Sunday, May 31, 2015

Back to the Shire

So Madison is playing the LEGO game based on "The Hobbit" this week, which means that the music from the Shire is stuck in my head endlessly.  This is not entirely a bad thing.

Today was the last day of Weird Science, which ended too soon.  So much going on, and we just couldn't devote our full energy to it.  That, I suppose, is why we selected this series, as we've done it before.  But Daddy still wanted to be able to show Madison some nifty science experiments along the way.  Oh well,there's still plenty of time to do that elsewhere this summer.

Meanwhile, we prepare for Summer Xtreme.  This is the last day of preparations.  Madison is even helping out, as is her usual tradition.  She puts out books and pencils, or cleans up test runs of the confetti launchers.  We have a new display case to set up and costumes to hang up in the right location.  Lots of lanyards to make too.  These aren't exactly S.H.I.E.L.D. lanyards, but Daddy is the King of the Lanyards, and anyone who wants them made bows to me!  Okay, they just ask nicely.

So Madison had a good morning at church, and a good afternoon at church, helping set things up.  Her morning, she learned about rocks and geology a bit.  Her afternoon, she learned about serving at the church, something she does naturally along with the other volunteers.  There are lots of other children her age helping out too, so that's sweet to see.

It's going to be a great week, one I've got to go help prepare for now... see ya!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Before SX15

So we had a meeting today, and a big one.  It was for our volunteers, and all a pep talk about the exiting week to come.  This time around, there was a little less work to do for the afternoon that there usually is.  Not to say we didn't stay up late working or didn't feel the tremendous weight of responsibility, accompanied by the consistent worry of those little details that we might have missed. No, all that was still there.  But this time we had a new sense of optimism about things, that we were more prepared than ever, that our team was more equipped than ever, and that this would in fact be the best Summer Xtreme ever.  We'll see how that prediction holds, but things are not so burdened here, but rather more upbeat.

Although we're already sick of pizza.  I don't care if it is free - I would rather not see another delivered pizza again for quite some time.  All these stacks of pizzas arrived today, and will again tomorrow, the things that keep our stomachs full so we can keep on with our goals - without leaving the office.

One sense of the optimism came from a two-hour rehearsal we had today - all the actors showed up for our ongoing drama throughout the week.  They checked microphones, and we went over lines for the entire week.  We actually practiced for drama four skits deep - one on Friday.  We usually cannot do this due to volunteers and tricky schedules.  But this year, all of them were able to do it, and it has brought a whole lot of peace to the matter.  Also, additionally, we had the scripts written as well.  This is usually a last-minute gambit as well.

Madison and Mommy were onhand to help set things up today, helping clean up or set up or decorate or in Madison's case, run around screaming and having fun with the other captive children.  We don't feel so bad about the kids who where stuck here today, because next week they'll all be having an incredible week.

Which is what I have to get back to work on.  Only two days to go...

Friday, May 29, 2015

Chili Night!

Mommy made chili for all the hard workers today, and it was a wonderful little moment of rest from all the office work we've been doing lately.  Everyone piled in a few cars, and we drove to our house, where Mommy had her secret recipe chili waiting for us.  Madison was there too, of course.  She's enjoying her first week of Summer Vacation, doing practically nothing.  Well, that's not true.  She's been working on her assignment chart, which includes reading - there's the Summer Reading program.  It also includes piano homework - that's something Mrs. Pam has left for the kids so they won't be so rusty as they return to classes next year.  Also, there are other assignments.  Mommy made a chart that gets filled out with stickers instead of check marks, which makes it more fun.  Other than that, Madison is suddenly into Minecraft again, in a major way.  She's constructed this huge glass skyscraper with trees inside, like an oversized atrium to run around inside.

We've been going to the library to keep her supply stocked with more and more "Weird School" books, something she's still going through very fast.  Already, she's at 18% completion for her Summer Reading program.  Meanwhile, Daddy is getting books too - more research!

Mommy is beginning to pack for the upcoming vacation, believe it or not.  It is a lengthy process, packing.  So anything you do now is good for later on down the road.  Also, we're renting a car, something she's set up today as well.  We're "in between" cars at the moment, and don't quite have a car we can trust fully to make the journey.  Not that the one car is bad, but we think it would be best to put that wear-and-tear on another vehicle that can handle it, and not ours.

SPEAKING of the vacation upcoming, we're going to the beach.  Yep.  That'll be nice, and the first thing I though of was that we'll be gone a little bit longer on vacation this time.  But then after further thought, why not?  Everyone else goes on longer vacations, right?  So the beach it is, and maybe even Kennedy Space Center too.  We'll see how that works out, but the beach at this point is a certainty.  I don't knwo WHICH beach at the moment, but Nana and Ba-Ba have rented a beach condo for three days, so we'll be hanging down there for a bit.  Those days will be super awesome.  Really looking forward to the next few weeks, and yes, that includes Summer Xtreme.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Reading Kick-Off

We signed up online earlier for Madison's Summer Reading program.  This is the one that she's been doing the last three years.  The difference this summer is that she's reading much bigger books, each one over a 100 pages.  Of course, there are pictures.  But also there are a lot more words.  Peppered in between will be other books that won't have the substantial length to them, but with this program, she'll be spending quite a bit of time reading this summer.  Not a bad thing at all!

To start things off at the library, they had a big event:  a circus!  It was sort of a circus, actually, although that wasn't the theme of the year.  The theme is "superheroes."  And the amount of people that showed up sort of made it a circus in a way.  But it was fun, regardless.  There was a pretty talented acrobat that showed up, one who could do some amazing balancing tricks, and one who could do some juggling as well.  Madison was chosen to be a helpful volunteer, which was pretty cool as the place was packed and there were a lot of kids to choose from.  Madison did well up there in front of folks, completely fearless as always, stepping bravely into new situations with courage.

It was a great show, and there were lots of other things to do there at the library as well.  As mentioned before, we have a great local library.  They provide a lot of things for our kids, and on top of the performance today, there was a place for face painting as well.  Madison chose to be a tiger.  Grrr!

She also had balloon animals made, and did a few other things as well.  It was a fun little get-a-way for us, in the midst of all this Summer Xtreme preparation.  Yes, we went back to work in that direction as soon as the event was over.  But it was nice to step away and do something with the neighbors' families at the local library.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Soviet HOA

It has been raining a lot.  Each morning, we push off the water that collects on our canopy outside, and watch it spash down like an elaborate water fountain.  The plus side of this is the fact that we don't have to water things.  The garden in our back yard is already prospering mightily, although the peas have been assaulted by what we suspect are rabbits.  This morning, we spotted one in the front yard, sitting quite still.  It was trying to figure out a plan, having been completely caught off guard by our approach.  Madison and Mommy sat on the front porch, whispering to each other about the rabbit.  He or she just sat there trying to figure out when was the appropriate time to run for your life!

