuing his cancer treatments, which are starting to get more aggressive.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Items Du Jour

It’s interesting how trends come and go. They usually involve a small investment, a frenzy of activity, and then are not seen much again. Pete bought 3 NES controllers during the "Kaizo Super Mario" craze, but now two of them sit unopened in their container by the chair in the family room. Pete bought a special Rubiks cube that he used a lot for a week or two. The most recent purchase was a $20 book of rock songs for the piano. Pete has been playing a lot of piano over the last 2-3 weeks. It is nice to have music heard throughout the house. This too will pass. Sam goes through his phases too. At the moment, he wants a $100 Gamecube controller for playing Super Smash Bros. Meanwhile, a cache of Tech Decks and Flick Trix gathers dust in a case in the playroom, near the nerf guns and spy gear.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Secret Word

Sam and Dad have a deal that if someone kills Dad and tries to impersonate him, Sam will ask the "Dad" what his favorite word is. If he does not come up with the word, then Sam will know it is an imposter. By the way, the word comes from a French word.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


The boys have been happy to see more of Mom and Dad recently, now that hopefully Mom’s kidney stones are mostly behind her. And Dad will be happy now that May is over, hoping that June brings fewer visits to CVS.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Sam enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend with two of the three days at the pool with his friends. He is old enough this year (12) to go to the pool by himself. Unfortunately, he did not do as well today with the sunscreen as he did yesterday, so he was spotted applying the soothing blue aloe lotion several times in the evening. Surprisingly, the worst of the burn may have been the tops of his feet. Nana and Poppy came over for a nice dinner of steak and potatoes.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Shadow's Bone

Sam finally got to give Shadow her Christmas present when she came to visit at the end of May. She seemed to like it a lot, as she was chewing on it and guarding it from everyone.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Accidental Acknowledgement

Pete drove to Jennifer’s graduation party at the Loudoun Valley Community Center in Purcellville. Dad helped him navigate. Sam went to the Ashburn Farm Summer Kickoff Festival with his friends. Jack threw up after one of the rides and had to leave early, but Sam stayed all the way from 4pm to the fireworks show at 9:30. Mom and Dad rode their bikes over there also to hang out for a bit and get some food from one of the trucks. Sam  had to be careful when walking by Mom and Dad to make sure he did not accidentally acknowledge their existence.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Melee Restriction

Sam has a hand injury, possibly due to excessive Melee practice. So he has asked Mom and Dad to restrict him from playing video games for the next two weeks. The world is turned upside-down at the moment.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Band Banquet

Mom went with Pete to tonight’s Band Banquet, as Dad was at his meeting for Assistant Scoutmasters in Sam’s Boy Scout Troop. 

Sam stayed home, of course. Sam also found out today that he passed both of his SOL tests – 585 in Math and 598 in Reading (out of 600). If you get a 600, they put your picture on the wall in the cafeteria. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Choir Revue

Tonight was Pete’s “Revue” for choir. He did a great job. First he accompanied Mitch Glaes on piano for “Razzle Dazzle” from Chicago. Then he performed the challenging “It Takes Two” from Into the Woods with Eve Coleman (accompanied on piano by Alesia’s mom). Pete had to audition for each performance against some stiff competition just to make it into the show. After the show, Pete and Dad got Popeyes and also discovered upon returning home that Sam was still at Colin’s house playing Call of Duty 3 and basketball.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SOL Loophole

Mom figured out a loophole today that will get Pete out of having to take his History SOL test, since he can use his AP score in lieu of the test. She explained this to the Principal of Pete’s High School (Mr. Spage). So Pete will have a few hours on Thursday to leave school and do whatever he likes. We should all be so lucky. Meanwhile Mr. Spage would prefer to have Pete take the test, since it would improve the school’s pass rate. Dad was thinking maybe he should convince Mr. Spage to bring Pete some donuts and then maybe he’ll take the test.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Crossing Paths

Mom and Pete went to the band commitment night followed by Chipotle. Dad and Sam went to the Court of Honor, where Sam received his Tenderfoot award, followed by Scotto’s. Everyone's paths crossed briefly at the dinner table.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Revolving Door

Sunday was a busy day. Pete had Chris and Jack over to work on his Shakespeare video for English class, then Eve for a while to practice for choir, and Alesia and her mom to practice for the upcoming revue performance. Sam went to the mall to see a movie, and then had to finish his Science project by 7pm to avoid losing his phone privileges for a day. Sam and Dad also had time right before bed to watch Leffen defeat Mango in the finals of the “Get On My Level 2016” Melee tournament.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Head in the Clouds

