FLL 2018 – Our final competition

This is Lex’s final year in FIRST Lego League.  The program runs through 8th grade, then they are able to move on to FIRST Robotics (no Legos, lots of machining and Java programming).

I coached again this year and we again had three teams, with 27 kids total.  We went to the state competition on Sunday.  It was the usual big, crazy, busy, 12hr day.  We had a blast.  This year the teams brought home two trophies too!  Green team earned one for their research and Red team (the team Lex was on) won one for their innovate robot design. Lex was pretty instrumental in that.  I was happy for him to have that accomplishment on his final year.

The robot design presentation where they show their robot, their code, and their favorite missions.

Project presentation. Red team chose to figure out an innovative way to feed people in space.

A very happy Red team (with two equally happy tag-along little brothers).

I’m happy with how well the season went, how organized we were at the tech center, how many kids had a great time, how well Lex connected with another kid on the team, and overall how we’ve grown the FLL team in Hartford.  I’ll miss it next year… but not enough to coach again! LOL!

Now, if you want an awwwww moment, check out little Lex at his first FLL competition.  <3 <3

Hi

Hi all! It’s December!  I’m sitting at drum lessons, listening to Lex practice his Jazz Band piece.  It’s pretty cool.  On Monday he auditioned for a District Band program, which is basically just a weekend of middle school kids jamming together.  It’s pretty selective, but he’s good and he auditioned on three different instruments (timpani, snare drum, and bells), so he’s feeling pretty good about things.  We’re hoping to hear the results soon.  Not that we really need more things to fill our days.

We are wrapping up the final week of Lego League, and (hopefully) our final year with it.  Lex ages out of it next year and I’ve already made the announcement that I won’t be coaching if he’s not participating.  I’ve basically taken over the program though (I have a bad habit of doing that!), so I’m hoping I can slip out without too much disruption.

The usual holiday parties have set in, plus field trips, concerts, and plays (that we’ll be in the audience for), but whenever I start to feel too stressed, I just remind myself of last fall and feel grateful for all I’m NOT doing this year!

I put up the advent boxes again, but this year the cat is taking them down for me every night.  Not helpful!  Eve has been putting them all back up each morning.

My favorite reindeer.

The advent boxes are looking a little worn. Number one is even missing a top. This might be their last appearance… though when I mentioned that to Lex, he got sad.

Eve is helpful.  She’s growing right up, but still a very silly, Harry Potter series obsessed child.  She has a crush on Draco Malfoy and wants to own all of the Harry Potter merchandise that exists in this world.  She might be a little materialistic.  :)

A friend asked the other day if we are hosting a cookie party again this year.  I said, “uhh…., honestly, it hasn’t even crossed my mind.”  :/  It would be fun, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I haven’t even made any cookies yet!  We put up some decorations last weekend, and we’ll get a tree this weekend. Maybe that will kick start the holiday spirit. :)  In the meantime, I’m enjoying my own little drummer boy right here.

Razzamatazz

The middle school held their first ever talent show this month.  Jazz band played the opening number, with Lex on bongos.  It was fun watching the jazz band and realizing I know about half the kids in it.

The evening continued with music, dance, and even a few magic tricks. It was everything you would expect from a middle school talent show.  I was amazed with the bravery these kids had.  Kids were up there, alone on stage, singing their hearts out.  It was awesome.

I only took pictures of my own kid though. :)

 

HPAC

Another year of the Hartford Performing Arts Camp has come and gone, and this time Eve got to go too!  Yay!  The theme was Where The Wild Things Are and they did a great job turning the sweet book into a musical show.

Lex on the glockenspiel.

Eve in the chorus. She’s the one with the light blue headband/ears.

We had the worst luck with seating this year, somehow managing to frequently be on the wrong side of the speakers from the kids.

The only picture I was able to get of them both together. Lex on the drum and Eve as a “wild thing” sneaking in front.

Eve’s friend and fellow DBS kid played Max. She was great at it! Here she is (in red shorts) arriving on the island of the Wild Things.

