Friday, November 20, 2015

The First Look at FIRST Lego League

    I have been involved with FIRST robotics for five years now. My time has been mostly spent with the high school level of play. This year as I have worked to try and bring the FIRST community center to West Michigan and we will be officially opening in January 2016. I have also been involved with other people with the same passion for this stuff. There is one gentleman that is working to start up more elementary level programs. I would love to have William involved on a team that is at his level. I talked to the principal at his school and it sounds like we will be starting at least one team there next year that is at William's age level. The hope would be to have a robotics teams at every level. I would love to see that happen so William would have that experience as he moves through school.

    William and I stopped by a school that has a the Lego league program running to see what it looks like. The school we visited was getting ready for a competition this weekend. We got to see the field, the different components and everything that makes up the game. William was very excited about what he saw. I was very glad to see him get so excited. Now we just have to figure out how to start this team at his school. The principal told me that he sent out an email about starting a team and he got so many responses that he is not sure what to do. He told me that he also had many parents offer to help and be mentors. That is awesome news. He is waiting to get final numbers so we can decide how many teams we need and how much this will cost. I am excited to get to finally get to have William on a team that he is a real participant in. 

    We have been going to the middle school level robotics the last few weeks. They have asked for help with programming their robot. William gets to help a little bit on this robot. He is still a little young for this level and the students are much older than him. I am glad that they let him get involved. Yesterday he helped put tape on the floor where the field would be so that we can start working on the robot controls. We got the robot moving and controlling yesterday and we got the autonomous part working with a very simple program. There are only three more work days left until the first competition.

Life is good when you are building robots, : )

Your Loving Dad

Monday, November 16, 2015

What an Exciting Weekend

    I have been working now for about a year to start a STEM based community center. It has been a lot of work. Many calls, a lot of taking on the phone, meetings and so many other things. We found a very generous company that gave us space to set up this center and that was the first major step. This week we found out that we got the robotics competition field paid for. That was a very expensive donation from a local company that wants to remain nameless for now. I am now moving on to finding a someone to help pay for the computer lab. What an amazing process this has been.  I am so amazed by how much my community has stepped up for this process and the support that I get from the people around me. The kick off date for this opening is coming up quickly and we still have a lot to do. We have to plan the open house with a few BIG guests. We have the sign to make, the food to order and the volunteers to help run the show. I am hoping to get a cake in the shape of a robot for the opening. This opening is going to be exciting for everyone involved. The community only gets better if you help make it happen. Your dreams can inspire others, I am living proof of that.

    Our robotics team had our last competition of this season this weekend. FIRST robotics sponsors a competition for just the young ladies on our team. It was amazing to see all of the young ladies controlling the robot and having fun with engineering. There where 32 teams that had all girls on them. That is amazing to think about. We had a lot of fun and our young ladies made our team proud. I am glad to be part of an organization that is trying to get girls involved in areas where they would not normally get involved such as math, science and engineering. This is one of the major reasons that I am working so hard to make this community center happen. William came along for this weekends events and we had fun rooting our team on. We got to stay in a hotel and that usually make the trip worth it for him. 

    We went and got hair cuts yesterday. We both needed it badly. We spent the morning cuddling on the couch and watching "Jurassic World". That seems to be one of William's favorites now. After that we hopped in the car with Jen and went to the movies. We decided to go see "The Peanut Movie". It reminded me of the Peanuts when I grew up. We saw the 3D version. William really liked it. 

    Today is my birthday and William told me that he was going to try and do well in school today for my birthday. I told him that was the best thing he could get me for his birthday. I am proud of him and he has been doing so much better this year. 

That was this weekend for us,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, November 6, 2015

We had fun for Halloween

My Knight in Shinning Armor
    Halloween came and went again this year. It took everything to convince William not to be a ninja again. He has been a ninja for the last two years so i made him choose something different. I think the only reason that he was willing to choose this costume was because he still got a sword. The night of Halloween was a little cold and it was raining the whole time. It didn't slow William down even one second. He was happily jumping in puddles and  running from house to house. This was the first time I have had the Dexcom while trick or treating. William usually goes low. I mean really low from all of the running from house to house. I would always stop and check him occasionally but some how he still seemed to crash. This year I could see what was going on the whole time and we had no crashes.
His Battle Pose
     We took our dog Lucky with us on our journeys around the neighborhood. He was a big hit and I think he loved trick or treating just as much as William did with all of the people stopping to pet him along the way. He also got to see some of his friends that he only gets to see through the fences up close and personal.   The rain really didn't slow us down this year.  When we were done we went back home and William handed out candy to the late comers to our house. Jen was there handing out candy while we were gone. We had a lot of candy but not as many visitors as usual with all of the rain. I will be taking the candy to work next week so I don't or won't eat it all myself.
Mine, William's, Jen's
    I wrote a week ago about going to pick out our pumpkins and all of the fun that we had at the farm. Here is the result of our hard work. We had lots of fun putting these together. William drew his idea for his pumpkin on a piece of paper and I drew it on the pumpkin for him. He did the rest. I was really fun watching him cut everything out all by himself. He did not want help. He told me that his hand was hurting at the end but the result was great. I made a scary ghost. William had a scary face with eyebrows. I thought they were eyes but he was sure to correct me that they were eyebrows. Jens pumpkin has a silly face and appearing again this year.....ears. Her pumpkin also had a "hairy" stem. William broke it off when he brought it in for us to clean a carve. That was Okay we found a creative way to put it back on and you really can' tell in the pictures. Lucky removed it again the next day. He seems to really like taking the tops off of pumpkins.

Here is what they looked like at night.
Happy Halloween again this year my little man,

Your Loving Dad

A Story by William

William's letter about Lucky     William sat down yesterday an wrote a letter about Lucky our dog. He wanted me to publish it. So ...