Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Amazing weekend with Dada

I had the most amazing weekend with Dada. It started Friday evening building Snap Circuits projects for the first time, which delighted and captivated Dada and reminded me how little I understand about electronics.

On Saturday we went to home depot and had fun buying materials for a small PVC greenhouse we needed to build. We worked on building the greenhouse and then switched gears to make Dada a bow and arrow, which we did using bamboo we cut from behind the house, making an arrow out of another bit of bamboo. We watched the last part of Avatar (which had inspired the bow and arrow). We played plants vs zombies on the iPad. All of us drove to P. Terry's for dinner with the top down. We read good stories at bedtime.

On Sunday we finished the greenhouse, for which Dada chose gold spray paint. Julie and Dada helped prepare the PVC parts and put on the plastic skin. We played more PVZ. We helped clean the house. We went on a 3-mile walk with the dog, both of us barefoot. Dada bought something from a convenience store on her own for the first time. We fletched her one arrow and she added Na'vi-style decoration to the bow and spent much time doing a passable Neytiri impersonation (including using a butter knife as her "hunting" knife). We had a great dinner that Julie cooked, watched The Simpsons, and then Dada helped me pack for my trip to Japan. More good bedtime stories and discussion of when I would get to Japan and be able to call home.

It occurred to me as I went to bed at I could have been playing golf or something, but I can't think of any better way to spend a weekend at home.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dada's Latest Art

Dada drew this picture the other night while watching the Olympics. It represents a ballerina doing a hand stand.

I found this drawing to be particularly remarkable:

- The composition seems pretty sophisticated for a six-year-old.

- The detail on the feed and legs.

Dada's pictures are rapidly improving in sophistication. She definitely has both vision and the technical ability to execute it, as well as a unique style. I am eager to see what she does as she learns more about technique.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Christmas 2009

It seems like Christmas came and went in a blur. This year Dada was very much into the wrapping of presents: she wanted to wrap anything she could and have it under the tree, whether it was a gift for her or a gift for someone else or just an empty box. She was also very much about decorating the tree and spent several days helping Julie trim the tree.

It is difficult to capture the present opening activity, but I was able to get this picture of Dada admiring her gift from her grandfather Ba, a globe of the Earth (with its companion moon globe in the background).

Christmas 2009

Dada's Santa gift was an Easy Bake oven, which she seems to have been the gift trend of the year, as her friend Jane and her cousin Sophia also got one. She also got lots of books, with Roald Dahl being a strong theme.

We have worked pretty hard to try to avoid having Christmas be all about getting piles of toys and so far we seem to have succeeded. Dada seems to be as excited about giving presents and seeing other people get presents as she is about getting her own presents. It probably also helps that her birthday is just 4 days after Christmas, so there is a bit of an extended period of gift getting, helping to take the focus off the one big day.
Christmas 2009

On Christmas day we opened our gifts in the morning, having had to wait until almost 9:00 a.m. for Dada to wake up, played with our toys for a bit, and then hopped in the car for the trip to Houston to see Dada's grandmother Boo, where there were more gifts to open and Christmas dinner, this year a very modest affair with just immediate family.

We spent several days in Houston. Got to go ice skating outside at Discovery Park in downtown Houston, went to the zoo, and visited the mall just to get Dada some exercise, despite the crushing after-Christmas crowds. We also spent several evenings reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out loud as it was too compelling to limit to bedtime.

Julie's brother gave us several board games: Life, Scrabble, and Monopoly. We ended up playing a rather epic game of Monopoly, with Boo ultimately crushing Julie, Dada, and I. Dada was fascinated by the money and became rather obsessive about arranging her cash neatly on her side of the board. I was amazed at how much of the game she grasped. We had to help her with making change and provided advice about developing her properties, but by the end of the game she seemed to understand what it was all about. Attention span was an issue, as you might imagine, so we tended to play in short sessions. But we are very pleased to be able to move from Candyland and Chutes and Ladders to games that involve actual strategy and skill.

All-in-all a nice, low-key holiday.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween seemed to jump out at us but we did manage to put together a costume for Dada, shown here as a very cute witch.

Julie also put together a witch costume and Dada and Julie did a little trick or treating while I stayed in and handed out candy.

The weather was perfect, clear and just a little bit cool.

We didn't get as many kids as we have in years past, so now we have way too much leftover candy. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of School!

Dada had her first day of school yesterday--she started kindergarten at Dawson Elementary, in Ms. Ramirez's class. Since the school is just a few blocks away, we all walked there together (well, not Humphrey, who isn't allowed inside the building) and had a chance to meet Dada's teacher and see her classroom.

After school, she announced that she'd had a great day and had some lovely artwork to show us. She will probably like it more once she's gotten used to getting up early and knows her fellow students a little better.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Garden Journal: 20 June 2009: Corn is Done

The corn has provided its harvest and is done. We had planted Silver Queen with an aztec multi-colored corn. The aztec corn appeared to hybridize with the Silver Queen to produce mutant ears with a few very large colored kernels and otherwise stunted Silver Queen kernels. Next year just the aztec corn.

Corn from garden


The watermelons and other melons are doing well: we have at least five watermelons and one or two other melons.

The potatoes are ready to harvest: pulled three out of the bin that were right at the surface. Need to go out in the morning so we're not doing it when it's beastly hot.

The peas and soybeans are pretty much done: the peas got outcompeted by the grass and were hampered by bad soil. Not sure about the soybeans--probably planted them too late.

The tomatoes continue to produce pretty heavily. Thinking about setting up some shade to allow them to survive the heat of summer.

The little cherry tomato continues to produce without pause.

We are now into daytime temperatures near or above 100 and probably will have through September.

Not sure what, if anything, we can plant in place of the corn in this heat. Maybe more melons.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pool time

This is Dada on our first trip of the year to the pool. She is wearing her new nose-covering mask that let's her go under water in comfort.

This looks like the year Dada starts to swim for real.