Monday, April 30, 2007

Star Student

Congratulations to Pete for being named 1st grade male P.E. Star Student for April. His class was also named the star class.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Above and below are the only 2 pictures from bingo night last Friday where Pete and Sam are in the same frame together.

There were 10 bingo games. Pete did his own cards, and Dad and Sam shared cards. They ended up doing about 4 or 5 games when they weren't getting pizza or running around.

Mom was running around because she was the co-chair for the event.

There was also a raffle with 81 prizes. This is not even including the bingo prizes. I remember the good old days when raffles had 1 or 2 prizes. The kids got to pick which prize to go for. (Yes, our house is still full of tickets and envelopes.) Pete bought 50 tickets. Sam got some tickets too. Pete won some card games and a cool family fun pad.

This photo should give you some idea of the mass of humanity that attended this event. You may be able to see that Pete and Sam have the best seats in the house (thanks Jayne). There are also about 200 people in the bleachers that are off the left edge of the picture.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pete's Shelves

Above is a picture of the new shelves and desk that Mom and Dad put up in Pete's room. Thanks also to Aunt Stacey for coming up and helping Mom paint the room.

Despite all of the objects in this picture, I believe only one of them has been mentioned in this blog before. Take a guess, then click here to see if you are right.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Contest: Why Is the Shower Curtain Closed

There is a good reason that the shower curtain is closed in the above picture. It is the first time it has been closed in a long time.

If you want to enter the contest, add a comment with your guess for why the curtain is closed. Closest to the correct answer is the winner. I will post the answer on Monday April 30.

Answer: Pete and Sam are taking a bath. They are playing with squirt guns. They were squirting water all over the bathroom. Rather than take away the guns, dad came up with the idea to close the shower curtain.

Winner: I think Melly Mel had the closest guess.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cheezy Pleezyoid

Sam woke us up about 4 times during the night on Sunday night. He said he was worried about Cheezy Pleezyoid. I have no idea what deep recess in his brain this character came from, but it is such a cool name I almost think it was worth the lost sleep. I think this would be a great name for a Boss in a video game. Espacially a video game with a pizza theme.
Later on Monday he changed the name of his enemy to Cheezy Pleezy. Apparently, this foe can be thwarted by spraying some ant killer over Sam's door.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend Activities

Here are some things Pete and Sam did this past weekend:

- went to Bingo at Pete's school. Mom was the co-chair for this massive PTA event that featured about 500 people.

- marched in the Little League parade. Dad was a traffic control volunteer, so Pete and Sam walked with mom in the parade
- Pete had a piano lesson
- went to Open House at Pete's sports camp
- went to party on our street that had about 100 people. It was a going-away party for one of the neighbors.

- went to church
- went hiking and geocaching with cub scouts at Balls Bluff park
- helped mom and dad assemble a trampoline

Friday, April 20, 2007

First Tee-Ball Game

Pete had his first tee-ball game on Tuesday. It has been very cold this April, so the playing conditions were windy with temperature in the 40's. He played pitcher, catcher, and first base. They rotate the positions for each game.

Note, there was no score or winner in the game. Because the teams in the field are almost never able to record an out, they just let everyone bat three times and then the game is over.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Photo Analysis

Just as art historians analyze the great works, you can often look at Pete/Sam photos and extract the story therein.

Cousin Skyler: "I wonder what is at the top of those steps? Probably Sam's room. When they are not looking, I will head up there and put his trains into drawers."

Sam: "That Skyler is formulating a plan. I'd better keep an eye on him."

Pete: "Why do I have the feeling that I am reading this story to myself?"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tony Hawk Pro Skater

Sam has started to develop some proficiency in Tony Hawk Pro Skater.

He can now do the following:
1. Boardslide
2. Handplant
3. 360 Ollie
4. Select an arena by request (e.g. warehouse, mall, streets of Minneapolis...)
5. Say "That's what I'm talking about, baby"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Red Belt

Congratulations to Pete on getting his red belt at karate.

The red belt test is the first of the very difficult tests. Pete had to pass a fitness test, including running several miles. He also had to fight in sparring matches, and demonstrate all of the forms and combinations for the white, gold, orange, green, purple, and blue belts.

