Monday, February 29, 2016

TableTop Tournament

As many of you know I am a few years sober Pinterest mom. Like I overdid baby parties. My poor second child will never know the extravagance that was a themed to the extreme birthday party. I don't miss the mass amounts of people in my house or the millions of tiny people who seriously broke all our stuff. I do miss the planning a little bit and the fun of it. So I took it down a notch. When D and I were first married I would plan fun little video game tournaments for us. I always got my ass kicked because I love gaming and I suck at it. D is the exact opposite. He loves gaming and he freaking rocks at it. So I took that idea and applied it to a family Table Top Game Tournament. Small boy had the day off from school for a three day weekend and D took a day off from work to spend an extended weekend with us so I figured it was the perfect day for it. Enter TableTop Tournament 2016!
I started drawing a little bit again when we returned from PAX. I re-imagined us all as little elf people and created gamer profiles for all of us. It was a fun creation process and the family loved them (especially the tiny girl). There were also rules and a competition board to track the winner. 

The very first game in the tournament was Small World. This game takes forever so we started when tiny girl went to "nap." Barring one minor hiccup in forgotten rules, the game was great. And close! Small boy beat me by one point and D beat him by 3 if I remember correctly. So ultimately D won the first game (surprise surprise!)

Iced coffee, Small World and my two favorite guys!
 D is ruthless. And a really great gamer, video gamer, table top gamer, just in general!
Soon we released the Bug from her "nap" and she joined us for a round of King of Tokyo. We included her in the games (one of the rules) but her turns didn't actually count toward game play. Some day little Bug, some day! 

Who shall be the King of Tokyo?!
 Bug loved being included. Rolling dice is one of her most favorite things in the whole wide world. She's a lovely addition as "Player 4" to our little family.

Concentration wins!
Somehow I busted out an unreasonably quick win in this game. I rolled like a BOSS and racked up 20 points pretty fast. This is the opposite of how I usually play this game. My typical strategy is just to attempt to murder my opponents as fast as I can to win. But the rolls of 3 were ever in my favor so I went with it and stayed on Tokyo while my competition tried to kill me. Small Boy came close but I was able to purchase the "Stretchy" card and it helped me achieve a most glorious victory!

 Oh and did I mention that Tiny Girl won too? She declared "I WIN!" so we gave her the win. Well done, little one.
Next up was Catan Junior. This is Small Boy's jam. I have no idea how he does it but his kid wins this game 90% of the time. He doesn't seem to have any one set strategy which I think it actually his ultimate strategy! He's erratic and brilliant! 

 Unfortunately for Small Boy, this was the rare 10% of the time he didn't win. I seriously sat there wondering if I should let him win. Then decided against it because honestly, that's not the way D and I parent. And Small Boy is ruthless and learns things unreasonably fast and gets good at them even faster. So if I can get a win, I'll take it! There was no hard feelings.
 Bug also declared "I WIN" so she won. (She's only 2. She won't always win!)
 Eventually it got late and siblings will be siblings. Before starting our next game, we had a break for dinner and some outfit changes (jammies FTW). And of course, sibling brawl. It was a draw.
 I forgot to mention that there was an intermission between each tabletop game in which we played "Duck Game" on steam. If you have not played this with your family or friends, drop what you are doing, get it and play because it is the most hilarious and fun game I've played in a while. D usually wins but the rest of us don't even care because we laugh so hard playing that it's worth it. And every once in a while we get a good shot of D blows himself up somehow and we win!

intentional video game faces. 
 Our next game was Oh My Gods (which you will remember from a previous post, we purchased at PAX and is what got Small Boy into Greek Mythology) Best 2 of 3 games was the plan....mostly because I won the first game.
The second game was won by D (mostly because I wasn't paying attention and missed a card that Small Boy had put down. The third game was won by Small Boy after D made an incorrect guess because he missed a card that Small Boy put down. I believe L's strategy for this game is to just be so insane and wacky that we miss what he does. On our last game we didn't finish. It was way past bedtime (Bug had already gone to sleep) and the boy was exhausted.
 This is also not the best game for him because he likes to tell us what he's doing which helps us win. It ended with him very upset and tired. So we ended there and so I was, by default, declared the overall winner. Who knew?!

