Growing-up

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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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At tonight’s Pack Meeting, A2 and the rest of the Den 1 crew were awarded their “Bobcat” badge! This is the first step in their Cub Scout journey. If you look closely, you’ll see Cindy is the Den Leader for this group of boys. They looked like they’re lined-up very nicely, but don’t be fooled, it was really much like herding cats! 😉

Bobcat Award

Nice work, boys!

Bobcat Badge

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So, Alex likes to chill in this floating bubble thing

Bubble Boy

and when he’s not hanging-out in the bubble, HE’S SWIMMING LIKE A FISH! He’s come a L-O-N-G way!!!

Alex Swims

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Today is the boys’ 100-day of school. To celebrate the kids were asked to imagine what they’d look like if they were 100-YEARS-old. To them, it would be something like this…

Adam insisted that he needed a cane, while Alex said the pipe would do the trick…

100 Years

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Every year we take a family photo to put on our Christmas card. It’s getting a lot easier as the boys get older, but we still need to get it done as quickly as possible because their interest still fades pretty quickly. We thought it’d be nice to flashback to the boys earlier Christmas, so I loaded the picture of the boys 2d Christmas to the television…

Family

All-in-all, we got several good pictures and it was hard to decide which one to use, so we used several…

Boys

Of course, the boys we very cooperative this year, but Charlie, not so much…

Boys and Charlie Boys and Charlie

For my and Cindy’s picture, we put-up another early Christmas photo. This one from our first Christmas in Albuquerque…

Kiss Close

And the boys message to Santa this year is…

Sign

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At long last the boys get to ride their bikes to school, a right of passage they achieved through personal responsibility and following safety rules. Still, Mom rides closely behind, because although they may indeed act responsibly, 6-year-olds can also be impetuous.

Bike Riders

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When we visited the fort last week, Adam signed-up to become a Junior Ranger. He was given an activity book and the opportunity to either complete select portions to become a Junior Ranger, or complete the entire activity book and earn recognition as a Master Junior Ranger.

The Junior Ranger receives a National Ranger Service gold badge, which is quite an achievement in and of itself, but the Master Junior Ranger receives a badge, a special patch, and a certificate of achievement. Naturally, Adam had to earn the Master Junior Ranger level, which he did. Although we could’ve mailed the activity book to the National Park Service to receive his rewards, this achievement required an in-person visit, which we did yesterday.

The Ranger at the fort reviewed his activity book and even quizzed him on some of the details. Adam did very well, and was very proud of himself. As was I. 🙂

Master Junior Ranger

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