We have recently made two upgrades to the playroom:
1. We created the "Library Corner", which is a basket of books with a nice little sign that says "Library Corner". It is getting easier to keep Sam entertained with books, as he can now read most of the books we have (up to basic chapter books).
2. There is a bucket of junk which has those assorted toys which have been abandoned over time. We re-named this as the "Bucket of Fun", so now it gets a lot more use.
One afternoon, Dad was wrestling with Pete. Dad was talking a little too much trash, so Pete put his hand over Dad's mouth. It was at that moment when Dad thought back to what Pete had touched over the course of the day.
1. Every game and candy machine at Ultra Zone (during Nick's Laser Tag party)
2. About 75% of the webkinz at Zazu
Conclusion: It is a miracle that Dad is still alive.
The above picture is from International Night at Sam's school. The premise is for every family to bring in an ethnic dish to share, and the children eat a little taste of each dish. This ingenious event was dreamed up by a creative individual who has never had any children.
You can see that the picture was taken during a time when Pete and Sam were not eating - also known as "any time between the start and the end of the event". Note, there is one item in the picture that Sam and Pete ate (near Pete's left hand). Hint: eating it precluded us from making our Fruit Loop necklaces.
As you can see in the picture above, God created Sam. Perhaps this was while Dad was away on a business trip. Anyhow, here are the entries on the page, in case you can't see them:
My name is: Sam My age is: 4 My eyes are the color: Green My hair color is: Blond My favorite food is: Ice Cream Sunday My favorite drink is: Black Cherry I enjoy: Playing Lego Star Wars When I grow up, I want to be: A Mechanic
Filling this out is good practice for later in life, when Sam will get an e-mail from someone he hasn't talked to in 6 years, indicating the answers to a list of questions such as their favorite food and what color underwear they are wearing. The e-mail will implore him to answer the questions and forward it to 5 people to avoid breaking the chain.
Pete participated in his first Spelling Bee on Saturday. It is a local event that was held this year for the first time, for kids who are too young to be in the National Spelling Bee. There was a $25 entrance fee, so the contest was for serious spellers. There were also no restrictions on location - any child (4th grade or younger) could participate.
There were 125 entrants in the contest. They started with a written test, and 55 qualified for the oral finals on stage. Pete won first place on the written test for Second Grade (which is the trophy he is receiving in the picture above). He also finshed 12th in the overall bee. We believe he was the highest finisher younger than age 8, but haven't confirmed this yet.
In rounds 1-5 of the competition on stage, Pete correctly spelled the words another, oyster, tone, message, and grammar. He was eliminated in round 6 by the word fathom.
Sam has also started spelling words around the house, throughout the day. Next year he will be a good candidate for the Kindergarten division, even though he will be a little younger than the other participants.
Click here to see several additional phots from the event.
This is a picture of Pete at a local playground. There is also a cool video to go with it, but YouTube keeps rejecting it for some unknown reason. So you will just have to use your imagination, or come over the house to watch the video.
(ok, you can click the picture if you need a hint)
Pete, Sam, Mom, and Dad marched together through the streets of Ashburn in the Dulles Little League Opening Day Parade. This is a bizarre annual event where the league participants walk about 1/2 mile and then have an on-field "ceremony" followed by a small festival. Last year Dad was a volunteer traffic manager, so did not get to march with everyone.
Pete is in the back with Sajon, who was also on Pete's team last year. Sajon's dad also played safety for the Indianapolis Colts. Also somewhat visible in the picture are Mom and Sam.
Pete's baseball team this year is the River Cats. He is in the Rookie league, which is "coach-pitch". Sam is wearing Pete's hat in the above picture.
The fire truck was a welcome diversion while waiting for the insufferable opening day ceremony, which inexplicably does not permit parents or siblings on the field, to end. Dad and Sam went in the truck a few times. By the end of the ceremony, Sam was quite the expert regarding the tools on the truck, including the Jaws of Life.
Pete and Sam like their Penn State shirts that Dad brought back from his recent trip to Pennsylvania. Sam said he is going to wear it every day for the rest of the world.
The above picture is from a Sunday geocache hike along the Washington & Old Dominion trail near Belmont Ridge Road. Unfortunately, the hike involved traversing two steep embankments, since we did not realize that there were paths on both sides of the trail. The hike was delayed, since Pete and Sam need to stop every time they see a caterpillar, which this time of year amounted to about 94 times.