Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crunch Time: A Collection of Canadian Election Related Links

The 2011 Canadian federal election will be held on Monday, May 2, 2011 to elect members to the House of Commons of the 41st Canadian Parliament. For weeks I've seen various links posted all over Facebook, Twitter, and various blogs. The election has been at the back of my mind for a while, and more recently it's been weighing on me. I've talked to many friends and family members about the election and I'm seeing a combination of passion and apathy. It's my hope that those of you who haven't already voted will be at the polls on Monday.


Feeling particularly passionate about a specific article that you want people to read? Link it below! Feeling particularly uninformed? Read the links below!  I want people to post their links of interest below so that people can get their last minute research in. I welcome links from any perspective, but please know that links with any racism or hate speech will be removed.

To add your link, click on the image below and type in your information. Add as many links as you wish to share.






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The Toilet Paper Battle

Aias loves toilet paper.  Specifically, he loves to rip it off the roll and stuff it into the centre of the same roll.   The two of us have an arrangement where he is entitled to one roll of toilet paper per fresh package that we purchase. He shreds it, stacks it, shoves it into his toys. Guess who ends up using it because she doesn't want to waste paper? *raising my hand here* Who says parenting can't be glamorous?

Quick Reminder: Don't forget to sign up for our contest that runs until 5pm Monday May 2nd!  Win free Sesame Street socks for your toddler or baby!




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Friday, April 29, 2011

Our First Giveaway: Adorable Sesame Street Socks!

I'm really excited to announce our first giveaway!  This one isn't sponsored, it's simply a "thanks" to you from us personally for following along and helping us get the blog off the ground.  I've gathered together some super cute Sesame Street toddler and baby socks to give away to our followers.  Aias loves these and I know your kids will love them too. 


Here's how the giveaway will work.  You will get one entry for completing each of the actions listed below.  If you complete ten actions, that's ten entries!  For each action you take, please leave a separate comment in THIS post (this is vital).  Each action has more specific instructions as listed next to it below.  An example of the type of comment you would leave: if you like us on Facebook your comment simply would say "I liked you on Facebook!" and that constitutes your entry.


Actions:

- Publicly follow the Aias Dot Ca blog using Google Friend Connect (link on the right sidebar)
- Follow Aias Dot Ca on Networked Blogs (link on the right sidebar)
- Tweet publicly about this giveaway (You may do this once each day)
- Share this giveaway on your personal Facebook
- Share this giveaway on your Facebook fan page (You may do this once each day)
- Blog publicly about this giveaway (leave your link in the comments)
- Vote for us on Top Baby Blogs (You may do this once each day)
- Vote for us on Picket Fence Blogs (You may do this once each day)

I'll do one draw for every 50 entries (entries need not be from unique individuals, it could be five people who did all ten actions for example).  Participation in the giveaway will end at Monday (May 2nd) night at 5pm or when we hit 500 entries, whichever happens first.  I will pick and post the winners using randomizer.com on Monday night at 6pm PST.

Rules:
- This giveaway is open to people in Canada and the United States only.
- You may only win one prize for this particular giveaway. If your name is picked twice, another name will be selected.
- To be eligible for the prize, you must have actually completed the action you claim in your comment.  I will be checking these. 
- You will have 48 hours after the winners are announced to send me your mailing information via email at aiasdotca @ gmail . com.  If you don't contact me, I'll select another winner.

Thanks so much everyone, the more successful this giveaway is, the bigger future giveaways will be! 





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SIDS Awareness Day



I'd like to post some links here in honor of SIDS awareness day. For Aias's entire infancy, we were plagued by the fear of SIDS. The stories of families stricken by this awful tragedy break my heart and always make me hug Aias a little tighter for a little longer. There are certainly many moments where I feel frustrated with toddler tantrums and teething, but I know that there are families out there who would give anything to be able to experience those things with their lost angel. I truly hope that medical research shines a light on this horrible mystery in my lifetime. No family should ever have to lose a child.

Faces of Loss is an emotionally moving blog which aims to put a face on miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. I want to post the link to the SIDS tag in memory of these babies and others that have been taken away too soon.

