Tag - scouts

Pinewood Derby Cars Through the Years
Worth the Wait
Dreams, Postponed
Llama Trek
Climb Ev’ry Mountain
Send Help!

Pinewood Derby Cars Through the Years

Ah, it’s that time again.  The annual Grin-and-Bear-It Fest known as Pinewood Derby.

Why, Cub Scouts, why? Those of us who are woefully lacking in woodworking skills and equipment are already aware of our deficiencies, so we don’t need this reminder. Nor do we need the chance to see how well other parents are able to paint an accurate replica of Lightening McQueen.  (By the way, parents – nobody is fooled.  We know it was you.) And pasting that fake smile on, telling your poor child that yes, his car came in dead last in all heats, but by golly, we had FUN making it!

Can I get an “amen”?

And yet…here we go.

Our cars have been historically slow.  Like, barely finishing the race slow.  But it’s true that they have looked cool.

Our very first year, Boo made a Ghost Car.  He liked the little guy and the fake engine you could buy.
Ghost Car
The next year, Boo made a Humvee.  He painted it all himself.  He used a sponge brush and pounced, pounced, pounced in the direction I told him.

Humvee Pinewood Derby Car

Humvee Car

Pumpkin Girl made this one, complete with glitter.  She called it the Becky Angel Car.

Becky Angel Car

Read about how well this car did here: Showing Her Quality

We had a stroke of good luck the following year with Boo’s Tongue of Flame car that place 3rd in his pack.
Tongue of Flames CarThe American Flag car was Pumpkin Girl’s entry into the Powder Puff Derby that year.  The front of the car is actually the field of stars, so the flag flows back while it goes down the track.  It won first place in her Brownie Troop.

American Flag CarBip entered his own car into the family division that year. He was 3 years old and he did all the green painting himself.  I did the teeth, mouth and nose.

Alligator CarThat ended up being our last Pinewood Derby for a couple of years.  We moved to CO only to find that Web 2s don’t do Pinewood Derby here.  Bip’s next entry into Pinewood Derby was his first time as a Cub Scout.

A little piece of me died when he told me that he wanted an R2D2 car and I realized just how mom-intensive this was going to be.

First, we researched.  Some very over achieving parents have gone to great lengths to make a near-exact R2D2 replica.  I would not be doing that.

First, we found a friend to use magic or a lathe or something to turn the block of wood into a rounded shape for the top of R2.  Then Bip base painted him white.  I tapped off the bottom to be black to show negative space, as well as the flames as R2 burst (in theory) away from the starting block.

R2D2 Pinewood Derby Car

With painstaking work and a ton of masking tape, I had R2 ready for the details.  First silver for his head.  Then tons and tons of blue shapes.  I drew the rest of details for Bip to paint.  What you see is all his work, with some mom assistance.

R2D2 Car

R2D2 was a crowd favorite. Let’s just leave any further commentary at that.

Pumpkin Girl’s entry was a pizza car.  Please note, the wheels look like pepperoni.  Her inspiration was an actual slice of pizza that had a pepperoni stuck to the side.

Pizza Pinewood Derby CarLast year I got off easy, with a Wii remote car.  I also told Phil that it was his turn now to help with the cars.  Ta-da!!

Wii Remote Car Wii Remote Pinewood Derby CarIt was exactly as aerodynamic as you’d think.   When we lose, we look good doing it.

The Wedge O’ Cheese (with mouse) was Pumpkin Girl’s entry.  You know why I like her?  She comes up with her own ideas and executes them independently. It’s hard to see in the picture, but it really is wedge shaped.

Wedge of Cheese CarAnd now Pinewood Derby looms again.  Can someone get me an Exedrin?

Worth the Wait

Boo passed his Eagle Scout Board of Review.


He was visibly nervous beforehand and more than one person told him to breathe.  But he did it and he is an Eagle Scout.  His Court of Honor will be early in the New Year.  I have to admit, I teared up a bit on the ride home.  I sure am proud of my boy.

