Minecraft music

While back Lex recreated the song “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, using note blocks in Minecraft.  If you want to know more about note blocks, you’ll have to ask him. :)  He wanted to record it, but we ran in to on technical problem after another, mixed in with sporadic bouts of motivation.  Finally the stars and planets aligned and he got it recorded.  Check it out!

He’s working on another song now. I’ll post it when it’s ready. You can also subscribe to his Youtube channel (it doesn’t get a lot of action, don’t worry) to see his work when he first posts it.

Concert Grande

Concert Grande was last night. Concert Grande is a once a year event where the high school and middle school band and chorus perform together. Each has a few of their own songs, then they have a few combined. Lex was looking forward to it, but also a little nervous because for the big band (high school and middle) they had two drummers, Lex and a friend of ours named Solly. They don’t get to practice altogether until the dress rehearsal the morning of the show. He was pretty happy about how it went overall. He was also excited to perform a piece composed and directed by a a very talented high school senior. Lex said she wrote an amazing song and great parts for percussion. I don’t know about all of that, but it was a good song and the audience loved it! This young lady also recently had a piece she’d composed performed by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra at the Vermont State House. That’s quite an accomplishment!  Back to my drummer boy….

FIRST Robotics Competition

After many years with FIRST Lego League (FLL), Lex has moved up to the big leagues!  FLL is for kids in grades 4-8 and the next step FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is for grades 9-12. He joined the team for pre-season this fall and has been loving it ever since. The season officially kicked off in January and they had their first competition this weekend. They are Team 95 – The Grasshoppers!

Lex has spent most of his time on the robot construction (versus programming or driving). He comes home after practices and tells me about the problems they came across and how they solved them. He loves it! At the competition he helped with repairs between matches, and scouted the other teams to help determine who they wanted to partner with for the second day.

The team took a bus to the event after school on Thursday. Alan drove down that night, checked into the hotel, and watched the event on Friday.  Eve and I went down Friday after school and watched the event live on Saturday.  We all enjoyed watching it live streaming on Twitch when we couldn’t be there in person! :)

The guys in blue, under the #95, are the drive team for The Grasshoppers. They control the robot during the competition.

This is their robot in action.

Handsome boy.

There is a strict rule that you have to wear eye protection in the pit area. Eve somehow went from refusing to wear any eye protection to insisting on wearing ALL of the eye protection.

She can be silly sometimes. :)

I couldn’t help noticing that the other teams had lots more swag than our team has. Flags and banners and buttons and signs.  Eve and I immediately got to work planning for the next event. At the beginning of the season I offered to help with their website. They immediately took me up on the offer. I think I have PR/Marketing in my blood. :)

The Grasshoppers were knocked out of the competition in the semi-finals because one of their alliance teams knocked over an opponents robot. There was some debate about how intentional the action was and how top heave the opponent’s robot was, but the judges ruled it a foul and they got no points for the round. It was sad. I heard lots of grumbling from the parents (myself included), but nothing from the kids. Lex had nothing but positive things to say. I was impressed!

When the award ceremony came, the kids weren’t sure if they’d get anything since they didn’t make it past the semi-finals.  Everyone has excited when they won the Industrial Design Award and the judges mentioned the “singular,” a specific part of the Grasshoppers’ robot that had impressed them.

This part looks a lot like FLL! :) Line up for a long row of high-fives, trophy and team photo at the end.

He even let me take a picture of him with the trophy! I’m a lucky mom! :)

The team has another meet in two weeks, and a third (if they qualify) in April. I’ve already designed some buttons to have available for the next meet! Lots of other teams were giving out buttons and our team had none. However, our team did give out a package of Keebler Grasshopper cookies to each team. :) Apparently that’s a tradition.

Holiday Concert

The high school holiday concert was last night. The dress code was black on black, with a tie for the boys.  And Lex put on a tie!!  I was shocked. He wore Alan’s tie and Alan’s belt, and everything else is new.  I think it might even be his first time in a button down shirt!  The boy has come a long way and who would have ever guessed that percussion would be the path to get him there. <3

Lex in a tie

The concert band had four songs, one of which called for a theremin.  The high school doesn’t own a theremin, so the band director asked Lex if he wanted to play the part on an iPad. He did.  He was nervous and said he made a few mistakes, but I think it’s great and the audience loved it.

