Thursday, April 19, 2018


...ballet, Istanbul, Minecraft, Milestones, traffic, bridgework, Wright Brothers, and more... updates coming soon!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

...Mysterious Mannequin

...Starting a new Nancy Drew, starting Milestones Math, Smarty candies, concert night, SX18 work... updates coming soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Stinkle in Time

It's somewhat of a tradition of ours, after Mommy gives a zerbert to Madison.  Obviously, it sounds like a big poot, and Madison yells out, "Daddy, you stink!  You're a Pootzilla!"  And adding, "You smell like a Stinkle in Time!"

We finished the book tonight, and it ends with a bit of a strong suggestion that there is another book after this one.  And lo!  We looked it up, and there is an entire series.  Please don't judge us for not knowing that already.  This is just one of those books we never bothered to read.

Anyway, the day was saved.  I think.  The Dark Thing is still out there, as it IT.  I don't think this is the same IT as in the Stephen King books.  That IT is a clown.  This IT is a giant brain.

This to me wasn't terribly interesting.  I think the author could have spiced things up a bit by making it Pinky, instead of the Brain:

MEGAN:  "Charles Wallace!  I know you're in there.  Resist his power and come back to us!"


Anyway, that's our commentary on "A Wrinkle in Time" for now.  Daddy thought it was good, and Madison enjoyed it.  Mommy thought it was so-so.  Daddy isn't exactly enthused about reading six more books like it, but is glad he did this one, as it has somewhat of a reputation.  Also, it'll be interesting to see the movies now.  We have the one, and old DVD from Disney some time ago.  And then the new one will be out eventually and we'll be able to see that one as well.

Moving on!  Tonight we went back to "The Lost World" again, visiting with our LEGO characters.  We're set on getting more of these gold bricks and so forth, and doing a bit of exploring.  Madison wanted to know if this character or that survived, so we may eventually get that movie as well.  But as for now, she's anxious to watch the next one we have in our library, "Jurassic World," which we've actually only seen once at this point.  Still, thanks to the LEGO bricks, she knows the basic story.  Actually, you didn't even need that to know that dinosaurs are contained, and then they're not and they eat people.  The end.

We had piano tonight, and Madison actually didn't get to play tonight.  The other kids were doing their recital pieces, and there were so many adjustments being made for the ones that did get to do their recital that Madison never got to play.  HOWEVER, she submitted a video of her performance, something we filmed earlier.  It's a little rough.  Okay, it's a lot rough.  But it's getting there.  It's not a complete stinkle.

It was an early night tonight:  test tomorrow.  But it was early for all of us.  Daddy was tired too - it might be the cold weather or this pollen.  Whatever it is, we all got to bed early tonight, getting a good night's rest, dreaming of pulsating brains, flying centaurs, and friendly furry tentacle creatures with no eyes.

Monday, April 16, 2018


No, there won't be any references to that song by Snap! called "The Power" in this blog post.

Okay, so there was one reference just now.  But not anymore, okay?

We had a bit of a cold snap again this morning, dropping down to 39 degrees as we're heading out the door to drop Madison off for elementary school.  The time left at the school is dwindling, and the calendar says late April, but the winter is clinging on here.  It's been worse elsewhere, but in all things, it could be worse.  There have been some tornadoes, but nothing like the usual April, where front after front streak eastward across the map.  There was one such storm this weekend, and it was certainly threatening back on Friday.  But by Sunday morning, it amounted to nothing more than heavy rain.  And given the amount of pollen around here, the rain was more than welcome.  Still, it's chilly outside, and too cold to do much out there presently.

Madison began the Milestones testing today, and she's got six total days to do these tests.  Today's testing covers ELA, which is like ELO, but not as popular.  Actually ELA is - I think - English/Language Arts.  This is something that Madison does not do as well at with, at least compared to Math.  Of course, by saying "not doing as well at," she still gets A's.  But here's where she has to slow down and be more careful.  And indeed, based on her description tonight, she did take her time on the test.  She said she was the second to last to finish the test.  And we were happy to hear that, because in a week's time, no one's going to be comparing finishing times.  It's all about the score.  Better score right than early.

