Monday, October 30, 2006

Ask Dr. Science

Waiting for our food to come at the restaurant Saturday evening, I tried to ask Sam some questions to keep him occupied.

Dad: Sam, what do you get if you put water into the freezer?

Sam: A time out.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Second Tournament

Pete had his second karate tournament in Gaithersburg, Maryland last weekend. He got a medal for third place in forms (Intermediate division) and a ribbon for sparring.

He did a really good job on his purple belt form - his scored were 7.7, 7.5 and 7.6 on a scale of 6.0-8.0. The two people who scored higher were exceptional, and did an easier form but did it almost flawlessly so they got scores of 7.7, 7.8, and 7.9.

Below are pictures of Pete doing his form, getting ready to spar, and sparring (he lost the sparring match 5-4 to the bigger child standing next to him):

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Flag Raising

Pete's cub scout group raised the flag Wednesday morning at his school.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sam's First Reading Words

I recently discovered that Sam can "read" the following words:

Diggin' It
Plant Food
Hangin' Out
Turtle Woods

I know this because these are all levels on Crash Bandicoot 2, and he can identify them when you are standing next to them and there are no other unique distinguishing elements than the words written above the portals to those levels.

Now if I can just find a video game where Crash runs through the entire dictionary, then we would really have something.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Support Pete's School

If you shop at Giant or Harris Teeter, you can support Pete's school by designating Dominion Trail Elementary as your school. (You can do this even if you don't have any kids).

1. Go to
2. Select "Designate Schools"
3. Enter the 12-digit number from your Giant card
4. Enter school #03473

5. Go to
6. Click on "Together in Education"
7. Click on "Link your VIC card to your school now"
8. Enter your personal info (you may want to use a fake e-mail address, no confirmation is required)
9. Enter school #5871

Bike Ride

On Sunday, we went for a bike ride on the Washington & Old Dominion trail with the cub scouts. It was perfect weather for a bike ride - sunny with a nice cool breeze. Before the ride, Sam got to ride his tricycle around the parking lot with the big boys. On the trail, Pete rode on his yellow bike, and Sam rode with mom. Sam and mom turned back after a few miles, and dad and Pete continued to Route 28. Dad and Pete stopped when they spotted a few deer off to the side of a bridge.

Note: You have to be careful when riding behind Pete - he is liable to stop at any moment.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hospital Card

Here is a card Pete wrote for the Cub Scouts to give to a sick child in a local hospital.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Trip to the Fire House

We all had fun Wednesday night at the Cub Scouts "Go See It" trip to the Ashburn fire house.

The best part was that we got to see the trucks go out for a live call during our tour. Fortunately, it was just a small fire at the new Cheesecake Factory restaurant being built in Dulles Town Center.

The trip brought back memories for dad, too, from his time as a fireman back in New Jersey.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quick Action (Part I)

Being a parent in this day and age presents a lot of challenges. Here is an example from last night.

Sam is having a snack before bed, which is a peanut butter and chocolate candy that he is having for the first time. After about 2 bites, he starts crying and says "I'm choking". What is the first thing you do? a) Check his airway for an obstruction
b) Give him a cup of water
c) Give him an oreo cookie
d) Call 9-1-1

I will post the answer tomorrow.

Quick Action (Answer)

The answer to yesterday's question was:

c) Give him an oreo cookie

He was talking, and he is the king of drama, so that rules out checking his airway or calling 9-1-1. The remaining issue is to change the taste in his mouth to a happy taste, which can only be accomplished by the oreo cookie. I gave him that, and after a bite he was happy.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


We had our first parent-teacher conference yesterday with Pete's 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Fishman. She seems to be doing a good job, since Pete's reading was assessed as 5th grade level.

It would be nice if we could qualify him for early entry in a Spelling Bee. We have done Spelling Bees at home, but it would be fun for him to do a real one. Of course this is a long shot, since for the National Spelling Bee (for example) you have to wait until the February after completing 8th grade. So it looks like it will be a long 9-year wait until 2015.