It was cool to have him front and center for that piece, because normally you don’t see much of him in a concert. :)

The band

 

The Addams Family

We’ve had two weekends of amazing youth theater in a row.  Last weekend we saw a production of Newsies at the LOH. The director and musical director are both my friends and colleagues at DBS and there were a bunch of kids we knew in the cast.  Lex had originally signed up to do tech for the show, but it overlapped so completely with the high school musical that he decided not to.

This weekend was the high school production: The Addams Family!  It was hysterical and so well acted.  I loved it! Most importantly, it was lit to perfection. :)

Light Designer and Operator

They even gave him an award for it at Friday’s whole school assembly!

It says “Artist, Designer, &  Innovator of the Week Award”

The show opened with two Thursday matinees for local schools. All of the middle school went to see the show, plus many elementary classes as well.  Eve came home Thursday afternoon raving about how great it was!

I worked the concessions stand for Saturday’s show, so I got to sit in the back of the theater and watch most of it.

I bet you can’t even see the picture without hearing the tune. C’mon, snap those fingers!

Gomez and Morticia

This is Lex’s old bestie, working the sound board. The two of them have grown apart on separate teams in middle school, but I have secret wishes that they’ll become friends again. :)

Lex gave me a tour of the tech booth after the show.  He even let me take his picture. :) He’s so good to me!

The headset is called “the comm” and used to communicate with the stage manager.

It all looks pretty complicated, but he seems to have no trouble with it.

Found inside the door of the tech booth. I think it’s good advice for life in general. :)

I purchased tickets for today’s show. The plan was to bring Alan, Eve, and a friend. Eve opted out, so Alan and I went alone.  Turns out I missed one of the best scenes while setting up concessions yesterday.  I’m so glad I went again!!

It blows me away the level of youth talent in the Upper Valley.  It gives me shivers watching those kids dance and sing their hearts out! I can’t even imagine having that level of talent and confidence, especially at such a young age! I’m so happy that we can support these performances and that my own kids have these opportunities to participate in magic being made.

Oh, baby!

I am having a very good time with Lex’s health class homework.

He came home the first week of school and told me he’d have to take care of a robot baby for a 12hr period.  He was *very* uncomfortable with the idea. There was also a vague option of an “alternative assignment” for those who couldn’t do the baby thing, and he seriously considered it, but since he didn’t even know what that alternative assignment was, he ended up talking himself into the baby.  He talks about it a lot and I know he’s trying to work himself up for the task. He decided he wanted to have the baby on a weekend, and have it activated on a Sunday… but when?

At high school open house last night the health teacher reminded him that he only had two weeks left, which means just two weekends.  We talked him in to taking baby this weekend. The teacher set it to activate on Sunday from 10:00am-10:00pm, times he chose so he can wake up and prepare himself before baby activates.

I got home from school today and he said, “Sooo…. I brought home a baby today.”  LOL!  Other kids have named their babies, but Lex is 100% resistant to that.  :)  He cracks me up.  He also keeps talking about all the baby noises it will make, and he calls them “ambient noises.”  LOL! I’m having so much fun with this.  I said, “You mean coos and baby gurgles?” He said, “I think of it more like Minecraft ambient noise.”

When Eve got home she was equally weirded out by the baby.  Much to my surprise though, she seems to be warming up to it.  We watched a show this evening and she cuddled the baby the whole time.

I can’t stop laughing about this whole situation and Lex’s extreme discomfort.  He’ll do fine, but he’s just so worried about it.  Last night he says, “Oh, no, I just realized I’ll have to shower during that time…. what should I do with the baby?”  LOL!  I told him he could probably ask someone else in the house to look after it while he showered.  :)

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to take any pictures of him with the baby because I don’t want to stress him out too much…. just enough to make myself laugh!

Happy weekend all!