We had ballet tonight, the short class, and we had piano.  Madison has been struggling with this song, "Tightrope."  In fact, the tightrope snapped today.  We were supposed to record, but Madison had a bit of a meltdown, which I think amounts to lack of sleep, Milestones testing, and so much stuff going on in her life right now.  We gave her permission to slow down a bit, and not worry about playing anymore.  It's important to get some rest.

So tonight, we read from "A Wrinkle in Time," and are nearly finished with this one.  So far, we have a really weird story, to be frank.  Madison likes it though, and Daddy does too, although it's a bit surreal.  Mommy isn't the biggest fan of it, and in fact fell asleep while Daddy was reading tonight.  There's this big conflict with an oversized brain thingy, large fuzzy eyeless aliens with tentacles, flying centaur characters, mind control of super intelligent five-year-olds, and something like an anti-communist message in there.  It's different, that's for sure.  We'll see the movie and take notes!

So we said our prayers tonight, and we were ready for bed early.  We'll all get a good night's rest, and be ready for more tests tomorrow, more fun at work too.  We're getting a lot done for Summer Xtreme lately, with name tags and presentation slides.  Messages are coming in too, so Daddy will be working on those booklets as well.  But it's all starting to come together, and yep, you'll be reading a lot about that as we crawl along on the calendar towards June.

Speaking of which, we're thinking of signing up Madison for another camp this summer, because there's this extra week and we know Bart and Christine, and ... well, it's a Nerf Camp.  Mommy thinks it is a good idea to know about proper gun safety.  Which is probably something that Daddy needs to know too.  But this sort of teaching takes place while kids arm themselves, blasting targets and each other.  Or, at least that's what I gather from the description.  We'll see, but we're thinking about signing up Madison for that.

Okay, that does look like a fun camp.  Shooting nerf guns, like a crack of a whip, snap attack, front to back, and... and yeah, okay, there's another reference to that song.  Yeah, it's sort of stuck in my head right now...

So peace, stay off my back.  Or I will attack, and you don't want that!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mr DNA returns

Another KidPak Legends service this morning, this one featuring the famous chocolate fountain.  This is the one we used back on Valentine's Day, and it's in both of the Descendants movies, although nothing prominent.  We just noticed that, and rolled with it for the skit.  As you can see, Carlos loves it dearly.

This is Uma2.  Madison got to wear her classic Uma costume from last fall, and joined the Uma Fan Club, wanting to be a bit more edgy.  Of course, she and her friend Red had to learn a lesson about that this morning, and there was much more that happened as always.  We're moving along with our series - only two more services left until the conclusion of this Descendants themed story.  Everyone's been enjoying it, dressing up in these costumes and being these characters.  A young girl came up to Madison this morning and gave her a big hug, saying, "You're dressed as Uma!"

We got home and Madison had that piano to practice.  We had our lunch, but there was nothing to be done outside:  the weather is stormy, rainy, and windy.  The temperatures are going to drop again, and in fact there is a lot of snow coming down throughout the country further north of course.  It's fairly amazing, actually.

After a bit of piano, we had time for another trip to another dinosaur island, this time Isla Sorna.  This one was different from last week's visit to Isla Nublar, but only slightly.  This time the carnivorous dinosaurs were after the humans to eat them.  Oh wait.  That happened last time.  You'd think people would learn, right?  Of course, in Jurassic World III, Dr. Alan Grant is tricked into going, and in fact technically kidnapped.  But adventures continue, and Madison enjoyed the journey.  Unlike some of those early mercenaries, she survived without a scratch, and that's a big plus.

Next, we'll visit Isla Nublar again with "Jurassic World," but that might be after the Milestones testing.  Yes, that's tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Mommy has been focused on ancestry.  It's been a big pastime of hers, looking through genealogy and finding her family's ancestors, and Daddy's too.  Eventually, we'll be able to find more information about Madison's as well, because technology.  It is absolutely amazing what was once considered impossible now a viable option, thanks to Mr. DNA.

Ah, and now we see it come back to Jurassic Park.  Anyway, after a full day, it was time to get an early night's rest.  We need resting before testing.  That should be a slogan for the school.

