Ben is a funny guy. Both boys are very funny in different ways. Sam specializes in physical humor, Ben in verbal wit. His parent teacher conference yesterday is one example. His teacher writes down things he says from time to time (she does for all students) to communicate to parents. When he was asked to help read in a read-along book, he recognized “The” right away and read it. The next word was “cow.” He said “That’s not one of my sight words” and refused to try reading it. His teacher doesn’t know yet that he knows all the letter sounds and could totally sound that out because she also noted that during “zoophonics” time – where the kids act out and say letters, their associated character name and gesture – Ben sits there with his jaw slack, just watching. He doesn’t participate. So she doesn’t really have a good read on what he does or doesn’t know from time to time, even though I shared with her that he’d worked his way through the second level of Fry’s sight words (so about 200 words he can read, and he can sound out pretty well – the word “instinct” the other night, for example). Anyway – Dave and I laughed pretty good at that. It really sounds like Ben!
So tonight I thought I’d just casually find out what the zoophonics characters are from Ben (as a way to see if he knows them and just doesn’t want to engage with the activity for whatever reason). He knows all of them, their names, the letter sounds and the sign/gesture! I asked why Queenie Quail has the little hook sign and he said that is because male quails have that. (But it is a queen quail which is female!) I would be so confused :0
Anyway then I asked something else – like when two letters make a sound together, what is that? I couldn’t remember the term. I said like “ch ch – is that Charlie Choker?” and made a gagging sound. He loved it. I said – so what is that called when two letters make a sound together? Ben said “That’s a biophobatic.” “What? How do you spell that?” I said. (Pause) “B I O F O B A (pause) T I K” he said. Five syllables spelled phonetically. This guy is funny. I asked later – so where did you learn about biophobatics? “Mrs. Pratt. She taught us.” (Mrs. Pratt is the school counselor – there’s no way she said anything like that!)
Do you see what I’m dealing with? We have a big rule in our house about honesty and not lying on big or little things, but he knows the difference here. I really believe he’s just messing with me and he knows I know. I don’t know how his sweet teacher is going to deal with him this year except for keeping her sense of humor and not believe him if he professes to not know something. He enjoys it when I make things up. Like I asked what a quail was. I said I thought it was a huge balloon and he laughed hard, then corrected me. That is how I get the straight scoop sometimes.
Ben, Ben, Ben. You are so funny!
Two other funnies from a few months ago that I don’t want to forget. We were prompted to ask the boys “Why do zebras have stripes?” So we did over dinner.
Ben first. “Because they are mag-NI-fi-cent!”
Sam. “So that you can tell them apart from other animals. Like donkeys.”
This is an email I sent to Ben’s teacher the other day:
From: Alli Krug
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 8:54 PM
To: Ben’s teacher
Subject: Ben’s tall tales
So I was asking Ben how school was going and a few things about his day. I think he spun some yarns. J Perhaps a T/F quiz would give you a laugh?
I saw her today and in passing she said: “Um, the answer is false to all of the above, but I wasn’t sure if you were for real or not at first!”
In other news, poor Sam has a nasty nasty cold and was home with me today. We had to go to a meeting so he was in a district administrator’s office doing some math games on her computer while I met. She had to disinfect afterwards. Isn’t she gracious? Same office that Ben always went to for meetings with me last year. You can draw right on her wall, and she gives out candy when you leave. She’s awesome. But anyway, say some prayers he feels better soon. Also say one or two for Dave who was up all night last night taking calls and then left at 5am this morning for work. A guy in his office already has the flu. Everyone is asleep right now so I am heading there, too. Mom must stay healthy!!!!
This afternoon, the boys and I were invited to Dave’s office to pin on his new oak leaves as Lt Commander. Here is the oath he and two other officers reaffirmed during the brief ceremony:
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
We had never been to Dave’s office in 7 years of service with Naval Reactors, so it was a pretty big deal for us to get to see his work space and go down to an area of the shipyard where you would not normally be able to go. We had to be escorted the whole time and no cameras (or smartphones or any other photo taking device) were allowed. Some pictures were taken by a fellow officer, so we look forward to getting those and will send them on.
