Lex got his license!

Yesterday afternoon Lex took his driver’s license test. We had to go to a DMV 35 minutes away, because that’s life in a small state in a pandemic. Lex hasn’t driven in a bit since he’s been home all week on a virtual camp, so he wanted to practice his driving and his parking. He knew there would be three key maneuvers that he had to do on the test and he really hadn’t practiced any of them recently, so we decided to leave a bit early. As we were walking out the door we remembered that we had to print his driving log. He turned his computer back on and the printer started having issues. Of course. We finally got it printed, but by then we had lost most of our extra practice time. It was sunny when we left home, but pouring rain when we got there. Lex practiced his parallel parking a few times on a street near the DMV, then we parked in the lot next to another black Tesla and checked in. We had a 3pm appointment, but it still took nearly an hour before we were seen. During which time the instructor passed by and asked if we were driving the Tesla. He said he had seen Lex practicing his parallel parking. 😬 Then he told us we couldn’t do the exam without a front license plate. We said we have a front license plate. He said no we don’t. Then he left to take another kid (before us in line) for their test. We went out to double-check and noticed that the Tesla next to us didn’t have a license plate. On his way past again he asked if we had the completed paperwork (we did) and proof of insurance and registration. So I went back into the rain to get those documents.

Finally it was our turn. We insisted (again) that we have a front plate, then he pointed out that registration is expired (it’s not!) because the paper I gave him said 2020. Ugh. Back out into the rain. I couldn’t find the current registration paperwork, so I took a picture of the back license plate with the valid sticker. Back in the office he told me that a photo of a sticker doesn’t count for anything, but he can issue me a second registration for the low low cost of $16. Basically what that meant is that he could reprint my registration paper (which he could easily view in the DMV system) for that fee. He said he can’t take a kid driving without the paper in the car. He was not mean, but not exactly friendly either. Very curt and short with us. Also, the whole place stunk like cigarettes, chemicals, and stale air. Needless to say I was working hard to stay friendly myself!

I paid the fee and they left for the test. It turns out the test is only 15 minutes and really just involves the three maneuvers (parallel park, turn around, and a hill start). It was still pouring rain and the DMV had closed by this point. I spent those 15 minutes sure that Lex was going to fail the test just because of all the crappy circumstances surrounding him. But nope, he came back in with a big smile and a thumbs up! Yay!!

Then the instructor asked for his identification (birth certificate, ss card, passport) and Lex didn’t have them. Lex had uploaded copies of those things to get his permit online (because the world was closed last summer), so he figured he didn’t need to provide them again. The DMV guy disagreed. He gave us all the paperwork and said to come back another time when we have the proper ID. Fortunately Lex didn’t have to retake the test though!

We went back this morning with ALL of the paperwork, waited less time (but still plenty of time, it is the DVM after all!) and got the job done! They don’t print licenses onsite anymore, so Lex walked out with a piece of paper that will serve as his temporary license until the new, official one arrives in the mail. This morning was quicker, less rainy, and less stinky, so I walked away feeling a whole lot better than yesterday afternoon. Lex walked away happy to be done with it.

They had a big selfie station set up with a sign saying “Looks Who’s Driving Now!” and some fun artwork. Next to that was a poster saying not to take a picture of your drivers license. 😜 Lex had zero interest in a selfie, so I snuck a picture of him getting his picture taken instead. Gotta have some photos!

 

 

 

So, now the real question is, what errand should I send him on first? 😄

3D printing

Lex has been saving for awhile and finally had enough to buy himself a 3D printer! He did the research on the make and model (online research and also personal experience from his 3D printing classes at school) and decided on a Prusa MK3. It came disassembled and so Lex’s first job was to put the whole the together. The pieces were all either metal or 3D printed plastic. Lex said it was like a grown-up Lego kit. :)

Then he printed a few test samples. The printer came with an SD card full of example prints so he could make something right away! We were all eager to watch it! He’s made signs and frogs and dragons and castle… pretty much whatever Eve asks for. :) He is also nice enough to let the rest of of us use it too. I created my own sign (which was harder than it looks!) and after a few tries I got it to successfully print. The issues were all in my design, not his printer.

First test print

It is pretty captivating to watch! :)

I’m such a dork that my first creation was a school thing. :)

Using the provided programs, Lex printed a dragon and a castle. He hasn’t designed anything of his own to print yet. At home, anyway. He’s designed several things at school and printed them during his 3D printing classes.

