Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sam 2nd Grade Holiday Party

Dad brought in fruit kabobs to Sam's class for their holiday party. Mom was teaching that day at Farmwell. Dad stayed and helped the class with their party activities:

1. Writing a card to Baxter at his new home in Albuquerque
2. Writing a get well card to Mrs. Weltens for her surgery
3. Wrapping up Sam like a snow mummy in toilet paper
4. Decorating an ornament and/or making a snowflake
5. Eating cookies and fruit kabobs

The picture above is Sam getting wrapped up by Jake Bonds and Ashley Cavanaugh. You can tell he is a snowman, and not a mummy, by the black scarf.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sam's 8th Birthday

Sam decided on a Laser Tag party this year. The party was 12/4/11 at Panther Family Laser Tag in Dulles, VA from 12:00 - 1:45.

Laser Tag Players:
- Sam
- Pete
- Dad
- Sarah
- Pickle
- Carter
- Jaylan
- Dylan G
- Jackson
- Nick L
- Reggie (Dylan's Dad)
- Ashleigh (Game 1)
- Randa (Game 1)

Other Attendees:
- Mom
- Nana
- Poppy
- Aunt Stacey
- Jaylan's Dad
- Jessica

After returning home, Sam opened his gifts including his iTouch.

Friday, December 02, 2011

A Christmas Carol

Pete is in his play at school, "A Christmas Carol". Performances are tonight and tomorrow. He had a strong audition and is pleased to be one of the few 6th graders selected to be in the play. He is playing Tiny Tim. They have been rehearsing for months and the public performances are tonight and tomorrow night.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mutter Museum Note

The previous post mentioned Pete and Sam going to the Mutter Museum of medical oddities on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Dad's favorite moment at the museum came when he and Sam were examining a case of fetuses at varying stages of gestation, followed by some impressive cases with samples of all 206 bones in the human body.

Amongst a group of people, Sam turned to Dad and said: "When are we going to get to see some eyeballs?"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Pete and Sam enjoyed Thanksgiving 2011 in Philadelphia.

They drove up on Thursday, and after arriving at Salem Manor they walked over to the clubhouse. They fed some bread to the big fish, and played some shuffleboard. Next was turkey dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Dessert was Market Day pies. Pete selected Red Velvet Cake and Sam selected Candy Cane Pie (the latter seemed to be the more popular choice). Sam's cake included candles for an early birthday celebration:

While at the house, they examined Grandpa's saxophone. The boys watched some TV in their basement hangout before bed.

Friday was packed with activities. First, everyone trudged the trails around the house where Dad grew up:

Then they went to Dad's elementary school to shoot some hoops:

First they played some 2-on-2 and then some Knockout. After basketball, they had breakfast at IHOP with Grandma/Grandma and then headed downtown. When they walked past Independence Hall, they saw the "Occupy Philly" protesters camped out in front of the building.

Then they were off on a brief walk to the Comcast Center. Thanks to Gabe for recommending this cool free show in the lobby of the building:

The last stop was the Mutter Museum of medical oddities. Pete and Sam learned about all sorts of diseases and body cavities. They had a variety of fun activities, such as seeing who could find the smallest bone in the ear, and learning how the skull of a gunshot victim differs from one smashed in by a brick. Dad believes the Leprosy exhibits also helped reinforce the importance of washing one's hands before dinner.

The museum did not allow photography, so here are Pete and Sam in front of a nearby church:

The boys watched Zookeeper and Arthur (from Redbox) on the pleasant Friday evening ride home with no traffic.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tooth Speed

Sam: Want to know how fast teeth grow?
Dad: Yes
Sam: About a billionth of a meter per hour
Dad: Ok, thanks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

In Advance

Mom: I'm going to get dinner. Pete, I would really be happy if you have 4 of your Science questions done when I get home.

Pete: I apologize in advance.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Pete came upstairs to talk to Dad one evening last week, just before bed:

Pete: Mom and I are doing a science experiment!
Dad: Oh, what is it?
Pete: We're putting a hot dog bun in a container with some water to see if any mold grows on it.
Dad: Ooh, that will be a fun experiment to do again.
Pete: Again?
Dad: Yeah, I noticed that Mom did that experiment in the pantry last week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Art Night

Lately "Mom Night" has been on Sundays and Mondays and "Dad Night" has been Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Last week on "Dad Night", Pete and Dad decided to do "Art Night". Sam also joined in.

