No Harm Done

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Our Amazing Race

There are many reasons that I am thankful for a friend like Mrs. G. Among them are these: She is funny and frequently makes me laugh. She is a patient, calm, and thoughtful mother to her children, and I am constantly encouraged by her example. She loves arranging creative activities for her children.

Last fall we were privileged to receive an invitation to join their family in a game of "Fear Factor." (Click on the link to see pictures from that event.) Mrs. G. carefully selected and prepared the activities, literally scribbling ideas on a notepad in the middle of the night so she wouldn't forget them in the morning.

Yesterday the kids competed in Mrs. G's latest game: "The Amazing Race." I'd make a movie of this, but I cannot find a copy of the theme song that I can download to my computer. So please, play along and indulge me here: Right-click on this link and select "Open Link in New Window." Turn your volume up a bit so that you can hear the music before you continue reading this entry. If the music ends, feel free to click back and start it again.

The Amazing Race: Hometown Edition

Before the beginning of the race, the kids were paired up into teams of 3:

Team 1 Lainie and Addie

Team 2 Luke and Leila

Team 3 Wil and Braden

To begin the race, the teams received their first clue: race over a quarter mile to a designated location where they would find 3 "taxis" driven by the parents. Each taxi had a different departure time. There they'd receive the second clue.

The next clue directed each team to a local mini-golf course, where each team would need to play 9 holes of mini-golf before they could receive the next clue. I got to be the taxi driver for Braden and Wil, and I had the best time listening to their chatter as we drove to each location. They would speculate about what each task would be like, or panic when they thought they saw a competitor's taxi. I had a hard time not laughing out loud when Wil asked Braden, "Does this seat belt make me look big?"

The teams played their nine holes of golf faster than we'd expected. Later in the race we'd needed to come up with a couple of extra activities so that we wouldn't arrive at the Pit Stop too early. Braden even got a hole-in-one on the last hole!

The most difficult thing about this race for me was the kids completed their tasks so quickly that I didn't have a chance to take many pictures!

The next clue took the kids to a local ice cream shop where they had to order an ice cream treat and eat it before they could receive the next clue.

The next clue took the kids to a local elementary school where they had to walk a long balancing course before receiving the next clue. The kids completed this task before I had even parked the taxi. So - no pictures.

After completing the balancing act, the following clue directed the teams to a large department store. The teams were each given pictures of 6 items. They were to find each item in the store and see how much it cost. Using calculators, they needed to find the total cost of the items and show the correct total to their taxi driver before moving on. As my team pored over the pictures, Wil exclaimed, "I know exactly where that purse is! Oh! It's really cute!!"

Next, it was off to a grassy location where the teams had to search through 100 plastic eggs to find an egg that contained a small piece of blue yarn.

They found them in no time, forcing Mr. and Mrs. G to come up with another task on the fly. The person we had waiting at the "Pit Stop" was not due to be there for another 20 minutes. So while Mr. and Mrs. G prepared the spontaneous task, I kept the kids busy by having them pose for team photos and silly pictures. (This, by the way, was a technique I picked up from my grandmother. And you know what? It works. )

"Okay kids! Look panicked and afraid you'll lose!"

"Um. Okay. Uh. Handstands! Yeah! Now do handstands!"

Luke got a little help.

The final clue took us to a local park where teams had to search for M. , who would be this race's Pit Stop. It was a close race, with Teams 2 and 3 in a foot race to the finish. Team 3 narrowly edged out a victory.

When it was over, we were all hot, thirsty, and ready to head back to the G's home for pizza and soda. As we rode home, Luke told Braden, "We never thought your team would win because your mom always gets lost!"

I wanted to be outraged and incensed, but..... he's right! In fact, I did get lost at one point during the race, but the boys were so busy watching for other taxis they didn't notice. Whew!

After dinner, as we corralled the kids into their proper cars, Mrs. G's eyes gleamed as she told me her plans for the next "Amazing Race" - a two day event! I don't know how she does it. The ideas flowed from her like water. She's already planning a fall "Fear Factor" too.

