csberry: (pumaman)
Just realized this morning that I hadn't posted in LJ since February.

Most of that is due to my putting the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums thing on hold for a bit. I had been using Rhapsody to listen to the various albums on the list. Well, early in March JD and I were frustrated that only one of us could listen to Rhapsody at a time on mobile devices. I decided to go to the site and see if that was a feature I wasn't paying for or if there was an issue with my subscription. While there, I discovered that I was paying the higher of the two packages. I checked out the features for the one listed for $5 less each month and it seemed to have the same features I was paying for. So, I decided to look at the features for the Premium Plus program I was paying for. There was nothing - NOTHING - on Rhapsody's site about Premier Plus. I then started this horrific dance with support via phone, email, and FB trying to find out what the deal was. Essentially, they had to make a change to compete with the price/features offered by the competition. So, several months ago, they changed the $10 plan to be exactly like the competition...and they eliminated my $15 plan from new signups. Alas, the change in features offered meant the $10 plan and $15 plan had ONE difference - on the $15 plan, you could have more than one mp3 player (unlimited phones and tablets). In my case, that difference meant squat because I didn't use an mp3 for Rhapsody, let alone need to pay an additional $5 for more than one mp3 player. Through the entire process, the customer service folks were unsympathetic asses that attempted to avoid clearly stating the differences between the $10 and $15 plans and they scoffed at my concerns about how subscribers were not notified of the changes in subscriptions. I am no longer giving Rhapsody any of my money. They lost me for life.

I have been very lazy about searching for an alternate source of the Rolling Stone albums. I decided to go with Spotify, but never have my wallet around when I think about signing up. Along with that, I started using TuneIn Radio a lot on my phone. I've been listening a lot to Lightning 100 in Nashville; Mesquite, TX's school system's own KEOM (great playlist of 1970s pop...DJed by teenagers); B'ham-based Substrate Radio (in particular, Blood on the Knobs on Tuesday nights); 'HFS in Baltimore; and various chill/acidjazz/ambient stations that come up in searches.

*********

In other news...

* For the first time in my life, I essentially broke even on taxes this year. I have mixed emotions about this. Glad I got all my money with paychecks, but that burst of cash early in the year has been a blessing in the past.

* The top reason why I am writing this post is because I'm dodging work. I built several pages with information about a service a business partner is rolling out soon. I did the construction on the development site several months ago. Long enough ago, that I forgot I had work in progress on the development site and had the db wiped for the sake of having a more current backup of the production site. Yesterday evening when I went to check the info on the pages I had previous constructed, I discovered my flub. This morning I verified that there was no way to recover what had been lost. I'm pissed about my being forgetful about that progress sitting on the site. I've made some attempt to rebuild those pages today, but I've wasted time staring at the screen each time I try to think of what to write there. I finished some work, looked it over, and decided that I need to go back "later" to look at it. Will "later" be in an hour or so? Will "later" be pushed until tomorrow and I get a day away for more emotional recovery?

* Calvin has been seeing an occupational therapist for his Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) this year. Liz Hamm, who I've known since high school, is his therapist. She and I got together for lunch during the holiday season last year because we hadn't seen each other in a while. When I talked about Calvin's condition and quirks, Liz chimed in to explain some of those as being his SPD and things that Calvin could do to deal with it. I called her later to get the ball rolling to have Calvin see her for therapy. The boy loves it so much and it has been making a fantastic difference in his attitude and stress levels. He is understanding his body more and learning how to cope with situations that would previously devastate him and require much emotional support from JD and/or myself. The fact we drive 45 minutes to Guntersville and then back each Tuesday is well worth the progress Calvin has seen.

* Harper's imagination runs away with her quite a bit. One day I'll be very grateful if this feeds her creative juices for writing, drawing, or whatever. At this time, however, much of her imagination manifests itself in fear. Her mind takes what people say too literally. When a friend of hers makes a hyperbolic verbal threat such as "I'll beat/kill/stab/punch you" or play acts some villainous role, her brain is visualizing all of it. To her, those threats have just happened, for real, in her mind. I was reminded of this the other day when I was talking to her about preparing my dinner and she asked what meat was. My explanation had her imagining her own skin getting peeled and someone pulling her muscles/meat off of her bones. The rest of that car ride was really sad and emotional.