As mentioned earlier, we also have chipmunks.  We did not see these today, although we're spotting more holes.  This could be problematic, although not at the moment.  There is that 'aw shucks, that's cute' sort of feeling which is mixed with 'these rodents are tearing our front yard apart!'  I don't think the latter is going to happen, although I could be very much wrong.  Currently, we're enjoying the occasional glimpse of a chipmunk on our front yard.  And when Madison saw there was a second chipmunk, there came the realization that we had quite possibly a new family moving into our neighborhood.

Of course, they'll have to follow the by-laws of the covenant as well.  Heaven forbid the Home Owner Association finds out they aren't paying for their pool pass or something.  The Home Owner Association we have has apparently recently changed management, by the way.  Our other new friends who just moved in last week to the neighborhood (humans, not chipmunks), got three "welcome letters" right away.  There is saracasm in that previous sentence, as none of these were welcoming at all.  In fact, they were letters telling them to fix certian miniscule problems right away, or be fined.  Way to make a great first impression, Home Owner's Assocation.  You did the same thing with us when we moved in, and made us feel real welcome, like we're all part of some big happy family or something.  Okay, that was sarcasm again.  This is an exaggeration, of course, but our HOA makes us feel more like a branch of the Soviet Union.  In fact, just last week, another family was taken off to Siberia for not mowing their grass enough.  

Seriously, there is nothing pleasant about our HOA.  They fail miserably with communication, and their standards are a little weird.  For example, we have a neighbor on the other side of the community with a ten foot raptor in their yard.  They have a life-sized dinosaur in their yard, and yet this same organization is complaining about a 8" X 7" missing part of a fence to a family that just moved in that day?  I am not making this up.

The irony is that the insides of some of these houses are not taken care of that much.  That makes all the difference in the world, of course, in how long you see a "for sale" sign in the front yard.  We have a few of those in the neighborhood.  Not many though.  The thing is, it's a great place to live.  We enjoy it quite a bit.  It's just that our HOA is a little off-and-on.  We're still waiting for that friendly welcome letter ourselves, but I suppose we don't really deserve it.  

So anyway, Madison did get to hang our with our new neighborhood friends later on today - not the chipmunks.  They saw our neighborhood and fell in love with it.  Their house is really nice, and Daddy went over there to help move a refrigerator.  So Madison tagged along, and this was the first time she went over to their house to play.  It won't be the last.  The daughter there is older, and will be going to Summer Xtreme next week, so I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot from there.  It'll be a fun summer!

As long as we're not shipped off to Siberia...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Puzzles

Madison has a lot of activities planned for a pretty low-key week here, but one of note would be the puzzles she's doing.  We get them for free, trading in puzzles at the library.  The difference this year is that like the books she's reading, things are quite more advanced.  These puzzles have quite a few more pieces, and generally take more time to do - as in, she won't be finished with today's puzzle until tomorrow or the next day.  Part of this is because today's puzzle has a squillion dog faces on it.  While it is insanely cute, it's also something that could start you on a long trip to madness.  I believe that Vincent Van Gogh started a puzzle quite like this one shortly before cutting his own ear off.  And let's not even start talking about Edgar Allen Poe's attempt at a 1000 piece puzzle called, "A Few Hundred Happy Cats."

Pastor Lance and Chris came over today, and we were collectively helping Madison with the puzzle.  It was fun watching everybody scan for dog faces, working together as a team to complete this task.  We've been working together to put all the pieces of Summer Xtreme together, and I'm happy to report that nobody has gone stark raving mad yet.  In fact, everyone seems confident, and to use a NASA term:  copacetic.  I think I spelled that right.

Anyway, it's all coming together.  No dog faces there.  But instead we do have a lot of fun planned, from videos to games to messages to booklets to excursions and bus assignments to volunteers to ... well, you get the idea.  Lots and lots of work goes into this event, and it's going to be a special week:  Tribes in Space.

That comes next week for Madison - she'll have an incredible week, along with all the other children that are coming.  We have over 400 at this point, and over 70 volunteers.  Lots of players involved, lots of pieces to an incredible puzzle that won't drive anyone insane, but instead will bring us together for something wonderful.

See what I did there?

Frisbee Tossing School

So, it's kind of funny how you take simple things for granted.  Like, for example, throwing a frisbee.  How long have we been throwing frisbees?  Madison wanted to toss one back and forth today in the front yard, which of course was a fun idea to do.  Daddy went out there, and away we went!  Only, Madison was gripping her frisbee entirely wrong.  She had her four fingers on the top, and her thumb on the bottom.  The end result was not much distance.  So Daddy steps up, and shows her the proper way to throw a frisbee, and it's like night and day.  She suddenly throws her frisbee with such speed, power and even accuracy.

This is why Daddy will be starting a new frisbee tossing school.  We'll call it… wait for it… Frisbee Tossing School.  Here, we'll learn some of the basics of throwing a frisbee.  Things like this:


Yes, just ask my former student, Madison.  Before, she was just a washed-up 'wanna-throw-a-frisbee' person.  But now, she's an expert, whizzing frisbees great distances across the front yard, nearly taking Daddy's head off.

If you can't throw a frisbee worth a flip, then perhaps you should write us here.  In about five minutes, I can give you access to a whole new world of frisbee-throwing power that you've never experienced before.  All this and more awaits you at the Frisbee Tossing School.  Write us for information today!

Meanwhile, we had a Monday where we slept in.  Yep, that was worth writing about.  We had more work towards Summer Xtreme, and we had some LEGO building to do as well.  Daddy went and got a whole bunch more mulch too.

It was the first day of no school, the first Monday of summer.  Appropriately enough, Madison has been into Phineas and Ferb lately.  She was watching a bit of that today, while Daddy was doing a lot of writing for Summer Xtreme.  Madison's chores involve watering the plants, but she hasn't had to do that too much lately - we've had so much rain.  Don't mean to rub it in, California, but geesh.  Rain, rain, rain, rain.  Seriously, we wish things would move east to west, and make it over those mountains to you.  Because we've had pretty much too much rain.  We've had flash flooding, and regular flooding.  Our ground is so saturated!

Today was saw "Tomorrowland" together at the theater.  This required popcorn, of course.  It also required "Tomorrowland" pin.  Daddy ordered one of these for Madison, one that will join our growing Disney pin collection, of course.  Daddy loves anything Brad Bird directs, but this one sort of fizzled towards the end.  It was still a fun movie, extremely so at the beginning and middle.  All the retro stuff was right up our alley.  But it wasn't one of our favorites.  We buy into the concept of Tomorrowland completely, about "feeding the right wolf" and so forth.  There's a great big beautiful tomorrow, and it is important to keep an optimistic spirit about things, and do something to make the world a better place.  That's all Disney there, something channeled from the 50's and 60's as we were flying higher - even into space.  Since then, the Space program is shut down for the most part, and we seem adrift in a bit of malaise.  Hopefully that can change for us as a nation, because there IS a great big beautiful tomorrow.  We cannot subscribe to doom and gloom.

