Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year

Today was Leap Day - the last one Madison had, she was five.  The one before that, she was in China. That's the way these Leap Days work though, don't they?  One thing we did today was leap.  We made sure of that, right after Madison got off the bus.  There we were in the front yard:  "One… two… three… LEAP!"

And we leapt.  And that was that.

Another rule of Leap Day is the idea that the ladies can propose to guys for marriage on this day, only once every four years.  In honor of that thought, Mommy and Daddy watched the movie "Leap Year" tonight for the first time.  It wasn't bad - Mommy really enjoyed it.  The scenery was great, all set in Ireland, and setting us up for a month of St. Patrick's Day fun.

Along those lines, Daddy put out the St. Patrick's Day garden flag, and hung up the St. Patrick's Day wreath on the door.  We have the leprechaun salt and pepper shakers out, and are all geared up for a proper March this time around.

We had a lot of homework tonight.  We went to ballet as always on Mondays, and afterwards Daddy and Madison went to Chick-Fil-A to make sure we used our calendar card before the end of the month. It was a soup dinner, and it was actually pretty good.  Madison got her usual chicken nugget order, however the new apple juice they have isn't her favorite.  It is organic, and therefore a bit healthier.  Which means she doesn't like it as much!

We got home, and there was all that homework.  Madison was reading and studying about ecosystems and habitats, and all the different regions of Georgia as well.  She was quizzing Daddy on some of this, and showing off her knowledge too.  When she was done with her math sheets and other related homework assignments, it was pretty much time for bed.

In the few remaining moments, we decided to build our monster truck.  That was the one we picked up on Saturday, a truck named "Dragon."  It was a simple construct, something Madison did rather handily.  The two of us worked together to create the third monster truck in our collection.  We're signed up for the next monster truck in a few Saturdays, so soon we'll have ourselves a fleet of them.  Maybe we can build our own monster truck stadium in the back and have races!

Anyway, Madison went to bed with prayers and "The Wind in the Willows" once again.  All is well here, although tomorrow promises to be a little tumultuous with various elections taking place.  We look to tomorrow with a bit of dread, as this year's elections seem a little surreal.

Okay, a lot surreal.  Happy Leap Day!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Inside Over and Out

So here were are on the last day of this amazing series that was pretty unexpected.  We initially had a Star Wars series in mind for January-February, and then a football-themed series.  And then it went to this at the last moment, and it was just perfect.

The cast will miss dressing up as these characters, except for perhaps the girls in dresses - it is winter outside.  But that didn't stop everyone from walking around outside the sanctuary, greeting kids and grown-ups alike.  The book I'm reading by Mr. Sklar has a great quote from Walt about that, not just aiming for kids.  Grown-ups are just kids a little older.

Anyway, it was a great morning at KidPak, and after that we had a surprise birthday party to attend up in White County, halfway between Dahlonega and Cleveland.  It's not that long of a drive for us, and we stayed up there a good bit.  Madison had a great time playing ping pong and other games.  We ate snacks and talked a bit, and took in the wonderful weather outside.  It was a really nice afternoon.

We came home with enough time to watch a movie:  "A Goofy Movie."  This movie is so much better than you think it will be at first, with some great material in it.  It has a camping/fishing theme to it, so we were doing our 'research' by sitting down to watch it with some popcorn.  Got to have popcorn.

So we finished "Mary Poppins," and the next book on the list is "The Wind in the Willows."  Thus far, it's been such a relaxed sort of book.  Nothing tense at all so much, so very pleasant.  Rat is such a great, patient character, a good friend.  We have yet to meet Mr. Toad, but that will be fun when we do.  Until then, we have Mr. Toad's car as a power disc for Disney Infinity 3.0.  Madison earned that today when she finished her piano.  She also earned some pins - we found some at the Disney Store for just a dollar:  a package of pins of all the different "Inside Out" characters as Tsum Tsums.

So we went to sleep with the Wind in the Willows.  It was a nice, full day - and a beautiful day.  Storms are coming in soon, along with colder weather.  But the weekend we had was gorgeous.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Beauty and the Beast Tea Party

We had a busy morning this morning, one that started with Madison dressed like this.  The reason?  She was going to a ballet camp with a Beauty and the Beast theme to it.  You could dress up in any princess dress, so Madison chose her Rapunzel dress, and went from there.  The weather was cold enough that she wore her little shoulder covering.  Is there a name for that thing?  I think it's called a shoulder wrap.

Anyway, here she is at the tea party and ballet camp.  She had a lovely time, and always looks forward to these camps.  While this was going on, Daddy was getting tickets for the upcoming Beauty and the Beast performance that the ballet is putting on.  We got our usual seats at the front row of the balcony, so Madison should be able to see it all just fine.  It'll be fun.

In the meantime, Madison was having a great time with her friends, of course making new ones.  But then there are the other friends she already has as well.

The girl on the left goes to church with us, and the girl on the right… has the same dress on as Madison!  Two Rapunzels in one ballet camp!  What do you think of that!

Anyway, Daddy wasn't in there.  No parents were - but these pictures were taken by a mom volunteer who knows us, and sent us some pictures taken with her cell phone.  Afterwards, the girls did a quick performance for all of the parents, and soon enough everyone was on their way.  It was a nice morning.

The thing we didn't say was that on the way to ballet camp, all dressed up as a princess, we stopped by Lowe's to pick up our Monster Truck.  Yes, this month's craft is a monster truck.  Princess Madison walked in gracefully, heads turning everywhere.  It's probably been a while since a real life princess walked the aisles of Lowe's.  But there we were!

Daddy was off after that to a KidPak event for some junior workers.  They were bowling, and we couldn't help but have a little fun with our theme for the series, "Inside Out."