We also found out in the conference why Pete was disenfranchised from voting for our neighbor Sammy in the school election for Vice President. The reason is that 1st and 2nd graders don't get to vote. This seems to me like an odd bit of gerrymandering. (Is there a literacy or knowledge requirement? If so, there should be a similar requirement for U.S. elections. Good luck getting Howard Dean to agree to that one)

The problem here is that the 1st and 2nd graders do not have a leader to represent their interests to school administrators. Is it just me, or is there an opportunity here for Pete to rally his fellow 1st graders and get some of these policies corrected?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sam is Our Hero (Part II)

Pete and I asked Sam what his group did at church on Sunday. He said they were singing "London Bridge". This is a coincidence, because we were watching the video for London Bridge earlier in the day (#6 in the Top 20 Countdown - Sam likes the part where Fergie walks on the big table).

So we suspect that while the other kids were singing "London Bridge is falling down...", Sam was singing:

How come every time you come around
My London London Bridge wanna go down
Like London London London
Wanna go down like
London London London

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Was There

Welcome again to everyone visiting from Parenthacks.

I was lamenting to Christy the other day that, although I remember many details from the birth of Pete, I can hardly remember any details from Sam. So I realized that I should post a picture from the delivery room, so I can come back here anytime I need to make sure I was really there.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sam Tricycle

Here is Sam riding his tricycle he got from Grandma. When he saw it in Target a few weeks ago, he tried to ride it right off of the pedestal in the store.

In the back is Pete on a pogo stick. There are various pogo sticks that are generally out and about on our street. They are like trash can lids - no one is quite sure where they came from or who they belong to, but you just grab one when you need one.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cub Scouts Popcorn

Pete and I went to our second cub scouts pack meeting last night. Be prepared: there will probably be some posts coming up about the Space Derby.

This month's theme is boats. This means the leaders spent a boat-load of time at the meeting telling us to go out and do our scout duty of SELLING POPCORN!

If we sell $300 of popcorn, we get to throw a pie in Mr. Ken's face. I think this idea had the desired effect on the sales staff, because as soon as we got home Pete said "dad, I need three hundred dollars"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bubbles and Spaghetti

I was blowing bubbles with Sam late one evening in August. We were running low on bubble solution in his dish, and I carefully poured in a little bit for him. He was still running low, so I poured a tiny bit more. Then I realized that I was hoarding the bubble solution for no good reason. I was holding an enormous container, knowing that we only do bubbles a few times a year, and still holding back from pouring in a nice healthy quantity of bubble solution that would maximize our enjoyment.

I was violating the parenting commandment:

Know when to spend out.

Unrelated to parenting, the same rule applies to cooking spaghetti. If you cook spaghetti for dinner, and it runs out, and you're not on a diet, you just made yourself go hungry to save 4 cents. My mom was the champion of not making enough spaghetti. In most cases I have overcome this genetic tendency. But once in a while I catch myself hoarding bubbles, and need to remind myself to spend out.

Note, this principle applies to bubble baths, also.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Pete and Sam had fun recently at VillageFest. This is the annual event where we have carnival rides (and carnies!) in the parking lot by the Ashburn Pavillion.

Pete did all the rides. Sam rode the following:
  • 2 carousel
  • Dizzy Dragon*
  • Mini Roller Coaster
  • 2 Crazy House
  • Moonbounce
*Note, we rode the Dizzy Dragon with some people named Jackson, Drew, Emma, and Joe. Sam is at the age where he needs to know who everyone is. He will keep asking you until you tell him. So if you don't know, you'd better come up with some names that sound good. And you'd better remember them when he asks you about it a few days later.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cub Scout Camping

Below are some pictures from Saturday's camping trip. It was our first cub scout camping trip. The one Pete decided to go to instead of his karate tournament. If you are still looking for the pictures, that is because the campout was cancelled due to a chance of rain in the forecast.

On a related note, I believe they have changed the scout motto from "Be prepared" to "Go inside, it looks like it might drizzle".

Monday, October 02, 2006


We tried playing that game Simon with Pete on Saturday. You may remember this from the 70's - there is a random sequence of lights that you need to remember and repeat. We don't have the actual game, so we just used small colored tokens on the floor to represent the four colors in the game.

There are two issues to be aware of when playing Simon with Pete:

1. When Sam is around, he will do anything possible to disrupt the game.

2. The adult administering the game needs to have pencil and paper, because it is impossible to remember a sequence long enough that it will defeat Pete.

We are planning to keep track of Pete's record and update it on the refrigerator. Maybe some of you want to try it and submit your record in the comments. Click here to download a spreadsheet that will create a random set of colors for you to use.


Pete's record as of 10/3/06: 16