The CJ Foundation for SIDS is one of the largest and leading SIDS organizations in the United States. "Since its inception, the CJ Foundation has provided millions of dollars towards SIDS research projects, organizations, support programs and public education and awareness campaigns throughout the nation, making tremendous strides in its fight to eliminate SIDS" (taken from their website).

Finally, I want to point out this extremely helpful and active SIDS page on Facebook,  SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndome) Research.

Hug your babies tightly, everyone.




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Super Stalker Sunday...Friday Edition

Thanks to Tales of an Unlikely Mother for bringing this to my attention!



Welcome to Aias Dot Ca!  I'm Monika, or as I've come to be known, Aias's mom.  My partner and I started this blog in 2009 after finding out we were pregnant with our son Aias, mostly because we wanted to share pictures and memories of him with friends and family.  We decided to open the blog up to the public in mid April 2011.  This blog is sort of a mixed bag; we have photo sets, videos, recipes, talk about building domes and spheres, reflections on our parenting experiences, chit chat about products we like or hate, and anything else I feel like rambling about!  We're going to be adding giveaways soon as well, once I get my act together.  We also have a Facebook fan page where I'll be posting links that matter to parents and families.

We're really glad you are here stalking us!  Cheers to you and yours!





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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some Blog Housekeeping

I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to everyone following the blog; since going public around 2 weeks ago we've definitely been getting lots of traffic! I'm also really proud to say that we are on the list of 2011's 30 Fabulous Mom Bloggers, which you can read more about here:

http://www.vancouvermom.ca/best-of/2011s-30-fabulous-vancouver-mom-bloggers-13-18/

Please also don't forget that you should join our fan page on Facebook here:

http://www.facebook.com/aiasdotca

Our Facebook page will alert you about new blog entries, but we'll also be sharing news, links, and featuring some giveaways. Don't forget to join and share the page on your wall and with your friends!

Additionally we are on Twitter at @aiasdotca

Finally, don't forget to vote for us at Top Baby Blogs and Picket Fence Blogs as linked below my signature.

Thanks so much everyone!




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Tensegrity Version 3.0

We were going to cool it a bit with the tensegrity domes and spheres, but yesterday my friend Jessica came over and we took a walk to the new dollar store near Yukon and Broadway where I excitedly stumbled upon the biggest straws I had ever seen.  Seriously, these are some really gigantic straws.  While most people probably see straws for what they are, when we see straws we see the ingredients of a dome/sphere.  I called Morgan immediately in my state of excitement and after dinner we walked over to the store and picked out 2 bags of these lovely giant straws in a humble shade of blue.  Perhaps you remember the last tensegrity sphere that we created out of much smaller straws?  This time we basically just constructed the same 30 strut sphere but with straws about 3x as long. The results? Pure awesomeness.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Would Your Glee "Born This Way" T-Shirt Say?

Spoiler warning if that kind of thing bothers you and you haven't seen the most recent episode of Glee. You've been warned!



Tonight on what I think was probably an extra long episode of Glee, they showed the cast of Glee wearing white shirts with words across their chests representing the aspect of themselves they were most ashamed of.   They tackled the issue of loving yourself versus being ashamed of who you are, and the catalyst they used to discuss it was a potential nose job for Rachel.   While I think the episode was a little bit cheesy (you know, in an endearing way), it did get me thinking.  I wish I had seen such an episode when I was growing up.

I personally am sensitive about quite a few aspects of my physical self.  First there's my crooked teeth, which I've been told are charming, but who is going to tell you your teeth are awful?  Second there's my "butt chin" which I got from my dad's side (I chuckled a bit at that part of the episode where Will revealed his shirt).  Then of course there's my weight which I've struggled with since I was a child. I've been pretty vocal about these things, but I think it's mostly because I feel like they are somewhat subjective.  But now I'll let you in on a secret I've told very few people; my number one most horrible and hated physical feature: My NOSE.

