Thursday, November 20, 2014

Aiden's robotics tournament

We had a crazy busy day on Saturday.  Christian was doing a last minute state tree climbing competition, Aiden had a Vex IQ robotics tournament, and Grace had her violin lesson which meant a lot of driving for me because they were in total opposite directions.  Aiden just joined this local robotics club this year and this was his first tournament, so I felt bad that neither Christian and I could stay to watch him, but thankfully a good friend was able to stay and cheer him and his team on.
Aiden with the robot his team made, waiting for inspection.
Since Aiden is new to this and there were a lot of other experienced kids and parents I was just hoping he wouldn't get last place.  We were really all more focused on Christian winning his competition since it would mean a trip to Florida this winter.

I got a call from Christian in the afternoon telling me that he got 2nd place with 250 points, and the winning guy got 251.3.  How close can you get?  Every year he comes close, but it's never been that close!  One of these days...

So, being distracted by that news I neglected to call and see how Aiden did in his tournament.  When I went to pick him up in the evening, I asked my friend how they did and she said they got 1st place!  Aiden actually had the controls at the end and stacked the last block at the last second.  It sounded quite exciting, but Aiden being the chill kid that he is seemed somewhat nonplussed by the whole thing.
(photo courtesy of my friend because I wasn't there at the time)

The more we talked about it though and praised him for all his hard work he got more excited.  They beat out 12 other teams, many who were a lot more experienced than they were.
Holding the team trophy.
This has been such a great opportunity for him and he absolutely loves it.  Christian takes him every Monday night for practice and it has been a great father/son bonding experience for them even though robotics is totally not Christian's thing. 

Last year a team from our local group made it to the international competition in California, so it is exciting for Aiden to think about where his hard work might take him!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Claire bear

Happy 3rd birthday Claire Bear!  What a fun, happy, spunky, precocious girl you are turning into.  With all your older brothers and sisters you think you are such a big girl, too.  When we drop the big kids off at art class and you and I go to the library to read books you ask me, "when are we going to pick up our kids" as if you were their parent and not their sibling.  I love it when you say, "Guys you need to be quiet! Mom said!" when your siblings are squabbling in the car.

And speaking of books at the library, you could sit and listen to book for hours if only my voice would hold out that long.  Your favorites are Curious George books, The Mitten (which you can actually recite word for word), The Little Fur Family and Bible story books.
Claire with Grammy W.
You love your bible and always are sure to remember to bring it to church.  We also love to hear you pray.  You always want to pray and you remember to pray for things that we sometimes forget.  You still pray for Dad's back that he hurt back in August.  Somehow you haven't realized that it's better now.   What a sweet heart you have at such a young age.
You were so excited for your birthday and it was such a delight for you to have both sets of your grandparents here, your big friend Andrew D. who eats dinner with us two nights a week, and your cousin.
Grace and Naomi made you an orange marmalade cake all by themselves and it was delicious!  You were so busy with your presents that I think you forgot to eat it. 
As people left to go home you called out to them "happy birthday!"  Bless you little heart, my dear.  You can be exhausting sometimes with your antics but we love your and can't imagine life without you! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Illustrator David Wiesner

 Today our local library had a special program with author and illustrator David Wiesner, winner of three Caldecott medals.  We were already familiar with his books, owning one and having checked out others from the library, so this was a really unique experience seeing a "celebrity."

Mr. Wiesner writes mostly wordless picture books, which is a genre we have recently been exploring with books such as Polo, The Red Book, Hank Finds the Egg, and others.  David Wiesner draws inspiration from the surrealist artists and his books are imaginative and mysterious.

He walked us through his books Tuesday and Mr. Wuffles, explaining the process of sketching the first drawings to the final watercolor painting ready for the book.  He told us that it takes him 1-4 years to finish a book, which I think really surprised the kids.  Illustrating a book may look fun and easy, and while it may be fun it does take time and determination to get it done well.

He also showed us drawings that he had done as a kid which looked just like drawings any other 6 or 8 year old would draw.  He encouraged the kids that if they like to do something to keep at it because his sketches started out looking just like theirs.


He also showed us how a book is printed on one large piece of paper and then folded up to produced the final version when they cut off the edges, bind it altogether and add a cover.
Oh dear, I didn't realized Grace was blinking in this picture.  That's what happens in celebrity pictures.  You get too excited to get a good picture.  After the crowds left we were able to ask him for recommendations of his favorite wordless picture books and he gave us some great suggestions, such as The Arrival, which we immediately went off to find.

I was just thinking that as crazy as it is taking all the kiddos to the library at the same time I really am going to miss these days.  I love watching their delight at finding good books and then walking to the check-out counter still reading those books, not watching where they are going and bumping into things. 

After we get home all the books get dumped onto the floor in the living room and they go into book comas as they carefully scour each and every one.  Even though we do own quite a lot of books ourselves there is great delight in finding new books at the library and there sure is a lot more reading that goes on after our library trips.

I love public libraries!

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