Growing-up

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It’s the first day of school. Wow. The summer just flew by! The boys don’t look too upset, though.

2d Grade

Let’s make it a GREAT YEAR!

2d Grade

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This weekend, Cindy took the boys to visit big sister Jessica in Alabama. They’ve been wanting to see “Baby Oliver” and Carter John and their new puppy, Cooper! Today the took a trip to Birmingham to visit the McWane Science Center and Cindy got a picture of all the boys. How she got them to sit still to do it, I’ll never know!

McWane Science Center

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Well, our first year in the scouts is coming to an end. Adam and Alex, and the rest of the Den 1 boys, have been working hard to earn their Tiger rank, completing “adventures” and earning belt loops…

Belt Loops

and tonight they successfully advanced. The ceremony was held at the Pack Meeting with a ceremonial bridge crossing that symbolized their transition from Tiger Scout to Wolf. I stood at the entrance to the bridge and removed their orange Tiger neckerchief, while Cindy, our Den Leader, met them on the other side to put on their new yellow Wolf neckerchief.

Alex crosses the bridge…

Alex Crosses Alex Neckerchief

then Adam crosses…

Adam Crosses Adam Neckerchief

Nice work, boys! We’re very proud of you.

Tiger Rank

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Today was the Second Annual Mom and Son Nerf War. One of Cindy’s friends first put this together last year after her son commented that his sister got to go to the Daddy-Daughter dance, but there was nothing for him to do. And the rest is history!

As the event gets underway, Alex is packed and ready to go with his Nerf vest full of ‘bullets’ and Adam is talking strategy with his crew…

Alex is ready Adam is ready

They had a great time this afternoon, although Cindy says she feels a little sore after all the running around. Adam naturally says the kids won the war, but it really doesn’t matter. After all, the great memory of this day will overshadow any perceived victory.

Mom and the Boys

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Well, today was the BIG day! Pack 280’s Pinewood Derby! The boys were pretty excited to put their cars to the test…

Pinewood Derby Pinewood Derby

…especially ultra-competitive Adam, who is all business. Alex, on the other hand is just chillin’

Pinewood Derby Pinewood Derby

Our Den 1 Tigers had seven cars competing today…

Pinewood Derby

Each group of boys, Tigers, Wolfs, Bears, and Webelos, raced against each other in several three-car “heats” to ensure fair competition. The individual scores are then totaled to determine the winner in each group. Each of the Tigers raced in three heats.

Adam raced against his Den-mates…

Pinewood Derby Pinewood Derby

then Alex…

Pinewood Derby Pinewood Derby

…and in one race, Adam and Alex ran against each other…

Pinewood Derby

So, how did it end? Alex took 3rd Place and gets to advance to the District Pinewood Derby in March!

Pinewood Derby

Alex also took 1st Place in “Design”…

Pinewood Derby

While Adam took 2nd Place in “Design”…

Pinewood Derby

The boys had a great time and were very proud of the work they did on their cars and seeing their efforts brought to fruition at “The Derby”…

Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby

…and although Adam was a little bummed he didn’t place, he learned a great lesson in sportsmanship, as did many of the scouts. In the end, that’s really what it’s all about.

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Whenever we come to the mountains, I like to take the boys out and do some shooting. Last year, we plunked targets with my dad’s .22. Today, I thought I’d let the boys try my Walther PPK .380, which Adam calls, “James Bond’s gun”. Alex didn’t want to come out with us, so it was just me and Adam. He did very well!

Bond...James Bond

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The famous ‘Red Ryder’ BB gun is a lever-action air rifle first manufactured by Daisy Outdoor Products in 1938. Named after the comic strip cowboy Red Ryder it was prominently featured in the 1983 film, A Christmas Story, as the Holiday obsession of a young boy named Ralphie. Ralphie’s mom was convinced he would ‘shoot his eye out’ so she would demur every time he brought it up. Anyway, Alex and Adam now join Ralphie and a long line of little boys (and girls, I’m sure) that claim ownership of this historic piece of Americana.

This afternoon, we hiked into the woods and set-up a couple of targets. After learning how to properly load and fire the rifle and taking the proper safety precautions, we’re ready…

Shooting the Red Ryder

Not bad!

Target

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Today’s the DAY! The boys are EIGHT-years-old and what better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than with a STAR WARS JEDI TRAINING PARTY?!? So, we invited about a bazillion of their closest friends…

Star Wars Invite

Of course, Mom and Dad still have A LOT to do to get ready for the party this afternoon, but before we get started, the boys’ enjoy the pre-party opening of presents…

Pre-Party

Cindy really went all-out with the decorations and the food! Which, of course, made much more work for ME! Not really, Cindy put almost all of this together herself!! All the food was Star Wars themed, like “Obi-Wan Kabobbies”, “Jedi Juice”, and “Edible Ewoks”.