As we drove home, we talked briefly about the oath. They got to see their dad hold up his right hand and repeat the words above, while wearing his uniform (they rarely see Dave in uniform). We talked about what that means and how proud we each are of LCDR Krug. We talked about what the Constitution is and what it means to serve, doing one’s duty without hesitation or complaint. Dave is about the most steadfast person I know. No matter how much he’d love some down time, he gives 100% to the task at hand, always picks up the phone to answer a call with good spirit (somehow even in the middle of the night he manages to sound awake), never sounds annoyed and goes into work on weekends without a single complaint, not even in private. I really think he is remarkable in that regard. I’d go, and I’d do my duty 100% or more, but there’d be some complaining if it were me! The boys have quite an example in their father and I couldn’t be more proud of my men. (He would be embarrassed if he knew I was writing this, such is his violent opposition to any spectacle being made of such things.) But every now and then it is our right to be publicly proud of you, Dave! 🙂
The only bummer – no cake this time. I really need a cake fix. The wetting down is still to be planned, though…so there’s hope!
There are just so many of them, but this one shared over dinner the other night really made me laugh! This is an excerpt from an email to Mom so I don’t have to retype 🙂
I heard a very funny story from Sam the other day – apparently another boy and Ben went to the bathroom one morning while I was in with the small group kids doing math. Both boys are always interested in a “field trip” any chance they can get 🙂 Anyway, apparently they were “factoring” in the bathroom with paper towels so loudly that a teacher had to come in and tell them to quiet down! I am partly sorry, and partly very amused that they took the lesson to the bathroom with them. I literally laughed out loud at dinner when Sam told us the story in his low-key way. It took a lot of prompting to figure out what in the world he was talking about!
Ben has been really sick the last week – sinus infection on top of a week of sickness already. Poor guy was exceptionally stuffy with a fever >101 for three days. Such difficulty breathing at night, hard to understand his speech, and lots of sinus washes with saline spray (which I tried to explain was like boogie boarding in Hawai’i – lots of salt water up the nose!). He is doing much better now and I am so grateful. Mommy has had a bit of a stressful week with end-of-school commitments and a sick boy. I am thankful for all the opportunities to contribute to learning at the school and get to know the kids, though. Always glad that I am there and able to help. In any case, last night was the first day without a fever so we had a “Ben is Back” dance party in our living room – me and Ben – while Dave and Sam were out at guitar lesson. I cranked up some Credence and we danced with stuffed snakes on the “workbench” coffee table in the living room. I took movies for Dave as Sam eventually joined in when he got home. It was SO funny, but there were so many near-misses with snakes flying around like lassos that it was a bit nerve-wracking! I feared we would REALLY get in trouble this time! Kids were jumping from workbench to couch and back, and they’re both big now so collisions are much more interesting than they once were! All ended well and I didn’t get in too much trouble. I’ll post the video later…they are rather long!
The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, but today we enjoyed being together in the beautiful weather. Everyone unplugged. Boys under the weather, Ben worse than Sam, but they are troopers and I’m hoping Benji bounces back soon because they’ve both been sick since our trip to Santa Barbara last weekend (they caught a cold just before we left 9 days ago). This morning he awoke to “Bubble Coughs” – ick! We’re not sure if the coughing starting first, or the bubbles started coming up. He was fine the rest of the day. I think he gagged on the thick mucus. TMI – sorry. Poor little guy. Low grade fever made him a bit floppy. Ben has lots of interesting names for things. He calls the cap gun tape “steam tape” because it makes smoke when it goes off. So clever! We were not at all sure what he was talking about at first, but of course – it makes sense now!
