Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

 A sweet little surprise was awaiting two sweet boys on Valentine's Day morning. They had completely forgotten that it was a special day. Mom did a little decorating and was greeted with big smiles that morning.
A perfect day for pink!

These two were excited to break the "no candy" in the morning rule.

I added some extra goodies and money to these heart boxes.

Mmmmm....candy for breakfast!

Dad jumped in for a quick photo before work.
Dad and Mom exchanged tasty chocolates and were happy to share with each other. It was perfect!Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Axel is 5 Years Old!!

Yep, our baby turned FIVE YEARS OLD this month. He is big stuff now and specifically asked for a super, awesome, fun, (boys only) party. I made sure I was still invited and I did make the cut. Phew!
Axel's birthday fell on a Sunday so it was the perfect day to have a party with all his buddies. Mom and Dad had to make a quick house hunting trip to Colorado Springs just days before. We ended up getting stuck in Dallas for 10 hours, on the return ,the day before his birthday. Boy, we were nervous that we would not be back in time for this big day. Luckily, the last possible flight of the day worked out and after a quick trip to the store for birthday goodies, we were home late...but home none-the-less. It was a little stressful but Team Anderson came together. The house was decorated and presents wrapped the night before. In the morning, between a climbing work out, the cake was baked and frosted by Mom while Dad planned out party games and props. It was a crazy morning but so, so worth it. We had a new 5 year old in the house and he was ready to P-A-R-T-Y!!!!
Before the craziness set in, we had a birthday boy who woke up to some cool decorations and a few gifts to kick start a great day.

He just woke up...

walked right in like he owned the place but was very reluctant to dive into the presents. I think he was half afraid that we would not let him open them.

He jumped on the couch and gave us a questioning look??

He quickly realized that there would be no waiting around and dived right in.

Angry Birds blanket. Lucas has a similar Harry Potter one that he wears like a cape. Axel requested an Angry Birds one so he could be like Lucas.

Check out this face, he wasn't exactly sure what it was and I'm quite sure he expected Legos by the sound of the pre-opening gift shake. :)

He quickly ran over and did a shake test on this package. It sounded just like Legos...

Ha! No Legos yet but Lucky Charms was not a disappointment.

One last morning present...could this one be Legos? Shake test was a FAIL because sneaky Mom stuffed the box with paper towels. :)

Is it??? YES!!! Legos!!!!!

It's a great mountain cabin set that converts to three different configurations. He was psyched!

This should keep him busy for a few hours.

He did not waste one minute and got right to work.
While Axel was pre-occupied with Legos, the rest of us ran around like crazy to get ready for the party.
Axel woke up in the morning to tell me about the awesome cake he had a dream about. Oh no! Mom had made plans for a layer cake tower but changed plans last minute to fulfill his Minecraft Cake request. I really had no idea what I was doing but he was happy with the end result.
By the skin of our teeth, we got the cake done and were ready for 10 4-8 year old boys to arrive. Or, so we thought we were ready! :) It was nice to have Dad here to help maintain a little order.
Axel with his buddies waiting for the rest of the crew.
Once everyone arrived, we introduced everyone and explained that this party was all about Axel's Favorite Things. Games, Legos, Minecraft, Harry Potter, friends, friends, friends and of course, LUCAS!...I think Mom and Dad were in the list somewhere too but we won't go into where we fell in rank order.
We started out with some Duck, Duck, Goose. Then we played a fun Dynamite Game which was basically Hot Potato. No photos of that, we were too busy keeping track of who was in and who was out. The boys had a blast.

To calm everyone down, we gave them the task of each building a section of a Lego tower. Each boy made any design they wanted and then the pieces were stacked together to build a tower.

Our goal was to make it taller than them. We succeeded for a few seconds! The entire tower tumbled twice before we decided it was time to switch gears.

It was now time for Pin-the-Wand-on-the-Wizard. I should have planned ahead a littler better. My blindfold was basically a failure but the kids...you know, they didn't care and had the best time.

Axel and Parker...BFF!

Lucas tried to out smart the system using a measuring method.

