Posted in Family outings on May 3rd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Clemson is only a couple hours away from Charlotte, so we thought we’d add some extra fun to the trip by stopping off at Carowinds amusement park for a day on our way home. Jen and I had actually been to Carowinds once before on our honeymoon. Sadly, this was before I took pictures of everything, so I don’t have pictures of us at the park.

We left Clemson early so we could get to the park relatively close to when it opened. We were fortunate to have perfect weather for the day.


Carowinds is on the boarder between South Carolina and North Carolina, so the girls made sure to spend some time in both.

Two states

We first headed to Planet Snoopy, the area of the park aimed at smaller kids. Our first ride was Snoopy's Flying Ace Aerial Chase, a fun little roller coaster for the whole family. Sadly, the restraints block you from seeing Leah next to me.

Snoopy's Flying Ace Aerial Chase

Snoopy was everywhere in the park.


Our second ride was Snoopy’s Flying Ace Balloon Race. Jen doesn’t handle these rides well, so I hopped on with the girls.

Flying Ace Balloon Race

I volunteered to go backwards so the girls could face forwards. This turned out to be a bad decision, leaving me queasy. I guess I can’t handle these as well as I thought. Thankfully, Jen had extra Dramamine for me.

Flying backwards

The girls then rode some rides by themselves while I recovered.

Snoopy vs. Red Baron

Snoopy vs. Red Baron

Woodstock Gliders

Woodstock Gliders

At that point I was ready to try again. We rode the Woodstock Express, a fun family-friendly wooden roller coaster (I love wooden coasters). It was great.

We got lunch at Chick-fil-A. Yes, they have Chick-fil-A in the park. We were very happy with that, despite the fact that the prices were jacked up like most food service inside amusement parks.

We did Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, in which you ride in slow cars with little toy guns and shoot ghosts, racking up points. We tried to do several other rides (e.g. Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare), but they were closed.

The girls both wanted to ride the Do-Si-Do, but were both too short to ride without a parent. So, Jen and I both got to ride it. Jen looks excited here before things got really going.


I think Molly liked this ride.


Jen even put her arms up for a bit (though that didn’t last long).

Arms up

The Ricochet was a mouse coaster with four people per car - perfect for our family. And even better was that everyone was tall enough to ride it.


All of us

There were a lot of quick turns on this one.

Quick turns

Up and down

Molly and I then road the Carolina Goldrusher, a mine train coaster which was fun. Leah could have handled it as well, but was not tall enough to ride. Sadly, that was the story for much of the park. Leah was too short for many rides (requiring at least 48 inches), and Molly was too short for a lot as well (requiring at least 54 inches). The Planet Snoopy area is aimed at little kids, but I was surprised how much of the rest of the park was inaccessible to our (admittedly short) 7 and 10 year olds.

Because of that, we then headed back to Planet Snoopy to ride Snoopy's Flying Ace Aerial Chase and the Woodstock Express again. They were our favorite rides from the kids area, and we enjoyed riding them again to finish our day.

The girls always want to buy a toy when we go places, and we usually refuse. We figured getting them a memento from the trip wouldn’t be awful, so they each got a Snoopy plush on our way out.


We then headed out to get some dinner and end at our hotel for some much needed rest before driving home the next day.

Clemson road trip

Posted in Family outings, Family visits on May 2nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

My paternal grandmother, Grammy, lives in two different places. When it’s warm, she lives in Highlands, NC. We’ve visited her there a couple of times. When it’s cooler, she lives in Clemson, SC. We’ve wanted to visit her there, but it can be really hard to find a good time to make that trip when the kids aren’t on summer vacation. This year we made it happen, making the trip during the girls’ spring break.

We drove down on Saturday, leaving first thing in the morning and arriving at bed time. We woke up the next morning and went to church on Palm Sunday with Grammy and her friend Caroline. After church, we had a lovely lunch at the dining room in her community.

After lunch, we headed back to Grammy’s place, where she was ready to entertain the girls. Grammy was a first grade teacher, and was ready with crafts for the girls on our visit. She blew out 18 eggs so they could decorate them for Easter. The drawing was done on the porch.

Egg decorating

The egg dying station was in the kitchen. Grammy and Leah got it set up to dye.

Dying eggs


Molly worked hard on her BB-8 egg.


That blue looks good.

Nice color

Dying eggs

The three of them spent an hour and a half intently working on their eggs.

Drawing intently

Here are the eggs they made. Several of these have a Star Wars theme (BB-8, R2-D2, C-3PO, Rey, and Kylo’s light saber), while the rest had more traditional Easter themes.

Egg results

After all the egg fun, we played some games (we brought Otrio and Telestrations with us). Then we went to Zaxby’s for dinner (we had to go to Zaxby’s while down south).

Monday morning, arts supplies came out. Grammy and the girls had lots of fun before even getting dressed.


We played some more games (we love games). We hit McAlister’s for lunch, then went to see Beauty and the Beast at the movie theater. For dinner, we headed down to College Avenue right next to Clemson’s campus to eat some delicious pasta at Brioso Fresh Pasta. We spent the night, then woke up early to head out to the next stop in our spring break adventure (more on that later).