Along those lines, we do have bad news to report regarding Uncle Dave.  And it all ties in to the correct attitude about things.  Of course, the facts are the facts.  He's facing a worst case scenario if there ever was one.  There is not much anyone can do but pray.  Daddy will commit some time to writing something for him, for all of those who just like Mommy, were facing that worst case scenario.  It's not much - and beyond prayer there isn't much I can do.  But it's something, and that's where it starts.  We all have to work together and make it brighter, and shine our light before everyone, so that they will see our good works and glorify God.  We're praying Uncle Dave, just like we are each morning, and evening, and without ceasing.  We're praying for you, that you can have a great big beautiful tomorrow.

Weird Science Continued...


We had a lot of fun this morning with Weird Science - and what a large amount of lab jackets up there on stage.  Yes, we're all scientists here!  Madison enjoyed the service with the other kids, as we had some fun songs, a bit race segment, and of course a skit too.  Lots going on this morning.

And then it was right back to work.  The red-haired lady in the middle of the picture upstairs - that's Dawn - she's moving into our neighborhood this week.  We went over, Madison and Daddy, and helped them move in a bit.  Or, at least Daddy did.  What Madison did was this:  run around and scream and have fun in their back yard where there's a tire swing.  And there are bicycles in the driveway.  And who knows what inside!  The point is, she was having a lot of fun just hanging out with our new neighbors.

Daddy had a bit of work to do, which is sort of the theme of these blogs lately.  But all that ends in a week or so.  Until then, the blog entries are a bit short.  I think the biggest event of the day is related to our chipmunk family that we've allowed to live in our front yard.  We were able to spot them through the window this morning, and the three of us were suddenly conservationists, observing the chipmunk in the wild.  They have their home in our front yard.  Hopefully that doesn't lead to any problems, as they're cute little things!

Chore Chart


So the first day of summer break is here.  And Madison is off and running, doing a little relaxing and some chores along the way.

We have a chore chart for the summer, and as you can see above, Madison is busy fulfilling her obligations listed on there.  One item on the list:  make your own bed.  There are other less extreme measures on there, but Madison seems to be taking it all in stride.  The reason for this would be the rewards system that we have in place for doing piano and chores around the house.  One thing Madison is really looking forward to is a Blizzard from Dairy Queen.  That will come soon enough!

So Uncle Dave is back in the hospital again.  It seems they simply released him too early with his recovery process, so he's spending some time back in the place getting well.  We've been praying for him each morning.

Madison is up and going with her library reading program, all into the "Weird School" books.  She's also been playing "The Hobbit," a LEGO game that just came out.  There are other LEGO games coming out soon, some designed in such a way that we'll never actually leave that LEGO phase ever.  Seriously, "Portals" and LEGO in the same game?  That's just not fair!  Daddy will be playing that about as much as Madison will!

But that will come later - after Summer Xtreme.  We have just a week to go, and things are amping up. Excitement, work loads, late nights.  It's all back again, just like it is every year.  Although this year seems to be a little more easier than others.  Not sure why - maybe it's because we've gotten so much done ahead of time this year.  Still, we need to have even more done ahead of time.  We'll see how that goes as we continue on this week.

That said, Daddy worked pretty late tonight.  Lots going on these next weeks, along with a great vacation that we are SO looking forward to.  Talk about overdue!

Last Day of Second Grade


So all kinds of news today, first of all starting with the photo above:  it's Madison's last day of second grade.  Yes, she was teary-eyed this afternoon - that's what she told us.  She said she was misty-eyed when looking at school picture slide shows of the year, and just thinking of the fun she had over the last nine months or so.  There's no question she's ready for summer though.

Her cousin David Austen graduated today, which was a great event of course.  Not so great was the fact that his dad, Madison's Uncle Dave, was put back into the hospital.  He apparently hadn't healed enough from the recent surgery.  This weighed on everyone's hearts, of course.  He couldn't make the graduation of his own son, and although it is more of a symbolic sort of event, it was still a goal of his to be there.  Nothing could be done about it though.

We've been taking a picture of Madison each morning before school, by the way.  This picture here will be the last until 3rd grade starts.  We posted that slide show on another social media site, showing off Madison over the year.  She has grown somewhat taller this year - you can kind of see it in certain photos.  She certainly grown smarter, that's for sure.  We're very proud of her.

And proud of her report card as well.  She got all great marks, and a few marks that put her above the rest.  Nothing about peacemaking, but a lot of very positive things to say about math skills and behavior.  She's doing great at school, and this summer, she'll keep her education going with activities and excursions and homework assignments from Mommy and Daddy.

Lots of work at the office though.  Not much time to go, so Daddy's been busy getting all of this set up for our big week at KidPak.  It'll be loads of fun, but honestly, the week after is what we're looking forward to the most!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Let's Do Lunch!


Here's a picture of Madison somewhat surprised to see to visitors:  Mommy and Daddy!  We came for lunch today to join her in the cafeteria, and she was completely not expecting that.  We sat up on stage, as do all the parents who come to visit children, where we had our lunch together.  She was so happy to see us, she was giving us hugs and kisses unsolicited!

One more day of school, and tomorrow Daddy was busy.  So we decided we'd better make it today, or it wasn't going to happen at all!

We had speech therapy today, once again, and also a trip to an Aldi's down in Alpharetta.  That was a slight adventure getting there, but we figured it was close to the speech therapist, so the three of us journeyed there to get our groceries - and it turns out there was plenty of gluten-free stuff there for Mommy to try out.  Also some stuff for Madison and Daddy too!

We had our slushies on the way home, but it was pretty much time for bed when we got there.  We did have time for a few episodes of "Clone Wars," but after that, it was one last time for an early bed because of school.  Tomorrow's the last day of second grade....!

Indoor Beach Day

Madison had Indoor Beach Day today, which was just like going to the beach, except there was no beach, sand, water, or for the times they were inside, sun.  Other than that, it was exactly like the beach!

As we move forward with Summer Xtreme, it becomes more difficult to write on this blog - although these are important days here for Madison.  Her final days of second grade are ticking away, actually.  Speaking of which, her cousin David is seeing his last days of high school tick away:  he'll be a high school graduate very soon, which is a shock to the system.  Daddy was actually there the day he was born, so this is somewhat of a crazy moment.  Of course, we're refusing to think of Madison's graduation right now.  And seriously, it isn't until 2025, so long as things go as planned.  Of course, that's the year that all those Pacific Rim monsters will be rampaging about, so hopefully we can get Madison trained on operating one of those ginormous robot things.

