Elementary School Siege Weaponry

My kids go to a small public school. It’s a community school which means that all parents are asked to volunteer about 130 hours of their time throughout the year towards school events and projects – of which we have many. There’s Bike-a-Thon, Winterfest, Artsfest (Fall AND Spring), STEAM fair, Science Fair, and of course…Camp.

Or rather #CAAAAAMP. (Or #caaaaaaaamp, depending on your social medium of choice.)

What sets our school camp apart from other school camps is that our kids go twice a year. Once in the fall (appropriately named Fall Camp) for an overnight with all students k-8th grades. And again in the Spring (Spring Camp).

Fall camp happens approximately 38 seconds after school starts and it is exhausting. It’s hectic. It’s usually soggy. But it’s also super fun in a community building sort of way. There’s something about herding 200 elementary school kids through dinner, tooth brushing, bedtime and breakfast that has a way of building solidarity among the parents. There are no ‘new students’ after Fall Camp.

But that’s Fall Camp. That’s just the part where we get to know each other. That’s not the part where we go to have fun outdoors. That’s Spring Camp.

Spring Camp usually happens a few weeks before the end of school. The older grades (6th, 7th and 8th) get to go off to their own, almost parent-free camp for 4 days. But the K-5th grades stay with us. As a community, we take all the k-5’s to stay at an Environmental Learning Center (think State Park facilities) and stay for 4 days.

FOUR DAYS.

During those 4 days the kids still have classes but instead of math, reading and art, they learn more applied lessons such as writing (nature) poetry and sewing stuffed animals.

AW YEAH MAKING HAMMIES.

These are ridiculously popular.

The kids love Spring Camp.  They learn orienteering and survival skills on the forest hike. They learn water conservation and responsible stewardship of our planet on the beach hike. They learn community responsibilities like helping serve food at meal times and cleaning up afterward.

They LOVE serving the food.

They LOVE serving the food.

They learn dexterity and team building during field games. They even put on a talent show.

It's my favorite part.

THE CUTEST TALENT SHOW.

And, of course, the best class ever: applied physics – which is basically a 4-day long water balloon fight with siege weapons.

As far as I can tell, it started out with one of those 3-person sling shots-the kind where two people hold each end and one person stretches the middle back to launch something. In this case, it was a water balloon. And another. And eventually, the hand-held slingshot became too cumbersome and fiddly for the amount of kids who wanted to use it. One of our parents decided it would be better if we had a free-standing sling shot. So he built one.

Or rather, he built two. Because if you’re going to go through all that trouble, why would you build just one gigantic free standing sling shot?

*FrostFur not pictured

*FrostFur not pictured

They were, as you may imagine, a huge hit.

Look at that teamwork in action!

Look at that teamwork in action!

This year, one of our other parents decided that sling shots were great and all but what we really needed was a trebuchet. So he built two. Because of course he did.

CHECK IT OUT:

via GIPHY

We are now ready for the zombie invasion, or a return to the middle ages.

Legos and Feminism FTW!

My kid is 11. When he is not playing Minecraft, he is building with Legos. He friggen’ LOVES Legos. We have never celebrated any gift-giving holiday with him in which Lego was not involved.  By now, there are roughly four million dollars worth of Lego in my house. I’d say a good $123 worth are stuck in the heating vents and $27 worth are in the vacuum cleaner.

This Jackass lives on a steady diet of custom hair pieces and hard-to-find 1-bumpers

This asshole lives on a steady diet of custom hair pieces and hard-to-find 1-bumpers

Occasionally, we all take on a family sorting project where we try to separate them by color (white, grey and black for all the spaceships, red, yellow and green for all the houses – stuff like that.) I got bored the other day and decided to start again, only this time, instead of by color, I started picking out all the Lego people.

At first, my son thought it was nice of me to be helping. But then he found a minifig he hadn’t seen in a while. Soon, he was obsessed. Every two minutes he’d get all excited and I’d hear,

“Oh, Mom! Look at this one! It’s a StarFisherSnackMonsterBlahDittyBlah!”

Then he’d shove a tiny Lego person halfway up my nose in an attempt to show me the differently shaped stripe it had on its helmet.

After a while I faded to the background. He kept going. This had turned into a thing. Then it turned into a secret thing. His sister, who had followed me out to the kitchen for a snack, was no longer allowed to help. He worked up until dinner time and for 10 minutes between bath and bed. The next day, he was at it again. All we could hear was the crash-crash-crash of Legos and the occasional whine from his sister about why she couldn’t come in his room.

“I’m making a surprise. I’ll show you all when I’m done. I swear!”

She huffed and puffed but he wouldn’t let her in. She was so pissed.

On the third day of secretive Lego building, he announced that he was finally ready for the big reveal. His sister, irritated beyond all common sense, proclaimed that she didn’t care. She was wasn’t about to appreciate ANYTHING her brother had spent so much time building. She summed up her feelings quite succinctly,

“So what. It probably doesn’t even have any girls in it.”

He answered that with the Spock Eyebrow. For the record, I love the Spock Eyebrow. He spent months learning how to do it properly and when he pulls that move you know he’s got an ace up his sleeve.

He disappeared into his room and returned with something hidden behind his back. 

“So, as you know, I was going through all my Lego people the other day. And I noticed that I had a lot of girl hair. I didn’t know what to do with any of it at first. But then I realized I had enough to make an army.”

