Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bad Thoughts

Driving in the car...

Pete: Can you turn the radio back on?
Dad: Not until you are finished correcting Sam
Pete: But my lyrics are correct and his are wrong
Dad: Well, you need to stop correcting him for the radio to come back on
Pete: Ok, I'm done

Dad turns the radio back on...

Sam: Dad, turn off the radio. He's still thinking about it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Christmas 2009 will be remembered as the year of the backyard tree.

Dad cut down a tree from the backyard and it was successfully decorated and displayed in the family room, despite some fundamental flaws in the tree's "straightness".

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shraya's Party

I found the above picture posted in the online album from Shraya's party. Having not been at the party, the photo begs a few questions. Such as what Sam seems to be coveting from the table. Perhaps he is wondering how he has a blank place while everyone else seems to have ended up with drink, pizza, balloon, tokens, etc. And notice the girl not acknowledging Sam's existence. It's like an old Casper the Ghost cartoon where he goes to a birthday party but no one can see or hear him.

Maybe the person who took the picture took pity on Sam and gave him a slice of pizza. Like in those documentaries from Africa where the children are emaciated while the cameraman is eating a footlong and some chips. I also hoped that they gave those kids some rice after getting their video clips.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Report Card Comments

Pete found one of Mom's documents on the laptop. She was recording comments to put on the report cards for her students.

It became apparent that Pete went in and made some subtle changes to the comments. See if you can find the change in the comments shown below:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sam's 6th Birthday Party - Favors

Each attendee got a few keepsakes to take home from Sam's party in a brown bag marked "TOP SECRET":

- Magnifying glass
- Spy certificate sticker
- Completed checklist sticker
- Fingerprint sticker
- Homemade lollipop

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sam's 6th Birthday Party - Target Shooting

"Your final training stage will be target shooting. You should never fire your weapon unless absolutely necessary. Your instructor will train you to use your weapon and will set up the target of your choosing. You get three shots to hit each target. After three shots, it is the next person's turn."

Pete and his friend Corey manned the two target shooting stations.

After all of that shooting, it was time for some cake and opening presents.

By the way, that is not a reversed image in the above picture. The letters on the cake were backwards, for spy purposes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sam's 6th Birthday Party - Fitness Training

"You have identified the enemy and he is small and quick. You must train yourself for a tough chase. We have prepared an obstacle course for you to practice crawling, jumping, and searching. You must complete the course to prepare yourself for the future."

The obstacle course consisted of the following:

- crawl under pool table
- jump on numbered squares 1-2-3-4-5
- ring bell on treadmill
- jump over couch
- search for a single dime in a basket of pennies

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sam's 6th Birthday Party - Search and Identify

After cracking the code, the cadets headed to the basement where total darkness awaited them.

"We have learned that an enemy spy is armed and dangerous. He is trying to steal our secret codes. Your spies in the agency have left clues for us to identify the enemy. You must go one at a time to get the clues and bring them back here. Follow the glowing line on the floor. It will be dark. Use your flashlight if necessary. Go slowly. Watch out for walls and other objects. Good luck."

The team was able to retrieve the clues and work together to solve the puzzle and identify the enemy.

After that hard work, it was time for some pizza:

This was the first party where Pete or Sam have had pizza. Sam's quote was "you can't have a birthday party without pizza". Apparently this rule did not apply to the 14 previous birthday parties Pete and Sam have hosted.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sam's 6th Birthday Party - Code Breaking

When the guests arrived, Pete handed them a sheet of paper and read the following:

"Welcome to the Berman Spy Agency. Your first mission is to crack this code. Use the symbols to fill in the letters. It will give you some instructions. After you crack the code, we will take your fingerprint and you can report to the next stage."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sam's 6th Birthday Party - The Preparations

Saturday finally arrived, and everyone was ready for Sam's party. After Pete's basketball game, it was time to set up the house for Spy Training Academy. We put the BSA (Berman Spy Agency) logo at various places around the house, and set up for the games.

An unexpected visitor arrived before the party, which was about 5 inches of snow:

Since this is Virginia, a little bit of snow means the party attendees will call to see if you are still having the party, and then arrive 15 minutes late. So at 12:15, the festivities were ready to begin.

Monday, December 14, 2009

chute and sHOot

Sam had a birthday party on Sunday at Chuck E. Cheese's. So Dad took Pete to his basketball game, and afterwards to Sal's Pizza.

Pete and Dad were working on the Sunday crossword in the Washington Post and watching the Redskins/Raiders game while eating their pizza.

The theme of the puzzle was HO HO HO. There were some long word answers that had a clue with the word HO in it and then the answer had to have HO HO somewhere in it. For example, 30 across "oxford HOnoree" is "rHOdes scHOlar"). Pete figured out 33 across by himself with no letters filled in, which was very helpful. Check the image below to see the clue ("chute and sHOot" : 10 letters).

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Yesterday was the kids gift exchange on our street. Pete was pleased to get a hand buzzer, whoopie cushion, and some other gags. Sam got a Shark Webkinz from Pickle.

If you know Sam, you can probably guess what he named the shark:
(a) Huckleberry Fins
(b) Sheldon
(c) Sharky

When he walked out the door this morning for the school bus, he yelled out "Good bye, Sharky! Don't go on the internet!"

Friday, November 27, 2009

S Punches A

Sam made a little hat last week at the Pavillion. It's one of those hats where you decorate it with markers. This particular hat had a windmill and no brim (aka beanie). Sam goes to the Pavillion every day after Kindergarten for about 5 hours of playing games, crafts, and watching TV. He also wore this hat to "Donuts With Dad" at school on the morning of 11/20/09.

