Sunday, December 1, 2013

Huckleberry and the Robot

After a friend told me it annoyed them when someone would post the same thing on their page as on facebook, I got a little leary of posting the same pictures in both places.  Which was fine when I had time to post twice as many pictures.  But lately life and investing in actual people has kept me busy and several people have reminded me that they do still read my blog.

So for all those family and friends near and far all dear to us who have so far not succumbed to the evil vortex which is facebook (or yet accepted my friend request) are the pictures from Huckleberry's first robotics competition this year.

Huckleberry's Team's Robot.  They painted it green with a sharpie.
There were 14 teams at the League Competition.  Each competed 6 times with 3 other teams.  One team was their "partner" and the other two the "competition."  Their score and partner scores would be added together.  Any penalties would be given as points to the other teams.  The first part of each meet was the autonomous part.  The robot had to preform a task by following a program.  There are different tasks to do, but Huckleberry's robot was programed to drive up onto the bridge and park.  They did this 6 out of 6 times, so that was great given that some robots didn't even move.

Next step is to, with remote control drivers, move blocks for points.  Into the blue square on the carpet or into the blue crates.  Huckleberry's robot does not have the ability to lift blocks, so into the square they went.
Huckleberry is the team driving coach and leader.  The team has 1 main driver and 4 secondary drivers and a programmer and a few other people.  Huckleberry is doing a good job of organizing, designing, setting people to task, and encouraging the team.  We are very proud of him.
One last check before the next meet since in meet number 2 their "Samantha?*" stopped talking to the robot so it started going in circles.  It is the one time that their robot didn't raise the flag.
Here is the flag going up because of Huckleberry's team's robot in their first meet.  Though other teams had already gone, it was the first flag raised in the competition so everyone was pretty excited.
Including Huckleberry and one of his team mates...the one who has the controller that works the arm that turns the flag wheel so the flag goes up.

Sweet Pea thought it was all exciting...or she just likes clapping.
Here is the robot in place to raise the flag during their third meet.  (The kids, camera, and I went home after the 3rd match finished at 8 p.m.)
And up it went.  Raising the flag 5/6 six times was a great way to earn points.  It put them in second place amongst the 14 teams at the end of the night.  Most of the teams were from High Schools so we feel Huckleberry and his team has a right to be proud.

The other big point earners are parking on the bridge during the autonomous (which they did) and hanging on the bar on the bridge.  Huckleberry expects to have their hydraulic lift arm up and running by their next meet this upcoming Friday.  If they do it will put them a good ways towards earning a place at State...they have two more competitions and a league championship first to find out.
And here is their robot parked behind their "partner's" robot after raising the flag.  Apparently when you are using the remotes it isn't considered very impressive and doesn't garner any points.  But still it is fun to see the robots actually doesn't always happen that way.

* If you are actually curious about wireless and robot failures and Samantha, ask Huckleberry some day...or Oak.   Me, I thought going in circles was part of the plan.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


One special Kindergartner I know has missed the last 3 days of school.  Here is hoping she doesn't miss tomorrow; especially since it my weekly Wednesday morning in her class.  (Sweet Pea visits Daddy at work while I go spend some time in Sunflower's classroom.)

Sunflower being home has given me a chance to see how much progress she and Sweet Pea has made in their relationship.  Oh Friday morning Sweet Pea ran across the room just to hit Sunflower because Sunflower was on my lap (even though Sweet Pea was playing with her toys across the room) so we still have some ways to go, but there is less and less of that and more and more of this...
 ...cooperative play that is.  It does astound me what one supposedly sick 5 year old and a two year old girl can do to my house when they play together, but it is so much better than that first summer, I won't complain.

After all, Sweet Pea is actually really good at cleaning up.
Don't let this picture fool you.  I merely suggested that the girls pick up their brothers' Skylanders and Sweet Pea was immediately throwing them into the bucket...not at my camera as the picture may suggest.

Since I haven't really talked about how sad it made my heart that Sweet Pea was so resistant to Sunflower's overtures and saw her more as competition than family, you probably can't understand how happy it makes my heart that they are starting to be friends.

Why just today, Sweet Pea brought Sunflower her blanket when Sunflower was sitting on my lap and crying.  And the other day when Sweet Pea had climbed up on my lap at the desk when I was trying to answer e-mails, Sunflower came over an leaned on my arm.  As I tried to send at least one of them away, Sweet Pea scooted over so she was only on one of my knees and said, "Araa, Lap!" and patted my leg for Sunflower to climb up on.   So I didn't get a picture posted to facebook that day, but I had two girls on my lap and a happy heart.

So it is only fitting that on Friday we received a package from Aunt L and Uncle P to celebrate the girls' sisterhood. Okay, so technically it was to celebrate their blog isn't the only thing a tad behind...but since Aunt L almost always sends coordinating outfits, her presents always celebrate the two girls being sisters, too.
Sure enough the outfits are pretty cute which matching hairclips.

But the girls were probably a little more excited about the books.  
We do love our books.  Thank you, Aunt L and Uncle P.   Photobucket

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday -- Botanical Gardens Edition

On Friday, Sweet Pea and I visited a botanical conservatory in town.  Some friends met us later, but we had almost an hour to spend exploring before they got there.  Since it was kind of small, we spent most of that time...

WATCHING the fish in the koi pond:
But it was when we found out we could feed the fish that Sweet Pea got really excited about them.
It was a conservatory so there were lots and lots of LEAFY things to see.  I particularly enjoyed these leaves/flowers in the shape of water pictures that my friend pointed out to me.