When I was in the the 6th grade, a kid whose name I'll never forget* said to me "You are hot, but you have a big nose." I was 12 years old.  Since that moment, there hasn't been a single day of my life where I haven't tried to hide my nose.  From that day forward I would take extreme measures to make sure my profile was visible to as few people as possible.  Wherever I was, I'd make every possible effort to sit in a spot where my profile would be hidden.   I would pick back corner desks in my classes at school.  I would try to face as many people as possible when I was talking to them. I would sit with my hand on my face to prevent people from seeing my profile at all.  I'd wear my hair down so I could pull my hair in front of my nose from the side.  If someone had a camera, I was looking at it so that it wouldn't somehow go off and take a picture of me from the side.  If someone had a picture of me, I'd immediately look at my nose in the picture.  When I edit my own photos of myself, the nose angle in the pic is the determining factor in the photo's fate.  My nose looks awful? Deleted.  I told myself that someday I'd get a nose job.  I'd look at every person's nose I could, and immediately size it up. Was it bigger than mine? Was it bumpier? Was it more upturned? Was it beautiful? Was it like mine? Is it the kind of nose I'd want to have should I someday get the coveted nose job?  Even conversations about noses made me horribly uncomfortable, for fear that someone would jokingly mention something about my own huge nose.  If something like that had happened, surely I would never recover, right?

Before that kid said something about my nose, I don't think I had ever given my nose the slightest thought.  All it took was that one comment and BOOM, 28 years later I'm still feeling like the PBS symbol.
Check out the schnoz on this guy!
I've had a few positive nose moments in my life, including the first time I ever realized that big noses could be beautiful.  This realization I attribute to one of the coolest people I've ever met (though he probably doesn't know he is) named Raf, who I shared a few classes with in University.  There was a really beautiful girl in our Spanish class and while pretty much everything about her was model perfect, she had the biggest nose I had ever seen.  For some reason this made me mentally write her off as not beautiful.  One day Raf said to me, "MAN that girl is so hot" and I responded with, "Are you kidding me? Look at her nose!" And Raf said to me, "That nose seals the deal!"  I was shocked, as seriously in my 20 years I had never heard of a non upturned nose being beautiful (this was Pre-Gaga, give me a break).  My second positive nose experience was getting my nose pierced; which I did first and foremost to help myself become more comfortable with my long hated nose and secondly to annoy my extremely conservative and closed minded in-laws.

A nose piercing is born

Apologies to the needle phobic...
So now I'm going to post something I couldn't have been paid to post for most of my life: a picture of my dreaded profile. My huge nose in all it's glory (bonus shots of my crooked canines and my butt chin included at no additional cost).  This is my face.  It's the face I've always had, and the face I was  born with.  I'm too phobic of voluntary surgery to do anything about it, so it's the one I'll have for the rest of my years.  After 28 years of having it, I think I'm finally ready to make peace.

Here you have it, folks!

So now that I"m done rambling about my own insecurities, I want to ask you what your Glee "Born This Way" T-shirt would say? I think you can probably guess what mind would say.

* I'd like to add that since then I've creeped that guy on Facebook, and though I never noticed it in school, he has one of the biggest noses I've ever seen! I guess he was just drawing attention to mine so people wouldn't notice his?  Who "nose" heh ;)




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Toddler Treats: Easy Quinoa, Peas and Tuna

Last week I visited one of my favorite people in the whole world, Jessica, and spent some time chatting with her while our kids played.   At lunchtime Jessica said she was going to prepare lunch for the kids, and within 10 minutes the kids had a hot lunch in front of them.  Aias was having the kind of day where he didn't want to eat anything, so I decided to take a bite of his and show him how fantastic it was.  WOWZA!  I ended up eating the whole thing myself.  This lunch that had taken her so little time to prepare was well on it's way to being one of my new favorite go-to lunches for both myself and Aias.

I wanted to share it with all of you because not only is it delicious, but it's shockingly easy and extraordinarily convenient as all the ingredients can be kept on hand and last a long long time. 

Ingredients: 
- 1/2 cup of Peas (we used frozen)
- 1/2 cup of Quinoa 
- 1 can or pouch of Tuna
- Butter, salt, pepper to taste


1. Put the quinoa in a pot and add just over 1 cup of hot water.  Cook like rice. 

2.  Pop the peas in the microwave for about 2 minutes

3. Open and drain the tuna, pop it into the microwave for 15 seconds if you like, or feel free to leave it cold. 

4. When all ingredients are cooked, mix them together!

5. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste (or whatever spices you may like) and enjoy!