The competition was to see who could create the best work of art. There were no rules. Well, except of course the one rule which was that whoever uses the most glitter is the winner. Fortunately for Dad, there was no prize for the proper use of perspective.

Here are the final works:




After the voting was complete, it was a three-way tie with each item getting one vote. The boys are still waiting for Mom to cast the deciding vote.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What's Missing

Dad took this family picture at the dinner table. It was actually a ploy. He knew Sam was getting ready to start a game of "What's Missing?", where one person closes his eyes and everyone else removes one item from the table. Dad thought he could use the picture as a reference when it was his turn. But apparently using such devices is frowned upon in this establishment.

By the way, here are some answers to your other questions that you have about the picture:
1. It's his "video gaming" glove, and before dinner he had been playing Call of Duty: Black Ops (Zombies)
2. No, he usually has some sort of strange object in his mouth

Monday, November 14, 2011


Mom, Dad, and Pete took a nice walk on Sunday to the local Aquiary at the Loudoun Water plant. It is only about 5 minutes from the house, in Ashburn.

They also found a geocache at the top of the hill in the Aquiary, and grabbed a travel bug for Dad to bring on his upcoming trip to Florida.

Sam was not interested, so he stayed home and watched Futurama.

Dad also went over to the reservoir later in the day to scout a location for Sam's cub scout den to do a trash pickup event.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Parent / Teacher Conference

Mom and Dad met with Mrs. Susan Weltens last week at 7:15am for a parent teacher conference. Sam read a Lemony Snicket book outside in the hallway, while Mom and Dad talked with Mrs. Weltens.

Dad learned some interesting things about Sam's progress in school so far this year. His DRE is 38. He has been making excellent progress on his SME. Next month they are starting A/R. All of this is to prepare for the SOL at the end of the year.

If anyone knows what any of this means, please let Dad know.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Long Time

At the dinner table:

Dad: Who can tell me something that takes years to complete?
Sam: Aging

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Great Country Farms Part 2

Mom/Dad/Pete/Sam decided to head back to Great Country Farms to redeem their vouchers and do the corn maze.

They had planned to stop at Al's Pizza in Purcelville, but sadly it closed earlier in the year. They went to Rocco's in Leesburg, and then off to Bluemont for the corn maze.

First they got to see the "Punkin' Chunkin'", which in this case could more accurately be titled "Guy Dropping Pumpkins 30 feet From a Cherry-Picker". But it was good for 10 minutes of fun.

Then they made quick work of the corn maze. They solved the riddle and figured out that the secret word was "SADDLE", so they entered the prize drawing and then headed home.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What's For Dinner

Snippets of conversation from a few weeks ago:

Mom: Time for dinner
Pete/Sam: What are we having?
Mom: Chicken
Pete/Sam: Ok

Mom: Time for dinner
Pete/Sam: What are we having?
Mom: Fish
Pete/Sam: Aw, we hate fish. We're making ourselves some pizza

Mom: Time for dinner
Pete/Sam: What are we having?
Mom: Chicken
Pete/Sam: Ok

Mom: Time for dinner
Pete/Sam: What are we having?
Mom: Meatloaf
Pete/Sam: Aw, we hate meatloaf. We're making ourselves some hot dogs.

Mom: Time for dinner
Pete/Sam: What are we having?
Mom: Chicken
Pete/Sam: Why do we always have chicken?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Pete was working on his homework one night while Sam and Dad were reading nearby. He was researching his spelling list for English class.

Pete: What part of speech is "reverberate"?

Sam: Look inside the word and it will tell you

Monday, October 31, 2011

God is Watching

Discussing plans for Halloween:

Pete: I like the houses where they leave out a candy bucket with a sign to take one

Dad: I'm sure you will only take one if you know that God is watching

Sam: Actually, that doesn't matter because the devil is the manager of Halloween

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sam's First Touchdown

Sam scored a nice touchdown to get his team off to a fast start in their flag football victory last Saturday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Great Country Farms

Pete and Sam went to a new Pumpkin Patch this year called Great Country Farms.

