Get Behind Me Satan!

Today my son discovered the thrill that is rearranging the furniture in his room. It was incredible. He was so excited about moving everything around that he was actually cleaning his room. It was so great that I escaped to the back porch for a while to continue to strip paint from my latest house project.

In the middle of scraping another layer of toxic sludge I hear a knock at the back door. I was going turn around but my son opened the door and started talking at me so I continued what I was doing.

“Hey mom, I found this really old board game. Do you know anything about it?”

“What’s the name of it?” I said, still not turning around.

“The…Donkey…and the…Carrot? What should I do with it?”

The Donkey and the Carrot? I don’t remember any game called the Donkey and the Carrot. I turn from my paint stripping to see what he’s talking about.

"Mom, this stinks like brimstone."

“This stinks like brimstone. Where do you want me to put it?”

I have no idea where it came from. I’ve never seen that game before. I asked him where he got it.

“I don’t know. It was just in my room.”

Whaa? That ain’t right. Is it? I decided that it was probably something from my husband’s childhood. He’s got a lot of …stuff. You never know with him. I told my kid to put it on the table and I’d ask his dad about it when he got back from the hardware store.

“Dear, have you ever heard of a game called the Donkey and the Carrot?”

“The what now?”

I showed him. He stared blankly at it. Neither of us had ever seen the game before today. My husband held out his hand, a half-hearted attempt to take the box and take over the situation.

I did not hand it over.

“NO,” I said. “You CANNOT OPEN THIS. And for God’s sake don’t play it. Your son just ‘found this’ in his room. He has no idea where it came from. I have no idea where it came from. If you don’t know where it came from then the only other person that could know is his sister. And we both know that she’d never give him anything voluntarily. Clearly this is a plant by an evil demon trying to steal our children away. I’VE SEEN THE EXORCIST. I KNOW HOW THESE THINGS WORK.”



You mean “The Donkey and the HUMAN SACRIFICE”?

“Wha!” He said, eyes widening in fear.  “That’s an excellent point. I’m not touching that thing.”

Then we both agreed that the game was entirely evil and that we should get rid of it as soon as possible.

Anybody need an evil board game?

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.