In the picture above, Pete is putting on his sparring equipment.

If Pete is able to continue with his progress, the next belt would be Brown belt, followed by Black belt.

By the way, there is a new rule when he is fighting with Dad and Sam which is that Pete is not allowed to kick anyone with a full-force kick.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Grassbox 2

Pete and Dad are very excited about the new addition to our yard - Grassbox 2.

The original Grassbox lived for one summer at our house in South Riding. I'm guessing it was probably the summer of 2002.

I'm not sure if any photos exist of the original Grassbox. We will be posting some pictures of Grassbox 2 later in the summer. Until then, you will have to use your imagination.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Easter Leftover Photo Wrap-up

This photo was taken just after Pete broke his basket, tossing it around BEFORE the egg hunt even began. You can see that he is trying to hide the fact that it is broken.

Here is Sam desperately looking for a pink, blue, or green egg. I wonder where one could be?

Believe it or not, we found this guy sitting in the front yard on Easter Sunday.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tricky Questions

Some questions are harder to answer than others. The other night, we were sitting around and Sam asked this:

If your toes are on fire, is that blood?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Four Square

I learned some interesting things when I reviewed Pete's April class newsletter, which noted that they will be learning the four-square writing method this month. I know this is a cutting edge method, because it's not even in Wikipedia yet. I do plan to add it, however, when I have a moment.

The first observation I gathered from reading about the four square method is how school is so different than it was 30 years ago. Today they have four square writing methods, and crazy grids for multiplication. All we had was a pencil and a prayer. I think now I know why my writing is so rambling all of the time. I think I somehow learned the seven heptagon method.

My second thought was that I really enjoy these class newsletters. I think maybe I will be learning some things better by teaching them to myself the second time around.

A final thought struck me about the irony of four square. When you go to school playgrounds, many of them have Four Square grids painted on them, but I suspect that the students haven't the slightest idea what the boxes are for or how to play the game. So I guess four square has moved from the playground to the classroom, with each genaration left knowing about one and not the other.

In summary, school newsletters are interesting and the four square method is an easy way to write something without having to worry about going outside the box. By the way, this blog post has been written in the four square writing method. For a nice overview of this exciting technique, click here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Egg Hunts

It seems that every year there are more and more Easter Egg Hunts. This year we had the following:

1. Friday night there was an Easter Egg / pizza / movie night at the karate school. Pete and Sam both went (along with Pete's friend Brandon), so mom and dad had a romantic trip to Home Depot and Toys R Us. There were 80 kids at the event. Pete won an Easter basket (see picture, below) for finishing in first place in a competition they had. The competition was not egg-related. It involved various physical feats. Apparently Pete also won the other competition they had, so they gave the prize for that one to the second place finisher. This is also the event where Sam collided with another boy, who ended up with a broken nose.

2. The Easter Bunny left eggs scattered throughout the house for the kids to find Sunday morning.

3. Later Sunday morning, there were some egg hunting activities at Church. Pete won a large candy necklace for finding the match to his egg. They also had a little petting zoo, with bunnies, chicks, and lambs. The poor animals were outside in about 30 degree temperatures (April cold snap we have had for almost a week now). Sam also got a little stuffed lamb that he calls "lamby". Coincidentally, I think this is what God called Jesus.

4. Sunday 1:30 was the annual Merrywood Court Easter Egg Hunt (picture below - of course Pete is the only kid not plainly visible in the picture). This year they color-coded the eggs, with color restrictions on each of the age groups (to make sure the little kids could get some of them). The best part of this event is that everyone says the pledge-of-allegiance before the hunting can begin.

5. Sunday evening we did some additional in-house egg hunts. First mom hid the eggs, then Pete, then Sam, and finally dad. The best part was when Sam hid the eggs. We usually give little hints to help each other find things. For example, "If an egg is what you seek, walk three steps forward then take a peek" or "to find an egg in all this junk, look for something with a trunk". But Sam's hints are the best because they have no subtlety. They are always like: "If you want to be the winner, look on that shelf right there". Then he points to the egg and starts screaming.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Pop Music on Jeopardy

The generation gap became apparent the other night as I watched the Pop Music category in Jeopardy. Click here to see the questions, if you want to try them before reading the commentary below.

