Monthly Archives: February 2012


At E Day (engineering day) sponsored by the Keyport Naval Undersea Museum. Great job hosting the event and attracting all those young engineers to inspire the next generation! Sam made an electromagnetic device, a straw cantilever and a few other events. It was really interesting. We bumped into at least 5 other families from school.

I don’t have much time to write because I am waiting for a contractor help me raise the chicken run roofline so I can stand up and walk around without a hunchback (we had to cover it at long last due to hawks swooping down for chicken nuggets). I also have some complicated work on my desk for later. I thought I’d record some little glimpses of life around here so I remember how much fun, and how stimulating these years are. In the kitchen every morning we continue learning the Gettysburg Address. I have it taped up to the pantry door so I can peek when I need help. Often, though, Sam is the one to act as prompter. I remember memorizing this in fourth grade. I also memorized Romans 12 in sixth grade. I think memorization is a great workout for the brain, and kids are really quite good at it with repeated exposures. Who knows what lessons will be embedded in these neural pathways, but I really enjoy filling their brains with high-fiber, low glycemic index stuff. Sometimes I also do “kitchen burpees” and the kids laugh like crazy as my head pops up above their counter horizon 🙂

At night I pray for the young patriots growing up all over this great nation who will take over leadership in the 21st century and hopefully improve upon our lead. I pray for their parents, and hope that we will all find the way to fill their lives and their hearts with real substance, remind them of the incredible efforts upon which this great nation was founded, give them real-world superheroes, and even supernatural ones (we’re reading about angels, too). I’m reading what is essentially a long essay by Friedman and Mandelbaum (That Used to be Us…) so I can relate to my peers, but not to disparage the authors (it’s a decent read) I think most of us know the lessons intuitively without reading this book. The contemplative American already knows that the answer lies in creativity and hard work, teamwork and optimism. I wonder whether affluence has bred laziness and aspirations of entitlement at unprecedented levels. Dave – feel free to  edit and correct me here. I am usually the one saying generalizations and opinions are essentially worthless. This is just the stuff I think about while I’m out chopping wood.

All that aside, I am quite proud of my ability to memorize Gettysburg again! And Sam used the bow saw yesterday to saw through 3″ limbs – ALL BY HIMSELF! He worked through the initial frustration of getting that long, thin blade sunk into the wood a bit to get a groove going, then the tendency of it to bind up as he got nearly through. I was very proud of him. Too grubby to grab a picture, I am sorry to say. Finally, Sam remembered to pray for our friend who is deployed on the USS Lincoln right now. We learned the Gettysburg in honor of Lincoln’s example, and a contemporary hero serving on his namesake – you, Tres!

Prayers are with mom as she undergoes surgery today at 2p PST. LOVE YOU, mom!

“Now you guys have a real mystery!”

“Who is Mister Rumpinpants?” Says Sam, lying on the floor laughing hysterically. The boys were completely out of their gourds tonight starting with dinner and all the way through bath and beyond. They are 30 hours into medication for sinus infections and the fog of fatigue and gloom is starting to lift. We were all in tears laughing in the office as Sam and Ben flopped around madly saying the weirdest things. At dinner Ben said “Salad and soup and potato salad and bread are ALL FOR FLAPPING AROUND THE HOUSE!” They were just bonkers. This after I cancelled a trip down to LA to be there for my Uncle Skene’s memorial service. This morning when I had to make the call to continue with the trip or abort Dave was feverish and looking like he was heading down the road of being really sick like he was once in Saratoga (same thing – sinus infection and fever and just completely wiped). So I decided I needed to stay and get well myself while getting everyone else back on their feet. By tonight Dave was still feeling awful, and  he is on his way to bed now (8:30p) but the twinkle in the boys’ eyes had started to come back and their mischief was unleashed! Sam’s statement about the “real mystery” had to do with Ben’s jammies – they were hidden on us!!! What cute boys. I am so thankful to see them starting to come back to life after weeks of trudging along. Blessings came in tears of laughter to kick of Lent. And we are all looking forward to a rescheduled trip down to see the family in early April!

A bit of a postscript here – Sam is standing next to me talking about his Lego projects. I wanted to share what he is currently working on for far-flung family who only get blurry images on Skype or pictures.

Sam finished this creation a few weeks ago (link below).  954 pieces, ages 10-16. He estimates that 99.5% of it he built on his own. I would concur – possibly I’d estimate 98%. Hours and hours spent focusing, then waiting because the company sent us two sets of the 2nd instruction book so we were missing the 3rd book. We had to wait at least a week to get a replacement. He was checking the mail daily in anticipation!

Now he wants to build the Lego Technic 8110 Unimog – 2048 pieces!!!!!

Six bricks and a bone!

We raced down the beach waving to Daddy on the ferry, then picked up bricks to build a fire pit. They had washed up on the beach - Sam and I had the exact same thought about what to do with them at the exact same time! Ben even helped. We carried them around with us as we explored. Sure wish I'd had my pack but this was a very impromptu adventure. I eventually carried all six bricks because the boys are really fatigued with this never-ending cold. Sam is such a trooper though - he NEVER complains. He is amazing, truly.

Then I found a bone! I am convinced this must be bird (see air holes in bone at bottom) but not sure which kind. Eagle maybe? Cannot find any bone images on the web to compare. Any thoughts?

The great Pac NW Kelp Snake

Sam had me cracking up all weekend! This is Dave coiling up a 15 ft length of kelp which Sam found on the beach and then dragged along on a hike through the woods! We were laughing so hard, Sam and I - Dave thought we were silly and kept telling us to leave it behind but Sam and I wanted to take this very long snake "friend" on a hike it had never been on before. Dave kept hearing a rustling behind us and kept thinking someone was following us - indeed - the kelp snake was! We then thought it would be hilarious to coil it up and put it in a tree. Only we would know the whole story. It will be funny to see if it's still there sometime 🙂 I will note that dragging it was not exactly easy. It kept getting hung up on branches if we went off-trail a bit to a view point, or around fence posts at the trailhead.

Excellent driftwood forts on Point No Point beach! And we saw a baby seal, too, waiting for his mom to return from feeding. Beautiful weather up here! Amazing how warm 46 feels - ha ha!