Dreams, Postponed

Boo is a Life Scout.  He has 27 merit badges, 6 more than required for Eagle Scout.


His Eagle Scout service project was completed in October.  His team worked at a local, non-profit preschool, clearing their sandbox of wood chips and building a retaining wall to keep more wood chips from getting in.


He held the required leadership position as the Senior Patrol Leader.

He passed his Scout Master conference.

He is just one, fairly short Board of Review away and he will be an Eagle Scout.  It was scheduled for November 21 at 6:00 pm.

He’s been prepping, reading and answering potential BOR questions that he found on the internet.  He washed and ironed his uniform.  He combed his hair.  He *shaved*.

As his mom, I was excited for him, but anxious to get it over with because he has been wound pretty tightly for a while now.

We had a game plan.  I would drop Pumpkin Girl off at dance and return.  Philip would come home early.  The weather was pretty yuck – snow and ice – so we would leave 15 minutes early to allow for traffic and road conditions. And then we would take all the boys out for a celebratory dinner with our newly minted Eagle Scout.

I left with Pumpkin Girl and I wasn’t even a mile down the road when Boo called me.

“Hi mom.  They cancelled all Board of Reviews for tonight because of the weather.”

Poor guy.  It was the right thing to do. The roads were bad and the last thing they needed was a scout and his family getting injured. (Ballerinas are apparently made of tougher stuff since none of Pumpkin’s classes were cancelled that night.)  I came home to a very deflated, very sad, young man.  Worst of all, the Board of Review cannot be rescheduled because of logistics.  The next opportunity will be the regularly scheduled Board in December.  The 17 boys who got cancelled are guaranteed a spot.


Boo has dreamed of being an Eagle Scout for a very long time now.  He was an hour and 15 minutes away from achieving his dream.  But he has only been postponed – he will be an Eagle by Christmas.


logo_125“For more than 90 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has recognized Scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.  This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well.  Arrowmen are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others.  OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America’s youth. ”

Even though he needs to work on “cheerful service to others” at home, Boo was elected to become a member of the Order of the Arrow.  He attended the induction ceremony called “The Ordeal” last weekend.  During said Ordeal, he was to remain silent, was given small amounts of food and worked on camp improvement projects.  The very thought of the first two amused me to no end.  Boo was born screaming and he’s never been quiet since.  He even talks in his sleep!  He is the ultimate extrovert, preferring to spend time with anyone, talking on and on, to spending even the least bit time alone.

Of course, I teased him mercilessly in the weeks leading up to the Ordeal.

Secretly, I knew he could do it.

And he did.  He got home late Saturday night, exhausted but excited. (I didn’t even edit his red eyes so you could see just how tired he was!)


Way to go, Boo!  We’re proud of you!

Llama Trek

Boo went on another fun adventure with his Boy Scout troop over the summer.  This time the hike involved llamas.  One of the scout dads has llamas that he rents out and he led the boys a two-night excursion.  Boo wasn’t going to go at first, but I talked him into it.  Because seriously, how can you pass up a llama trek?

Here’s Boo with Marshall the Llama right before heading off on the trail.  Apparently, there is quite a bit more to leading llamas than you’d think.  You need to keep them close, but not too close and hope they don’t sit down. You’ve got to keep them away from the other llamas or they’ll spit.  Going uphill was the hardest because the llamas didn’t want to cooperate, so the boys had to tug them.

Malcolm is the white llama with the dark eyes.  Somebody brought him too close to Boo while he was holding Marshall and Boo got spat on.  Took it right in the eye!  The other scouts said it smelled terrible, but fortunately for Boo, he couldn’t smell it.  Their owner told the boys to put their cameras away and got Boo all cleaned up.