 

YouTube-in

Hi guys!  Some of you may know that Eve started a YouTube channel awhile back.  It’s super (not) exciting, but she loves it!  This week Lex decided to start a channel as well to show off some of his Minecraft creations.  It makes me sad that most of their creative juices are going into the computer these days.   I miss having cool kid work around the house (and also at the same time I don’t miss it at all), but it’s neat to see what they are coming up with digitally.  Eve is still finding her voice online with some videos about DYI stuff, some about video games, and some about Harry Potter.  She’s been “colabbing” with her buddy sometimes too.  Lex has one video posted so far about a Rube Goldberg-style Minecraft device, and he has lots of cool things already built in Minecraft that he’s hoping to record over the next few weeks.

If you’re interested, check them out: Thunderpool and Legoman1342

 

Lex’s birthday adventure

I’m a little late with this post (by a week or so) but we still had fun and I want to share.

Alan got tickets to see Solo (Star Wars) and we spent a fun day playing laser tag, going to the movies, and eating too many breadsticks at the Olive Garden.  Eve didn’t want to see the movie and I didn’t want to play laser tag, but we both endured and even had a little fun. :)  The boys had a blast!

Laser tag makes me squimmish as a parent and teacher, but we played and I survived. The other three LOVE it.

We ate LOTS of popcorn. :)

Eve managed to stay on this moving wall for the entire three minutes. I couldn’t stay on it at all

We got home exhausted and happy.  In fact, both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home!  They haven’t done that in a long time.

The next day Eve tied all the balloons to the cat. Just because.

Lex got some birthday money and was excited to spend it all on Legos!

How many Legos does one teenager need?!

Not birthday related, but last night Lex ROCKED his spring concert!  He had parents and grandparents and kids and everyone coming up to him after the show to comment on his drumming.  He gets so into it.  So enthusiastic.  I love it!

Lex playing the timpinis.

I’m so proud of this guy.  He is kind and caring and fun and funny and a total rockstar!

Happy 13th Lex!

I can hardly believe it, but my baby boy is a teenager today! At what age does it become believable? At what age do you forget their actual birth day, forget what they are like as tiny babies, forget the sweet baby head and tiny fingers? I hope never! I love the growing boy I have now just as much. He’s kind and funny and smart and silly and still loves his momma! Always happy for a hug and still says “I love you” when we part.

He didn’t want much for his birthday this year. Just the usual books and Legos. I offered him a party or a weekend trip, but he said no thanks. He did take me up on my offer of a piano! :) That’s really a present for all of us though. We ordered it several weeks ago and it’s on back order. I hope it comes soon. I’m excited for that one.

I can’t have a birthday without presents on the table (and he sweetly reminded me of the tradition and asked if he would still get little presents even though the piano was expensive), so I got 13 presents, wrapped them all in the same paper, and numbered them. Just for fun.

We also got 13 balloons, wrote sweet notes on them, and left them in the family room for him to see when he woke up this morning. My original plan was to put them in his room, but reconsidered when I realized the fan would blow them around and it would probably be scary.

He said it was wonderful walking into a room full of compliments. :)

We had breakfast and presents, then it was off to school and work — for them! I got to skip work on this beautiful day and take Arlo for a visit to a dog trainer. It was a very nice experience and a lovely place. More on that later. Now, presents!

Back home I decorated the cake and then we headed out to friend’s house for a visit. Eve and her son are both auditioning for Matilda next month and wanted to rehearse together. Really it was an hour of bouncing on their trampoline and five minutes of rehearsing (while still on the trampoline). Lex and her daughter are chess pals and were happy to fit in a few games. He won one and lost one. He said they’ll have a play-off match at school on Tuesday. :)

By this point it was dinner time and if you know this family at all you know that Lex’s preferred place for birthday dinner (and any dinner) is Panera Bread! Alan met us over there and proceeded to be so silly he had both kids in tears. Dads are good at that. :) Then home for cake and more presents!

