Monday, August 25, 2008

Black and White Biking

On the first day of kindergarten my son learned how to bicycle without training wheels. My wife took our seven year old to get glasses. While she was gone I took the rest of the kiddies for a walk/bicycle ride. When we got back I gave some focused attention to the new kindergartener.

Part of the issue for not learning at a younger age like his sisters was that he didn't have a bike that had training wheels. He has a cool blue bike. I held on to the seat, handlebars or onto him as we went around the block. About half way around the block I would give him a push into the grass and he would peddle a bit and then come to a gentle stop and safely put his foot down. By the time we got 3/4 around the block I would give a push on the sidewalk ... VICTORY. He was totally praising the Lord. The excitement that he was able actually bicycle was a delight to witness. When we got back home his siblings rejoiced with him. Sometimes he still needs a little help getting started. But most of the time he can get going and is off on his own.

So why black and white?

The next day or so after he learned to bicycle there were several pedestrians (a.k.a. siblings) that he was trying to avoid and he had a minor incident with the mailbox. There theory goes that around this time he got a flat tire in his back wheel.

Last week, when I would bicycle home from work, just about everyday he would ask me if I could help him fix his bike. He already had it all disassembled. I would ask him if he got a new tube for it when he went to the store that day, and sadly they hadn't. So what we do is he rides one of his sisters' little bikes. A problem, of course, is that they are not blue. The reason I changed the setting on the camera to black and white was because the poor little lad had to use a bike that was a bit too pink for my taste. He is thankful for what he has or what is available for him.
Here is a picture from that first day - the day of victory. He is holding in his hand a Superman sticker that our next door neighbor gave him when the new bicyclist announced to him that he could now ride his bike. Yep, I think he proclaimed the good news to several people on the street. We put the sticker on the front of his bike. Now we just need to get a tube so he can ride it again.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend fun after school has begun

After my first week back to teaching, I was quite exhausted. With back to school activities in the evening, along with writing, grading, and preparing lessons, I obviously didn't spend as much time with the family as I had over most of the summer. It was nice having a weekend together.

We had a church picnic at a park on the North side of town. The park embraced their Indiana roots, it's theme was a farm. Note the tractor kiddie slide and silo for ages 5-12. The 'creek' with spouting water forming lovely parabolas was a surprise treat. (We didn't exactly bring clothes for playing in the water. But they went ahead and got wet and had fun.)

We had beautiful weather this weekend.

Yesterday was so lovely that I took the family for a Lord's Day walk in the park after church. It is so helpful to have a day of rest. In explaining the motivation for students to study math and science I pointed out the example of Eric Liddill. He enjoyed God's presence in everything that he pursued. With the Olympics happening right now, his example is quite timely.

We enjoy reading together. New glasses make the Child's Story Bible even more clear.

It looks like this guy really loves cuddling up for a time of rest.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Children's Museum

School is about to start. Today we are going to the Indiana State Fair. This is usually our last family activity of the summer. It has been a full summer. When we got back from Florida, mom had to get in some hours at work. In between some trips I took to Dallas, while mom was at work I took the kiddies to what I hear is the best Children's Museum in the country (maybe even the world?). I renewed our membership.

There are so many great things to do there. We often stop by to visit the Info Zone, an Indianapolis Marion County Public Library branch that is inside the Museum. We even brought books to return and get credit for the Indy Adventures summer reading program. Indianapolis has the best librarians.

There are a couple of special exhibits going on right now.

I was curious about the Curious George exhibit so we went there first. We found out they even had a Curious George play down in the Lilly Theater on the first floor. George, monkeys should have tails. I'm curious what happened to his?

When we walked in for our second visit within a week, low and behold, there was Super Children's Museum Man. He informed us that his true identity was "Captain Extraordinary."

I don't know if a characteristic of all males is to be interested in superheroes, but I know I am.

We had a
great time at the huge room that was dedicated to the past and present of Comic Book Heroes. The kids had a fun time of dress up. While some citizens were driving in downtown Metropolis, the Dark Knight swooped in to rescue them and make everyone Super Children.

As you walk the ramp up to the next level there is a crazy Fireworks of Glass work of art that reminds some of our children of each other's hair. The powerfully moving Power of Children exhibit, which replaced the old history of Indiana exhibit, tells of the lives of Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White.

We, of course, had to go to the top floor and ride the carousel, and the bottom floor provided some hilarious good times with dinosaurs. We even made a stop by the Dinosphere before leaving.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Summer projects

My goal last summer (or maybe it was the summer before that, but it didn't get done until the beginning of last summer) was to construct a fence for our house. A fence can add beauty to a house. It can give a mom increased comfort that her little ones won't inadvertently find themselves in the traffic passing by the front of the house. My back door neighbor at our previous house helped a friend tear down his tall privacy fence. He asked if I wanted to use that material. After cutting it down so it would go further installing the fence I power-washed it and it looked great. This time I even stained it. So I've built two fences in my life. For both I used my good ol' TI-89 to graph the equation and then I use 'Trace" to get the height value I needed. (Interestingly, building the fence was the last time I had used that TI-89 Titanium. Last summer I moved on to using and teaching with the TI-Nspire CAS.)
Both fences have been modeled after my favorite shapes, the hyperbolic cosine. Some may know it better as a catenary. Inverted, this amazing shape is great for providing a smooth ride to a vehicle with square wheels: link 1, link 2. You may also enjoy the poem my favorite mathematical physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, wrote about 'an inextensible heavy chain' in "A Problem in Dynamics" (see page 317-18 of his biography and try to read it with a Scottish accent.) I quote a portion of this on page 8 of a paper I wrote a while back.