We can hardly wait!

Happy Mother's Day!

It's a little late, but Mother's Day should really be a year-round celebration, don't you think?

I can see a little of Braden and Brogan in this. I wonder if first-born and second-born personalities have always been so universal?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

By Popular Demand

Well, okay, maybe not popular demand. But three different people have asked for pictures of the living room with its new color and furniture. So here it is!!!

Da! Daaaaaaaaa!

There is nothing on the wall yet, so the walls behind the couch look quite naked. I do have a couple of things that will go there when I have time.

My plans for this part of the room include bookshelves on either side of the window, and a small coffee-type table. The furniture will not always be in this place, but it works for now.

The chair, sadly, will be returning to the store. It was delivered somewhat swaybacked and unstable. Just like me! (ba DUM bum!) They can't really fix it, and so I need to go back to the store and choose another chair. That will be sad, as I really like this one. Hopefully there will be something similar there.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Heard in My House

Today we were discussing being content with the way God created us, and I asked Braden what gifts or talents he thought God had blessed him with.

Braden: I am a good talker. I talk a lot.
Me: Yes, you do. As a grownup, how could you use that ability to glorify God?
Braden: You mean as a career?
Me: Possibly. There are lots of careers that require you to be a good speaker. A teacher....A pastor...
Braden: I know! I could filibuster!

I pity the senate.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Birthday Weekend, Part Deux

After the big Wiggles concert we headed over to the big shopping mall to spend the afternoon exploring. In a large outdoor plaza a local radio station had some sort of amateur time. Local bands, seemingly comprised of area high schoolers, got a chance to play for 15-20 minutes on the stage. One of the bands we heard was actually quite good. The other needed to find a lead singer who could actually sing.

The area around the plaza had several sets of stairs that the boys ran up and down for a loooooong time. Seriously. I think we spent 30 minutes running up and down stairs and ramps.

Afterwards we steered the kids toward a children's art...something. I'm not sure exactly what to call it. It was like a children's museum, but filled with art tables, paper, templates, crayons, colors, scissors, glue, paints, simply TONS of things. Each child got a bag to fill with their creations when they walked in the door.

Brogan made a pair of goggles and a cape. He wore those out the door and around the mall. It was fun to watch other people's reactions to his superhero costume.

Here's Colson coloring his own pair of goggles.

For lunch we dined at the Crayola Cafe. A very cute and colorful place to dine. It was in the open part of the mall, so we got to do a lot of people watching. That's M. and the boys at the table under the sign.

I am thankful to have children who are not afraid to pose for my camera in public places.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Beauuuuuuuty Mate!!!

I first posted about The Wiggles here. We've Netflix'd nearly every one of their DVDs, and have even invested in a CD in the year since Colson first discovered this group. I've even joined the Wiggles message board forum. (Sigh....I know. I know.)

Anyway, when we looked up the locations of The Wiggles' North American tour, we were excited to see our nearby big city on the list! And in the birthday month of the biggest little Wiggle fan in our family! It was too wonderful to pass up, so our birthday gift for Colson this year was a trip to the big city to see The Wiggles perform.

They drove out in their big, red car and Colson got excited. He'd hoped he'd be able to ride in the car with Murray.

We brought along binoculars for Colson and Brogan. I used them to try to determine whether or not Jeff was actually playing the keyboard (He wasn't), and if Murray was really playing "Stairway to Heaven" (He was). I learned that Jeff really looks good for his age. he's 55, I think. Maybe 56. But you'd never know it looking at him.

Murray and Jeff worked the crowd, and at one point Murray walked very close to us. I couldn't get a good picture of him, but I did get one of Colson waving to him.

Everyone was there: Dorothy, Captain Feathersword, Wags, and Henry. Even the Wiggly dancers were the same dancers you see on the videos.

I think it was the best concert I have ever been to. Now, when I say that, you need to know that I've only been to 3 other concerts: Chayanne (when I lived in Costa Rica), Lee Greenwood ( a fun concert), and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap . So, take the whole "best concert I've ever seen" thing with a grain of salt.

