Friday, February 25, 2011

This Week

The last full week of February is National Engineer Week.

It's a week when engineering is celebrated as a profession.  Most leaders in the fields of engineering try to educate the public on the impact of engineering on our daily lives.  Even as an engineer, I sometimes marvel at the the things I use on a regular basis.  The other day, I heard a guy on the radio talking about how even something as simple as a pencil is not something one person can produce very easily.  It takes a variety of resources, most of which require engineering, to produce a pencil.

One very important goal of many engineers is to encourage school children to go into engineering.  There is a term called STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.  It is a term used to describe the technical fields that many consider "nerdy" and many people tend to think that they're not smart enough to do those types of jobs.  That is a myth.  The fact is that jobs in STEM are for anyone who enjoys being creative, playing, problem solving, and social.  Yes, nerds are social!!  I know because I'm one of them and I'm married to one too.

It's crucial that we as parents and adults break down the stereotypes of STEM and help children, especially girls, see that science and math are not boring subjects and that they are smart enough to learn those things.

In honor of Engineer's Week, I went to Charlie's Kindergarten class to talk with them about engineering and what engineers do.   I read a book called Engineering the ABCs, which lists an item that is made by engineers for each letter.  Then, I talked to them about rockets, which requires lots of engineers to design and build.  After giving them a simple explanation about how a rocket works, I brought out pop rockets that I had made (one with Charlie's help, see picture above) and told them I was going to launch it.  Because it was freezing and snowing outside, we had the students stand by the windows inside while I launched the rocket outside.  The children erupted into cries of "Whoa, that was awesome!" when I returned to the room.  I had given the teacher a couple of coloring pages that had the ABCs and things that were created by engineers that started with each letter.  While they colored, the teacher showed a video of the Space Shuttle Discovery launch from yesterday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Ellie is three-years-old!  Her birthday was a couple weeks ago.  We celebrated as a family with dinner, cake, and presents.  She has definitely grown up in the past year!  She likes to put her own clothes on and even sometimes insists on wearing big girl underwear.  We haven't been pushing her too hard to be potty-trained, thinking that it would be easier when she decides she wants to do it.  Lately, she has been showing more interest: asking to watch the Elmo's Potty Time DVD, telling us she wants to use the potty, and actually peeing in the potty a few times.

We love this girl!  Ellie is delightful to be around.  She loves to take care of her stuffed animals and makes sure to wrap each of them up in its own blanket before placing them in her bed so they can take a nap.  Ellie has a passion for blowing bubbles.  She has a great sense of humor and loves to say to Charlie: "Tickle me and run!"  She's developed a love for reading books and playing the Thomas matching game.  And, she's picked up a knack for using the computer (thanks to Dan and Charlie).  Last but not least, she has a big sweet tooth!

Happy birthday to my sweet little dumpling!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


(This was written in the middle of January.  I'm way behind on the blog!!)

We went to visit Dan's family in Michigan for Christmas this year.  Traveling is just rough for us since it's a two-hour drive to the airport and our trips this year have been marked by sick kids throwing up multiple times in the car and airplane.  But, crossing our fingers that lightning wouldn't strike thrice, we prepared for our trip.

Fortunately, this time we were as prepared as can be with IDs, plenty of diapers, and changes of clothing in our carry-on bags.  We left with plenty of time for the drive down to the airport, parking, riding the bus from parking to the airport, going through security, grabbing a bite, and boarding the plane.  Everything went pretty smoothly except the two-hour delay in Chicago.  But, that wasn't too bad because there was a play area for the kids and we had time to get dinner.

The only other snag was getting the cold so we were not as energetic and didn't get to do as much as we wanted.  Oh well, it was winter and staying nice and warm inside was nice.  We had a lot of fun seeing family and running into friends.  Charlie and Ellie sure enjoyed playing with their cousins!!

Here are some of the fun things we did:

Celebrating Christmas

Charlie getting ready to sled.  Sorry this was the only pic I got of sledding!

Tobogganing!  Charlie and his cousins loved it so much they went down at least 5 times with Uncle Dale.
Whee!  These hills were seriously steep - Charlie, Brenden, & Josiah were so brave!

I love how Charlie's hair is flying here.
Decorating a gingerbread train.

Celebrating birthdays for Kyler, Brenden, & Dan.