Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007


Sam was happy that he finally got to play "Trouble" on Christmas.

Sam bought Trouble as a gift for mom back in November. The next day, mom asked Sam if he would like to play a game. He said yes, he would like to play Trouble. Mom said that they don't have Trouble. Sam said "Yes we do. I bought it yesterday!"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gingerbread House

"We're having fun building this Gingerbread House"

"I can't believe I just ate the whole Gingerbread House"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Books

Mom continued one of our holiday traditions this year. She wraps about 30 Christmas books in late November, and we unwrap and read one book each night through Christmas Eve. One thing this does is help give everyone a good idea how close (or how far) it is to Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Since we didn't do any family vacations during 2007, we decided to do a surprise 1-day mini-vacation on Saturday.

Friday: Dad took vacation from work, and we all went to Pete's holiday party in his classroom at school. Then we drove to Harrisonburg, VA, went swimming at the Holiday Inn, and watched Surf's Up. There was a lot of shuffling in the beds - it's not entirely clear who ended up sleeping with whom.

Saturday: We drove through James Madison University. The plan was to walk around with Pete and see if he likes the school but he said he "only wants to go to Penn State", and did not want to walk around the campus. Then we spent the day at the Harrisonburg Children's Museum, walked to BK for lunch and I-Cats (stopping for a geocache along the way), and drove home.

Sunday: Discovered that Pete has strep throat.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Snow Trampo

About two weeks ago, there was the following rare combination of events:
- 3 inches of snow on the ground
- Mom out for the evening with a friend

Dad gathered Pete and Sam, and very seriously stated: "Guys, we have an opportunity to do something here that does not come along very often. But it's going to be painful, and scary, so don't agree to do it unless you are sure you have the required courage and bravery."

Well, dad was going to have them guess for a while and then finally reveal the activity. However, this became unnecessary when Sam immediately yelled out "Snow Trampo!"

So everyone headed off to the snow-covered trampoline in the bitter cold and darkness, wearing a shirt, pants, and socks. Dad and Sam were completely unable to stand on the slick surface, with a big bowl in the middle where the snow had accumulated. Pete, however, managed to stand/jump/etc with no difficulty - it was reminiscent of those bugs who walk on water, or penguins who effortlessly run around all day on sheets of ice.

After about 5 minutes, Sam had enough. This was the end of Snow Trampo. Until next time?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First Cousins

After the family photo at Nana/Poppy's house in Virginia Beach (see yesterday's post), we managed to get Pete and Sam to sit another 30 seconds for a photo with cousins Ashleigh and Sarah.

Cousins Shayna and Skyler have moved from Pennsylvania to Florida. Hopefully we will get to see them again sometime soon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Welcome Holiday Card Visitors

We recently send out our annual holiday cards, with the address of this blog listed at the bottom, so welcome to all of our holiday card visitors.

As you probably have surmised over the years, we don't clean up well for the standard holiday card "photo of kids only, nicely dressed and seated in front of a Christmas tree".

But for the sake of this requirement, below is an attempt at the "Happy Family" photo:

It doesn't meet all of the requirements, but still closer to normal than the disturbing cards we sent out last year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Day, Another Party

Below are some pictures from Sam's birthday party at Celebration pre-school.

If you add up all of his parties, it seems that Sam is now officially older that Mom and Dad.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Winter Is Here

We got just enough snow last week for some after-school sledding. Pete and Sam headed over to the hill right behind the house.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pete Will Be a Lawyer (Part III)

Dad (to Mom): Does Wegman's have our paperwork for leaving Pete and Sam in the play area?

Pete: What paperwork are you talking about?

Dad: If you want to leave a child in the play area at Wegman's, you have to sign a form indicating that Wegman's is not responsible if anything happens to the child.

Pete: Why would anyone sign a contract like that?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sam's New Guitar

Here is Sam playing with the new electric guitar he got for his birthday from Nana and Poppy.

Maybe we will have to post another guitar video of Sam on YouTube. His last guitar video currently has been viewed over 55,000 times.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sam's Birthday Party - The "After Party"

Sam wanted to invite some of his older friends to his birthday party. We decided to invite them to come at the end of the party and play afterwards. Note, at this age "play" apparently means "fight":

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sam's Birthday Party - Opening Presents

Can there be anything less interesting than a blog post about a 4-year-old opening birthday presents? Perhaps not. For something more intriguing, you may want to click here to see a discussion we raised on Yahoo!Answers about the importance of opening presents at parties.

The Lincoln Logs shown below were fun, because they were from Sam's friend Bill and the two characters in the set are Sam and Bill. The protagonist is "Sheriff Sam", and the anti-hero is "Bad Billy".

We also let each guest sit with Sam while he opened his or her present.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sam's Birthday Party - Pin the Wand

There was time after the magic show for "Pin the Wand on the Magician". This is the game we didn't have time for at Pete's party in August.

"Somehow" Pete managed to get his wand right in the center of the magician's hand. It's too bad there was no prize.

This game yields a fascinating distribution of results. About half of the attempts are dead-center on the target. The other half are randomly distributed across the wall (this included Sam, by the way). If we ever do this game again, my idea is to give a prize to everyone whose guess is not right on the target. In other words, the people that played the game fairly.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sam's Birthday Party - Magic / Invisible

No "Mazes/Magic/Invisible" party would be complete without a magic show.