But I digress, obviously.  The point is that today was Indoor Beach Day.  Or, at least I think that was the point.  It's the title of this blog entry, at least.  Madison got a beach ball today, and everyone in her class signed it.  This was a sweet gesture, something all the kids got to bring home.  I wish I had my very own second grade beach ball.  Instead, we planted a tree.

Yes, we planted a tree when we graduated from second grade.  This is one of Daddy's first memories ever, because we sang a song as we did it.  This was at Walter C. Black Elementary School, back when students apparently graduated from just about every grade there was.  We had a graduation ceremony, and we did in fact plant a tree.  I don't think the tree made it though, at least according to Ye-Ye.  But in our hearts and minds, there is that song, forever stuck in my brain.  "Plant a tree... plant a tree... plant a tree on graduation day..."

That's about all I remember from second grade.  Other than being bullied most of the time.

Which is why I'm so delighted to see Madison doing so well in school.  It gives me great joy and relief to see her filled with such confidence.

Today was a Wednesday, which of course was a busier work day.  We'll have a gap in our writing on this blog coming soon, although I'll try to keep up.  It's difficult with all the other writing and work going on.  Lots of late nights coming soon, but Madison is really looking forward to Summer Xtreme.  It'll be a great one this year!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Water Music


So today was our final day of piano classes for the school year.  And while we did have some scheduled playing going on inside, the kids were very much looking forward to the things they did outside, most notably squirting everything and everybody with water.

But before that, there was a bit of a treasure hunt involved, where two teams raced against each other to find clues, and then using their pirate skills, sink their opponent's ship.  Madison's team (above) happened to win - yes, the girls won.  There was a bit of sneakiness in the win, but a win is a win all the same, and I suppose when you're dealing with pirates, the rules are more like guidelines anyway.


So with time to spare, there was next an all-out pirate battle.  Madison was hilariously accurate with her little gun there.  Frequently - and I mean frequently - she'd fire that thing off back over her shoulder, without even looking, and nail some poor boy in the head.


Yes, they were fleeing in terror from her.  You can see this poor boy here has a bucket filled with water, and yet he is no match for our little Annie Oakley.


At the end of the day, the girls actually kind of won.  Although everyone really won - they were all cooled off and soaking wet.  Madison enjoyed it a lot, but so did Mommy and Daddy, and all the other parents who got to stand by and watch from a safe distance!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Peacemaker


This is Madison's Peacemaker Award, something given to Madison for being the long arm of the law.  She's on the side of the right, a kind of white knight, and if you get her uptight, she's a frightening sight.    Peacemaker doesn't have the peaceful sound that it probably should anymore.  We can thank Wyatt Earp for that.  I hear "peacemaker," and I think of that solitary sheriff in the middle of the town's dusty street, facing off against villainous scoundrels in long black trench coats.  Fortunately, he's got his peacemaker with him!

Madison doesn't have a peacemaker though.  She is a peacemaker.  That's one who makes peace, which supports an earlier statement on this blog about her someday perhaps being a lawyer.  She practices litigation and negotiation in the classroom, recognizing the path to peace.

This just may be her first stop on the way to a Nobel Prize.  I mean, she might as well get that award too, right?  I mean, not mentioning any names, but other people have gotten that award for their potential, and not for actual accomplishment.  So in that respect, she's probably a lock!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ballet Recital


Another year gone by, and another ballet recital for our princess.  Here she is, with poise and grace, along with the other ballerinas in their lovely tutus.  It has been a big year, and the spring recital is always a pleasant highlight.


After church, we got ourselves ready to go, which of course is a pretty intensive process for Madison.  The hair has to be just right, and the make-up just right as well.  With this all done correctly, she was a perfect little princess, completely transformed from wacky eight-year-old that's fooling around a lot, screaming and running about... to a graceful princess who is quite above such undignified behavior!


She had a great time at the recital, and it really is enjoyable.  I don't know if that is the old person coming out in me or what, but we really do like watching all the performances.  It's not just Madison's performance, but all of the dances were quite enjoyable.  There was a modern dance bit at the end which sounded like it was taken straight out of the 60's, and somewhat reminiscent of an episode of Sprockets.  But even that was fun from a certain point of view.  I'm sure the respectable Southern audience was rather stunned at that one, attempting to understand it, or in some circles scoffing at the ridiculous posing and movements.  Sure, it was bizarre.  But it was fun.  Although I'm not entirely sure that was what the choreographer was going for...

Anyway, our princess performed splendidly.  We are so very proud of her!  Madison posed for a bit in front of the fountain there at Brenau, just as is our tradition.  And another tradition took place:  Dilly Bars.  What is a ballet recital with a Dilly Bar, I tell you?  Nothing.

We'll get our pictures from the event, and a DVD as well.  Those should come within two weeks, and we'll probably watch them again.  But we've also been watching Madison's first ballet recitals lately too, which bring back happy memories.  She's been dancing a few years now, and it's been fun for her. She definitely wants to keep doing it next year, so yep, we're already signed up for another round.  PLUS, we're signed up for two weeks of ballet camp this summer as well.

The wonderful dance goes on...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pirate Recital

So our first recital was today.  Heck, a lot of things were today.  This afternoon, we actually had a ballet recital rehearsal - in full dress - at 4:00.  And at 5:00, we were dressed as pirates across town at the piano recital.  It was a race against time mixed with a ballerina to pirate quick change, but it all worked out well for us.

I'll post ballet pictures tomorrow, as today is the day we generally get to take a lot of pictures during the ballet recital rehearsal.  They don't let us take pictures during the actual ballet recital tomorrow, for good reason.  But things went well, and there's a positive feeling that the recital will go off just as planned.  And that's exactly how the piano recital went as well.


About the piano recital:  it was wonderful.  Mrs. Pam decorated everything in such  great way, with all kinds of props and posters and of course the costumes on the kids.  Each one was dressed as a pirate, and there were some shanties to sing, in order to kick things off.  I never would have expected Madison to know the words to 'Anchors Away' or 'I Want to Sing and Dance,' but she did well with the melody that had these, and a few of those other more traditional pirate songs, like 'Yo-Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me.'


There were a lot of different songs, but the focus of course was on the piano playing.  Madison did very well with her chosen number, 'The Secret Box.'  I'm not entirely sure what is inside this secret box, but the song is quite lovely.  It's also quite challenging.  It requires two hands playing two different parts at the same time - and Madison did it expertly.  She has been practicing a lot leading up to this performance, and it showed.  She had a little false start, but then regrouped and just did splendidly.  We were so proud of her!


There was time for posing afterwards, and time for thanking Mrs. Pam.  Another season is about to draw to a close - we'll have one last get-together on Tuesday.  It's been a great year though, and you can see - and hear - all kinds of progress from Madison.

