Friday, September 14, 2012

Matthew catches a fish at cub scouts

IMAG0192 by jbellis
IMAG0192, a photo by jbellis on Flickr.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Corinna at the park

Usually when I take the kids to the park, Corinna spends most of her time in the infant swing.

No longer.  Today she demanded to be let down to play with the big kids.





Brian Graduates Basic

Brian, the day I dropped him off at the airport to start Basic back in July.

And 2 months later.  
Here he comes marching!  Brian is in the last flight towards the front.

Brian and Kirsti

Dad taking the picture. 
I'm still kicking myself that I didn't get any pictures of Dad and Brian together in uniform.  In my haste that morning I left my camera at home.  When Brian gets his wings I will for sure have my camera and take pictures.

Matthew and Melissa discovered a cotton candy machine at the Base PX.

They thought it was one of the greatest inventions ever!

At the Filipino restaurant.  The food was authentic, which means the fish my Dad ordered looked was a whole fried fish looking back at us.  We didn't mind, but Mom kept teasing Kirsti with it. Still the food and company were great!  Brian looked so happy to be off Base.

Later that day we played at the Witte Museum.  

I love San Antonio.  It felt great to be "home" for a day.  

July Peanuts

  • Rachel's dad took Matthew and Melissa fishing. They caught seven rainbow trout. Melissa: "Which was was the prettiest? I think it was one of mine."
  • Described Ammon in gospel doctrine class as "missionary and badass." Rachel didn't appreciate this contribution to the discussion.
  • Took the kids to McDonalds for breakfast. After eating his pancakes, Matthew disposed of his leftover syrup by drinking it.
  • Isaac was impressed with the foam he stirred up in the toilet. He made up a song: "Bubble pee, bubble pee. Bubble pee, in the potty..."
  • Rachel, on returning to the house and seeing the state I left it in: "Jonathan, if anything should ever happen to me, I have some advice for you: hire a housekeeper."
  • Corinna has plenty of toys, but her favorite is the empty Altoids tin.
  • I put Isaac to bed. He wanted his blankey. I found it in the dryer. He snuggled up to it happily, saying, "CLEAN blankey!" Then I tucked him in. "I sleep now. Door open!" I left the door open, and he went to sleep. This was a long conversation, for Isaac.
  • Rachel started reading "Michael Rosen's ABC" to Isaac. He got a huge kick out of finding the ants on each page. (Rachel: "If I told him there were also zebras we'd never get through this.") Rachel read through N and called it a night. Ten minutes later, from Isaac's room: "Mommy! I found ants!"
  • Me: "When Corinna is good, she is made of sugar and spice and everything nice." Melissa: "Yeah. That's what girls are made of!"
  • Rachel: "Your team-building exercise [sailing] could be worse. You could be going camping."
  • "Matthew, you ought to be able to wipe off the table before needing a bathroom break."
  • Following Corinna as she toddles around the house happily, pulling treasures out of Mom's purse and throwing them on the floor. At least she's not pulling books off the shelf.
  • Jeremy: "Now Jonathan has a whole organization to filter what he says before it reaches the customer." This is a good thing for everyone concerned.
  • Rachel cooked salmon for dinner. Matthew: "You know what you should do, Mom? You should get Grandma's salmon recipe."
  • Matthew: "Mom, why do my pants smell bad?"
  • Isaac: "I play game?" Rachel: "You need to clean your room first." Isaac: "I did clean room!" Rachel: "Look, it's still a mess!" Isaac: "Matthew mess!" He learns fast.
  • Corinna no longer tries to grab a handful of poop every time I change her diaper. This is progress.
  • Isaac left the dinner table. Corinna took that as an invitation and climbed into his seat, where she started eating his french fries. Lip-smackingly good! Isaac was indignant. "No, baby! No eat!"
  • Our new HOA prohibits oil drilling on our property. Those fascists.

Melissa likes Brussels Sprouts

Rachel's Bountiful Basket graced us with some brussels sprouts a few weeks ago. To set a good example, I pretended they were a special treat and ate them with gusto.

Melissa bought it hook, line, and sinker. Yesterday she saw brussels sprouts at the grocery store: "Look, Mommy! Brussels sprouts! Those are a treat! Can we get some?"

We got some. So I choked down brussels sprouts for the second time in my adult life. I wanted to head off a third time, though, so I remarked pointedly, "It's too bad brussels sprouts are getting so expensive. We might not be able to get them again."