Some cool things about this pumpkin patch:
  • Sam and Pete each got a free apple from the gift shop
  • The excellent rope maze
  • The bounce thing
  • Sam convinced everyone to get the homemade ice cream on the way out

Sour notes:
  • There was some incorrect signage that said you had to take the hayride to the corn maze. After wasting 30 minutes on the "hayride" (just a ploy to make people buy pumpkins), they learned that you walk to the Corn Maze, despite what the sign and map said.
  • poorly labeled "Craft Area"
  • Broken exhibits: including Water Maze, overgrown ground maze, giant chess board

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Black Ops

Sam got a perfect 42 out of 42 on the following quiz that Dad sent for Pete one day in his lunch:

Pete also got 41 out of 42.

When Dad has some more time, he will have to make another quiz with the weapons in Zombies.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time To Dye

Pete's first Science project was due today. He completed most of it over the weekend. Of course, he called it "Time To Dye".

It was a pretty lousy assignment, but he stuck with it and managed to squeeze out a decent experiment. He also learned a lot about doing tables and formatting in Excel.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Paper Clips

Sam has been a bit obsessed with paper clips for the last week.

He made a paper clip necklace. His football coach was not too thrilled about this when he got to practice on Saturday morning.

Later that day, the following guy was seen on the kitchen table:

What will be next?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Flag Football

Sam is playing flag football this year in the i9 league. He is happy to be on a team with his friends Jackson and Nick from school. They play Saturday mornings at 11am, with practices on Thursday from 6pm-7pm and before the game Saturday from 10am - 11am.

In the photo above are:
Top: Coach Scott Robison (not pictured, Coach Gavin Myers)
Middle: Drake Robison, Jackson Myers, Bradley Gagen, Zachary Matthews, Jack Gagen, Nick Baker
Bottom: Ben Fremin, Sam Berman, Blake McClintock, Mason Corkhill, Keenan McCardell

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Write Night

On Dad's birthday, the family went to "Write Night" at Pete's school (Farmwell Station). It was from 6:30 - 8:00. Pete missed his baseball game to go to Write Night, but it turned out that it was rained out anyhow. Pete also found out that he gets Extra Credit for attending Write Night!

The first activity was called "Silent Conversation". Here is the first page of Dad and Sam's dialogue:

The conversation between Pete and Mom was amusing, since they got into a paper argument. Toward the end they would violently scribble something and slam down their pencil.

Subsequent activities included doing a timeline and sausage poem. There was a bit too much lecturing, and not enough writing, but other than that everyone had a pretty good time.

Afterwards, they all went to the Coney Island Diner for dinner and got some chocolate cake on the way home.

Friday, September 02, 2011


Sam was getting ready to brush his teeth Friday night, at which time he raised the following concern:

Sam: My teachers at school underestimate my abilities.

Dad: How so?

Sam: They said that I can't be talking and listening at the same time. They discount my ability to multi-task.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Etch a Sketch

Above is a quick drawing Pete did on the mini Etch a Sketch. Somehow I think next time I should crop out the Spongebob decorations so it can come across with more depth and substance.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pete's 11th Birthday Party - Dad/Sam Edition

Sam was not tall enough to go on most of the rides at Six Flags, and he had basketball camp, so while Pete was at his birthday party Dad worked from home and took Sam to/from camp. After camp, Sam played some Call of Duty with Pete's new headset until Dad was finished with work. Then they made a list of things to do:

  • Bowling (with free game passes for Sam)
  • Sal's for dinner
  • Rubber playground
  • Pavilion (for basketball)
  • Make 'n Break
  • Watch Futurama
They also managed to clean Sam's room in the process.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pete's 11th Birthday Party

For Pete's 11th birthday, he went to Six Flags Maryland with Mom, Corey, Nick, and Mason. It was not too crowded on a Tuesday, so everyone had a great time.

They started right off with the Superman ride, and also rode a bunch of other coasters throughout the day.

Pete had some birthday candles on his funnel cake:

The summer day was also conducive to enjoying the water park and water rides:

Pete's new friends that he brought home were Darryl (snake from hammer slam), Jake (lion from water guns), and Trey (consolation prize from the wobbly ladder):

Dad and Sam stayed home and did some other things (a post for another day).

For Pete's birthday dinner, the family went out on the 17th to Nagoya (Japanese steak house where the guy cooks on the hibachi at the table).