He forgot to factor in the spinning beforehand.  I have to give it to him, I think he was the only one who didn't cheat but sneaking a peek! Great job boys!
After all the fun games, we had a hungry bunch. It was CAKE TIME!!
Here's the crew!!

Happy Birthday Axel!!

Blowing out the candles and making birthday wishes! I'm sure he was wishing for more Legos at this point.

It was time to cut the cake!!

Ice cream and cake....so delicious!

Axel saw a few parents arrived and was a little worried he would not get to open his presents. He took it upon himself to get that started and boy did he have lots of help.

I was quick with the camera and pen to try to document who gave him what. :)

This was an awesome birthday!
As soon as the crowds left, it was Lego time. He scored some more Lego kits from his buddies and set off to build each and everyone before dinner time.
Happy 5 Year Old!

This was his work area for the rest of the afternoon.
We try to spread out the birthday presents on birthdays so it makes the day more fun. You know, you have to wait an entire year for this special day so we had to do it right!! To Axel's surprise, we had a few more gifts from Grandma's & Grandpa's and from Lucas.
There was one gift Axel really wanted but he had not received it. This tower looked promising and with the small square boxes, he was certain he knew what was inside.

Quickly, disappointment appeared on his face. Now, keep in mind, he is unwrapping a gift that he has wanted for months...

a Harry Potter Time Turner. He liked it but you could tell he was a little bummed.

Lucas on the other hand was way more excited about it and showed Axel just how cool it really was. Axel agreed but still had a certain gift in his mind.

Make your own ice cream shakers! Lucas scored one too. Axel was happy but you could still tell he thought his chances at the certain gift were gone. All the other boxes were too big.....hmmmmmm......

Lucas quickly picked up on the fact that this just might be the jack pot of all gifts! Axel was doubtful.
Seconds later his birthday was saved!!!!

I believe he was in complete shock!! I really had no idea he has so much riding on this one gift. I truly did not mean to torture the poor boy all day and in the future, I think he'll get his number one gift first thing in the morning. That way, he'll be able to enjoy the other gifts more fully.

He scored a Harry Potter robe from Lucas!

Watch out everyone, we now have two fully equipped wizards living in this house!!!

They are might cute wizards if I do say so myself. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AXEL! We love you so, so, so much!
Love, Mom, Dad & Lucas

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pinewood Derby

With race day approaching, it was time to get Lucas excited about designing his Pinewood Derby car for Boy Scouts. It only took a quick search on Google to get his brain ticking. His first idea was very simple...a carrot shape painted metallic green. Not a bad idea. He kept searching and brainstorming while we told him that there is a lot you can do with a block of wood, a band saw and a Dad as an engineer. :) Lucas decided he wanted to have a cool design and really wasn't worried about how fast it went. He decided that a Harry Potter Firebolt Broom Stick would be his design. We showed him how to draw the different aspects (top view, side view, etc.) and soon the Firebolt was in the making. Dad found a co-worker with a bandsaw (who happens to be the Cubmaster) and he and Lucas rode their bikes across the neighborhood to carve out the broomstick. Little did Lucas know, this was only the beginning.
When Lucas wasn't looking, Dad did a little carving with the Dremel tool (how did we survive without these?) to bring it up to his standards of perfection. Then Dad recounted his austere childhood filled with many, many hours laboriously sanding his pinewood derby cars...no power tools were available back in ancient times. Dad explained how his staunch ethics of hard work, persistence, honesty and valor were all direct results of hand-sanding, and Lucas would someday thank him for the opportunity to do the same. Lucas accepted the challenge without complaint (before he realized how much sanding it would take to make it paint-worthy). Dad was a great supervisor; always willing to tell Lucas that he "wasn't quite done yet," and he shouldn't be in such a hurry.
New tools = new fun!
Finally, after many eons of sanding, it was ready for primer. As it was right in the middle of the notorious Polar Vortex (in Florida that's anything below 50 degrees) Mike set up a paint booth inside our house (don't worry, it's a rental). After a short briefing, Lucas spray painted on the primer and let it dry.
Setting up his car in the paint booth

Our kitchen table for the week.
Eventually, it was time for the fun part. Lucas is very detail-orientated and this was right up his alley. We went to Michaels Craft store with some photos of the Firebolt so he could pick out all the perfect paint colors. He loved this part but was a little disappointed that he had to wait until the end to paint the awesome gold bands. The gold paint was is favorite for sure.