Pictured above are Anger, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear!  We had a good afternoon, and the rest of the day was spent working on piano for Madison, and working on tomorrow's service for Daddy.

When we got home and were together, it was time for the last movie in the Duck trilogy, which Daddy or Mommy have not seen before.  We all thought it was pretty good, though I admit our expectations were mighty low.  The movie was fun, and most importantly, Madison really enjoyed it.  I think her favorite part was seeing the return of the Bash Brothers.  That might be Daddy's favorite part too.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Silly Walks

We're not sure how it came up, but just after dinner tonight, the topic of silly walks came up.  This was the point where Madison showed us her impersonation of John Cleese doing his famous silly walk.  Of course, she doesn't know who John Cleese is - but she's seen his image on one of Daddy's t-shirts, and wouldn't you know it, under the sweater Daddy was wearing WAS that same t-shirt.  Madison hoisted on leg upward with a great impersonation, and suddenly all of us were doing our own personalized silly walks.  And this of course led to Daddy showing Madison the Monty Python skit, "The Ministry of Silly Walks."  We laughed at this again, and even watched a few videos of an official silly walk march through a city in Europe.  Quite fun!

Tonight we continued our Duckfest with "D2:  The Mighty Ducks."  Daddy had not seen this before, and in fact none of us had.  But we did enjoy it, and enjoy seeing all the characters, for the most part, returning for the sequel.  Apparently, the mom in the first movie couldn't make it back and was dropped like a hockey puck.  But that aside, the movie was fun for all of us to watch together.  Now it seems inevitable that we'll be returning to the pond tomorrow night for part three.  Daddy had gotten this Mighty Ducks DVD box set some time ago, and it is finally paying off!

We finished Mary Poppins tonight, or at least the first book in the series.  She is certainly a strange bird.  We kept waiting for some revelation about who she really is, or perhaps some payoff to all the abusive attitude she threw towards the children.  But no, she just tells them she'll be right back and ones out the door, where she lifts her umbrella and gets caught up in the wind, and goes away without even saying goodbye.  Their mother is understandably upset, as there is no nanny and Mary Poppins left without even saying a word.  It was all rather a strange ending, and we're assuming things sort of change as the books go on - we'll try another one after a bit of a break.  For one, it's fun reading old books from England.  Last chapter, Daddy actually got to say, "What's all this then?"  

Madison did piano as always, and her classes were fun today a well.  She had PE, and did quite a bit of running, she told us.  All indoors though - the ground is soaked, and it is quite windy and chilly outside.

Speaking of chilly, we played a game called Surprise Slides tonight.  It's somewhat like Chutes and Ladders, but with rotating pieces that send you sliding forward or backwards, depending on the spin of a spinner.  It can be a frustrating game, as it seems easy to get caught going in circles, perpetually landing on that same infernal spot that sends you back twenty spaces.  But it has a Frozen theme to it, so Madison likes it.  Plus, we were all playing together, and that made it more fun.

We're about to have a pretty busy weekend.  That said, perhaps it's best to get some rest tonight.  Today was a good day, or at least a better one.  Tomorrow, however, will be really good!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Quack, Quack!

With the ice hockey theme that's been going on lately, it was only a matter of time before we tackled the "Mighty Ducks" movies.  Starting tonight, we saw the first one and met all teammates and their coach, the legendary Gordon Bombay.  Madison enjoyed the movie so much that it is a lock what we're watching the next two nights:  part two and part three.

It's cold outside.  And windy too.  Mommy and Daddy were working on some Easter baskets today while Madison was at school, and while Madison was at school, she was learning about Fredrick Douglas.  He was the man who invented the waffle iron.  No, just kidding.  Fredrick Douglas was an amazing guy that Madison knows a whole lot more about than Daddy.  Obviously, he was a abolitionist, an escaped slave, and a powerful force for speaking out the obvious fact that nobody should be a slave to someone else.  Why did it take so long for common sense to hit this world?  Slavery was in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, and probably Australia too… it's a vile thing.  But then again, we have it in different forms today I suppose.  Nothing like it's been in the past, of course.  But its hurt and effects still linger today.

No speech therapy today - we're alternating Thursdays, so that'll return next week.  So we had some more time, where Madison did her homework in time for us to watch a movie.  No big reports on any people this week, just simple math problems like the multiplication tables.  She's got to get about 100 of them in five minutes, so each day we time her.  She gets about 90-93 each time so far, and we're getting better each attempt.  Currently, the 6 and 7 times tables are giving her a slight challenge.  Go figure - she has no problem whatsoever with the 9 or 11!

We kept reading Mary Poppins tonight, and kept trying to figure out how to fix our computer.  Yes, it seems to be down for the count - hence the shorter entries on this blog.  These are all typed up on a smaller handheld device - the best I can do!  Eventually we'll be blessed a little more with cars, computers and so forth.  Just waiting for that to come in...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Face Pompeii

Madison picked up a book to check out this afternoon, and sure enough, she liked reading it.  She's read a bit more of it throughout the day, and this might actually turn into the next series of books she's reading.  They are quick and easy reads for her, but at the same time they are pretty educational - they're the Magic Tree House books.

This is a series that could take a while to get through.  Fortunately, Daddy had already a few he found at Goodwill.  That gives us a bit of a head start.  This first one she started to check out has to do with Pompeii, and is called "Vacation Under the Volcano."  What's great is that they are based on real events in history, so there's a bit of learning along the way.  This would have been a great book series to read back when we were doing "Time Travelers" in October.

Daddy discovered she was reading this this afternoon when in the car, Madison started spouting out facts about Mt. Vesuvius.  She wasn't learning this at school, so of course we had to ask how she knew so much about Mt. Vesuvius.