* Nigel would eat gummies for 2 of his three meals of the day, if he could (flatbread and curry ketchup with a bowl of homemade beef jerky would be the third meal). At this time, his primary focus is on online gaming and trying to meet up in person with the people he's met online. He has a friend in Washington state that he is dying to hang out with. Every time there is a Minecraft convention in the world, he lets us know. He loves to travel and is pushing for us to work on a vacation late this summer to either the family house in Panama City Beach or attend the Rethinking Everything conference in Little Rock. At this time, we are also toying around with the idea of going to either PAXSouth in Texas in January2015 or PAXEast in Boston in April2015. This has prompted Nigel spending some time plotting out the cost of air, train, or car travel to those locations and what stops we might make to or from those conventions.

* Jennifer's interest in aromatherapy has been invigorated again. Yes, this time it escalated to numerous textbooks...that she then took copious notes from and drew up posters and diagrams to help her learn the material. She has also spent the past couple of months looking into certifications - what kind to get or even if any of the certifications are really meaningful or required for what she would like to do. Because of the Attachment Parenting, the natural child-birthing, and the general granola social circles she's come in contact with in Huntsville, she's finding an interested market in the items she has an interest in mixing and making. She made some items for Christmas gifts and proceeded to have those people or their friends offer money for Jen to make more.
csberry: (pumaman)
Tonight at the troop meeting, the Scoutmaster gave a very vague and general update about the vote last week about the policy change for homosexual boys. He mentioned the vote had to do with membership criteria, but each boy should talk to his parents about it since the subject was not something he felt he should address.

So, on our way home tonight, Calvin turned to me and asked what in the world was the Scoutmaster talking about. I started off by asking Calvin (nearly 11) if he remembered what it means to be homosexual or gay. I don't know about other parents, but I've already talked to Calvin about homosexuality. He said that it was when people are attracted to their same sex. I then talked to him about the Bible's statements on homosexuality in the OT and how the Boy Scouts take an oath to do their "Duty to God." I let him know that some people think that because of those two things, that it is incongruous to those people that a boy can do his duty to God and be a homosexual. Because of that, homosexuals had been prohibited from being in the Boy Scouts.

I went into the recent policy change, how the vote was relatively close, and how people who disagree with the change are very mad and why it is that they feel so emotionally about this being a bad decision. I finally let him know about my feelings - how I feel that Jesus taught that sin is between a person and God and that we shouldn't "throw stones" at others for their sin. I told him that all boys should be able to learn the Scouting skills and character traits no matter their sexual orientation. One sin doesn't spoil the person and they deserve the opportunity to be a part of a great organization such as the BSA.


I frequently hear from those that oppose homosexuals in Scouting that they don't want to have to talk to their children about sex. You know what? I still haven't talked to Calvin about sexual acts that homosexuals perform...because that isn't relevant in any way to the policy and he never asked for that kind of info. What is the point in my discussing anal sex with my child on this issue? When talking about a wedding taking place, I don't tell my children about the sex the newlyweds will be having that night and during their honeymoon. *sigh*
csberry: (bigmclargehuge)
No, don't worry, you haven't missed some news about JD and I. Last week was the local Cub Scout day camp. JD volunteered to work and both of the boys were there. They needed to be at the park by 7:15am and were there until around 4pm each afternoon. This was a huge thing for the three of them to do and I'm so proud of them for doing the whole week.

For those of you that don't know, we homeschool (actually, we belong to a sub-group of homeschoolers called "unschoolers," where the educating of our kids is nearly entirely led by their interests and not a curriculum). So, none of my kids have a school routine in any way; they wake when they want, they play when they want, they eat when they want. Other than the heat and being away from his computer all day, Nigel's biggest complaint was the regimentation of time; he really got annoyed when "we do certain things at certain times each day. *sigh*"

While they were off at camp every day, I was at home alone with Harper. From when she woke up until 5pm, it was just the two of us in the house. I had crammed on work the week before, so I was fairly guilt-free on how little work I was getting accomplished. I helped deal with a few urgent items, but otherwise spent my days playing with Harper and doing errands/chores. The house was cleaner at the end of the week than it was in the beginning.

I now have the sidewalk to the front porch and driveway pressure washed practically white. Harper kept herself entertained while I sprayed the cement by riding her bike back and forth through the mist. When I'd finish up the for day, I'd shut off the motor and we'd have a water fight to help get the debris washed off my arms and legs.

And Harper got a week of complete one-on-one time with someone. She didn't have to wait in line behind her brothers for a while. The amount of spontaneous hugs and kisses I get from the girl definitely grew a great deal as the week went along.
csberry: (bigmclargehuge)
Our family spent April 9-14 down in Orlando with the great bulk of the time spent on Walt Disney World. The flight down was the first flight for Nigel and Harper. They both took the time in the planes in stride and had no issues. My brother, Mike, flew in to Orlando just 30 minutes after we arrived, but he had to leave on Tuesday morning.



