Thursday, March 25, 2010

Boy Scouts

Yes I have joined the Boy Scouts of America or BSA for short. One day our friends the Woods asked me if I would like to join their new boy scout troop. So I said why not. It is a new troop so I did not miss many meetings. It is an all Christian, homeschool group which was a key factor for me signing up because all of the boys are very nice. The first time I went was when the whole troop went skeet shooting to earn their shotgun shooting merit badge :-D . Dad and I went there early in the morning. They had everything set up on top of a hill. And when we got there they taught us all about gun safety. After that they had lined us up from most experienced to the least experienced, I was at the end :( . So to earn the shotgun shooting merit badge you had to get at least fifteen skeet out of twenty five. There were two rounds for each boy to shoot. I prayed that I would not embarrass myself and be able to hit at least one. They had different types of shotguns they had 20 gauge single barrel shotguns, a 12 gauge semi automatic shotgun, and a 20 gauge pump action shotgun. For my first round I used the 20 gauge pump action shotgun. They let you test fire it before so you know what it feels like. And surprisingly there was not as much kick then I thought there would be. And when I finally hit my first one and saw it obliterate into hundreds of pieces I was so happy. After the first round I hit about 20 or so(I don't remember the specific number) skeet out of 25. And that was my very first time shooting a shotgun! For my second round I tried the single barrel shotgun. It was scary because when you open the barrel to eject the shell you have to point it away from your face because it flies out. And I also wanted to try the 12 gauge semi-auto but it was for right handers. So if I tried to shoot it the shells would have hit my arm when they were ejected. So all in all I got another 20 out of 25 and I earned my first merit badge :) !!!

A couple weeks after that I went to a merit badge weekend at Camp T. Brady Saunders. A merit badge weekend is where you go for a weekend(go figure) and take merit badge classes that allow you to earn them a lot quicker then if you did it on your own. So to make a long story short we got there Friday night, we slept in wooden tepees, we almost froze to death, we went to our classes and earned merit badges, we ate, we played, and we slept. Unfortunately I had all of my basic essentials: toothbrush, pocket knife, etc but I forgot to bring my camera so that is why I don't have any pictures :( .There were about four or five hundred scouts there and the staff had to feed us all. The food was mediocre, it was not great and it was not horrible. But that is probably as good as cafeteria food can get. At one of the meals I ran into Thomas' debate partner's brother and dad. The merit badges I took were fire safety, finger printing, and safety. For fire safety it was held at the Goochland fire department. The (volunteer!) firemen/women were very nice. They let us use their fire extinguisher simulator that was very cool. There was a screen they'd turn on and you took a fake fire extinguisher and shoot it at the sensors at the bottom of the screen. At the end of the class they gave of a tour of the fire truck hanger. They were very patient and answered all of our questions. I found out that those fire trucks cost from 1 MILLION to 1.5 MILLION dollars. Saturday night my troop played cops and robbers(basically tag) in the dark at these cool tunnels they had on the camp. So that was very fun. All of the "cops" had their flashlight(except for the smart ones) on and all of the "robbers" had to sneak around so they would get caught and get sent to "jail". On Sunday night we compiled our money and bought pizza. Then we all watched Up in the dining hall. We came home Monday morning.

A more recent event is that I got my public speaking merit badge finished. this past Monday I had to say a 3-5 minute speech introducing myself, a 3-5 minute speech with visual aids, and a 8-10 minute speech on any topic of your choice. For my 8-10 minute speech I just said my apologetics speech.

Tomorrow I am going to another merit badge weekend. It will only be for Saturday so I should be able to still go to church. If everything works out the way it should I will be doing the first aid merit badge. And instead of sleeping in tepees and cabins it is a campout. so we have to provide our own food and water.

Sadly since baseball is starting up I will not be able to go on as much camping trips because the games and practices will be on Saturdays which is when we would normally do stuff :( .


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


When there was still snow on the ground I found tons of tracks by our pond. So here are some pictures.Deer tracks.

Up close deer track.

Turkey tracks (gobble gobble) .


Our snowman.
In case you were wondering his eyes are spray paint caps.

It was starting to get warmer and he was beginning to melt so I decided to have some fun and shoot him with my bow and arrow.

For those of you who have seen Narnia: Prince Caspian in one of the scenes Susan throws an arrow into a guy. Now this is actually possible as I tried it with my human substitute being my snowman. But I am pretty sure it would not kill somebody especially if they had armor on like in the movie. So like most stuff in movies that part is not true.

I also used my Boy Scout (another post) skills and lashed two sticks together. Then I put the really hard to pack snow on it and shot it with my pellet gun.

The evil snowman(Grrr).

(BOOM!!) In one shot I blew half of his face off.
When I was done there was hardly anything left.

Then more recently I filled up a water balloon and shot it.