So anyway, this will be a great opportunity to learn a bit, and find new books to read as well.  She flies through these, so it'll be interesting to see how long it takes to go through the series.  I think there are fifty-five books in all, so it'll be like the "Weird School" books all over again, like a scavenger hunt at libraries and Goodwills and so forth.

Meanwhile, we haven't finished with the Jack Sparrow series yet.  We'll have to get those few remaining books to wrap that up.

Today we were talking about a face palm, and what one is.  Madison didn't know, so this is always a good moment of education, right?  We were going to have a character do that in our skits, and Madison overheard that bit, and had to ask.  So as you can imagine, today became a new day, Annual Facepalm Day.

Why do a facepalm, she asks?  Well, it's a good way to express disgust, mostly in a comedic way, but also as a legitimate reaction to bad or weird news.  For example, our country right now is probably doing one large collective facepalm over the election results.

Anyway, today was a great day in that we had ballet and church and all sorts of wonderful things to keep us busy.  Madison did some piano early as well as her round of homework, and a reading assignment about topography.  She's been currently learning the piedmont region of Georgia, which is not just about the area around Piedmont College in Demorest up there.  It's one of six regions of Georgia, one she'll be learning about more very soon, along with the others, of course.

The Mall of Georgia covers the different regions nicely - we might arrange a field trip down there to check out some of their displays.  For all the time we shop there, we don't really stop much to see the different displays from the different areas.  So yeah, I think that'll be happening soon.  And of course, we'll go actually visit some of these regions soon as well:  spring break is coming up soon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Zoo Tour

Here's Madison's reaction to Beethoven, which could go either way.  Today we've been playing a bit of that, and a bit of Chopin as well -which makes us sound all classy now, doesn't it?   Madison enjoys her piano class, but the sad thing is that she's the only girl left in this time slot.  The other girl left has moved to a later time slot, which means it is just Madison plugging away on her own versus all the boys.  She's not concerned in the slightest.  And she's pretty good too, picking up some chords completely naturally.

Today we had some heavy storms come through as the temperatures soared to springlike ones, and gusts of wind swept across the land.  We remained safe, although there are some other folks in the Southeast that did not have so much a good time with the weather.

It's Taco Tuesday, which is important to Madison.  Yes, Taco Tuesday is as vital as any of the other holidays that are out there.  Tonight after homework, Madison tried something new:  a fluffernutter sandwich.  The verdict?  "Pretty good!"

We didn't have so much time to watch a movie or anything, but we did do another board game of Surprise Slides, followed by some more Disney Infinity 3.0 (Inside Out).

Our reading tonight was unusual, a chapter of "Mary Poppins" where the children go to the zoo - or at least they think they do.  The animals take all the leftover people in the zoo, and put them in cages, and feed them for entertainment.  For one day, all the animals, including their snake ruler, get along with each other, and put people in cages for fun.  And the people don't seem to mind either.  This chapter is either trying to say something symbolically, or PL Travers was on some serious medication.  I lean towards the latter!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fish Tales

Here it is, the legendary Fish Tales pinball game.  Daddy played this one relentlessly in the 90's at college, and the Addams Family Pinball game during the summers.  Fish Tales was fantastic though, and it's exciting to see it available for the Xbox.  Yes, this will happen soon - because we're doing a series at KidPak that is in fact named after this pinball game.  Sort of.  Our series is called "Fish Tales," but that just so happens to be the name of this pinball game.  Daddy has been rereading all our old Fish Tales material, and it's been good.  Already, we can't wait to go spend some time fishing!  This series will start in April, so it is a little time away.  It should be warmer, and Madison is looking forward to catching a lot more fish than Daddy once again.

So yeah, it rained today.  A lot.  Again.  The ground is so soaked, puddles everywhere, miniature lakes in people's lawns, and lake levels rising.  We drove through the rain to go to ballet today, and while there Madison danced away indoors, and Daddy read his Skylar book in the car.

We got home, and Madison was back in line with some homework.  Did we mention the deer we've been seeing behind the school?  Before dropping her off, we wait in this line, and we saw all of these deer frolicking in the back!  We might have to check out "Bambi" some time soon.  Though not tonight.  No, tonight there was a bit more homework than usual.  We had some assigned reading to do about Fredrick Douglas, and some math to do on top of that.

For dinner, Mommy made beef stroganoff, which essentially guaranteed that Daddy talked like he was from Russia the rest of the evening, quoting Zangief and longing for the old days of the Soviet Union.  Sadly, we didn't have any caviar available.   Perhaps next time.

Madison finished her piano tonight as well, so she got a few rewards, including the next book in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, which got her really excited. She loves these books!

Tonight before bedtime though, we still had Mary Poppins, and a chapter dedicated to babies that know how to speak with birds and the wind.  This is pretty much all of us, and a sad chapter it is, because apparently we all forget how to understand/speak this language before we're even a year old really.  Obviously, this part didn't make it into the movie.

Madison went to bed, and Mommy and Daddy revisited "The Age of Ultron."  Long movie, but it was fun.  Not as good as the first one, but we liked it a little more the second viewing.  Still, it was long, long, long.  And with that said, it's time to get some shut-eye!  Night-night!

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Here he is, Coach Venner.  Any coach with his record nowadays wouldn't last a weekend, but the California Atoms football team must have been financially strapped.  Which is why they hired a mule that can kick field goals to entrain at half-time.  The half-time show helps the crowds forget about the team's woeful performance.  Of course, if you've seen the movie "Gus," you know that the mule begins to actually be a part of the team, kicking field goals.  Rules don't specify that players have to be human. Perhaps the Atlanta Falcons should consider this option.  Maybe the team right now is looking at the latest literal farms for any mules with potential.  With draft day coming up, we wouldn't want other terrible teams like the Buccaneers snatching our mules without us knowing.

