Friday, January 30, 2015

Pinewood Derby 2015

Sam did a great job this year on the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby. He decided to go for one of the awards, drew up a good design, got some help from Poppy with the cutting (and Dad with some sanding), and painted several coats. This resulted in winning the award for “Most Patriotic” car!

The car did not race too well, finishing near the middle of the pack. Sam actually missed most of the racing anyhow, as there was some miscommunication between Dad (who was helping coordinate the event), Mom, Nana, and Poppy. Anyhow, Poppy got Sam there in time for a quick donut and to receive his award in front of the group.

Perhaps for the first time, Sam had a car that he really seemed to take pride in.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Patti’s 50th Birthday Party

Dad’s friend Brian threw a 50th birthday party for his girlfriend Patti. The boys were happy about the prospect of some birthday cake.

As you can see in the pictures, there were no kid activities at this party, other than “hang all over each other”. They played this for a few hours with Alex and Justin. Then it was time to go home.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Last Webelos Meeting

Mom was responsible for running the meetings of Sam’s Webelos scout den each Monday. The nice thing about Monday meetings is that you have the weekend to prepare for it. On the other hand, that is not necessarily how Mom dreams of spending her weekends.

Anyhow, it is convenient having some of the meetings at the house, such as the one pictured above. The other scouts in Sam’s den were:
  • William Hammann
  • Jackson Myers
  • Ethan Markowitz
  • Dominik Blank
  • Alex Biddle
  • Alex Estes
  • Moksh Shah
  • Sean Sullivan (joined for 5th grade only)

As a credit to Mom, they all earned their Webelos Badge and (except for Sean and Jackson) all chose to move on to Boy Scouts.

And the house did become a lot quieter on Monday nights.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Geography Bee

Much like the Spelling Bee in November, it was inevitable that the Geography Bee ultimately came down to a battle between Sam and Sarah Jakubowski. And once again the better candidate won – in this case, it was Sarah.

The questions were painfully easy in the first round. Here is an example: “This Northeastern state is home to the Susquehanna River, as well as cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Name that state.”

The questions got harder pretty quickly. It only took another 2-3 rounds to whittle the field down to Sam and Sarah. Gone were Josh Bidwell, Natalie Sitter, Jacob Grimm, Jennifer Owen, and the others. 
In the end, Sarah definitely deserved to win. Sam missed a pretty easy question about Scandanavia, and another about Canada.

Mrs. Lindenfeldar must have been doing something right to have two great champions in her class this year.

Unfortunately, Sarah was absent on the day later in the year that Sam’s Dad came in to class for a US Geography lesson. She would have really enjoyed it (and helped answer a lot of the questions too).

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


As the boys get older, it becomes a bit more challenging for Santa to come up with stocking stuffer ideas. This year, he gave each of them some of that cool “Sand” that they have at Brookstone (except I’m sure Santa got it at Five Below where you can get the same stuff for a third of the price).

It was sitting out on the kitchen table for a few days, but didn’t get used much. Anyhow, Dad decided to surprise Sam one day with a little sand dude.

Monday, January 05, 2015

London Trip - Pete

Pete enjoyed his trip to London with the band. He did not see Mom, Dad, or Sam during the week, other than glancing over for just a moment when he played in front of them at the parade.

He was in the group chaperoned by Mrs. Robinson:
1. Natalie Braxton-Porter
2. Alexandra Joyce
3. Olivia Robinson
4. Elson Hsia
5. Chloe Young
6. Katie Allen
7. Betsy Dunn
8. Chandler Turpin
9. Lauren Nunley

They did not get much sleep, and it was pretty cold, but they managed to survive the week.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

London Trip - Day 8

It was the final day of the London trip. Mom, Dad, and Sam bid farewell to Susan and Jack and headed off one last time to the tube. They went to the Paddington station and caught the Heathrow Express to the airport.

It was a trip they will remember fondly for many years to come.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

London Trip - Day 7

The last full day of the London Trip was a bittersweet one.

The bus for Stonehenge left right on time from Charing Cross. But after sitting for hours in traffic, everyone was starting to wonder if they would ever make it. The answer came when the driver made the announcement that no one wanted to hear: "I'm terribly sorry folks, but we can't make it to Stonehenge before they close for the day. We will have a mandatory stop at the next rest area, and then turn around to go back to London."

Sam was not too upset, and they all made the most of it and enjoyed a snack and (ultimately) a refund. At least they got to listen to the London walking tour MP3 on the bus ride. And Sam got to read more of his "What If..." book that he had enjoyed throughout the week.

They went ahead and stopped at Fortnum & Mason on the way home, to get some cookies as a gift for the Haleys. They also stopped at the Waterstones bookstore where Sam found a cool book called "1,411 Qi Facts to Knock You Sideways".

Dad grabbed a quick photo at 221B Baker Street, just across from the tube stop where they had come many times throughout the week.

After returning home, Dad headed back out for about an hour to finally find a Geocache and sign the log before the end of the trip.

Friday, January 02, 2015

London Trip - Day 6

Mon and Dad started Friday in London with a stroll along the canal to Regent's Park.

After Sam was ready to go, they returned to Westminster Abbey for the full walking tour. There was a mass that took place while they were there.

Lunch was at a local shop near the London Eye. It was too cold and the line was too long for the Eye, so they headed over to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. They went up to the top of the bridge and got some great views of the city.

With the remaining time before dinner, they walked around St. Paul's Cathedral and across the Millennium Bridge.

They caught a bus to the Butler's Wharf area and walked the rest of the way to Martin's flat.

Everyone grabbed a glass of champagne at the flat and then headed out to a lovely dinner with Martin and Marian at the Chop House.

After another long day, the bus and tube brought them back to the flat.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

London Trip - Day 5

Thursday was New Year's Day, the day of Broad Run marching in the big parade.

Mom and Dad went off in the morning on a walk up to Abbey Road and to look for a few Geocaches.

There was time for a quick lunch at McDonalds on Baker Street and then they caught the tube to Charing Cross. Although the viewing situation looked bleak, they skillfully walked through a few tube tunnels to get to a most excellent viewing location for the parade.

After the parade, they did the "Westminster Walk" audio tour. Unfortunately, when they got to Westminster Abbey it was unexpectedly closed for the day.

Changing plans - they took the tube to Hyde Park, grabbed dinner at the Spaghetti House, and then walked out to the Hyde Park festival and rode the Big Wheel. Dad also took advantage of this popular location to capture a few Munzees.