I really think this is so delicious.  Jessica said she sometimes uses canned salmon instead and that it tastes even better that way.  I think it would also taste good with leftover chicken! 





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Monday, April 25, 2011

Crayon Love

Aias recently hit one of my favorite milestones to date; he can properly colour with crayons! At around 12 months old I tried to give Aias some weird toddler crayons that looked like little weeble wobbles and he promptly chomped on them with his two little teeth. Within minutes the actual crayon part was history, and the little crayon tips weren't seen again until his next diaper change.  At Christmas just over a month later my Oma and Opa gave Aias a package of washable toddler crayons and despite my better judgment, I allowed him to play with them basically for my grandparent's enjoyment.  Of course, he pulled them right up to his mouth. I figured crayons would just have to put aside for another day in the possibly distant future, but last week I was cleaning a shelf and Aias found the crayons. I showed him how they mark the paper as he had with a pen about a month earlier, and all of a sudden I had a little artist on my hands. Unfortunately, he seems to be more interested in designing murals on the walls, but thank goodness for the existence of washable crayons.  Right now my wall and his kiddie table both look pretty marked up, but it's nothing a wet microfiber cloth can't fix.  I'm sure I'll someday be full of regret that I have allowed my child to draw on the wall with crayons.  I imagine on this day it will be Aias holding a sharpie up to the wall and not understanding the mixed message of why he's allowed to draw on the wall with a washable crayon but not a permanent marker, but we will simply cross that bridge if and when we get to it.  That's what magic erasers and paint are for. 

For those of you with kids the same age who still have kids who want to make a toddler Hors d'Ĺ“uvre out of every crayon, no worries.  This isn't to say he doesn't like to snack and nibble on a crayon or two,  after all, he's 17 months old and he's teething.  Of course, if he does start to nibble it generally just means he's done colouring and ready to move on to another activity.
 








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Your Answer to "Why Domes?"

Several months ago Morgan and I built our first dome together. It took hours and hours of our precious time from the initial research on several dome websites, to the trip to Home Depot to scope out supplies, to the night of cutting through the thick piping with a flimsy leather cutter, to assembling the connectors and finally to the actual construction of the dome. Upon completion we eagerly took a dozen photos as though the dome were a new baby, and posted the photos on Facebook. Tons of people expressed their interest and told us the dome was awesome, but we also heard a lot of "why did you do this?" or "neat but what is it for?" types of comments. At first we both felt a little shocked, after all, how could anyone NOT want to build a dome? But then it got me thinking; of course it may look a little big strange that in a world full of computers, deadlines, delicious restaurants and local attractions that two full grown adults would take the time to sit down and make something that is essentially entirely useless. After all, don't we have some blogs to read or some movies to watch? We aren't artists or students or perhaps the typical type of people you'd imagine would be sitting in their homes building something just for the fun of it.   So you ask, "why domes?" and I assert, "fair question."

Here's the answer, or at least, part of it.

This past fall something happened that hadn't happened to me in a long time. Our Internet went down. Morgan was at work, Aias was home sleeping and I was sitting at my computer enjoying my daily Facebook/Livejournal/Reddit time. When the Internet went down, I didn't know what to do. For the past year I had been spending all of my spare time hanging out in cyberspace. While we do spend tons of time on the weekend and on weeknights doing things like eating out together and going to the playground or for long walks, my day to day life consisted mostly of cleaning, cooking, playing with Aias, long walks and trips to the tot gym, and finally, sitting online in my downtime. The Internet was and is a place to connect to my family and friends, and perhaps most importantly, other mothers.  Without the Internet, I think I'd probably go insane from cabin fever.  I'm not talking about reading the Wikipedia for hours and learning things, either.  Between social networking and daily news, there's hardly any time on the Internet to be learning anything anymore.  It occurred to me that right then and there, I didn't have a hobby or activity I could pick up and participate in while in the comfort of my own home. Sure, a year earlier I had plenty of hobbies.  Unfortunately none of those hobbies translate well into life with a child.  Aside from reading a book or knitting something, there was little I had set aside to do in quiet time by myself in the home apart from getting linked in with others via the Internet.

