Their Projects

My first college major was Environmental Health Science.  I think I must have randomly selected it because of the word “Environmental.”  A few weeks into my first semester I realized that we were talking about indoor environments, which wasn’t what I had in mind.  My next major was Biological Engineering.  Jonny and I met during my second semester at university and we both changed our majors to engineering together.  The first semester of that major was allright, mainly because I was taking lots of classes with Jonny, and none of them really pertained to engineering.  During the second semester there were two classes that convinced me that I was in the wrong field again:  physics and some sort of introduction to engineering that involved big group projects.  I did well on our first physics test; I just hated physics.  I prefer chemistry and biology.  That engineering class was like my worst nightmare.  Everyone else thought it was great fun, but I guess I don’t like to solve big problems or do problem solving projects with others.  I changed my major and dropped both courses about six weeks into the semester.  I tried out about three more majors after engineering before settling in the plant pathology field.  Jonny stuck with engineering as he actually likes it.

Our boys are starting to become interested in all sorts of project-y engineering sort of things, and thankfully they have Jonny to support and guide them.  I am mainly good for taking pictures of whatever they are doing.  Right now there is talk of turning an old lawn mower picked up on the side of the road into a hovercraft.  There is also a lot of begging to watch episodes of “Rocket City Rednecks,” a fun show based in Huntsville, Alabama, one of the towns I grew up in.  This morning I came downstairs to find all three boys in their pajamas, making padded boxes out of things they pulled out of the recycling bin, to hold an egg dropping competition.  Obviously, the first thing I said was, “Boys, get dressed.”  I have a rule about getting dressed in the morning before beginning the day’s activities, but for some reason it just doesn’t come naturally to the boys to change out of their pajamas.  I typically have to remind them (“And, brush your teeth!”)

Two eggs survived their fall, one died.  Jonny says it was a good general lesson in physics.  He used some words that translate to “Blah, blah, blah” in my mind, otherwise I would share them.  Seth is anxiously awaiting his next Life of Fred book, Elementary Physics, to arrive in the mail.  I am excited for him, excited that he wants to learn this stuff.  I’m happy to see my boys working together on projects, sometimes peacefully.  I’ll be ready to document it all with my camera, but I’m not going to try to understand what’s going on.

I meant to share these photos yesterday, taken after Beatrix’s sweater modeling session.


  1. I just saw this book review on Physics Today, and it made me think of this post. I love physics and I love that your kids are excited about physics, so I thought I’d pass it along:

  2. what fun!!!!! I bet the grands could get into that…although, I have a feeling that their greatest joy would come with the smashed eggs! (They are 8 and 9)

  3. Love raising boys!! I have 4 myself. I love to tell them that I won the egg drop competition in my high school class, although I am not at all good at physics! I love literature, but love a good competition anytime!

  4. Molly Hoffman says:

    I am a big fan of Life Of Fred! I enjoy your snapshots of everyday beautiful.

  5. I’ve never heard of Rocket City Rednecks, but I lived in Huntsville for years. We got married there and both of my kids were born there. My husband worked as a contractor on Redstone Arsenal. We even have wedding photos with the rockets in the background! I loved living in Huntsville. But we decided to move back closer to our families in the Midwest. Now, I’ll have to rent the tv show.

  6. Love seeing your guys all working together on their project. Reminds me of when ours were that age. They’re now in their 30’s — time flies — enjoy this stage of your lives together. Before you know it they are out of the house — all grown up!:)
    The picture of Silas sharpening his pencil — he has the look of, “Wait on me! I’m coming, I want to help, too!:) Adorable!
    BTW, what are those brightly colored cylinder-looking things stacked neatly in a row on the upper shelf in Silas’s picture? Anything in bright, vivid colors like that catches my eye.:)

  7. I admire your ability to step back and let the boys have at their experiment (and mess!). It’s a great reminder to me to let the (messy) creativity flow.