"I WIN!"
So I was able to obtain the ultimate Table Top prize package. This included the ability to choose a new tabletop game for the family (under $50). I chose Pandemic and also Sushi Go because they were way under $50 and I wanted Pandemic but also a game L would be able to learn and be good at right away. I also got a fun lanyard that declared me winner and three "overpowered game passes" which allow me to make my family game with me as long as nothing important is happening and time allows. Not that that will ever be an issue. These passes would probably have benefited Small Boy much more than they will me. Maybe I will gift them to him for his birthday!

Winner winner chicken dinner!
Overall, it was a great day and full of fun. I love that I have a small family that I can be nerdy with and have that much fun! It's kind of amazing. This will not be our last game tournament. Maybe someday we will be able to expand it to include another family. Now if only a certain family of 3 would be closer (I'm looking at you MillerStrong clan!) So, readers of mine, I encourage you to game more. We played Small World, King of Tokyo, Catan Junior and Oh My Gods (Star Realms would have been the tie breaker). They are all super fun and an almost 7 year old was able to play and do very well playing each game (Star Realms included even though we didn't play this time). So if you were looking for a new game, check out any of those and you won't be disappointed!

A Time I Had

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

You Can't Sit With Us

I will admit that I was probably as dramatic as any teenager when I went through high school. Self centered, oblivious, a tad bit rude and melodramatic. It seems to be a common thing. And why wouldn't it be? Hormones, hormones, hormones, trying to figure out the world, OH THE HUMANITY! Luckily that doesn't last forever... at least for some people.

I love the way I used to view adults. They have things figured out. They are mature and not like any of the above things I described teens as being. Now that I am officially labeled an adult I see that you cannot escape these things. I may be out of high school but I have yet to get away from the drama. In fact, I don't even remember high school being this dramatic and I think I know why. In high school, it's pretty easy to fit people into general categories. You've got all your pronounced stereotypes and they usually stick together. I happened to be in the "yearbook nerd, friendly, by no means popular, maybe you want to stay away" crowd (if that's a thing). Luckily I wasn't "popular" which I believe reduced my drama intake significantly. Once you leave that social setting, get past college and out into the "real world," you no longer have those pronounced groups. They are all jumbled together in a great big mess of "choose your friends wisely because 50% of the population is batshit crazy in a bad way."

I have encountered my fair share of absolute insane people who I will never understand. Their actions left me speechless, their personalities and words made me sad for the human race. After accepting that there are people who are so incredibly ugly on the inside, I was also able to move on and not be so invested in those who are quite obviously toxic. After all, I have two little spawn who depend on my for everything. Why waste my time with people who are still self-centered jackholes? It's too exhausting.

