Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Spring Camping with the Scouts

Before school let out, we had our annual spring campout with the Cub Scouts.

This is the spring campout meant for the younger Scouts, which means that the older, experienced Webelos like Alexander are in charge and lead the camp-out.

Our activities this years included the always-popular BB gun shooting.

And archery.

New this year: bottle rockets, which they assembled on their own. 

And then shot off. The kids LOVED shooting off the bottle rockets.

We also spent den time learning how to tie knots, and we hiked all around the property. 

Its part of the official Chisholm Trail, which is kind of exciting for Scouts since they are in the Chisholm Trail district.

Ryan had a lot of fun hanging with his friends.

And Alexander LOVED being one of the "leaders of the pack."

His highlight, though, was the webelo-only campfire after lights out, where they made s'mores. The rest of the pack has to make do with "Cracker Barrel" time of cheese and crackers as a pre-bedtime snack. But the big, mature Webelos? They get fire. And chocolate. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Getting our STEM on with the Science Fair

Catching up on some of our highlights over the past few months, both boys did projects for the school's science fair.

All 4th and 5th graders have to do a science fair project, but for Ryan it was optional. We had Alex do one for 3rd grade and thought it was good practice for when its graded, so we encouraged Ryan to try it out while in 2nd grade. Ryan got the idea for his project from a waiter at I-HOP, who brought him a glass of dancing chocolate chips one Sunday morning.

Alex went with building a trebuchet, and measuring the distances it threw different weighted objects.

Carl took the lead on these projects, and helped with most of the board setup. My contribution was to insist he bring the trebuchet with his project for entry, because I thought it was a great visual. Carl thought it was too big, and Alex was concerned it was a "weapon" that could get him suspended from school. One quick stop at the principal's office on turn-in morning, and the trebuchet was the perfect accessoryfor his presentation.

We were very pleased for Alex that he won a coveted blue ribbon for his project.

The only problem was that well over half of all fourth graders had blue ribbons hanging on their boards, but only six fourth graders (out of 125) would be chosen to go on to regionals. And guess what? We had the sought-after pink certificate! You can say what you want, but I am utterly convinced Alex's prop is what won him that pink paper. Only two other kids had any kind of prop attached to their project, so I like to think it was my clever insistence on lugging that piece of wood that helped get (us) into regionals.

Alex and the selected 4th graders moving on. While I was happy for my son, I was more than a little disappointed no girls made the cut. Come on, Spicewood - move into the 21st century.

Fast-forward a month, and we were at the Regionals Science Fair.

We were all thrilled for Alex and his great accomplishment.

Especially when we arrived and found THIS! A blue ribbon at regionals!

It was very exciting, but then you relaize that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of kids all around Austin also getting the same recognition. And that for his age group, this was the end of the line. There is no state, no nationals. His fame and glory was a certificate that wasn't even personalized with his name on it.

We had to wait about two hours into the awards ceremony for his name to be called, and they weren't even close to being finished when we took the stage. Do I sound bitter and unappreciative? Possibly. I hid it well from my beloved child, but oh my god... the science fair effort was not all it was cracked up to be in my book.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Feeling O.L.D.

I turned forty-two last month. There's nothing special about this birthday number. Its just making me one step closer to forty-five, which means I will soon be fifty.

I loved my thirties. I couldn't wait to turn thirty, and I always felt like I was in the prime of my life. But once I hit forty, well, I can just see things going downhill. I'm no longer climbing that hill. I am, indeed, going over the proverbial hill, and about to start heading down. How's that for depressing?

Adding to my depression, I was excited to receive a lovely wedding-sized invitation in the mail recently. With a Harry Potter stamp!! (Where does one get these stamps??) Which one of our friends or family was going to be getting married? Clearly, it was someone who knew me well because they sent ME the Harry Potter stamp.

Turns out it wasn't a wedding invitation. It was a graduation announcement. From one of my best college friend's daughter. As in, I'm now really, really REALLY old. Old enough where my peers aren't getting married. My peers have kids graduating from high school. My peers have daughters going to Mount Holyoke. My peer has created a LEGACY.

Something I will never be able to do. Its my only real disappointment in having had two sons, next to the afternoon tea parties I don't get to have. I would just LOVE to have a daughter to send to Mount Holyoke. I've got nieces, though, so I keep up my donations just in case.

I've thought long and hard about what to send Emily for a graduation present. I remember getting lots of money myself, and I was pretty happy with those gifts. But what is the going rate these days? In the end, I went online and found out that Mount Holyoke's bookstore is now online and I ordered her this charm bracelet, to help her start creating some wonderful new memories.

So apparently, this is the new world of  approaching 50. The wedding invitations have dwindled in recent years. And we are moving into the era of graduation announcements. I don't think I can handle when we reach the next stage - the wedding invitations of our friends' children. Or our children's friends. Or our children.

I'm so freakin' OLD.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day this year, we headed out to the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines resort.

Brunch was absolutely amazing there.

Ryan loved the kids table of foods, which was about half as high as the normal tables, so that it was just the right height for little hands.

Desserts were amazing...

Everything was set up so beautifully ... these pictures hardly do it justice.

It was a wonderfully relaxing weekend, and we fell head over heels in love with the pool and lazy river. Why haven't we been here before??


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