Monday, September 03, 2012

The First Week of School

They mistakenly put me in Mr. Shore's class!! Mr. Shore is nice, which is what me me sad when I had to switch to Mr. Grubb's. All the T-A-G, talented and gifted, I like to think of it as " tacos are good ", students go to Mr. Grubb's class. On the third day of  school I had  to switch to   Mr. Grubb's class. I had some fun at first, then I went to lunch. There was this kid which is a Calvin and Hobbes MASTERMIND., Like me, Matthew., Also Mr. Grubb's lunch is scheduled closer to my friends lunch time, which means that we have more time to play at recess. Recess = the most important part of the day. Recces comes right after lunch. I had music twice this week because Mr. Shore's schedule is different then Mr. Grubb's. Mr. Grubb Is funny. I think, no I know this is going to be a good year.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Lego Kids Fest 2012

Austin is one of just six cities that the Lego Kids Fest is stopping at this year. I like that Austin attracts the kind of nerds that go to this kind of thing, or that host a mini maker faire.

Fortunately Rachel got us tickets well in advance, because there were signs up all over that it was sold out for both Saturday and Sunday.  That's about 5,000 tickets, times 5 sessions (including one Friday).  Pretty impressive.

There were a dozen or so stations, most of which (surprise) involved building something with a Lego theme. Ninjago got a lot of attention, and so did the girl-targeted Friends. There were some niche ones too, like Monster Fighters. But no Technic or Mindstorms. I can understand that Mindstorms would be too involved for an event like this but I was surprised not to see Technic.  There were a lot of older kids there too--wonder what Lego's strategy is for that market if not those two.

Of course there was the ever-photogenic Big Brick Pile. I'm pretty sure they picked red and white bricks because they contrast nicely in pictures like this one:

When we got there I turned Matthew loose to his own devices. "Meet me here when it's over." Melissa wanted to stick near Dad so I have pictures of her.

(Matthew told me afterwards that after we separated he realized he didn't know when it was going to end, so he kept checking the spot to see if it was time yet. Then someone told him it ended at 7:30, but he still didn't have a watch so he had to keep checking. Guess I should have told him that they'd announce when it was time to leave.)

The first thing you saw on arriving was the Garden of Lego Statues.  It was hard to get a good picture because of the crowd.  Here you can see Hagrid and Ron from Harry Potter; to the right you can see Chewbacca, Gandalf, Darth Vader's back, a Storm Trooper's helment, and the rear of Lightning McQueen.  The people in the way obscure Harry and Hermione, Frodo, C-3PO and R2-D2.  Off-frame, there was Darth Maul, Indiana Jones, a Battle Droid, the Hulk, two of Batman, and more.


As you headed past the statues, the next thing you came to on the left was a dozen racing ramps, like abbreviated Pinewood Derby tracks, and tables upon which to build racers. Melissa was immediately captivated, and built a racer while I stood in line for tickets to the Master Builder class.

I didn't get a picture of her car, because there was a wall at the end of each track, designed to keep cars from littering the rest of the show, but also effectively making most cars disposable. Melissa wasn't bothered though, the fun was in building it.

She took the Master Builder class next. She was kind of vague on what she learned, but she had fun building a space ship.

While she worked on that I went souvenir shopping -- they were already out of shirts in Melissa's size, so I got her a Lego pen instead. Matthew got a shirt, but he was slightly jealous of the pen.

Someone had the bright idea of marketing lego-sucking vacuums to the parents in attendance. Of course all the kids wanted to try it. I wonder how long the enthusiasm would last at home: a day, perhaps? I also noticed that they only used one-square blocks in their demo. Probably doesn't work as well with larger ones. (One of the salesladies told me that there was a clear pattern among the children: the girls would calmly vacuum blocks up while the boys would attack them -- which would scatter the blocks instead of picking them up.)

Next Melissa and I stopped at Creation Nation, where you could build anything you liked on a green square to become part of the communal city. Melissa made a garden that I again missed getting a picture of, then started helping this boy with his Washington Monument lookalike. (On the left is my contribution. Hey, I had to pay for my ticket, I might as well build something.)

Melissa wasn't satisfied though, and wanted to build a bigger tower.  Soon she realized what many others had: the Big Brick Pile was a better source of material than the actual Creation Nation buckets, if you wanted to go big.  More homogeneity and bigger sizes is a good combination.

Melissa was very pleased with the result:

Melissa was especially pleased that you could ask them to put your contribution wherever you wanted in the Nation.

For dedication though I don't think anyone touched this boy. He must have spent the entire event building towers at the Big Brick Pile. Alas, you could only contribute one to the Nation (unless you did it on the sly, I guess, like Melissa did accidentally), so he had to destroy all but his favorite at the end of the show. He was already about a quarter done with this before I got a picture.  He graciously let Melissa kick one down, which she did with enthusiasm.

The kids agreed that the event was AweSOME.  "We should come here more often!"  Matthew says that he heard it will be coming to San Antonio next year.  We'll see!