Friday, March 30, 2007

School Dance

Pete went to his first school dance last Friday. It was a luau, so he got to wear a Hawaiian shirt:

Mom, Dad, and Sam came also. After about 20 minutes of running around trying to get lost among the 500 people there, Sam was ready to go. He walked home with dad in the flying backpack (about 1 mile).

The dance included events such as limbo and hula hoop contest.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Carry the Seasons

Driving home from Tee Ball yesterday, Sam kept asking about the part in Elmopalooza with "carry the seasons". Pete said he didn't remember anything like that. And if Pete doesn't remember, there is no chance that dad will remember. So after dinner we watched Elmopalooza again.

It turns out that it was the part where Oscar asked if anyone had any pepper and Bert said he had some in his pocket. Then they were all giving Bert strange looks and he said "what, you don't all carry around your own seasonings?". Once we figured this out, it took a while to explain to Sam, as you can imagine.

I was reminded of the time we were listening to a song on the radio called "This Aint a Scene, It's an Arms Race". Pete kept asking what an Arms Race is. You would be surprised how difficult a concept that is to explain. Maybe next time I will just send him to Wikipedia, which is how anybody learns about anything anymore. By the way, explaining Arms Race is only half the battle, because you still have to explain what is meant by the title "This Aint a Scene, It's an Arms Race".

Friday, March 23, 2007

Caching on the Washington Old Dominion Trail

One Sunday afternoon we went out to look for a Geocache called "Encroachment" on the Washington - Old Dominion trail. We actually went on the "horse trail", which runs right next to the actual trail but doesn't get all of the bicyclists racing by.

Pete managed to find this cache completely on his own. It was in amongst the branches you can see of the left side of the picture. He also found another cache on the same trail, a week later, also by himself.

Sam decided to wear his Clifford sandals for this rugged hike. Then he ended up walking barefoot most of the way. Needless to say, Pete got to the cache site before he did. Sam also met two dogs on the hike - Bailey and Jordan.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tournament #3

Pete finished 5th out of 15 entrants in his division at his third tournament last weekend. So he got his first plaque, for being a finalist.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spelling Bee - Year 2

Pete and dad went to the Loudoun county spelling bee on Monday night. This is the second year in this tradition (click here for last year). The insufferable speeches at the beginning were shorter this year, so we got to see the whole first round, grab a snack in the cafeteria (letter-shaped cookies), and still make it home before 9:00.

We wrote all the words on paper before the kids spelled them. We fared better than last year, this time spelling all 91 words correctly. Although we had to guess on one word, sitzmark, with which we were not familiar.

The champion from Pete's school, Rebecca, was still alive through the second round when we left. We will have to check in the newspaper to see who won. Pete will first be eligible to compete four years from now in 2011.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Scout's Own

On Sunday morning of a camp-out, scouts do a service called "Scout's Own". This is because they will not be able to make it to church. There are a few songs, and some inspirational reading.

One of the readings we did talked about the things scouts need to be. I took special note of the part that said "Scouts are cheerful". Dad is always cheerful, but about half the time Pete is Mr. Grump. Dad tried mentioning this to Pete one afternoon when he was being especially grumpy.

Dad: "Remember, scouts are supposed to be cheerful"
Pete: "I'm not a scout right now"

Sigh. Well, it was worth a try.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Cub Scout Camping Trip - Soggy Morning

Here is what our tent looked like on Sunday morning of the cub scouts campout. The soggy ground is a result of the significant rains throughout the night. You may also be able to see the water droplets on the rain fly. By the way, there is someone sleeping in that green sleeping bag. The temperature got down to about 30 degrees, so the best way to sleep was sealed up inside the bag.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Caching at the Cub Scout Campout

Pete and dad decided to skip out during the dinner break and search for a geocache in the park.

Here is Pete after he located the cache (in the trunk of the tree behind him). We brought the octopus toy home for Sam.

Here is my failed attempt, on the walk back to camp, to get a picture of the sunset.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cub Scout Camping Trip - Stations

Pete went to five stations on the camping trip where he learned about scouting topics. His partner was his friend, Christopher, who lives very close to us in Ashburn.

1. Fishing - Learned about types of fish native to the area, and techniques for catching them.

2. Hiking - Learned the 8 things that a cub scout should always have when hiking.

3. Planting - Planted some watermelon seeds.

4. Birds - Learned about some types of birds, and made a bird feeder from a pine cone.

5. Leave No Trace - Learned about leaving things in nature as you find them, not leaving trash, etc.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cub Scout Camping Trip

Pete and Dad had a lot of fun on last weekend's camping trip with the cub scouts. This was re-scheduled from the fall trip, which was cancelled due to a chance of rain in the forecast. Ironically, it rained more on this trip than it was forecast to rain on the cancelled one.