This all white llama is Copi, who is Boo’s favorite.  He was the most gentle and patient of all the llamas, even though he was carrying quite a load.  The whole expedition got caught in a hail storm and Copi just kept going, even though he didn’t have any rain gear.  Boo says Copi likes to smell people’s hair.  You’ll just be standing there and you’ll feel something around your ear and it’s a llama nose.  Copi’s nose, specifically.  He and Boo were the first ones up the hill and Copi kept turning around and humming to his friends to catch up.

This is the campsite.  Lots of room for boys and llamas.  Boo said they ate better on this trip than they usually get to  – hamburgers and pancakes and lots of snacks!  Usually they have to carry in all their own food and the means to cook it, but with the llamas doing all the carrying, they were able to bring up a grill! Something spooked the llamas the first night and they managed to escape, despite being tied to nets filled with 5 or 6 very large rocks.  The owner was able to track them all down and return them safely to camp.  The next night they were tied to trees.

Despite the hail and the llama spit, Boo had a good time and said he’d go again.  I call that a success!

Climb Ev’ry Mountain

One of the best things about Colorado is being outside. One of the most popular things to do is climb 14’ers. A 14’er, if you don’t know, is a mountain greater than 14,000 feet above sea level. Pikes Peak is one, and at 14,115 ft, is #30 in the state. Climbing these mountains is not for the weak of heart or mind! You have to be in good physical condition and prepared for the worst weather conditions and ready for all sorts of challenges.

Boo recently had the opportunity to go on a 14’er climb with his Boy Scout troop. Because of scheduling conflicts he had to go without his dad, but the adult leader agreed to bring him because Boo has proven himself to be a Reliable Scout on many other adventures.

I promptly started to worry. I’m his mom, it is part of my job! I had a very serious discussion with him about safety and weather. I warned him that he could expect the mountain to be 30 degrees colder than where we live. A hat, gloves and a fleece jacket would be necessities, even in August! He humored me. I think he even managed to keep from rolling his eyes. Then the planning meeting confirmed all this and more. I, for my part, did not say “I told you so.”

Departure day arrived. When I dropped him off I could tell he was nervous. I reminded him that the first day was just car camping and the climb to the peak was “just” a hike. I don’t know if my words helped him, but I know I felt better! Still, I worried just a bit.

Saturday morning I got a call.

“Hey mom! Can you guess where I am?”

“Well, I have an idea, but why don’t you tell me yourself.”

“I’m on the top of La Plata Peak! 14,336 ft!”

What a great kid! He accomplishes a mighty feat and his first thought is to say “hi, mom!”

When he returned home on Sunday he was full of stories. He said the scenery was absolutely beautiful and that the pictures he took couldn’t do it justice.

He showed me pictures of how steep the terrain was and told me there were four, very discouraging false peaks. One of the scouts got altitude sickness and needed to turn back with his dad. Boo said it was the toughest hike he’d ever been on.

So let’s hear for the boy! Conquering a 14’er at 13 years old.

Send Help!

I’ve been sucked into the Nutcracker Rehearsal Vortex!

Pumpkin Girl is at the ballet studio 5 days a week and has learned the joy and comfort of an epsom salt soak.

In other, non-ballet related news, my life is also dominated by soccer and scouts.  Soccer practices, soccer games, snack schedules and equipment.  I decipher the schedule and note it all on the calendar so we know where and when each game is being played and in which uniform.  Then there are scout uniforms, scout meetings, scout popcorn sales, merit badge colleges, go-see-its, camping trips…It’s a wonder my head hasn’t exploded yet.

The good news is that soccer season ends this Saturday.  Actually, I enjoy soccer season but this year Boo’s practices are 25 minutes away, twice a week.  So I’m glad practices are over, but I’ll miss the games.  And now that it’s November (November!!!), Nutcracker 1 is on the h0rizon.

And just to keep things interesting, Pumpkin Girl and I have decided to open our own business.  Gives us something to do in all our spare time.  More details later.

Seriously, send help.  Or at least egg nog.


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