The five of us

Thanks for having us, Grammy!

STEM day

Posted in School on May 1st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The girls school had a STEM day, and asked for a parent to come talk to each grade. I was happy to volunteer, and actually got to be the speaker for both fourth grade and first grade. I talked to them about software engineering, the engineering design process, and showed off some fun stuff with lights.

STEM day

I had planned to use a projector and do some live coding, but failed to have a way to connect my new USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 laptop to their old VGA-only projector (I had an HDMI adapter, but that didn’t help). So, live coding (and a lesson on binary) happened with markers and paper.

Technical difficulties

At first grade, I wowed the kids by controlling a light (first graders are a lot easier to wow than fourth graders).

First grade presentation

Both grades had lots of questions and were very engaged. First grade might have asked questions all day long if I hadn’t eventually cut them off.

Never ending questions

It was a lot of fun, and I’m so glad I got to go in and talk to them.

A bit more celebrating

Posted in Celebrations, Molly on April 30th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The birthday celebrations continued at Cheeburger Cheeburger, where we got together with Grams, Uncle Scott, Aunt EA, and Charlie. Uncle Scott and Aunt EA included a fun musical card that was a hit.

A bit more celebrating

They also gave her this awesome R2-D2 nightgown.

R2 nightgown


Games galore

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Molly on April 29th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

A couple days after her real birthday, the celebrations continued. Molly opened presents from G’Mom and Grampa, including a couple of games. The first was Otrio, a strategy game that is kind of a multidimensional tic-tac-toe. It’s lots of fun, and we play it a lot.


The other game G’Mom and Grampa gave Molly was Telestrations. It’s a cross between Pictionary and telephone, where you pass a word around the circle by alternating between writing it and drawing it. The results can be quite hilarious, as you’ll see from these few pictures of us playing it.


It’s important to stick out your tongue when you draw.


As I said, this game can lead to hilarity.

Cracking up

Jen’s lost it.

She's lost it

Here are a couple of examples of why Jen can’t keep it together. In the first example, I got the word “microscope” and passed that to Leah to draw.

Example #1

Leah confused microscope and stethoscope, and drew this.

Example #1

Which was interpreted to be “legs”.

Example #1 result

A second example - Jen got the word “frog”.

Example #2

Leah drew this, a frog on a lily pad.

Example #2

I thought the frog on a lily pad looked like a cat on a surfboard. So, I wrote “surf cat” (the obvious answer, I know ;).

Example #2 result

It’s a really fun game. I highly recommend it.

Solo and Ensemble Festival

Posted in Molly, Music on April 28th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The morning after Bingo, Molly again participated in the countywide Solo and Ensemble Festival.

Solo and Ensemble Festival

Unfortunately, the judge asked her to start playing before I had even sat down, so I didn't get a recording of the whole thing. But here's a small taste.

She did great!

Bingo with prizes galore

Posted in Family visits, School on April 27th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We again attended Bingo night hosted by the girls’ school, and G’Mom and Grampa joined us as they were in town. They were actually in town the weekend before as well, then left to visit friends for the week before returning to spend the weekend with us again. They couldn’t miss Bingo, after all.

Grampa won one of the rounds, and received some VR goggles as a prize.

Bingo prize

Shortly after Grampa won Bingo, Jen got picked for one of the door prizes - a Target gift card.

Door prize

It was a lot of fun. Afterward, Leah and Molly were excited to try out the VR goggles. It was late, of course, but they played with them a bunch the next morning.

VR goggles

VR goggles

Molly’s solo with the band

Posted in Church, Molly, Music on April 26th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Singing with the band

A few weeks after Leah sang with the band in church, we did the same song again. The girls decided it was Molly’s turn to lead with me, so she took the solo that week.

Leah’s first solo in big church

Posted in Church, Leah, Music on April 25th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Back in March, Leah sang her first solo in big church and did a great job. Here she is with the praise band, leading the congregation in a new song. I thought I had posted this back then, but I apparently just put it on Twitter.

Molly’s actual birthday

Posted in Celebrations, Molly on April 24th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s actual birthday was a school day with evening activities for both girls, but we still managed to do a little bit more celebrating. Before opening presents, I tried to get a picture of the birthday girl, but Leah was too quick for me. Sometimes you have to move quickly to photobomb a picture.


Ah, there she is. Lovely, Molly.


Leah got Molly a bunch of pairs of Shopkins earrings.

Lots of earrings

Molly is a big Harry Potter fan. She’s read all the books, and taken the Sorting Hat quiz (she’s a Gryffindor). So, we got her a Gryffindor robe.

Gryffindor robe

Molly’s also a huge Percy Jackson fan, having read the entire Olympians series, Heroes of Olympus series, and Kane Chronicles. So I came up with the idea of getting her a Camp Half-Blood shirt (what all the demigods there wear). Jen did some research and made one. Molly was ecstatic.

Camp Half-Blood shirt

Cupcakes were had once again (this time full size ones).

More cupcakes

Happy birthday, Molly!