Easter Slug

Lucy picked up an unexpected friend on an Easter Egg hunt this morning!


The Starburst is there for a size-reference.  This guy was adorable.  I half-expected him to either start singing or screaming.  Hollywood has ruined me.


Funnies from Lucy–now with extra sharpness!

Ok – who gave Lucy access to the whetstone?!  Her wit got a whole lot sharper over the last year.

(Lucy & CJ were playing with LEGOs)
Lucy Character 1: We have to take emergency measures!
Lucy Character 2: Wait – how do you measure an emergency?

(Lucy was cutting up carrots a little loudly)
Mark: You don’t have to be all “Hulk cut!” with them.
Lucy: (Sullenly).  Ok.  I’ll cancel the costume.

(Lucy was drinking orange juice; the container read “Calcium & Vitamin D”)
Lucy: I didn’t know our O.J. had calculus in it.
CJ: (with a little laugh) nice one.
Lucy: Though I’m sad it doesn’t have plus.
CJ: Haha!

Lucy: I brew potion.  (trying to pronounce “Ibuprofen”)

Mark: You can’t just read random numbers and turn them into the current time.
Lucy: Well then we gonna (sic) make some changes to the natural laws of physics.

Mark (walking into the room): IT IS I – YOUR ANCESTOR
Lucy: I farted in approval of your arrival.
Mark: …

All the double-digits

It’s official – everyone in the Gilbert household has officially crossed over into double-digits.  With Lucy turning 10, we needed to do something ultra-geeky to celebrate.  The “geekness” came in two major pieces this year, the first being the cake:


How many of these do you recognize?  Clockwise from the top:

  • The Golden Snitch from Harry Potter
  • A Poké Ball from Pokémon
  • The logo for DanTDM, a YouTuber that Lucy likes to watch
  • A shield from C. S. Lewis’ “Narnia
  • A block of grass from Minecraft
  • The name of the camp featured in the Percy Jackson universe (a book series by Rick Riordan)
  • The TARDIS from Doctor Who
  • Morningleaf from Jennifer Lynn Alvarez’s “The Guardian Herd
  • A rose from the anime series “RWBY
  • The One Ring from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings

CJ pieced these together from Lucy’s favorite fandoms, and submitted it to the bakery as a single image to the bakery, which they printed onto rice paper.  The baker, though, decided to add a couple of flourishes in icing – the symbol for the Deathly Hallows at the very top, and the trident at the very bottom, coinciding with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, respectively.  We have an awesome baker.

The second piece of geekness came in the form of an RWBY-themed “roving” puzzle, where we left clues around the house for Lucy to follow.  This was reminiscent of a mystery we set up for Katherine years ago (“Katherine and the Mystery of the Pet-Napped Pillow” https://markofquality.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/katherine-and-the-mystery-of-the-pet-napped-pillow/).

We left Lucy the first clue on the dinner table:


We borrowed her RWBY “chibi” figures to help out (Ruby Rose is pictured here), and along the way, Lucy got several new ones to add to her collection:


And there was much geeky-rejoicing.

Spinning Art

A few weeks ago, Lucy saw an ad for the Kiwi Co “Tinker Crate” – a science and technology project in a box.  We signed her up, and put the first one together earlier today – a spin art machine.


The project comes unassembled, and actually uses the box it arrived in.


The project explores the effects of centrifugal force – i.e., what happens when you drop paint onto a spinning canvas?  Lucy explains and demonstrates:

Her first spinning-piece:


A little competition

I took the girls to Airway Lanes yesterday, which among other things has a go-cart track.  Katherine was in her own cart, but Lucy isn’t quite old enough yet for that, so she rode with me.

Lucy and I went first, and as soon as I hit the accelerator, I got a very satisfying squeal out of Lucy.  We did a couple of laps, and I asked if she was having fun.  “Yes, but I’m also terrified at the same time!”  Excellent.

I was cutting some of the turns a little close, and Lucy asked “Dad, could you not get so close to the walls?”  I said sure.  About a half a lap later, I innocently observed, “Hey look – Katherine’s catching up.”

Lucy responded, “Dad, I don’t care if you have to drive THROUGH the walls now – GO FASTER!!!”

Amazing how quickly a little competition can move you past hesitation into fearless.

Peep Jousting

The girls and I tried our hand at peep jousting yesterday.


The peeps got some good hits in, but unfortunately I don’t have any video to share (the cameraman wasn’t at the top of his game).  Lucy, however decided that there wasn’t enough peep-demise going on, and decided to take a more direct approach.


Florida Wedding

The girls and I traveled to sunny Florida this past week for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  The week before, we were a little concerned about tropical storm Alberto’s impact to this outdoor wedding, but thankfully he moved on well before the big day.

