Thursday, May 31, 2007

Strangle Belt

One day Pete had his karate belt tied as shown above. I'm not sure what the story is with this. I will just have to post the picture and hope that Pete can provide a reasonable explanation in Comments.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Here are Pete and Sam after haircuts at the mall and then a brief hike/geocache in the woods next to the Sportsplex in Sterling. **Note, this was Sam's first haircut outside of the house. He did a great job with no complaining. In addition to the Webkinz, they are holding up the little bouncy balls that they found in the cache. We have accumulated so many bouncy balls, I think during a future storm our house will bust loose from the foundation and start bouncing down Ashburn Village Blvd.

Pete's hair looked a lot shorter as he was getting it cut, but you can see in the picture (about 1 hour later) that it immediately reverted back to it's pre-cut style. I think he has a little button somewhere that he can just squeeze to make more hair come out. Note, the style he agreed to when we looked through the book at the hair place was the "Ashton Kutcher".

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Grounder Grounder Throw Throw

Here is Pete having a catch with cousin Shayna. She doesn't have a glove, but she is tough. She can catch with her bare hands.

This is the part of the yard where Pete and Dad like to play catch. The order must be grounder, grounder, throw, throw. Pete has become quite adept at fielding grounders. In his last T-Ball game, he had the best play we have seen this year. Playing second, he fielder a sharp grounder and then ran over to tag second base before the runner got there from first. The game was at Pete's elementary school. This meant that Dad and Sam could walk over and visit their friend, Tunnel.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Outdoor Achievement Award

Pete and I attended our last cub scout pack meeting of the year. Pete received his Outdoor Achievement Award patch, which he promptly ate.

Learning about the outdoors - check.
Showing respect for your equipment - still a work in progress.

We went outside for the second half of the meeting, where we shot off some water rockets and threw pies at the Scoutmaster.

Pete did quite well in scouting this year. He attended every pack meeting, all but 1 den meeting, and all but two outings for the year. He will also be attending scout camp for a week this summer.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Play Doh Snack

Don't worry, Sam is not getting ready to eat Play Doh. It just happens that the cotton candy Pete and I found on the counter is exactly the same color as the Play Doh he had been playing with.

Here is Pete's yummy cake. Maybe it is Play Doh, maybe it is cotton candy. You will have to take a bite to find out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Networking Webkinz

Pete and Sam have figured out how to simultaneously log in to and network their characters so they can visit each other's rooms and play games against one another.

We were watching something on TV the other day about what you want to be when you grow up. Sam said a pilot, and Pete said a computer scientist. I was thinking about this later, and decided that I think Pete would be a great lawyer. He has a razor sharp memory, strong command of language, and refusal to believe he is not on the correct side of an issue. These are the same qualities I always marvel at when I see lawyers testifying before the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Here is the caterpillar that Sam befriended at the last trip to the playground. We found one for Pete also. I believe Pete named them Caterpaul1 and Caterpaul2. Whenever Sam finds a friend at the playground, I am reminded of the motho incident.

Also notice Sam's shirt. When Sam wears this shirt, Pete and I like to point out that the shirt is 4 years older than Sam.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Trailside Geocache

Dad took Pete and Sam to Trailside Park. It takes its name because it is located just a few feet from the famous Washington Old Dominion Trail.

We have been there many times before, but this time we went to find the geocache that is located in the woods just about 100 feet away from the playground. Pete claims that he will be able to remember the spot so he can bring mom back to see the cache some time.

We also played the ice cream game. Sam was in charge of ice cream flavors, and Pete was in charge of handling the money and toppings.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Crazy Hair Day

One advantage of Pete's dreadfully long hair is that it gives him a number of options for Crazy Hair Day at school.

We did not have things such as Crazy Hair Day when I went to school. However, looking back at some of my pictures, I think we just treated every day as if it were.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sam Tilts at Windmills

Since mom went to Myrtle Beach for 4 days to celebrate Mother's Day, dad got to spend an extended weekend playing with Pete and Sam.

If everyone in the world could spent four days hanging out with Sam, I am convinced that mankind would be far happier.

- Sam is overjoyed to do any activity. Ask Sam if he wants to help sweep the grass. Or stack some blocks. Or if he likes cereal. You will get a response such as in this video.
- If you take Sam to the playground, and then to Wendy's for lunch, when you sit down to eat lunch he will say "this is the best day ever".
- Sam will don a suit of plastic armor and attack Pete with no military objective and no hope for victory. When he has sufficiently recovered from his injuries, he will put the suit back on and attack again.
- At the end of one of those days where everything goes wrong, if you ask Sam what was the worst thing to happen he will not understand the question and will not be able to remember any problems that occurred.
- When playing a video game, Sam is thrilled to watch the opening credits, select a character, and achieve Game Over.
- Sam loves to watch someone else do something successfully. His joy is unaffected by whether he can do it.
- A few minutes after coming into the house from jumping on the trampoline, he will decide that he wants to jump on the trampoline again.
- Sam selects clothes based on comfort. Style is not relevant.
- When playing a game, after a player achieves victory Sam would like to continue playing until everyone has won.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mouse Trap

Mouse Trap is a board game that teaches the following important lessons to young children:
- Physics
- failure
- swearing
- never try to help
- a mouse will sit still for a long time while loud things are happening around him
- the girl at the front of Target will give you money back for a toy

With mom off in North Carolina for the weekend, Sam's first idea was to play Mouse Trap. The first observation upon opening the box was that the instructions were only in Spanish. I am not making this up - the whole thing was Spanish. If there were an English set of instructions at some point, they are gone now. By the way, if there was ever one board game where you need the instructions, it is Mouse Trap.

