Sunday, April 15, 2018

Someone had a birthday - Superstar

Superstar turned 10 years old in March. His birthday was very much a football affair. The table was a football field, the ice cream cake was a football field, and his favorite presents included two new footballs, two pairs of football gloves, an electronic football board game with two teams to go with them (Packers and Cowboys). That Friday he had a couple friends over to help him through the pigskin around. Saturday we had fun as a family. Sunday he asked that we save one more present for him to open. (In case anyone was wondering, the reason he opted to have one cast orange and one cast white is for the Texas Longhorns.)

Before breaking his right wrist just a week later, he was talking about his future career in the NFL.

He has also enjoyed a multi-shooting nerf gun, a Land of Stories book on CD, a set of Five Crowns cards, and a few other presents that escape me while I try to get to bed. I'll have to ask Superstar another time if there's anything else he wants to add. Sorry it's late showing up.

Joy agrees that having friends over was the best part of his birthday.

Actually, the Five Crowns story is mildly interesting (very mild). We don't do face cards, so he has had to use Wackee Six cards to make a deck of Five Crowns. We bought him a set of Five Crowns Jr, which has no face cards, only to discover it's not quite the same game. Phooey. (I mean, the Jr is fun enough, but it isn't what he wanted). So we bought three sets of Rook cards. The first two sets give us four colors, doubled up of cards labeled 3-13; the third set Joy and Superstar recolored using markers to give us a fifth color. So now we have a proper set of Five Crowns cards, which he enjoys having very much.

Speaking of card games, Mom, you might like to hear that he was playing with your Lehi's Dream cards today.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Things my kids say - Mar 2018

Princess has taken to calling Swedish fish "Sweety fishie", or maybe it's "Swedey fishie".

Princess has discovered joke books. Our favorite recently:
Why was Dr. Frankenstein so popular? ... He was always making friends.

The kids have decided they really like listening to Uncle Steve's band singing "It's My Life." Their favorite line is "Like Frankie said, I did it my way." So I introduced My Way to Superstar this morning and explained what he was singing about. By the end, Superstar was concerned and asked if he was a good man or not. I said he wasn't talking so much about whether his actions were good or not, but explained that he was admitted that he was an agent to act and not be acted upon (2nd Nephi 2:14) and was taking responsibility for his actions, whatever they were. He then clarified, "Did he do it God's way too?" I like the way that boy thinks! May our ways always be His!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Superstar sings

For his class program, Superstar's class did a salute to Nothing But the Blues (that happened to include pre-blues, jazz, and rock). The kids were more or less in costume. Ours told us about a costume as we were walking out the door, for instance, but the speakers were well-prepared in flapper girl dresses, Elvis wigs, Ray Charles sunglasses, and Beach Boy Hawaiian shirts. The songs were fun, the kids did a great job, and I only have eyes for my boy. So here he is doing his solo:

And here he is dancing:
As someone complimented his great singing voice, they generously said that he must take after his mom and dad. Superstar looked over at me skeptically, then replied, "Well, my mom anyway." *HA* True, dat.

You may have noticed the sling. He fractured his wrist over spring break - fell off his scooter racing downhill and took a bad slide. Nothing too serious, especially now that it's protected in a cast. He's a stoic little guy who doesn't complain.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hi, buds

Yesterday, the barest few buds were on the tree. Today, 1/4 of the tree has leaves. After this week's rain it should be looking pretty good!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Spring Break: Day 3-5

Day 3 and 4 of our project, Joy and I managed to fill in the cement cracks for 2/3 of the driveway - all I had prepared on Day 2. We were very pleased and surprised at how quickly we were able to fill the cracks. Joy poured the cement and I used the trowel to smooth it out. I think next time we have a free weekend we'll be able to fill in the rest of it and be done!

Joy got to spend her afternoon Thursday with Nicholeen Peck at the conference and she really loved the time. She even got to help her mentor at her booth and answer people's questions! She hopes she'll be able to help again next year. The kids and I had a nice time together, working, shopping, and preparing to leave.

Friday was a very busy day. We dropped Joy off at her conference and I took the kids to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (aka the US Mint). We got to find out about how they make the currency. They've done a really nice job of it - informative, entertaining for my 6 and 10 year-olds. Sadly, however, they discourage bringing anything and everything into the building. Especially cellphones. So no pictures. The metal detector and guards are all at a second building a ways away from the main building (pictured), but they have two trams to carry you back and forth.

There's a nice little "people in your neighborhood" movie where the people who do the work talk about their jobs and how much they LOVE working at the BEP. The kids enjoyed some hands-on exhibits where you can zoom in on the money to detect flaws or see how the ink has shiny metallic bits in it. They had actual people to talk to who were very good with the kids and a self-paced audio tour where you saw the money actually being made. Real nice. The kids were impressed.

After lunch we went to the Kimbell Art Museum. Since Superstar completed his Cub Scout Bear that week, he is officially now a Webelos Scout and just HAPPENS to need to go to an art gallery! So he was very happy I was dragging him there.

This was my favorite painting - some Dutch 1600s landscape. I tend to rather like Dutch and Flemish painting from that era.

There were several places for kids of varying ages to make their own art. Princess and Superstar made fish collages. JT made a birthday wish and stamped it with a Chinese fan picture to hang on a tree.

We learned that Princess is particularly interested in sculptures. She and Superstar's favorite was a golden statue of the crowned Virgin Mary with baby Jesus. We talked for a while about comparing and contrasting two pictures of "some guy" - one in a slightly impressionistic style, one in cubist style. Princess posed with an Aztec god of spring and rejuvenation (below).

