Archive for the ‘Samuel’ Category.

New computer and merit badge

With 5 kids in school and each one needing to do a class project or report as well as play games, competition for the computer has become fierce. Time to get a second one. If I really had the kids’ interests in mind I would get a laptop that they could use around the house; unfortunately, that would mean I’m stuck with an older, but still very good, desktop computer when what I really want is a smoking hot powerhouse of a new computer to play with. What do to? Build a new powerhouse for me and give the kids the old one of course!

Unpacking the new parts

Unpacking the new parts

Sam is somewhat interested in the new computer (mainly to see whether I will put any new video games on it) so I figured we might kill two birds with one stone and start working on the Computers Merit Badge as we build the new PC. We’ll update our progress here so we can document his efforts for the merit badge. Most of the parts came today although I was a dolt and forgot to order the CPU cooler so we’ll have to wait until Friday before we can really get into the build.

I’ve been going over parts lists and prices and specs for weeks now in preparation. Nancy teases me and says I’m like a kid in a candy store. I suppose that’s true. The planning and anticipation are half the fun. In fact, the planning and anticipation are 90% of the fun because, let’s face it, the actual build is only somewhat fun and installing and configuring all the software isn’t fun at all.

Week in review

This past week was a busy one for the family with the kids in school, and Young Women and Scouts, and volunteering at the hospital. Of course, the highlight of my week was the home opener for BYU against Texas. This year we are glad that Grandpa is finally retiring now that he’s turned 70 and can start going to games with us. Sam always likes to go to the games and the girls like to go if the weather isn’t too bad and if the prospects of getting treats is high. With Grandpa at the game the prospects of getting treats is significantly higher so there was some argument and discussion this week amongst the girls as to who would get to go. Caroline managed to lay first claim so she was the lucky one this week.

Waiting out the storm in the car with Grandpa

Waiting out the storm in the car with Grandpa

We met Grandpa in Provo about 1.5 hours before kickoff and had lunch at an Asian restaurant which, although not the cleanest place in town, was pretty good. As we were leaving the restaurant a huge black cloud was rolling in and the wind was whipping. By the time we had left the parking lot of the restaurant the rain was coming down hard and as we drove by Provo High School trees were blowing over on the sidewalk. We went slow through the rain and got up to the gates of the parking area when the guy closed the gates with two cars in front of us. I guess they didn’t want the parking attendants standing out in the storm so I can’t blame them for that but it meant there was a whole street full of cars with nowhere to go.

The storm didn't dampen our spirits

The storm didn’t dampen our spirits

I wasn’t about to lose my prime parking spot so I did some fancy maneuvering in the car and found an entrance to the lot that was still open. The cop guarding the gate let us in but told us to stay in the car until the storm had passed. We didn’t need to be told because with the way the storm was howling we had no plans to leave the car and get soaked and blown to pieces. Even though we had ponchos with us they wouldn’t have done much good the way the rain and wind where whipping around. We sat in the car and listened to the pre-game on the radio. What we hoped would be a short wait eventually turned into a two hour delay until kickoff.

Enjoying the game

Enjoying the game

The kids were pretty good and patient even though waiting 2 hours in the car through a rain storm isn’t their idea of a good time. Eventually the rain and wind let up and people started filing into the stadium for the game. The game was fun with only a light sprinkle or two for the rest of the night. Best of all the Cougars were awesome and had a great game.

Sam the Tenderfoot

Sam the Tenderfoot

The other noteworthy event of the week was Sam’s first rank advancement as a Boy Scout. He earned his Tenderfoot award at the Court of Honor on Wednesday night. When they presented the award, they asked for the parents to come forward with the boy. Of course I thought it was more important to stay back and man the camera so Nancy had to go up by herself. She was pretty miffed at me for leaving her behind and as soon as the Scout leader presented the award Nancy hustled off the “stage” (it was an outdoor Court of Honor) and I didn’t get the chance to snap a good photo.

Doing the Scout Oath

Doing the Scout Oath

Sam isn’t super interested in Scouting. Frankly, he’s about as interested in it as I was at his age. I’ve been working with him a little bit on his rank advancements here and there; however, he isn’t really self-motivated to do the work. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to bribe/push/force him to get his Eagle like I was forced to get mine (I couldn’t get my driver’s license until I got my Eagle). For now, I’m just going along with him on the campouts (11 year hold Scouts must have a Dad with them in over to go on overnight campouts) and trying to balance helping him with Scouts vs. pressuring him to do Scouts.

Back to School

Sam and Diana are still on year-round school so their track started a week earlier than the older girls.

Back to school 2013

Back to school 2013

Sam is in 6th grade now so he’s a Big Man on Campus while Diana is starting the 4th grade.  They’re excited to go back to school and Nancy is excited as well.

Sam’s attendance

Sam missed only 2 days of class in 4th grade. Good enough to get an attendance award. I’m not sure he was too happy about getting his picture taken in front of the class. Next stop, 5th grade.

Sam receiving his 4th grade attendance award

Sam receiving his 4th grade attendance award

A Birthday and a Bear

Sam recently had a birthday and turned 10 years old. He and Diana have birthdays fairly close together so they got to jointly select the location for their birthday dinner. Their choice? Golden Corral.

It was the first time any of us had ever been to Golden Corral and I think the kids were influenced in their choice by the chocolate waterfall advertisements on TV. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that advertising works – especially on kids. Golden Corral turned out to be a bit more blue collar than the Chuck-A-Rama. Fortunately for me, that meant the people-watching entertainment value was high. Unfortunately for the kids, their expectation of a buffet is based on the buffet we went to in Vegas recently so they were a bit disappointed that the Golden Corral didn’t have the same selection and quality as the bigger Vegas buffets.

