Archive for May, 2017


Posted in Celebrations, Church on May 6th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We made sure to get back home from our trip down south in time for Holy Week activities. Grams was singing with the choir in the Good Friday service, and we all got to go (Aunt EA joined us as well). And then, of course, there was Easter.

Like last year, I led music at the sunrise service at church. The weather was much nicer this year, though still just as early. And my family again passed on joining me that early.

After a lovely service, I got home as the rest of my family was getting up - just in time to check if the Easter Bunny had struck again.

Easter baskets

Perler beads

Candy in the eggs

Leah likes to do Sudoku puzzles with me, but now she’s got her own book of them.


The girls each got two pairs of tall fun socks. Leah especially loves them, and wants to wear them as much as she can.

Tall socks

There wasn’t time to sit around with these fun treats, though. In addition to leading music at the sunrise service, I also led music at the 11:00 service. So, I needed to be at the church at 9:30 to rehearse for that service. And I wasn’t alone.

We decided to turn the solo that each girl had done in the past month into a duet for the both of them. They did a fantastic job. And yes, that's me singing without a guitar in front of me (feels really weird).

After church, we headed back to Grams’s house for some lunch and family time. We were all excited to see everyone, though I think Charlie was most excited to see Beau.

Charlie and Beau

Be gentle

Fun dog

Here we all are.

Family photo

Grams and grandkids

The girls then got to change out of their dresses and play. They were excited to play with the new bubble wands the Easter Bunny brought them. Charlie seemed less sure about the bubbles.


Hi Leah

Happy Easter!


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.