I am quite certain that Pete would know exactly 4 of the 5 answers - Justin Timberlake, Fergie, Panic at the Disco, and My Chemical Romance - and he would have no clue about the other one. In contrast, I also suspect that most of my generation would only be able to answer 1 of the 5 - the one about Madonna. (Is she still alive?)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Play Doh With Cousins

Here Pete is doing some Play-Doh with cousins Shayna and Skyler. Sam is not pictured - he must have run out to the store for some groceries.

Play-Doh is something that used to be easy:
1. Make an imaginary figure.
2. Put Play-Doh back in container and close lid.

With the newfangled Play-Doh kits, it is more like:
1. Take out various Play-Doh devices
2. Try to squeeze Play-Doh through various molds
3. Too hard to squeeze. Ask parents to help
4. Ask parents to spend 20 minutes trying to get Play-Doh out of holes/nooks/crannies in molds
5. Try to eat creations that look exactly like food
6. Throw all devices into large bin. Don't bother trying to close the lid

Also, you may have observed the Spongebob toys in the picture. These are like the "magic 8-ball". You ask it a question, and get an answer that contains a bad nautical pun. Sam is funny because he never asks it a question. He just makes declarations.

Dad: "Sam, ask Spongebob a question"
Sam: "Ok."
Sam: "I am going to have pizza for lunch and pizza for dinner"
[shakes it violently. looks for answer]
Sam: "It says Crab-solutely!!!"

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tee Ball

Pete has started playing Tee Ball. We have had three practies so far. He is on the Texas Rangers. Here he is playing shortshop. Clearly, his fielding stance resembles that of a well-known former Texas Ranger. You can see that Pete is wearing his Rangers cap in the picture. The reason he is wearing his Eagles shirt is that the Jerseys didn't come in yet.

Last week dad and Pete had the chance a few times for their first real catch - the quintessential father-son activity. Pete can catch most fly balls if they are thrown to his glove side at eye level. He is also pretty good at fielding grounders. By the way, it seems that 99% of all batted balls in Tee Ball are grounders.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Horsepen Hidey Hole

We went Geocaching on Sunday, joined by cousins Shayna and Skyler. Shayna is the one crossing the brook in the picture. The cache was called Horsepen Hidey Hole. It was a good cache, with lots of toys and two travel bugs. Sam took a Cookie Monster travel bug. We also left a travel bug that Shayna brought from Pennsylvania.

Cousin Skyler is funny. He is at the age where he is learning a lot of words. He usually says "no" before everything. This can mean one of three things. Sometimes it means "no". Sometimes it means "yes". And sometimes it represents a whole sentence.

Examples of Skyler-talk:

"no-night-night" - This means "I don't want to go to bed"

"no-juice" - This means "I would like some juice"

"noooo" - Walking to the playground on Saturday, this meant "I want to ride on Shayna's back"

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pete Wuz Heer

Good news - in case aliens invade Earth and investigate our kitchen door, they will know that Pete was here.

On a related note, if you had bet on Sam being the first one to write on the walls then you lose.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Trip to Radio Station

Pete's Tiger Scout group went to visit a local radio station last Saturday in Leesburg, VA. It is actually in an old house that was converted to a radio station, at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential neighborhood. The station is WAGE 1200 AM, and has been operating for many years.

They recorded their own commercial, "This is the Tiger Scouts from Pack 1151. Good morning, Loudoun County!". Then the station manager played the commercial a few times during his oldies show. We heard it back at home right after the 11:00 news.

They liked the control room. Everything was computerized. They even lock the doors at night, and leave the computer playing syndicated shows until they come in around 5:00 in the morning. The station was a fascinating mix of old and new. For example, you can see the ancient clock on the wall, in the same room with the fancy touch screen. Other rooms had racks of old magazines and tapes, next to both old and new recording equipment.

Pete and Christopher found some satellite dishes just beside the station.