We prayed, we read from the devotional, and we read another chapter of "A Wrinkle in Time."  Things are starting to wrap up there as well, with about forty pages left or so.  It's been an enjoyable read, although with the longer chapters, everyone was pretty ready to head to sleep at the end.  Which... is what we did.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Agent Coulson and Captain Crunch

Aw, look!  It's a baby bunny!  This little guy and a sibling were fleeing in terror from Mommy and Madison as they were doing some weeding in the front yard.  We may have disturbed a nest, though we're not sure.  Regardless, this little guy ran into the street, and couldn't hop back up over the curb and into the grass again.  Mommy quickly grabbed the bunny - carefully - and brought it out of the street, releasing it into the bushes.  This was not before posing for a picture with the little guy.  Hopefully he's fine now, hopefully with his siblings and maybe even a parent or two.

So yes, we spent some time in the yard today.  You can see Madison and Mommy with their gear on, weeding and cutting and raking and so forth.  Daddy was mowing and raking, and by the time we were done, the front lawn was looking a little better.  Give us about a week, and we'll have it looking much sharper - just in time for Earth Day, I think.

We slept in today, starting later.  But we talked with our neighbors and Caleb as well, who'll be mowing our lawn this summer.  Madison did some piano work, getting closer and closer to her goal of playing "Tightrope" without mistakes.  She's got another week, and will likely be practicing every day.  We had a remarkable feast served for brunch:  a huge meal served up in a skillet.  Madison loved this, and loved the return of the spicy sausage.  We went grocery shopping Thursday night, and because of this we were able to store up for a bit, including the purchase of some of that "Oops All Berries" Captain Crunch flavor.  Madison likes that one - but so does everyone.  That box of cereal won't last a week, I predict.  The reason we bought it was because it was featured on last week's episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."  Daddy has always been a big fan of Captain Crunch, and it was great to see that Phil Coulson is a big fan too:

Yes, it's the breakfast of champions.  And Agents!

Speaking of which, we got caught up on last night's episode, because we missed it last night due to the play.  Although there was no Captain Crunch, it was still a great episode, and it's really moving things along.  We love these characters, having been with them for years now.  It's actually more accurate than I thought previously, but Phil Coulson might be my favorite Marvel character.  Unfortunately, he's facing some serious peril this season - we'll see how things work out in the coming weeks.  The entire Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to undergo some major changes.  It remains to be seen - literally - if this series will continue next season, but we're all on board, all three of us.  To the point that we're getting themed Captain Crunch!

Another series that we just started trying out is "Lost in Space."  We did one episode of that tonight, but will probably keep it going throughout the next week or so - all ten episodes.  We enjoyed it, actually.  Explaining the whole concept of the show has been pretty fun, including showing Madison clips from the original show.  How that robot has changed over the years, right?  Here's what I told some friends in a recent email.  We were all excited about the show:

Yes, I miss the old robot.  It protected Will Robinson, unless there was a set of stairs around!  It’s funny what passed for a tough, robot bodyguard back then, isn’t it?  Yet as a kid, I never thought out the useful logistics of a clunky robot that rolled around wiggling its arms.  How is this thing even practical?  I don’t care.  I just thought he was cool.

But the new robot looks cool too.  We've seen one episode, and already, this new robot is remarkably useful.  We also get to see a new Dr. Smith, or someone named Dr. Smith.  Now that's a great character full of villainy and whimpering - we'll see how the show takes this character in the coming week.

Okay, enough television.  We were mostly outside today, including a trip to Home Depot to pick up a few things.  We'll be doing yardwork a bit this week, except in the pouring rain expected tomorrow.  The temperature is about to plunge again, but we'll try to get out there regardless.  We signed up for a free kids workshop at Home Depot today - it'll be later in a few weeks, but Madison wanted to sign up to build something with a hammer, nails and paint.  It's been a while since we've done something like that, and we're both excited about the possibility.  You'll see the results here on this blog, of course.

We had shepherd's pie tonight, and talked to Nana and Ba-Ba, who seem to be doing fine.  We also read before going to bed, more from "A Wrinkle in Time."  We met IT, which is a big pulsating brain.  We're beginning to see why this book has been considered impossible to make into a movie - it's so surreal.  Really, it'll be interesting the versions we see on our television.  We have the older Disney version of the movie, and the new one will be released soon enough - I'm afraid it didn't do well in the theaters.  Truthfully, it's tougher for us lately to get out to see movies, due to scheduling issues.  We have a lot of things going on lately!

