Friday, September 28, 2007

Gravity haiku

D had an in-service day today where the speaker was trying to give them ideas on how to break up the long block periods. One suggestion was to have the kids write poetry. I didn't think that had much of anything to do with science. A discussion ensued and we thought about science haiku - specifically about gravity.

My haiku:
Gravity pulls you
down, down to the ground
like Newton's apple

D's haiku:
Newton's force pulls down
the apple lands on his head
the moon falls also

Pretty odd dinner conversation for some... but I never claimed we were normal.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More pictures from Webelos-ree

Saturday afternoon we heard that M and some of his friends had been up on top of the adirondack (sp?) shelter in the wee hours of the morning - something like 1:30 or 2am. So it wasn't too much of a surprise to find M sacked out at dinnertime:

He had heard that dinner was going to be chicken stir-fry, so he had loaded up on leftover breakfast food - fruit, bagels and cereal - and then sacked out on his sleeping bag. It turns out that the stir-fry was all in separate bins - one each of chicken, rice, peppers&onions, pineapple - so he could have had just chicken and rice, but by that point he was out cold. It took D several times to wake him up for campfire.

One of the things that they did at campfire was retire old flags. We cut up the flags at our campsite and each den got one flag. A was selected to carry one of the pieces of the Wolves flag:

Then he was selected again to be part of the color guard and take down the flags. I think for this part it was because he was the only Wolf in dress uniform.

They got a quickie lesson from the Boy Scouts on how to be a color guard and they did a good job. Very respectful and careful with the flag. Maybe they should have split up the 2 youngest kids, though - A and a 1st grader were trying to fold a flag. The other flags had 4th and 5th graders handling them.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Webelos-ree time again

That's right - it was time for the annual Webelos-ree again. Where we all go and camp with the Cub Scouts. Only this year, M is a Boy Scout - and has joined the Troop that puts on the Webelos-ree. So M got to work one of the activities. He thought his activity was the best (most fun) one there.

Here's M blowing up balloons for his "Remember the Alamo Balloon Pop".

Then they attached the balloons to their ankles with rubber bands, dividied the kids into 2 teams and had them run around trying to stomp each others balloons.

The kids all had fun and no one seemed to get upset when their balloons got popped and they were out of the game. And M thought that running that acitvity wasn't too bad. He did say that he got a bad taste in his mouth from blowing up balloons (though many of the adults blew up balloons for the kids in their groups also).

They did tomahawk throwing again this year and A was the only kid is his group to stick his tomahawk in the target. He did way better than I did - I tried 4 times and hit the target each time, but the closest I came was whacking off a chunk of the treelimb framework.

(No, I don't know why this picture is sideways when the balloon picture is properly upright. I may try to fix it, but then again, it may not happen.)

And, of course, we had to have a monkey bridge. The kids love this. They love it enough to spend an hour in line waiting to cross the monkey bridge. Meanwhile the adults were all resting at picnic tables in the shade because it was upper 80s out there with 90% humidity. Hot and sticky!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

I've forgotten how much I hate smoke

I suppose that its a good thing that I've forgotten exactly how much I hate smoke. It means I don't smell it much - as in hardly ever. Our area has a smoking ban in restaurants now. No more asking for the non-smoking section or worrying that your non-smoking seat will be right next to the smokers. It's a non-issue now.

Except tonight. D and I went to a fund raiser for his school. It was a wine tasting and finger food reception with a silent auction at a local restaurant. Except that since it was a private party, evidently the no-smoking rule didn't apply. Yuck. I had to stay out of half of the restaurant or I felt sick. If we do this again, I will have to try to remember to check on the smoking policy.

This is a far cry from the days of yore - in the pre-kids days one time D and I were on vacation with some friends in the Pacific Northwest. We were in some really small town, in logging country. Most of the cars (excuse me, trucks) had bumper stickers readering "save a logger, kill a spotted owl". Well, we went out to breakfast in the only restaurant we could find in this small town and we were seated at the ONE, single, solitary non-smoking table. Yeah, that did a lot of good. We were also the only people in the place not wearing flannel and facial hair. On the plus side the food was good, cheap and very plentiful.


