Monday, April 21, 2014

First Robotics Competition

Our grandson Brandon has been participating in an after school program called First Robotics Competition sponsored by Boeing, Microsoft and other tech companies. It pairs high school students with adult mentors (primarily engineers and teachers) to design and build robots that compete against one another in a high energy “Varsity Sport for the Mind™”.  Each January at the Kickoff, a new, challenging game is introduced. These exciting competitions combine the practical application of science and technology with the fun, intense energy and excitement of a championship-sporting event. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get. Teams are encouraged to display Gracious Professionalism® and to cooperate while competing – known as Coopertition™.

In 2014, FRC will reach 71,000 high-school students representing approximately 2,850 teams.  FRC teams come from nearly every state in the United States, as well as many other countries. FRC teams will participate in fifty-four Regional Competitions, about forty FRC District Competitions, four District Championships, and approximately 400 deserving teams will qualify to go to the FIRST Championship in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Brandon's team placed first in Washington earning them a trip to the regionals in Portland, Oregon. Jim, our Grandson William, and Dan (B's Dad) all went to Portland to cheer for B's team. It was so crazy! 1500 high school kids, lots of loud rock and roll and an insane master of ceremonies made for an awesome competition.  For those parents and friends who could not attend the competition it was carried live on the web. B's team took first in individual and second in the alliance competition so they're off to St. Louis for the Finals.  We are so proud of Brandon and his teammates. Hope you enjoy the photos. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

North to Alaska!

For my Mom's 88th birthday we are taking a cruise to Alaska followed by a week of land cruising in a motor home. I am so excited to show my Mom Alaska!

We are sailing out of  Vancouver, British Columbia on Celebrity's ship, Millennium.  7 glorious days sailing through the Inside Passage with stops at Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway,  Hubbard Glacier and finally Seward.  We are the first cruise of the season so I hope we'll see a lot of sea ice. We will be stopping to view Hubbard Glacier, one of the few Tidal glaciers that is GROWING! On previous trips to Alaska we have seen other Tidal glaciers and they are humongous, noisy and spectacular. Can't wait to see Hubbard.  Here is the ship we will sail on by Hubbard Glacier. Pretty cool! 

Then we pick up a 28' motor home in Anchorage. We will spend 10 days seeing Alaska's interior. I hope my Mom gets to see lots of Brown Bears (grizzlies) and Moose, Caribou, Elk, Black Bears, Lynx, Musk Ox, Wolf, Fox, etc.

This will be my first trip without Jim, I know I will miss him.  No telling what kind of trouble Jim and Maggie will get into while I am gone.