Archive for the Category » Uncategorized «

Gaming

Cade has been bugging my poor beleaguered husband about Minecraft for quite awhile now. he is nothing if not a doting uncle and loving father so he put it on one of the computers. Then a couple of kids would squeeze in front of it and play together.

So he put it on another computer too. And made it s they could play in the same world, their little square computer people. But still more children wanted to play. So he got another computer set up.

Who knew that playing computer games was such a social event?

The kids and the cousins get together and play together, both in the same room and in the same computer world. Building things in a team effort, killing each other, supporting each other. Leaving their seats to g help the other one out when something is hard to figure out. Taking breaks form the very active screen time to go outside and climb on the bales.

I can really get behind this kind of screen time.

Robotics

The Goblin Child joined the robotics group this fall. The little kids one that is. I volunteered to help because I like the idea behind it and want to encourage both children to do this.

The kids, some of them, worked really hard and came up with some good ideas. In The Goblin Child’s group there were a couple of great older kids and they came up with an idea that was great. The theme was building a base on the moon. They had lots of Legos and a motor to motorize one of them. They had to build a moon base with ways to provide water, power, and food. Lots of other stuff too.

Their idea started with a simple fish tank. hen they added filling it with grey water that turned a generator as it flowed into the tank. In the tank were fish of course, but also water plants grown to eat and produce oxygen, gravel to help filter the water and capture all waste for future use as fertilizer. Then out of the tank through another filter and back into the water supply.

The oldest boy in the group designed and built a crane that turned around powered by the motor they had to work with. the whole thing was wonderful and well done.

Today was the competition. Everyone got up early to get their kids clear down to Sydney in time. All the work and effort of the last few months and now was the time to show it off. I was more than a little grouchy when there were no microphones, nobody could hear or see a thing of what was going on. The they took a break to decide on the winner. They came back to hand out awards to….

Everyone!!

Yay. They all got participation awards. The ones who did nothing got exactly the same as the ones who worked hard at it. There was no point to any of it. Sure the kids got to spend their evenings working hard on a project. I suppose they should appreciate the experience? But why bother? If the competition is so completely meaningless why not just get together and build with Legos? We could skip the long drive. We could skip the expensive products from Lego and use regular blocks. We could skip the team shirts. We could let the kids build what ever they want and not be forced into the yearly theme. It might be more fun for them.

But anyway.

Old Fashioned Games

When The Goblin Child invented a game this fall she was so proud of herself. Mostly it showed that there is nothing new under the sun. I told her that her great grandpa used to play that game when he was a little boy. That when I was little he had taken me out in their backyard with a metal hoop off a wagon wheel and a stick. We had spent hours rolling it down the hill.

It didn’t bother her that she hadn’t found a new game. Instead she was even more excited that she was playing the game her grandpa played. They spent the warm weather rolling the hoop all around the yard.

Christmas Eve

We were going to do the family Christmas ting on Christmas eve instead of Christmas day. But we had all morning to get ready, nothing going on until noon. Or so I thought. I was still running around the house in various states of undress when the doorbell rang. The kids flung it wide and invited the slightly unexpected company in. I ran around the house picking up underwear hoping there was some way he wouldn’t notice.

It was uncle Leland. He had gotten up early and made the drive up getting here well before noon. After visiting for a bit he was ready to go ice fishing. We managed to get him to wait long enough for us to go with.

It was warm enough out that we didn’t think there was anyway there’d be enough ice to actually fish. We were wrong. The ice was many inches thick and they set to work boring holes. The ice creaked and groaned. I couldn’t handle it and stuck to the shore.

8 and I explored the shoreline. The ice had heaved and buckled all around the edges. We made our way through cat tails much taller than us and slid down the hills of ice. The The Goblin Child got tired of watching them sit staring at holes in the ice and came to join us. We explored our way clear to the play ground. Then it was time to get going.


Then it was time for the Christmas festivities. It had been declared that lunch would be at noon. No waiting until evening to eat lunch this year. I was determined to support my mother in law in her declaration so we had to be there in time. We rushed home and got our soup warmed up then hauled our presents and food up. We ate, soup, deserts, home made ice cream, then we opened presents.

Then we rushed off to the kids Christmas program. They had been practicing diligently, learning their lines and getting ready for their big night. They were doing a Christmas alphabet poem, each child had a letter and they all did a couple of songs together. They were exhausted from trying to fit everything into one day. 8 was barely hanging in there but managed to pull through. The whole service was beautiful and I always love the last song sung by candle light. They changed it up a little this year, everyone stood around the edges facing each other. It made taking pictures a little more obvious and quite awkward 😉




Christmas Practice

We’ve been making it to church regularly since Thanksgiving. Nothing like the pressure of a Christmas play to get us back in the habit. This year the kids are going to walk one at a time down the aisle and say a letter of the alphabet along with the beginning of a poem. There are an amazing amount of children in this tiny church right now. Five littles that are going to do this. Five big kids that are going to read the rest of the poem and accompanying bible verse. One to manage the littles on stage and one to send them up at the proper times. More kids than there are adults in the church!

I don’t know how it will go the day of. Practice has been interesting to say the least. The littlest kids have been there almost every week for practice. The big ones not so much. Hopefully they wont be tired after a whole day of Christmasing. We’re doing the family Christmas eve. Nothing like stacking everything in one day. The Goblin child is wonderful. She stands tall, speaks her lines loud and clear and remembers everything. 8 not so much. Oh well, if nothing else they’re cute!