So what is a project for this summer?

You may recall a recent post where I stated the goal was to park our little mini-van in the garage this winter. Much to my surprise, when I got back from a recent trip, our smaller vehicle was IN THE GARAGE. (Thanks sweet wife!) I don't know if this has ever happened in the five years we've lived here. This may be partially attributed to our lack of a garage door opener. Perhaps we will now consider making this expenditure. Although there probably was a day not too long ago when people actually got out of their car and hoisted the door manually, got back in the car, and drove in. Come to think of it, my grandfather doesn't have an automatic garage door opener, but his is on hinges and opens out.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Generations - Bird reunion

Genesis 17:7 "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you."

This covenant with Abraham applies to all who are in the household of faith, those who believe in Jesus, who trust in Christ alone for their salvation. Galatians 3:7-8 "Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.'"

Most every Memorial Day my mom's side of the family gets together at my Grandpa Ahart's house in Danville. I have 10 cousins from my mom's family; she is one of 4 daughters. I realized yesterday that my dad has over twice that many cousins.

My grandfather, John Bird, had 3 sisters: Mildred, Angie, and Marty. My great aunt Angie and Marty are pictured to the left. When my Grandpa Bird retired, they moved to Florida. That was part of what drew me down there for college. He passed away back in 2003.

It was a delight to sit down and talk with these wonderful godly ladies. They encouraged me in the work I'm doing a Covenant Christian High School and with my own 7 children. Marty had 14 children. She has 28 living grandchildren, 38 great grandkids, and 2 great-great-grandbabies. This Bird family reunion is held near New Castle in August each year.

Five years ago after the reunion I was inspired to dig back and see what I could learn about my genealogy. Where did the Bird family come from? We had the 'blue book' which traced it back a little, but we still didn't even know who was the first Bird to migrate to Indiana. Here is a brief summary of my findings:
In 1622, 2 years after the Mayflower, Thomas Bird brought his family over to Puritan New England, to the same general area as the Mayflower. The first Bird born in America was Hannah. The family coat of arms was a cross between four red birds. Motto: "Cruce spes mea" = my hope is in the cross.

1.Thomas (b.1589 in London – d. 1662 Newtown, Long Island NY).
2. John (b.1631),
3. Andrew (b.1651),
4. Elisha (b.1682),
5. James (1717-1796),
6. Burtis “Nathan” (~1750-1823),
7. Joseph (27 Aug 1803 in New Jersey – 1 Jan 1868 Henry Co, IN),
8. Daniel (1831-1909),
9. Aurther Warren (1861-1935),
10. Charley Ned (1884-1944),
11. John Leslie (1915-2003)

Psalm 102:12, 18

"But you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations...
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Garden Dominion

When I think of 'taking dominion', often the first thing that comes to mind is tending the garden, since God originally placed man in the garden to "work it and keep it" (Gen 2:15). It is important to note that work is not a ramification of sin (but death is - Romans 6:23). After the Fall this labor became toilsome and arduous.

Genesis 3:17-19 "cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Before the Fall, Adam and Eve didn't need leather gloves to protect their hands as they pruned, pulled, or plucked. My little ones didn't have gloves, but they helped me search for these cursed prickly, thistle weeds. We are to be discerning and train our children to judge between good fruit and bad fruit (Matthew 7:16-20).

Also, in the past when I have worked in the garden, I was reminded of Jesus' many parables that related spiritual truths to the understanding of the common folk. For example, I praise God for His patience, grace, and justice demonstrated in Matthew 13:24-30,36-43 , and the hope I have in the day when all the causes of sin and those who do evil will be removed and burned. First this happens, "then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father." (v.43)

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Crib's Last Day

"Be fruitful and multiply" Genesis 1:28 and Gen 9:1ff
This was first commanded in the passage called the Dominion Mandate and then repeated again with the covenant God made with the earth at the time of Noah.

My wife and I have a Biblical (Protestant) perspective about having a 'large' family. When we had our sixth child by an emergency C-section, the doctor said to my wife, while she was still recovering from the general anesthesia, that we should plan to schedule a C-section a few weeks before the due date of our next baby. During the delivery of the 7th the doctor, for medical reasons, informed us this was our last.

As our little guy gets bigger there have been some milestones that are particularly emotional for Mom. Yesterday he turned two.

(I creatively used a 5 for the 2. But when Mom slid the cake toward the birthday boy it almost didn't burn anyone. She will post a cute blowing-out-the-candle video on her blog soon.)

At the end of what would be his last nap in THE crib that has been used for all seven of them, I had everyone get in.

I was impressed that the crib could handle it.

When I pretended to get in with them, it was hilarious to hear the cries of protest. Then I had them all get out in the order that they graduated out of the crib. Some of them were actually 'kicked' out by the newest member. Well, come to think of it we did use a bassinet temporarily for some of the babies while the big sister finished their term.

Today when the neighbor across the street was having a garage sale I offered to put it out in our yard, but Mom doesn't have a clear conscience with that - something about it not working properly. I doubt if it was new when we got it. Perhaps they have developed new regulations on construction and size of slats or something these days. Anyway, contact my wife if you are interested in a 'new' crib.