Which is exactly what he did. He spent three days finding the perfect pieces to made this bad ass squad of lady fighters:

I think the Storm Trooper is my favorite.

I think the Storm Trooper is my favorite.

My kid loves making Lego battles. And it never occurred to him that the Lego women wouldn’t want to fight in one. So now he has an elite squad of women fighters that are all highly trained in the murder arts. Well, all except for the woman in green – she’s an Endorian anthropologist. But I am assured that every squad needs a scientist to help them make strategic decisions. Plus, she leads the army of Ewoks so it’s not like she’s sidelined or anything.

His sister was so impressed that she even told him so.

 

Actually, I do GAF.

10 Things I Don’t Give a Fuck About Now That I’ve Turned Twenty-Seven!

10 Things I Don’t Give a Fuck About Now That I Know French!

10 Things I No Longer Give a Fuck About Now That I’ve Lost My Arm In a Bar Fight!

(Actually, I think I would read that one.)

We get it. You don’t give a fuck. Nobody gives a fuck anymore.  I wholeheartedly support that. But the format is, by necessity, this weird double negative argument that seems like it should be positive thing but ultimately ends up seeming like a list of societal complaints.  “I’m not doing this thing anymore and you can’t make me feel bad about it.”

That’s cool. I mean, I don’t want to be the reason somebody avoids wearing white shorts on labor day or anything. I wouldn’t make anybody wear white shorts, ever. Where do you sit if you go outside?

I’m not going to do that here. Instead, I’m going to list 10 random things I do give a fuck about. I give so many fucks about these things it’s unreal. In fact, if you come between me and number six, I may have to cut you.

So here is an Incomplete List of Things, About Which I Give Many Fucks

1. People who try stuff. I don’t care what you’re trying. Ballet? Yodeling? Bee-keeping? You want to try out some weird shit? I think you should go out there and try some weird shit. Enjoy it. I’m here doing my own weird shit and when I see that you’re doing the same, you better believe I’m giving you a thumbs up.

2. Being polite. Politeness counts. IT FUCKING COUNTS. Tearing into the cashier at the Safeway about ringing your eggs up wrong doesn’t make you right. It makes you a horrible person. You know who else screams until they get their way? Toddlers. Decent people don’t throw tantrums. They don’t talk smack about other people. They don’t publicly shame their kids. And they hold the fucking door to the elevator.

3. Admitting mistakes. It’s not easy and definitely not fun but everyone makes mistakes. That’s what it is to be human. I’ve been there. I’ve fucked up. A lot. And I’ve got 100x more respect for those people willing to stand up and say, “Sorry, that one was on me,” than for those people who never admit to being fallible.

4. People who make art. Kudos to all those people out there that paint. Or draw. Or sculpt or sew or rearrange rocks in pleasing patterns – it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you’re doing it because you feel compelled to make some art. I especially love when you post pictures of your art on the internet so I can see it. I like seeing what other people have made. It gives me inspiration to do my own thing.

Phantom Rock Stacker, you're my favorite.

Phantom Rock Stacker, you’re my favorite.

5. People who are super enthusiastic about bizarre hobbies. You refurbish vintage golf carts? Hell yes I want to see the latest one you’ve been working on. While you’re at it, tell me what you know about the vintage golf cart refurbishing business because I can guarantee you I don’t know a thing. And I just realized I’m talking with an expert. I find that fascinating. You keep being you Mr Vintage Golf Cart guy.

6. My dog. Your dog. All the dogs. I’m mostly a dog person but if you’re a cat person I can respect that. I like cats too. In fact, if I’m over at your house and your cat sits on me, I’m totally gonna scratch it behind the ears. And then I’ll probably talk to it just like I talk to my dog. I don’t care if I get covered pet hair.

7. Kids being weird. I friggen’ LOVE It when kids do weird things; trying stuff out just because they can. There’s this one kid in my neighborhood who tears down our hill at least twice a week on his way to school. He runs as fast as he can, arms flailing all over, screaming WOOOOOOOO! all the way down. His poor mom jogs behind him, trying to keep up but she never can. That kid is my hero.

8. Coffee. I’m not even going to cutesy this one up. You know what I’m talking about.

Or tea. Tea is good too. But coffee is my jam. 

9. Dirt. I love dirt. I love digging holes, moving dirt around, generally hanging out in the yard. Dirt is where it’s at. Did you know that you can grow food in it? Real food that you can eat. Or flowers! Flowers are great because then you get bees and hummingbirds. Man I love bees. Big ol’ fat happy bumble bees are the best. Hummingbirds are good too, although they’re territorial af.

10. Being comfortable. Say you’re coming over to my house for dinner at 5 PM but you don’t want to change out of your yoga pants. You want to know something? I don’t care. If I invite you to my house it means that you and I are friends and I want to hang out with you – not take pot shots at your fashion sense. How could I? I’m usually covered in dirt. We’re just gonna sit on the patio and drink G&Ts anyway so don’t worry about it. I do that in my jimmy-jams sometimes. It’s pretty fun.

So that’s my list. There are tons more things to put on it. My entire family, for example. But not right now because I have a bunch of gravel to move and the dog needs to go outside.

AW YEAH, This guy.

AW YEAH, This guy.