Pete, Sam, and Dad all participated in the show. There were 4 tricks:

1. Magic Crayon

2. Cut the Rope

3. Vanishing Coin

4. Make Sam Disappear

The magic words for each trick were "Abracadabra, Alacazam, do you magic Mr. Sam!"

Dad and Sam practiced trick #4 each night leading up to the show.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sam's Birthday Party - Mazes

No maze party would be complete without a maze. So during the week leading up to Sam's party, Pete and Sam helped Mom and Dad construct a floor maze out of plywood, garden hose, contact paper, and glue. We did a little bit more gluing of hoses each night until it was done.

We did three maze games at the party. The first maze game was guiding a ball through the maze using a magnetic pointer. The guests sat very nicely and took turns. Here is Harrison demonstrating game #1:

The second maze game was walking through the maze. The last maze game was selecting a color out of a bag and trying to pick up a ball of matching color. Here is Gia demonstrating game #3:

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sam is 4

Sam is turning 4 tomorrow, which seems a bit anti-climactic since we've already had 2 of his 4 "parties".

The first party was Saturday night with Nana and Poppy. We went out to Sal's for dinner, and then had a small cake.

The second party was the big Mazes, Magic, and Invisible party on Sunday afternoon with A LOT of Sam's friends. There was also an "after-party". This is a new trend we are starting among the pre-school set.

These are the children who attended to Sam's party on Sunday:




* In Sam's pre-school class
** Attended only the after-party (for the older kids)

More details on the party will be posted later this week.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Sometimes you have to take a picture of a special creation so that someone can be convinced to clean it up and put it away. Below is an example of this phenomenon, featuring Magnetix:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Proof That Pete Should Be A Lawyer When He Grows Up

Mom: Where do you guys want to go to dinner?
Sam: Wendy's
Pete: BK
Mom: You have 3 minutes to discuss together and reach a decision

[after 2 minutes]

Mom: Where did you decide to go?
Sam: Wendy's
Pete: BK
Mom (to Pete): If you guys don't agree on a place, we are going home

[after 3 minutes]

Pete: OK, we've discussed it and agreed to go to BK
Mom: How did you get Sam to agree to that?
Pete: I just told him that his choices were BK or go home

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pete's Hiking Rules

Pete has his own set of hiking principles.

#1 Trees have branches for a reason, and that reason is climbing.

#2 The easy way is for losers

#3 Risky is usually good

#4 Always choose the path not taken

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We did our second annual Thanksgiving hike on Thursday. Note that the weather was quite nice, so Pete is wearing shorts and Sam has short sleeves. We did about a 1 mile hike, and then went to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium while the turkey was baking for dinner.

Pete and Sam are seen above collecting various items in a bucket for creating a nature person.

Also, here is Sam log-surfing:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Maze Party - Invitations

We asked Sam what he wants to do for his 4th birthday party. He said mazes, magic, and invisible.

Here are the invitations:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Playground at Grandma's

One of the nice features of Grandma and Grandpa's house is the nearby playground / clubhouse / pond.

On our last visit, Pete and Sam were old enough to walk over to the playground by themselves.

Some things to do there are feed the fish, play pool, and play in the sand.

It's a small playground, so Sam can get bored after a little while.

This was also the first place we realized that we can hide a toy in the woods and mark it on the GPSr so Pete and Sam can use the device to go look for it, like a mini treasure hunt.

There is also a putting "green", with a sand trap, but it was not designed well so it is almost impossible to strike a ball without it rolling off of the fast, sloped surface.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Floam Map

Here is a map of the world that Pete made with Floam.

Note that the crack in the table is the equator.

Also, here is one Sam made, which he calls "Earth".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

CTR Race

Inspired by Crash Team Racing, dad hid the letters CTR along a "track" in the house so Pete and Sam could race around, grabbing the letters as they found them. Sam had to grab the yellow letters, and Pete the blue letters.

After a few CTR races, we did a few races with crystals.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Link For Hunger

This year was Pete's third year volunteering to help hand out food to the needy as part of the local Link For Hunger program. He went with Dad on Saturday morning. They split up - Pete working on stocking the shelves in his favorite area, while dad helped walk around with the people coming for food and with loading the food into their cars.

Actually, all of the food given out comes from a scouting program called Scouting For Food. Pete also got to participate in collecting the food with his cub scout troop. First they go out and hang bags on all of the doors in the neighborhood. Then they go back a week later and collect the bags full of food. This is the food that is given out at the church.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Big Boy Bed

Sam is now in his big boy bed. Note that he is completely protected from an evening attack, with one hand on his drive vortex.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Delaware Hike

We stopped in Delaware on the way home from Philadephia for some lunch and a hike in a nice local park.

On our walk to the geocache, we met a fellow geocacher who was out letterboxing.

Sam was wearing a cape that he found in Grandma's basement, his happy pants, and his rainbow shirt. So he was happy.

Pete brought Libre and Stripey on the hike since the cache we found was called "Here Kitty Kitty". There were some cool big leaves on the trail, about the size of Pete's head. Pete walked around with a leaf in front of his face and asked us to henceforth refer to him as "Leaf Lad".

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Giggleberry Fair

On Sunday of our Philadelphia trip, we went to a fun place called Giggleberry Fair, in Peddler's Village.

In Discovery Land, Pete and Sam enjoyed the dress-up stage, moonbounce, rock wall, games, and drawing table. We also had some pizza with grandma and grandpa.

We also hiked for a few geocaches on the ride home. Pete and Dad hiked some pretty aggressive terrain on the second one, but had to turn back when darkness set in.