Sometimes the papers in Sam’s Science folder leave Dad scratching his head. He doesn’t remember ever learning about the difference between cirrus, stratus, nimbostratus, and all the other types of clouds. It is hard to understand how this will be important. If Sam goes on to become a climatologist or meteorologist, one would hope that they would cover this in his first year college courses. If not, it is hard to envision Sam looking up at the sky one summer day and exclaiming “Based on that combination of cirrus and nimbostratus clouds, we must take cover immediately!”, rescuing dozens of his friends and family. All thanks to the Loudoun County public school Science curriculum.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Food Lists

It can be a challenge coming up with ideas for foods to serve for dinner or to put in Sam’s lunch. Above are various documents / attempts at lists of foods. Pete has also expressed a desire to eat healthier lunches. He usually tells Mom that she has packed "too much" in his lunch (even though it is only 3 or 4 small items). This past week he removed his cupcake a few times. Now that Sam has figured out how to use the microwave in the cafeteria, sometimes Mom will pack him a slice of leftover pizza from Papa John’s. (Actually he probably eats it at room temperature most of the time since that is easier than using the microwave.)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

We’re Going To Be Friends

This morning Pete was playing the guitar for a few minutes while waiting to leave for the bus. Dad discovered that it was one of his favorite songs – “We’re Going To Be Friends” by the White Stripes. Dad pulled up the lyrics and sang along as Pete played the song. It was a memorable moment for Dad.

Here are some of Pete's favorite times to practice trumpet/piano/guitar:

  • Moments before it is time to leave
  • When people are sleeping
  • He has so much homework he doesn't know which to do first

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Dad was pleased this evening when Sam asked him to help with something. He was coding his own platform game in Scratch! The subroutine that was giving Sam difficulty was when the avatar walked off the edge of a platform, she floated and did not fall. Dad helped Sam resolve the issue fairly quickly. He also gave Sam ideas for some cool game levels that night when they were at Fuddruckers. He’ll have to see later if Sam’s finished game has the "button-code wall" or "meteor shower" levels that Dad had suggested. Sam also woke up early the next day to continue working on the game. And if you know Sam, that's some pretty serious dedication.

Sam signed up for a Scratch camp in the summer, but unfortunately the camp did not have enough people signed up and was canceled.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Dad and Pete discussed some issues in the field of Bioethics this morning over some Cocoa Pebbles. In particular, they were debating the merits of adding Lithium to the public water supply. 

After school, Dad revealed to Pete his idea for a new musical called “Perspective”. Dad has the show mostly framed out; now Pete just needs to write all of the music. The show has two halves, each of which looks at the course of a relationship from the viewpoint of one participant. At the end, the two arcs merge together to a conclusion.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Slow Pour

Sam completed his Board of Review this evening, earning his Tenderfoot rank for Boy Scouts. Mom and Dad celebrated this by ordering pizza instead of cooking dinner. Also, Dad demonstrated to Pete how to pour gas into the lawn mower without spilling it all over the place. It turns out, the trick was something that Pete had never considered – pour the gas in slowly.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Twilight Zone

Dad got home pretty late (1am) from his weekend NECSS conference in New York city. Pete was sitting at the kitchen table working on his math homework. Dad went to bed. Pete stayed up to watch two episodes of The Twilight Zone. He is working through this old series on Netflix. He saw “The Hitch-hiker” and “The Fever”, which he discussed with Dad in the morning prior to walking to the bus.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Free" Luv'n'berry

Sam had a free 5 ounce Luv’n’berry gift card expiring today. He got it in his packet of coupons from Farmwell Station for being selected as a “School To Watch” (whatever that means). Anyhow, Sam did not want to go, so Pete went with Dad. Of course, it is impossible for Pete to limit himself to 5 ounces, so Dad had to pay the extra overage charge. 

They sat on the Manhattan Pizza side of the restaurant, to watch the Capitals/Penguins playoff game 6, and saw Sam’s friend (Jack) and his Dad there with his baseball team. They stopped at CVS on the way home so Dad could get a Magnum premium caramel ice cream bar as a surprise for Mom. Dad was disappointed to discover at the register that somehow this bar costs about the same as a half-gallon of premium ice cream at the grocery store.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Burning Scalp

In the above picture, you can see the two recent updates to Pete and Sam’s shower. Mom got a new shower curtain and curved rod, like the ones they have in the hotels. She also got the two pump bottles for shampoo and conditioner, as seen on the top shelf. This led to an interesting new discovery about Pete. One morning he told Dad that his scalp was burning for no reason. Dad asked if he did anything different in his morning routine. He said only that he had to use an abundance of shampoo because Sam used way too much conditioner and then the levels in the bottles were uneven. This liquid equivalence requirement is yet another case where Pete is critically committed to fairness and equity in all things.

