Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Benjamin's Science Fair Project.

Last night Benjamin finished up his science project.

He decided to do a parachute experiment using different shapes of parachutes.
You see my arms in the pictures - he's going to use these on his display board, and they cannot show any faces. He's going to put it all together at school, which sounds great to me!

He made the parachutes out of garbage bags. The most challenging part of this was figuring out what size they should be - each needed to have the same surface area.

I climbed up on a ladder in the garage and let them go while Benjamin did the timing. We did 5 trials for each shape. As expected, the circle took the longest to land. That must be why parachutes are generally made of circles!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wireless Internet!!

After a few months of spotty service, we bit the bullet and upgraded to high-speed, wireless internet. It took the poor technician almost 3 hours to get it working this afternoon, but now it is up and running. Yea!! It's definitely a bit faster than before, and hopefully more reliable. Also, now Chris can bring his computer home and two people can be online at the same time. How exciting it is to be in the 21st century!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A joke from Jodie


A man and a woman who had never met before, but who were both married to other people, found themselves assigned to the same sleeping room on a trans-continental train. Though initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, they were both very tired and fell asleep quickly, he in the upper berth and she in the lower.

At 1:00 AM, the man leaned down and gently woke the woman saying,
"Ma'am, I 'm sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet to get me a second blanket? I'm awfully cold."

"I have a better idea, ' she replied. "Just for tonight, let 's pretend that we 're married.'' "

"Wow! That 's a great idea!" he exclaimed.

"Good," she replied. "Get your own f***ing blanket."

After a moment of silence, he farted.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jonathan does it again.

Well, I've got another good story about Jonathan. Let me begin by saying that he likes to sleep. Anytime, anywhere. I was very upset when I learned that his school has cancelled nap time for Kindergarteners. He is so tired at the end of the day that he often falls asleep at the afterschool program or on the way home. If he's ever in the car between the hours of 2-5PM, he'll fall asleep. Sometimes within the first 60 seconds.
So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised yesterday. He had a dentist appointment to fill his two cavities. (How he got them is another story!) We were there at 3:30, waiting patiently and reading a book. I noticed that he was starting to feel a bit "heavy." He was dozing off. I managed to keep him awake for our 30 minute wait.
onathan goes to a prediatric dental practice, and they are wonderful! He picked the movie Cars, which they put in on the ceiling TV. They put the novicaine in, and we waited for it to take effect. The next thing I know, he's sound asleep. In the dentist chair. The hygentist insisted it wasn't the nitrious oxide. I knew she was right - the kid can fall asleep at the drop of the hat.
What to do now? They started working, drilling out the first of his cavities. He stayed asleep for at least the first 5 minutes, finally waking up while they were drilling his molar. He was a trooper, lying there for the two fillings - one a new "silver tooth." Then the dentist said, "It looks like he has another little one on his canine. I'll quickly clean it up and fill it free of charge." And he did. We got 3 for the price of 2, and let me tell you, the price is not cheap.
We now have Jonathan on a special toothpaste AND mouthwash, hoping to avoid further fillings. And we have a great story to tell. The dentist's office will be telling it as well - this was the first time a kid has slept through a filling!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On Turning 40 and the Super Bowl

So, let me lead off by saying that if turning 40 means having a weekend like I had last weekend, I hope you turn 40 REALLY soon!

First, Friday afternoon about 1:30 my favorite sister (ok, my only one, but after this weekend she will always be known as my favorite sister) called my cell, which is unusual because I'm teaching at that time. I knew that she was travelling that day from Harrisburg, PA to Tampa since she had tickets for the Super Bowl, so when I saw it was her on the phone, I had visions of planes landing on the Hudson, so I answered it -- after apologizing to my class. Cindi's first question was, "So what are you doing on Sunday?" My answer (which sounded very funny to my class, who was staring at me): "Going to church...." She then asked, "How would you like to go the Super Bowl?" Now, most human beings would start jumping up and down or something, but since I'm in front of my class and a bit on the uptight side (well, ok, very anal retentive -- I'm German, I can't help it!), I think all I meekly said was, "ok." Cindi went on to explain that she thought she was about to win an online e-Bay auction for 2 tickets, and her father-in-law would get one ticket and I could have the other one. Wow. I was almost literally speechless. I had no idea what to say or how to act in front of 24 freshmen in high school seeing their teacher talking on a forbidden cellphone. She later texted me that I got the ticket, under the stipulation that I rooted for the "right team." No problem!

So later on Friday night, with all of the excitement and anticipation of later going to the Super Bowl, Karen and I joined my parents and Brian and Barb Larson for an evening at the theatre. We were able to hire a babysitter (one of my students who already knew the boys from Europe) and go out to dinner beforehand. Although I was a bit dismayed by the lack of a Reuben sandwich (my predictable norm), my disappointment was quickly dissipated when I saw I could get Liver & Onions (with bonus mushrooms included)! Must you be old to get excited about liver?! Well, so be it; it was delicious.

