Alex’s awesome holidays

The last day of school holidays for the middle of 2016 and I think it’s worth jotting down all the activities over the past two weeks. Left to his own devices, Alex would spend far too much time with his devices, so the idea was to get him out and about in a way to stimulate his body and mind with the kind of experiences he doesn’t normally get while still having time to “chillax” as he so likes to say. Meanwhile, when he wasn’t in vacation care I worked from home.

Thursday June 30

Second last day of school, but we had some expiring movie tickets so went to watch Steven Spielberg’s version of The BFG at Miranda. We all enjoyed it, well acted and visually spectacular.

Friday July 1

Alex wrote his first Android apps using MIT App Inventor 2 and following their video tutorials. It”s very simple, much like Scratch, and you can do cool stuff using a device’s built in sensors. He worked out how to customise the examples and we put one of the apps on my phone.
Later I had a play with an Arduino set I had recently purchased. Wish that mucking around with digital hardware was that simple when I was at university!

Saturday July 2

Bike riding at Centennial Park, B and I on hired bikes, Alex furiously pedalling his too-small kid’s bike.

Sunday July 3

After the previous day’s experience we decided to get Alex a new bike. Purchased an adult one so that we can ride with him.

Monday July 4

Vacation care with clowns for Alex after the 4-D cinema cancelled on them. 

Tuesday July 5

Bikes arrived! While I worked from home, Alex relaxed and did his own thing.

Wednesday July 6

Second day of vacation care. Alex went to indoor rock climbing and laser tag.

Thursday July 7

A full day Thinkspace workshop on Scratch programming at Sydney Observatory for Alex. He really enjoyed writing the three games and was very proud to show them off to me. A long way from writing text games in BASIC when I was his age!

Friday July 8

Took Alex for his first ride on the new bike – needed more practice!

Saturday July 9

Riding his new bike in the park, Alex saw his school principal.

Sunday July 10

Alex left us alone to go go karting at a friends birthday. Apparently he was a bit nervous at the speed of them.

Monday July 11

Sadly the holidays were not without some homework and Alex had to write a persuasive speech. Persuading him to write it was the real test. 

Tuesday July 12

I had a day off, or tried (forgot to undivert my phone). We built some of the plastic houses and shops for Alex’s Japanese N-scale model railway layout. Wish the bath house was real!
We both went for a ride around the suburb on our bikes, but Alex found the hills a bit tricky. 

Wednesday July 13

While Kita was at the vet having his teeth cleaned I took Alex down to the ANSTO nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights for an hour and a half session of Atomic Kids. This fantastic session introduced kids to the periodic table, atoms and chemical bonds. Alex really enjoyed it.

Thursday July 14

Another full day workshop, this time learning about the circulatory and respiratory system at the Junior Science Academy at Macquarie University while I was over at work at North Ryde. They looked at dissected sheep hearts and lungs and made blood from Cheerios, marshmallows and food dye. He was pretty exhausted by the end of it but eager to tell me everything he’d learned.

Friday July 15

A chance for B to spend some time with Alex before going over to his best friend’s house.

Saturday July 16

Alex came into our bedroom at 4 AM bawling his eyes out, having just fallen out of his bed. We then discovered a gash to the side of his head. Who knew sleep could be that dangerous? So off to the emergency department we drove. A couple of hours later, no stitches or glue, just plasters holding the skin together. Barely any rest then off to the first karate of the term.
As the head sensei is off recovering from an operation we had Sensei Leighton, the exercise fanatic.
Went off to eat Chinese at Hurstville and had an afternoon tea of chocolate pudding at Brighton. I could feel a headache building and by the time we were driving back home it was ferocious.
Chocolate flavoured vomit.
I was a write off for the rest of the night.

Sunday July 17

Another birthday party for Alex, this one at 10 pin bowling. I came second last amongst the adults. I would have been last but one of them let his toddler bowl. At least I got one strike! Alex won, thereby cementing what was a pretty awesome holidays for him.
A balance between exercise, education and relaxation. Hopefully he’s starting next term in a good frame of mind. I think I need another holiday!


Irreverently irrelevant. Sysadmin, developer, web dude in a science research agency. WordPress, Japan, planes, trains, Arduino, Raspberry Pi/Pico, puns, dad jokes, etc

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