Monday, December 20, 2010

Our COLD Camping Trip

The day after the practice debate tournament we went camping! Our original plan was to stay at a state park in Florida for the first two nights then move to Disney and camp there at Fort Wilderness. On Monday we were going to visit University of Florida (the reason we were there!), Tuesday, move to Disney, Wednesday, visit Grandma, Thursday, relax and visit all the resorts with cool decorations then Friday, travel home. A few days before the trip, however, we found out that the first two nights at the state park, which is in Gainesville, was supposed to get down to 18 degrees (Fahrenheit) during the night and we knew that some of us couldn't handle that. So we switched our plans and stayed at our grandmas for the first two nights and visit her all day on Monday. Then Tuesday we moved to Disney and Wednesday we visited University of Florida then Thursday we did the same as planned.

On Sunday we drove down and we ate Fried Chicken for dinner then watched the finale of The Amazing Race. The next morning Carl and I went for a ride with my mom's aunt and we drove to the beach. She stayed in the car while Carl and I had fun for about 5 minutes on the cold windy beach! We pretty much relaxed and rested that day.

On Tuesday we departed from our Grandma's house and we traveled to Disney World. We set up camp then mom and dad went shopping for food and then mom worked on her job for our homeschool co-op, SEEK. So they were gone all afternoon and all of the kids were able to walk to the 'Bike Barn' and make a cel (yes, that's how 'cel' is spelled!). We traced a character onto a piece of plastic then colored it in. It was a lot of fun and very cold! That night we cooked fajitas. That evening we all (the whole and dad are back now) walked to the campfire and roasted our gigantic marshmallows. Then we were heading back to camp and that night was miserable! It was way below freezing and we were hurting so badly...especially mom. She almost moved to the bathhouse since it was heated...(it's Disney!). The next morning we woke up and cooked a very fast breakfast since we were going to University of Florida. Mom and I were wanting to go as soon as possible so we could get into a warm car! Our tour guide was awesome. We were able to visit The Swamp (the football stadium) and a sample dorm room. Later that evening we dropped mom off at the Contemporary Resort so she could work on descriptions for our homeschool co-op, SEEK, then the rest of us headed off to Downtown Disney. We visited all of our favorite shops and traded pins. We were up very late that night and mom was definitely stalling at the resort once we arrived to head back to camp. She was in NO hurry!! She didn't mind if we slept in the lobby because it was warm!! :) But that night wasn't as bad. We slept and then woke up...nobody woke up during the night. We were bundled up had a blanket on her feet and she felt a lot better. The hard part was getting out of the sleeping bag. So we quickly walked to the bathroom and right to the warm showers. The second hard part was getting out of the showers. Once we were all clean and ready for the day we made our breakfast then headed out to the bus station and started to look at all the resorts.

After looking at all the resorts we went swimming at the swimming pool. We mostly went down the slide, not much swimming...meaning actual stroke swimming! Then the kids played corn hole.

Later that night we went to the campfire then walked around some of the loops and looked at all the Christmas decorations that Disney guest put up to light there area up! Then we walked to the beach area by the boat dock and watched the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom and after that the parade on water. These boats put on the show!

That was pretty much our trip in a not too long post!!

Practice Debate Tournament

This year I learned how to debate and we had the practice tournament the weekend after the First Lego League Regionals Tournament...December 11th. Everybody who signed up got to debate four times. The first round I was able to debate my friend, which was exactly what I wanted, and we also had a great judge! This round was not really how a real round was like. One because we had a new timer and needed a bit of assistance so we ended up with a bit more time than what we're actually supposed to have (with the prep time) and two because we were having too much fun!! This round, though, gave us a feel of what a round was like. The second round I did OK. My opponent's value for me was a bit difficult to argue...especially since I had no idea what it was! The third round I was up against someone who has done this kind of stuff before and then the fourth round I was up against a guy who had democracy as his value. I actually didn't do so great, but somehow I ended up winning the round....
So I won half of the debates I debated. The rounds I won I was the negative speaker. I didn't really care what I won and what I didn't. I had a blast! It was so much fun...I don't know why, but it kind of became addicting!