Monday, September 17, 2007

An Invitation to Math Team

M got invited to join math team by his math teacher (also the math team coach). Mr. D had mentioned to me at our conference last week that he thought M would be good on math team, but that he had to check and see if 6th graders were allowed to join. Evidently the answer was yes, because Mr. D. called here and invited M to come to practice.

I took M in early Friday morning for practice. He said he knew the other 2 boys there (and likes both of them well enough) and that it was OK, but he didn't know some of the stuff - like the Pythagorean Theorem. I found an interesting looking site to help M learn about the Pythagorean Theorem.

I had fun with math club in high school and Math Team is really big in D's school - the kids seem to really like it and the teacher who runs it. So, M could have an activity to enjoy for several years if he wants.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

I HATE pantry moths!

We've been fighting them off and on for at least a year. This time, it's gotten really, really bad. I was finding multiple moths on the ceiling of the pantry and sporadically worms as well.

So, I started clearing out the pantry. Removing items, checking them for infestations - opening boxes (but generally not inner packages). I have found moths, coccoons, and worms in the oddest of places - inside a box of vanilla extract, inside a box of tomato paste, inside a box of ziplock baggies, under the bottom of a can of tomatoes. I'm seeing a pattern here - maybe they like to create coccoons in the dark... So, I am checking every single item in the pantry. And then putting them into rubbermaid storage containers.

I went to T*arget this morning and spent $30 on plastic storage containers, so I could group things in slightly smaller and more coherent groupings. Unfortunately, 2 of the containers are cracked and I have to exchange them. But I also think I need a couple more boxes.

This is driving me CRAZY!!! I've spent hours today, wiping, examining, squishing bugs. And there is still stuff in the pantry. I'm hoping to finish emptying the pantry tomorrow and start vacuuming and wiping. That's what Google tells me to do. Oh, and then use more pantry moth traps to monitor. But I don't want to monitor, I want to ELIMINATE them, ALL of them!

What seems the worst is that after starting to clear out the pantry and remove contaminated food, it seems that I am seeing even more moths and worms. Maybe its just that I'm stirring things up, but it doesn't seem to make sense. I did seem to find a mother lode of bugs in some trail mix today, so that went immediately OUT. Not to spend another second in my house. Plus 4 trash bags have gone out today also. I'm sick of this!

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Consignment sale

I've been busy the last few days trying to get stuff ready for a consignment sale, then working at the sale (to increase my percentage of my sales), and then shopping at the sale. I got to go on Wed night for an early chance at the sale (because I helped work) and I got some new light to medium weight jackets for the kids - including a fleece jacket with a full zipper and a hood. I looked everywhere for those last year and couldn't find them ANYWHERE! for any price. So I was quite happy to find one for $2.

On an even happier note: the train table sold! YES! And at the higher price I was convinced to put on it. For whatever reason, the kids never really got into trains. Oh, they would happily play with a train table when we were out somewhere, but at home. Nope. I spent more time setting it up and playing with the trains myself than they ever did. And since we moved A into the previous playroom, there was no room for the train table. I'm glad to have the money for it and not to have to find a place to keep it anymore.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Field trip with M

I went to see Dinosaurs with M's class/grade. Pretty interesting, though I'm not exactly sure how they're connecting it to the curriculum. And very frustrating as it didn't seem to be well planned. We spent at least 30 minutes loading, unloading and reloading the buses. Only 5 buses, for over twice as many people as 5th grade field trips when we would take 3 full buses. It was crazy and crowded - the kids were all 3 to a seat and 6th graders are getting rather big for 3 to a seat!

Then once we finally got down there and in the arena, it was rather a free-for-all of seating. We all had tickets for assigned seats, but someone declared that the kids could sit anywhere in the section of seats for our group, so we weren't anywhere near the rest of M's class (my 5 boys wanted to be closer to the front). I did make them all sit together, of course.

Then some of the kids in other classes had their lunches with them and were eating during the show. My guys were getting hungry, seeing the food. So, when the surprise intermission came up, I went looking for the teacher to find our lunches. A couple of the teachers were debating -
Yes, lets eat now - they have seats and cup holders
No, we're going to the park afterwards to eat
Wait - no, we won't go to the park, but we can eat outside on the sidewalk
Well, maybe they could eat now
etc, etc, etc

I finally started finding our lunches. I knew they wouldn't let us eat on the bus and I'm not a happy camper if I don't get to eat. Plus, I figured if we did have time later, the kids could hang out and talk, but right then we had time and seats, so why not.

