The Age of Technology

The other day, my eldest grandson mentioned that he wanted to call his cousins and video chat. His cousins live a few hours away and they don’t get together anywhere near enough. Of course, I said, “OK. Let’s give them a call.” Unfortunately, they weren’t at home and the call went unanswered. We went about our day.

A bit later, I was checking email and noticed that we’d received a response to our earlier attempt at chatting. My daughter messaged us that the kids would be available soon. My grandson noted the time stamp of the message and said, “That was 22 minutes ago! That means they should be ready now! He called again and they answered. Today was a Batman adventure day and both households had bat caves and various Batman figures. Catwoman was even purring around at some point.  It was hilarious watching them trying to shoot batarangs and batclaws through the computer.   I must tell you that watching those three boys play over the video chat was both entertaining and a bit sad.

I am glad that technology is such that these children have the opportunity to play this way because otherwise, they would have nothing. However, it would be nice if we were not so far apart in distance. I watched my children grow up living away from their cousins and even though we visited the family often, the connection was never as close as it was for those who lived in the same town.

As a child growing up, I had two sets of cousins who lived near me. One set, we didn’t play with because of adult family member views and the other set consisted of a boy and a girl who were much younger than I. I never really played with them but my sister did. The cousins who were my age lived over six hours away. We visited during the summers and the summers were a blast but the rest of the year we didn’t communicate.  However, when we got together each summer it was like I’d never left. Imagine if we’d lived closer together.

Which leads me back to, I am glad the boys have technology.   The video chat is better than the phone because they can see each other. The video chat is allowing them to strengthen their bond even though they are miles away. There is something about that cousin relationship. It can be almost as strong as that for brothers and sisters but nurturing helps.  I can’t wait to see how their relationship changes as they get older.

Note: I taught my grandson how to use the chat feature. This way, he can call his cousins whenever the mood hits him.

Whittle While You Work

This month in Cub Scouts, we will work on our Bear Claws requirement. This requires us to use pocket knives. Needless to say, I am very excited and a little anxious about the boys using their knives.

As usual, for this adventure, I turned to the help of the Internet. I have been watching way too many videos about whittling. So much so that I feel like I could lapse into the Beverly Hillbillies theme song at any moment.

For the meeting, we will start out with soap bars and plastic knives to get the cubs familiar with the feel of the knife cutting through a substance. Later, we will switch to pocket knives and/or paring knives to cut the wood.

In my Internet travels, I came upon a site that had templates for cutting the three different pocket knives out of paper. You use those little brads to put them together.  I will add a picture of mine here for you to see. I thought this was a cute idea for an extra activity. If we have time, they could do this at the meeting. Otherwise, they can do it at home and bring it to the meeting.

I’ll be in touch to let you know how it goes.  I will have my first aid kit handy- just in case.

Happy Scouting!

Eight is Great

This week we celebrated our grandson’s 8th birthday. It is hard to believe that he is already eight. Time moves quickly and I always try to put a hint in a young parent’s ear to make the most of the childhood years because they go too fast.  Of course, this is difficult because parents are very busy working to provide the basics and trying to ensure their children have fun.

For the 8th birthday, my daughter and I took him to one of the Lego playlands. He had wanted to go for some time and we thought this would be an ideal time to make the trip.  Upon arrival, we picked up his adventure pass which gave him additional activities to do while he was in Legoland.  After picking up the adventure pass plus lanyard, we took a mini-train ride through different Lego adventures. This was very exciting! We were given star wands that we used to collect points during the ride.  We used the wand to point at different areas of the screen to generate points.  The train ride let us off back where we started and then we entered the land of Lego.

Legoland is split into multiple areas based on the Lego themes (ie, Ninjago, Duplo, and cinema). There is so much to do from the beginning that we found it very easy to stop at the building area and not go any further. Thank Heaven for the adventure pass (AP)! The AP was really helpful because it encouraged us to visit the different areas and get our pass stamped.  If you go, be sure to stop at the cinema and take in an interactive movie. Once we visited all the areas and had all the checkpoints stamped, we were able to pick up a couple pieces of flair for my grandson to add to his lanyard.

After a couple of hours playing Lego, it was time to eat. The great thing about being at the mall is that everyone can have their choice of foods. My grandson ordered his favorite, pizza.  My daughter ordered Chinese food and I purchased a veggie sub. After eating, it was off to gaming at Dave and Busters (D&B).  Believe it or not, this was his first time at D&B. Of course, he did not want to leave. 🙂 We’ll be sure to bring him back for a day of D&B.

On the way home, we discovered a popcorn store and decided we had to try it. Special treat! Not only did the store sell popcorn but it also sold the candy from the Harry Potter series. Yes, even the chocolate frogs. Being a Harry Potter geek, I was particularly excited about that, however,  we decided to stay away from the candy that day and just focus on popcorn. We let him choose his favorite flavor which turned out to be cookies and cream. I selected salted caramel and my daughter chose strawberry.

We were all thoroughly exhausted after the day’s adventures. The drive there and back was close to four hours (especially since we came back during rush hour). However, the celebration was not yet over. We came home to a mini celebration with just family, a specially decorated cake, and birthday presents which included a cool new desk (Succcess_Station) to be used in homeschool this year (more about that later).

Needless to say, by the time everyone left for home, grandma and pop-pop were done and wanted nothing more than to turn in for a good night’s sleep and we did.