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The chess club at Will and Drew's school didn't have enough participation, despite plenty of kids standing around at the front door or even sitting in cars with their parents doing nothing but waiting for the school to open, but that's a topic for another day. So, the club previously open to to second through fifth grade opened up to select first graders by invitation. Will was ecstatic when he found out he was invited and could join Drew in chess club.
Early this morning, I dropped Will and Drew off at chess club. We were a bit early and I went in and waited for the teacher who supervises the club to arrive. While waiting, I gave Will the old...what a great honor it is to have been asked to join the club, don't worry if you don't win since you're younger than everyone else, you might not win for a long time but have fun and learn about the game, etc. Will seemed to understand and his excitement would no doubt overcome any disappointment that might come from not winning.
When I got home from work, Will was beaming. He wound up playing a third-grader who is in Drew's accelerated classes. Despite the two-year age difference, Will won his first chess club game! Way to go Will!!!
Landon watching a little Cartoon Network on the iPad.
Landon reading one of his favorite Star Wars books before he takes a nap.
Just Landon and Drew relaxing together..takin' life easy.
Mary made another awesome family tradition number cake for Drew's ninth birthday party with family. Drew chose chocolate cake with chocolate icing. It was served along with a side of his favorite cookie-dough ice cream.
Our first born is growing up.
Drew expertly bowing out all of his candles in one breath.
Ma, Pa, Uncle David and Aunt Catherine all joined us for lunch and cake in celebration of Drew's birthday.
Ninjago Lego is huge and both Drew and Landon are excited about Drew's gift.
Landon and Will look on as Drew opens some books.
Drew really enjoyed his birthday cards. Thanks to everyone for helping make Drew's birthday extra special.
We all enjoyed another absolutely amazing Thanksgiving dinner at Ma and Pa Youngmans. Every dish was perfect with all of my favorites present. My plate was filled, from top-right: corn casserole, stuffing, candied yams, brocolli rice & chees, and finally a good helping of turkey both dark and white meat.
Thanks to the brilliant intellect and sound logical reasoning of our nation's liberal elites, we now know my fondness for white turkey meat is because I'm racist. At least, that's the opinion of Ron Rosenbaum writing in Slate, The Unbearable Whiteness of White Meat.
Recently, we also learned that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are racist thanks to Verenice Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland, Oregon. It gets better...the same guardian of higher learning who believes the sandwich that defines innocuous is a vestige of discrimination, also believes a class/club open only to boys of the right race isn't at all racist, sexist, bigoted or, otherwise, inappropriate.
While I've always believed it was obvious hyperbole to mock liberalism as a mental disease, Rosenbaum and Gutierrez make me reconsider.
We are so thankful for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed on us. We hope you and your family are as equally blessed.
Our Thanksgiving cartoons from years past:
Multiple New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Mo Willems appeared at the Tulsa Central Library tonight. He is the featured illustrator for Tulsa City-County Library's 2012 "Books to Treasure," an annual event promoting the beauty of children's literature and introducing the community to popular book illustrators.
Mr. Willems answered audience questions and read three of his most popular books to the crowd: "Leonardo, the Terrible Monster," Elephant and Piggie series, "We Are In a Book!" and Pigeon series, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!"
Afterwards we waited in a long line for each of the boys to get a book signed by Mr. Willems. The display case is showcasing some of the works of Mr. Willems.
Mo Willems signing one of his books.
Mo Willems signing a book for one of the boys.
Mo Willems along with Landon, Will and Drew.
Mo Willems' signature inside Elephant and Piggie book, "Can I Play Too?" Mr. Willems also signed for us, from the same series, "I Broke My Trunk!" and "Let's Go for a Drive!"
One of the billboards at night (iPhone photo).
The advertisement has been hopping around different electronic billboards along highway 169 and the Broken Arrow Expressway. A lot of friends have pointed out to us that they saw the boys on a billboard. Aunt Donelda even got to see it when I was taking her to the airport on the way out of town.
Video of the boys when I took them by one of the billboards. Be sure to make the video full screen and crank up the video quality by clicking on one of icons in the lower right of the video. (Sometimes you then have to drag the slider back to the beginning to get the change in quality to actually take effect.)
Mama made the world's greatest Lego Ninjago Kai cake for Drew's party. Drew had no problem blowing out his nine candles.
Kai lost a leg. "It's just a flesh wound."
Mama made some awesome cupcakes just in case the main cake wasn't enough. (It turned out to be the perfect size with everyone getting plenty with no leftovers.)
Will just chilling out during the birthday party.
Landon has guilty written all over his lips. He enjoyed Mama's cake too!
Drew opening presents with all his friends looking on.
Everyone's excited about Drew's gift. Ninjao's popularity is really gaining on Star Wars.
Nine friends helped make Drew's ninth birthday extra special.
After the festivities, before we went home, the three brothers posed for a picture.
To all our nation's veterans, thank you for your service and sacrifice without which we would not enjoy the freedom and liberty we so take for granted.
Mary made an absolutely awesome Lego Ninjago Kai cake for Drew's friends birthday party tomorrow. First, mix up your colors: red, yellow, brown and black. (Just ignore the maroon in the upper right...it went on cupcakes made out of the extra cake batter. I was unaware of this fact when I took the pics.)
Start with a cake made in a silicone Lego minifigure cake mold.
Cover the Lego minifigure's head yellow. While you might be tempted to just put a little yellow where the face is, if you do, it won't come out a good as the final result at the bottom shows.
Next, black icing on the hands. Be sure to take some time to do a good job modeling the Lego hands.
Now it's time for the red body, the smoother the better.
Next, brown belt and other decorations.