As is our tradition, we got Dilly Bars afterwards.  The local Dairy Queen here in Gainesville sells them for one dollar a piece.  That's less than half the price of the location in Cumming, which is world famous for being the most inconvenient Dairy Queen on earth.  But this one is great, and ice cream season is upon us.  Already, the three of us were salivating over getting a Blizzard.  This will happen soon - in fact, Mommy had some coupons at home for just such a Blizzard run.

Today Daddy was at work, which is a theme for May - and a heavy one.  We spend so much time prepping for Summer Xtreme.  It's going to be great, but it's a lot of work with filming and so forth.  Also, we try not to neglect Weird Science in any way.  That's the current series, which is going on just fine.  Tomorrow, we'll be looking at the brain, and looking at how each of us was created to reflect.

As for now, it's time for some rest.  We get so little of it this time of year, and this might be a good opportunity to try and get some.... Goodnight!

Friday, May 15, 2015

The One with Ultron, Uncle Dave and Watering Plants

It took us a week to see the movie, but Mommy and Daddy got to see "Age of Ultron," heading off to the theater with our nephews David and Jonathan - and Ye-Ye went as well.  It was fun to see the Marvel gang back in action - of course we're big fans of all the heroes involved.  That being said, it wasn't our favorite of the movies.  The Hulkbuster scene would probably be the favorite part of the movie, more entertaining than we initially suspected.  Not that we're in for an all-out battle all the time with the Hulk, but the one thing we've been missing with Hulk movies thus far is a battle of this sort of enormous scale.  In order to accomplish it, however, you need to have the Hulk either not in his right mind, or battling some sort of villain in which case there is no choice but to level a city.  In this case, we got one of the two.  And so we finally got our epic Hulk battle.  Yes, he fought in the last Avengers movie, and it was cool.  Yes, there were two movies previous.  But none showed the true comic book stuff that we finally got to see in this movie.  The irony is that he was fighting Tony Stark the entire time, but even that was handled well.

ANYWAY, we did get to see the movie.  Spoilers galore were out there, lurking, so we had no choice but to race to a theater to see it.  Even Yahoo, a current search engine sight, decided to give out a spoiler right there a one of their headlines on their page.  So before too much time went by, we had to get to the theater and see it.

Madison, meanwhile, stayed with Hannah and Nana at their house, the three of them having a quiet evening with ponies and Clone Wars episodes.  Madison is very much into the Clone Wars now, esepcially with the realization that all the episodes are on Netflix.  She's watching a few without Mommy or Daddy, even though we're trying to watch them generally together.

We have one week of second grade left.  No more comments about time flying - you just throw your hands up in the air and work with it the best you can, mentally.  I mean, how can she already be done with second grade?  Didn't we just get started with it?  Did we make every moment count?  What were some amazing, unforgettable moments for the year?  Fortunately, there is this blog to look back upon.  We can see the year unfold that way.  But if not for that, I would be sort of lost at the moment trying to account for all the time - where did it go?

Today, time stopped for our Uncle Dave - just for a few hours.  He was in his planned surgery to remove the cancer that was within his body.  Stage Four cancer is nothing to mess with, so doctors were diligent about cleaning up the best they can.  He'll be in there a few days more, pretty much as Mommy was.  He'll also have a long road ahead towards recovery, just as Mommy did.  There is chemotherapy on the calendar, all of this scheduled for June, right away.

We'll visit him in the hospital soon enough - it's down in Cumming.  That's also where the chemo will take place.  We'll be there for that as well.

Madison is diligent in helping water the flowers.  That's one of her chores, something she is concerned about - making sure the flowers get their daily rationing each day.  Although as of late, there have been more days with rain than those without.  We've had those days of humidity, whre storms roll in frequently and drench the ground.  Dark and looming, low hanging clouds spiral lazily towards us, their long twisting tendrils reaching towards the next target zone.  These clouds are made more impressive when constrasted with the blue sky all around.  This has been the pattern over the last few days, although there have been a few days with no rain.  Still, the lake is amazingly full.  It hasn't had a chance to go down much.  We must not take it for granted, all this rain.  Only a few short years ago, we were enduring a lack of rain that brought lake levels perilously low.  And of course this year in California, there is an amazingly bad drought.  We won't take this rain for granted.
 
Time is growing short for Summer Xtreme.  Lots of writing and work still yet to do, but we had a few productive meetings today.  One involved the plotting of our daily skits, which should be a lot of fun. We've gone from a Space Camp on ground, to an actual Space Camp on a ship in space.  For giggles, the name of the space station is Ceti Alpha V.  Nobody will probably get that joke but Daddy, because he is a geek.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Battle of the Carpenter Bees

Thursday.  But a nice one, right?  Except the new insect battle of the year.  Last year, we warred against ants, claiming big victories by plugging various secret entrances to our house.  This year, skirmishes have started with those nefarious carpenter bees.  One of the most annoying insects on the planet.  Now don't get me wrong:  I like bees.  Ye-Ye and Nana are actually beekeepers.  It's just that when any small creature - I don't care who you are - attempts to drill holes into the side of our house, I am not going to react well to that.

So Madison and Daddy and Mommy went out to the porch, Daddy armed with his little cans of spray that shoot instant bee death twenty seven feet.  Our roof is pretty high, and Daddy's initial goal was to avoid fatalities, and simply saturate the existing holes with enough poison to discourage a repeat visit.  Apparently this was not enough.  These bees are determined, and as this is war, the time for negotiations was at an end.

Despite the bee battle in the back, the house is looking so nice from the front.  Our lawn is mowed, a healthy and well-watered green covering.  The mulch looks great too, with all the flowers planted by Mommy in different flower beds on the sides of the house, and in front too.  We were at Wal-Mart today, and there was a tremendous deal on flowers and plants.  Mommy walked away with A LOT.  We saved a ton of money, she said.  But Daddy is not one to have any clue about the value of a geranium or even a tomato plant.  Regardless, we have it all.  We have vegetables in the back yard, and we have flowers in the front.  In the back, there are peppers and tomatoes and even peas.  There are cucumbers too - this gets us excited about the cucumber water we like to drink towards the end of the summer.

The rainstorms have been passing over frequently too, so everything is nice and lush.  Mommy and Daddy took time to sit out on the front porch, reading and just relaxing in the shade.

When Madison got home from school, she was still excited about school.  We had speech therapy to go to this afternoon, which was actually our second meeting of the day with speech therapists.  Earlier, we met with the ones at the school.  The ones at school had just found out about our visiting ANOTHER speech therapist outside of school, and there was that hint of "are we not doing enough here?"  Mommy and Daddy avoided the obvious answer of NO, opting for the argument that every little bit of help we can provide for our daughter's speech patterns will help out.  Still, there was this slight feeling as if we were cheating, and seeing someone else on the side, not staying faithful.