Monday, May 09, 2016


Sam (finally) did the raising and lowering the flag at tonight’s Boy Scout meeting, which qualifies him for the Tenderfoot rank. He also had the “15 minute” Scoutmaster conference with Stuart (which of course went for about 45 minutes). And on the home front Pete made it up to #2 rank on Slither. Dad had quit the game earlier in the week after making it to #1 for about 15 seconds.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Quarter Bang

Sam and Dad invented an odd game at dinner. For reasons that are hard to remember, Sam aggressively placed a quarter on the table. Dad told him not to do any more quarter bangs. So the game is that basically you ask a question and then slam a quarter on the kitchen table and then make a bad "quarter bang" pun. Example: “What is less than half a passer on a football team?” “Quarter bang!” (and you slam the quarter). Then someone else grabs the quarter and does one. At one point Mom grabbed the quarter and everyone got excited to see what she came up with, but she was just holding the quarter in  the hopes that there would be no more of that game.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

One Loudoun Festival

Sam went to the festival at One Loudoun with his friends. He got to pet a lot of dogs, so it was a success in his book. He also got a Strawberry Limeade smoothie at Tropical Smoothie. This was a few months before the great "Strawberry Tropical Smoothie Hepatitis A Outbreak" of Summer 2016. Mom and Sam had a quiet night together, as Dad went to "Skeptics in the Pub" in Manassas and Pete had his cast party from the musical. They were supposed to go out to dinner, but Sam never got hungry.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Phone Drops

Sam and Dad went to Deli Italiano for dinner. Sam posed a lot of good questions for discussion. For example, “which do you think would be harder – climbing Mount Everest, or running for 24 hours straight?”. Also, the guy at the next table dropped his iPhone, which did not sit well with Dad since Sam knows quite well that Dad does not like phone drops of any kind.

Sometimes Sam will "drop" his phone just to see its effect on Dad. Ten years from now, he will ask Dad why he has a nervous tic and Dad will say that he can't remember.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Helicopter Seeds

Dad and Sam played for about 10 minutes on the driveway when Sam got home from the bus. They were tossing the little helicopter seeds in the air, and trying to catch them. It is harder than it sounds. After about 100 failed attempts, Sam declared “ok, this is the one” and then proceeded to catch the next one.

Also, at dinner Dad asked everyone to guess who the Mayor of Merrywood Court was on the Swarm app. After quite a lot of guesses, Pete finally guessed that it was Cheryl Onderchain.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Ten Sheets of Good Paper

Today there was a typical discussion between Sam and Pete. Sam asked Pete what the difference was between left-handed scissors and right-handed scissors. Pete gave his best attempt at patiently explaining the difference, while trying to demonstrate it to Sam. This was not sufficient, and Sam declared that there was no advantage of using left-handed scissors. Dad told Sam to go look on the internet to see another explanation. Sam was growing more frustrated as the conversation proceeded. Dad told Pete to let it go. Pete told Sam that if he (Sam) were to cut through ten sheets of paper with each hand, he would see the difference. This is the moment in the conversation where Dad realized that he was soon going to be losing 10 sheets of good paper.

Dad told Sam not to cut through 10 sheets of good paper. Sam took out 10 sheets of good paper and cut through it with each hand. Sam declared that there is no difference. Dad declared that Pete was to blame for all of this.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Do Not Walk Pass This Point

Pete and Dad went this morning for an allergy shot. Of course, Maroon 5 was playing when they walked in so, per the Maroon 5 / Bruno Mars rule, Pete knew he would be getting two donuts on the way to school. Also, the allergy place did not disappoint in providing something ridiculous, which was two new signs which were posted (see photo below). The signs had too many arrows pointing in every direction, and said “DO NOT WALK PASS THIS POINT UNLESS YOU HEAR YOUR NAME BEING CALLED OR YOU HAVE TO USE THE RESTROOM. Thank you for your consideration!!” Whoever made this sign (our money is on Krista) did make up for their lack of grammar with copious use of font colors and clip art.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Macbeth Costume

Sam notified Mom at 7:00am this morning that he would be needing a full Macbeth costume by 7:30am that he could bring to school. Mom considered the appropriate answer, which would be “no”, but of course she came through by creating an outstanding costume from scratch in 25 minutes. There may be a picture of said costume posted here sometime. Mrs. Rivinius is supposedly going to "post the video of the performance on her web page", but that has not happened yet and the chances seem to be diminishing as each day goes by.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Loci Bracelet?

