Carson Courage

My girlfriend Andrea told me about Carson Cheney and the sweet idea his family started in his memory. It’s been an easy and enjoyable service project for the kids this summer.

Little Carson

Little Carson

Carson was only 4-years old when he was struck by a falling tombstone in Utah and killed. Carson loved Hot Wheel cars and had one in his hand when he died. His family now encourages others to leave the toy cars in secret places for others to find. When they are found, people post pics of the cars on Carson’s Facebook page. It’s fun to see people post from all over the U.S. and even Europe. It’s also neat to see that some folks buy 100 cars at a time and leave them where needy kids can easily get to them.

After I told my kids Carson’s story, they were all over the idea of spreading joy in his name. We’ve had fun planting Hot Wheel cars (currently $1 each at Fred Meyer) in special places all around our town. We keep them tagged and ready to go in our van.


We Are The Hunters AND The Foxes

Yes, the title of this post is a nod to Taylor Swift. Why, you ask? She was just here on tour last week and her show is now officially etched in history as my daughter’s first concert. It’s kind of unbelievable that I have a child old enough to listen to a pop star let alone attend her concert. Just getting the tickets was a whole production compared to any show I ever went to as a kid. I still remember waiting in line at the Ticketmaster counter at the record store for tickets. Not anymore. This time around I had to preregister as a fan club member to get a special code for early access to tickets. The process was actually pretty smooth and prevented scalpers from snatching all the tickets up. I should’ve know then, though, that this was not going to be an ordinary production. Oh no. This concert was on a whole other level compared to any show I’ve ever attended. I’ll show you in a minute.

Since the tickets were kind of a big deal, I decided to make a day of it with my daughter. My friend Sara and her family joined us for the day. She discovered a cool urban scavenger hunt that can be done any time on a smartphone. It took us all around the city. We traveled a little over 3-miles and the clues were challenging and fun. Pretty cool!

We finished the scavenger hunt with just enough time to get to the stadium with all 59,994 other Swifties. I wish I could describe my daughter’s face when we walked into the stadium. She was so appreciative and excited. I was thrilled (and a little choked up) to share the experience with her. It was a magical day that I know she won’t forget. Seriously, it was amazing. Here are the first few moments:

Taylor Swift put on a great show!

Seattle In The Summertime

The view from our picnic at Gasworks Park in Seattle

The view from our picnic at Gasworks Park in Seattle

I know I’m probably biased but I really don’t think there is a prettier place in the world than Seattle in the summertime. There are tons of fun things to do and it’s light out until almost 10pm every night. We make it a point to get outside and enjoy all the city has to offer. One of our favorite activities is renting kayaks and seeing the city by water. We usually rent from Agua Verde Paddle Club because they have a great Mexican restaurant above the rental office. I highly recommend it! This year, the kids outgrew their kayak options so we tried the Northwest Outdoor Center instead. The folks at NOC were very friendly, prices are reasonable, and parking is free after 5pm. We weaved through the clusters of houseboats as the residents greeted the kids and encouraged them to paddle harder. There were tons of boats on the water and seaplanes taking off and landing. After we finished paddling around, we ended the evening with a picnic at Gasworks Park. It’s a pretty perfect way to spend an evening.

Family Hike: Boulder River

Boulder Creek

Boulder River

We joined friends on this beautiful hike a few weeks ago. It was a very well-maintained, kid-friendly trail with tall waterfalls along the way. The real treat was scrambling down to the water and dunking ourselves in on an 80+ degree day. Even Murphy, our friend’s golden retriever, enjoyed the plunge.

The Best Of Us

I started a short-term full-time job at a local elementary school last week. It’s an IT position during the state SBA testing. I make sure all the Chromebooks the kids use for the testing work effectively. I fix glitches and inventory all of them each day. I’m fortunate that I’ve  got great friends and neighbors who help me out with my kids before and after school so I can swing it. It’s been fun adjusting to work again. Look! I still remember how to make a spreadsheet:

I know these babies inside and out:

When a student has a technical issue during the testing, I sneak in like a ninja and try to figure it out as quickly as possible. I’m in and out of all the third grade classes throughout the day and they know me as the Chromebook Mom or by my official title, Building Online Assesment Team. That’s right, I’m the BOAT. A “team” of one by the way.

Today when I was in between rooms, a little girl reached out and handed this to me:

I mean seriously. How sweet is this?!?! Kids, in general, are my favorite kind of humans but this kid blows me away. She is so thoughtful. She found out my name AND EVEN SPELLED IT CORRECTLY. Many adults can’t do that! It’s gestures like these that make me feel like the world, as crazy as it is right now, will be in great hands after we’re finished messing it up.

Dinner Conversations

The incomparable Eleanor Roosevelt.

The incomparable Eleanor Roosevelt.

My kids are at the age now where dinner conversation can easily circle around classroom gossip and comic book hero biographies. There is nothing wrong with these topics but they can become a little stale, especially when dinner discussions play such an important part in development. A year ago, we started using Dinner Conversation Questions at our meals. It was a big hit. Lately, though, I’ve wanted to take our valuable family talks to a higher level. Each afternoon I have the kids read an article and share what they learned at the table. My hope is that we will not only inform the kids of events and places around the world, but that they will digest these stories and start creating solutions to issues and problems that need their great brains and creativity.

Our main topic this last week was The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The kids are fascinated and couldn’t help but come up with all kinds of ways to manage and get rid of it. Then, we discussed this impressive young man’s idea. Which led us to his TED Talk, which led us to young ladies who have won the Google Science Fair. It’s been a great rabbit hole that will continue to unfold.

There are tons of great resources that are kid-friendly but address current events. We also get great kids magazines like Boys Life, National Geographic for Kids, and Time for Kids.

Here are some other great sites:

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Good News Network

Hello Giggles

Writing Prompts work well too!

Thanks for reading. Have a good weekend!

Talent Show

We had dress rehearsal for the annual Talent Show at school yesterday. It’s pretty great to watch dozens of kids put themselves out there and show their stuff. Each student gets slightly more nervous as the event approaches and it sinks in that there will be a crowd of people watching them, but they always do well. It’s so much fun to see their bravery and effort.

My job is to set up the stage, pump the kids up, send them out, and then cheer like crazy and hug them when they finish. It’s a pretty great gig.