By Bethany Colglazier

First Lego League Regionals Tournament

In case you all didn't know, I am on a First Lego League Team (Bethany is). First Lego League has two main parts: an engineering side and a project side.

On the engineering side we program a robot to complete missions. Each year First Lego League has a theme and this year was on Biomedical Engineering. Each year is different with it's missions. This year we had missions in which we needed to push things, grab things, and place things. So we came up with some attachments to help our robot complete those missions. At first it's pretty easy and it's a lot of fun....but then toward the middle it can get pretty frustrating, but still a lot of fun!!

On the project side we come up with a problem related to the theme of the year then come up with an improvement or solution. We focused on hearing loss and came up with a survey to send out to those who have hearing loss. One of the big problems that the majority had was batteries. The batteries didn't last too long and they had to keep replacing them. So we came up with body powered hearing aids that run by the beat of your heart, sound waves, blowing from your mouth or bit of quartz. One of our team members took all of our ideas and put it into a funny skit that we presented to the judges.

Now onto the tournament part! On Saturday, December 4th, 2010, we had our regional tournament. Each team got judged in three parts: Teamwork, Robotics, and the Project. Then later in the afternoon there were three rounds of robot runs. First was teamwork, which went great and we had a lot of fun with the teamwork challenge. We had to pick out something that we wanted to act out and we chose an airplane. The second judging round was on Robotics. We were able to show them our attachments and our robot runs. Then finally our third judging round was on the project. We presented our skit and then went over some things that we did over the season. Also during each judging round the judges would ask questions about whatever they were mainly judging on.

In the afternoon we ran our robot and the best score we ended up with was a 95. This was fine by us because we knew the robotics part wasn't exactly our strength. We did know, however, that our project and teamwork part went well and we figured we had a chance at that.

The day went pretty well and we were all exhausted at the award ceremony. They did first and second place for Robot Runs, Robot design, Teamwork, and Project. We place 2nd in Teamwork and that automatically put us in the states competition!!! We were all very excited and very unexcited. We just knew it was going to be another long day!! Anyway, states competition is in January!!!

Oh I forgot to mention that one other team member and I created a website to educate the "WORLD WIDE WEB" about our ideas and about First Lego League! We had lots of help from our Young Adult Mentor (or "YAM" for short) to make this website look good and to be on the web! So thank-you Christian! Our website link:

By Bethany Colglazier

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Washington D.C. Trip Update - Day 7

Carl, Miriam, Christian and I in front of the back of the house
A beautiful view
The back of the house
The House at Mount Vernon
Today, we are traveling back to North Carolina. However, before we left, we visited Mount Vernon. We bought tickets to get in and watched a 20 min video. This was on George Washington and his house in Mount Vernon. Then we walked to the actual house part and took a tour there. It was also pretty gray the day we were there. Next, we zipped through the grounds because we were pretty tired. We checked out the burial site of George Washington and his wife.
Once we were done we headed back to the visitor center and walked through two museums on Mount Vernon & George Washington. After that we ate in the food court and then walked back to our car and drove to the interstate and headed home.
It was pretty boring, but I guess most car trips are like that!! For dinner we stopped at Cracker Barrel and had a delicious meal. About an hour after we were home!!! We unpacked and went to bed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 6 Pictures

The Washington Monument from across the World War II Memorial
Washington Monument across the reflecting pool
The Lincoln Memorial at night
If you look closely at the stairs it's packed!!
The Washington Monument at night