It wasn't until the Internet went down that I realized there's a problem with this:  using the Internet isn't a very useful or overall gratifying replacement for a hobby.  It's also not very nourishing for the soul.  Sure, we have hiking, climbing, camping, skiing, and all those great outdoor things we do when we have a chance and those things are great for the body and mind.  Our ideal life consists of us being independently wealthy, or at least independently financially sustainable without working 40+ hours a week, and in this world we do all those fabulous outdoor things every single day.  Sadly, that's not our current reality.  As nice as it would be for us to get out of the house everyday, it's just not possible.  What we needed was something creative that allowed us to explore, learn, and nourish our souls  from the comfort of our own home. We wanted to create something with our hands, something beautiful and interesting, and something that would still exist if the power went out.   Morgan had been talking about domes for months and months and months, and finally we were going to act on it.  And we were glad we did. 

So why domes, specifically? Lots of reasons.  Domes and spheres are beautiful geometric and mathematical pieces of art.  You can have a teeny tiny dome that sits on your desk, or you can have a giant dome that holds an IMAX movie theatre inside it.  You can build a temporary dome and camp in it, you can build a permanent dome and make it your home.  Entering the world of domes allows you to commit as much as you want, and there is always something new to expand on.  The more we learn about domes, the more we want to learn.  The more domes we build, the more we want to build.  More importantly, spending our time building and researching domes means less time staring at a screen and more time together as a family. 

So in short, my answer to the question "why domes?" is "why not?"

What things do you do with your family in your day to day life that take you away from the screen? 





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A Walk through Lynn Canyon


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!  Aias sure is different this year compared to last year.

I feel like it's been a holiday for the past few days; we had friends over to colour Easter Eggs on Thursday, Friday we celebrated with my family, and yesterday was my birthday so the whole day was spent having fun.  Today it's actually Easter Sunday, and we are doing a whole lot of nothing.  Aias is only 17 months old, and trust me when I say he doesn't need chocolate, candy, or any more toys.   We are also not religious, so we won't be attending any services today.  Instead we are going to hang around the house, eat leftovers, and the highlight of our day will be preparing and devouring deviled eggs. He will look back and see pictures of himself colouring eggs and hanging out with the Easter Bunny, and think he had a great 2nd Easter. Next year he will probably understand the egg colouring, hunting, and Easter Bunny stuff, so we'll just embrace this day of rest, as I anticipate we won't be sleeping in on any Easter Sundays in the near future. 

Before I take off and attempt to prepare the world's most delicious deviled eggs, I want to talk a little bit about my thoughts on the Easter Bunny and leave you with some cute pictures.   I'll start by saying that I'm entirely fascinated with the Easter Bunny.  Growing up I had a pretty typical relationship with Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.  My parents told me they existed but they didn't go to extreme measures to ensure I believed, but I believed it quite happily and rolled with it until I was 7 or 8.  At that point I realized they were imaginary and moved on with my life.  Of course, I didn't want my parents to know I didn't believe anymore, so I kept on pretending.  I revealed the truth more than once in school, and was probably responsible for many kids having their Santa and Easter Bunny dreams shattered.  At home I was the oldest child, so I could easily ride on the simple fact that my younger sisters would believe for years longer.  As long as there was one child in the family that believed, holidays like Christmas and Easter could remain saturated in youthful wonder and eager anticipation.  My mom made it very clear to me when I was in 7th grade that if I revealed to my sister the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny, that she was no longer getting up at early hours of the morning to bring out the presents and hide the eggs.  It wasn't a threat so much as simply the truth.  We'd still get the presents and the eggs, of course, but she would leave them in plain sight from the start.  Half the fun at this point was the surprise on Christmas or Easter morning, and I wanted to preserve that, so my lips were sealed.  When I was probably 12 or 13, I started being the one to get up early Easter morning to hide the eggs for my sisters as they slept.  So for a little while, I was the Easter Bunny. 

