Jedi Robes

A couple of years ago, I bought some brown cotton/linen blend fabric that was on clearance.  It turned out that it wasn’t as much of a deal as I thought it was since the labeled price wasn’t the price for the whole remnant but per yard.  But I bought it anyway and it sat in a bin for a long time waiting to be used.

I had grand plans to make a Jedi robe with it.  I even bought a bathrobe pattern that I thought I would use.  For some reason I bought an adult size pattern thinking it would be easy to size it down.  I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea since I don’t know how to use a pattern very well in the first place.  So the fabric and the pattern sat around…they moved from Virginia to Tennessee with me.

For Christmas 2012, I decided I wasn’t going to go crazy making any quilts as gifts but I wanted to make each of my kids something homemade.  I decided to make Casey the first thing I had ever put in my bookmark list of “Projects To Do” which was a baby doll bassinet/basket.  And I decided it was time to finally make that Jedi robe for Jack.  Poor guy has been training for 3 years to be a Jedi and didn’t have a robe.

One of my favorite blogs, Diary of Quilter, made Jedi robes for her children and directed me to a tutorial to use.  I had looked at this tutorial before and I don’t know why I didn’t use it in the first place.  Maybe I just needed someone to tell me how quick and easy it was.

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So, in an hour one December night, I finally created a Jedi robe for my little Jedi.  He was thrilled to receive it on Christmas morning and I think it has revived his Jedi spirit.  (Star Wars was on the back burner for few months.)

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A few days after Christmas, we flew to visit family and the first thing he packed was his Jedi Robe and some inflatable light sabers so he could fight his Pop Pop.  We’ve been told Pop Pop went to Jedi training school with Master Yoda.  (I made sure he brought some regular clothes too.)  Since then, Jack has also slept in his robe and wears it for some amount of time almost every day.

Casey's Jedi Robe

In January, Jack asked if I had any extra brown fabric because Casey really needed a Jedi robe too.  I didn’t have any but I told him I would get some and I would make her a Jedi robe for her birthday that could be from him.  The second robe was even easier than the first to sew.

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Jedi Casey in her cowboy boots

And now I have two Jedi that roam the house fighting the dark side…or each other, as the situation demands.

A Princess Leia Birthday Party

On Saturday we held Casey’s birthday party for family and friends.  She decided on a Princess Leia themed birthday party.  And why not, since her first movie quote was a Princess Leia line (directed at Han Solo) – “Why you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerf-herder!”  It took a while for me to decipher that about a year ago when she said it, but once I did all I could do was laugh.

Since there apparently aren’t a lot of 4 year old girls who request Princess Leia parties I had to be a little creative with my theme.  Casey greeted the guests at the door in her Princess Leia ensemble – dress, belt and Princess Leia buns headband, but I don’t have a picture of her in complete costume.

I visited a lot of websites and blogs for inspiration but it was actually Walmart’s party aisle that gave me the decorations I needed.  We went with some black and pink colors and found some generic Princess paper plates.  I put a black tablecloth on the dining table and sprinkled it with pink stars.  I found some blue and black sparkly tulle one day and thought I would drape it somewhere and decorate.  Turns out I didn’t get much tulle in one roll – enough to decorate two chairs and the top of the china cabinet.

I wanted to have some crafts and games for the kids to do while they were here.  I found a cute paper craft on this blog and used her idea to make my own pieces.  I set them up at the table so the kids could make R2-D2, Yoda and/or Chewbacca.  I also printed out some coloring pages from starwars.com.  

 Then we played a rousing game of Pin the Bun on Princess Leia.  Jack was able to peek through the back and see what he was doing so he managed to get perfect placement of his bun.  I thought about playing Princess Leia Says but the kids were distracted by the toys and they were all playing so nicely.

For lunch I made Thai Chicken Wraps and Mediterranean Veggie & Hummus Wraps from Rachael Ray.  Instead of grilling the chicken I made a Teriyaki Chicken in the crockpot the day before.  The kids were welcome to eat these wraps but I also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and peanut butter and banana rollups…just in case.

I made the same chocolate cake that I made last week and ordered a special princess Leia topper from it from an Etsy store called CrumbyArt.  She did a great job crafting Princess Leia into fondant and it was better than any form of Princess Leia that I could make or would want to make out of a cake.  I also made some cupcakes and decorated them to look like Ewoks.

Casey was very excited about her party and as I was frantically trying to finish everything up in the kitchen in the minutes before it started she stood by the door and asked me how many minutes until her party started at least 50 times.  When everyone got here she crafted, she colored, she pinned the bun on Leia, she played, she ate and she definitely blew out her candles.  She had a great time with her friends and with Nana and Pop Pop who came to celebrate too.

I figured that the kids were old enough to watch the present unwrapping and Casey was very excited to do that.  She got some great gifts from her friends and made sure that she thanked everyone.