With all that said, I find that parents are sometimes the worst kind of crazy. Fairly recently I found myself in a situation where I thought to myself "is this really happening right now?" One of my biggest pet peeves is people bragging about how they are bad parents. OK, sometimes I joke that I'm a terrible mom because my kids watched too much TV or they are eating candy or trying some death defying move (that I have previously supervised and know they are capable of). But I was with some moms who were bragging to me that they curse in front of their children all the time and how it's so bad and they don't even care. Look, what you do as a parent is really none of my business and I am not here to judge you. Parenting is hard and you are going to repeatedly screw up. But when you call your kid over to tell me in front of my two year old who is learning her entire vocabulary at the moment that you curse all the time and then you reply with "F*** yeah I do," that's off putting to me. It just is. I have no issue with a potty mouth. I have a hard time not being one when I am away from my kids. But for now, I don't want my children choosing those words. (Ok I'm not perfect. When tiny girl says millennium falcon it's like she's dropping the F bomb and I giggle). But to hear a toddler or elementary school kid choose those particular words and mean them because of what they have heard at home just isn't my cup of tea. When I voiced this I was made fun of. My family is "too white" to "be bad." I'm so sweet and don't like to have fun.
I have to be honest. If these things had been said a few years ago I may have second guessed what I was doing and played along with them to the detriment of my children. But these small people are my whole world and I don't care if these ladies are my BFFS. I have a BFF. I married him. I'm OK if you don't agree with me and I don't agree with you. I'm totally fine if you think I'm lame for not spouting all the bad words I know in front of my very intelligent son who has amazing grammar and my sweet little daughter who can't properly pronounce "falcon" or "reflection." Because at the end of the day the majority of my time is spent with three very important people and they are really the only opinions who will always matter to me on things like this. And in 10 years, the chances that I even remember these people and their ridicule are very slim. 
So I guess the point of this post was just for me to ramble about the crazy "adults" I've met and the progress I've made in not needing to "fit in." Five gold stars and a self pat on the back. Woohoo. 

Oh and because I rarely post on facebook anymore and I'm sure there is some family who are craving  some pictures, I give you these gems:

L would be the laziest dog ever. 

Cuteness survival tactics

Small boy getting into drawing when I
was doodling in my sketch book

Family video gaming

A Time I Had

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Oh My Gods!

How do I even start this post? I don't know so I'll just dive in. We were sitting at the breakfast table yesterday when D looks at me and says "So small boy is getting to that age where we should probably start discussing religion with him." A little background here. D and I both label ourselves agnostic. We are good people who respect other people's beliefs whatever they are even if we don't always agree. I don't feel you have to believe in a higher power to be guided by a deep moral code and be a good person.

Now something you should understand is this: pretty much everyone we are going to meet traveling around in D's career field is probably going to be religious. The degree various from laid back, drink your body weight in booze Catholics to end of times, the Lord is coming for us all some sort of Christian (I'm not real clear on the exact title for that). We feel it's a good idea to let Link learn about whatever religions he wants and for both of our kids to choose whatever path, if any, that they want to take regarding faith and belief. We just don't subscribe to organized religion as parents but are more than open to helping our children figure out what they believe and understand the beliefs of the people they will encounter.

So with all that said, when small boy was about 5 I had a discussion with him about why he shouldn't say "Oh my God." Then of course I had to explain God to him. I am maybe not the best teacher for that but I gave him the general idea about God creating everything, etc. At the end of my explanation he came back with "Mommy, that's not even real. There's no way that could happen." Always the scientific mind he was having none of it. So I reserved any further explanation for a time when he was older.

Flash forward to this past weekend. D and I did our very best to give him a rough overview of religion, how there are many different ones, a general idea of an all powerful god, sin, church, etc. I think it's a good idea for him to at least understand what his friends are doing when they say they go to church. Well, like I said before, a couple of agnostics might not be the most worthy teachers of religion because somewhere along the way we ended up talking about Greek mythology and all their gods and Link seemed much more interested in that and whether or not there was a god of lava and volcanoes than he was in learning more about any religion his friends or family may have. We told him that he was more than welcome to ask us anything or learn more about religion. I am sure our friends wouldn't mind sharing with him or even letting him tag along to church.
 Our conversation ended, however, with him wanting to check out books at the library about Greek mythology and, ultimately, with the whole family playing a game we purchased while at PAX called Oh My Gods! reminiscent of a Guess Who type game featuring Greek gods. I suppose we worship the gaming gods.
All hail the gaming gods!
Now this post is not to poopoo on religion and if that's what you got from it you are reading the WRONG blog. But more to point out the way small boys mind works. He likes science and proof. He likes games. He likes volcanoes and he likes learning. This particular interest just happened to take a turn into learning about mythology and a new game. I'm sure at some point he will be interested in what his friends believe. But for now he's still only 6!

