– Ben Martens


Woodworking With Elijah

Elijah still loves to ride around on his little John Deere tractor. A few weeks ago, he asked me to help him hook up one of his other toys to the back so he could pull it around. I quickly fashioned something out of wire and he got a kick out of that but I knew we could do better.

When I had the week off for Thanksgiving, we headed to Home Depot to pick up some lawnmower wheels and a couple pieces of hardware and then went into the shop together to build a better trailer for his tractor. We got started and then while he was sleeping that night, I got most of the rest of it figured out. I left one or two cuts on every tool that we were going to use so he’d get to experience them all. It took us about an hour to finish it all up but he stayed engaged the entire time. The only hiccup came when he put one of the nuts on his finger and couldn’t get it off. I had to butter up his finger to pull it off.

The final result looks pretty good and gets lots of using hauling toys around the house. I doubt this will be the last project we do together!

wagonproject1 wagonproject2 wagonproject3

In case you’re wondering, the nuts on the end of the axle are held on with thread locker (blue) to keep them from spinning off when the wheels turn.


kiteflyingWe had a classic sitcom moment in the park this week. A couple months ago, Elijah was given a cheap kite while he was out shopping with Tyla. The weather, the wind, our schedules, and our moods all finally aligned and we headed down to the school football field to try to fly it.

There was about a 1″ square picture showing how the strings were supposed to be tied on and 2/3 of that picture was covered by a UPC sticker. How hard can it be right? I got the strings attached and tried to launch it. For some reason it kept flipping around so the string was coming out the “back” of the kite and wrapping around. It obviously didn’t fly very well and I realized that duh, I tied the strings on wrong.

By then I had already knotted the incredibly tiny string so much that it was impossible to undo so I had to cut it. Thankfully Tyla suggested that I use some of the string that was wound around the handle to get the kite strung up and that worked great.

Fifteen to twenty minutes later, I finally had the kite in the air. Elijah tried it for about 30 seconds and then took his shoes off and went to play in the “sand box” (the long jump pit.)