Archive for March, 2012

March 28th, 2012

Go Fly a Kite!

The boys and I have travelled to visit my family in Pennsylvania for Alex’s spring break.  We try to come up here twice a year – once at Thanksgiving and once for the 4th of July.  Last year, though, my mom and her husband came to Alabama for Thanksgiving, so we thought we’d drive up for the week to see everyone we missed in November.

The weather here in NW PA is generally still quite chilly in late March.  When I was growing up, we would often use St. Patrick’s Day as our mark for the likely last big snow storm of the year.  That didn’t mean that it wouldn’t happen after that date, for sure, but it was a good way to remember that the end of the winter was near.  This year, though, they have had an unusually warm and mild winter, just like much of the rest of the United States.  The week before we left Alabama, it was 85 degrees for most of the week there and it was in the 70′s in Erie.  I looked at the weather for the next week when I was packing and it seemed that it would be a bit cooler, but still well above normal.  Apparently that changed while we were in the car on our way here because it was 24 degrees yesterday morning!  Holy cow, I was not ready for that!

The boys were going stir-crazy after 14 hours in the car and a day inside, so I decided that we’d head out in search of winter accessories and head to the beaches at Lake Erie.  We found gloves on clearance at Target, but also found kites!  It was perfect kite flying weather!

Kites at Presque Isle

That tiny little speck in the big blue sky is Alex’s kite!  He’s flown kites before, but I think that is the highest he’s ever had one go.  He was SO excited!  I need to remember how much fun this was so we can do it again.  The beaches will be way too crowded in July, but when we come back in the fall, it should be about perfect!

March 20th, 2012

Wordless Wednesday – Fish!

Koi

(taken on the red Japanese bridge at Big Spring Park, Huntsville, AL)

March 13th, 2012

Wordless Wednesday – Foreign Language?

Foreign Language?

See the book with the half-pink spine? Correctly shelved with foreign languages? Ha!

March 5th, 2012

Geek Dad Cool Contest

A few weeks ago, I came across a contest that Cisco Linksys were running. They were looking for the ultimate Geek Dad – a dad that has found a way to use technology to create new family traditions. I immediately thought of my husband, of course! By the nature of the work that Rod does, we have lots of technology in our house. We’re both geeks, for sure, and the boys have been exposed to a whole lot of tech in their short lives. I’m not sure you can be classified as a geek at their ages, but they’re well on their way!

The entry process required a short essay about a tradition that the prospective Geek Dad has started with your family. While we do a whole lot of tech things with the boys, I wasn’t sure how many fell into the “tradition” category. Then it hit me – there is one thing Rod started doing when Alex was just three years old that is a whole lot of fun AND uses technology. Alex started reading at a pretty young age and we wanted to be able to go back and show him what it looked and sounded like when he was a beginning reader and we wanted to be able to share this cool thing with family that weren’t living close to us. One afternoon, Rod set up a video camera and an audio recorder and we bribed Alex to read some of his favorite books for the camera. (We only had to bribe him to get started – once he understood what we were doing, he was all over it and wanted to record everything!)

Reading!

Since then, Alex has read many more books for the camera and we’ve started getting Declan to read, too. Until very recently, Declan has just been retelling stories we’ve told to him. In the last couple of months, though, he’s been reading books on his own! It’s so cool to go back and watch Alex reading the same favorite books that Declan is reading now. Two books that have been favorites of them both are Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom and Go, Dog. Go!

I was completely floored a couple of weeks ago when I heard from the folks at Cisco Linksys that my entry for Rod had been chosen as one of the top 10 finalists! We are all so excited for everyone else to know what we do – that Rod is Geek Dad Cool! The finalists are all up for a public vote now, and we would be honored if you would cast a vote for Rod. The votes are being taken on Facebook and you can go here to vote. Just for casting your vote, you are entered to win a super cool new Linksys E4200v2 router! You can vote once per day until March 19th, when they will announce the ultimate Geek Dad!

Thanks so much to those of you who have already voted! I know that many of you have not only voted yourselves, but you have shared the contest with your friends and family and they are voting, too. I know some people that have joined Facebook just to vote for Rod and we are very grateful. I’ll be a nervous wreck until the end, and probably bugging people to death to cast their votes, too ;) Thanks again, everyone, and I’ll let you know how we do!

March 1st, 2012

It’s Pinewood Derby time!

I love this time of the year. Not only do the days start getting longer and we actually see some signs that spring might be on the way, but it’s also the best time of the year for scouts. For Girl Scouts, that means cookies! For my Cub Scout, though, that means the Pinewood Derby!

We talk about ideas for his car all throughout the year, but he doesn’t usually settle on an idea until really close to the day of his pack’s derby. I know some families spend weeks working together on their son’s car, but we usually get it done in two or three afternoons and evenings of work. Alex’s car last year was a burrito on wheels and so, in keeping with the food theme, we happily present his car this year, “Sushi To Go!”

Pinewood Derby Car

We had so much fun making this car! Alex loves the Crayola Model Magic because it dries quickly so his creations can all become permanent pretty much over night. It’s also super lightweight when it dries, which makes it great for a derby car. The cars can only weigh 5 ounces at the most, and a good chunk of that is taken up by the wood base and wheels. He used the Model Magic to make the “rice” for the California rolls, the rice and salmon for the nigiri, and the wasabi. The carrots and cucumbers inside the rolls are match sticks with the ends chopped off and painted, and the seaweed around the rolls is scrapbooking paper we found at Michaels. I’m especially pleased with how the ginger turned out. He used a very pale pink velum paper, ripped it into pieces, and coated the pieces in glossy Mod Podge. They wanted to roll up like that when they were wet, so he went with it. I think the whole thing looks fabulous!

Pinewood Derby Car Prep

Alex won 4th place in the looks category at his pack’s derby and will get to compete at the district level! He’s SO excited! The car was pretty fast, too, but not fast enough to make the cut for districts. Either way, he’s proud of his car and that’s a very good thing. I’ll let you know how things turn out at the district event. There will be some tough competition there, I’m sure. I’ve already seen a pretty amazing Angry Birds car…


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