A Time I Had

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Back to Our Roots

We went to PAX South. It was awesome. I kept trying to think of a way to start this post. There really was no other adequate way to start! 

D and I left the kids with his mom and sister and made the 9ish hour drive down to San Antonio to attend a three day all-out "nerd convention." Most people may think a comic-con is our jam but we are more into gaming so PAX was perfect for us.
We started every day with early rising, showers (very important in a large crowd), free breakfast, a one mile-ish walk, coffee and then waiting in the queue room with a few thousand of our closest friends for about two hours.
The queue room on Day 1 (we were the crazies toward the front)
 I know that sounds crazy but we were armed with a few card games (we liked Star Realms) and our DS's so the wait time went fast. 

I don't feel like explaining the entire thing to those who haven't been but suffice it to say we had a BLAST. Expo hall, new games, indie games, older games we have never had a chance to try but now had the opportunity, PC games, console games, tabletop games, gaming lounges, awesome panels, concerts, swag, the list goes on. And it was amazing. 
D kicked my ass at all the things. I have always said I love gaming but I suck at it. I am OK with this. It was super fun. Among some of the games we tried in the EXPO hall we have backed Invisigun and Karmaka on Kickstarter and you should too because they are fun :-) 
Karmaka demo
The one bummer thing was that some friends of ours were unable to attend due to various life hiccups. So, to include them I made them into "paper people" and they attended with us in spirit. Here's a few of their adventures:
Roadtrip with paper people E and S

Waiting in the queue room with PP (paper people) E and S

Hanging out with D in the handheld lounge

Group pic overlooking the expo hall

Gotta get a pic with a cosplayer

About to go demo some tabletop games

Reveling in the swag
The panels were super fun. I really enjoyed the Make A Strip one:
Initial sketch

Almost done
It was so fun to watch this being created. Mike and Jerry are hilarious (which you obviously know if you have any idea what Penny Arcade is and if you have ever listened to a podcast) and their banter is a treat to listen to. It was really fun to watch the last panel being made. The amount that you can change an expression just by a couple changes to the mouth or eyes is awesome. Mike must have drawn and redrawn the mouth 20-30 times or so. Then he took the audience suggestion to add a cowboy hat to the hotdog fairy. Yeah. It made me want to draw things.

Complete and we watched the whole thing happen. 
We also very much enjoyed the concerts. Nerdy type bands. Ever heard of Paul and Storm? Probably not. They do a great song about how George R. R. Martin needs to write faster. And I have to say, I don't think I have ever been more entertained than I was watching them perform. They were HILARIOUS. There were large bags of ball pit balls involved as well as water bottle chugging, intense amounts of distractions that had my abs hurting I was laughing so hard. 
New song about how George R. R. Martin still isn't writing fast enough

Talented and HILARIOUS. 
We also caught the Double Clicks who were so adorably awkward I could die. I loved them. 
Yes, one of them is wearing a banana costume. And it was amazing. 

Throughout the event they hold the Omegathon. Long story short it's a big ass game tournament, ending with two finalists who compete playing a game. No one knows the final game. This time around it was Goldeneye. Anyone remember playing this on your N-64? The two finalists were "Rugpisser" and "Palpatatertot"and they gave us an amazing competition. One of my favorite parts of being in a crowd like this is there are very few douchebags. When the crowd watches people play all they really want to see is a great competition which means they will root for whoever is losing at the time (mostly, this doesn't count the people who know them personally most of the time). The winner was whoever won 2 of the 3 games. So, 10 kills each round. Each player one a game each and the final game came down to 9-9. It was everything you would want in an Omegathon final. It was amazing.
Super intense. 
Palpatatertot wins!
And now I am back to reality where adults who should be able to handle themselves are throwing temper tantrums. Needless to say, I am having withdrawals. I think we've pretty much already decided we have to go again next year. And it will be glorious. 

A Time I Had