Washington D.C. Trip Update - Day 6

Today we drove to a conference on Do Hard Things with the Harris brothers, Alex and Brett. Their book, "Do Hard Things" is a teenage rebellion against low expectations.
They split the conference into four sessions. Each session was kind of like a sermon at church. The sessions had a story that they shared in their book, "Do Hard Things".
The kids/teens were handed a response card (keypad) to answer some of the questions they had throughout the conference. All the answers would be locked in and then they would show the results. I thought that was really cool.
They would also shoot rockets off a launcher to the section that cheered the loudest and whoever caught the rocket got whatever they were giving out (t-shirts or books).
The band Reilly was there to perform and play the worship songs. The two violinists were awesome!!
Alex preached the first session, Brett preached the next two, then their oldest brother, Josh Harris was our guest speaker.
Towards the end they told us that they usually announce the amount of response cards they're missing so we can try to find them. This time they told us that this amount was a first. We were missing.........ZERO keypads!!!!!
Unfortunately we had to leave a bit early so we could meet up with Boy Scout Troop 204 (Christian, Carl and Dad's scout troop) and walk around and see all the monuments lit up!!
So we rushed to the hotel, changed, picked something up to up, and drove to the metro station.
Since it was after the rush hour, the trains started slowing down, which basically means less trains coming by. We hopped onto the next train going our direction and rode to the station at Braddock Road where we waited for about 20 min for it to start moving again. We got off two stops before the one we planned on getting off because we figured it would take longer to get where we needed. So we walked a ways to get to the World War II Memorial. There we found the troop and stuck with them the rest of the night in D.C.
The World War II Memorial was really beautiful at night! The fountain and all the lights made it look wonderful! The Lincoln Memorial was pretty cool, also.
We rode the metro with them and we got off at the stop before theirs.

By Bethany Colglazier

Day 5 Pictures

The Air and Space Museum

The Wright Brothers exhibit

The Fly Eastern Air Lines plane
Below is Eastern Air Transport Inc. U.S. Mail no.19
Display board of all the planes in World War II (models)
The back of the Capitol (full view)
Opie and Frank in front of the Capitol!!
The back of the Capitol

Washington D.C. Trip Update - Day 5

Today we got to sleep in!! We woke up in no hurry and took our time. The first thing we were going to do was the National Archives, which opened at 10AM, so Carl could get some video.

Today I took Opie, dad’s Webkinz opossum, and Frank, my Webkinz pug, along since we were visiting a museum for most of the day and they also wanted to see Washington D.C.!! (It was silly, but they don’t weight much!!)

The first stop was the National Archives. Carl couldn’t take video inside so he did it outside the building. The second stop was the Natural Museum of Art. We came to see a specific exhibit. We looked all around for it then asked a guard if it was still there. He said it had been moved so we just left after that. Outside the museum we ate lunch then headed to the Air and Space Museum, which we spent almost the rest of the day in.

The first exhibit we visited was on how things fly. This exhibit was all hands-on! It was tons fun!!! Then we checked out the middle open area. We kind of quickly walked through it then went to the food court to get a treat from McDonalds.

After eating, we visited many exhibits. One of my favorite ones was the World War II exhibit with the planes and uniforms from the different countries.

Once we checked all the exhibits out, we walked toward the Supreme Court. We passed the back of the Capitol and stopped so Carl could get some video. While doing so dad and I took pictures of our Webkinz in front of the Capitol!!

Then we made it to the Supreme Court and waited for Carl to finish his video footage. After that we were off to the metro station and back at our hotel. Since Thursday was the last provided dinner of the week at the hotel, mom made Pot Roast for dinner!! And it was yummy!!