Here is Pete sitting with the group as they hear about the activities scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Later this week, we will discuss more memories of what Pete did on the trip.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Show

Pete has been watching the new game show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader". It is essentially the same as "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire", with some kids thrown into the mix.

So we are pretty much done with "Deal or No Deal". This seems reasonable, since Deal or No Deal is probably of interest to people of Kindergarten age or lower, while "Are You Smarter" seems a bit more intellectual.

One cool thing about the show is they ask things that you forget when you get older, so in general Pete does roughly about as well as mom or dad. If you don't believe this, just watch the show a few times and you will see that the kids never get a single question wrong, while the adult contestants seem to be correct about half the time.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dessert Monogram

Pete and Sam have different requirements for their ice cream dessert toppings.

Cool Whip
Rainbow Sprinkles
Chocolate Syrup
Cherry Syrup
Other (e.g. sometimes little marshmallows, etc.)


Just some chocolate syrup in the shape of an "S":

Friday, March 09, 2007

Blue Leaf

Our new code word for brushing teeth before bed is "blue leaf". This is because Sam always asks dad if he can "have a sip of green leaf", since dad's mouth rinse has a picture of a green leaf on it. So when mom brought home a blue rinse for kids, we started to call it blue leaf. The good news is that most of the time Sam has figured out how to spit it out instead of swallowing it.

Here is Pete holding blue leaf. He is wearing his cool Megaman pajamas that he got from dad for Christmas. Also, notice that the frogs from the old house have made their way back on to the walls of the boys' bathroom.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Colorful Clothes

Pete decided on Saturday that he wanted to wear as many colors as possible, provided that none of them match. So he ended up with his Snowshoe shirt and Eagles pants.

Side note, this is the last picture before we managed to cut his hair. His hair looked much better after we cut it - but somehow the next day he had it back to how it was before. He said he just messed with it and it reverted back. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Pete's friend Caleb slept over on Saturday. We had a brisk walk to IHOP for dinner. It was during the height of the lunar eclipse, but it was too cloudy to see the moon. Here is everyone with their flashlights.

By the way, Sam was in the "flying" backpack.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

For The Birds

We had some burnt bread on Saturday, so Sam and I decided to put it outside for the birds. Here is Sam watching one of the birds eat our bread. If you look at the top of his head, the bird is just to the right.

After this, we took down the snowflakes from the windows to start getting ready for spring. We tried to watch the lunar eclipse later in the evening, but it was too cloudy.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sam on Youtube Revisited

Now that Sam's video on Youtube has passed 11,000 views, it is fun to go in occasionally and read the comments. I like the guy who said "this is as much singing as a donkey jumping into a lake". Very colorful - I have not heard that expression before.

If you can't read the comments in the picture above, you can click here to see the video page on Youtube.

Friday, March 02, 2007


We had a meeting with Pete's 1st grade teacher to come up with some ideas that will challenge him in class. One of the things we realized is that they have a mandate to do several hours of literacy work in the morning, but Pete was tested as reading at a 5th grade level.

The first thing Pete started to do is bring home advanced books for reading practice. They label the books. I think when the book is rated 4.6, that means it is about right for a student in the middle of 4th grade.

The second thing Pete has been doing is special projects in class. Sometimes he does an activity by himself on the computer and then presents it to the class. Mrs. Vinson also said that he can do special projects at home and then bring them in and present them to the class.

Below is a valentine he worked on last week. He said he wrote it all by himself and typed it and did the artwork on the computer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

First Assembly

We went to the first grade show at Pete's school on Tuesday. It was very patriotic. They did poems and songs related to President's Day. See this earlier post to see Pete practicing one of the songs that they did. When we heard it with the music, we could see why he had carefully paused a few times during his practice video.

Sam had fun at the show too. He kept whispering questions, such as "Is Pete going to sing The Black Parade"?

The show was more multi-media than the assemblies when we were kids. Laptop, coordinated CD player, projector. It was almost like a U2 concert. They flashed some artwork on the screen. Below is a picture by Pete. It was hard to capture with the lighting and angle. Of course, Pete's picture had the straightest lines. He was probably sitting there with his ruler long after they had started the next activity in class.