4 04 2009

I know I had big plans on posting every day in April, but I’ve changed my mind. I need to take some time to focus my life a little bit and get grounded. So instead, I’m going to take April off. I probably won’t be commenting on your blogs, either, but it isn’t because I don’t care.

Happy April, everybody!

Derby Initiation

2 04 2009

After all my begging for suggestions, today is just going to be a normal show-the-grandparents-how-amazing-their-grandchildren-are post. But I do appreciate the suggestions, and will work them all in somewhere this month.

Last weekend, we experienced our first pinewood derby.


I have lots of pinewood derby memories, the most exciting being watching my dad melt lead sinkers in a can on the stove. (That’s not allowed anymore. Well, I s’pose you could melt lead sinkers on a stove if you wanted to, but on the rule sheet it said, “No lead shot.” Dang. I don’t know what else you’d use melted lead for.) The other memory that stands out is that I never got to make a car. Talk about injustices in this life!

Anyway, Zack was ecstatic about designing his car. Our bishop (who is an engineer) came over several times to give Stan and Zack tips about design and speed. He also brought a box full of old derby cars so we could see some examples of pinewood derby racing badness.

Zack designed the body, helped block it out, chose the paint color, attached the decals, and did a little freehand painting. Stan sanded the car, sanded the wheels, sanded the axles, made sure it drove straight, and packed the wheels and axles with graphite lubricant. Then, using a newly purchased kitchen scale (a mom’s bonus), they carefully weighed the car until it was five ounces.


The thing about pinewood derby is you want to make sure you keep it about the kid. (Remember “Down and Derby”?) But while you’re keeping it about the kid, you also want to make sure the car runs well, without parental ego and competitiveness spoiling it. Also, you don’t really want to Win It All, because then you’ve set up this precedent that looms over you every year. Winning Some of the Time is probably best–exciting, yet not future-disappointment-inducing.

It’s a tough balance.

Stan did well, keeping it real but pointing out when something wouldn’t really work.

Zack did well, too–he got third overall.

Right where we wanted to be.


(Check back later for pictures–I’m having some uploading issues, but we’ve got a couple of the car and the action.

And the trophy.

Can’t forget that.)


Suggestions Needed

1 04 2009

I’m going to try and do a post a day for April to (hopefully) spur me out of my blogging laxity. Is the photo a day overdone? I also thought of writing from a prompt everyday (using something like Merriam-Websters Word of the Day, although those are generally kind of strange, which I suppose would add its own interest) or blogging about a different¬†book everyday.¬†Childhood memories? Elementary school hi-jinks? Limericks? Gluten-free recipes?

Please advise.

I Have Arrived

1 04 2009

My kids are picky.

I don’t know if there’s something I’ve done to make them that way, but none of them like to eat the unfamiliar. I’ve often despaired when, after slaving over a hot stove to serve my love offerings to them on dinner plates, their noses turn up and their chins get that stubborn tilt.

So imagine my unpatented joy when, a couple of nights ago, Zack enthusiastically told me, “Mom, you sure are good at making potatoes from those flakes!”