This little guy is coming to school with me. :)

While we were having fun experimenting with Lex’s new printer, I also got an email saying that a grant I had applied for in the spring was approved. The grant is to get a 3D printer for school!!!  I’m psyched! I’m going to get a different model than he did, which will be neat to experience both. I have so much to learn this summer! :)

Black Belt – Shodan-ho

Lex got his first black belt today! He had a two hour test with an hour of demonstrations afterwards. Parents were invited to the demonstrations and award ceremony. He did AWESOME! I am so proud that he was brave enough on the very first day to put on the gi, and persistent enough to continue going even when it got hard, and committed enough to do a year of karate lessons on Zoom just because he knew the pandemic would end eventually and he wanted to get back to in person lessons.

Well, for a few months they have been in-person at a local park and recently they reopened the dojo as well. Tonight his bravery, persistence, commitment, and hard work paid off – black belt!

Karate in the park.

Running through the basics.

Nai han chi

The board breaking isn’t part of the test, it was just for fun. Lex kicked the middle right out of the board, splitting it into three pieces!

Kudos from Sensei

New belt!

Ari gato gozaimasu (thank you very much)

Look at this amazing person!! 🖤

Then and now

This is the probationary black belt, which is the normal process. They stay at this black belt for one year, then test again for the final belt with their name embroidered on it. Lex will be rocking that belt next summer. Dad, save the date! :)

Sixteen!

Here it is. The big day. Sixteen years ago right now I was holding an hour old baby. Now I’m looking at a handsome teenager. We had a low-key day, just school, presents, pizza, and ice cream cake.

Happy birthday kiddo. I’m so glad to know you.

A Birthday in Burlington

Baby Zig is turning 16 this week! It’s hard to believe how fast the years have flown by. Per usual, he doesn’t want a party and he mostly just wants Legos and books. One different thing he did want this year is some extra driving practice time, so we decided to take a day trip to Burlington. A random idea turned into an awesome day with family in an adorable city. We walked Church street, ate delicious bagels in the park, Lake Champlain chocolate ice cream and macrons, opened birthday presents, visited the science museum and the Earth Clock, spent about a minute and a half at the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, and finished the day with dinner at the Olive Garden. Yum!

You’ve come a long way baby!

Whales Tails along the side of the high way. I love Vermont.

13ft tall, African black granite, pretty cool.

All three kids had fun with this exhibit. Feeling strong. 💪🏻

Eek! He let me take an “almost 16” picture. I’m such a lucky momma! 🤗🤗

The Burlington Earth Clock. Probably would have been a little more effective if the sun were out.

It took some work to figure it all out.

This is a fun picture. :)

One of the stones had a heart hole in it. 🖤

The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, apparently a VT tourist attraction. Who knew?! I guess we can check that off the bucket list now. 😂

We had a beautiful drive home, with Lex behind the wheel.

Sunday morning Legos. Happiness is.

Done! A double decker London bus, complete with gum under a seat.

After a year of Covid and quarantine it was nice to get out and sample a little bit of normal again. I’m looking forward to a lot more of that as the summer comes.

Musical Theater

Lex’s script binder and the program.

Another year of musical theater has come and gone. This year it involved outdoor rehearsals, unknown locations, prerecorded singing, clear masks, limited audiences, livestreaming, and day of quarantine concerns. Lex designed and ran the lights again. B’Lake was on the tech committee, but due to an unfortunate Covid exposure he had to quarantine this week and miss the play. He gave us some good inside info while we watched the livestream last night. Tonight I got to attend in person! They were allowed to have 20 people in the audience, but for some reason limited it to district teachers only. No complaints here! The show was fantastic, the audience enthusiastic, and my view of the stage was primo!

Friday night, watching from home. Live theater from the comfort of my couch.

Next year Lex will do lights again, B’Lake wants to do crew again, and Eve wants to (maybe) be in the show!

Lex

My last post had a bunch of pictures of Eve, no good ones of Lex, so I thought I’d share this from tonight. His First Robotics Competition team has been meeting via Zoom for the past few months and working on a Covid-alternate competition involving mini robots. Lex got his robot (a Romi) and a Raspberry Pi kit this week and has been having fun building and programming it. Tonight he had it running and “interacting” with the cat. It was funny. I should have made a video, but I didn’t. Oh well. Here he is hard at work tonight. His career path seems pretty clear. :)

Mema, maybe he’ll have it running and ready to roll over your toes when you come visit next month. :)

Wisdom teeth

On Wednesday Lex had six wisdom teeth removed! Six! I said, “No wonder you’re so smart!” He was not amused. :) He had four that had cut through, and two others behind them, still in the gums. The dentist gave us the whole run down of all the possible things that could happen during recovery, but Lex got through it with minimal problems. The dentist talked about face swelling, bruising, bleeding, etc. He did have bleeding the first day, of course, and the regular meds to knock him out. He slept for most of the day Wednesday, then played some Minecraft quietly. I tried to keep him from talking, since he had gauze shoved in his mouth. :)  I kept him home from school on Thursday, but he decided to do some remote learning anyway. Friday (a remote day), he was exhausted and skipped his classes. I don’t think he realized that he was supposed to take both days off!