We flew down, and had a layover in Atlanta.  While there, the fire alarm went off in the terminal.  My experience has been that a fire alarm means “exit the building now”, but in this case, an automated voice announced that there was an emergency situation, and to wait for further details.  After several minutes of flashing lights and loud sirens, the system announced that the fire alarm had been cleared, and everything was normal.  In retrospect, it would have been a nightmare to shuffle everyone out of the building and then try to get them all back through security if there wasn’t a true emergency, so having everyone sit tight for a few additional minutes made sense.  Still, it was a first for all four of us.

On a lighter note, there was a service dog at our gate, playing catch with her owner.  The dog was friendly enough that she would catch the frisbee, and then walk up and down the rows of people looking for someone new to play with her.  She found several willing playmates, including Lucy.  When they started boarding people on the plane, the dog took off down the gate, to the amusement of several of the waiting passengers, and to the consternation of the agent.  She came back fairly quickly when her owner called her, though.

When we arrived at the hotel, the girls walked in and started giggling and exclaiming “What the?!”  When I caught up, I found that CJ had been selected as the Guest of the Day.


With the honor came a free drink and snack from the hotel store.  Mmm – Oreos.

My niece mentioned a while back that Florida has a lot of small lizards running around – most no bigger than your hand – and they tend to turn up everywhere.  The fencing around the hotel pool was apparently a favorite gathering point, because most of the times we passed it there were one or two of them hanging on the bars.  They were very shy, though.  If you got too close – and especially if you pointed at them – they’d dart into the bushes nearby.

The wedding was very nice:


And blessedly short given how hot it was.  In fact, I think it was the mother of the groom announced “Let’s go have a wedding, and then run back inside!”

The groom’s family raise all kinds of birds, from racing pigeons and ducks, to more exotic ones like these peacocks:


The groom’s father led a tour, showing off the many different species, with a stop, of course, to see the newly-hatched babies:


They also raise bees.  The girls got a kick out of a sign posted by the “bee area”:


“Caution.  Honey Bee Yard.  No Trespassing – bees sting!  Hives contain up to 40,000 bees.  Bees can fly 40 MPH.  How fast can you run!  Don’t make the bees chase you.”

Other than a delayed flight out of Florida, the travel home was relatively uneventful.  None of us had been sleeping well while we were down there, so coming home and getting to sleep in our own beds that first night back was luxurious.

I can has "sum" more?

CJ went to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in Chicago this week.  She returned last night, so a good portion of this morning’s conversation revolved around the various sessions, cool things she saw and heard, and in general, math.

Somehow we got on the topic of adding up every number between 1 and 10.  You can brute-force it, but if you recognize that summing up 1-10 is the same as the following, it gets easier:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10
= 10 + (1 + 9) + (2 + 8) + (3 + 7) + (4 + 6) + 5
= 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 5
= 55

The conversation moved on for a few minutes, and then Lucy announced that she could add up all of the numbers between 1 and 20.  “It’s 210.”

CJ and I thought she was just making up a number – until she explained her reasoning:

“Adding up 1 through 10 gives you 55.  Adding up all of the ones between 11 and 20 gives you another 55.  And then there are ten 10s between 11 and 20.  That’s 100.  55 + 55 is 110.  110 + 100 = 210.”

She had broken up 11 into 10 + 1, then 12 into 10 + 2, 13 into 10 + 3, etc..  That was where she got the “ones” and the “ten 10s”.  CJ and I were stunned at the mental math our 3rd-grader just pulled out.  Slack-jawed, mind-blown, stunned – and we made sure to tell her so.

That got me thinking about adding up all of the numbers between 1 and 100 – and Lucy and I were off again.  After several more minutes working by ourselves we both came up with the same answer.  Granted, it was the same WRONG answer.  After we worked through some silly mistakes, though, we got to the correct answer of 5050.

CJ then pointed out that we might have saved ourselves some trouble had we viewed the problem as the sum of pairs of numbers:

0 + 100
1 + 99
2 + 98

There are 50 such pairs between 0 and 100, and each one adds up to 100, so 50 * 100 = 5000.  Then, we are left with the 50 in the middle.  Adding that to 5000 gives you 5050.

Geeking out about math.  It was a good Saturday morning.

Leapin’ Leporidae!

One of Lucy’s recurring school assignments is to use a word she is learning in a sentence.  Lucy writes the sentences on sticky-notes, which I frequently find on the microwave (aka, our family bulletin board) when I get home.

Lucy’s initial goal was to incorporate “bunny” into every sentence she wrote.  She later expanded that to incorporate her friend, Mckala, too.  For example:


“The bunnies grabbed the rope and almost toppled over themselves, trying to pull me and Mckala up the climing [sic] wall.”

And yes, she signed her name on this one with a smiley and a carrot.