The other morning Aias and I were looking through an Easter book, and I found myself saying "On Easter we will paint eggs and then a giant Easter Bunny will come along and hide the eggs!"  I immediately felt completely ridiculous, and even though I'm certain Aias couldn't understand what I was telling him, I felt like surely I wasn't being entirely convincing.  I know lots of people have a problem with telling children about Santa and the Easter Bunny, etc, but I'm not really one of those people.  I don't think it's going to teach Aias that it's ok to lie, or that it's going to scar him forever when he finds out  we weren't being entirely honest about it. I'm certainly not bitter toward my family for carrying on with it and I hope he will feel the same.  I have to admit, however, I did feel a little goofy telling him about it, even at 17 months.  Uncomfortable, even.  Maybe it wasn't so much with the story itself, but how unconvincing I was in presenting it.  I could tell I didn't believe it, so why on earth would he?  Hopefully by the time he's old enough to really enjoy Easter, we will be able to sell the myth with a bit more enthusiasm and believability.  It doesn't really matter to us if he ends up really believing it. We're certainly not going to take extreme measures to try and increase the kid's buy in, but ultimately we just want him to understand that it's fun to use your imagination and really embrace these little cultural icons, because before you know it you are a grown up and you can't ever really get that sweet whimsical childhood state of mind back again.

As far as going to see the Easter Bunny at the mall, I've been paying careful attention to people's pictures and looking back at some of my own, and man are some of those Easter Bunnies scary.  I think it's kind of depressing that this is the case, seeing as you'd think it wouldn't be that difficult to design a bunny suit that looks benevolent.  I can understand how a child would feel bizarre about sitting on an strange elderly man's lap, but surely it shouldn't be all that hard to make a giant stuffed animal look cute and approachable.  I walked by the Easter Bunny at our local mall and was aghast at what I saw; there was no way I was going to subject Aias to a creepy rabbit like that, thus imprinting horrifying Easter Bunny images on him for the remainder of his childhood.  A few days later, my aunt posted a photo of her kids visiting the Easter Bunny and it was just about the cutest Eater Bunny I had ever seen.  So on Friday morning before going to my aunt's for Easter, we stopped at  Willowbrook Mall and had a nice visit with the Easter Bunny.  Aias actually really liked him and was smiling at him in wonder, but they weren't very patient about waiting for him to actually smile and look at the camera simultaneously, but the picture they got was a massive improvement over the Santa disaster we experienced at Christmas so I won't complain. 

So finally now that I've kept you with my rambling, here are some Easter Bunny pictures of myself, Aias, and some readers!

Myself with the Easter Bunny, circa 1985.  I swear I can't look at it and not see it as a dog.

My adorable niece, Sophia, with the Easter Bunny.  I'm terrified of this Easter Bunny.

The Crafting Hobbit's cute little son, Garrett, and an adorable and wise looking Easter Bunny

My friend Toni and her darling son Dimitri. I think it's a pretty cute Easter bunny, to be honest. I fully anticipated having to be in the picture with Aias as well.  I think a fear of a giant pink furry creature you've never seen before is probably pretty healthy!  Can't argue with a good self preservation instinct.

Finally, Aias looking sort of creepy as he sits on an adorable Easter Bunny.  I think I find it more disturbing that Aias sort of looks like Jack Nicholson in The Shining in this photo.  He's recently taken to crayons, so hopefully I don't see him writing "REDRUM" on any walls =P







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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bunny Boy

Today is my 28th birthday, so we are going to spend the day having fun as a family! We're excited for Easter tomorrow, and we can't wait to share our special Easter post featuring people's Easter Bunny pictures. My little bunny is all pumped up for Easter Sunday.

There are pictures behind the cut, one of which is a NSFW nursing photo, just a heads up!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Balloons

Balloons always make me wonder why we ever bothered buying him toys. 


More Tensegrity

Remember when I said we were sort of exploring the concept of tensegrity?  Well, we've taken it a step further!  Morgan decided to attempt to make a very basic structure using the concept of tensegrity, so using the basic tools of elastic bands, straws, and paper clips, he created the lovely little sphere pictured below.

I have to admit, this one is pretty cool.  It may not be the most beautiful or intricate, but it's amazing how strong it is.  It's also very neat that it looks like several pentagons floating in space together.

I think we are going to take this even further sometime soon.












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