Dad and Pete dropped Sam off at the mall so he could hang out with Jackson, Jacob, Lindsey, Sophie, and Eva. They grabbed some Flamers, Chaing Mai Thai, and Ben & Jerry’s while they were there. Of course, soon after Dad pulled in to the driveway at home, Dad received a text from Sam to come pick him up. Sam bought a new game called Pokken Tournament and something called a Loci bracelet that apparently costs $20. In the evening, Dad helped Sam practice his lines as Macbeth for Monday’s in-class production. Pete helped Dad grill some barbecue chicken at 9pm for a late dinner.

Dad asked Sam in September about the $20 Loci bracelet:
"Whatever happened to that Loci bracelet that you got at the mall?"
"Oh. It's gone."
"You lost it?"
"Yeah I guess so."

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wildflower Planting

Dad and Pete planted their flowers today from Grandma. In the big flowerpot, they planted the Shasta Daisies in the middle and the Forget-me-nots on the outside. In the flower box, they planted the wildflower assortment. Pete went with more of the sprinkle method, while Dad used the bury method. We’ll see in a few weeks if anything comes up, and which method worked better.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mystery Band Photo

Sometimes Dad finds random pictures on Facebook and decides that they would be good to use for a blog post. In this case, it is not clear what the story is behind this picture that was apparently taken back during band season. Whatever the situation is, Pete does not seem to be very happy about it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Band Concert and Nagoya

Tonight was Sam’s 6th grade band concert. Sam and William were the only two saxophones. They did a great job, especially on the solo (“Ode To Joy”) which was the best of all the solos during the so-called “Instrument Palooza”. 

The band played “Frenzy”, “Union March”, “Rockology”, and “Creature Feature”. Sam did a great job! The four of them stayed to watch the second band performance (they split the band into two this year to have smaller performances). Garrett played saxophone in the second group (and Ethan was on percussion). After the concert, they went for a late Nagoya dinner to celebrate everyone’s good grades on the 3rd quarter report cards. They sat with a family from Stone Bridge. Sam ate all of his dinner this time, since Dad told him to order the kid’s portion or else he would have to pay the difference, unless he finished. They also went an impressive 7 for 8 on the mouth catching of the shrimp (2 tries each).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chamber Choir Spring Concert

Pete had his Spring Concert tonight. Sam sat in the back with Jack, Jennifer, and Lindsay. Pete's choir group (Chamber Choir) did these songs:

  • Wana Baraka* (which they also did previously at the assessment)
  • My Good Lord’s Done Been Here*
  • In Remembrance

* Included solo by Pete

Pete's group were also in the opening song (Kawouno Wan Gi Pi) and closing song (That Lonesome Road) in which they joined with the Women’s Choir, Gospel Choir, and Jazz Choir.

After the concert, Sam went with Jennifer and Lindsay to Chipotle. He was not interested in the grilled chicken that was for dinner. Pete also had apparently made his own plans to go out for dinner after the concert. The grilled chicken would have to go back into the fridge.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Steak and Song List

Dad grilled some steaks tonight. As usual, the apportionment was: Pete – largest steak, Mom/Sam – share 2nd largest steak, Dad – smallest steak. Pete also shared with everyone at dinner the list of songs that he would be singing in tomorrow’s concert. He is going to have two solos – pretty good for someone in chorus for the first year.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Thanks is Better Than Sorry

Dad helped Pete check his math homework. On two earlier occasions this year, Dad gave Pete's homework a quick scan, and then found out later that it was a homework “quiz” that counted a lot. Pete got a low score on those quizzes. So Dad was not going to make that mistake again. He is now treating homework assignment reviews like exams. 

The subject of this assignment was instantaneous rate of change word problems. Pete had to explain to Dad how to do it, so Dad could check the answers. It took Dad about an hour to check 8 problems. He was very impressed with Pete’s work. The problems were very difficult. A sample question would be something like: “you are removing water from a conical tank at 20 gallons per minute. How fast is the water level rising at the instant when the diameter of the tank is 12 feet.” Pete neatly wrote out all of the steps for each answer. Dad was pleased that he did find one mistake, so the time spent was worthwhile. Pete also taught Dad something else the following morning. He was going to say “sorry it took you so long to check my Math” but instead he said “thanks for checking my Math”. He had heard somewhere that it is better to say “thanks” than “sorry”. Which made sense to Dad too.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

URF Weekend

Today was the final performance of Pete’s musical, and Sam returned home from his trip with the Boy Scouts. Sam stayed up an extra hour so he and Dad could watch the championship match of Summit on Twitch between Armada and Hungrybox. Sam decided not to do any homework today since it was URF weekend on League of Legends.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

USS New Jersey Trip

Dad was out of town on his golf trip, so Mom dropped off Sam for his Boy Scout trip to the USS New Jersey.  He enjoyed staying overnight on a submarine.

Later in the evening, Dad went to see Pete’s play at Broad Run.