 

Lex

There is a lot going on in Lex’s world these days. I thought I’d share a little of it. Last week he had another belt test and was promoted to second level brown belt, which means he now has a brown belt with a black stripe, worn on the inside. Next time he tests he’ll be able to switch the stripe to the outside, then the following time he’ll test for a full black belt. I said he’s dabbing his toes in black belt range now. :)

Brown belt, black stripe

Videos:

  • https://youtu.be/Ulj_wrK9_VQ
  • https://youtu.be/H9jxHBnoZWo
  • https://youtu.be/XVJ6TnDMGPo

He also auditioned for high school jazz band last week. Unfortunately there were four kids auditioning and the band director said two is ideal and three is a stretch. She called me Friday afternoon to tell me that she did not accept Lex, but that it was a super hard decision and he’s really good and please keep playing and he’ll surely get in next year when this year’s senior graduates. He was sad when I told him, but he admitted that he knew she wouldn’t take all four of them and he’s the youngest, so it made sense. He’s still doing band and pep band, so he’ll get a fair amount of drumming this year anyway, plus he’ll audition for district band and district jazz band, both of which are single weekend events later this fall and winter.

Lex has also joined the First Robotics Club, and will be doing tech crew for the high school musical AND the Trumbull Hall Troupe production of Newsies. He’s starting to wonder if he’s over-committing himself this fall. Not being in jazz band will give him an extra study hall, which is probably a good thing.

Last weekend, at family meeting, Lex brought up the topic of a cell phone. It’s the first time he’s asked for one! Alan and I both agree he’s ready, and that it would be helpful given all he’s doing these days, so we agreed to get him one. We agreed that he would buy the phone and we would pay for the service. Today Alan took him cell phone shopping. They ended up ordering one, which we’ll pick up later this week. I think they had fun shopping together. :)

This afternoon we went to the fair and Lex ran into two friends who invited him to hang out with them. He was eager to go with them. They wandered around, got food, watched the animals, and had fun. It was weird to see him go, but nice to see two friends who wanted him to go along with them. He’s definitely growing up!

<3

Weekend Update

Happy three day weekend! We made it through the first week of school and we were all ready for a break! Friday night we went to high school football game. I think my first ever! Lex has joined the pep band this year and they play at all the home football games. We were the family taking pictures of the band, not the field. :)

Do you see him there, way in the back? Nope? Me neither.

There he is!

Ok, maybe a few pictures of the field as well. :)

The t-shirt orders for pep band hadn’t come in yet, so Lex picked his most school-colors related shirt.  Apparently he needs some blue shirts. :)  At the game they had a concessions stand where we bought lots of junky food, and an apparel stand (for lack of the appropriate word) where we bought two Hurricane t-shirts for Lex.

The game was good.  The home team won.  It was really a massacre, which meant no overtime and minimal delays, so I was happy. :)

On Saturday I was up bright and early for WW, exercise, and errands. I got home at noon, just in time to unload groceries, grab the family, and head out to the karate dojo’s 25th anniversary celebration at Storr’s Pond.  Lex was kind of on the fence about going, but decided at the last minute that he wanted to.  It ended up being a lot of fun.  My phone battery died (it sucks these days) so I didn’t get many pictures, just one of these cool cupcakes!

Cupcakes! I didn’t have one, but I think my kids had more than our families fair share. :)

Karate has been so amazing for Lex. They are kind and supportive and patient. It was wonderful being at this event with so many families (many I knew, many more I did not) all celebrating Sensei Ken and all the hard work he and everyone else there does for our kiddos.

We were all exhausted when we got home Saturday afternoon.  Actually, I was exhausted FRIDAY afternoon and just stayed that way until Sunday. :)  We got home from the picnic and Eve went right to bed. She slept from 4pm-8pm.  Alan went up to take a nap at 5:30 and ended up sleeping until 8:30.  It was a weird afternoon.  The landscape folks working next door worked until 8pm.  Lex and I were very disoriented!  Once Alan and Eve were both awake again we had a late dinner and watched some TV.  It was 10:15pm and I realized we were all up watching TV.  Crazy.  Lex and I went to bed shortly after and left the other two to fend for themselves.

I woke up Sunday and found the kids both reading. I  asked where Alan was and Lex said, “I think he went to the beach.”  NOT what I was expecting to hear!  He has a friend who has a beach house in Maine and there had been talking about going up there for the weekend, but it never worked out.  I guess Alan decided Sunday morning to head up on his own.  He had a great day there, while the kids and I had a relaxing day at home.  I made some healthy food, we played a few rounds of Clue, watched a cool documentary, and generally enjoyed our down time.