We saw this movie tonight, basically because Daddy wanted to.  Football season came to an end, and here I was, wanting to watch "Gus."  This is also because we found a Disney Infinity Power Disc that lets characters ride around on Gus the Mule, which is the height of obscurity, really.

This morning, and into the afternoon, we were at church as always.  This was a special sort of morning, one we'd like to call a 'bonus' service, as we didn't plant on having another "Hooked on a Feeling" message as we did.  But here we are, still in the series, all thanks to this ________ fire marshal.  You fill in the blank yourself.  It's like a Mad Lib!

Anyway, today was the last day for the characters to be with us, as Disgust has other obligations next weekend.  But again, this is a bonus service, and the kids - and Daddy - were grateful to have everyone here one last time.

Madison did her piano as always this afternoon, and after that we had a little time to play Minions LIFE, a game that Madison really likes playing.  Mommy won the first time, and Madison won the next  - Daddy never stood a chance!

The skies were overcast again, gloomy.  And the weather is supposed to get stormy this week, which implies even more rain.  Already, things are soaked.  We had the fire in the fireplace, and that sort of helps out on a day like today, doesn't it?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Lizards and Pumpkins

It was Saturday, and therefore Daddy had to work a little.  There wasn't much to do outside anyway, as the weather was pretty overcast, and expecting to be so tomorrow as well.  The work part was simple enough, setting up for tomorrow's service as always - but also keeping an eye on the future in a few ways.  First of all, our "Fish Tales" series upcoming is something Daddy has been proofing lately.  Secondly, reading and writing for a class that Daddy should be teaching this summer, one about creativity and so forth.  Daddy's been reading lots of books on the subject for some time, so it appears as if I'll be doing it again.  Today's reading is a book by Marty Skylar, which so far hasn't been about creativity, but rather a history of the parks and Disney in general.  It's been a good read so far.

Meanwhile, Madison was catching up with piano, playing games, and reading herself.  She's still tending to her virtual farm, as well as having fun with her Monster High dolls, changing all of their outfits.  She loves her new dolls she's gotten lately, stuffed Disney dolls we've had for a while but only recently gave to Madison:  a Tiana doll, and one of the racers from Sugar Rush, Taffyta Muttonfudge.  The latter actually has a smell with her, something that reminds Daddy of those old Strawberry Shortcake dolls from the 80's.

Speaking of the 80's, the election weirdness continues, and the country seems to be leaning in one very peculiar direction.  Speaking of elected officials, Madison got her paper on FDR back yesterday and it has glowing reviews!  Madison's teacher wrote that she "knocked it out of the park."  The only suggestion was a better opening sentence to capture the reader's attention.  But other than that, it was a two-page masterpiece.  Next, Madison will be working on her doctorate, of course.

Tonight, we revisited Cinderella, the live action movie from last spring.  We got this for Christmas, and only now have gotten around to seeing it.  It's a really good movie if you haven't seen it yet.  For one, it's got a really strong character at the center.  Cinderella is the sort of person you wish you were more like.  I mean, if it were me, I'd have some hard feelings towards the stepsisters and stepmother myself.  But Cinderella's reaction is just marvelous at the end:  "I forgive you."

So went the day, a fire in the fireplace, and cozy on the couch.  We didn't do that much, but that was okay - we'll be quite busy the next few Saturdays.  This one worked out just fine.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ice Hockey Island

So, we're unexpectedly continuing our series "Hooked on a Feeling."  This is due to the fire marshal nonsense, but at the same time, it's not so bad.  For one, the characters have been able to stick around, all five of them.  And with this weekend, they'll be here to act out this skit below.  It's a simple one, but it works, and of course gets the point across...


NARRATOR:  “Inside each of us are emotions – they are feelings we have like Anger, Sadness, Joy, Fear, and Disgust.  Each of these are emotions that play out…”

FEAR runs out STAGE RIGHT screaming, holding a hockey stick, with ANGER running out just behind, also with a hockey stick and a puck.

NARRATOR:  “Uh… what are you doing?”

ANGER:  “Playing out.  Just like you said!”

ANGER drops puck at CENTER STAGE, ready to make a shot against FEAR, who gets into a defensive position, and screams.

NARRATOR: “Wait, wait, wait!  Okay, forgive me for this obvious question here.  But what are you doing?”

ANGER:  (dramatically) “Just reliving one of Penny’s memories.  Ice hockey game.  Last season.  Two minutes left.  Will she or will she not make the shot?”

ANGER once again gets ready to make shot, and FEAR screams once again, and JOY enters STAGE RIGHT quickly.

JOY:  “Anger!  What are you doing? 

FEAR:  “He’s going to kill me!”

ANGER:  “Nonsense!  You’re just playing the part of the goalie, and here I go with the game winning shot!”

ANGER once more pretends to get ready to make shot, and FEAR gets into defensive position and screams.  DISGUST and SADNESS enter STAGE RIGHT quickly.

DISGUST:  What is going on?”

ANGER:  “For the last time, I’m making a game-winning shot!”

DISGUST:  “Oh, okay.  Go on, this should be good!”

ANGER is about to do as instructed, but is interrupted by DISGUST

DISGUST:  “No, wait!”

ANGER:  “What?”

FEAR:  (calmer) “Thank you, Disgust.”

DISGUST:  “You might hit the memory spheres behind him.  Try shooting at a different angle.”

ANGER smiles, and readjusts as FEAR panics.