Disney's Wilderness Lodge )
Epcot )
Magic Kingdom )
Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure )
Disney's Hollywood Studios )
Animal Kingdom )
Misc. Info and Advice )
csberry: (Default)
We've hit a milestone at the Berry household: Harper is old enough for me to remove the child safety latches from the silverware drawers and Tupperware/Rubbermade cabinets. Basically, the only safety latches still in use are on the kitchen sharps drawers and under the various sinks. It is going to take me a while before I no longer slowly open them up to press the latch.
csberry: (Default)
Calvin and Nigel decided they needed to make a faux commercial for "Farting Goo." They talked JD into helping them out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heOX7TwobOQ
csberry: (Default)
Last evening, JD got a call from one of the other doulas in town (a doula is a child-birthing coach that works with the mom, no baby-catching involved). Two of her clients went into labor at the same time. One of the clients took JD's class, so that was the obvious one for JD to work with as a fill-in. She called me at scouts to give the heads-up that she was on-call (Is it just me or is this post hyphen happy? ;)). Around 10pm, JD got the call that things were progressing and the client was headed for the hospital. JD grabbed her bag and headed out the door.

Some time over the night, one of my aunts was in an auto accident (not life-threatening, broken leg, a bad gash in the other leg, a slight fracture of her hip, and bruised all over). My parents got a call from her husband at 4am. They left for B'ham at lunchtime and asked for me to take their pups on their evening walk around 5pm.

At noon, JD was still at the hospital. The fourth and final A/C company came by a little after noon to give me an estimate. Right as they entered the door, Nigel complained that his computer shut off. I guided the A/C guys to the various rooms and heard the Back-UPS chirping from lack of power. I left the A/C guys to investigate. The circuit wasn't thrown. I flipped it back and forth with no change. Then I noticed that the label showed that the fridge is on the same circuit as the playroom. Crap! I called my father-in-law for help, hooked the fridge (via extension cord) up to an outlet along the kitchen counters (which are on a different circuit). Once that was done, I cooked some grilled cheeses for the kids while the A/C guys calculated the estimate and gave me their pitch. As they were walking out the front door, my f-i-l walked up to the house.

We tested the circuit breaker switch, pulled it out, put it back in, and everything seemed to test okay, but there wasn't any power. Everything that had been plugged in was pulled out, so we knew there wasn't an equipment shortage causing a problem. There was something between the circuit breaker box and the outlets. He grabbed Calvin and they went to Home Depot to buy 4 replacement outlets for the ones on that circuit to see if any of them had a short. After each one was swapped out, we would do a test. OF COURSE, it wasn't until we replaced the fourth one that we got power. Apparently something in the outlet the fridge was plugged into had gone bad.

It was now 5pm. JD was still at the hospital and it was time for the dogs to go for a walk. Just my luck, my f-i-l returned because he had left his phone and wallet behind. As he came in, JD called with an update. The baby still hadn't come out yet and she'd be gone a while longer. Thankfully, my f-i-l then offered to take the kids to his place and feed them with KFC while I went to my parents' house to take the dogs for their evening walk.

After dinner, I herded the kids to the car and we headed back home. Harper fell asleep on the way over the mountain. The boys were asleep by 8:40. JD was home a little after 9 and passed out at 10:30. The poor thing had only managed a small nap earlier this afternoon the whole time she was gone.
csberry: (bigmclargehuge)
In about 2.5 hours I'll be leaving for BSA Camp Comer in Mentone, AL atop Lookout Mountain. This will be Calvin's first campout that isn't indoors or in someone's backyard. It is just an overnighter. We should be back in Huntsville early Saturday afternoon.

I'm both excited and worried about how he'll react to the experience. I think he'll do just fine, but worry that he'll have a problem with either the Halloween/scary theme of the weekend or the overnight cold temps (low near 40). We've traveled through Mentone with him a bunch on our way to Atlanta, so I don't expect the journey to be a problem...as long as his nerves don't exacerbate his car sickness tendencies.
csberry: (bigmclargehuge)
James May was reviewing a Rolls Royce. He's going through his spiel, when Calvin turns to me and asks if the car is using the "Merlin engine."

"HUH!?" I replied.

"Does this car use the Merlin engine? It is the same engine as was used in the P-51 Mustang."

