Nerf Gun Turkey Hunt

Tonight’s Scout Meeting included an agenda item called Nerf Gun Turkey Hunt. No, I’m not making this up.

They were told to arrive dressed in camouflage, in preparation for the turkey hunt. The hunt itself looked a lot more like a Civil War battle, where two lines of troops were facing each other, separated by about a 10 foot wide “no shoot zone”. There were brief breaks in the battle, to permit reloading.

It was a sight to behold. And honestly, I didn’t know they made that many different varieties of Nerf Guns. Quite an impressive display of firepower.

Mom, the den mother, had to venture into the “no shoot” zone to toss spent ammunition back to the warriors.

School Pics 2011

Well, we’re finally back to batting .500 – the fourth year of school pictures, and now we have two editions where we can actually not grimace when opening the package. Now, some of you are thinking “he’s only in first grade, so how did computer boy get to four?” Remember, we had two years of Early Childhood programs as a warm-up.

Our record for quality school pictures got off to a really poor start. Our first attempt in the fall of 2008, was just that – an attempt. We tried, we really did. We got him up a little earlier for school, so he could get a bath (instead of the night before) to dull down his normally freaked out morning hair.

In return for our efforts, we got this:

Portrait_resize-2008

It’s also been referred to as “The Mug Shot”. To this day, Cathy’s cousin Thom starts laughing every time he sees it.

In 2009, we had high hopes for a better picture. Once again, we got him up early for school for a morning bath/shower to minimize hair impact. Dressed and cleaned up, we sent him off.  Later in the week, Cathy asks his teacher how picture day went (with Mrs.Mark’s awareness of the prior year’s outcome). She says “I think it’s going to be just fine, I think we got a good one.”

Well, she was wrong. Instead, we got this:

Portrait_resize-2009

I can’t speak for Cathy, but I was getting flashbacks to a comic strip that originally ran on 9/24/1989 (yes, I’m that old):

ch890924

I even threatened to start calling him Calvin.

But as good parents, we hung the already paid-for 8×10 in the family room with our other family photos. It’s funny to watch other people try to be complimentary when they see it. We had coffee mugs made with his first two school pictures (along with a handful of other stellar boy images) and gave them to select people. Thom got one, of course. Others who received them have also related stories of people trying to be complimentary when they see it. They only difference is that most of them can say they’re not related to him.

We were ready to surrender.

So when 2010 rolled around, we thought “what the hell, let’s shower him in the morning again and just hope for the best. Can’t be any worse than last year’s picture.”

To our surprise, it wasn’t. Actually, it was pretty good:

cm1_2-2010

Finally, a school picture we can hang without requiring a background story. We had hope for future photos.

The 2011 edition did not disappoint – it’s the best one so far:

cm1-2011

It’s funny, and maybe it’s just me, but he looks more than just one year older in this one. He really is growing up. I still can’t decide which of us he favors – many have said he looks like me, but I still dont’ see it. If anything, I see my mom in him.

So we’re back to .500 now – we’ll see what next year brings.

Finding Bigfoot

I used to think that Animal Planet put some relatively decent programming on its schedule; I’d catch myself watching it every now and then to see what new kind of mutant lizard-like thing the Miami-Dade Animal Control people were catching in the swamps. Mindless, yet entertaining.

It’s now shifted from mindless to just plain ridiculous. Case in point: Finding Bigfoot.

D3C_7441-640_resizeYes, that’s right, the Bigfoot Research Organization (or BFRO) is out there actively searching for a “squatch”. The team is complete with a field biologist and an expert “caller”. The leader of this little band of nutballs says he’s been on this quest for 20+ years. I frankly find it hard to watch more than five minutes of this trainwreck without looking at my wife and saying “Seriously?!?”

Except for one thing – the boy. He’s absolutely mesmerized by it. We have to DVR it, and he’ll watch it over and over again. And now he’s looking for “a squatch” in the woods of Pug Hollow.

This evening, armed in full Bigfoot-hunting garb, a boy and his mother ventured into the woods in search of the resident Sasquatch. Before setting out on this quest, I captured some video of their pre-planning meeting – it’s available on my Facebook page, and should be available soon on Cathy’s. Worth your two minutes to watch it.

There’s apparently a dress code for Bigfoot hunting – as we can see here:

  • Boots
  • Long pants and shirt
  • Backpack (complete with rations)
  • Hat
  • Binoculars
  • Night Vision Goggles

The goggles deserve a shot of their own (we thank Joni and Greta for these):

And so they head into the woods, with the boy making sure he issues a few calls into the wilderness. Because, you know, being able to issue an appropriate Bigfoot call is an essential skill for this kind of work.

When the Associate BFRO field staff (and I’m using the term associate very loosely here) returned, they had evidence of Bigfoot’s presence: they found a popped balloon tied to a ribbon (“because Bigfoot eats the balloons”) and remnants of a rotten pumpkin that also looked like it had been eaten.

And apparently the boy is pretty good at rationing food from his backpack – he was only willing to give his mother one Cheese-It while they were in the field.

I think the evidence speaks for itself. The boy’s as loony as the people on the show. But I do have a new angle for getting him indoors in the evening – because you never know when Bigfoot might be coming for a certain little boy.

LATE ADDENDUM:

The local BFRO field team went back out for one last “night hunt” this evening. Just before they went into the woods, the junior member of the team requested that they hold hands. I’m sure this was for safety reasons, as maintaining unity is of paramount importance in such endeavors.