On our way out, I suddenly realized we had passed a Monet, so we went back to see the Monet Weeping Willow. The children were not impressed.

Mo' Monet, Mo' Problems

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Random Silliness: Home-Style Potato Salad

The kids were being silly - their usual silly selves. They were singing about the "Home-Style Potato Salad" container on the table. Over and over again.

Finally Daddy said to Superstar: YOU'RE Home-style potato salad!
Superstar: Well, I *am* home, but I'm not potato salad.
Daddy: Oh? I see someone hasn't been doing his family history!

At that Superstar fell down off the table onto the floor laughing and laughing at the idea of potato salad in our family tree.

As he recounted the tale to Joy a few minutes later, I added that the potato salad was in her side of the family - six generations back, Great Grandpa had married some potato salad. Down he went again!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spring Break Plans: Day 2

Over the last few months, Joy and I have been writing a vision of what we want our family to look like 20 years from now and deciding on things we need to focus on today so we can get there. Well, a week long spring break seems a great time to practice, right?

1. We want our family to learn together, so we voted on what we wanted to spend time learning together. It was a close vote that required several elimination rounds to get down to just woodworking and playing a National Geographic Wii game to learn about other countries. After breakfast and reading scriptures, we have played their quiz game, so far studying North America and Africa. A success! (so far)

2. We want our family to work together, so Joy and I decided it was time to repair the cracks in our driveway, pick up all the scattered sticks in our lawn, mow the lawn, and possibly get some other outdoor projects done, like weeding the rose bed. I confess, I jokingly thought to myself "Okay, but what will we get done on Tuesday after we finish with that?" On Day 1, Joy and I cleaned out a few cracks with a hose and a pair of rose bush clippers, then poured in the wrong stuff. So on Day 2 we borrowed a high pressure water pump so I could undo the work we did on Day 1 and clean out more of the cracks. Hopefully we can actually fill in some of those cracks tomorrow. WHAT A LONG PROJECT! Two days in and we've got 2/3 of it prepared....
I decided to wash a little note in our driveway

3. We want our family to reach out to others, so we planned a very social week. We had a new family in town over for dinner last night and the missionaries over for dinner tonight. I tried brining a turkey with great success. Tomorrow we're going to drive around town trying to find a few people we haven't seen at church in a while to offer a friendly word. Thur and Fri Joy will drive to Dallas for a homeschooling conference so she can hear from her mentor, Nicholeen Peck. Then Fri-Sun we'll spend with our good friends. A success! (so far)

4. We want our family to have lots of fun, so we planned to have at least two "family fun" turns. Yesterday we got in 1.5 and today 2 more, so we're close.

I ask Superstar if he is enjoying his spring break. He jumps up and says "YES!"
I ask Princess, and she says, "Oh, yeah!"
I ask JT if he is, and he says, "Yeah."
One of my favorite moments so far has been getting 11 hours of sleep last night.
Joy is glad I'm taking the week off to spend time with us.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Princess Remembers: The Golden Spike

Enjoying our ice cream Daddy-Daughter Date, Princess reminisced about our trip to Utah last year. She talked about visiting the Golden Spike National Monument. Her favorite part was seeing a real train and walking on the train tracks. She said the golden spike must be bigger than the chocolate syrup bottle, or maybe even bigger than a door!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Back on my feet

Shortly after helping out in Houston last year, I noticed some pain in my left foot. It was just uncomfortable in the morning, but by the time I was finishing my afternoon class it really hurt quite a bit and I didn't want to put any weight on it at all. It was definitely getting worse, so late October/early November I finally betook myself to a podiatrist.

Diagnosis: Tendonitis. I had strained the tendon that goes down your leg and wraps around your ankle on its way to the middle of the foot. It's one of the tendons that lets you point your foot. Near as we can figure, I must have strained it one of those days hauling debris on the uneven, mushy mud.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

How we make decisions: The Alamo

Yesterday's trip to the Alamo was fun, enjoyable, peaceful, and a perfect example of how Joy and I make biggish decisions.

Last August I told Joy that I really wanted us to go see the Alamo. With the Dallas temple closing in October, I wanted to plan a couple days for us to drive down to San Antonio, see the Alamo, do some temple work at the San Antonio temple, and maybe see a few other things. We planned and we discussed for MONTHS and just couldn't make it work. It didn't fit and we were too busy and it was a mess. So we didn't go.

Fast forward to February. Last week I had planned to go to the Dallas temple on Tuesday, but I was behind on 4-5 different projects at school and wasn't feeling well and I just couldn't see my way clear. So we planned that Joy would drive me up Saturday with the kids. Then we had a rather large snow storm that canceled classes. I got to spend 3 days lying flat in bed getting caught up on those projects.

When Friday night came, we talked for a while, prayed about it, and confirmed the plan that we would all drive up to Dallas the next day despite the prediction of more rain and flooding.

Saturday morning at 5am while we're up and getting ready to go, Joy says, "The thing I keep feeling from the Spirit after our prayer is that we ought to bring a day bag just in case we get stuck in Dallas overnight." While we prepared a bag of clothes and pull out our 72 hour kit to take with us, she wondered out of the blue what the weather was like in San Antonio.

Slight rain and otherwise sunny. ... 90 minutes later, we had the kids awake and in the car and were on our way to San Antonio.

So that's how we get things done. We talk, we counsel, we plan and nothing happens until suddenly we just make a decision and git'er done. It's how we went to South Africa and Italy; it's how we bought our house and car; and now we're talking about how we're going to rearrange all the furniture in the house once my leg is better.....

The kids had a great time and kept talking about how they felt the Spirit at the temple and what they liked about the Alamo. Good times.