Monday, April 20, 2009

Boston Tea Party

You may have heard about tea parties happening all over the country, especially around tax day. There was one in our home town, so M and R joined in the protest. M talks to our boys about these type of things and R wanted to go and use his constitutional right to protest high taxes. M took an American Flag to hold and R wanted a protest sign. He asked M to make him a "Don't Tread on Me" sign (he has recently studied early US history and knows about the origin of the saying .)

R shows me how he's going to hold the sign at the protest.

They were there for a couple of hours, listening to the mayor, a congressman, and a state senator speak. M had a roll of patriotic stickers that R passed out to 200 people there. He's so outgoing, that boy

It got a bit windy and the U.S. Flag that was at the podium blew over. R ran over to it (looking back at M to make sure that it was okay) and held the flag for the first hour of the speeches. I was so proud to here that patriotic instincts took over and he knew that the flag needed to be off the ground (his Cub Scout training helps.)

R held the flag during an hour of speeches at the rally. He told me that the bottom of the flag stand was empty and should have had sand in it.

This is just a general shot of the scene. Very calm -- a peaceful protest about high taxes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Winners, Winners, Chicken Dinners

Friday night was our fourth Pinewood Derby for cub scouts. M and the boys have been working on their cars for a few weeks now. T wanted a really cool car and R wanted a really fast car. I'd say that they both accomplished their goals since R got first place in the Pack and T was voted "Best in Show" by the rest of the Pack.

Let's step back a couple of weeks...

The pinewood derby kits were handed out at the cake bake. T, R, and M discussed what kind of cars they'd build this year. There was always a pad of graph paper available in the kitchen for those ideas that needed to be sketched out. T and R had different ideas that they would sketch and M would give them advice on whether or not the car would have any speed. T landed on his IPod design early on. He thought that it would be really cool to have a car that looked like an Ipod. R was thinking of doing a streamlined design, but he couldn't decide what it should be. Somehow he was inspired to make his a bumblebee -- the Killer Bee, he called it. Both boys did tons of work on their cars. R even helped shape the bee with the bench belt sander. He also sanded his wheels, polished the axles, and painted his car. T drilled the axle holes, and drilled the places for the weights, sanded the whole thing, sanded the wheels and axles, and painted the car. They did more this year than ever before.

Because we have lots of new boys in the Pack this year, M took his tools to school and assisted any boy that needed help -- about 10 kids took up his offer. We also had 3 or 4 kids over at the house working on their cars. I love how M helps all the other kids even though it's a competition. There are lots of "secrets" to making a fast pinewood derby car; M will share a secret if asked about it, but won't just volunteer them. After all, it is a competition. M also had a bit of competitive spirit with another cub leader -- they had a lot of fun teasing each other about who's kid's car would be faster. (I think that next year there should be a dad's race.)

They raced by dens this year, first the Tigers (first graders), then the Wolves (second graders, including T), then the Bears (third graders), and finally, the Webelos (fourth and fifth graders.) Everybody got a cool medal and the 1st-3rd places of each den got a certificate. At the end of the night the top winners from each den raced to see who was the fastest in the Pack.

T waited patiently as the judge decided whether or not his car was legal: weighing no more than five ounces, axles visible, appropriate wheels. Check. He cleared and was ready to race.

T's Ipod car is on the track waiting for the "go" to start.

He waits at the end of the track, hoping that he got first (he did 8 times, with one 3rd place.)

T shows off his winnings. Next stop, Districts to compete against all the other boys who won "Best in Show."

R loved his trophy, certificate, and medal. He's all ready to race the Killer Bee again at Districts.
(Notice the stinger on the end of the bee. Cool.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Their First Tie

T has wanted to wear a tie for a holiday for a couple of years now. I've held him off, because I'm not a fan of dressing up little boys like little adults. But I figured that he was old enough now to know what he wants and he does love to dress up. I picked him up a tie when I bought his new Easter shirt. I also picked a second tie up in case R wanted to wear one. I figured that if R didn't want to wear one, T could have two. When I asked R if he wanted to wear a tie, he nodded his head in the cool-guy way and said, "sure, that'd be okay."

M helped R put his tie on first because he was ready first. To get the right perspective, M has to stand behind the boy and then can get in the front to straighten it out.

Here is the proud boy, with his hair clean from the shower and slicked back, with his tie, of course.

T got the same treatment. He looked on as M did his tie, concentrating hard so that he could do it himself. Afterwards he told me, "I've got it, mom. I totally can do that tie by myself next time."

I was so proud of my handsome boys. They liked being dressed up...until they didn't like being dressed up. Luckily, the liking it part lasted through church and brunch.

Here are all of us posed in the lobby of the restaurant just before we got called in for brunch. What a spread it was! Eggs Benedict, prime rib, shrimp, pastries, lamb, salmon, crab pasta, chicken parmesan, and lots of desserts.

Easter Fun

Our Easter tradition is that my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and brother-in-law come over for the weekend. They come for Good Friday dinner and stay through Easter Sunday brunch. Then they take off for their four hour drive back home.

Last year I served fish tacos (thanks AJ for that delicious recipe!) which was a hit. That dinner inspired me to have a Mexican feast for this Good Friday. I made cheese enchiladas, homemade frijoles (with bacon fat for creaminess and flavor), nachos, guacamole, and rice. Yummo! We all stuffed ourselves, especially Uncle D, who moaned for three hours. After the kids went to bed, we broke out the Wii and played for hours -- bowling, Mario Kart, and golf.

On Saturday, we had breakfast and then went to an Easter Egg Hunt at a local park. There were hundreds of kids there and my boys had fun. It was a bit colder than we expected (48 degrees plus it was windy) but we had a good time.
The boys waited patiently for it to start. They got more and more excited as the time got closer to start time. They started with the 0-3 year olds, then the 4-6 year olds, and finally, the 7 plus year olds.

R decided that he'd don an Easter Bonnet for the occasion.

Uncle D. provided a ride for T, since he had his walking cast on. We covered his cast with a
plastic bag since the grass was wet. Uncle D. was worried that he'd slip too much if he ran to get the eggs.
Finally the time came...let the mayhem begin! Three hundred seven-plus-year-olds ran out to get the eggs.

After we got home from the egg hunt, it was time to decorate eggs. You may not remember, but the Smith clan takes their egg decorating very seriously. When I was dating M, I participated in the egg decorating Event. It was a very detailed, time-consuming affair. People took, something like 7 or 8 minutes per egg, with multiple colors and multiple layers. I remember candles and rubberbands being involved. Well, my friends, this Easter was no different. We had three dozen eggs, two sets of colors, wax crayons, a candle, rubber bands, and even the netting from a bag of limes.

R helped get the colors on the table. He's thinking about what his egg will be like.

Here are the beautiful, shiny eggs all for the world to see.

T did some still-lifes (lives?) to show off the eggs -- and his photography skills.

We had our Easter dinner on Saturday night: ham, potatoes au gratin (not potatoes "all rotten," like T thought they were called) corn bread pudding, green bean casserole, rolls, jello with peaches, and glazed carrots. The boys and M set a beautiful table for me, using our china, crystal, and silver.

What a lovely day we had.