Oh, and he did use his Night Vision goggles, as evidenced by Mom’s cell phone camera:

IMG00446

The Apology

As most of you know, the boy has been participating in baseball. If you didn’t know that, you’ll want to go back and read about his first baseball game and check out the pictures.

Another thing that most of you know is that the boy has been accused of being “easily distracted”. For those who know his parents, it’s pretty easy to see that apples usually don’t fall far from the tree. I’ve said it many times, he is his mother. No, I’m not being mean here; I’m pretty certain she’d say the same thing about it.

Which brings us back to being distracted – it’s the end of the game on Saturday afternoon, it’s the boy’s turn to bat, and there’s an issue. Mom (who also serves as the team mom for this little band of baseball players) is called to home plate by the coaches to chat with the boy. It’s apparent things are not going terribly well. Upon our return to the car, there was pretty thorough, one-sided and relatively high-volume discussion between the boy and Momzilla (yes, there was a transformation) about how that was not going to be tolerated. I still didn’t have a lot of details on what happened, but that really wasn’t the time to be asking questions. I sat there quietly, it was the best and safest course of action for me.

Rather than my muddling the story from here, I’ll share this little email from Mom to the coaches. I think this closes the loop:

From: Cathy Bridegroom
Date: 05/17/2011 01:15 AM
Subject: Nicholas

Hi Guys,

I just wanted to give you both a heads up that you will be receiving a letter of apology in the mail tomorrow from Nicholas.  It is my way of teaching him that it is not okay to throw fits, pout and essentially act up when things don’t go his way.  As you both may recall, he was a bit out of sorts towards the end of the game on Saturday.  It was due to an incident on the bench minutes before you both had the pleasure of dealing with him up to bat, and he decided to “shut down.” I have found from past experience having him write notes is a good way to talk about what happened and also explain what he did was not a good choice and to make a better one in the future.  He does not enjoy the note writing experience, which in turn “motivates” him to not act up in the future or suffer the same consequence.  It may seem a bit extreme to some, but I’d rather take these teaching moments when I get them and address them pronto!

Soooo, here is what the notes say because I am afraid you will have a tough time reading them.  I equate his handwriting to a drunken chicken walking across the page – ha!

“Dear Coach, I am sorry I threw a fit and did not listen at the game.  I will not do that again.  Nicholas”  I would have had him write more, but frankly the little dear was exhausted from writing what he did.  My point was made.

Gentleman, thank you for patience and all the good you do for the kids.  It is truly appreciated.

Take care and see you at Thursday’s game provided no rain.

Good night and yes, I’m going to bed.  I’m a night owl!

Cathy

This is what we call motherly brilliance. It’s also helps to reinforce those three words that he’s obviously not grasped – don’t cross Mommy.

The New Bedroom

One of the things we’ve been working on here at Pug Hollow has been Nicholas’ bedroom. As he gets older, the Froggy Tales theme that was in there since he was born just seemed to not quite fit him.

In November 2007, we took out the crib and put in a “big boy bed”, so that he’d have a normal bed to sleep in.  Actually, it was an antique bed wed had, but it worked out well.  It matched some other furniture we had, so all was well. And while it was working, we often thought that we probably needed to find a better solution for him. Something about boys jumping on a 150-year-old bed kind of made both of us shudder.

So the plan turned into two things:

  1. Paint the room.
  2. Get a new bed.

Here’s what it looked like after all the furniture was moved out in preparation for painting:

Since we didn’t know what we were going to have when she was pregnant, Froggy Tales seemed to work for either a boy or a girl.

It was very hard for Mom to part with the room, as she’s the sentimental type. I will always remember her walking out of the room while we were moving the furniture out, with tears in her eyes and saying “this is a lot harder than I thought it would be”.  It really was a cute room, but not much of a little boy’s room anymore.

I think we took care of that with the new look:

The new bed actually replaced the old bed and three other pieces of furniture – with the drawers and the headboard now a part of the bed, no longer a need for the chest, dresser and night stand that were in the room. The bonus part of the bed (at least to him) is the door on the footboard – which now gives him a secret hideout.  Mom said that would be good storage when we first looked at the bed, I told her that the boy would have other plans for that space. That’s just what boys do.

The bookcase was already in there, and we added the 9-bin storage (a very inexpensive yet functional accent). He also had a small basketball rug in the room (to match the basketball pull chain on the ceiling fan), but since he was now playing baseball, he traded those two things for the baseball rug/chain from my office.  His choice.

The whiteboard was something I contributed (it was an old one I replaced with a larger one in my office). He’s always wanting to draw on mine, now he’s got his own. He also needs to work on his writing skills, so hopefully this will provide some incentive.

As you may have also noticed, we’ve got a thing for superheros right now. His Aunt Cindy gave him the posters that are now hanging on the walls, and we put the superhero peel and stick additions on the walls.

He’s taken quite well to things, as you can tell. He insisted I take his picture, so I thought I’d put them here.

He was so excited for the makeover, he’d check on me every hour or so while I was painting and tell me to keep doing a great job in his room.  Even told his mom to not get in my way, because it was slowing me down. Once the room was painted, he wanted to sleep in it on a sleeping bag, until his new bed arrived (he only had two nights on the floor). That’s dedication.

And when it was all done, I got a big, unsolicited hug from him, telling me “Thank you for my room, Dad.”

Yeah, it was worth it.