It was extremely hard for Mom not to want to dictate or take over or micro-manage the painting of the car. I too love this aspect of the project but had to hold back and only give him some tips and a tiny bit of help. :) He kept reminding me, "Mooommm, I got it! Remember, I can do it!" Yes Lucas, you were right and you did a great job.
Serious business.

Mike went online and found some tips for tuning and mounting the wheels.  They filed and sanded the axels together, and the speeding broomstick was ready to race:

Looks pretty awesome Lucas!!
Finally it was race day!! Lucas and Dad headed to the Pinewood Derby early Saturday morning. Dad wanted to get there early to get registered but also to give Lucas a chance to see how things were set up. This was his first derby.
Listening to the pack leader, Mr. Lindsay

The WEBLO's had a race to kick start the day.

Lots of cool designs. Mike pointed out that designs have become much more elaborate since his days as a cubscout...no doubt due to the internet's ability to instantly share pictures and ideas.

Lucas registering the Firebolt, for the record, he's in Den 4. :)

The competition in Den 4.  From L to R there's a broomstick, and aircraft carrier, a "Bad Piggies" car, and big grey rectangle. 
Lucas received numerous compliments on his creative and unusual design, and Dad received compliments for the craftsmanship, we he did well to deflect. :)

With the narrow broom stick design and heavy weights in the back we were skeptical of its structural integrity. It had a weak spot at the bottom of the handle where Dad nearly poked through drilling holes for the weights, so we were afraid it might not survive the race. We decided to take our chances and not do any test runs the day before. We also made sure that Lucas knew that it might not last, though we had super glue ready to go.

He didn't seem too concerned and was eager to join his Wolf Den.

It was race time!!
There were 4 racers in his Den and here they are ready for the race to begin.

3-2-1 GO!!

Neck and neck...

Good lead...

First across the line!!
The cars are raced several times so that every car rides on every lane in the track. The Firebolt not only didn't break but it won every race in his heat (Den 4).  He then raced against the other Wolf Den (7).

The competition in Den 7.

Setup for the Wolf category race-off with all the top Den winners.

The Firebolt wins the first race!
Lucas was quick to see that he was the winner!!

This was a car with a remote camera on it for filming the action!
The Firebolt was a consistent racer, winning 5 out of 6 of the races of the top Wolf cars. He won the derby for the Wolf category, and he's headed to Districts in March! Dad and Mom cracked up. We were so worried about it surviving a race or two and didn't expect it to win...apparently there's something to sanding the wheels and axels.

Lucas was beside himself. Dad made a valiant effort trying to underscore the lesson that hard work and persistence pay off...blah, blah, blah...while Lucas nodded vacantly.  He also tried to explain that "luck" is a big part of it, and that next time we might not win, and those kids that he beat worked hard too. He agreed and was super happy luck was on his side this time around. :)

After the races the boys were awarded certificates in various categories like best painting, most innovative, most creative, etc. There were some cool cars!!

There's the Firebolt

Award time!

Lucas got the "Cub Master's Pick" award for the best design! The Cubmaster, Dr Mike Lindsay, is such a great guy.  He's a PhD in physics who develops "energetic materials" for the Air Force. He has the best qualities of a scout leader; he's very creative, patient, generous with his time, and most of all, he doesn't mind making a fool of himself in public.  He loves scouting, and puts a ton of effort into. It really shows, and the kids have such a great experience.

Top 3 from Den 4.

Lucas getting his 1st place ribbon.

Wolves Top 3 Racers

Proud 8 year old!!  The expression is priceless...genuine joy and disbelief.

Great job Lucas, we hope you had fun!! We are so proud of you!!!

Above Photo: Downtown Portland Oregon Bike Ride

The Danger Zone needed a little update to include not only LUCAS DANGER, but also his little brother...AXEL ADVENTURE!

Welcome to our family blog now known as:

DANGER and ADVENTURE Around Every Corner!!