Yesterday I took Sam to a friend’s birthday party – an Army theme at a cabin in the woods that you can rent. In the middle of a sharks and minnows game (I was a shark!) the family with the neighboring birthday party asked how long our party was going on. Turns out they had the cabin all tricked out with a Harry Potter theme and didn’t want the rogue Army boys intruding on the festivities. Understandable. We got that worked out and kept the boys in the woods. Turns out they weren’t the problem. The birthday boy’s mom found some brooms in our little adjoining birthday area and showed them to me. You know what I immediately thought would be fun, don’t you. I double-dog-dared her to ride around the cabin on the brooms like in Quidditch – she seemed agreeable enough despite laughing like crazy. So off I went. It all went well at first, then I thought about how I was riding my broom and realized I didn’t know what “gait” to choose – in Quidditch they are flying through the air. But I was tethered to the ground. Should I trot? Or canter? I did both. Got some funny looks from adults, but the kids got it. I never looked back, though, so I didn’t know my buddy had bailed on me! I got back to our spot and she was there, hiding out and laughing! She lost her nerve when the dad with the other birthday came out of the cabin! Dang it! I was the only goof riding around on a broom! It was so funny though – I loved it. I kept the broom and continued riding around the woods on it. Clearly I don’t get out enough!
Last night we enjoyed a bbq and bonfire at the beach with friends from church. Views of Seattle, the Cascades lying behind, the ocean and an eagle flying within 20 feet of us – we take so much beauty for granted. The boys have had some very fun and action-packed days. Today was a nice respite before the last full week of school starts.
Here are some pictures from today.
Some highlights of the visit, which was accomplished via space-a on a C17:
Just a quick note here, but didn’t want to forget the sublime 🙂 Took the kids to the Bainbridge Symphony today – Smetana, Resphigi, Tchaikovsky then Beethoven’s 6th (Pastoral). The kids were advised not to cough loudly (remember, everyone has been sick for nearly 3 months on and off) so what I have gotten used to hearing, others may not appreciate so much. They did GREAT! Sam really seemed to absorb it in a different way than when he was younger. Ben was mesmerized for the first 10 minutes, then very good until intermission, really paying attention. After Daddy’s M&M treats, getting him settled again was more interesting. Grown-up Eagle was also in attendance. He seemed to quite (QUITE) enjoy the Pastoral – quite in keeping with the theme of the symphony, so to me it was humorous. It was all I could do to keep Ben and his Eagle from flying around. Eagle was dancing, pecking Ben’s forehead, dancing…when Ben asked in a loud whisper “How many more minutes is it?” I said “shhh” with a sweet mommy smile and he glared at me! So funny. Mom knows this glare. I am sure the people behind us enjoyed the show. They said we had really nice boys. Then out for sushi as a reward. We just found a really really great sushi place, and got the little table in a private room where you sit on the floor. The boys loved it. So thankful for a wonderful evening. Dave is still sick, but I’m hoping he gets better this week. Boys are on the mend, despite constant sniffle and cough for Ben. It doesn’t slow him down one bit.
Love to all! Hope you have a great week 🙂
I’ve been working on my spiral (football) for months now, and have been throwing for countless hours with the boys. Sam is a good teacher, but there’s no substitute for practice. We went out yesterday to Battle Point Park and brought both footballs. I threw one to Sam and poor guy jammed his finger trying to catch it. The day before I’d nearly knocked the wind out of him with one that hit his sternum. Dave told me I was throwing all wrong. I couldn’t figure it out – they were going right to my target, and spiraling. I thought I was doing great! Dave said “No, throw them up higher, and they should be spinning faster than they are.” I guess I was just drilling them. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody. But don’t you think Dave could have said “My wife’s got a high school quarterback’s arm!”? (That’s if I could keep that kind of speed going for a whole game, and longer than 30 yards!) So now I’m working on throwing well, and not hurting anyone!