10 years old

Fortunately, a chocolate waterfall covers up a lot of shortcomings and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves and ate as much chocolate covered stuff as they could hold. Life is good when you’re 10 years old and there is a chocolate waterfall around.

Sam getting his bear award and a hug from Mom

Tonight was Pack Meeting and Sam received his Bear award along with a gold arrow point and 4 silver arrow points. Now he’s on to the Webelos den. Before you know it we’ll be going on Scout campouts together.

Now that’s a cabbage!

Sam brought a small cabbage plant home from school earlier in the year in a cup. I’m not sure what science project his class was working on but apparently it involved planting a cabbage seed. Most of the “plant a seed in a cup” type of projects our household undertakes end up not working out. The cup sits on the shelf in the kitchen and the plant eventually dies from lack of water or sunlight or some mishap like being knocked off the shelf.

Sam the Man, and his cabbage

Sam the Man, and his cabbage

This time was an exception though because somehow we managed to get the cabbage transplanted to the garden at the right time of year, in the right soil, with the right moisture, and the dog and crickets and kids all managed to leave it alone so it could grow. And grow it did. It turned out to be the biggest cabbage plant I’ve ever seen.

The summer garden

The summer garden

Sam and Diana (ignore those brown spots in the lawn...)

Sam and Diana (ignore those brown spots in the lawn…)

We might have let it get a little too big because when Sam finally cut it and trimmed off the loose outer leaves, the cabbage was still nearly bigger than him and had a huge oval shape. Nancy cut it up and used it for a variety of dishes so it wasn’t just a “show cabbage” as it was able to fill the measure of its creation by filling our stomachs.

Now that's a cabbage!

Now that’s a cabbage!

Congratulations Sam on growing such a beast of a cabbage.

Rocket Race

This year in Cub Scouts they did the rocket race instead of the Pinewood Derby. Sam had fun making his rocket and stuck with the usual BYU blue.

Sam's BYU rocket

Sam’s BYU rocket

The rockets don’t have nearly as much room for customization and tweaking as the pinewood derby cars do. They also don’t have the people buying cheater wheels and spokes off the internet. Both of those things are a plus in my book as the rockets are much less work than the derby cars. I had never done a rocket when I was in cub scouts so I was unaware of all the secrets on how to make the fastest rocket. We stuck with the basic instructions for the rocket and rounded off the edges to make it look like a rocket as best we could but that was about it.

Waiting for the race

Waiting for the race

For the record, the rockets that won were those that were the lightest. The winning technique seemed to be to drill a lot of holes in the sides of the rocket to make them as light as possible. Because the rocket is not gravity powered like derby cars are but is rubber-band powered, and because all rockets have the same standard plastic adapter that hooks them onto the wire, the lighter weight rockets win and aerodynamics and reduction of friction are not really relevant. The only caveat is to not make the rocket so light that the rocket structure becomes too fragile and you can’t put enough tension on the rubber band without breaking the rocket.

At the starting line

At the starting line

Unfortunately you can’t have nearly as much run with the rockets after the derby is over like you can with the cars. The cars can be rolled down driveways, rolled on the kitchen floor, etc. Rockets need to be hooked up to the racking apparatus in order to operate. In the end though it was still fun and Sam seemed to have a good time even though his rocket wasn’t a winner.

The rocket man

The rocket man

Sam’s Patton Book Report

Sam had to read a biography and do a book report on it for school. Fascinated by anything related to the military, he choose a biography on General Patton. Part of the book report requirements were to make a poster related to the book. Although not blessed with the drawing talent that his sister has, I thought Sam did a pretty good job for a third grader.


Sam, as Patton

I’m not sure if cutting out the head hole so he could pose as Patton was a requirement or if Sam just did that on his own, but I thought it was a pretty clever idea. The kids all had a fun time taking pictures with Sam’s Patton poster.


Posing with Patton

April Birthdays

Sam and Diana have birthdays only a few days apart. I can never remember which person’s birthday is on which day. Luckily for Sam and Diana, the got to have separate birthday celebrations this month instead of getting a combined one like Caroline and I do.


Sam’s birthday but Diana just can’t wait for hers


Happy Birthday 9 year old

Sam’s birthday is first but Diana has a hard time waiting a few more days until her celebration. She wishes that her birthday came first each year. Of course if it came first then she would be wishing that it was her birthday again when the second person’s celebration rolled around a few days later. Not many things are better than birthday cake and presents when you’re turning 7 years old.


Diana posing on her birthday


Happy Birthday 7 year old

Dessert Competition

For the annual Blue and Gold Cub Scout Banquet our pack does a dessert competition. Sam and I were thinking about various desserts we could try to make when I suggested Better Than Sex cake. Once Sam and the other kids heard that name for a dessert, it was all over and they just had to try it.


Sam making dessert with Diana

So, the night before the pack meeting Sam and I went out and got the ingredients and we made the dessert. Diana pitched in to help as well. The kids wanted to try it right away but we only made one cake so they had to wait until the next day. Unfortunately, my cooking skills didn’t do the name of the dessert justice and I think the kids were a bit disappointed. Another lesson we learned was that when you’re entering a dessert competition, don’t go with any dessert that has to be cut or sliced onsite. Nobody will cut into it and try it. It’s best to stick with cookies and such or brownies that are already cut.