It has been weird having him in charge of his own medications. We reviewed it a bunch of times, then I left him Thursday to dose himself. He did great and has continued ever since. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you realized (again!) how fast the kids are growing up!

PS. There are no photos because he asked me not to take pictures. He was worried that he would do weird things, like you see people do on YouTube after a dentist visit. He was worried he would do that, and wanted to be sure I wouldn’t take any pictures or videos. :)  A valid concern! I was good though and didn’t take any pictures. :)

Oh what a week! (and it’s only Tuesday!)

The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotion and activity. As you may have heard, presidential election results came in and sanity, civility, honesty, and kindness won! Hallelujah!

On Saturday Eve and I went for a long walk in the beautiful sunshine. I feel like we haven’t done that in quite awhile. We went down to the river, around the village, and back up the hill.

This tree used to have two big bumps. I was surprised to find that the innards of one had fallen out (rotted out?), so now it has a bump and a handle. :)

Then I made an awesome boozy birthday cake for my friend Elizabeth. It’s her 50th birthday (today!) and she has been super bummed about covid-restrictions squashing all her birthday ideas. So I baked her a cake and invited a friend along to delver. The three of us saw outside in the amazingly beautiful September November day, enjoying the cake and each other’s company.

Chocolate Devil’s Food cake with a Bailey’s Irish Cream butter cream frosting and a chocolate ganache filling. Sooooo good!

Sunday evening I got an email from my school principal (the whole staff got the email!) saying that there are some children in our community who have been removed from their home and need emergency foster care.  Fostering is something I’ve thought about a lot off and on in the past, so this felt like a really great time to step up and help. I talked to Lex and Eve about it first, and they agreed that it would be a good thing to do.

I spent Monday squeezing in phone calls and paperwork between my regular work. Paperwork was done, everything approved, and I made a plan to pick the boys up after school Tuesday (today). When I got home and told Lex and Eve about it, and who the kids are, they were both cautiously interested. :) Then Lex said, “In other good news, I got accepted into the Honors Program!”  Sweet!!!  He worked really hard deciding to apply, writing his essay, and collecting recommendations from teachers, parents, and coaches. I’m super proud of him for doing that much, and now he’s excited to be doing even more. He also built me two Adirondack chairs this week. Mema and Joyce sent them to me for my birthday, and Lex put them together. The weather is so nice they might get some use this weekend!

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Today was spent trying to figure out details, such as bedding for two extra kids, schooling, transportation, etc. We have a pretty amazing community though, all of whom love these kids and want to support them. I got a set of bunkbeds, two twin mattresses, four sheet sets, pillows, blankets, and winter clothes all donated. This weekend we’ll spend getting their proper sleeping arrangement set up. They came home with me after school today and had a great time playing with the VR headset and the XBox. I haven’t seen Lex socialize this much in a long time! All four kids were laughing and talking all afternoon/evening. I even made a proper dinner! If you count Annie’s mac and cheese, peas, and tofu a proper dinner. :)  It has been a wild two days!

Tomorrow is Veterans Day (thanks Joyce!) and we have no school, so of course I scheduled appointments. :/ Life of a teacher! Lex will be getting his wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow morning. All four of them! I’m not sure what to expect exactly, but I suspect tomorrow will be a sleepy day for him. Hopefully it will be a quiet day for all of us. I’m ready for one!

 

Fall Concert

The high school band and choir have been practicing outside all fall, doing their best to promote music and stay safe. I’m so glad they are making this effort! When I talked to Lex about remote learning or hybrid learning (alternating at-home/at-school) he choose hybrid and one of his big reasons was so that the could continue with band.

This weekend they put on an outdoor, socially distanced, Fall Concert. The band and choir are both small this year because some students are remote learning and because those who are there in person were asked to choose band or choir this year, but not both.  Many kids in the past have done both. Due to the hybrid schedule they also practice in halves, which Lex calls “red band” and “blue band” because the hybrid schedule is split that way. Lex goes on blue days and is therefore part of the “blue band.” For this concert they all performed together as one band, with only a half hours practice beforehand to come together. It was great!

Then I had a little fun with video editing to make this compilation: HHS Fall Concert

Enjoy!