Now it’s 9pm and the boys are happily Minecrafting. Eve is in bed waiting for me to turn off her light. I am full of cake and love and peace. Tomorrow we will go see the new Star Wars movie (the boys are excited and the girls are along for the ride) and get dinner at the Olive Garden. Sunday we have an invite to a BBQ, but I’m secretly hoping it rains so I have an excuse to stay home and read the paper and drink tea all day. :)

PS. I measured him on the wall this evening.  62 1/4″.  He still has Eve beat by an inch and I still have them both beat!  For now.

HMMS Musical

Lex just wrapped up another season with the middle school musical.  This year was The Music Man and I got exactly zero pictures. (except this one that I just took right now)

He was part of the stage crew and got to move walls and furniture.  Last year there were a lot of crew and he didn’t get to do much, but this year they had a stricter process that required applications and teacher references, so there were fewer people, which resulted in lots more to do.  He was happy.  :)

The show was great.  I helped with ticket sales.  Eve saw it with her class and again with the family.  I love seeing all those kids up there signing and dancing.

Next year I might have both kids involved with the musical!  Crazy!

 

Growing up

There are so many ways I notice the children growing up every day.  Sometimes it’s subtle, other times it’s like a hammer over the head!  Today Lex and I went grocery shopping together.  We decided to swing by the toy store to do a little birthday shopping for Eve along the way.  We got to the Powerhouse Mall, home of the only toy store in the area, walked in, and Lex started wandering ahead.  As we passed the stairs I said, “Aren’t we going up to the toy store?”  He said, “Oh, I forgot where the stairs were.”  WHAT?!  It used to be that he could find that store in his sleep.  The routine was, up the stairs, watch the train for awhile (until mommy is bored to tears), then on to the toy store.  Today he picked out a thoughtful gift for Eve at the store, and some Legos for himself (there’s still a kid in him!).  As we walked down the hall I asked if he wanted his Lego sets now or when we get in the car.  He said, “Well, we can leave them in the back until we get home.  Not much I can do with them in the car anyway.”  Umm…. true.  And very mature.  There were many, many times in the past I had to ask him to please, please not open a bag of Legos in the car, despite his insistence that he could keep them all together and build the model as we drive.  Now, he realizes the silliness of that and has developed the patience to wait.  On the way out, as we passed the train, I asked if he remembered how he used to love pushing the button and watching the train.  He said yeah, paused for a moment, then added, “Really it’s pretty boring.  I mean, it just goes around and around.”  Sigh.  Yes.  It does, and it is, but that’s a grown-up observation.  Gone is the little boy enthusiasm… until we walked outside and saw the Lindt chocolate store across the parking lot…. ;)

Concerts, karate, and mini golf (oh my!)

We are once again in a busy upswing around here. Lex had is “Concert Grande” yesterday. It was only postponed due to snow once, unlike the 6th grade concert that was postponed so many times they ended up just not doing it. We’ve had a lot of snow lately! Concert Grande is 7th-12th all together. It was fun. Lex once again dressed nicely and I, like a dope, took a few pictures in SnapChat but not the camera app and, like even more of a dope, didn’t save them to post here. Oh well. Imagine Lex at the holiday concert, only slightly taller. :)

Today he had a belt test and got his solid purple belt! He’s a powerhouse!

 

 

 

Lex is doing stage crew for the middle school play too and that will pick up in April.

Eve has several roles in the DBS play and rehearsals are in full swing. She is busy rehearsing during recess and many days after school. The play is April 12th! I’m looking forward to it!

I am elbow deep in an PTO mini golf fundraising event we are orchestrating. Each class has built a mini golf hole with a book theme. Tomorrow they will all be setting them up (in the library, which I have been prepping and clearing all week!) and Saturday families will come play 18 holes of mini golf! I’m sure it will be a blast, but right now it’s a ton of work! Being a teacher and VP of the PTO puts me right smack in the middle of all of it. Also, ’cause it’s in my space. I had eager 4th graders today clear out all the tables and chairs from the library, so now it’s a huge open space. They wanted to move bookshelves too, but I had to put a stop to that! Right now it’s 9pm and I’m brain dead from PTO work, so I thought a blog post was in order. :) If you’re local, come by and check it out. It will be awesome! The kids are SOOO excited! If you’re not local, check out pictures on Facebook. :) We might even LiveStream for awhile.