One of the things you may notice on the hat is something that Pete has pointed out. When Sam writes his name in cursive, it usually looks like the S is trying to punch the A.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Hike 2009

The family had a fun hike on the Goose Creek trail that runs from Keep Loudoun Beautiful Parkto the Potomac River neer Leesburg, VA. It was nice to continue the Thanksgiving tradition.

Along the Northerly walk, Pete and Sam found a geocache that was in a squirrel container. They proceeded to the old stone house. Then Pete and Dad scaled a steep hill to get a second geocache. Sam and Mom played on the rocks and beach on the walk back.

The container of the first geocache:

On the path:

Pete climbed in to the old stone house:

Pete and Sam looking at the waterfall from inside the old stone house:

Pete and Sam in the waterfall area:

Pete next to the second geocache:

Pete sitting in "chair rock" that Sam and Mom found on their hike back:

Crossing the bridge heading back to the car, with Goose Creek golf course just ahead to the left:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sam Invitations 2009

Below are the invitations for Sam's party, which is coming up on Saturday, December 5.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Helping Bob

In July, the family volunteered for a community outreach project to assist disabled or elderly neighbors in the community. So everyone headed out to Leesburg on Saturday at 9:00am to help Bob.

Bob had difficulty walking, so he needed some help with cleaning the house, and getting some groceries. The cleaning was limited, since Bob didn't want anyone to mess with his piles of papers.

Pete and Sam arrived a little early, so had to come back about 30 minutes later.

Here is the entry to Bob's apartment complex:

Sam helping clean behind the TV:

Pete and Sam went with Dad to the grocery store, looking for the things on Bob's list. They got almost everything right, but had to go back to the store a second time since they got the wrong kind of Gatorade.

Bob had an impressive collection of antique model cars in glass cases. There were about 10 cases. Here is one of them:

Maybe Pete and Sam will visit Bob again the next time they are in Leesburg, or sign up next time to help someone else.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dulles Family Fun Fest

In August, Pete and Dad went to the Dulles Family Fun Fest at Dulles Golf Center. It was a little pricey ($20), but included pizza dinner and about 3 hours of unlimited mini-golf, batting cages, driving range, and a few water slides. The best part, as you can see below, is that there was hardly anybody there, so no waiting in any lines.

Note, this is the same event mentioned in the previous blog post about the face painter with no sense of humor.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sam Eating Dinner

The knowledgeable reader will be able to select the correct caption below for the photo:

a) Sam has finished all of his dinner and is washing it down with a drink.

b) Sam did not want anything that was served for dinner and is pretending to drink like a dog. The drink will be his only nourishment until whatever night is pizza night. After dinner, his clean plate can go right back into the cabinet.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Spongebob Birthday at Borders

Sam, Pete, Mom, and Dad went to Borders Books in July for their celebration of Spongebob's 10th anniversary. They did some crafts and heard a dramatic book reading.

Sam actually knew one of the workers at Borders (woman in red shirt in the picture above). She was once his pre-school substitute teacher the year before.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

VBS Concert

On a Friday in July, Pete and Sam sang in the outdoor concert on the last day of Vacation Bible School (VBS). Mom was one of the volunteers at the school, so she got to be in the concert too.

As you can see, like most events at this church it was a bit of a garbled mass of humanity.

I think this is the list of songs from the concert:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Leaf Plow

Dad was raking some leaves on Sunday morning. Pete asked if he could help rake to earn a little money. They agreed that if Pete could help rake for an hour, Dad would give him $5. The following is what Dad found when he returned about 5 minutes later:

If you were wondering why it takes Pete 20 minutes to write 3 sentences for his homework, perhaps this will give you some insight.

Pete's hand was hurting, so Dad agreed to give Pete $2.50 after he worked for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Allergy Testing

Results of Pete's allergy testing (2/18/09):

Airborne Allergens
1. Saline - 0
2. Histamine - 4+
3. Tree Mix - 3+
4. Bermuda - 0
5. Grass Mix - 0
6. RW Mix - 2+
7. Plantain - 0
8. Weed Mix - 0
9. Dock/Sorrel Mix - 0
10. Aspergillus - 1
11. Alternata - 3+
12. Clad. Sphoer. - 2+
13. Fusarium Mix - 1
14. Aspergillus Mix - 4+
15. Penicillum Mix - 2
16. Phoma betae - 1
17. Epicoccum nigrum - 0
18. Mouse - 0
19. Bipolaris sorok - 1
20. Dog - 2
21. Cat - 4++
22. Mite: Farinae - 4+
23. Mike: Pterony - 3+
24. Cockroach - 0

1. Milk - 0
2. Egg White - 4+
3. Egg Yolk - not tested
4. Wheat - 1
5. Orange - not tested
6. Corn - 2
7. Casein - 0
8. Fish Mix - not tested
9. Shellfish - not tested
10. Rice - not tested
11. Banana - not tested
12. Soybean - 1
13. Beef - 0
14. Chicken - 0
15. Oat - 0
16. Tomato - not tested
17. Potato - 0
18. Pork - 0
19. Carrot - not tested
20. Turkey - not tested
21. Apple - 0
22. Peanut - 1

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monster Ballad

Pete wrote a monster ballad which is actually pretty good and quite catchy. Sam and Dad will sometimes be heard around the house, singing the climactic chorus.

Below are the lyrics to the climactic chorus. One of these days, Pete will need to record a version with the music. One challenge is that the background vocals really need to be a chorus of about 20 people doing harmonies.

In The End, by Pete
In the end, we all are happy again
In the end, none of us are oh so dead
In the end, we all are still alive
And we get reunited with our friends

Friday, November 06, 2009

Skate Camp 2009

Pete and Sam got to go together this year to skate camp. Pete was apparently the first camper to execute a certain type of handplant. Presumably this was followed later in the week by some sort of faceplant.