I had NO IDEA what Calvin was talking about. Somewhere in my noggin, I had a glimmer of an idea that Rolls Royce probably made plane engines during the wars. I decided just to tell him that although car companies may have made plane engines during the war, they wouldn't use the same engine in both a car and a plane.

Just a little while ago, I decided to Google "Rolls Royce P-51." Don't you know that Rolls Royce made the Rolls Royce Merlin engine that was, in fact, used for the P-51 Mustang! I hesitate to assume everything he says on these sorts of factoids are true, but every time I've researched what he's told me (when I have no idea what he's talking about), the boy has been right every time.
csberry: (boo-bees)
The #1 thing that I HATE about watching movies with Calvin is his constant need to know what is going on, what is about to happen, who everyone is, and other such questions every. minute. of. the. movie. Tonight, I found a way I could enjoy a movie and still be willing to answer every one of his questions. We watched the first 30 minutes of Airplane! on AMC tonight.

I took advantage of the 100 jokes a minute to talk over the jokes I didn't want to explain or have him hear to explain the jokes I felt were fine for him. We had so much fun. There wasn't really anything visual during that portion of the movie, so it was just a matter of what he heard. I've seen the movie a zillion times, so I wasn't really compelled to watch it without stopping and I was able to set up jokes that were about to happen while inappropriate jokes were being told.

Along with explaining the jokes, Calvin now knows about nuns, Hari Krishnas, how movie makers use soundtracks to tell you about moods, IVs, jive/slang, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, shell shock/PTSD, and Ethel Merman.

csberry: (green mammal)
I woke up in a slightly grumpy, yet upbeat mood. I was sure it was just a matter of time until I'd be my normal self. But it took longer than I had hoped for my mood to change.

First, there was overcoming Nigel's eagerness for Plants Vs Zombies. JD and I made a deal to buy the upgrade for the version on the boys' PC. Last night I told Nigel that after I did my WiiFit, I would check my bank account to ensure my paycheck was available. The 40 minute workout was filled with Nigel constantly asking me about checking for the money and how soon until I would be done exercising. I was thoroughly annoyed by the time I was done and was trying to cool down and catch my breath.

Once I finally had Nigel pacified, 10 things seemed to happen at once with work. Phone calls needed to be made, alterations were required on one of our websites, and everything seemed to be the top priority.

It wasn't until this afternoon that the high priority tasks seemed adequately addressed. Finally, a little before 4pm, JD and the boys left for TKD. It was Harper and Daddy time. We spent the next couple of hours playing with puzzles, singing, giving her rides on my back, and playing with stuffed animals.

Topping off the evening was an Eagle board of review. These boards help satisfy the part of me that misses researching and preparing questions for our "pinata" guests from my talk radio days. I gotta get that "deer in the headlights" look from the scout at some point during the evaluation. The questions I recall the most from when earned Eagle were astute observations and philosophical questions from the board of adults. I strive to give the scouts in the boards on which I sit something that they will think about long after the review is done. I think I may have done that with at least one of my observations and follow-up question.

Posted via LjBeetle
csberry: (DonnaOMG)
When JD went to pick up Harper from the church nursery, we learned that there was at least one kid in there that had head lice. Don't you know that kid just so happened to be the one that Harper spent a lot of time playing with. JD has looked at 1001 things to do for head lice.

We are really hoping that Harper didn't have any lice immigrate to her noggin. JD nor I have ever had lice. And Harper tends to have screaming fits whenever anyone other than her grandmothers brush or wash her hair. JD and I agree that one session of shaving Harper's hair off is going to be so much better than repeated coming for nits.
csberry: (Default)
My dad and I took the boys to the US Space & Rocket Center today to see the traveling exhibit - Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination.

We arrived a bit early for our 10am scheduled time, so I talked the guys into going into the new building that houses the Saturn V (one of two actual test rockets still around today). The last time I saw the rocket, it was sitting outside along the back of the property. It was truly beautiful seeing it inside, all cleaned up, hanging overhead. It seemed much bigger than my memory.

While walking the length of the building, there was a table set to one side and a staff member behind it. He asked the boys if they wanted to launch a rocket. They bit the bait and the guy's science lesson started. What the instructor didn't realize was that Calvin loves science. So, when he mentioned Newton, Calvin said he knew Newton and then proceeded to rattle off Newton's Third Law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction). The instructor chuckled and went back to his planned lesson. However, from this point forward, it was rare that he was able to finish a sentence. Calvin kept interrupting him to finish his statement and would often build off of those statements and get ahead of what the instructor was telling him and Nigel. At least Calvin is getting more polite about this sort of thing...but either way, Dad and I were very proud of Calvin's display of scientific knowledge.

