Tuesday, November 10, 2015

School Pictures!

So I FINALLY got around to ordering the boys school pictures ... from last year!!!  OOPS!!  Somehow it slipped through the cracks and I completely forgot until they had their pictures taken for this year.  So I ordered prints from both years all at one shot ... at least it will make it easy to see their growth from last year until now.  :-)

Let's start with Nicholas ... can you tell which one is last year and which is this year?? 

If you guessed the one on the left (the first one) was last year, you were right!  But wow!  He barely changed!!!
Studious look...

Cool kid with his watch (he doesn't leave home without it!)
And now it's Jaden's turn...his will likely be easier to tell last year vs this year.
Those adult teeth sure make him look older!!  I was just glad the picture was taken before any more fell out!  He has lost 3 teeth since this picture was taken and his smile looks totally different.

Sexy pose??

Future blackmail picture.  Yes, Jaden can do the center splits and he proudly displayed his talent for the cameraman!!  Love you Jaden!!!


Saturday, November 7, 2015

World Robotics Olypiad - Doha

We had the best time at the World Robotics Olypiad this morning!  The competition was held here in Doha and there must have been over 200 teams from over 20 nations.  We saw some awesome robots and met the most amazing kids from around the world competing.  We were completely astounded!!!  And it was a free event (including a free lunch!  What??!!!  Only in Doha!).

This year's theme was "Robot Explorers" and the competitors were challenged to create robots to explore parts of the world where human exploration is difficult.  The elementary school teams created robots that would "dive for a pearl" (not really under water).  The junior high school created robots to hunt for treasure and the high school teams created robots that could "climb mountains."  There were also soccer matches and bowling teams.  It was great fun to watch!

Main stage with video screen showing competitions.  Each team had a white booth and the competition took place at the front and back tables. 

Event venue ... gold buildings were the "Souk" where the sponsors and robot enthusiasts had a booth.  We spent at least 2 hrs checking out all the cool robots in this area.
Bowling competition (it's hard to see the tiny little bowling pins in front of the black board).  The robot picked up the ball and rolled it down the floor to knock over the pins.  I think only college teams entered this part of the competition.  You can see the robots lined up on the right side of the picture.
 After arriving and getting a lay of the land, we explored the "souk" and had a blast watching and interacting with the robots on display!

Maersk Oil was a sponsor for the event and the boys loved looking at this Lego display of offshore drilling.  The glass case represented the water and the bottom was the ocean floor while the boats and drill rigs were above water.  A great display with Legos!

Some girl from the Netherlands built this shark from Legos and programed it to move around the table and turn/backup when it bumps the edge or the fish.  The girl couldn't have been more than 20 yrs old and this is a hobby for her!

The fish were remote controlled and the kids loved playing the game to keep the fish away from the shark!  Super fun!!

A guy from Canada built this robot ... does it look like ET??

The same Canadian also built this R2D2.  It took him a year to design and build.  He sent it via DHL to the competition and it arrived in pieces!  Took a team of 5 guys to put it together in 2 days for display at the competition.

Close up of R2D2

Ken's favorite was the Rubik Cube solver.  This man from the UK built a robot out of legos and programmed it with an iPhone to solve a Rubik cube in seconds.  It was amazing!!!  And apparently it's in the Guinness Book of World Records.  It took him 3 months to build and program.  There are some amazingly intelligent people in this world!  Inspiring!!  It solved one in less than 1.8 seconds.  Watch the video if you don't believe me!


 After the sponsors and robot enthusiasts booths, we walked through the student booths.  So many amazing creations, but I won't bore you with all of them.  Here were our favorites.

Team China created a robot that responds to human movement.  The high school student is wearing a suit and if he moves his right arm up, the robot will imitate the movement. 

This team from Malaysia let the boys play with their creation.  The robot was designed to maneuver over rocky terrain (over Nicholas' foot to demonstrate).

All eyes on the robot.

