Sunday, January 25, 2015

VEX IQ Robotics Competition

In December Nash was given the chance to join the Robotics Club at the school.  He was THRILLED beyond explanation!  He has loved getting to learn about how to build and program a robot.  My cousin Austin does the Robotics Club at the high school and Nash even had a chance to go and watch a high school competition one day instead of going to school!

Today was the first competition that he was able to participate in.  We had to be in Kaysville at 9 am so the other kids spent the night with Trav's parents.  

This is most of Nash's team 

Each team does 5 matches.  His school has 3 teams and each of those teams does 5 matches.  Each time also had to do 4 skill sets and go in front of the judges for judging.  Nash's group hasn't done a STEM project so that puts them out of the running for the overall top position.  Granted, his group is all inexperienced fourth grade boys & they've been focused on getting their robot built and programmed.  Nash did tell me that they plan to put together a STEM project now for when they go to the State competition at the end of February up at USU.

A match is interesting to watch.  
Each match is only 1 minute long.  
At the 35 second mark you must change drivers or you will be penalized if you refuse to give the controller to your teammate.  
There can only be 2 team members at the floor during the match.  One team member bulldozes and the other stacks.  
There is another 2 person team at the same floor.  The other team also has one person bulldozing and one person stacking. 
 In elementary VEX competition (not sure if it's the same at the high school level), the teams can work together.  They have the two teams on the floor and two teams up at a que.  There are two matches taking place at the same time.  This makes for SUPER fast movement through everything that needs to be accomplished.
The way they score it is interesting as well.  At the end of the minute any blocks that are past the flags count as 1 point each.  There are three different colors of blocks.  You must stack same color blocks together.  If you have 2 green blocks stacked then green counts as 2 points each.  If you have 3 blocks stacked they count as three points each.  One team scored 79 points in a skill set today! 
The points the kids earn in their matches are really of no value.  At the end of the five matches they take the number of points the teams earned and pair them with another team of similiar point value.  Then those two teams go against each other until you end up with a high score for those two teams.  Once that has been done you have to take all their points from judging and add that in as well.  Apparently at the first competition of the year our school team was in first place with points from matches.  However, once they were paired with people of like number points and did their second round of matches a fourth ranked team won.  Boggles my mind still!

Waiting to do their first of four skill sets:

Skill set was a bust!  Robot got stuck!  With your skill sets they just take your highest score of the four and count it.  All others are tossed out.  You can choose to do a driver skill set or a programming skill set.  You can do all programming skill sets or all driver skill sets or any combination thereof.

We ended up leaving early (that's a post entirely of it's own to come later) so I don't know how his team did at the very end of the day.  Nash has loved being in robotics club and has learned so much.  He has wanted to be an engineer when he grows up so this is giving him a glimpse into it.  I think he's really looking forward to the state competition next month!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas 2014

I didn't anticipate this is be an obscenely long post - and then I realized how long it's been since I posted last.  Oops!  This one post should have been multiple posts through the month of December!  Guess that leaves room for another resolution for 2015!  Get back to posting more often!

December was crazy busy but lots of fun.  We actually got to have Travis home from Dec. 5-Dec. 26.  That's the most time he's spent at home since he started working at Halliburton nearly SIX years ago!  The kids & Travis & I loved every second of it.  We sure made the most of our time together.

We set up our tree after Travis got home.  I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not have the cutsie snowman themed tree I've wanted since we got married.  Nope.  I have given that up.  At least until the last one of the kids moves out!  I handed out the decorations to the kids & the kids put them on the tree.  We used all the decorations the kids have made first and the ornaments that have meaning to our family (the ornaments with the kids names on them, the year ornaments, etc.)

Samantha's dance group danced at the Festival of Trees again.  I just took the girls and went.  Travis stayed home so the boys wouldn't have to miss school to go.  We had fun and saw some fun things.  The girls did a great job and their teacher said this year was the best it's ever gone for them at the Festival of Trees!

Samantha's ballet class did an excerpt from The Nutcracker.  Each of the ballet classes at the Whittier center did a different excerpt from The Nutcracker as their holiday recital.  This made it so it was a shortened version of The Nutcracker for families to watch.  The girl that played the Nutcracker is actually a girl that's my age that danced with Laura (my best friend & day care person) in high school.

We made our annual trip to see Santa Claus.  I have to say, this Santa was the best Santa I've ever met!  He was awesome & was so funny!