And now, thanks to Labor Day, we have another whole day to not labor!  Yay!  Elizabeth came up for a visit and Alan took Alistair and Lex out for some joyriding in the Tesla (the real reason for their visit!) while Elizabeth and I enjoyed some hot tea (it’s cold and rainy today!) and conversation. When they left, Eve and I went to pick up our CSA share and check out a new candy store in town. I figure the two balance each other out.  I also made super delicious zucchini bread yesterday, so we’ve been enjoying that with tea on this rainy Monday.

Tomorrow we are back to school.  I feel almost ready.  I have a handle on the to-do list, most of the tech stuff is done, and I even have proper lesson plans for the week!

Our plans this week include a contentious Select Board meeting (I’ll be watching from home!) and a visit to a new humane society to check out a dog Eve found online.  She’s really working this dog search!  I’m glad it’s her this time, not me. :)

Happy September!

First day of school

There is so much I want to blog about these days, but never seem to find the time. I can’t miss a first day of school post though! I started my 4th year (longest career I’ve ever had, not counting parenting), Eve started 7th, and Lex started 9th — in high school! Eeek!

Eve has been dreading school and asking regularly if she can be homeschooled. She was in tears several times this week just thinking about going back to school. Somehow she woke up with a positive attitude though, and even smiled for a picture!!

She had a little fun with Lex’s picture too. Do you see her?

We all laughed, then told her to go away. :)

Alan brought them both to school. Eve at the middle school and Lex at the high school. Lex has a different start time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but he wasn’t sure what to expect on the first day, so he opted for the earlier start time, just in case. He ended up finding a friend and wandering the halls for 20 minutes. I think it was a really great way for him to start school.

My day was long and busy. As my job evolves to include more and more tech, I’m finding less and less time to do library work. I had a chat with my principal about it on Friday and we will make some changes to the start of school next year. For this year it will be what it will be. I spent the day doing tech support, cleaning the library (there was a conference over the weekend and they left a mess!!) and teaching a few classes. It was fun to see everyone again, smiling kids, a few crying kids, lots of new faces, all eager for a new year.

At the end of the day I headed home to find my kiddos having snack. Eve immediately broke down into tears and told me her day was awful, too many people, doesn’t like this, that is dumb, etc. I think middle school is tough for her. Lots of struggles to find her place. I know she’ll find it, eventually, but these past few years have been tough. After a good cry, a snack, and some alone time in her room, she rebounded and had a nice evening with us.

Lex had a great day. He was happy with all of his classes, gave me a play-by-play of his day (which classes he went to, anyway) then pulled out a huge packet of paperwork for me to sign! There’s always first day of school homework for the parents! Most of the paperwork was band related. I’m so happy that he has found band. It’s done wonders for him. His friends are all band friends, he joined jazz band last year, he joined Pep Band this year, which means he’ll be playing at all of the home football games, and he’s going to audition for two district events this year. Band has given him a level of confidence, a peer group, and an area to excel. It makes us all happy.

Honors and Graduation

The end of the school year is always busy, but it’s a little extra busy with Lex graduating from middle school this year.  Earlier this week was Honor’s Night and tonight was their graduation ceremony.  Lex made Honor Roll for the past two years and High Honors in 6th grade.  Before Honors Night he was asked to give the Student Speech for his team, but he said a hearty “thanks, but no thanks!”

Shaking hands with the principal.

Check out the cool clothes!

 

Tonight we went to 8th grade graduation, which was a lovely ceremony in the field beside the school.  The weather ended up being perfect, despite days of thunderstorm warnings.

I dragged Eve along to both nights, despite her best efforts to be miserable.

This year they asked the students to answer a short questionnaire and then used their answers to say a few things about each student at graduation. I missed his name being called (but they called him Alexander, so whatever) but caught his comments.  Watch his team teachers try to give him a hug in the background.  :)

He’s so handsome. :)

Lex and his band teacher. This guy was an instrumental part of his middle school success!

Not sure how two such dorky parents ended up with such an awesome son!

I feel like I should post something deep and meaningful, but I don’t have it right now.  It was neat to see all the parents of kids he went to elementary school, and even preschool, with!  Everyone’s looking as old as I am. LOL!  I have special fondness for his DBS class and was proud of each and every one of them.  So cool to see them all growing up.  Lex is happy and confident and ready for high school!  But first, summer vacation!