Friday, August 31, 2012

Red Sneakers

The Paralympics have now started in London. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn't even realize until this year that we had a big Paralympics.

A quick wikipedia search tells me that the Paralympics were "born" in 1948 when its forefunner, the International Wheelchair Games, was started, following the 1948 London Olympics, and it was done to allow World War II vets to participate.  History geek detour: wouldn't this make a great movie that wins lots of Oscars? Brilliant Olympic athlete (played by Andrew Garfield), cut down in his prime in the war, loses a leg, goes through intense depression and therapy. He wants more than anything to compete again and regain his medal status, but he is shut down at every corner, and not able to qualify running against those bullies with two legs who make fun of him. He'll complain to his doctor/therapist, Dr. Ludwig Guttman (played by Liam Neeson, and in in real life he really was a German born doctor who fled to London to escape the Nazis - the Academy loves movies that deal in any way with Nazis, helping to increase my Oscar odds). His doctor looks at all his wounded war vets, and decides to make a games for them. With the 1st Olympics after the war taking place in London, there is lots of excitement in the city. He can lobby some politicians who at first are disbelieving, but there will be at least one true believer who rallies other to his cause, and then, finally, we have much pomp and circumstance as our young Spidey hero goes on the win para-Gold. Think Chariots of Fire meets Born of the Fourth of July meets Norma Rae meets Schindler's List. With the star of Spiderman playing my lead character, I bring in boys and teen girls (and moms) who gush over him, making my movie lots of money. Its the perfect family film - well, other than the war scenes when he loses his leg. But we'll try and keep the gore down to assure us a PG rating. Money and Oscars - what studio can turn me down?

Sidebar over.

I also learned from Wikipedia that since 1988, the Paralympic Games are held immediately following the main Olympics, in the same host country. This agreement was formalized into written contracts in 2001  - geeky lawyer talk from me, but it is kind of interesting to think that the Paralympics were basically crashing the Olympics sites for thirteen years before they made it official.

Anyways - I'm not exactly watching these games - but it does give me an excuse to find cute pictures of my favorite couple, Wills and Kate.

Who are so adorable that they even wore matching shoes. Red matching shoes. I don't know about your husband, but mine would never let me get him red sneaks - especially if they matched mine.

 And look closer- at the soles of their shoes.

Red matching shoes, soles included. [third bizarre detour of this post - are those some sort of official Olympic sneakers, and WHERE CAN I GET THEM???!!!]

Back to the red sneakers. Like I said, the chances of Carl wearing those shoes are smaller than tmy odds at winning one of those mega-millions powerballs. Although... maybe when my movie "Golden Wheelchairs" is nominated for Best Original Screenplay, I  could give him the option of wearing matching red sneakers, like William and Kate, since they are, after all, the shoes that gave me the  idea for my brilliant movie.

Oh, who am I kidding.

Carl would never wear red sneakers.

(But my writing an Oscar nominated screenplay could totally happen).

ETA: Just realized the doctor is actually Sir Ludwig Guttman. Which means he was knighted. By the Queen. Which means my movie can have a premiere in London, and surely some members of the royal family would come to support my very British World War II era film at the premiere, like Kate and William did for The War Horse. If that happens, Carl and I are SO wearing the red sneakers to the premiere.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Green Ninja

The Green Ninja LEGO is now in our household.

Team Danger is sleeping well tonight.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


We've heard lots of stories over the past few years about how third grade is when homework gets "serious."

I've been a bit underwhelmed with the amount of homework Alex has had to do for the past few years, so I was fairly excited to receive an email from his teacher on Tuesday that the kids had homework to do on the second night of school.

Alex came home, and presented us with these: a spiral homework notebook, and a red homework folder.

Impressive, yes.

But then it turns out that his homework is just to read for thirty minutes - which we do anyways, and for more like an hour (and often more) - and to summarize what he has read in a written sentence and out loud to us for ninety seconds.

Again, we do this anyways, and for more than ninety seconds.

Color me still unimpressed with third grade homework.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to the Bus

Day two of the new school year started bright (er, dark) and early as Team Danger wanted to ride the bus.

Ryan dressed himself, choosing to ignore the shirt I put out for him. But Alex actually wore the shirt I chose, which means I've gotten two days in a row of a "button" shirt out of him. And doth boys opted to wear their second pair of new shoes today. So much for keeping one pair nice and clean looking for long. :(

Alex was trying to read his new book in the dark, a back to school present he desperately wanted, the 3rd Origami Yoda book which just came out. I just *love* that my eldest loves books so much now.

Their first day of school seemed to go well. The evening was bit overshadowed by Ryan's decision to try out the treadmill at home and push it up to "100," also known as ten miles an hour. He promptly fell down and skinned knee badly, hence the large band-aid now covering his knee below. Lots of screaming and moaning were the focus of our evening, so details about his day were sketchy, at best. Every time we'd ask him about something, he'd find a way to move his answer around to his knee and start sobbing again. So I went easy on him with my cross-examination, and let his non-responsive answers slide for once.

