The big 15!

Happy birthday to this big guy!

We had a lovely day today.  Started with normal stuff. Nothing exciting. Just how we like it. :)  Eve worked on a secret Minecraft world for Lex, Alan did the Murph Challenge with his Cross Fit crew, and I baked birthday cookies.  Lex asked for oatmeal raisin cookies instead of cake and I can’t say no to that! :)

Around lunch time we were finally all ready for present time.  He’s a patient boy these days. He asked for Legos and books.  Guess what he got??

Legos

More Legos

A book about Legos

And of course, more Legos and books. :)  He was happy.

Then it was time for the birthday party!  We haven’t had a birthday party for him in a few years, but this year what started as a funny idea ended up a reality.  Eve created a whole world in Minecraft (with some help from Alan too) and we invited the friends Lex likes to play Minecraft with, and we had a party — in Minecraft!

Here’s me, flying into the top-secret party fort that has floors covered with cake and all the armor and weapons you could want! :)

His friends posed for a picture for me. :) Lex let me be a dorky mom for just a few minutes! Yay! (this isn’t actually everyone, but it’s hard to organize a Minecraft selfie!)

She even included fireworks!

They created three different activities. A game of hide-and-seek, a parkour game, and a battle in the Nether.  I joined them for the hide-and-seek game, which ended up being two games.  I rock at hide-and-seek. J/K. :)  I did hit the button that said DO NOT PUSH THIS BUTTON and released a bunch of Minecraft baddies into the game.  That was a good time. :)  By the time we finished two rounds of hide-and-seek, I decided I was done, so I shut off my computer, but the rest of the party carried on for parkour and dragon fighting.  Lex, Eve, Alan, and three of Lex’s friends. It was a lot of fun! A whole different world then the parties I’m used to planning. I offered to make a cute digital invite, but Lex wanted no part of that! LOL. Oh well. Birthday parties, like everything else, grow up and mature. This was a particularly good one for these Covid times too!

Then it was time for a family Zoom chat.  Unfortuantely the family on my couch was in a very silly mood (too much sugar and Minecraft partying, I think!) so the conversation was a little disjointed.  Sorry remote family!  We love you!

We are getting good at the Zoom family time! As long as we arent too sugared up!

Huxley was a little confused for a good part of the day. :)

When the pizza delivery guy got here we said our goodbyes and settled in for a Star Wars movie.  Lex’s choice, of course!

Another year has come and gone. I can’t get emotional now though, because the world is so topsy-turvy and everything seems so uncertain these days, I’m just glad to have this boy here with me every day.  He is kind and funny and smart and patient and everything I could have asked for in a son. I will love him forever and ever. <3

Life and such

It is a beautiful day and it’s Friday and I’m in the mood to post a few pictures. :)

This was yesterday morning. I took the picture and sent it to my colleagues, saying “Sorry, I can’t work today. The cat has claimed my computer.” :)

We are all still in school, though the high school seems to have given up so starting next week Lex will have no more assignments, while Eve and I will continue plugging away for three more weeks.  :(

His birthday is Monday. The world was nice enough to give us all the day off.  We have plans to continue socially isolating at home.  There might also be a birthday world being built in Minecraft. I think Eve has been working on that the past few days.  We were joking (kind of) about having a birthday party in Minecraft. It would be fun if that worked out.

Today the Vermont National Guard did a fly-over with four fighter jets. It was part of an event honoring “essential employees” and first responders in the state.  The flew over all of the hospitals in the state, plus, I think, that big one right over the border. :)

We forgot until we heard a rumble in the sky, then we ran outside to see.  It was still a few minutes before their scheduled time, so we hung out outside for a little while, hoping that we hadn’t missed them. Apparently we were too late though. :( We did enjoy some time in the sunshine at least! I figured I should take a few pictures to prove that we do leave the house on occasion. :)

The backyard neighbors have a lilac tree that is starting to hang over our lawn. We might help ourselves to lilacs later this summer!

Eve tried to climb the tree and decided she is too big and/or the tree is too small.

Waiting for the planes on a sunny day.

The karate dojo has been doing Zoom lessons (like everyone else in these quarantine times) and the also post challenges or special activities sometimes too.  This week they posted the SHOE-do-in challenge.  Eve saw it and said, “That’s easy!” Then proceeded to do it successfully on her second try!  She was super proud of herself! Not because she worked hard at it, but because she’s naturally flexible. :)

We sent it right off to the dojo for bragging rights. :)

Finally, I started with the cat so I’ll end with the dog.

If I stay in one place for too long (like a few seconds), I ended up with a foot warmer. :)

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!