Anyway, we had speech therapy this afternoon, and we've been pretty pleased with the progress since Madison has signed up with this new program.  Madison is enjoying it too, actually.  We did our traditional stop beforehand at RaceTrack and got ourselves some slushies, and then Madison was off doing 'r blends,' words like 'drain,' or 'bricks' or 'prize.'  Another thing she is learning is inflection, when to raise your voice or lower it in a sentence or question.  At school, one thing they are proud of is 'stretchy speak,' where everyone talks slower, and as a result, smoother.

Our school is not bad, so don't misinterpret the judgment on the speech therapy there.  In fact, the school system of Forsyth County was just this week ranked 19th in the nation.  So take that you uppety Northeastern school systems with your looking down on all of us in the South and our means of education.  Mommy read that ranking to us earlier today, and of course we're wondering how the ranking is determined.  Hopefully based on something to do with actual education, right?

Common Core is still very much a part of it all, although we haven't seen too many more things that leave our jaws dropped on the floor.  We just have to remain vigilant there, as I suspect many other suspicious parents are doing.  The teachers are hearing from us collectively, and attempting to balance things out, injecting a little much-needed common sense into Common Core.  Because there are a lot of flaws with it right now.  Seriously, this is coming from someone with an education background:  it is far from perfect.  Really far.

Speaking of far from perfect, we've got SO MUCH left to do for Summer Xtreme.  Daddy has to get back to work for that now, more writing to do.  Lots and lots of writing.  But that's what we do here, right?

Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Zero Has Value!

Madison wrote a sweet card to her teacher - it was a letter letting her know that because she was such a great teacher, Madison herself wanted to be a teacher some day as well.  This might be the first time we've seen any thought from Madison about what she wants to do when she grows up.  As a parent, you're looking for those skills you believe your child has, those things that tend to come naturally.  She seems to enjoy math, and she's good with the precision of spelling and grammar as well.  It's more of a mechanical mind, one that enjoys tinkering quite a bit, building things and creating stuff.  She obviously has a creative side as well, enjoying drawing, dancing, and of course playing music.  But even with music, especially piano, there is of course a math side to things.  All that said, despite creativity she exhibits, I say she leans a little towards left brain.  How else can you explain today, when Mommy found her making up her own math chart?  It was a multiplication table.  Apparently, the one in her book does not feature anything with the number zero.  So Madison did her own table, this one with zero, and of course all the other numbers as well.

Which reminds me of her sense of justice as well.  She knows the rules and knows what is fair.  When she sees injustice, she springs to action.  This is sometimes a good thing, and other times an opportunity to learn about letting it go.  The number zero was tossed aside in the school book's multiplication table, so Madison became an advocate, and gave that number a sense of value.  Even though, by definition, it has no value.  But at least it will feel better about itself.

So anyway, you have these thoughts as a parent:  engineer?  architect?  lawyer?  At this point, her early choice is teacher.  Although I do now suddenly remember once upon a time that she mentioned working in the church.  Either of these later choices is noble, as she wants to help others.  No argument from us.  The hope, of course, is that she finds that vision of what she wants to do a whole lot earlier than Daddy did.

Today was a busy day with work for Daddy, and a winding-down sort of day for Madison at school.  She's in a grade level where there aren't many end-of-the-year tests, so school for her these last two weeks is sort of based on review, and themed out for fun.  She's loving it.  She's getting up actually by herself - without an alarm clock.  This is a device Mommy and Daddy absolutely need.  But here comes Madison roaring down the hall, ready to go.  She's dressing herself up, all excited for school.  And this comes only now, at the end of the year.  Still, she thinks it is a good idea to get an alarm clock.  Perhaps there is a Frozen-themed one out there...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Palindrome Week

One more run through before the big recital on Saturday.  We're talking about piano, of course.  The ballet recital is Sunday, along with the ballet recital rehearsal, which is literally an hour before the piano recital.  Madison will be dressed in her tutu and ballerina gear, and will dash across town afterwards, getting into pirate gear for the piano recital.  We're glad it isn't the other way around, of course.  It's an ordeal getting ready for ballet!

The days are counting down until the end of the school years.  Only two more Tuesdays left.  On an interesting note, this week is Palindrome Week.  Not officially, but if you take the dates all week and write them backwards... you get the same thing.  Example:  today is 5-12-15.  That's the same thing backwards:  5-12-15.  It's a palindrome, like this science-related one:  "Test Tube Butt Set."

I'm not sure what that is, but I suppose that's not the important thing.  The important thing is that it is the same backwards and forwards - a Palindrome.

ANYWAY, we did a bit of filming today, finishing up our filming for the 'serious' videos of our Summer Xtreme series.  These videos involve a telescope, and another one involving the latest cell phone app trend:  Dubsmash.  This is a app that plays a quote from a movie, and films you moving your mouth as if it is you saying it.  You can imagine that this will be a big hit with Madison.  She'll probably want to get this app right away.  Okay, Daddy too.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Yearbook

Today was the last ballet class of the season - I think.  It's the last one before the recital weekend, so there's that.  The girls were busy making sure they had their routine in order, this time without the costuming.  So much effort goes into make-up and the hair.  The hair is the thing Madison will miss the least when summer comes.  She is by no means a fan of having her hair in an extreme bun like that on top of her head.  The thing is that when we do the recital, it'll be even tighter for a couple days.  She'll be really happy that this part is over.  Despite the hardship of hair, she's enjoying it quite a bit.  And, as stated many times earlier, Mommy is living vicariously through Madison, keenly watching her pirouette and dance about in her tutu.  There are moments of grace, although there's still the clunkiness of a elementary students learning the correct form of ballet.  The mix of imperfection accompanied by spots of poise and grace... it's a pleasure to watch.  And this Sunday, we'll be at the recital once more, watching it from our seats in the auditorium.

This morning, we continued our assault on the front yard with another twenty bags of mulch.  That's right:  we're addicted to mulch.  We've got it spread on the sides and the front, and the yard is really coming along nicely.  You have to attack it in the mornings though, as the temperatures have been getting quite warm in the afternoons.  Lately, it's been reaching the upper 80's in the afternoon, quite sunny.

We popped by the library to get some more Weird School books - five more, I think.  Madison just keeps reading these, so who are we to deny her?  She'll have them all read soon enough.  The summer reading program is coming soon at the library, so we'll have to find another series of books for her as soon as possible.

Today was Uncle Dave's pre-op, which basically is the set-up for surgery this coming Friday.  Hopefully everything will be on the up and up.  We've been praying, the three of us, day and night.

