Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Ewok Missionary Teaching Some Mouse Droids

Adam laughs:

Star Wars is a staple "like" in our household, except for Jewel, who has always maintained that she doesn't like it. Thursday last week Jewel announced "I don't ever actually remember watching Star Wars so don't remember if I don't actually like it. Can we watch it?"

Jumping at the chance to brainwash indoctrinate educate Jewel about the Star Wars universe, we watched Star Wars together on Thursday night. She liked it enough to request The Empire Strikes Back on Friday night. This was followed by Return of the Jedi on Saturday night. She's decided that she loves the Star Wars movies, and wants to go to Supanova next year as an Ewok.

During Sacrament meeting at church the following Sunday she was sketching whilst listening to the talks. This is the image that she drew. Star Wars & Church mashup. I am now officially a successful father :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tobogganing at Perisher

Adam stays warm:

Work for me is busy and I was only able to get limited time off during the school holidays. We decided that we'd use the only day available to go up to the snow together as a family. It had been a number of years since we'd gone up the ski fields, and the recent trip to Corin Forest had whetted our appetites.

We figured that rather than do the usual go up in jeans and warm clothes from home, that we'd  hire snow suits and clothes to keep warm. It turned out to be a good idea. We stopped at Village Ski in Cooma and got outfitted with jacket, pants, boots and gloves for everyone, as well as four toboggans and snow chains for the car. All up it cost us about $250, but we'd arranged with all of the kids that they'd be contributing to the cost of the clothing hire. I compared it to going to Luna Park - we said to them - "If we'd suggested that we'd take them to Luna Park, but they have to pay for their own tickets, they'd do it." In this case, we'll take you tobogganing and you'll pay for your own tickets, which in this instance means paying for your snow gear hire. The kids agreed to this.

There had been good snow cover the preceding weeks, and snow was on the ground not long after we got into the Kosciusko National Park, with good coverage by the time we got up to Perisher. We all suited up - the girls had fun rolling in the snow whilst Seth and I changed - and then made our way into the Perisher Centre to grab ourselves some lunch. The place was busy, and the food was expensive but nice. I even managed to have a faux poutine (chips covered in cheese and gravy), my first take at the Canadian food.

After lunch we went out back into the cold for the obligatory "we're here'photos and to get our toboggans from the car. As we were doing so the wind picked up as it started snowing. Jayde said "It's just like a  blizzard." I pointed out to her that the strong winds that was driving the snow about WAS a blizzard, not LIKE a blizzard.

The toboggan field was near the car park, a small hill on Mt Piper. Fortunately the wind and snow died down not long after we got onto the hill. The kids all started out on the gentler part of the slope, trying to push themselves along the flat part, before eventually getting the hang of it and heading down the slopes. After a bit of confidence building, it graduated into races between each other, and then onto the steeper part of the hill.

Elissa joined in using Seth's toboggan for a while whilst he tried making a snowman near the bottom of the toboggan run. Elissa joined him, and they turned it from a lump of snow into a "snow wombat". Unfortunately the wombat design didn't really show on the photos.

Part of the reason they took a break from tobogganing was an influx of kids onto the toboggan area from a school holiday program, making the hill a bit crowded for a while. About this time the snow and wind picked up again quite strongly - the weather bureau says that with the wind chill it was about minus 8 degrees about that time in Perisher. Only my exposed face was cold thanks to the snow clothes, but my face was FREEZING. You could see the snow being driven across the top of the hill by the wind.

Eventually Seth decided to go check over the other side of the hill from the tobogganing area and it was a fairly clear area amongst trees. There were some nice meter high ridges that Seth figured would make a good snow fort. Elissa let the rest of us know to go around and join him, IT was at this point, the fun drama unfolded.

Jayde could see Seth getting his "snow fort" ready, so she ran up to hide behind a nearby ridge with a snowball, motioning for Minori to follow quietly as well. She started going up on the ridge to attack Seth and realised that Seth could see her. There was a momentary stand off, and Jayde backed down behind the snow ridge. Seth ran up in anticipation and hurled his snowball at her, getting a direct hit on her hip. Jayde then went down in pain, and Elissa had to go over and comfort her. You can see the whole event played out in front of the camera in the photos below, including the final shot of the snowball exploding all over Jayde's left hip.

Prior to being needed to comfort Jayde, Elissa had been busy tickling Jewel.

With Jayde being comforted by Elissa and no longer needing snowball war support, Minori went off to go build herself a proper snowman, and she spent a while making a perfect base. She's had years of practice in the snow back in Japan.

Seth decided that he was going to go off exploring and found himself a large snow covered rock area to climb. Jewel eventually decided to follow him. Jayde meanwhile eventually recovered, and decided to try and drag herself on the toboggan over the snow ... until she fell over one of the snow ridges.

Jewel decided that she was going to pose for some "snowball throwing" photos.

Elissa decided that she was going to make a snowman. It turned out to be a pretty good one too. She and Jewel had appropriated some carrots from snowmen carcasses at the top of the tobogganing hill and put them to good use.

By now however the weather was starting to turn again and it was getting cloudy. Jewel was also complaining that she had a stitch, so we decided on one last toboggan ride for the afternoon. Elissa and Jewel went tandem whilst Seth decided that he'd trying doing his skeleton style.

We rounded off our time in Perisher by packing the toboggans away and heading back into the Perisher Centre for some decadent hot chocolates to warm us up for the drive back.

Then it was a drive back to Cooma, drop off our rental gear, and then reinstating the tradition of gourmet burgers and pizza at The Food Factory in Cooma for dinner before driving back to Canberra.

It was a fun day, and the kids seem sold on doing it again next year. Snow clothing rental is definitely the way to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WinterCon 2014 - Learning Concordia

Adam plays games:

We enjoyed our day of gaming at CanCon earlier in the year and resolved to head back again to CanCon's ugly little sister - WinterCon - for another day of gaming. WinterCon is much smaller than CanCon, and there were very few retail stores there - mainly just tabletop miniature gamers.

We arranged to meet up with the Garlands at the start and then spend our day playing in the games library. We got there just after 9AM, however the Garlands were having some car issues and were running late, so we paid for our entry into the library and grabbed ourselves a copy of Seven Wonders with the Cities expansion to try out.

We had a fun time playing 7 Wonders together and decided that we all liked the expansion. Elissa ended up winning the game.

As we finished, the Garland's arrived. The kids now had a table to themselves and played another game of 7 Wonders whilst the adults set about teaching ourselves Concordia. Concordia turned out to be a really fun game, but the rules were very poorly written ... fortunately, we worked them out ... but it took us about 3 hours to set up and play a game. The games library, although well stocked, had a smaller amount of tables and less helpers than CanCon, so nobody free to help us to learn how to play the game.

The gameplay involved a map of ancient Italy which you set out with colonists to explore and build houses in various cities to give you resources to then do more actions. Despite the poorly written rules, the game itself was good and both families put it on their lists of potential future purchases. For the record, Elissa won Concordia too.

As we played Concordia, the kids played several different games, but weren't quite keeping the same attention span.

We ended up grabbing a third game afterwards - Stone Age. This involved having a small tribe of people that each player allocated different tasks to do to try and build up their tribe. I thought Stone Age was quite fun, but the other's weren't as taken with it. Elissa kept her perfect record for the day, also winning Stone Age. It was now about 4PM and the kids had all given up on their various games, so we took a quick tour of the small number of stores, said our goodbyes, and headed home for the day.