Happy Birthday Banner

Food Food
Food Darth Vader Mister
Happy Birthday Banner The Force is Strong

And R2D2, C3PO, and Yoda came for the party, too…

R2D2 and C3PO Yoda

F-I-N-A-L-L-y it was time for the party, so the boys put on their Padawan garb and the kids arrived, then more kids came, then even more kids. We had several games planned that served as Jedi Training, like Balance-The-Balloon-On-The-Lightsaber, Death-Star-Hot-Potato, etc., so on. Each game had a little poem the Jedi Master Trainer would read to explain the rules of the game, like this one for the Emperors-Lightening-Bolt-Silly-String-Game…

With the dark side, the Emperor is strong
To defeat him, you’ll need a good jolt
You’ll show him with the Jedi you belong
If you can withstand his lightening bolt

So, the kids all had a can of silly string and like Adam…

Adam Silly String

There was also plenty of time for the kids to make-up their own games, like Alex and Westin…

Alex and Westin Alex and Westin

The highlight of the party was this huge Star Wars pinata! In fact, it was the only time we really got any semblance of organization from this rowdy group of Padawans…

Alex and the Pinata Adam and the Pinata

and when the Pinata finally busted open, it was a mad scramble to get the goodies!

Pinata Scramble

So, after a delicious dinner of “Hut” Dogs, the Boys’ were regaled with a chorus of the “Happy Birthday” song from their fellow Padawans…

Happy Birthday

And later that evening, after all of the Padawans had received their Jedi certificates and “goodie bags”, the boys started the day much like it began, with a post-party opening of presents…

After Party
After Party Alex After Party Adam

Yoda, who always seems to know just what to say, summed it up pretty well as he headed back to Dagobah: “A GREAT DAY IT WAS!”

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Casey Kasem As is often the case, I wax nostalgic, sharing with the boys how things used to be and what I enjoyed when I was younger. When I was a teenager in the ‘70s, I listened religiously to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 radio show every Sunday morning. I was always impressed by the way Casey found something unique in each song he introduced. A combination of his creativity, his commitment to research and his love for the work he did motivated people, me especially, to listen to his program.

Now, more than 35-years later (and true to form), I still listen to Casey on Sunday mornings via replays on XM’s “70’s on 7” station. What’s nice this time around is there are no commercials! It’s really quite interesting when you consider that most of the parents around us with kids Adam and Alex’s age are a generation younger than we are. I’m a kid of the ’70’s, while they grew-up in the ’90’s. The world changed considerably in that 20-year span…and so did MUSIC! The music Adam and Alex are starting to enjoy spans 40-years (or more). Take a look at this playlist from Adam’s iPod…

Adam's iPod

Yep, that’s Three Dog Night! I wonder how many kids in their first grade class know that Jeremiah was a bullfrog? One of Adam’s favorite songs is Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way” and it’s really cool (and terribly funny) to hear Alex singing the “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King one minute, then the Runaways, “Cherry Bomb” the next.

Just wait until they have kids…my music will endure!

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It’s finally here: All Hallows Eve or Halloween, for short. The one night we tell our kids it’s okay to take candy from strangers. Anyway, this year the boys presented a couple of unique challenges with regard to their costumes. Alex wanted to be Ant Man, which seems simple enough. After all, the movie just came out last year, right? WRONG! We couldn’t find an Ant Man costume anywhere! We’ll that’s not entirely true because obviously we DID find one, but it wasn’t easy! And Adam wanted to be a Zombie, which required makeup. You’re thinking, “that’s not so bad,” except Adam had to go look in the mirror every two minutes to inspect my progress. So, finally, after all our efforts, Ant Man meets The Zombie…

Ant Man meets the Zombie

And they we’re having fun…although Adam doesn’t look like he’s having fun, he explains that “Zombies never look happy”.

Adam Zombie Alex Antman Adam Zombie Alex Antman

Meanwhile…

Our grandkids are ready for a great night of “Tricks or Treats,” too. We’ve always talked about how Oliver looks like Spot from the movie, The Good Dinosaur, well, Jess outdid herself with this one! Meet Spot and Arlo (a.k.a Carter John). Oliver even has leaves in his hair!

Spot and Arlo

And Kameran was “Deadpool Chick” from the movie Deadpool. Now, I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know if she’s “a” Deadpool Chick or “the” Deadpool Chick, all I know is that she’s too cute! From all the pictures of Deadpool I’ve seen online, a/the Deadpool Chick would need to have a couple of swords on her back, but not this one! Instead of breaking heads, it looks like Kam is going to be breaking hearts…

Deadpool Chick

Happy Halloween

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