Madison has her school yearbook now.  The design of it was by students at the school, kids who drew pictures of teachers and administrators.  It's certainly a different design.  Anyway, Madison has been pouring through the pages, and then taking the other two yearbooks from previous years, and tracing back which classes her friends came from, and seeing their photos from two years ago.  Her book is already filled with signatures, which is fun to see - there's a special time for kids to simply get their books signed, so Madison has hers pretty full by now.

So we're starting on a new devotional - one with a space theme to it.  It should be a great new one, but Daddy has to get working on it pretty fast in order for it to get printed in time.  So he's going to be working on that now, and in the meantime, here's the first entry now.  Might as well start pasting those down here as well...

“Come to me, all you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads.  I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIrV

     Nobody on earth could lift a 1,400 pound object and toss it around.  But astronauts aren't on earth, are they?  In 2007, NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson took out the trash.  With his feet planted on the space station, he grabbed a 635 kilogram coolant tank and hurled it towards the earth.  Don’t worry, it didn’t hit anyone.  As expected, the thing burned up as planned in a fiery plunge towards the earth.
     It sounds impressive picking up an object that big, doesn’t it?  But the truth is, you or I could have done the same exact thing.  Orbiting the earth, the laws of weight work a lot differently.  Astronauts appear to float around, and there is a feeling of weightlessness.
     Wally Schirra, one of the first seven original astronauts, said this:  “Feeling weightless . . . it's so many things together. A feeling of pride, of healthy solitude, of dignified freedom from everything that's dirty, sticky. You feel exquisitely comfortable . . . and you feel you have so much energy, such an urge to do things, such an ability to do things. And you work well, yes, you think well, without sweat, without difficulty as if the biblical curse in the sweat of thy face and in sorrow no longer exists, as if you've been born again.”
     He was on to something when he spoke of being born again.  Sin has a weight.  It’s like garbage that doesn’t need to be in our lives.  When we do something God is not pleased with, it’s like a weight that is put on our shoulders, keeping us from lifting our eyes towards heaven, and preventing us from doing what He wants us to do.  But that’s the thing about Jesus:  he took away that weight.  He took away that heavy burden – it’s like being weightless.  Because of what Jesus did, the curse of sin no longer exists!
     The most important thing to do on this planet is to toss that weight aside.  Ask Jesus into your heart, keep your feet planted, and feel the burden all gone – tossed aside and burned off, never to be seen again.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day


It's Mother's Day, and to that effect, we had Pastor Lance honoring Mommy in front of the whole congregation.  Here's a picture taken half-way back in the auditorium.


It was more of a story about faith, about Mommy's determination to beat cancer, about her goal of getting Madison and living - not dying.  She did all that, and stands victorious, and testifies to this day about God's healing power, and about the importance of never giving up.

You can see a bit of our Weird Science set here, but we'll be posting more pictures of that later, along with all of our cast in lab jackets.  This morning's skit was pretty fun, with lots of optical illusions to help illustrate that our eyes can trick us.  Of course, we were setting everyone up for "we walk by faith, not by sight."

But along the way, there were some other great gags, including a chili recipe that rivals all the great scientist recipes in the past, including Isaac Newton's Chili Blast-Off recipe of 1719, and Einstein's Theory of Chili Relativity.

After church, we went over to Nana and Ye-Ye's house to celebrate birthdays and Mother's Day, of course.  We had a big meal, and exchanged presents, and just generally had a good time.  It was plenty of time spent together, talking and enjoying each other's company.  Uncle Dave was not there, which was fine because it isn't Father's Day or his birthday.  More importantly, he needs to rest as he has some big procedures this week, dealing with the diagnosis he's been dealt with in the past few weeks.

The cousins performed a funny version of "When I'm 64" for Ye-Ye, as this was the year he was in fact 64.  And Mommy had this splendid strawberry pie that was just awesome, visually and of course how it tasted.  She put some effort into this thing, and it turned out simply stunning.  To say we enjoyed it was an understatement - Mommy really outdid herself.

We got home, and popped in Disney Infinity again for a short time.  We had Ronan the Accuser and Yondu to test out, which we did.  This got us thinking about Ronan the Accuser as a kid, which is probably when he first got that nickname.  Apparently, his friends were always pulling pranks, and Ronan was the first one to point the finger and say, "He did it!"  And from that moment on, he was known as Ronan the Accuser.  True story.

Madison went to bed, and for our continued research for our space themed series upcoming, we watched "The Reluctant Astronaut."  Never one to throw away ideas, Daddy had his notepad with him, getting ideas for skits and messages.  It's a fun movie, but so are most of the ones Don Knotts was in.  Don't expect a masterpiece, of course. But it was a pleasant diversion for Mommy and Daddy, who were quite exhausted from the day, and ready for a movie, and then a good night's rest…

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Novelist

Madison is seriously writing a book.  She's got all of the papers together in a book format, lots of small sheets of pink paper taped together to make a sixteen page book, or something like that.  Daddy mistakenly heard that she's read a book, when in fact Madison said she wrote a book.  This of course was an amazing surprise.  I mean, what are you talking about?  She's taking up the habit of writing is what it means, and to prove it, she brought me over and read to me pages from her book.  It was a continuation of the Weird School book series, this time with Madison herself as a character in the books.  The title of the story:  "Ms. Bearder is Weirder."  We've met Ms. Beard before, but apparently there is a Ms. Bearder at the school as well.  As for her writing, she's matching the style of the books, and doing a fantastic job for a second grader. Seriously, she's a very special girl.

Just this weekend she was mastering her piano recital piece, just nailing a piece that Daddy can't even play right.  And also in her spare time, she sits and does math charts, mapping out the results of multiplying out different numbers.  We couldn't be more pleased with her scholastic direction.

Not that she doesn't take time off to do other endeavors.  The Clone Wars are currently on the playlist, for example.  And not far behind are the adventures at Monster High.

Today, Nana and Ba-Ba said goodbye, taking off for a fairly uneventful trip back to Florida.  This was good, as it's always nice to have a smooth journey home.  We'll miss them, of course.  Not only their company, but this week was such a productive week with the house.  We have a new ceiling fan, for example, and a new light in a room we haven't used much outside.  We will now.  And there's the matter of the front yard, now looking just extra special with the lush, green grass, seas of red mulch, and flowers dotting the landscape.  The bees have stopped their assault too, it appears.  We've been waging warfare this week, chemical warfare.  We've been spraying the holes these bees keep trying to sculpt into the side of our house.  Why our house when there's a perfectly good forest with trees just a few feet away?  I guess our house looks so nice that they want to live there too.  Well, I'm sorry, you can't live here - but you can visit.  Daddy hasn't directly sprayed a bee yet, but if they don't stop trying to make their home here, I'll have to be the one to make that tough decision.

