Milestones

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Today Adam got a real treat! We were at the batting cages for some practice and he got some lessons from from Oakland A’s (minor league) third baseman A.J. Kubala. A.J. is a local boy and he gives back to his community by working with Little Leaguers on their fundamentals. Adam was grinning from ear-to-ear the whole time!

Thanks, A.J.! What a blast!

Batting with A.J. Kubala
Batting with A.J. Kubala
Batting with A.J. Kubala
Batting with A.J. Kubala

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So, it’s the first total solar eclipse to be visible from the continental U.S. since 1979 and the first to cross the U.S. from coast to coast in 99 years. The next one that will be visible from the continental U.S. won’t be until April 8, 2024…

The total eclipse was viewable in the U.S. along a path from Oregon to Charleston, S.C. In North Florida, this is what we got…

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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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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 the Den 1 Tigers went on a hike to complete the requirements for their Tiger advancement. Each of the scouts had their hiking “essentials” in their backpack as we took off together through the forest, stopping at the edge of the St John’s River for a rest and a quick snack before moving on again.

A fun day!

Tigers in the Wild

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Happy

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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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Last night, we took Alex and Adam to their first LIVE concert! Trans-Siberian Orchestra was in town for their 2016 Winter Tour; Cindy and I have gone to see them several times, so it was a time for the boys’ introduction…

TSO Tour

I wish I could say the evening went smoothly, but alas, I can’t. Sure, we left in plenty of time to get to the arena, but we didn’t consider the Main Street bridge construction, which detoured traffic through town, causing a HUGE back-up and inchworm-like progress. Anyway, after cutting through a few side streets we were within a stone’s throw of the venue when everything came to a grinding halt! Traffic was merging onto a 1-lane road from three different directions. WOW! So, naturally, Dad took one for the team, while Mom and the boys exited the van and headed for the entrance. Thankfully, they made it for the start of the show and I wasn’t too far behind. And Cindy had a beer waiting for me, which made it all good. I actually think TSO delayed the start due to the traffic issues, which worked-out great for us (and many others).

As expected, TSO didn’t disappoint! It was a great show and the boys had a BLAST! When it was over and we were walking out, Adam asked me to upload this music to his iPod (he also said he couldn’t hear, which means we got our $$$ worth ;-)) So, there you have it…TSO has two more fans-for-life! Here’s a clip from last night’s show…the song is called, “Christmas Jam”…

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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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The boys wanted to join the cub scouts this year. The scouts are still a great organization for teaching kids positive values. So, Alex and Adam are in Den 1, and their mom is the Den Leader and their dad is the Asst Den Leader. Today is their first den meeting.

I’m sure if they gave merit badges for smiles, they’d earn them easily…at least for “doing their best”. LOL

Scouts

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