Monday, December 6, 2010

My date with Sadie

Once a week or so I take Sadie on a date to our local grocery store (Harris Teeter). We have a tea party of sorts with free cookies and Starbucks espresso. Sadie likes to dunk her cookie into her espresso shot. This is just one of the valuable life lessons I've taught her.

Today we finished our date by meandering through the store and feasting on all the free samples. Total cost for our date: $1.62. Me = big spender.

(Note the B&W camouflage shirt. She had to have one just like her big brother.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dancing Sadie

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. Here's Sadie getting down with some Public Enemy.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Soen has really taken to reading lately. He even likes to read Sadie a book at night. Tonight he was reading Green Eggs and Ham and she was chiming in.

In other news, Sadie has my see-food diet. Her new thing is carrots. She never used to like carrots. Then she started watching Bugs Bunny. Now all it takes is for her to hear the music and she starts asking us for a carrot. Good thing Bugs Bunny doesn't drink wine.

Friday, April 9, 2010

RV crazy

Sadie strikes a pose in her new hot pink 'kini.

A year ago or so, Soen and I had a morning to ourselves. And as we was driving up the main drag, looking for things to do I saw this RV place that I'd passed so many times before and thought perhaps Soen would like to check them out. We climbed into every RV on the lot and Soen was just blown away by the whole concept. But he especially loved this one that had a bunk bed over the driver's cabin and--best of all--a TV that would sit inches from his face.

Ever since that day he's been asking, on a weekly basis, "Dad, when are we gonna get an RV?" And I've been replying: "We'll rent one one of these days, Soen, I promise."

The other day Wife had a great idea. For his birthday, we're going to rent an RV for the weekend. She told him one day recently when he was in a bad mood about something and his mood changed instantly.

Now, instead of asking when we're going to get an RV he monitors our spending to make sure we save up enough money for this RV trip. Literally every time we purchase something he steps in and says, "No! We have to save money for the RV!" And we have to talk him down off the ledge and explain that getting a haircut isn't going to put the RV out of range.

I just hope that when we eventually do rent the RV that he's not disappointed. We'll see.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Acquire for kids

Even though this is a game for adults, my kids (3 and 6 yo) are always fascinated by the game, which includes lots of plastic tiles with numbers and letters on them, and big colorful buildings. The fact that the kids can easily place the tiles on the board and build things with them makes them eager to play the game. Rather than tell them that it's just too complicated I made up some rules that make for a fun game that they can easily understand and only takes about 15 minutes to play. I'm including the rules for anyone interested in playing this game with their young children. I'm also assuming you already know how to play the regular version of the game.

1. The youngest player goes first. He or she takes 4 tiles and places all 4 of them on the board. The next player does the same and so on. We use 4 tiles per play for the first round or two. After that, we usually switch to each player placing just 3 tiles per play.

2. If a player places a tile next to another tile already on the board, they create a corporation. They choose one of the buildings that are not already on the board, place it on the tile they just played, and take 2 shares of stocks. (If, in forming this new corporation, they are joining 3 or more tiles, they take one share for each tile in this new corporation.)

3. If two corporations merge, the smaller corporation is merged out and the player gets to take a share of the remaining corporation for every new tile added to this corporation. For example, if a player places a tile that joins Sackson (with 4 tiles) and Phoenix (with 3 tiles), they would remove the Phoenix building from the board and receive 4 shares of Sackson (1 for the new tile they just played and three for the tiles that used to be Phoenix). Players who have Phoenix stock simply hold on to this stock.

4. If all corporations are on the board and someone plays a tile that adjoins another, non-incorporated tile, no new corporation is formed. (In the actual rules, a player would be unable to play this tile.) This can lead to fairly big new corporations being created later on. For example, let's say that the tiles 1a, 2a, and 3a are on the board, unincorporated. Then a merger happens, freeing up Sackson. If a player were to play 2b, they can place Sackson back on the board and would receive 4 shares of Saxon stock.

5. There is no buying or selling of stocks. Money isn't used at all in this version of the game, except as an award to the winner. This is quite a compelling offer for my kids. They love getting a huge stack of money at the end of the game.

6. As in the real game, a corporation is safe from merger once it reaches 11 tiles.

7. Once a corporation runs out of shares, the game is over. The winner is the player with the most number of shares. I've tried playing past this point but the game really stops being interesting for the kids. This seems like the best place to stop.

As you can see, there is almost no strategy to this game. It's purely luck of the draw, which makes it easy for kids to understand. I say "almost" no strategy because there is some. I've found that it's best to look at all of your tiles before playing one. For example, if you have tile 4a, which can merge out two corporations and another tile (3b) that can be added to the smaller corporation, then it's better to play 3b first, to get a share of the existing corporation, before merging it out. So you'd get a share of the smaller corporation for playing 3b and then you'd get a share of the larger corporation once it merges out for that same tile.

Anyway, those are the rules. I find that kids are way into this game for one game. Mine often ask to play it again immediately after the first game is over but inevitably they lose interest about halfway through.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Soen Amuck

Soen reciting Duck Amuck from memory. Given his limited vocabulary and the confusion caused by Daffy Duck's speech impediment, it's funny to hear what Soen comes up with for the monologue.