Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pinewood Derby

It's one of the most thrilling times of the year, for Logan...

Pinewood Derby time!  It's right up there with birthdays and Christmas.  Seriously.

We did get a pre-cut car this year.  Between moving every three months and all our tools being in storage, it was this or skip the Pinewood Derby all together and we couldn't have that.  

So here's the car after it's been sanded, painted, stickers put on and clear coat.  Logan chose "Ninjago Green."  Well, that's what we call it anyway.   He also chose the car design.  He liked the Formula 1 look. 

Then to help it make weight, we hollowed out the underneath, 

then filled it with very small lead sinkers and wood glue.  

We wanted it to weigh as close to 5 ounces as possible.  Then we added the wheels and "red helmet man."  

 Logan was ready and super excited for the races. 

All weighed in and waiting.  

All anxious and waiting.  

He works hard on his car and does his best, but you never know how it's going to do until it's actually raced.  

They all run so fast, it's impossible to get a good picture.  Logan's is the green blur in front.  

The computer showed the results.  Logan Sharp in 1st place.  Yay!

Each boy's car raced 4 times.  It was utter chaos and noise, but somehow it all worked out.  (Again, Logan's is the blur in front).   

There was a tie for first place between Logan and a screaming fast Hummer Limo.  Logan edged him out by .02 seconds and took 1st place overall!

Logan's award was a neckerchief slider that says, "1st Place Pinewood Derby 2014"

He's one happy Pinewood Derby kid!  He was also a very good sport.  He told others how cool their cars were and wished them good luck.  We're so proud of him for that as well.  

Congratulations, Logan!  Great job!  Love you, Buddy! 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tea Party

About four years ago, we moved away from Corvallis, Oregon and away from some very good friends.  Right now we're only one hour apart, the closest we've lived to them since we left.

Knowing we're going to move further away from them soon, we're trying to get together as much as possible before then.  My kids are thrilled about this.

This week the girls had a tea party with their dolls.

 They were served yummy cinnamon rolls,

and drank water out of teeny tea cups.  (Oh, it looks like Tinkerbell was there too).  They had so much fun being all sophisticated and lady-like. 

 And while the girls were sipping tea, the boys were shooting all the "Battle Droids."   It's good to know we were well protected.  My hero!

Last week, Taylor drew this picture:
It's of Anna and Olaf the snowman, and Kristoff from the movie Frozen.  Olaf says, "I'm going in with Anna."  Then Anna says, "no you'r not, you are"  And then Kristoff says, "I'll waet wate what here."  

I just love how Taylor tried so hard to spell the word, "wait."  Most of the time the kids say, "Mom, how do you spell, 'house'?"  "How do you spell, 'because'?"  I'm asked multiple times a day, "How do you spell..."  

Here's another drawing Taylor made, of Elsa, who is one of the main characters in Frozen.  Elsa is saying, "The cooled nevr botherd me enewa."  (The cold never bothered me anyway).  

Isn't that so precious?  I think it's just adorable.  We've got it hanging on the fridge, it's just too cute.  

The other day we were watching "How the Universe Works" on Netflicks.  It's a fascinating show, just full of so much information.  It's all about space and planets and how immense the universe is.  It truly is mind-boggling.  

So Taylor is watching this show and hears something that she finds amazing.  Her eyes get huge and she turns to me and says, "that's so mind-bothering."  I just started laughing, I thought it was so funny.  She still says cute stuff.  

Just yesterday morning, we were snuggling in my bed.  She heard a funny noise and asked what it was.  I said, "That's just my tummy growling.  It's saying, 'feed me.  I'm hungry'."  

Then I told her, "but my mind says, 'don't stop snuggling with Taylor.' And my heart says, 'I love to snuggle with Taylor'."

Taylor started to get up then.  She said to me, "Don't go anywhere.  I'll be right back and I'll make all your body parts happy!"

She left and I heard her rummaging around in the kitchen, downstairs.  Just a  minute later she comes back upstairs with a bowl of corn Chex and a spoon.  

Then she sat right next to me, so we could still snuggle while I ate breakfast in bed.  All my body parts were so happy and my heart especially, felt like would burst.  She is the sweetest girl ever!  I love my Taylor Girl.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oregon State Capitol Building

We went on a little field trip, with some good friends of ours, to the Oregon State Capitol Building. 

I just realized that I don't have  a picture looking straight at the front of the building. 

 Here's a picture of the front doors though, with all the kids. 

Before we went inside, we checked out the grounds.  This is a statue "commemorating the labors and achievements of the ministers of the gospel who as circuit riders became the friends, counselors and evangels to the pioneers on every American frontier."

Taylor at the statue of The Circuit Rider.  She just liked it because it was a horse. 

The boys.  Notice how the only one not paying attention to the speaker, is the speaker's brother.  The two non-siblings are listening intently.  

