Archive for May, 2010

May Break 2010 – On Wisconsin

Really it should be “To Wisconsin” but “On Wisconsin” is more recognizable.

We already had our spring break trip to Idaho, and we have our summer trip planned and booked. But both of those involve visiting other families. When would we get a chance to go on a vacation with just our own family?

In the middle of May, during school, of course.

Alpha’s in kindergarten. No one is going to notice if he misses a couple of days. It is not going to affect his graduation or choice of college, so we told the school that he will be gone for a little bit and we went to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Dells, to be specific – very high on the list of top tourist-traps in the nation.

We left early in the morning, which in our house is about 9:30 AM. Our route went through Chicago, and we were prepared for the toll roads – we had dimes and quarters and dollar bills. We went through a couple of toll booths with no problems.

Then we came to one that said “Cars: $.50” I know we were in a minivan, but I consider that a car. It was an unattended tollbooth, and I thought it was taking a while. “Do those people not know how to put coins in a slot?” I wondered to myself. “And why are they gesturing at the machine? Just pay the toll and go on.” I got my $0.50 (pronounced “fitty cent”) ready, so I wouldn’t be that guy went it was my turn.

Alpha the Shark

Alpha lost his first tooth on Monday.

It has been loose for a while. So long, in fact, that his adult tooth became quite impatient and decided to appear regardless of the existing baby tooth. Like a shark, he was getting two rows of teeth concurrently.

photo of adult tooth growing in before baby tooth has been lost

He was at school on Monday. It was writing time (or something like that), and he was absent-mindedly spinning his loose tooth. Of course, loose teeth can be spun only so much before they capitulate.

photo of a baby tooth that has been lost

The school was well-prepared for a situation such as this. They have little envelopes with a drawing of a tooth and printing that says “I lost a tooth today” so the teacher can send it home easily. I don’t know, but I could guess, that hockey teams are similarly prepared.

Alpha was pleased to have lost the tooth. If his mouth is closed, it looks like a normal lost tooth, with the gap. He inherited my widely-spaced teeth, so I may have to emphasize that it is the bottom center-right (his center-left) tooth that is missing.

photo of a mouth with a missing baby tooth

(having gaps between teeth is nice because 1. the dentist remarks how easy it is to floss and 2. wisdom teeth grow in with no problems)

Monday night, Alpha put his tooth (in the envelope still) under his pillow and went to sleep. I then exchanged the tooth and envelope for a dollar bill. In the morning, after my wife asked him if he checked his tooth, he pulled the dollar out and waved it around.

Look at that!” I exclaimed, “The tooth changed into a dollar!

Before Alpha could say anything, Beta piped up: “No, the Tooth Fairy did that!

I don’t recall sitting down and instructing the boys in the ways of the tooth fairy, but I know it is mentioned in a book or two that we have. But we’ll just let Beta hold onto that thought for a while.

And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.

Exodus 21:27

The Biggest Number

Today’s post is a little quiz to see if you know the common names of large numbers.

I’ll start by stating that 1,000 = 103 = one thousand.


(hover the mouse over the blank lines to get the answer. Users of iPhone/iPad/etc. will have to click.)

  • 1,000,000 = 106 = one
  • 1,000,000,000 = 109 = one
  • 1,000,000,000,000 = 1012 = one
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000 = 1015 = one

That’s the end of the quiz. If you haven’t taken it yet, don’t keep reading, as the next paragraph will spoil the quiz for you.

For those who don’t get it: Jillian Michaels is one of the trainers on the Biggest Loser. So 1015 = a Jillian. There are some people who think that a jillion is not a real number. Maybe they’re spelling it wrong and it should be a jillian.

For You said, ‘ I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’

Genesis 32:12

First Pitch

I have seen a number of ceremonial first pitches this last week. Between the Biggest Loser homecoming show and the American Idol homecoming show, there were a few clips of the contestants throwing the ceremonial first pitches at the closest big-league stadia.

I have a couple of things I wonder about the ceremonial first pitch, in general.