Now, just make a yellow lion's head emblem. (How in the world Mary did this, I have no idea. I would have just made a giant smear.)
Now, add all the black outlining and accents. Careful on the lion's face!
Add, Kai's hood and Lego Ninjago Kai is done. Great job Mary!!!
Drew and Will both participated in this year's TAMTA (Tulsa Accredited Music Teachers Association) Music Festival today. They each performed a solo alone in a room for a judge for which they were scored based solely on their own performance (i.e., it wasn't a competition...although they obviously would have both won first place if it had been). Drew played "Things that Go Bump in the Night" and Will played "Halloween Witch."
Will playing his solo for the judge. (I had to take the photo through a little glass window.) Unfortunately, they were running way early and I took Will to the restroom and missed Drew playing but Mama said he did great.
Our proud piano players. All their hard work really paid off as their performances were outstanding. The judges were also terrific giving each boy plenty of praise and constructive criticism. Great job Drew and Will!
Drew and Will's school had a Glow Run tonight. Here are the they are at the start all lit up to run around the gym and play games in the dark.
This is Will streaking away from the camera. You can tell it is Will because he had his lights grouped by color; red on his right shoulder, yellow on his left shoulder, green on his chest and blue at his waist. Drew's colors were all mixed up. You can just make out Landon at the top middle wearing his miner's style head band with its two red lights.
Drew and Will running an X pattern across the gym.
Drew dancing again. You can just make out part of his faint image on the right when he was still for a second.
Drew and Will running away from the camera in an X pattern.
Finally, all three boys. Drew with mixed up lights on the left. Will with his grouped lights on the right. And, Landon, with his miner's headband lights ghostly running in the middle. Be sure to click on "Continue reading" to see more photos.
A very well decorated glower who reminds me of Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2.
The green streak is a kid with one glow light. But, it's the red lights that are a mystery to us. The lights belong to a kid with no glow lights except for his shoes that light up when he steps on them. His movement makes him invisible. He shows up in a bunch of the pictures I took and the boys can't figure out who he is because he's never standing still with his shoes lit up.
The boys running across each others' paths again.
One of the boys, probably Drew, and Landon with his two red forehead lights crossing Drew's path.
Will making a lap around a group of kids sitting down in the middle of the gym.
Will running around a corner and then sitting down.
Drew running in the background while another child streaks by in front and a third does some sort of a loop-de-doo.
Drew running by and Will and Landon sitting in the middle.
Just some glowers dancing away.
One of the boys next to a glower running past the camera.
A close-up of one of the boy's lights.
Another shot of one of the boys running.
A bunch of glowers dancing around but up in the top left the two boys have somehow managed to make themselves look like three.
I like this one either running then dancing or visa-versa.
Finally, a group shot of all the Glow Run participants. The boys had a great time and look forward to this being an annual event.
Drew turned 9 today which to me, for some reason, is a big difference from being 8. 8 is still a little boy but 9 is really growing up. We've got him for less than a decade before he goes off to college. It's such a cliché but time does fly and they really do grow up fast. With an Aunt Donelda party last weekend and a friends' party this weekend, there was no celebration tonight except for a Glow Run at school.
From today through next April, the boys are 3, 6, and 9 and they were born in 03, 06 and 09. How cool is that? Actually, so far, I'm the only one who thinks that's cool. Oh, well.
Finally, I got some awesome daddy points for talking to George Lucas and the makers of Angry Birds and getting them to release Star Wars Angry Birds for the iPhone/iPad today for Drew's Birthday. As Drew says, "OK, that's creepy!"
Will and Drew's school had their Veterans Day celebration today and their Cub Scout pack provided the Color Guard.
Drew had the honor of carrying the American Flag during the ceremony.
Drew and Will giving their scout salute to the flag during the practice for their Veterans Day assembly. Below a movie of the color guard in action during the assembly.
Interestingly, the Veterans Day observance is mandated by state law:
Title 70 Okla. Stat. § 24-152. Veterans Day and Celebrate Freedom Week in public schools--Instruction on Declaration of Independence and U.S. ConstitutionIt a great law, just too bad you have to legislate common sense.
A. In order to educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom on behalf of this country and the values on which this country was founded, the date of November 11 is hereby designated "Veterans Day", and the week in which November 11 falls is hereby designated "Celebrate Freedom Week" in and for the public schools of this state. In any year in which the date of November 11 is a Saturday or Sunday or classes are not in regular session, the public schools of this state shall observe the previous school day as "Veterans Day" as provided for in this section. For purposes of this subsection, Sunday shall be considered the first day of the week.
B. The board of education of each public school district shall ensure that each school in its district will on Veterans Day conduct and observe an appropriate program of at least one class period remembering and honoring American veterans. In addition, schools may choose, if scheduling allows, to have a one-minute moment of silence beginning at 11:00 a.m. on November 11 of each year. The benefit of such activity, in addition to honoring American veterans, is to serve to educate students about the termination of World War I at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, which was first recognized by United States President Woodrow Wilson on the first anniversary of the truce in a proclamation eulogizing fallen Allied soldiers and referring to November 11 as Armistice Day.
Aunt Donelda couldn't be here for Drew's mid-week birthday so we had a mini-celebration of his birthday today. Looking for something we hadn't done before, we went to Dave & Buster's for lunch and games.
We had a pretty good haul: Will got a Spider-Man, Landon got a Robin, Drew got a Pikachu and they all got a giant stuffed boxing glove to share. Good thing too, since we don't have nearly enough stuffed animals in the house.
Drew very excited about Lego Ninjago
Brothers look on in anticipation.
Landon is excited about this one!
Another great gift.
Thanks Aunt Donelda for coming all the way down from Chicago to make Drew's birthday extra special.