The play we saw was called "Wittenberg," a brilliantly written comedy where Martin Luther and Faust (the guy who sold his soul to the devil for material gain) vie for the soul of Hamlet, who is a student at Witt. This premier performance was incredibly engaging with a dialogue that characterized Lutheran theology precisely while also having Hamlet speak in iambic pentameter. I know it doesn't sound funny, but trust me, we were laughing not only during the play but also most of the hour ride home as we recalled the best lines and scenes. I (really, we) highly recommend seeing it if it should ever play close to where you are.

On Saturday, we had my parents, Gretchen and Jeff Wedge over for a good ol' barbeque of brats, beans, sauerkraut, and potato salad. What better meal to have on your 40th b-day!?! Afterwards, I packed up a duffel to take with me to Tampa and headed out for my 2 1/2 hour drive to Tampa/St. Pete! I met Cindi and her party (11 people, including myself) in the hotel, which was almost completely black and gold for the Steelers. I was able to figure out that the "right team" was the Steelers.

How does one describe a once-in-a-lifetime experience like attending the Super Bowl, especially when it was a complete surpise present for your 40th birthday and the game turns out to be a classic?!? I guess it should start with my sincerest thanks to Cindi and Tom for allowing me to be a part of it all. I'm sure there was at least a little reservation about allowing a life-long Packer-Backer into their midst, but I am proud to say that the Steelers are my favorite AFC team, and I cheered them on as if I had been for 4 decades. Their team, their coach, their organization, their ownership, and their city all share a quality that is rare in sports today. I always enjoy rooting for the teams that exhibit character, dedication to players, a certain humbleness (as much as sports stars can have), and high ethical standards, and the Steelers certainly qualify in this regard. Plus, Karen and I were engaged at the fountain on the point where the three rivers meet, so what's there not to like?!

Some highlights -- watching my nephew amuse himself with his cousin and friend at the tailgating party by spitballing everyone in range, only spending 27 minutes and 17 seconds (yea, I timed it) in the security line, noticing the 8:1 ratio of Steeler to Cardinal fans, running the 40-yard dash against my sister at NFL Experience, getting goosebumps while watching Jerome Bettis, Dan Patrick, and Keith Olberman shoot the breeze between NBC studio takes, learning that Weinrichs can't kick a football off a tee, being 5 yards away from the Lombardi Trophy, seeing Kurt Warner and Hines Ward embrace before the game, getting an awesome picture of Ben Roethlisberger warming up, seeing Bethune-Cookman's pregame show, receiving my mom's very first text message, finally seeing Bruce Springsteen (now I can wholeheartedly claim my NJ roots -- they were questionable before), paying $9 for a slice of pizza, acting as a body guard for Cindi's father-in-law Lou who was getting too many compliments on his throwback leather helmet for his own good, waving my terrible towel every time Pittsburgh's defense was on the field, texting Karen every time there was an official review since they weren't showing replays in the stadium, witnessing 2 of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history (100 yard interception touchdown and The Catch), and getting the greatest hug from my sister at the end of the game.

What more can I say? What a birthday, what a weekend.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Superbowl Pictures

Here are some preliminary pictures from the Superbowl. Chris drove over Sat night, and then came home this afternoon. Our camera did a great job, once again!

Want a beer? Be prepared to pay ten bucks.

Who is that Packer?

Before the game, ready to go!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What's up at our house?

You can tell how busy we've been by how infrequently I've blogged. So here's a quick update on our month of January. We:

  • Celebrated by birthday by getting Dance Dance Revolution for the Wii. I'm the only one who's played it so far.
  • Celebrated Benjamin's birthday by going out to dinner at Stonewood's.
  • Continued to celebrate Benjamin's birthday with a sleepover. They went to the Y for 3 hours for "pre-teen night." How's that for party planning?
  • Celebrated Chris' 40th birthday yesterday with a small cookout. He then left for Tampa so he can go to the Superbowl with his sister & family. Yes, the Superbowl.
  • Tried to keep up with bills, housework, kids, school, and work. A bit unsuccessfully.
  • Received two straight-A report cards (Alexander and Benjamin). Kindergarteners don't get grades.
  • Picked all of our oranges and grapefruit in preparation for our first freeze of the winter. We now have 6 laundry baskets full of them on our back porch.
  • Bought more laundry baskets so we could do laundry.
  • Took Benjamin to Target, where he bought roller blades. And knees pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.
  • Were wowed by the inauguration celebration. I made my first graders watch the whole thing so I wouldn't miss it. Boy, did it make me nervous when he got out of his car!!!

That's all I can think of for now. Hopefully things will calm down in February. When is spring break???