Once we were inside the Star Wars area, Dad followed Nigel while I stuck with Calvin. The exhibit is about 2/3 Star Wars stuff and 1/3 Star Wars-inspired science activities. Calvin ricocheted around the room too excited to look at something for more than a few seconds until noticing another object on the other side of the room that he had to get a closer look at. At one point, Calvin had to flee from a Droideka battle droid.

Click the image a couple of times for a much
bigger (and better) version of the image.

Nigel, surprisingly, showed little interest in the Star Wars models, costumes, and other memorabilia...it were the Star Wars-inspired science stuff that kept him happy. There was one area where you got to build your own R2 unit and then program him on how to get through an obstacle course. Another area had you put together mag-lev vehicles out of Legos and magnets. Dad said that despite getting him to pose in front of a cabinet with a couple of Wookie costumes, that Nigel was actually quite scared of the Wookies and kept his distance when walking around the two cabinets.

This is one token sentence to summarize the experience after we left the Star Wars exhibit area as psychologically challenging and an exercise in patience.

I highly recommend anyone that loves Star Wars or has kids older than 5 should find the money and the time to see this exhibit.
csberry: (Default)
The daily routine during the week fell roughly along these lines:

7:30am - alarm goes off
8:00am - actually get up
sometime between 8:30-9:30am - head to the family house
The rest of the morning would be spent getting ready for the pool, going to the pool, and changing out of pool stuff.
Noonish - Lunch
Late Afternoon/Early Evening - go to beach or pool
7pm - Dinner
10pm - return to rental house for quiet and relaxation
Midnight - fall asleep

The big exception was on Wednesday when everyone except for Andy and Harper went to Shipwreck Island water park. We all had a blast this year! The boys were adventurous enough to do some of the rides outside of the kiddie area; which made it much easier for the adults that wanted to do those things to do 'em without sticking one person with a horde of kids. Everyone went home with at least one hot, pink patch of skin on their body so Thursday was mostly an indoor day for the kids. We waited until sunset before going to the pool.

Our timing was very lucky. It wasn't until Saturday morning as we were leaving that there was any news of oil located in the area. Apparently, there were a few tarballs found on the western beaches (our place is located on the far east end next to the state park and the bay).

The decision to only take one day to return to Huntsville paid off nicely. Calvin got a tiny bit more of a dose of Dramamine, which let him get a 20 minute nap through south Alabama. We stopped at noon on the south side of Ft. Rucker. Lunch was the buffet at Pizza Hut. This was followed by a trip on post to visit the Army Aviation Museum just inside the gate. IT WAS GREAT! The building is packed with equipment from early flight to some recent aircraft. The kids spent a good deal of time playing inside a Chinook. Harper loved running up and down the ramp and then getting into one of the seats along the side and buckling in. The seatbelts were a big hit for that girl. They also enjoyed playing around inside of a Cobra trainer. AND all of this fun was had for FREE! This museum will undoubtedly become a regular stop on future trips to the beach.

Other than torrential rains once we got on the interstate on the east side of Montgomery to a bit north of Prattville, the remaining time on the road was pretty smooth and much less tense than the trip down was.
csberry: (Default)

Calvin has started a new physical activity - climbing. He has loved Little Gym for years, but has honestly reached the limits of his gymnastic ability. You can't have my or his tall body with a round middle and be very graceful.

JD found out that there was a climbing club/team not far from our house. They went to the two sessions last week and JD was tremendously impressed with how well Calvin did. Mom met them at Alabama Outdoors today to buy Calvin's shoes and harness as an early bday present. The boy will get belaying lessons Monday to get him caught up with the others.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

csberry: (Dance-YoGabbaGabba)
When I came home from the office today, Harper decided to shun me. Each time I would turn toward her or talk to her, she would look down or away with a big frown on her face.

So, I got in the middle of the floor, started singing the music and lyrics to "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" and busted a move. After about 20 seconds, Harper looked up. I switched to doing the Roger Rabbit and a HUGE GRIN broke out across her face.

"Dance, too! Dance, too!" Harper squealed as she climbed off the chair and ran to me.

I thought she wanted to dance with me, but NO!