But tonight we read, and we prayed and we all went to sleep a little earlier.  Everyone was worn out from a full day outside working on the front lawn.  But it'll be worth it shortly, and it was great to be outside, even if we had to endure all that pollen.  Daddy wore one of those breathing filter masks, and was doing his best Kylo Ren impersonation.  Kylo mows the grass.

Madison said, "If only you could cut the grass with a lightsaber!"

Now there's a great idea!

Friday, April 13, 2018

It's Greek to Me

Tonight we saw the bad side of Poseidon.  I mean sure, he seems like a nice guy with the trident and all.  Who can forget that time he helped out Jason and the Argonauts, this ginormous figure emerging and holding back those collapsing cliffs.  And how can any guy responsible for the oceans of the world be that much of a jerk?  But he sure gave Odysseus a hard time this evening, that's for sure.

Tonight we were back at the Ed Cabell Theater to see a production of "The Odyssey," which was imaginative and unique.  It was a very creative telling of an ancient story, one that the three of us enjoyed quite a bit.  It was pretty long, and we were somewhat tired by the end of it all.  But I'm sure Odysseus was even more exhausted.  The poor guy went through quite a bit.  Here he is below, rowing again, hoping to get away from something:

That something may be a Cyclops.  Who happens to be Poseidon's son.  Who Odysseus pokes in the eye with a burning stick.  Hence Poseidon getting a bit perturbed.  But the cyclops had it coming, certainly after that faux pas of eating some of Odysseus' crew members.  Awkward!

The cyclops was pretty amazing, and they did a great job with Charybdis and Scylla.  This great duo has been wreaking sea havoc for years.  I think "Scylla and Charybdis" would be a great rock band name, by the way.  But can we talk about Charybdis a moment?  Scylla I get.  It's a multi-headed sea monster.  But Charybdis?  It's a whirpool.  And while it seems threatening, it seems sort of easy to avoid.

ODYSSEUS:  "Sail on, men!"
POLYETHANOL:  "But sir!  It's Charybdis!  Off the forward bow!"
ODYSSEUS:  "Then sail to the starboard."
POLYETHANOL:  "Is that right or left?"
ODYSSEUS:  "Right."
POLYETHANOL:  "But that's where the sea monster Scylla is!"
ODYSSEUS: "Then go to the port side instead.  What's so hard about this?"
ODYSSEUS:  "Port is left."
POLYETHANOL:  "Right, sir!"
ODYSSEUS:  "No, left."

Charybdis is just a bit Greek whirlpool.  To add a bit more menace, there are some illustrations online if you want to look them up, drawings that show a whirpool with teeth.  As if it is part Sarlacc monster.  In both cases, the danger comes when you get near said creatures.  Sort of like when you get close to a yellow jacket nest.  The solution:  don't go near them, and you should be okay.

That is, unless you run into the sirens, or Circe, who turns everyone into pigs.  

Tonight's play had a lot that Madison was familiar with.  She said as much during the intermission, as they must have been talking about this in school recently.  That's great, because Greek mythology is a lot of fun. Sure, it's weird.  But it's got some fun elements too.  We should check out some other Greek mythology movies like "Hercules," "Jason and the Argonauts," "Medea," and "Madea's Family Reunion."

Okay, no on that last one.  But we have seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which was fun.  Daddy remembers studying Greek mythology in sixth grade, and having the role of Hades.  As much fun as it was, James Woods did it so much better in "Hercules."

Last week we were learning about Greek mythology in the stars, with constellations telling stories.  And now here we were again with Odysseus, so it seems to be another little theme here, right?

We'll see.  Tonight we were pretty tired getting home after the lengthy play.  Daddy sat directly by the tallest man in Hall County.  He was in the front row, and I'm not making this up:  he had to duck in order to get through an average doorway.  That's how tall this guy was.  And he was wide too.  It was slightly challenging to see, to say the least.  But the theater is set up in a way that there's action all around you, and this was a fun play to see.  Madison didn't have any view obstructions, and got to see it all.  Athena was pretty cool.

The rest of the day was work, piano practice, and cleaning up the house a bit.  Which was just as adventurous as a trip overseas to battle a giant whirlpool.  Actually, that would be a great name for a toilet, wouldn't it?