Happy Graduation

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A quick post here about a recent event we are especially proud of. Sam graduated from Bowdoin College on Memorial Day weekend, and we could not be any more proud of him. The rain stayed away and despite some cool temperatures, the outdoor graduation went off without a hitch. Bowdoin College has been an exceptional four-year experience for Sam, and we are proud to be able to call him a Polar Bear.

It really does seem like only yesterday when we were dropping him off as a freshman, but it’s already been four years, and a lot has happened since. Ignore the cancery old man on the right, and admire the happy and gorgeous rest of the family to the left.

Can you guess which one is Sam? None of us know where he gets the tall genes, but he’s always been a big (and kind, and smart, and athletic, and genuinely nice) boy. Jack (10) is growing up too, and if he follows in Sam’s footsteps even slightly (and he has already started), then we’ll all be thrilled. The two of them are exceptionally tight as siblings, and we love to see them interact. Sam’s going to be home for the summer before heading off to work in NYC, so we’ll all have some time together – that’ll be good.

My lovely, lovely Lori… what can I say? She is the most caring and loving mother and wife that one could ever imagine. She is so strong in times of adversity, and she always knows what to do and say at the right moment to make you feel safe and loved. Obviously the boys benefit tremendously from this, but so do I.

Happy Graduation!

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Bigshot Camera

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Trying to come up with creative gifts for Jack at Christmas time, I stumbled on the Bigshot camera – billed as ‘the camera for education”, it is a really cool concept and I jumped at it immediately. For any educator interested in combining science, math, engineering and, most importantly, the arts – this one’s for you!

The enormous appeal of the camera can be used to turn it into a compelling tool for learning. We believe that a camera designed for education must have three features. First, it should be designed as a kit for assembly – putting the kit together should expose the user to a wide range of science concepts. Second, it should include features that cannot be found in other cameras, allowing the user to explore new creative dimensions. Finally, it should be low-cost, making it accessible to the less privileged. Bigshot has been designed with these goals in mind. There is another important feature that sets Bigshot apart from virtually all educational kits – once you have built it, it is a fully functioning digital camera that you can use everyday!

Basically, you purchase a kit for making your very own fully functioning digital camera, and along the way as you assemble the camera, you explore and learn about a variety of technical and creative processes that go into the ultimate expression of making a photograph.

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It was on one of my short stays in the hospital getting hydrated that Jack and Sam took on the task of assembling the camera…. needless to say, it was the most amazing surprise and the perfect moment when I learned about their little adventure together. I love that they spent the time together to make the camera so that it would finally get done – Jack and I had been meaning to get to it but as you can tell, time got away from us a little bit! Great little camera that you crank to generate your own power, and has a lens wheel that allows all sorts of creative possibilities like panoramic, 3D, wide angle… so much fun, and when you roll in the level of ownership applied to the entire process, then we have an absolute winner.

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The accompanying web site resources are excellent, and they really aid in the educational aspect of this project. I hesitate to call it a project – makes it sound a little sterile and maybe too much like school – but I know that both Jack and Sam had a blast putting the camera together, and I’m very proud of my little scientist/engineer/photographers. Well worth the investment if you have a little one interested in learning more about science, digital photography and creative expression. Bigshot Camera.

 

Voldemort!

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1-14-14 VoldemortDefinitely not a landscape photograph.

I was trawling through some of my oldest portable hard drives in search of original RAW files from a long-ago trip to Utah when I came across this. Made on April Fool’s Day, this was the moment Jack Robert Patterson arrived in our lives. Due to its graphic nature – that’s literally Jack’s first breath after a C-section – some people might find this photograph a little off-putting. Me, I absolutely love it!

When I stumbled on it again the other day, I couldn’t wait to show it to the now tween Jack. I figured he’d get a kick out of seeing himself right at the beginning, and after all, I doubt if there are many kids with portraits like this! When I unveiled the image to him, he got very serious in tone and expression, and then he uttered one word that made me chuckle… Voldemort!

Real world math…

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So, at first I felt a little guilty about having my 9 year old help me brew and bottle my latest batch of home-made beer. A little voice way in the back of my head was questioning my parenting skills, worrying about the message I might be sending Jack, but that’s when I also realized that on the flip side of things there was a serious educational plus to the situation. As Jack and I struggled with the concept of siphoning – the method by which the liquid was transferred from the fermentation bucket to the bottling bucket – he was being exposed to some pretty serious real world math (and science). Understanding the impact of pressure, gravity, displacement, volume… all key math/science skills, right? This was definitely a two-person job, and as you can see, Jack’s assistance throughout the process was invaluable as we prepared this latest batch of liquid gold for bottling. Next up… we’ll brew ourselves some kid-friendly root beer!

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Goblins and Ghoulies…

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Halloween is right around the corner, and in our house that’s a big deal. When Sam was little he really got into Halloween, dressing up not only himself, but also the entire house. Now that Sam’s off at college, his little brother Jack has assumed that role, and boy does he do it with gusto. Skulls seem to be central to the theme this year, though there are lots of gravestones, cobwebs and spooky colored eyes too. Jack still isn’t sure what he’s going to dress up as for trick or treating, but whatever he settles on, I’m sure it will be good! Happy Halloween!

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A Boy and his Dog

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Jack doesn’t always come with us when we go for a walk with Oliver, but when he does, he usually has a blast. In fact, the two of them usually have a grand time chasing each other all over the place! It’s as if Oliver knows that Jack is a kid, and that as such, he’s supposed to play with him! Jack doesn’t need a lot of encouragement to join in the fun.

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Heeeeeeere’s Oliver!

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For all you Oliver lovers out there… you know who you are! Here are a few quick pics of my boy enjoying a late fall family walk. He’s such a good boy, and isn’t he handsome? He’ll charge around in the long grass like a crazy dog, and when we pull the tennis ball out for a game of fetch… well, he’s all in. He’s a solid 75 lbs now, and since he’s quite stocky, sometimes in these photographs he looks a bit chubby – though he’s not really. Lots of fur he has. Our baby boy… enjoy!

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