"Move, Dada, move!" was her chant as I was pushed from the middle of the floor to the side. My little girl then walked to the center of the floor and began to dance and spin with occasional aggressive rushes at me. It was as if she had the fight scenes from "West Side Story" being played out between periods of running and spinning in circles. I think the girl was schooling me.
csberry: (Default)
JD had lunch today with some of her friends. I had penciled into my schedule that I needed to be on kid duty from 11am-1:30pm...or so. Calvin started wondering what was taking JD so long around 1pm. Nigel joined in on the "Where is Mommy and why isn't she home yet?" bandwagon a little before 2pm. This snowballing of impatience grew and grew. I repeatedly requested that they practice their patience and find something to keep themselves entertained until she got home. JD's absence wasn't keeping them from doing anything they wanted to do. They just really wanted to know exactly what she was doing.

I snuck off at 2:25pm and called her cell phone. No answer.

When I returned to the living room, the impatience was boiling over into full-blown drama meltdown. The unknown status of JD's return was ripping apart their psyche. I told them that Mom hadn't answered her phone, so we had to just be patient because she would definitely be coming home as soon as she was done. As Calvin and Nigel were complaining that them going to the front porch to look for her wasn't sufficient in addressing their concerns, JD pulled into the driveway.

I am now in our bedroom doing deep breathing exercises and looking forward to the kids going out to dinner with my parents this evening. Tomorrow will undoubtedly be an office day for me.

Star Wars

Apr. 16th, 2010 03:10 pm
csberry: (Default)
The boys were finally allowed to see Star Wars (I refuse to refer to it as "Episode 4: A New Hope" *puke*). Calvin has always been VERY high strung about fictional drama. He has a meltdown whenever there is any uncertainty to the happiness and well-being of characters. Couple Calvin's personality with JD's observation during her preschool years that every boy that was into Star Wars were always the most ill behaved kids in her classes and we had all the excuses we needed to try to delay our boys' exposure to Star Wars for as long as we could.

We started things off by reading the children's novelization of the entire saga. We've discussed the story with him a bunch, so Calvin knew what would happen once he started the movies. Next, JD and I agreed that 4-6 are much easier and preferred for him to watch. I think we both fear that Calvin could easily turn himself into the whiny ass that Anakin is in 2 and 3.

So, one night this past week, we had movie night and the boys and I sat in the living room and watched the Star Wars DVD (with all of Lucas's extra CGI stuff thrown in). The only thing I skipped because of emotional issues was when Luke returned home and the skeletons of his aunt and uncle are seen. I'm glad to say the viewing was a success and didn't result in a sudden flurry of lightsaber-inspired misbehavior around the house that happened after one of the sets of grandparents let them watch Episode 1 a couple of years ago.
csberry: (Dance-YoGabbaGabba)
#3 Dance clips


#2 Chromeo - "Nice N Clean"


#1 "Hold Still"
csberry: (mst3k-Tardis)
The word has spread around Calvin's Cub Scout pack that if there is any particular award/rank anyone wants to get at the Blue & Gold banquet (the big shin-dig of the year), the requirements must be completed by April 3rd. After looking over the requirements Calvin has left to earn Wolf rank, I let him know that he could have all of them done by that time and he'd get the rank at that event -- as opposed to the lesser-attended pack meetings during the summer months. The combination of his two surprise* belt loops he received at last month's pack meeting and this deadline has helped the boy focus on Cub Scouts more than he has for the past couple of months.

As of now, he has 11 things to do. Two of the items involve charts that he's in the middle of completing (chore chart and keeping a daily health log). Personally, I think the requirement that he's most likely to procrastinate is for him to read three stories of people that help the environment. While his interest in stories has grown quite a bit in the past 6 months (as opposed to his non-fiction addiction), it is mostly JD and I reading to him. The boy is a perfectionist that refuses to believe that he can read unless he is absolutely sure he knows all of the words in front of him. Calvin has a very narrow focus on what he likes to be read to him and it will take a little bit of cajoling by JD or I to get him to sit still and listen to three stories on a subject that isn't of any interest to him.



* Calvin does all sorts of requirements as part of his day-to-day life. Frequently, I'll sit down to update his advancement on the pack's website and notice that a different requirement was satisfied earlier in the week because of something JD did with the kids or part of Calvin's home school. While updating the site about a month ago, I looked at the requirements for the Collectors belt loop and the Chess belt loop. We had already marked off a couple of their requirements but realized that the rest of the requirements had been satisfied. I updated the site and never told Calvin that he had those belt loops coming to him. When his name was announced at the last pack meeting for advancement, he was OVERJOYED...as in jumping up and down and yelling "YES! YES! YES!" as he made his way to the stage.

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Cory Berry

June 2016

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