FEAR:  “What?  No!”

JOY:  “Okay, okay.  Settle down.  She was joking, right?”


JOY:  “Sure she was joking!  So calm down, Fear.”

ANGER:  “It’s just that I love it when she plays ice hockey!”


SADNESS:  “Ice Hockey Island is fun.  It kind of makes me not as sad.  Unless Penny gets hurt.”

JOY grabs a MEMORY SPHERE from STAGE RIGHT, where rest of CAST slowly joins her over course of conversation. 

JOY:  “That’s what all the padding is for, Sadness.  Come on, don’t you remember how great this one memory was?  Game winning shot!”

ANGER:  “Yes!  She slammed that one right past the goalie for the score!”

FEAR:  “She was the safest player that day!”

DISGUST:  “And she was the most popular player on the team that day!”

CAST smiles, as FEAR picks up another MEMORY SPHERE.

FEAR: “But oh no!”

CAST:  “What?”

FEAR:  “Remember this one?  Getting stuck in that scary place?”

JOY:  (rolling eyes) “That was just the Penalty Box, Fear.”

SADNESS: “That wasn’t a fun memory.”

ANGER:  “Yep!  The Bad News Train just pulled in the station.  Toot-toot!”

DISGUST: “Penny got stuck in the Penalty box and she didn’t even do anything wrong!”

JOY points at MEMORY SPHERE, showing something to DISGUST

JOY:  “Now Disgust, you remember that Penny tripped that other player.”

ANGER:  (smiling, rubbing hands together) “It was an accident!”

JOY:  “Was it?”

SADNESS: “Oh, we were in such trouble there.  We had to stay in that penalty box for two whole minutes.  And everyone was looking at us.”

DISGUST:  “And it smelled like foot.”

CAST:  “Yuck!”

CAST begins to walk over to CENTER STAGE, still holding Memory Spheres.

SADNESS:  “Don’t you just wish we could throw away the bad memories, and forget them forever?”

FEAR:  “You mean throw them in the Memory Dump?”

SADNESS:  “We were wrong, and deserved to be punished.  I don’t think we can ever forget doing something like that.”

JOY:  “Yes, but cheer up, Sadness!”

SADNESS:  “Why?”

JOY:  “I think God will forget all our sins.”

ANGER:  “Where did you read that?”

JOY:  “It doesn’t matter.  I read it and its great.”

SADNESS goes to get MANUAL

FEAR:  “But what if God remembers everything we do?  We’ll have to sit in a penalty box for a million years or more!”

DISGUST: “And it will smell like foot!”

CAST shudders audibly, except SADNESS, who has is holding the manual and reading from it.


CAST looks at SADNESS, who begins to read.


SADNESS:  “It says here, ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”


JOY:  “See?  I told you!  It’s just like God takes those sins and tosses them over into that big Memory Dump where they disappear forever.”

FEAR:  “So, are you saying we won’t have to go to a big, ginormous penalty box?”

SADNESS:  “Yeah.  God will forgive us if we ask Him, and repent.”

FEAR:  “So can we toss this memory away?”

JOY:  “Nope.  Don’t need to!  Because God will use them all to make something super awesome.”

FEAR:  “But I don’t like looking at this one!”


DISGUST:  “Then don’t. Just remember that all these work together for those who love God.”

JOY is looking at DISGUST, perplexed.

JOY:  “Did you just say what I thought you did?”

DISGUST:  “What?  I was paying attention at church too, you know!”

SADNESS:  “That’s right, Disgust.  It all works together for the good.”

PAUSE to let bottom line sink in.

ANGER:  “Welp, that just leaves one thing left to do.”

SADNESS:  “What’s that?”

ANGER hoists his hockey stick once again, and FEAR realizes the implication.

ANGER:  “Time to relive that memory, Fear.  You be the goalie!  Time for the face-off!”

FEAR: “No!  I don’t want my face off!”

FEAR screams and runs around STAGE, with ANGER chasing him, as remaining CAST laughs, rolls eyes, or does a face palm.  Or whatever, okay?  FEAR runs off STAGE RIGHT, with ANGER in pursuit.

NARRATOR:  “KidPak, we all have some bad memories of things we’ve done wrong – and we all deserve to be in the penalty box.  But the good news is that God will forget all our sins if we ask forgiveness and repent!  So start making good memories, starting today – and you can score big!”


Of course, there was ice hockey in the movie "Inside Out," which inspired us to go see an ice hockey game.  And this in turn inspired the skit that will take place this weekend.  One challenge though:  where to find a hockey stick?  You can't see them around here, even in the sports stores.  Mainly because… there's no ice.  Or hockey.  One sports store salesperson actually sort of laughed at me for thinking there might be one or two hockey sticks.  I mean, not even street hockey?  Or field hockey?

Fortunately, Daddy knows a few people with ice hockey sticks, so it all worked out.  We'll be good to go.

As for today, it was a simple day. Madison was busy at school, and Mommy was busy at home, and Daddy was busy at work setting up for various events, and going to a lot of meetings.  We've been doing online meetings with the folks at our OC campus out in California.  Perhaps some day we'll go out there to meet in person some time soon.

Madison was doing her piano practice when Daddy got home, and it was a little later.  We didn't have as much time together.  But we did spend some time reading together, and playing a little Disney Infinity.  Daddy was incredibly pleased when we worked together to earn a new hat for our sidekick character.  The hat?  DOR-15, otherwise known as "Doris."

Yes!  I love how random this game can be.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Jump In

We were back to speech therapy this afternoon, and the long slog back up 400 afterwards.  The speech therapy bit is going well with her new therapist, who seems to be getting along with Madison rather well.  This week, we're learning about 'the vs. the.'  That is to say, how to pronounce the word 'the' when it appears before a word that starts with a vowel or consonant.  She's also continuing to work on her 'r' blends, which are coming along nicely as well.