We made it to the Bown & Whitlock parties this year.  We didn't go last year because Travis wasn't home when they had them.  The kids have sure missed going to Manti as often as we use to.  We really need to do a better job of making more trips down there to visit each year.  The kids love it down there and they love to see everyone.  Santa came and paid all the kids at the Bown party a visit.

We actually had three parties in one weekend!  We had the Bown party on the Saturday before Christmas, the Whitlock party the Sunday before Christmas & the Reeder party the Sunday before Christmas.  Travis was a good sport & we left Mayfield early enough that we were able to make it to the Reeder party.  It helps that they eat dinner first at the Reeder party so by the time we arrived they had just finished eating!
Whenever the whole family gets together we have to get a photo of these five kids together.  We call them "The Quints" because they were all born the same year.  They are in birth order - almost:
Sunny (March 2011), Brookelyn (May 2011), Rhett (November 2011), Bryson (September 2011) & Parker (June 2011).  They sure are fun to watch play together!

On Christmas Day we went out to Scott & Kris's house.  Poor Kris was so sick I'm not sure how she managed to get out of bed & stay out of bed all day!  The kids loved all their gifts.  Nash is dying to try out the new sled.  I think Travis will have to take him when he gets home this weekend!  Brookelyn got a new Cabbage Patch doll that she absolutely adores.  Samantha is in love with her big fuzzy green chair that's for her new room & Caleb has enjoyed his boxing robots!

On Christmas Eve we went to my parents' house.  This year we changed it up a bit to see if it would help calm some of the madness!  We've always eaten dinner first and then done gifts.  Mom decided this year we would do gifts first and then eat.  That way maybe the kids would actually eat something!  This idea worked out fairly well.  We let Brooke & Sunny open their gifts & then the boys & then Sam & Jade.  Once that craziness was done we had dinner.  After dinner we gave our gifts to mom & dad & then Cass & Zack & I got our gifts.  

Brooke is super excited about her new purple princess dress.  Mom had her try it on and it's a little long so it's still at Grandma's house so the hem can be raised another three inches.

This girl!  Not sure what I'm going to do with her!  All she wants to do lately is pull scary faces.  When her dad is able to facetime home she hogs the phone & sits and pulls one goofy face after another at him!  I blame all the Reeder genes and my mother's influences!

Samantha had a Batman Christmas and is perfectly content with that.  She's already put together this two sided Batman puzzle.  Now she's waiting for me to get some puzzle glue so we can get it glued together so it can be hung on her new bedroom wall!  Crazy girl1

The little girls in their princess dresses.  

My mom made the boys real western style shirts.  Unfortunately, Nash & Jack's are a bit short.  Caleb's fits great.  The only other dilema is that the pearl buttons were being stinkers and not working.  Mom is going to make Nash & Jack a bigger size so Caleb will get all three!  Not sure if she'll be able to fix the pearl buttons or not.  I sure hope so because they really just finish out the shirts.

Mom made all the kids about three pairs of pjs.  They love their grandma Terri pjs and wear them until I have to take them and hide them because they have grown out of them!

.This is what our kids woke up to on Christmas morning at our place.

It's difficult to see, but there's an actual bow and arrow in that pile for Caleb - scary, I know!

It isn't in the photo but I made Sam a Batman quilt too.

Sam was pretty excited to get her own BB gun.  She actually had bet Robbie while we were at the Whitlock party that she could hit the post on the porch with the new nerf//blow gun she got & she won a dollar from him!  Travis said he's proud because now everyone in the family is armed and dangerous except Brooke.  I expect that she too will be armed in the very near future.

Brooke got about 5 new dress up items from Santa.  She's been wearing them regularly since Christmas day.  I anticipate she'll likely be wearing them all year round.  And, I have a sneaking suspicion that more than one of her princess dresses will make the trek to Disneyland in April!

We really had a great Christmas and loved that we got to see everyone.  We also loved having our dad home for three weeks straight.  It was a sad day when I had to take him to the airport.  On the bright side, he comes home on Wednesday night and the kids are excited (well, Brooke is ecstatic) that they get to go pick him up with me (usually Aunt Jamie picks him up).

We have lots of goals for 2015 and I know we'll make them all a reality so long as we just keep working towards them.  Baby steps, right?!  Happy New Year!