--Philip :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


So I know I haven’t blogged in roughly forever, but I’m here now so I won’t make any excuses about school or debate or facebook. But school has been crazy, we just got back from our 2nd debate tournament, and facebook can occupy a great deal of your creative energy.
I guess I’ll talk about the NC tournament we just got back from on sunday. We started speech and debate last September and to tell the truth mom forced me into it. I begged I think I even cried, I mean the prospect of giving speeches in front a crowd terrified me, but I’ve learned to enjoy it so much that I’ve decided to join the club and return next year. One reason I love it so much is because of the kids involved. They are all God fearing, super smart, hilarious people with amazing speaking abilities. I’ve learned lots about water pollution, our topic for this year, and how it affects people and the environment. I know it sounds boring but there really is a lot to it. I’ve learned to prepare a 5 minute speech on a random quote in just 2 minutes.
Thursday afternoon we dropped off the incubator at a friends house, picked up Thomas’ partner Joe, and Joe’s dad, then we were off to NC. We also brought Lily along because she’s got a ruptured disk in her back and the kennel would've been way too stressful for her. On the way there was a bit of really bad traffic where we just turned the car off and snacked on Oreo's for about an hour and a half. Because mom is still inactive reserve we got to stay at Pope Air-Force Base. We didn’t get through all the security and checked in till about 1ish which was unfortunate because we had to get up again in about 5 hours. Philip didn't have any events the first day so he watched a few debate rounds

The tournament itself was awesome, there were seven 1.5 hour long rounds and 3 individual event rounds over 2 days. Waiting around for the postings on the next round

There was a lot of down time between rounds, but we filled this with intense card games. At the end of the 2nd day we all watched the Final debate round and had awards. Thomas and Joe

Thomas won his individual event round with his 8 minute memorized speech on the perils of HID headlights. Philip is in a separate age group and he won both his impromptu round and his prepared speech event. Considering the other 60 or so kids that were there, these were pretty big accomplishments. Me and my partner Nadia
Little ole me didn’t win anything but the satisfaction of beating an experienced team.The Richmond "RADIX" club
I’m still really tired from the weekend, because three nights in a row none of us got much more than 5 hours of sleep. Because it’s Thomas’ last year we’ll probably end up going to the last tournament in Charlotte NC where we’ll go through the whole thing again.
Just a little side note I got an incubator as an early B-day present and this is day 14 for 31 duck eggs cooking away inside. They’re scheduled to hatch March 30.See the veins?
Another note is that the disc in Lily’s back has pressed up against her spine and now she drags her back legs. =’( This has happened before but a dose of steroids has always snapped her out of it, only this time they’re not working. We don’t know if she’ll pull through or not.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Highlights from the Richmond debate tournament

Thomas and his partner, Joe, came in 3rd place in the debate rounds.

The first day the teams debated in 5 rounds and 1 speech round. By round 5 they were dead on their feet. Day 2 brought 2 more debate rounds and 2 speech rounds. Thomas and Joe were in the hidden semi finals. Though they lost, it was still exciting and they finished third.
Thomas came in 3rd in impromptu.

Each individual speech was given three different times over the 2 days before a total of 9 judges. Thomas gave his memorized 8 minute long advocacy speech on why HID headlights should be banned. Anna spoke about the evils of the chemical Roundup on crops. Both gave impromptu speeches on the following topics:
1. one candle can light another without losing any of its own light
2. you can tell someone's true character by the way he treats those who can offer him nothing
3. you can learn more from a bad harvest than from a good harvest.

2 minutes of prep time is taken prior to the alloted 5 minutes speech. Usually they would give 3 examples to prove their position such as a literature, a historical, or current event example. Anna found that Pride and Prejudice examples are quite useful and can be applied to almost any topic. As a novice (first year debater), Anna did very well and has caught the debate "bug".

Thomas also spoke in the apologetics impromptu speeches and addressed such questions as:
1. how can you believe the Bible is true if it contains so many inaccuracies?
2. how can you believe the Bible is the Word of God if it is written by men?
3. is the Bible a mystical fairy tale or historically accurate?

1st place in advocacy speech

The Richmond debate club (RADIX)

Philip participated in the JV/Junior speech events for ages 12 and under. He memorized an apologetics speech, 7 minutes long on the topic, what makes Christianity different from other religions. He also spoke three times in the impromptu event (3 min prep time/3 minute speech) on such topics as: what are the most important things your grandparents have taught you, who's the most successful person you know, what would you do if you were invisible for a day?

In between events, time was spent playing games

Waiting in the hallway for the next person to go in.

2nd place apologetics

1st place impromptu

A fun time was had by all. So much so that we went to the Fayetteville, NC tournament in March. Debate/speech has been life changing. It's a subject that integrates so many aspects of school (language, history, government, research, Bible, science) and makes school more meaningful and interesting besides the obvious benefits of learning to articulate their faith. I don't have to tell Thomas to work on debate. Rather I am often heard saying "no more debate til calculus is done!"