It seems petty to complain, when I really did enjoy it, but that is, I believe, inherent in the definition of a FIRST WORLD PROBLEM.  Who advertises a "fall decor" great for pictures and mostly means skeletons, spiders, and even giant rats?  The backdrop for the pumpkin pictures was a witch.  On the flip side, Sweet Pea was fascinated by the "birds!"
And after petting it for awhile chose to fly like a bird, giving me some sweet shots.
Part of the time while Sweet Pea watched the fish I took pictures of flowers.  It was nice to have them so STILL when I am used to the wind blowing them all around.

Over all, Friday was A GOOD DAY.   

In addition to the sweet time with my daughter and eventually our friends, the day included lunch out with my husband and spending the evening with another friend while Huckleberry was at a youth event.  Now if tomorrow can just include a trip to the Pumpkin Patch we might even class this as a Great Weekend.  After all, I got to participate in Scavenger Hunt Sunday...always fun.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - October 6th

I love Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  I have been missing it quite a bit.  Who knows how often I'll be able to do it, but this week seemed like a good time to play along.

Something Colorful
Today I went with a friend to Scott Kelby's Annual Worldwide Photowalk and made some new friends.  It was a very pleasant day.

Sunflower wanted me to go outside with her to take pictures.  I couldn't say no because the light was beautiful I love my daughter.  She wanted me to take a picture of her giving a hug.

This one is from a few months ago.  I submitted it to my photo club for self portrait because it makes me smile, but I was quite surprised when it won.  Now my husband has an 18 inch version of it hanging in his office.  I'm not sure it makes me smile that much.

In Motion
Sweet Pea still loves the swing...especially if you keep it in motion.  Now she screams high, high, high to make you push her higher.  At times I forget how fast she likes to go and think she is greeting me, "Hi, Sweet Pea!" does not make her happy.

Now because Sunflower is at school all day, the afternoon is the only chance I have to take pictures of her during the week.  I was glad she proposed the shoot on Friday.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Psalm 9

Sometimes life, no matter how good it is, just feels exhausting.  Our little...okay, medium is doing well, very well.  We are still working on finding balance on getting things done, but when we "fail" the trade off seems all the more worth it.  For instance a day at the park celebrating the Chinese Moon Festival resulted in too tall of grass...possibly too tall until Spring.  Oh well.

But when the world and politics force themselves on me; honestly it exhausts me...and makes me feel a little bit, possibly a lot bit, stupid.  Oh, I have strong feelings about a lot of it, and I especially have strong feelings about how Christians seem to be handling it, but every time I sit to write it out, I get overwhelmed.  After all, in a lot of Christians' minds (based on their facebook memes) I am too liberal...and in non-Christians I am too judgmental and conservative.  Then there is in my mind the fear that I have lost all critical thinking skills.  If you can give me a well thought out or reasoned response--or maybe one that just sounds like one--you could possibly sway me to your opinion.

So while feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and just a bit stupid, I sat down to do my Bible Study.  Because one thing holds true for me; God is where I go to get answers.

And while I still don't know which way to vote next election, this is what God said.

"Give thanks to the Lord with your whole heart;
Recount my wonderful deeds.
Be glad and exult in Me.
Sing praise to My name, the Most High. Psalm 9:1-2

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.  Psalm 9:18

Someday, I, the Lord, will arise.
Men will not prevail.
The nations will be judged before Me!
I, the Lord, will put fear in them.
The nations will know that they are but men!"   Psalm 9:19-20

The mess the world is in; the sins we all accept and condone; will be dealt with.  Not be me or any other person, but by God.  

"He does not forget the cry of the afflicted." Psalm 9:12b "He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with uprightness."  Psalm 9:8

My poor, overtired, confused brain does not have to figure it out.  Do you know how reassuring that is?

"He has told you, O man, what is good; 
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?"  Micah 6:8

Oh sure, it is still difficult to ascertain what justice is but I do not need to seek people for the answer, whether they are a Christian or not.  I need to walk humbly with God and He will show me.  Easier said then done, but WAY easier than pleasing everyone with my opinions and spending time sucked into the quagmire of emotional, political, and religious arguments.

"Oh Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!"  
Psalm 8:1 and 9

Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Photo Friday

I'm not really sure this is my favorite photo from this week.  I have ones of her smiling and playing.  Ones of her siblings and a really nice photo of a Bungie at the zoo.  Plus I am so tempted to remove the owie from her nose in photoshop.  
But if photography is about remembering what happened, this photo captured that moment.  The moment that is right after her smiling and looking at me...but losing interest in connecting with me when the camera is in front of my face.  

The day after she scratched her face tripping in the yard.  

The month when she started seeking comfort from Mommy and Daddy for her physical owies...even the little--can't possibly be hurting--owies.

With most kids you worry about how to train them to buck-up, not need Mommy to kiss every tiny booboo, and to one day be able to handle the little things on their own. But while Sweet Pea trusted us almost immediately to provide her with the necessities...MORE MILK coming fairly quickly in her vocabulary...the idea that Mommy and Daddy are here for the little things is taking a little more time.  

So while this scratch looks and feels to Mommy a bit more than a little thing, the fact that she took and wanted comfort and rocking after the fact is the big thing.  One more step on that mountain called Attachment.  Even more important is the bug bite on her arm that hurt 3 weeks ago, and yet every morning and sometimes throughout the day Mommy must kiss.

So as much as I wish I could photoshop her owies well in real life, being allowed to comfort her in one more area of her life is a moment worth treasuring.  So this photo represents that even if it isn't the best photo and I have to forgo using the tools of modern technology.