This is how you play Mouse Trap:
1. Open the box
2. Pull child aside and instruct him or her to sit there and not touch anything for the next 20 minutes
3. Use whatever pieces you can find in the box to assemble a Rube-Goldberg apparatus
4. Confirm that none of sections A, B, C, D, or E are working properly
5. Hand the little trap piece to child and ask him or her to place it directly over a mouse token
6. Declare "mouse is trapped"
7. Put away all pieces
8. Hide game box in farthest corner of attic (sprinkle with insulation to cover)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Pete and I were watching The Flintstones the other day. Sam walked up and was trying to figure out what we were watching. His question: "Why are you watching a Fruity Pebbles video?"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ahh, Nature

Ahh, nature.

A walk down a dirt path.

Smelling the flowers.

And, of course, finding an old roll of tape and wrapping it around your fingers.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


It is nice that Sam has reached the age where he can play a full board game without destroying the game or wandering away. Pretty soon he will start developing strategies.

Here Sam is playing Blokus with cousin Shayna. We had a fun few days when they came to visit. They are moving in a few weeks to Florida.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Dad: "Pete, take these library books and go drop them into that slot while I wait in the car"

Pete: "No"

Dad: "Ok, you can watch me return them. You will observe that I have developed a special technique which allows me to run up to the slot, return the books, and run back to the car in a world record time of 2 minutes and 12 seconds"

Pete: "Your world record is toast. Give me the books."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Prisoner's Dilemma

The Prisoner's Dilemma is the most famous of all conundrums in philosophy and game theory. It deals with a circumstance where two prisoners are given an option to cooperate with one another, or act in their own self-interest. The unexpected mathematical conclusion of the game is that each person should choose not to cooperate and to act in his own self-interest, to the ultimate detriment of both.

On occasion, such as yesterday, mom decides to play out this experiment in real life. She will tell Pete and Sam: "If you boys can agree on a place for lunch, we will go there. If you can't agree, we will stay home." It does not take a mathematician or philosopher to guess how the story ends. (Hint: there is a lot of yelling)

Of course Pete and Sam have an advantage over the prisoners in the classic game, since they are permitted to openly collaborate with one another. Thus, I am optimistic that in the next 3-5 years the boys will reach an age of reason where they will work together for the greater good.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Truth

Sam will always tell the truth. Sometimes this will infuriate Pete.

Dad: I hope nothing happens to my food while I'm washing my hands.
[washes hands. returns. food is gone.]
Pete: Hi Dad
Dad: All right, what happened to my food?
Pete: Well, the funny thing is, it got up and walked into the trash
Dad: Sam, did you see what happened to my food?
Sam: Me and Pete hid it on the counter
Pete: Sam!!!

This was a real one that took place last night:
Dad: Sam, quick! Eat one of Pete's berries before he comes out
[Sam eats a berry]
Dad: Pete, I have some bad news. One of your berries hopped out of the bowl and ran away
Sam: And I'm chewing it in my mouth

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bedtime Routine

Most kids have a bedtime routine. Of course, you probably guessed that Pete's has some unusual elements to it. I think prior to a sleepover, Caleb's mom once referred to his room at night as the "Vegas Strip".

In addition to having the radio tuned to Hot 99.5, the above picture shows two elements of Pete's sleep preparation:

1. Say a prayer to the cross made out of K'nex pieces
2. Turn on flashing blue lights (gift to Pete from Brian)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I've separated our medical records into two folders - the folder after April 2007 will be labeled "A.T." (After Trampoline).

If my eyes look tired lately, it is a combination of allergies and lying awake at night thinking about these quotes from The Simpsons episode "Bart's Inner Child":

"Kids, kids: once you get hurt, move aside and let other people jump"
"Stop jumping on me! I'm hurt."
"Yeah, I'm ok. Just pop my shoulder back in"
"I told you this was a bad idea"
"Checkmate, Mr. Trampoline"
"All right, all win for now. But someday you'll rust!"
"Hey, no more trampoline. Let's jump on the car instead!"
"Each leap brings us closer to God.""

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Say hello to Frogger and Libre.

They are Webkinz. This is what they would look like if they lived in a computer.

If you have not heard of Webkinz, all I can say is that I think you will. For example, on the news between Thanksgiving and Christmas.