It just so happens, unbeknownst to Daddy, that there are all kind of jump rope activities at school in PE.  These are used in marathons to raise money for awareness of… I forget.  I guess I need to jump rope in order to remember what they are raising awareness for!

Anyway, we watched a movie tonight that Madison was wanting to see:  "Jump In."  This is after the whole "High School Musical" phase we just passed by, a natural next step - we're watching Disney Channel musicals here, and "Jump In" was the next obvious choice, considering it has the same actor in it from the other movies.

Anyway, it was a good movie.  Daddy and Mommy even enjoyed it, and of course Madison did as well.  Mommy was familiar with the whole double dutch experience, jumping ropes with teams and so forth.  Daddy, however, had no idea that it was that intense or intricate.  It was fun to watch, and as you can imagine, we were looking up jump rope routines online after that, watching a few.  Madison has her own jump rope now - she just got one, cementing the huge theme here.  Again, it's just fun how we sort of follow the theme at home too.  Paul Revere, FDR, and even jump roping!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Voting For Who is Left

Madison had ballet tonight, returning after a bit of time off, something she greatly enjoys.  There is this window that we can peek into - it's outside in a weird place, so you feel like a bit of a stalker out there peering over a bit of shrubbery into a room with tiny dancing girls in it.  But occasionally, Daddy does one of those 'walk by' trips, peeking into the room to watch Madison dance.  It's amazingly not on the way to anywhere, this walk, so of course I have to walk back by the window.  But it's nice to see Madison focused, and dancing ballet for her teacher.  She's a very good student.

Speaking of which, she is continuing her studies of government.  Thus far, she's learned there are three levels of government, so Madison's studies are teaching her which branch of government takes care of the fire department (local), which branch of government takes care of the driver's licenses (state), and which branch of government gets paid a whole lot of money to basically prevent the other branches from doing too much (national).  Yeah, that's not exactly the responsibility of national.  But of course, that's what happens, right?

This is somewhat of an election year, and it seems to be mired in controversy, but what election year isn't?  This year's theme is that of upheaval.  Whereas we had 'hope and change' eight years ago, this year it seems to be more like, 'you didn't change, so here comes the wrecking ball.'  Madison no doubt hears Mommy and Daddy's conversations on who they'll be voting for - the field has been narrowing dramatically already.  Again, we see that it is Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina people that get to decide who is running in the election for President.  Seriously, there were candidates in this election that we would have considered.  But, because the people in Iowa thought this and the people in New Hampshire thought that, we don't get much of a say in Georgia.  We lost a few candidates already.  What sense does this make?

In fact, it appears as if the electoral choices have been already made (with trends and so forth).  A lot of us in the country are scratching our heads, wondering what is going on this year?  We'll still vote in the primary - ours is on March 1st, not far from now.  We might even take Madison with us, so she can see the process again.  And get a free sticker.  If only they put Disney Princesses on those stickers, I suspect there'd be more people voting!

Anyway, this will be an interesting year for Madison to follow along with.  She occasionally leans towards the one girl left in the contest, as she's a girl.  This seems to be solid reasoning for a lot of other voters as well.  She's a girl, so why not?

But don't make fun of that reasoning too much.  The reasoning for voting for the other candidate is just as solid:  he has little to no experience in politics.  Now I would argue that neither did the current President, and look how that turned out.  Regardless, one or the other might turn out to be a great President.  We'll see how that turns out, of course.  As we see it, it wouldn't take too much effort to put in a better performance than the last eight years.

Regardless of the apparent futility in our vote in the primary, we'll go out and do our civic duty, and vote for whoever is left.  Or… whoever is right.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Stars and Dancing Cows

Tonight's reading from Mary Poppins got a bit surreal.  The first book in the Mary Poppins series starts out with some things that were featured in the movie of the same name - but rather early on, we start to leave course for uncharted waters rather quickly.  That is to say, we have never read or heard of some of the stuff we're reading about right now.  For example Mary Poppins is talking about a red cow that suddenly can't stop dancing.  The reason for this, we discover, is that a star fell from the sky and lodged itself into one of the cow's horns.

This cow was so accustomed and happy doing the same thing every day.  But because it could not stop dancing, it was driven to the castle, begging a king for help.  The king was able to suggest jumping over the moon to dislodge the star, something the cow had never tried before. But desperate to remove this offending star, the cow jumped, and sure enough everything was back to normal.

But this red cow realized that life in the pasture wasn't as exciting as what it just experienced.  And this cow decided to search for another star.  And so from that point on, the cow left in search of that new experiences, to try new things.

So far, the book is an interesting read, and certainly unique.  But we all have the general opinion that the movie presents Mary Poppins in a more relatable, friendly way.  This Mary Poppins is quite stern, and we frequently see words like "haughty," and hearing her sniff a lot.

Daddy did a lot of work today on a video for Uncle Dave, a memorial and collection of pictures set to a slide show.  It turned out well, although it was a lot of effort and timing.  Still, it was appreciated by Dave's parents, so that meant a lot.  There was a lot of KidPak work to do as well, but as with every Tuesday, things are cut short for piano practice.  We joined Mrs. Pam today, and found out one more clue to gather about our upcoming Winter Wonderland celebration.  Week by week, she gives hints as to what it could be - and this year, Daddy is quietly convinced he knows what it is.  Time will tell - in fact, I think we learn what it is next week.  It's always a fun day where the kids have fun together doing things not related to pianos or musical sheets.  Last year though, you may remember, we lost the one car, as it inexplicably drove through an office building.  That was the very day of Winter Wonderland.  Here's to a calmer, gentler Winter Wonderland, right?