By Bethany Colglazier

Day 4 Pictures

The White House
The Scout Statues
Carl, Dad, and Christian in front of the Scout Statues
The Lincoln Memorial and World War II Memorial view from the Washington Monument
The Washington Monument
Christian making an evil laugh next to one million dollars!!!
Bethany with one million dollars in ten dollar notes!
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
President Carl making a speech
Carl in front of a train at the Natural Museum of American History
Miriam and Carl playing at a hands-on exhibit
Christian in front of Stanley at the Natural Museum of American History

Washington D.C. Trip Update - Day 4

Today we were going to the White House for a 7:30 AM tour. They didn't let us bring in anything except umbrellas, wallets, keys, and cell phones. That was it...Nothing else! It also said we couldn't bring in a comb, but we could bring in an umbrella! Does that make any sense to anybody????? So we left the hotel with nothing except wallets, keys, and a cell phone. Nothing else!
So we woke up 5:30 AM to get to the White House a bit earlier than 7:30 (just to be safe). As soon as we got ready we stuffed ourselves with a donut and a banana. Back when mom went to the White House you have fifteen minutes to look at six rooms. So we had expected to go there look at the rooms, then come back for breakfast at the hotel and get our belongings and go on with the rest of the day.
Now we were on the metro, which wasn't very crowded, reading the newspaper and sleeping. We got off at Federal Triangle and walked to the White House. There was a big group of people standing in a line and we guessed they were there for the tour also. So we joined the line. We waited awhile before we got in to sit in another line inside the fenced area! In the second line I watched the guard dog sniff every car that came in for about 20-25 min. Then we watched big black vans (not minivans) drive out and then put their lights on and sirens. It was really cool!
Finally we got passed that and we were walking to the security tent. They checked us making sure we weren't bringing in anything dangerous...especially a small comb, which is apparently very dangerous!!!!
We were passed security and we were walking down a hallway looking at pictures. A guard kept calling: keep moving. A tour guide will get you started in a minute! That was surprising to us! We weren't expecting a tour guide to show us around. Well all the tour guides aren't just tour guides. They were security guards. Our guide was phenomenal!
He kept making little jokes and our group just listened and watched him. It was funny! When we were in the Blue Room he said this was his second favorite room....and we were waiting for him to go on. Then he said: well don't you want to know what my favorite room is? It's the break room!!!
Anyway, he was great. He explained things well and was interesting. After the tour we took a picture with dad's cell phone in front of the back of the White House. Then we had a man come up and volunteered to take a picture of all of us.
The tour ended up being about 40-45 minutes long, which was a lot longer than we had expected. We enjoyed that though.
When we got back to the hotel breakfast was done (which we knew because it was already past 9AM) so we just got coffee. We walked up to our room and packed our lunches and got ready for the second part of the day.
We actually ended up going back to where the White House was so Carl could get some video of a statue in front of the Treasury building. While Carl, Christian and dad went over to the White House area mom, Miriam, and I visited the White House Visitor Center.
Next we walked over to where the Boy Scout Statue was. We took several pictures of the scouts in this family (Carl, Christian and dad) in front of that statue.
Then we walked to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is where they make money. They gave us a tour on the second floor where you could look down and watch them make money. The tour was pretty good. Before the tour Christian and I got our picture taken in front of one million dollars in ten dollar notes that weren't cut.
After visiting the Bureau of Engraving and Printing we headed over to the Natural Museum of American History. We spent the rest of the day here. It was very cool. We visited all of the exhibits and had a lot of fun.
That night at the hotel we had hamburgers and cheeseburgers. This was the last night we were having dinner there. After dinner we pretty much rested for the next day!

By Bethany Colglazier

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 3 pictures

Miriam and I in front of the North Carolina pillar at the World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial
The White House with the yellow firetruck
That firetruck comes when the President is either leaving or arriving!
Donald R. Colglazier above
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Picture in front of the Lincoln Memorial
Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial
The Washington Monument across the reflecting pool
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Christian setting up the camera for Carl's video
Hanging the wreath

A cool part of the ceremony
The changing of the guard
A pretty view of D.C. from Arlington National Cemetery
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Watching the guard in front of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Mast of the USS Maine
Christian and Miriam watching closely at Carl videoing
Carl getting some video
Tons more graves!
Robert F. Kennedy's grave
The Arlington House
(Left) President John Kennedy's grave, (right) Jacqueline Kennedy's grave
Look at all the graves!!
Arlington Cemetery