Monday, February 28, 2011

Pinewood Derby

This past weekend Jackson and Mat participated in our Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby. The pinewood derby is an annual event, where you basically take a block of wood, create a toy car out of it, and race it on a giant track. There are size and weight requirements, and you can either try for a really cool design or try to make a really fast car.

For our first derby, Mat decided to aim high and make a car like Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder from the first Star Wars movie. Considering that we have very few tools and even less free time, I was skeptical. After mulling over the design for awhile, we packed up our block of wood and headed to East Texas to work on the car at Mat's Uncle Randy's shop in the woods. Randy made many pinewood derby cars when his son, Christopher, was in scouts so we knew we were in the right place. Christopher, who is now in college, even decided to come out to the Lake and help out too. (His main job ended up being the entertainment for Luke. By the end of the weekend Luke just kept repeating, "Pick me up again and talk funny to me." If you know Christopher, I'm sure you can picture exactly how that played out over and over.)

Mat and Jackson got a lesson in using saws.

During our weekend at the lake, we did some night fishing and got to see this awesome moon-rise. The full red moon rose up over the treeline in front of us and reflected off the lake so beautifully.

And right at that moment Jackson caught a fish!

I wish I had some pictures of Luke and Christopher playing, but just picture a larger version of this silly boy and you'll have the idea.

Back at home Mat and Jackson spent the week finishing the car. It had to be painted. The wheels had to be added and aligned. Then they added just the right amount of weights to make it 5 ounces. They literally worked on it everyday last week.

The day of the race we weighed the car in....

And then high-tailed it across town for a quick soccer game in the rain...

I love this shot of Jackson and Caleb Sewell. I hope they are friends forever just like their dads.

After a quick lunch at Double Dave's we spent the entire afternoon at the derby race.

These are the cars from Jackson's den. Remember the black and red car. There's more about that one to come...

So we knew we had a cool car. Mat even painted it to looked old and scuffed up just like the Landspeeder in Star Wars. What we didn't expect was that it would be fast too! We actually won some of the races!

I really have to say here publicly that I did not think it could be done, and I was WRONG! Our car was AWESOME, and I was so proud of Mat and Jackson for doing it.

Jackson won 3rd place in his den for speed and got to compete in the finals with all the older boys in the pack. He also won 2nd place in his den for design.

Now this is where things get a bit touchy. The black and red car that won 1st place was a KIT CAR. Meaning the boy/dad did not start with a block of wood, but rather they just put together and painted a car that was already cut and designed. I had a major issue with that because 1.) it was not original, and 2.) I think the judges (middle-aged ladies) had no knowledge of Star Wars whatsoever. All of the boys at the race thought Jackson's car should've gone on to the pack-wide design competition where he would've gotten a trophy. To top it off the boy/dad whose kit car won first place in design did not even come to the race! They just dropped it off in the morning at the weigh-in, and then the mom came back and picked up the medals at the end of the day. So we learned a bit about parenting on Saturday. Of course, we couldn't let on to Jackson that we were disappointed and really it doesn't matter in the long run. But it's so, so hard to see your child (and husband :-) being treated unfairly.

Overall, it was a great experience. Jackson was so happy to have his medals, and Mat felt a great sense of accomplishment. Now Luke is even excited about being a scout and making a car someday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Early Valentine's Day

YouTube Video

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