Friday, September 29, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sleep Positions

It's funny how toddlers sleep in odd positions. It might be hard to see in this picture, but when I checked on Sam on this night he had his arm up in the air, propping up his pillow like a tent.

Monday, September 25, 2006


We went hiking again on Sunday at Claude Moore Park. Brian was able to join us this time, and brought along some good books to help us identify some of the flowers along the trail.

An important part of any hike is to stop for a snack. Pete likes to look for a stump he can sit on.

Sam is content to snack on a bridge.

Note the sticks in the above picture. You have to be careful with Sam - if you hand him a stick, it becomes his friend and he needs to retain it for the remainder of the hike. On this particular hike, he ended up with 3 or 4 sticks that he had to carry. This included one large one that he had to drag behind him. Also, note the rugged hiking boots that Sam insisted on wearing.

You need to make sure you don't give a name to something, because then it becomes a friend. At the magic playground 2 weeks ago, Pete befriended a moth that we called motho (pronounced mo'th-oh). We took him down the slide and all over the playground. We still miss Motho. This is how we decided that we really need to look into getting a pet turtle.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Pete is detail-oriented. While there are many definitions of this term, generally it means that when you do a task you pay careful attention to the correctness of each individual aspect of the task. In the business world, this is generally a coveted skill since it means you can assign a task to this person and be confident that they will do everything necessary to get the job done in a professional manner. In the 6-year-old world, it means you have trouble finishing things in the time allotted.

Here are some examples of how Pete is detail-oriented:

1. At our Den meeting on Wednesday, each Tiger Cub was decorating his folder with stickers. There were many stickers to choose from, and no rules for how to decorate the folder. Most of the kids ended up with a folder that had various stickers of each type strewn about. Pete's folder was more structured. I was convinced of this when one of the adults walking by looked at Pete's folder and said "Wow. He's detail-oriented".

2. Pete's work that comes home from school is usually (i) correct (ii) structured and (iii) incomplete.

3. His room full of Knex creations, all symmetric and accurate to their design.

4. He generally wants to start over if he has not performed something perfectly.

5. He needs to know the name and number of every song on the CD he is listening to.

6. If you say "Ruby Tuesdays" instead of "Ruby Tuesday" I suspect that he will declare you an enemy combatant with no protections of the Geneva Convention.

7. Pete brought home a speech activity paper that apparently had white-out on it. Mom asked him "did you use white-out on this?" Pete said "yeah, isn't that awesome?"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hiking Trails

We've gone hiking a few times this summer in Claude Moore Park in Sterling.

Here are Pete and Sam ready to enter the black trail. On this day, we did parts of the black (Southern Woods), blue (Cedar Grove), and white (Little Stoney Mountain) trails. The full trail map is available here.

Here is a friend we found on the black trail.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Karate Tournament

Pete competed in his first karate tournament on Saturday. He got a trophy for 3rd place in open forms, and a medal for sparring.

These are the strategies we reviewed in our mental preparation sessions:
1. Must have complete focus at all times
2. Keep moves solid and crisp
3. Always keep going, even if small mistake
4. Close eyes and visualize routine during prep time
5. Stay relaxed
6. Be proud of yourself whether you win or lose

This is the additional item to remember for next time:
7. Nice and slow

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Never Too Early

Sam looks like he is getting ready for Halloween.

Mom: Sam, what do you want to be for Halloween?
Sam: A cow, or Uncle Sam.
Mom: What should Pete be for Halloween?
Sam: Uncle Pete.

Monday, September 18, 2006

First Day of School

Well, I guess we can't think about summer vacation forever. We returned with one day to spare before Pete's first day of 1st grade. Even though it rained pretty hard that morning, Pete was in good spirits.

Sam, on the other hand had been telling us for days that he would be getting on the bus and going to school with Pete.

He was sad to see everyone else get on the bus. When he looks back, he will realize that he should have appreciated his carefree days at home while he had them.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vacation Day 8 - Dance Contest

On the last day of our vacation, we checked out of the beach house and drove home. This sounds like a drab day, but as luck would have it, this day provided one of the great Pete stories of all time.

We stopped at Virginia Center Commons for lunch at Sam's favorite restaurant (Ruby Tuesday). After lunch, we walked around the mall a bit. They were having a festival sponsored by a local radio station, with a day full of stage activities, freebies, and concerts. One of the acts was Cheyenne Kimball (sample Cheyenne mall act pictured below)

First we stopped at the arcade to play a few games. Pete and I were watching two people who were very good at Dance Dance Revolution for a little while. They had a Sam-sized skeeball machine, which was nice. Then we walked over to the play area for a few minutes. On the way back to the car, we signed up to get some free ice cream. While eating the free ice cream, Pete apparently heard that there would be a dance contest starting in a few minutes. So he decided to enter the contest.

The contest had about 15 entrants, several "groups" and a few individual entrants, the youngest of which was Pete. Each entrant got to dance for about 30 seconds. When it was Pete's turn, he started doing the moves he saw earlier on the DDR video game. He got a pretty good response from the growing crowd (Cheyenne was scheduled to come out in about 20 minutes). Several entrants got spooked and did absolutely nothing, so all things considered Pete did quite well.