This is the remains of a column from a previous Oregon State Capitol building.  We're on our 3rd one.  They keep burning down. 

A blue bird on one of the columns.

The older kids quickly recognized Dr. John McLoughlin, from our field trip to Oregon City this last Autumn.  

Logan's examining this most unusual tree.  The Camperdown Elm's branches twist and turn in a spiral-like manner. 

But it also has a rounded canopy of thin, not so twisted branches, with leaves just beginning to grow again.  I love this tree.  It's so unique. 

The kids found a tree they could climb and play in. 

The kids really enjoyed the Walk of Flags, featuring the flags from every state in the U.S.  The flags are placed in order of their state's joining the Union.   So Oregon is the 33rd flag.


Logan's attention is on the mallard.  

Sacajawea leading Lewis and Clark to the Oregon Territory. 

After we saw everything we could possibly see outside, and tried to let the kids run out some of their energy, we went to tour the inside of the State Capitol.

When you go through the doors, you enter the rotunda, and there in the middle of the floor is the state seal.  It's all roped off so nobody can walk on it.  

The state seal is rich with symbols, for instance the two ships beneath the eagle symbolize, out with the old (Europe) and in with the new (America).  The 33 stars symbolizes the fact that Oregon is the 33rd state in the Union.  

The wagon, of course, shows the way many people came to Oregon, to start a new life.  The setting sun and water symbolize that Oregon is on the west coast. 

When standing anywhere in the rotunda, if you look up, you'll see this enormously tall ceiling.  There are 33 gold stars in the blue globe on the ceiling.  They represent the 33 states in the Union at the time Oregon became a state in 1859.  The largest, brightest star represents Oregon, of course. 

All four corners of the rotunda had murals depicting different times in Oregon history.  This one is of Lewis & Clark on the Columbia River at the Celilo Falls.  A large number of Native Americans lived near these falls and fished for salmon here.  

At Celilo Falls, the Columbia River necked down to a width of only 140 feet.  In many other places the river is over a mile wide.  Celilo Falls was the 6th largest waterfall in the world, by volume of water passing over it.  And it was among the very largest in all of North America, again, by volume of water, not height.  

The Native Americans had been fishing in this location, one of the greatest spots for salmon in North America, for 15,000 years!  They used nets and spears.  It was also an enormous trading and gathering site for the Native Americans.  

With an increase in population and industry in the west, the need for electricity in the area grew.  The government decided to put dams on the Columbia River for electrical power.

The tribes that were affected by the flooding of Celilo Falls were compensated monetarily for the loss of their fishing sites, $26.8 million dollars.  That's a lot of money!  But they had lost their traditional way of life too. 
The Dalles Dam was completed in 1957.  Celilo Falls and it's neighboring communities were submersed in water.  It is now known as Lake Celilo.   

Okay, enough with the history lesson.  I just found all that online anyway, but I think it's fascinating that we used to have such a large falls on the Columbia River.  

Oregon's state seal on a doorknob on the fourth floor.

We visited places in the State Capitol such as the State Senate chamber, the House of Representatives chamber and...

the Governor's Office.  Logan and his friend sharing the governor's chair. 

This encased Oregon State flag went to the moon and back on the Apollo 11.  Logan loved hearing about that.  He insisted that I get a picture of it.  That black dot at the top of the picture is really a tiny moon rock the astronauts brought back from the moon.  

What could possibly top all that we've already seen?

How about a climb to the very top of the State Capitol building!  121 stairs, (and that was after we'd already climbed all the stairs to the 4th floor), led us up the tower and past those windows...

that we'd seen when we looked up from the rotunda.  The windows look a lot smaller from down here.

The kids on the State Capitol Building roof, with the golden pioneer man.  

The Pioneer Man is 23 feet tall and represents the Oregon Pioneers and the pioneer spirit that brought great people to the Oregon Territory in the first place.  

It's 6 feet from his foot to his knee.  He's holding an ax to begin building his home in Oregon.  He's also holding a wagon cover, his means of traveling here and it too will aid him in making his home here.  

From up here we had amazing views of the city of Salem, Oregon.  There's the Walk of Flags too. 

We also had a view of Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson in the distance.  They never come out as good or look as close in the pictures.  

We could also just make out a faint view of Mt. St. Helens.  Logan was so impressed that we could see into the state of Washington from up there.  I was impressed too.  It was a gorgeous day.  

We had a fantastic time hanging out with our friends and learning more about our great state, Oregon.  

I'll leave you with these words, which are inscribed on the front, exterior wall of the Oregon State Capitol building: "The mind of man knows no employment more worthy of its powers than the quest of righteousness in human affairs, no goal of its labours that is superior to the discovery of good in the guidance of life."  

I particularly like the part about "righteousness in human affairs."   What kind of world might we live in, if all forms of government actually sought after righteousness in all their concerns?