Anyway, piano class went well today, although Madison was a little rusty on a few tunes.  We'll have to make up for that a bit with more practice.  She's good to do that practice though.  For one thing, we give rewards out for practice, namely various power discs that have to be hidden with scavenger hunt clues throughout the house.  There's a third fireplace in the house where there is one disc… that's the fireplace in her doll house upstairs.  There's a Lion King disc somewhere where you'll find a lion… that's under the picture of the lion she made last year at school.  The next thing is hidden some place that's not hard - in fact, it's easel… which is, of course, near a painting easel.  She loves the chase, maybe sometimes more than the actual object itself!

We spent the day planning Summer Xtreme a bit, by the way.  Lots of fun doing that, dreaming for the future. But with the recent fire marshal incident, we're restructuring the coming months for KidPak.  It's all good.  We did meet with some folks who know a lot about the fire code, and after these meetings, we're absolutely certain of one thing:  our local fire marshal is a totalitarian nutcase.

Speaking of KidPak, tonight we continued our 'research' a bit, looking to "Kronk's New Groove" as it follows our upcoming "Roughin' It" theme.  It's a fun movie, with one of our favorite characters in the lead this time, Kronk.  We'd recommend it for any fans of "The Emperor's New Groove," and if you didn't like that one so much, then I simply don't understand you!

Madison had off of school today, which was planned.  Not planned was the epic snowstorm that didn't happen.  Again.  The weather forecasters were accurate this time, although everyone was on high alert before the weekend, thinking that this could be the next Polar Snowmageddon Vortex.  Before the weekend was over, it was clear that this wouldn't be that.  The groundhog might be right on about spring after all.

Tonight is "date night" for Mommy and Daddy, that is to say it's "Agent Carter" night, something we've been enjoying lately.  We go upstairs to the guest bedroom where the antenna television is, and set up camp there on the bed with some popcorn and blankets, all while Madison sleeps soundly down the hall, dreaming of stars and dancing cows.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Worrell Tour

This morning was a sleep-late kind of morning, which is something we did, sleeping in to a whopping 8:00 am.  It's funny how relative things are when you're used to getting up earlier each morning.  That's in fact two hours later than the typical school morning.  And everyone got enough rest, getting up on their own.  First stop this morning:  the chiropractor.  Madison loves this place as always.  It was busy this morning, and we were stationed in a different room than usual.  But the same usual habits are there:  Madison hides when she knows the doctor is coming, usually behind a chair or something.  She goes first with the back massage, the whole time talking to the doctor's assistant about Valentine's Day and her weekend.  Afterwards, she replaces the paper on the bed so that Daddy can take his place, always cleaning up after herself and a creature of habit.

We came straight home after that, pretty much.  Today was a day off for Madison, and Presidents Day no less.  On the way there, we had story time, which had a Presidents Day theme to it.  In this story, Chester A. Arthur came to battle, riding upon a green hippo.  Coincidentally, today is actually Hippo Day.  We did not know this when making up our story here - it must have just been in the air, I suppose.  Anyway, when Daddy and Madison start making up stories like this, things get kind of surreal.  Which is a lot of fun.  Chester A. Arthur's exploits today were certainly a lot more exciting than anything that happened during his Presidency.  What a way to celebrate Presidents Day.  And Hippo Day.

Daddy finished his "Roughin' It" devotional today, which took a bit of time.  To celebrate, we played a board game, one of those Disney board games with the pop-up parts to it.  This one actually connects to other board games with pop-up parts, which connects to other board games with pop-up parts.  We rolled the dice and moved from the Cinderella board to the Frozen board to the Tangled board and back again.  Daddy won the first two games, which is highly unusual.  Madison came back for a victory at the end, and by that time we were ready to move on to something new.

Like food!  We had a few good meals today, including a barbecue sandwich that Mommy made on her own.  She has to have something gluten-free, so she's been experimenting and attempting to create her own barbecue sauce.  Over in the kitchen, she dons her lab jacket and safety glasses, combining beakers of experimental sauces with each other, studying the results with a microscope.  Finally, around lunch time, there is the cry of "Eureka!"  She has discovered a good barbecue sauce that the entire family can enjoy.  We will call it Zenanium.  Or something like that.

Anyway, food was good today.  The weather was not so good.  First, it was cold.  Then, it was rainy.  And then later, sleeting.  No snow accumulations, as much as everyone in the North Georgia area was hoping.  No ice either, which is a big pain of course.  But at least there's the prospect of not going in to work.  We're still hoping for one of those snow days, but for the moment Daddy is glad he got to make at least one semi-snow creation earlier on.  It seriously appears as if we might get any snow this year, as much as it has been dusting lately.  We're talking accumulations, people.  We haven't got any.  This is sad.

So as you read above, we're doing our series "Roughin' It" in a few weeks.  This brings us to the "research" phase of our planning, which involves watching movies related to the theme we're going to do.  Behold, a list of semi-appropriate 'camping' or 'national park' movies!

1.  Ernest Goes to Camp
2.  Daddy Day Camp
3.  RV
4.  The Parent Trap
5.  Addams Family Values (okay, this one is a stretch)
6.  The Great Outdoors
7.  Follow Me Boys
8.  Harry and the Hendersons
9.  Camp Nowhere (have not seen this one yet)
10.  Camp Rock (we have not seen this one either!)
11.  Kronk's New Groove
12.  Yogi Bear
13.  Planes:  Fire and Rescue
14.  Man of the House (haven't seen this one)
15.  Bushwacked (not this one either!)