The first is this: why is this ceremony limited to baseball? If I were to be some temporary ceremonial celebrity, I would want to perform the ceremonial first kick-off at a football game. Or even the ceremonial first puck-drop at a hockey game. But baseball?

Some of you may have noticed that I forgot to say that I would want to perform the ceremonial first basketball toss-up thingy. I didn’t forget – I don’t care much for basketball or baseball. I think I would rather be invited to a baseball game than a basketball game because at least baseball is outside and there are things to do other than watch the game.

The second is this: why does no one ever try to throw out the runner at first? If I were invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch, I would pull aside the first baseman and warn him to be ready. And I would have him tell the ump to prepare to call an out. Then, instead of throwing the first pitch to the catcher, I would instead throw it to first base.

In case you’re wondering why I would try to throw out a runner when there’s no one on first base: why throw out a first pitch when there’s no batter?

a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.

Hebrews 8:2

Birthday Party Tree

We had a birthday party the other weekend. It was a surprise party, so we were to arrive at a certain time. Leaving the house at a certain time is never easy with young kids, but we actually did it this time.

But we almost didn’t make it to the party.

We were last in a line of cars on the road. About a mile and a half from our house, three things happened at once:

  • I saw a car, one that was several cars in front of us, swerve violently off the road, crossing through the oncoming lane to do so;
  • I heard my wife yelling something (I forget what at this point, probably “look out!“); and
  • I saw a tree falling across the road.

Get your phone!” I said to my wife. She called 911, but it went to a “please hold” message so she hung up. We noticed other people on their phones as well, so we figured someone would get through.

Family Conversations, Part 10

At dinner one night:

Beta: Do you have work tomorrow?
Me: Yes
Do you have work tomorrow tomorrow?
Huh? Oh, umm…tomorrow would be Thursday so tomorrow tomorrow would be Friday, so yes, I have work
Do you have work tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow?
That would be Saturday, so no, I do not have work.

And at dinner another night, when we were having salmon:

Beta: Is salmon killed fish?
Wife: I hope it’s not alive

This was at a park:

Beta: Look, a dead chewy!

We looked, and sure enough, there was a gummy bear lying face down on the path. I wouldn’t have thought much about it normally, but since Beta implied that it once had life, I suddenly felt sorry for it.

Someone in the household may have left her razor in the bathtub, and the boys may have found it during their bath. This is the exchange that occurred when I checked on them. Note that the Snug Tub now has an aftermarket hole in it, and the boys have been instructed not to touch razors anymore.

Alpha: Why does momma have a razor? She doesn’t have a beard…
Me: No, she doesn’t
Beta: Did she used to have a beard?
No, women don’t grow beards.
(calling to wife) The boys would like to talk to you…

Thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying water on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body and wash their clothes, and they will be clean.

Numbers 8:7

Pblk Education, Part 2

Alpha has taken our teaching to heart.

For those who don’t know the story, go read the original Pblk Education first.

Okay, now that you’re back, take a look at his recent paper (click on the picture for a larger version):

kindergarten schoolwork for the sound SH

Every single word has the wrong number of boxes for letters. I’ll give them the one box for “sh” since that’s one sound and that’s the lesson for the day and they made that box slightly larger. But they’re still short by one letter every time.

Alpha adds boxes where boxes should be. If they don’t give him enough spaces to spell a word correctly, then he makes the spaces himself. The curriculum might not know how to spell, but he knows that he knows how to spell and he tries to do things the right way (okay, “shrit” isn’t exactly right, but we’ll tell him that and he’ll learn that it’s “shirt”).

There are a bunch of ways I could go with this topic, but I’ll choose this one: it’s good to know that my child is listening to his parents over the school. I hope it stays that way. And it’s good training for the future – “I don’t care if the government says it’s legal; it’s still wrong.” He has already learned that people in power can be wrong.

Except for his parents, of course.

My goal is that he learns something more than spelling – that there is right and wrong and that is ultimately determined by God. He needs to do what is right regardless of the culture.

There are gray areas too, and he should understand that not everything is either 100% right or 100% wrong. But we’ll work on that concept later. Spelling, grammar, and math work better without gray areas.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2