  8. Gabe’s face in these pictures is just so sweet and happy. I love the looks of concentration from all of them. And here too even though the rules never change, I still need to say get dressed, make your beds, brush your teeth, do your chores, hurry up because we have school every. single. day.

    Beatrix – aww, she’s no chubby, crazy, marker-bedaubed toddler anymore. She’s becoming such a lovely little girl, just like Larkspur.

  9. Put the egg in a jar of peanut butter. I know p.b. is costly so I bought the cheapest I could find and we gave it a try and it worked. We dropped them off of our pool deck about 5 feet off the ground. I would not let my son climb to the top of the shed. – I mean I did just pay for fall baseball I can’t risk a broken bone. :0)

  10. This is opposite in our family- My side of the family are the engineers and love to make this and not so much Eric’s side. Now that Liam is always making something and becoming quite the dyi’er, Eric says he’s inspired by Liam to start doing things- like learning how to change the oil in the car. I guess it has to start somewhere!

  11. I just love visiting here and love all the photos of your family
    and your beautiful farm home…….homeschooling is a lot
    of work, but so much fun. We home schooled my daughter
    and she now has her bachelors degree from a private college.
    I really miss though days and they go by sooooooo very fast…
    so enjoy them! I love the photos of your daughter and your dog…..
    just so much goodness and fun here!

  12. To bad you do not live in loudoun county Va. I have an 11 year old son who would love the project so lyour boys do

  13. How funny – we were just talking about doing this experiment at our homeschool co-op yesterday. 🙂 We did it in sixth grade; I remember dropping them off the roof of the school. Such fun. (I can’t for the life of me remember whether or not mine survived.) I can’t wait to do it with my children when they’re a little bigger! xo

  14. Oh my gosh I love this kind of stuff! How fun. That is what I miss so much about homeschooling. I love the look of wonder on their faces when they see if their eggs broke or not. Can’t wait to see more.

  15. Hi! I live in Huntsville and have never even heard of that show!!! LOL Clearly some of us are not the engineering type, even though this city is FILLED with them 🙂 Or, perhaps I just live under a rock which is probably more likely the case.

    On a random note, do you have any tips for left-handers who are interested in learning how to knit? Honestly, I just want to learn how to make homemade dish cloths.

  16. so wonderful to see your children so excited about learning! 🙂

  17. I can totally relate to this post. 🙂 My husband is an engineer, and my oldest is just like his dad. We started noticing his engineering mind when he was only a toddler. Amazing! If you want to talk about grammar or art or crafting or music, I’m at the ready. Luckily I have two other kiddos who take after me. 🙂 Happy Weekend!

  18. He he, I think my husbands explanation would translate to blah, blah, blah in my head too! We used to do that activity with kids on a outdoor centre we worked on they loved it.

  19. I majored in speech pathology and my son is majoring in math. Whenever he talks about various subjects my eyes glass over and I possibly drool a bit 😉 lucky for me my math skills are sufficient for knitting!

    Loved hearing about the projects and they’re styles of learning so nice they are enthusiastic!!

  20. we were just talking about this project. might have to give it a go this weekend

  21. What fun! Good for you for encouraging them!

  22. Sounds like a fun experiment. I have to remind my son to get dressed in the morning too; must be a boy thing. 🙂 The sweater your made for your daughter is beautiful and she looks pleased with her gift (your previous post). Blessings to you for a great weekend. Heather

  23. We did this in college. The one that won was a tripod made out of paper rolled into cones. The egg never hit the ground.

  24. I wish you were closer to help with Chemistry, I was an art major!

  25. Love these! We did this experiment as a contest in high school. The “winner” had the smallest contraption where the egg survived.

    I always love your pictures but my favorite in this group is Silas and pencil sharpener. I think all two year olds just like to be in the thick of it and feel like they are contributing.

  26. “but I’m not going to try to understand what’s going on” haha Me neither. Have a nice and peaceful weekend. Gods bledd!

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