Some of these we're not watching with Madison.  But the first one on the list there is the one we chose for tonight.  For some weird reason, Daddy has never seen it before - nor Mommy.  We own just about all the Ernest Worrell movies, thanks to an Easter basket a few years ago.  So the "Worrell Tour" continued tonight with a viewing of "Ernest Goes to Camp," and a visit to Camp Kikakee, along with a bucket of popcorn.

It wasn't that bad of a movie.  Which is what I usually say about an Ernest movie.  You just have to know what you're getting into before heading into such an endeavor.  Back when working at a video rental place during my college days, this was one of those movies that a lot of people wanted to see for some reason.  This, and pretty much any of the other Ernest movies.  I have no explanation for this.  But Madison enjoyed the movie, as did we, and there's that.

Afterwards, it was time for bed, and another reading of Chapter Four of "Mary Poppins."  Here, we meet a dog named Andrew who is not in the movie, or at least I don't think he is.  This entire chapter deals with his owner who pampers him too much, and the ability Mary Poppins has to communicate with the dog.  So yeah, this didn't make it into the movie.  Thus far, it seems as if Disney did a good job  creating the movie, despite PL Travers objections.  It's interesting to read this having seen "Saving Mr. Banks."  Mary Poppins is a much more strict sort of lady in this book though, a much lighter spirit in the movie.

So we did say our prayers again tonight, prayers for the family and prayers for the country.  Prayers for those battling cancer, which seems to be in abundance lately.  And before going to bed, Madison noted that her calendar on the wall said it was National Flag of Canada Day.  Yeah, we celebrated Hippo Day and Presidents Day, but we missed that one.  So Madison spent the next five minutes adding "eh" to all our conversation.

DADDY:  "Goodnight Madison, eh?"
MADISON:  "Goodnight, eh!  Love you, Mom, eh!"
MOMMY:  "Love you too, eh!"

She went to bed, and Mommy and Daddy watched another movie tonight, one a lot better.  This one was called "Bringing Up Baby," and old Katherine Hepburn/Cary Grant movie that was much better than last night's flick.  We both really enjoyed this one, as it was well paced and the performances were lots of fun.

As we did, the sleet came down.  It still is coming down outside, just cold and wet.  And no snow like they have in Canada, eh?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Valentine's Day. Bummer."

In 1989, the young lady to the right in the picture above predicted today would be a bad day.  Yes, today is another doomsday, although nothing as big as all the Mayan stuff a few years ago, or the more recent blood moons.  No, this doomsday prediction was made by the character Elaine in the movie "Ghostbusters II."  Twenty-seven years ago, she explained to Peter Venkman that the end of the world would be on February 14, 2016.  And Venkman's reply to this was, "Valentine's Day.  Bummer."

The actress who played this character had a brief video this week, which was fun.  She explained that the world would not end, and all of this was a misunderstanding due to the amount of slime in New York at the time of her prediction.

We were watching this movie last October when we heard this date, and fortunately we remembered it today.  Seriously, I'd be kicking myself if the day went by without me remembering the world was supposed to end.

It's Valentine's Day, and no, the world has not ended.  Not yet, anyway.  With the news from last night, it seems likely that it will soon, and yes that's painting a rather gloomy picture.

This morning, Madison stayed home with Mommy from KidPak, as she was dealing with a lot of congestion and drainage.  She spent her time relaxing on the couch, playing video games and reading.  All the while, Daddy was helping put together another great morning at KidPak, one showing a few movie clips from "Inside Out" of course.  We still have a few more weeks of this series, and then we've got the entire rest of the year practically laid out.

Daddy got home, and there were Valentine's Day gifts to hand out.  Several people got things for Madison, so she was surprised to see candies and chocolate when she got home.  She gave Mommy her craft that she made last weekend at Home Depot, this one with a card inside it, along with six Crunchie bars that Daddy picked up from "Taste of Britain" last week.

We had dinner in the afternoon, a marvelous fish dinner - and then this incredible dessert that Mommy made for us.  It was so rich that nobody could finish their portion.  It was soooo good!

Afterwards, we made Valentine's Day cookies.  And these are so funny, I had to post a few here.  Madison and Daddy are responsible for the designing of the cookies, and I must say, they turned out pretty good!

Madison decorated all of these above - we had a great time making cookies!

What better way to say Happy Valentine's Day than with a cookie like this?

This cookie appears violently happy.  Watch out.

Beward the Cyborg/Pirate Cookie!

Madison's favorite cookie, the one she calls "Kylo Ren"

After cooking a bit - and munching on a few as well - we had a visit from Aunt Shain and Hannah.  They had some more items to hand to Madison, including a cake!  We gave them our insane smiling cookie, and a more normal one.  But it was nice to see them for a bit.

We watched, "Madly Madagascar" together, which is a Valentine's Day themed short, one with the characters from "Madagascar" in it.  This is a fun video, especially the part with "Free Bird."  Afterwards, we went upstairs for bed, and another chapter of the Mary Poppins book.  I must say, the PL Travers version has a much more strict Mary Poppins, one with a demeanor very similar to Nanny McPhee.  Anyway, we're only on chapter four at this point, so we'll see how it goes.

Madison went to bed, and Mommy and Daddy watched a romantic comedy together, one we've never seen before:  "The Philadelphia Story."

We didn't really like it.  With Cary Grant and James Stewart and Katherine Hepburn, we thought we would like it.  The movie is in the top ten of romantic comedies or something like that.  But the ending made no sense from a logical perspective.  Both Mommy and Daddy thought it was really odd - not one of our favorites by a long shot.  But it's not the end of the world, right?  You'll find that in "Ghostbusters II."