This is an obstacle course for Steve to run through while being chased by a spider and a zombie.  First Steve has to climb over the obstacle, but he can’t jump it because it is more than one block high, so he has to build an elevator block to get up, but the spider can just climb up… Then he has to run across the bridge and jump the water hazard.  Then he climbs up the ladder and has to light the TNT to stop the spider from climbing.  Then he has to jump his chest so he doesn’t get exploded by the TNT.  All that and he’s ever even seen ANW.


Chanler decided that he wanted to learn how to solder, so we got him a kit from the Maker Shed to learn on.

I think he did a very good job on the soldering, it looks neat and very well done, especially considering it was his first go at it – not too much solder, not too little.



He seems pretty pleased with the result!


And here it is in action – Chanler’s Ultimate Useless Machine:

(Video to come shortly)

For Christmas Chanler got a pedal bike. The first words out of his mouth upon seeing it were “what…is…thaaat???” He was stunned! A few minuted later he wanted to ride it, so we went out to the street in front of the house to try it out.

Last year we got him a balance bike after I read about them and how they can help kids learn to ride a bike faster by teaching them to balance without having to think about pedaling at the same time. It sounded reasonable and was a good alternative, since we had a tricycle and Chanler seemed too little for a “real” bike.

So the test was here – would the year of practice on the balance bike do what it claimed? We assumed the best and went out on the new bike without training wheels.

It worked!!! within 5 minutes Chanler was riding down the street on his own (with daddy or mommy running close behind). It was amazing.

Chanler's first bike ride

Today (his second riding day) Chanler is riding like a pro. He still needs help with starting and doesn’t have the most graceful dismount, but he is riding his bike (just like the pro balance bike articles said he would.)


For the first time in two years I cut Chanler hair myself. I tried with the “first haircut” and then realized that I was way out of my league and went for professional help. Since then we have been taking Chanler to a lovely kids hair salon where the seats are cars, they have movies and if I wasn’t such a stickler there are lollipops. The downside is that each hair cut (about once a quarter) is $20 (which is half of what I pay for my own hair cut). So Saturday I decided that if I can cut Scott’s hair I could cut Chanler’s. What do you think of the results?



Chanler really likes to take pictures with our cameras, and Jesse caught him in the act being quite cute – he even knows how to chimp (looking at the shot on the LCD)!

Sacramento Zoo

We went up to visit my sister Michelle, her husband Sergio, and their son Joshua this last weekend, and we decided that it would be fun to go to the Zoo together. Chanler had a blast seeing all the animals.

Lately when I am putting him to bed he has been requesting that we talk about animals. He never knows what animals he wants to talk about, that is up to me to figure out, but the one constant is that he wants to talk about “not muddy fat ones.” My cousin Cari gave him one of his favorite books which has a bunch of animals making lots of noise while the mommy runs around trying to keep them all quiet so her baby can sleep, but of course he is not sleeping. One of the animals is a “muddy fat pig” – so we usually end up talking about all the other animals in the book.

So now we have a much wider variety of animals to talk about – all the animals from “Aunty Michelle’s Zoo.” He saw penguins, although the penguins were in a “special” temporary tent, and they were in this small little enclosure that could not have been more than 4 by 4 on the front side. But Chanler enjoyed it, so we will have to take him to see a better penguin exhibit sometime where they are not so cramped for space.

He thought that the lemurs were hillarious – the lemurs were wrestling with each other and knocking each other and having a great time. I was having a bout of allergies, and sneezed pretty loudly, causing one of them to stand up and look over at us. The other one promptly grabbed the other’s tail and pulled him over backwards – great fun :)

The snow leopard was a great hit as well – he came right up to the front of his enclosure and just stared and stared. He was ignoring all the people and appeared to be willing the snack cart across the street to come closer. We are still talking about that snow leopard every single night!

Chanler definitely likes to be a big brother and takes that role very seriously. He was a little scared of the “big cats” – the lions and tigers (but not the snow leopard) – and has asked me a couple of times if I will save him from the big cats. And since he sees himself as Jessaleigh’s guardian, he has also said that he is will (or already has) save Jessaleigh from the big cats. Such a chivalrous young man already!

Right after a break to play on the play structures, we went through the reptile house (he keeps asking me the name of the house at the zoo). He was excited to see a small crocodile in person, as well as frogs and snakes and lizards. We even saw a green snake, which was very exciting since we have a book about a young yellow snake that turns into a green snake as he gets older.

They had a animals from around the world show, and at one point they asked for a volunteer to go up front to help out. He got very excited and wanted to know if the lady zoo keeper would call his name and ask him to go up to the front and help. He kept raising his hand any time that he thought that she was asking for volunteers, he really wanted to have her call him. We were talking about it later, and I explained that they needed a bigger kid to help, since they needed her to hold up the snake, which was a pretty big boa constrictor. He of course was pretty confident that he was strong enough, although after we talked about how big and heavy the snake was, he told me that he might want me to go up with him to help him hold the snake a little bit. After the show, he got to go up to the front and pet some of the animals that were in the show. He got to touch the big boa constrictor, a lizard with a blue tongue, and a hedgehog. He was pretty excited about the hedgehog, I think because it looks a little spiky, but it was not, it was “comfortable” to touch.

So now we have lots of fodder for talking about animals at bedtime – makes it a little easier on me :)