Today was a work day, cleaning up from KidPak's dinner last night.  Setting up for tomorrow as well - it was a late night of getting things fixed up around here at the office.  But we did have a nice morning together, and tomorrow afternoon we'll have a bit more time together as well.  So it's not a terrible thing, really.  Still, being away is always somewhat of a drag.  Can't wait to get home to be with the family!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Field Day 2015


Today was a jam-packed sort of day, and it all started out with what you see above:  the annual Field Day for the school.  There's Madison with some of her classmates - and a giant eagle named Cheshire, or something like that.  He's the school mascot, one who spent the day dancing in this small area to a lot of songs the kids have been listening to lately.  It was a great morning, and the temperature was just right, only getting really hot later on in the afternoon.  There were plenty of relay races and inflatables and snow cones and different activities to keep everyone entertained the whole morning!


And here's Madison in her camouflage relay race, pretty much the reason why her team won.  While others were struggling to get their gear on and off again, Madison was showing how it's done.  This may be because of all the costumes she has at home, but seriously, she did this so fast you could consider her a quick-change artist.  Her team won the relay race, and sat there waiting several minutes for the other teams to finally finish!


She had a fantastic morning.  Field Day is always a fun day, and it's good to see her diving in to compete with all the others, not afraid of anything.  Madison has a boldness that Daddy did not in 2nd grade, and I can't express how delighted we are about that.

So after visiting with Madison, we had a little of this:


Pastor Lance, Nana and Ba-Ba were talking about playing a game of tennis for some time now, and finally our schedules made it work.  Or, at least we squeezed that time in ourselves.  There was mulch to get, a field day, and lots of work to do a the office.  But we made some time to have a great tennis match in the morning.  Incidentally, Lance and Nana won the game against Ba-Ba and Daddy, although it was close:  6-5.

Daddy did get pretty sunburned today though.  That wreaked havoc upon the rest of the day, which was spent at the office.  There is so much to do for Summer Xtreme and Weird Science - we just had lots to accomplish.  We filmed a video in there too, along with writing and keynotes and all the things that make Sunday's upcoming service better.  There's a lot squeezed into that Sunday, and we're excited about that.

But one thing we did not mention is the day itself:  Mommy's birthday.  Today is the day!  She had a very pleasant day, doing quite a bit of gardening with her parents once the tennis match was over.  It didn't get too hot until later, so they were able to accomplish quite a bit.  It's still a work in progress, but we might have a pretty nice looking front yard by this time next week.  As for the birthday celebrations, those will have to wait just a little bit.  Daddy and Madison will probably do something there, but until then, that'll be top secret, hush-hush.

So goodbye again to May 8th.  This may have been said before, but it is the anniversary of Mommy and Daddy's first date.  We went to the 57th Fighter Group restaurant towards Atlanta, where Daddy had a rose waiting.  It was a pretty epic moment, as far as those go.  We talked for a LONG time while there, obviously the start of something that would change both of our lives.  It was just what she wanted for her birthday - she prayed for someone to give her a rose and take her out.  Daddy didn't know that prayer, but had a rose for her anyway, one waiting at the restaurant.  The food was great, the view was nice, and the evening unforgettable.  All of this now seventeen years ago... on this very day.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Happy Happy Birthday


This sort of thing happened to Mommy tonight at Texas Roadhouse.  She didn't necessarily ask for it, but Nana and Ba-Ba pressed the waiter.  Why not, they asked?  You get a free dessert, right?  Indeed, she did get a free ice cream.  And all she had to do was endure the standard public restaurant singing where the entire crew comes over and does a quick chant that usually ends with "Hey!"  This used to be a lot more common about twenty years ago now, until a point, I suppose that we all became hardened like Yzma is in the photo above.  In fact, I know that many people - not saying any names here - are responsible for telling employees that it was someone's birthday when in fact that was far from the truth.  So suddenly people who don't have a birthday anywhere nearby are ambushed by happy employees who are quite delighted to spring their well-practiced little birthday chant.  It got to a point where certain restaurants were places to avoid because of all the noise.  Squads of birthday chanters were lurking in every corner, ready to scream their happy wishes, all in rhyme.

Since then, sadly, things have toned down a bit.  Only a few places have this practice still taking place, Texas Roadhouse among them.  Even their wishes are shortened.  No longer is there a stuffed armadillo thrust into someone's arms, and no longer do they hoist a ten gallon hat upon the birthday victim's head.  These things are actually pretty mild compared to the other restaurants.

Anyway, tomorrow is in fact Mommy's birthday, but we chose to celebrate tonight because we thought it would be less crowded, and the other reason being that we were hungry.  So we did go, although right after Daddy and Madison got back from speech therapy down in Alpharetta.  That was a long and arduous journey back.  One does not simply get on 400 and go home right around rush hour.  But we did make it, and the sodapalooza helped.  Madison and Daddy got ginormous servings of sweet tea, and ventured off towards our home, praying our bladders would hold the expanse of liquid.  Yes, it was indeed a close call in that regard.

Today we went and got more mulch.  We are personally helping the mulch community survive, so if you work in the mulch business, I expect at least a small note of thanks from you.  We'll be picking up more mulch soon, as we're apparently addicted to the stuff.  It's just the gardening aspect that seems to be enjoyable for the family lately, as everyone has been attacking the front yard with lots of enthusiasm.  Although the grass needs to be mowed.  Blame that on our delinquent mowing service.  We're looking into that right now, so if you cut grass, write us here.  And tell us about discounts on mulch, and we're really listening.

Ba-Ba has a wonderful ceiling fan installed in our house.  It's a new one, in a room we hardly use - and outdoor room that is screened in on the back porch.  Suddenly, this room will become a summer destination.  One reason, we'll be able to see in this room.  Another reason:  it will be cooler, despite any heat outside.  A ceiling fan spins directly overhead.  We got the fan a few months ago, but hadn't gotten to putting it up yet.  Leave that to Ba-Ba's skilled talents.

And so, there goes May 7.  It was a great day though!  We'll leave you with some element jokes we posted in our monthly booklet.  Do not blame us for any groans with any of these.

Element Jokes – no charge!

Why is copper so smart?
Because it makes perfect cents!

Why did the noble gas cry?
Because all of his friends argon.

What is a scientist’s favorite type of dog?
A lab.

What does a chemist’s dog do with the old chew bones he gets?
Barium.

What do scientists sit at to eat their dinner?
A Periodic Table

Afterwards, where do they put the dirty dishes?
In the zinc.

Why can you never trust atoms?
Because they make up everything.

What is a chemist’s favorite tree?
A chemis-tree.

Do you know any great jokes about sodium?
Na.

What’s the most important rule in chemistry?
Never lick the spoon.

Did you hear about the guy reading a book about helium?
He couldn’t put it down.

Why did the two scientists get married?
Because they had chemistry together!

What are a doctor’s favorite elements?
Helium and curium.

How often should you tell jokes about the elements?
Periodically