Sam has been using YouTube tutorials since the summer to learn how to make origami, paper airplanes of all kinds, Rubik’s Cube algorithms, and much more. One of our favorites is Rob’s World – he’s a young guy from Philadelphia in dental school. His mantra – “where learning is fun!” And boy is it. He is really neat. Since then Sam has gotten into domino toppling and this is his way to join the maker movement. He is enjoying creating tutorials, learning about analytics (which videos get the most views and why), creating consistently good content, evaluating other channels for their content, and more. It has turned a really insular hobby into something collaborative, which is all the rage now. Did you know that collaboration is a 21st century skill? I think it has always been a useful skill, but we are using technology to collaborate in new ways, sure. Here is a link to his channel – he hopes you’ll subscribe! He has 66 views already 🙂
Ben – the big talker of the family – is really into making videos now, too. He grabs my camera and sets it up on the floor to watch him build domino tricks. The camera will stay on for 10 minutes just capturing everything! It is so funny – I think only a mom and Gramma would enjoy. Today he made a domino fallback – two levels of dominoes that topple on top of each other. It’s pretty technical, really, all these tricks. He’s really good! I hope you’ll click on the picture above to enjoy some of Ben’s creations. So every night we are picking up 800-1000 dominoes together. Sometimes…if we’re lucky…Daddy joins us to pick some up 🙂
Dave has been getting home at more reasonable hours lately, so we have really enjoyed seeing him at least by bedtime, even if I’m putting a plate in the fridge or oven for him. He’s traveling to Everett fairly frequently (about 2 hours total including ferry) to oversee repairs on a ship. I’m doing quite a bit of analytical work for the district as they review their math curriculum and think about what to adopt for next year. The new Common Core State Standards are being implemented in about 47 states, one of which is Washington, so the teachers are getting up to speed on what that means for their instruction. And I’m really enjoying being a support to them as they profile the district and understand who the students are, what needs are being met well, and what might be considered going forward. There are about a dozen parents and teachers who email regularly providing updates on meetings and researching innovations elsewhere. I am also serving on a district committee along with about 4 other parents, plus many teachers and administrators (about 20 people total). It’s been very gratifying being so closely involved in supporting this district. From health policy to education policy… never a dull moment. I stay up way too late most nights reading and thinking.
BUT – am I the last person to know about Caine’s Arcade? This is just unbelievable! Do take the 10 minutes to watch this short film. I have been talking about the importance of learning entrepreneurship for a couple months. I think we can teach problem-based learning, STEM and build business-savvy all at the same time. But then Dave says I’m a combiner – too many things in the soup pot. I don’t agree…but he’s often right.
Are chickens smart? For a chicken IQ test I thought it would be funny to see if they consistently pick the cleanest nesting box to lay their eggs. Today they did – two eggs in the cleanest box. I am not sure roosters are very smart. One of them can’t figure out how to get back in to the garden once he’s gotten out for a stroll. The other can’t figure out how to get into the run when the other rooster is mating the favorite hen. We have two now – Merlin (big daddy) and Gordon, his son, who turns 1 in a few months on May 22. Any other chicken IQ tests you think I should run?
Good night all! Aloha 🙂
We chanced heading up to Hurricane Ridge today given the road was open at least – we got turned away two weeks ago with Steve was visiting because the lot had filled up already. With 45 degree weather, sun and clear roads we figured we’d get turned away again but just had to try. We were lucky – we got a spot!!! Sooooo beautiful! Ang – reminds me of a romp we did up there in the tiny car, which was nearly out of gas, and Sam along for the ride as a baby. Where was Dave? Josh? What were we thinking??? We had a beautiful day, too, as I recall. And another time we were up there on a sunny day with Dad and Grammie shortly after Sam was born. So nice to be back again!!! It was totally socked in from the Pacific Coast to Snoqualmie Pass – lots of low fog. We climbed a few hundred feet and here’s what the world looked like. Enjoy!
We thought we were getting together with dear friends for dinner since Dave is on leave this week and has time to cook for a gathering. So when our friends and their teenage boys arrived with looks of mischief in their eyes, we started to wonder! After dinner the clues began – Angel and April had collaborated to hide all the fixins for a birthday (cake, frosting, decorations for cake, candles, matches, everything!) all over the house and even out into the garden. Their clues were so imaginative that they really had me going a few times! Eventually I found everything and Sam enjoyed frosting the cake April had made. Then came the fiah fiah – we put 39 candles on and got a nice little bonfire going! Here we are lit by the candlelight 🙂 Thank you, dear friends, for the surprise!
Menu (since Mom asked 🙂 ):
Salmon, steak, Caesar salad with papaya and grilled red peppers, asparagus and potato salad. And here’s the recipe for Dave’s homemade potato salad which was just amazing (all amounts approx. and ingredients may be tweaked to suit your taste):