After the program ended was another dose of chaos. There were no instructions on where or when to meet the buses. I was worried we might be late when I took the time for a bathroom break for everyone, but it turns out we waited at least 20 minutes outside for the buses to show up. One good thing, though - they sent an extra bus to get us back to the school, so we weren't quite as crowded. Yeah.

I overheard bits and pieces of interesting conversations (unfortunately during the show, so I had to quiet them) between M and a friend - discussing evolution and the absolute truth of the bible. M thinks his friend is crazy to think people lived alongside dinosaurs (and his friend probably thinks M is a heathen for not believing every word of the bible).

I found it quite interesting that I could get decent pictures without a flash, but not with. The image stabilization on this camera really seems to work fairly well. I got some photos that are clearly blurry where the dinosaurs were moving, but this one where the dinos were still, seems fairly clear, though I wasn't using a tripod or a flash.


It Arrived!

The new computer, that is. We weren't expecting it until at least the middle of next week. So it was a very pleasant surprise. D*ell had promised to build it by yesterday and then 3-5 day shipping - we really weren't expecting it today. But D has been busy this evening getting it all set up. Including hooking up the old hard drive so we still have access to old tax files, photos, etc. The tax files and photos (well, all photos up to early-mid summer) have all been backed up onto CD's, but its still nice to have easier access. The kids are hoping that the saved game files on the old hard drive will also be easily accessible.

A thinks the box is great fun to play in. But he didn't want me taking his picture.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Late nights

M went to the youth group meeting down at church tonight - for the first time, since he's now an official middle school-er. Well, ok, he actually crashed the group a couple of times last year during Lent when they were discussing various aspects of managing your money, vs the elementary group making crafts. M is quite over doing type crafts they do at church.

Anyhoo, M went down with my mom and he took a bit of homework with him to work on between when she needed to be there and when his program started. All well and good. And when he came home, 8:40ish, he said he only had one more picture to draw on his timeline. Great! But then..... he also had vocabulary and something else to do. And questions for us, and wanting to see what I'm doing, etc, etc, etc. All of which led to M's not getting to bed until almost 10pm. Meaning D and I have no adult time this evening. Not so good.

And even worse, A came out around 9:30 wanting to know why M was still up.

- he's doing homework
-he's older
-he can sleep later in the morning (bus comes an hour later)
-and none of your business - it's past YOUR bedtime

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Monday, September 03, 2007

New Kittens

Awww, isn't the kitty cute!

But this bundle of cuteness is not in MY house - oh no, my cats would seriously disapprove. This is one of my mom's new kittens.

Here's A with one kitten:

And M with the other kitten:

My mom is enjoying her new kittens immensely. The kids and I have been to visit them twice.

From the moment the kids heard about the kittens, they thought we should introduce our cats to my mom's kittens. So, the second time we visited, we took Pounce with us. BAD IDEA! She hissed and growled and hid under the furniture. Behaved MUCH worse than she did when we went to the vet last week (and she had to put up with resident cats there too). I had thought that meeting on relatively neutral territory might be ok. The kittens thought everything was fine - they paid no attention to Pounce at all. I don't think we'll be trying this again anytime soon!


Sunday, September 02, 2007

The bat is dead and gone

D and I got around to dealing with the bat this afternoon. After all the strategizing about how to make sure the bat didn't get into the house, we found that it wasn't needed - the bat had died. We still had a little struggle getting the screen off and back on again, but once again we can open that window safely. Yeah.

In fact, the windows are open right now and the attic fan is pulling in the lovely cool, 72 degree air right now. Which is good, since the AC is still acting up. The latest air-chair diagnosis is that the fan controller on the furnace is kaput. The fan has been cycling off and on WAY too frequently - like 45 seconds on and 3 minutes off - repeatedly. The AC (or perhaps just the fan) would cycle even when the thermostat was set to OFF. And when the house temp was well below the setpoint. I finally got tired of all the cycling and flipped the circuit breaker for the fan.

The AC and furnace are just less than 2 years old, so they may still be under some sort of warranty. We are looking into that. In the meantime, we're grateful that the weather is much more reasonable than last week!

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