Another Malaysian team ... 10 and 11 year olds!!  Designed a robot that scans the earth is search of precious metals, feeds the information back to the computer along with exact GPS coordinates.  Then designed a drone to fly to the exact coordinates and take pictures (infrared and regular digital) of the area to confirm the location of the mineral.  Seriously??  At 10 and 11 years of age??!!!  It was CRAZY!!!  And they presented better than most college students!!!  Answering questions and explaining their process.  I was most impressed with this team!

Our final stop was with the virtual reality booths.  Jaden's first virtual reality game.  He had to "walk the plank."  He loved it!

This was a virtual welding machine in order to train people how to weld.  Brilliant!! 

Misc Pics

I can't believe I forgot to include a picture of Maps (our cat) in my Halloween post!  We found the cutest little black bat wings for her to wear. 

Happy Halloween from Maps!
 Random head pieces at a going away lunch for one of Ken's colleagues! 

Dog sitting for neighbor for the day.  We love Skittles!  Well everyone except the cat.  :-) 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Kids had a great time Halloween weekend! 
Boys were Pac Man ghosts this year ... unfortunately they were tough to wear to school ... can't exactly sit down in the costumes!  Oops!

Silly brothers

Nicholas' class before the Halloween party
I was in charge of crafts and games for Nicholas' party.  So fun!!!  We had a blast!

Creepy touch station ... Wicked Witch Eyeballs (peeled grapes), Zombie Brains (noodles), Goblin Ears (dried apricots), etc, etc.  The fan favorite was Vampire Vomit (chunky salsa).  Yuck!!  So fun!!!
Ghost lollipops ... remember these?  Cover lollipop with a Kleenex and draw a face on the head.  So simple!
Spider web craft using colored craft sticks and a bit of yarn!

Minute to win it game "Ghost busters."  1 minute to knock down the cups using the tennis ball tied to your head.  Kids loved it!  I hope I didn't spread lice!!!
Minute to win it game "candy chaos."  They had 1 minute to separate the M&Ms by color using only a straw.

And check out all the treats!!!  I wasn't in charge of food for the party ... clearly the other moms didn't need my help!!
 I ducked out of Nicholas' party a bit early to attend Jaden's party but unfortunately in my haste, I left my camera behind.  He had a great party too that the other moms organized.  A great day of fun!

That night, their school held a big Halloween carnival with trick or treating lanes, haunted houses, carnival games, and bouncy castles.  It's always a good time.  The boys had more fun running around the soccer fields with their friends than anything else.  And praise God for the snow cones to keep us from overheating!  It's still pretty warm in Doha!

Part of the trick or treat alley in the school...

They turned one of the playgrounds into a graveyard

With Skyler at the party.  Pac Man couldn't come to the ASD carnival. 

Then on Saturday night, ExxonMobil hosted a little carnival on our compound for the younger kids before we headed out for trick or treating!

At ExxonMobil carnival

Ready to go trick or treating with Ben (pac man), Liam (Star wars), Skyler (Inky), Jaden (Blinky), and Nicholas (Dinky).
 Let me explain the costumes a bit.  So the boys' friend Ben made up a game of tag they play all the time in the park that is loosely based on the video game.  All the kids love to play the game and so we decided to go with the theme for Halloween.  I honestly had no idea the ghosts have names, but apparently they do!  Inky is the blue ghost and Pinky is the girl ghost in the game.  The gang calls Jaden "Blinky" because he has eye allergies here and when he forgets his allergy drops he blinks ALL THE TIME!!!  They gave Nicholas the name Dinky because he is so little.  HILLARIOUS!!!

Best part of the costume is that they were easy to make and CHEAP!!!  I paid about 2 dollars for supplies on each of them!
Trick or Treat!
In front of a neighbors haunted house.  By far, best decorations! 

And we're calling it a night.  Everyone is hot and tired and ready to head home.
 If we're still in Doha next Halloween, I'm going to skip the candy and hand out cold bottles of water!!!  We were dying out there and it was considerably cooler this year than last year!!!