I fully intend to come in for the kill this evening and ask away until he cracks, giving me the details I crave.

Alex, on the other hand, is used to my daily evening cross examining, and not only volunteered information, but decided to write a story to tell us about his day.

He didn't get very far, though.

Monday, August 27, 2012

First and Third

And they're off!

We started with two very happy and excited little boys.

Even though Alex wasn't too keen about posing with my printed signs.

I can't believe how big they are getting.

Ryan is wearing size 3 shoes (and notice the ties - he insisted we leave the velcro behind, because that's for "babies"), and size 7/8 in clothes.

Alex is wearing size 6.5 shoes and size 10/12 in clothes.

Alex felt that third grade meant he was big enough to walk him to his room.

Ryan let us walk him to the "kiva," where all the first graders hooks are for their backpacks.

And then we quickly snuck a peek into his room.

And now for a few other Back-to School pictures, like the School Skate Party on Wednesday night.

And Meet the Teacher on Friday afternoon.

Our school orders the supplies for you so they are waiting at your desk when you show up for Meet the Teacher, looking like this.

Ryan has Ms. Martinez for first grade.

Alex has Ms. Corbett for third grade. The third grade rooms are very austere and business-like. A sign things will soon be changing for young Alexander as he enters the world of actual graded classes.

And can I say how happy I am to be getting away from the ridiculous 1-2-3-4 grades which tell me NOTHING about how my child is performing?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Is there any sight greater than the Welcome to Texas?

Our return trip to home was also spent over two days, albeit with a much longer drive the second day than the first so that we could spend time in New Orleans.

Its about 4.5 hours between Destin and New Orleans, and we stopped in Mobile to tour the USS Alabama.

Of all the potential sights along I-10, I thought this was one of the ones the boys would enjoy the most.

Its an old battleship which saw a lot of action in World War II.

The battleship was fun for the boys. They had fun pretending they were sailors on board the ship. Sleeping...

Interrogating a prisoner in the brig...

Working in the engine room...

Inspecting the missiles...

(Or are those pencils?)

And of course, "trying" a uniform on for size.

And what's a battleship without large guns to fire?

The upper decks of the ship were equally fascinating for Team Danger.

Alas, because its an "old" battleship, it doesn't exactly have air conditioning, not counting the lovely Alabama "breeze" on top of the ship.

And it was a hot and muggy day, and the further below deck you go, the more certain younger folks start complaining. (Ryan is *so* my child in this regard. I didn't complain out loud, mind you, but when he was asking me to skip certain numbers on our self-guided map to make it go faster without Carl and Alex knowing, well, I was half-impressed/half-disturbed at his ingenuity. Because that is definitely something I would have done on my own anyway.) (Just kidding, Carl. I'd never skip rooms 17-19 of the B tour. When there were roughly 30 rooms on each of the A,B and C tours. Oh no.)

There was also a submarine at this site.

Ryan was tired of boats at this time, so just Carl and Alex went into the submarine.

Ryan and I hung out on top of the sub and played on the grass. Although not too much, because this sign had  me more than a little freaked.

From Mobile, it was another 2.5 hours to New Orleans. It rained for most of this drive, and it rained for most of our time in New Orleans.


This visit did not go at all the way I hoped it would. The boys HATED New Orleans with a passion. They didn't even want to sleep in our hotel after we had been out for a bit, they just wanted to get in the car and head towards home.

I had planned for us to stay down at the Riverfront area. I remember this being a very fun, carnival-like, family-friendly area that was great for kids.

It was a ghost town.

Except for the large numbers of homeless people. Sadly, this was not a good place for us to be with the kids, so we decided to take a trolley towards the French Quarter. Some brief smiles came out for this.

The boys were intrigued by the street musicians.

And some of the souvenir shops.

But then Ryan lost all interest in New Orleans.

And rapidly shut down, wanting to go back to the hotel, eat and sleep.

I couldn't even get him to be in this picture with Alex.

Or this one, at Jackson Square.

He was DONE, and pronounced (or screamed, yelled, pouted, cried, take your pick, he did them all) that he was not moving one more step unless it was to a restaurant or the hotel.

So much for my sightseeing of the French Quarter.
He perked up a bit with dinner, where he ordered pancakes with vanilla ice cream on top. And at the trolley ride back to the hotel.

I ended up retiring early with the boys, while Carl went back to Bourbon Street. He did, at least, get me a cocktail to go. There are some pluses to the open container laws in New Orleans. ;)

 The next morning, I was determined we would at least make it to Cafe du Monde for breakfast. Cue much screaming and crying that we weren't just leaving this horrible city right away. But one of the perks of being a parent is that I win, so off to Cafe du Monde we went.

Happily, there was no wait for our table, and we sat right next to some friends of ours from back home. Such a small world.
We made a brief visit to the Old New Orleans Mint, which I thought would make my coin-collecting children happy.

It did not.

 Getting in the car and leaving New Orleans did make them happy, though.

And eight hours later, we were home. :)


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