Thursday, August 7, 2008

We're Moving!

Well, we're not really moving - we're just moving our blog - temporarily.

Panasonic asked us to create a special blog about our trip that keeps the same feel (and much of the same content) as our original family blog. So, I will probably not post on this one for a while and will spend some time today moving content to the new blog which can be found at

Unfortunately, I can't easily move comments, so please don't feel slighted if you made a comment that doesn't show up on the new blog.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Challenge

Our kids have really been wanting to get the Olympics Wii game that is out right now. I thought it might be fitting to get it - especially for our boys that are left behind. Anyway, I gave them a challenge on the first day of school and said I'd buy the game once they all completed the challenge. They had five things to memorize (the Olympic motto, creed, oath, and two passages of scripture) and two reports each to do (one on an Olympic sport that they didn't know much about and one on a country).

Well, it's taken only about three days for them to all complete everything. Nathan chose to do a report on fencing, Noah chose beach volleyball, Caleb chose cycling and Rebecca chose the paralympics. Last night they made some powerpoint presentations when we hooked up our laptop to the plasma TV. Here is a picture of Noah getting ready for his presentation.

They are getting ready for the new game by making lots of new Olympic-athlete "Miis" for the game. They've had to do quite a bit of research as they're trying to make sure to get things like the eye color right. By the way, Michael Phelps has brown eyes, but his Mii just doesn't look right without a Speedo.

Here are the two passages of scripture that the kids have memorized. Even though they're "done" memorizing them, we can continue to glean spiritual insights from them as we discuss them in light of the Olympics.

1 Cor. 9: 24-27

Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Hebrews 12: 1,2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Monday, August 4, 2008

First Day of School!

Today was the first day of our 08/09 school year. Some years we have a special breakfast or take photos. This morning we simply had toast and sat in front of the TV watching the Today Show's coverage from Beijing. It was so cool thinking we would see those places ourselves in just 14 days!

Today we spent some time learning the history of the modern Olympic movement and practicing the Olympic motto, creed and oath. Last year the boys enjoyed (yes, they really did enjoy this, believe it or not) learning Greek and Latin roots, so probably the most interesting thing that they learned today is that "gymnos" means "nude," so gymnasium really means "a place for naked exercise." In the true fashion of 8-12 year-old boys, they talked about this over and over! We also learned that the word "stadium" is based on the "stade" which was the length of the foot race in the original Greek games, but somehow this did not bear repeating as much as gymnasium.

Each of the kids chose a sport and a country to prepare a report for to present tomorrow night to the family.

We did a few experiments from our "Sports Science" book - learning how the brain is the most important body part when it comes to success in sports. Our experiments were on reaction time (which involved dropping and catching a ruler with a partner - it turns out that Rebecca had the best reaction time)

and learning about balance (Nathan won the balance challenge!).

Probably the biggest thing that I learned today is that shots hurt!

Nathan, Terry and I had our hepatitis shot in preparation for travel. Since Rebecca has traveled to China before, she got to skip this ritual.

Speaking of ritual, we are watching a documentary tonight called "The Real Olympics" and learned that the first Olympics started with the ritual of animal sacrifice. I'm glad that won't be part of the opening ceremonies this year!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

Here's a picture of Rebecca with all the stuff we got in a recent package from Panasonic. We are excited about getting to trade pins with the collateral they gave us - it will be a great conversation starter. And I love the fancy luggage tags!

We also had a phone conversation this week with Panasonic and found out many more details about our trip. These are the events that we're going to be seeing:

Men's Beach Volleyball
Men's 200 M
Men's 50K walk
Men's Basketball
Women's Softball
Platform Diving

I'm probably most excited at this point about Platform Diving as Rebecca and I have been fans of Laura Wilkinson since the 2000 Olympics. I'm also pumped to see the Men's 200 M as I'm sure some former Razorbacks will be competing.

We also found out about some of the specific sites we'll see in Beijing - I'll post more about that a different time.

We also got a package from amazon this week - several books and videos to complement our unit study that we'll start next week. I've also put a ton of books on reserve at the library!

To change gears . . .

Rebecca and I have completed eight weeks of training and will be competing along with a great family friend, Laura O., in a sprint triathlon next Sunday. We did a mock run of the race this week. As soon as we exited from our swim in the lake, the heavens broke loose in a downpour. We decided to risk a lightning strike and just go for it! It was better than running in extreme heat and humidity at least. We are not competing as a team - but we'd do better if we did - Rebecca is the best swimmer, Laura is by far the best biker, and I am the best runner. But the good news is, we all finished within our goal time. The bad news is that I have not lost a pound. I do feel pretty good, though. Our families are traveling to Chattanooga with us to cheer us on.

I'll end with this picture. We took it for the latest HD challenge - we're supposed to be taking some pictures that could end up on the side of a truck. We'll take few more tomorrow as I'm not sure the ones we have are that good. Anyway, this picture sort of reminds me of how I feel right now. My family is in a photograph, and it feels both fun and scary to have your family on display.