November 2010 Archives

Thanksgiving in Boise

We drove to Boise this year to spend Thanksgiving with Grandpa Roy and Grandma Sue. The drive took a little longer than usual due to lots of snow on the roads. We had a yummy lunch at Hoots. Well, some of us did.

One of Colin's favorite things to do was watch Charlotte's Web. It was good timing because we just finished the book. He must have watched it at least 3 times.


It's not a family visit unless there is computer work to do. This time it was less fixing and more creating. Here the Old Man gets a lesson in how to resize a bunch of photos using the Mac's Automator.


The highlight of the trip for me was when all the guys played a quick game of "21" with Grandpa's poker chips. Colin and I had recently reviewed the rules and he had a blast. He even took some turns dealing. We managed to take all of Andrew's and Grandpa's chips.


Another favorite activity is getting a massage from Grandpa's fancy massage chair!


Colin in Type

Colin received his name in old-fashioned type from Aunt Mary Pat for a birthday present. It's so cool!! They're made entirely of wood and were used in the 1920's. I want to ink it up and stamp it all over the place!


(digitally reversed photo)

2010 First Snow


Woke up to a little snow this morning. Will probably be gone by lunchtime.

Behold! Hot Hoops!

About two years ago I found this "Hot Hoops" game at the Goodwill for $0.99. I figure you can't go wrong for that price, even though the balls are missing. We played with it quite a bit, but it was frustrating. Ping pong balls didn't work because they are too large and too light. Among the plethora of balls in our various toy baskets, we really only found one that worked well (a small, purple, rubber ball).


At some point Colin figured out -- before I did -- that some pieces were missing. There are two holes underneath the baskets, and wouldn't it just be super cool if, when you made a basket, it sent the ball through the hole to the other side? Of course!

I told him a couple of times that I'd rig up a fix for it. We went to Tri-State one day and bought some flexible hose, but it wasn't flexible enough for the tight curves that were necessary.

We looked online for a "whole" Hot Hoops. They were a little rare and often didn't have all the pieces. I located one in Denver through craigslist and offered the seller to pay for shipping if she was willing. She was initially, but it never came together.

Then one day I struck gold in the Spokane listings. The seller agreed to meet sweet Aunt Marilyn downtown during lunch, and Justin brought it to us in Moscow.  So we now have a whole Hot Hoops game! We gave it to him for an early birthday present.


He was pretty darn happy, to say the least.



Last night during Colin's bath he was telling me about his day at school. We were talking about math. He began talking about something called a "fact family."

At first I thought he might be talking about factorials. But that wasn't it. It was something different.

He gave me some examples. The concept and term was new to me. In my day, we didn't have fact families. After a bit he explained that "8 7 15" is a fact family of four, whereas "8 8 16" is a fact family of two.

Interesting, because he was talking about different ways to arrange things (numbers) and thats also what factorials are about. So I said to him:

"At first I thought you were talking about factorials."

"Oh. What's a factorial?"

(slight pause). "It helps you calculate how many ways you can arrange things." (I reach for three colored cups and set them on the bathtub.) "For example, if you have three cups, how many different ways can you arrange them?"

After a few seconds, as I'm preparing to explain further, he says, "six."

(another slight pause) "How... what.... how did you know that!? Has your teacher been talking about factorials??"

(all smiles) "I just.... thought about it."

(further silent amazement from me)

Then he reaches over and proceeds to show me his thought process of all the ways that the cups could be rearranged. I'm still a little flabbergasted.

Then I explained how when you know that 3-factorial equals six, you can calculate 4-factorial by multiplying 6 times 4 (24). More smiles and giggles. 24 times 5 (120). times 6 (720). times 7 (5040). And that was as far I could go.

BTW, here is a good explanation of fact families.


Today Colin got a whirlygig toy at Hodgins. You know, the kind that you spin between your hands and then it flies up into the air. I had one as a kid, except it was made from wood, not plastic.

We took about a hundred pictures trying to capture it in flight. Colin would count!. over. and over. and over. The fun finally ended when he took a direct hit to his throat.