The next to last contestant was a girl, maybe about 7 or 8 years old. She started doing DDR moves like Pete. The emcee started to have some fun with this. He said he should introduce her to Pete. But when he looked over at Pete, he was giving the girl a piercing stare for stealing his routine. The emcee said "there is only one way to settle this - Dance Off!" So Pete came back out and the two of them did their DDR moves side by side for a little while.

When it came time to vote, Pete made it into the final three and then the final two. He did a dance off against the other finalist - two teenage guys who seemed to have an entourage of fans. It was time for the final vote. Of course everyone pulled for the underdog, and Pete won! He got a t-shirt and an orange bag. Someone official also took his picture which was presumably published somewhere.

Sam was very sad because he did not get to dance on stage. It was a long 20 minutes trying to hold him back from running up there during the competition. We couldn't even discuss the contest in the car on the way home, because if anyone said D-A-N-C-E, Sam would demand that we turn around and go back to the stage.

Perhaps Pete's two first place finishes bode well for his karate tournament that he is competing in tomorrow. Either way, he probably now has as many career victories in anything as mom and dad combined.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Vacation Day 7 - Jockey's Ridge

We spent the morning of our final vacation day hiking up the dunes of Jockey's Ridge. Pete did a great job hiking. Sam didn't make it too far until he was ready for the "flying backpack".

Pete finally got a chance to fly his kite. There was plenty of wind up on top of the big dune. Note: Christy doesn't like flying the kite on Jockey's Ridge, since it is "too easy".

It was inevitable that Pete was going to want to roll down the steep embankment of the ridge. Dad and Sam walked around and took this picture from the bottom. Pete rolled down 7 or 8 more times, and then we headed back to the house to spend a final afternoon on the beach.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Vacation Day 4 - The Beach

Despite the Hurricane, we did manage to spend 4 or 5 days on the beach during our vacation.

Sam was pretty brave on his new boogie board. His favorite game was called "that's not going to get us". You lie on your board head-first near the water line and wait for a quick wave to come through and wipe you out. When a big one was coming, Sam would yell "that's the one I've been worried about!"

Pete and Aaron added an element to "that's not going to get us", which entails building a sand pile and challenging the water to destroy it.

This attempt to bury Sam in the sand turned out more like a sand blanket. Which was not a bad idea, since he did not take a single nap the entire week.

Here are Pete and Sam finishing off our sand gator sculpture:

And Sam working on his baby gator:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Vacation Day 6 - The Beach House

When the Hurricane came through, we got some quality time to get better acquainted with the beach house.

Here Pete and Sam are playing a Blues Clues game on the computer.

Playing the Cars game, for about the 30th time. Note, the Sonic cup was from when Sam and dad walked over there around 6:15am.

Getting ready for the pizza picnic, which was followed by some charades. The nice thing about charades was that you didn't have to worry about the kids seeing your paper (except Pete) since they can't read it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Vacation Day 1 - North Carolina Aquarium

Prior to checking in to the beach house, we stopped at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

Here Pete and Sam are terrorizing a snake:

Here the boys are terrorizing a shark:

Here Pete is petting a stingray. This was a few days before we found out that they stab celebrities in the heart with poison.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Vacation Day 5 - Ernesto

Our new friend Ernesto came to visit on Thursday evening.

This meant the "No Swimming" flags were out for Friday (and Saturday, for some reason). We interpreted this to mean "no swimming in the deep parts if you're not a good swimmer", but they just didn't have room on the flag to fit all of that. Note, from our angle the flag said "ON SWIMMING", so we told Sam he could go ahead and swim.

Perhaps the only real effect of the storm is that our tennis court and croquet field were rendered unplayable for the remainder of the week.

Here are the local news guys recording a segment in front of a flooded area. This was about a block away from our house. The water looks pretty high, but you could drive through it in the SUV without much trouble.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Vacation Day 2 - Buried Treasure

After discovering half of a pirate treasure map Monday evening (while digging a pit for the barbecue), an all-out search was on for the second half of the map. We located the second half in the net while crabbing on Tuesday morning. So then the hunt was on.

Pete and his friend Aaron trying to decipher the map:

Once we located the "X", it was time for some digging:

Once we got the chest out of the ground, it was time to distribute the booty:

Pete wore some of his new items to dinner that evening. The pirate restaurant we sought was just an empty lot, but we found a cool place named Goombay's nearby anyhow. Pete tried a new food - Popcorn Shrimp.

Captain Jack was a bit intimidated by Pete when we went to the Roanoke Festival later in the week:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Vacation Day 3 - Crabbing in Roanoke Sound

We had lots of fun crabbing on Tuesday morning. We stopped at the bait shop, then headed to the docks under the bridge that runs from Nags Head to Manteo.

Here are Pete and Sam using our old-school method of standard crab line with chicken neck for bait.

Pete had trouble at first, but then once he developed his technique he pulled in 5 consecutive crabs on one piece of bait. We suspect this is likely some sort of local record.

Sam was ready with the net:

Sam caught the first two crabs - and he was the only one to catch two simultaneously on one line:

Here is Pete with his first crab. Whenever we got one, he would run over and help. This help did not involve the net or the hook; he would just tell you if it was male or female:

We also found the second half of the pirate treasure map in one of the nets

Back at the house, gutting the crabs with a little something Pete likes to call Mallet Mash

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rest in Pete

We're back from our long vacation to Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We will recap some of our vacation adventures over the next 1-2 weeks.