First day of practice

Second day of practice

Live Nativity

It’s a tiny little church out in the middle of nowhere, miles from any town. Still the parking lot was filled and people streamed in and out all night long, come to see the nativity.

The children were restless and tired and cold, reluctant to sing and unwilling to sit. The animals much more compliant stood patiently munching on hay.

It was a beautiful night.

The Cousins Christmas Program

The library did a soup and a craft table for the Santa soup cook off. After spending the evening working on that we stayed to watch Ava’s Christmas program! We haven’t gotten to for a few years because of small children who can not sit still. This year we were determined to try, children and all.


Ridiculous.

This is getting more than a little ridiculous.

First my hard working husband came home early from work to find the problem with the waterers. They were bowing fuses, not keeping the ice thawed. He found the problem. Somewhere underground between the fuse and the tanks.

Then the light in the kitchen kept fluttering off and on while we ate supper.  It was easily fixed with a new light bulb.

Then at bedtime the light was off in the fridge. Another simple fix. Mostly. The plug in is well hidden behind the stove. I don’t know how my poor electrically inclined husband goes about it, but it’s a reach.

Even the light up Christmas tree in the Little Blue Truck book quit working. That is taking it too far.

It doesn’t seem like much now that I get it written down but it’s a Monday. Bad enough on it’s own between work, robotics, and children. Altogether it just feels like it’s pilling up. Hopefully the rest of the electricity keeps working!

Telling Stories

Late one night I sat on my computer looking at pictures of old houses. In one of them there was sign of a fire that had occurred many years ago. I noticed my mom was online too so I sent her a link. She should get to enjoy the pretty derelict old houses with me.  We started talking about the cause of the fire and began concocting stories to explain it. I loved our story too much to let it go there, so here it is. A very fictional (maybe) story of a ruin. With pictures!

Me: How do you think the fire started?

Mom: I hadn’t noticed the fire. Maybe the fire place?

Me: No, the fire was by a window. Not to big of a fire but lots of smoke damage.

Mom: It does look like that. Wonder what happened. Your theory?

Me: Cigarette? Electrical outlet?

Mom: Mine was the fireplace…  Maybe someone hated them and threw a burning ball of rags through the window. Before it could do too much damage they found it, fought through the smoke, and extinguished it.

Me: (ever boring) Much more exciting. But the worst of the damage is directly between the windows against the wall, if they threw it through the window I would expect it to be more towards the middle of the room and in line with a window.

(I’m not completely boring though, just mostly) Still possible though. I say it came though the window to our left hit the side of the couch that was there against the wall and burned.

Mom: They didn’t throw it, they came on the porch. There were no screens back then, they poured the tar dipped rags through the window. No they didn’t pour it they pushed it through the window and to the side.

Me: Luckily the girl who had thrown him over heard a noise. When she awoke she laid there disoriented and scared until she came to enough to recognize the smell of smoke. She then woke up the rest of the family and they were able to put the fire out.

Mom: Sadly the man who started it got the burning tar on his hands. He was horribly scarred and disfigured. The girl did the only thing she could, she forgave him, married him, and loved him forever.

Me: She loved and forgave the physically and mentally scarred man and married him anyway, but the scars on his mind, the deep and insidious damage to his mind. From his difficult childhood, their tumultuous romance and the pain of his injuries continued to resurface. They moved into her house with plans to repair it but he would never let her touch that room. As his delusions grew worse he no longer let her leave the house. It slowly rotted into the ground around them. Their once beautiful love for each other collapsing into a rotting wreck taking them both down with it. Very symbolic all around.

Mom: Sadly their son and his wife bought a house in the country along a beautiful stream, in the hills, peaceful and beautiful. He had become so warped by his parents unhappiness that he lost his mind and, some say, killed his beautiful wife, burying her body in the basement. To this day no one wants to buy as they say it is still haunted by their spirits.

Me: Oh, I remember that one!

Me: (back to the original house) Then many years later the door to the house, normally sealed shut, was found open. Upon searching the house the lifeless body of a homeless man who had sought shelter within was discovered. He lay huddled in the pink room near where the fire had started. An autopsy revealed he had died of smoke inhalation. No new sign of fire was found.

It Happened One Night.

We were alone in the house, the children and I. My hard working husband was putting in a late night. He wanted to be home and was going to hurry back to us as soon as he could. Bedtime was near, children were tired, tempers flared. I may have yelled at them once or twice.

At the end of one yell the back door rattled loudly. Great I thought. He got home just in time to hear me yelling at the children. His hands must be full, he was going to bring us deserts after all, and he needs help opening the door. “It’s Lala!” I told the children “lets go let him in”! We dashed down the stairs, flung open the door, turned on the light.

No one was there.

I stood staring at the empty back porch in horror. I knew I had heard the door rattle. I knew it to the depths of my soul. That had not been my imagination. He, or anyone else, surely couldn’t have gotten out the back door already? Could they? The possibilities raced through my mind. None concrete, simple wisps of ideas, frightful and vague.

Then grasping for hope I thought of the cat. Where was that creature? Looking around I noticed The Goblin Child’s door was closed. Could it have been? I heard a door, not necessarily the back door. They are right next to each other. It could have been. Here I opened wide the door.

And there stood the cat, waiting patiently to be let out. Why had we taken so long. Hadn’t we heard it shacking the door off its hinges?