I think my favorite part was watching Colson watch the show. He may not remember this day when he's grown. but I will.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Admit It. I'm A Sucker.

I am a sucker for these internet movie parodies that float around the internet.

Here's a clever update of a classic movie. Who knew that De Mille could be so hip?

(Disclaimer: There is one bad word spoken by "Principal Firebush" at the end.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Frissons de Joie

Three wonderful, blessed years.

You were a surprise to all but the One who formed you. Your first hints of being turned our hearts from the sorrow of loss to the hope of joy. You have been prayed for, loved, and treasured.

We are so very, very thankful for you.

Happy Birthday, wee one!

**The video does not air smoothly on You Tube. If you'd like a smoother copy, let me know and I'll e-mail it to you. H.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I can get behind this kind of evolution: "The Evolution of Dance."

The kids and I watched and laughed. A lot. Especially when I pointed out all those dances I used to do. And then again when I tried to demonstrate them.

In my head, I am an amazing dancer. In real life, I look more like Elaine Benes.

"It's like a full-body dry heave!"

At least I make up for it with enthusiasm.

Enjoy watching this video. It takes a few minutes to load, but it's worth it. There's even a bit of "Ice" in it, Dy, so have fun!

( If the video skips and starts, turn the volume down and go do something else. Come back in a few minutes to replay it, and it will run straight through.)

HT to Donna at Quiet Life!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Spunky is giving away a Benz Microscope and Apologia Biology Set this week. Click Here to get the details.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Like I'm The Only One Who Thought That.

Brogan and I are sitting in the doctor's waiting room, hoping the nurse comes out and calls our name next.

The door opens, and the nurse calls out, "Marco!!"

How on earth can I be expected not to answer "Polo!"

And why is everyone staring at me?

Monday, May 01, 2006

For Mom

For weeks now Brogan has been trying to swim. He kicks his legs and flails his arms in an imitation of the front crawl. But as hard as he worked, he never went anywhere.

Poor little guy would swim and swim and swim and then stand up in the exact. same. spot.

Today I was able to get a little footage of him actually swimming. He was swimming underwater and actually moving. He's pretty proud.

Here's your video Mom!

Our World Is Still Turning.

The roof did not cave in. Our economy did not collapse. I was still able to go to restauants and stores without any problems.

I am adamantly against illegal immigration. Hear me now. I said "illegal immigration. " It may surprise you to know that I am against all sorts of illegal activity.

Because of the boycott that was to happen today I made it a point to make my own statement: we staged a homeschool walk-out. We made a point of getting out and about and spending some money. I'd hoped to do my grocery shopping, but we ran out of time at the end of the day.

I'm sure there were businesses closed, but I didn't see any. Marc's plant has a significant Hispanic workforce and they were prepared for anything. Happily, only 3 people didn't show up for work today. Not only did everyone else come, but they worked especially hard and finished extra early.

Ok, my semi-soapboxy rant is done. Here are some happy pictures from the day.

We went swimming at the pool in a nearby town. We go once a month with a group of homeschoolers and swim during the day when it's not too busy. Today was the last swim day, and the boys made the most of it. Colson has finally gotten over his fear of being splashed and had a great time playing in the kiddie area.

This is Colson dancing on the tail of this dragon. The dragon is really a slide, but Colson must dance on the dragon's tail before he slides. It is his ritual.

Braden gave Brogan piggyback rides in the deeper end. I remember my Dad doing this with me when I was smaller than Brogan. I was terrified.

Here they are competing to see who can hold their breath the longest.

Finally, Braden on the obstacle course.

Another happy note, we finally ordered living room furniture! "It's about time!!!!" some of you cry, and you're absolutely correct. I can hardly wait for the furniture to arrive. No longer will guests be forced to sit on camping chairs in our living room. Or stand awkwardly conversing with each other while trying to look cool and casual. When it all arrives I'll post photos.