For party favors I went with notebooks and markers.  The boys got Star Wars notebooks and Superhero markers and the girls got pretty pink notebooks with Disney Princess or Fairy markers.  I printed out a cute Leia picture and label to put on the bags.

At the end of the day, Pat thought it was a good party because there was good food, good cake, a happy birthday girl and it didn’t cost too much.  And that was my goal.

Happy Birthday to my Princess!

Jedi Mind Tricks

I might have mentioned that we have a lot of Legos in this house.  A lot of Star Wars Legos.  And Luke’s helmet went missing!  Or Leia’s hair is gone!  I can’t even count the number of times that Jack has asked me where a certain Lego is and I have no idea.  Usually I know where things are in this house, but the Legos are getting away from me.

First Luke himself was missing for a week or so.  He was found in a box upstairs with a bunch of other Legos – a logical place to look.  Jack supposedly searched his room intensely.  This week Luke’s helmet went missing.  Jack accused me of sucking it up in the vacuum but I knew I hadn’t.  This morning he came running into the bathroom while I was in the shower yelling, “I found it!  I found Luke’s helmet!”  It was stuck in between a couple other Legos on a spaceship that he has been playing with daily.  

The new storage containers are helping with the Legos and other Star Wars gear, but Casey is not.  Casey has decided to play mind games with Jack.  Last week, Jack couldn’t find one of the nerf missiles for his gun.  Casey told him that she knew where it was.  Jack asked her question after question about where it was.  First she told him it was in his bedroom.  Then she said it was in his closet.  He went to look but couldn’t find it.  He made her come up and show him where it was.  She went with him and told him it was on the top shelf in his closet.  Jack called downstairs for one of us to help him.  When asked if he could actually see the nerf missile, he said no.  Then Casey told him it was actually in the playroom.  They went to the playroom and he looked around.  Then she said it was downstairs.

I figured out early on that Casey was just messing with him.  He believed every word she said and when they finally came downstairs he said, “I think Casey’s using the force and Jedi mind tricks to move it around!”  I just laughed.

At first I felt bad that he was so gullible to her stories, but the next day he was pretending to be a baby and he must have sent Casey upstairs about 5 times to fetch him things that he “needed” because he was a baby.  And she went right along with it.  I think that was his way of getting even a little bit.  

Star Wars Birthday Party

We had a birthday party for Jack on the 3rd and invited all of our friends.  My goal was for a simple but mostly homemade party.  A lot of the work I wanted to get done a couple weeks before the party didn’t happen because I was sick and then we went on vacation.  Thankfully, my goal of simple allowed us to get everything done on Saturday and Sunday morning.  
Jack originally asked for a Darth Vader cake.  I was going to buy the Wilton cake mold but I procrastinated.  Every cake I looked at on the internet looked so elaborate and I really didn’t want to put a lot of effort into the decorating.  While I was looking around the blog world one day, Jack saw some Star Wars cupcakes that had little plastic toppers.  I was going to order some but then I found some free printables (at Skip to my Lou) and as soon as he said he liked them, I printed them out and cut out the circles.

Jack asked for strawberry cake with chocolate frosting so I found some recipes.  They both turned out pretty to be pretty tasty!

I made lightsabers out of foam pool noodles and some duct tape.  Actually, Pat made the lightsabers.  I envisioned a big lightsaber battle in the back yard but mostly there were occasional duels.  These were also the parting gifts for all the kids along with some Lego shaped candy that I found at a candy store.  You can build with it and then eat it!

Lightsaber Arsenal

 A couple hours before party, I texted everyone to bring bathing suits.  It was really hot so we set up the slip’n’slide.

The boys were having fun with Jack’s car wash

Pat worked the grill to cook burgers and dogs.  I picked up some fresh corn on the cob from the farmers market, made a broccoli salad, sliced up a watermelon and made some lemonade to complete dinner.  Simple, easy and delicious.  Especially since Pat did the grilling.

 We also had a pinata.  I wish I could capture how Jack says it.  It’s very enunciated – pin – yata.  I guess I have no pictures of it.  Jack wanted a Death Star.  My original plan was to find a soccer ball pinata and paint the white spots grey.  But the party store had a disco ball that happened to look like a Death Star…maybe just a little bit shinier!  Pat filled it with Star Wars fruit snacks and the kids took turns pulling strings until it spilled its goodies.  (I originally had no idea that you have to fill your own pinata.)

We sang a little happy birthday tune and Jack blew out all his candles.

He then proceeded to eat his cake like it was his first birthday instead of his fifth!  He said it was too crumbly and that’s how he had to eat it.

And I couldn’t not post this picture of Casey and her beautiful smile as she gets ready to eat her cupcake.

I was tired (and so was Jack) by the end of it but I told Pat it was my favorite birthday party that we’d had.  The next morning Jack said, “I’m really lucky that all my friends got me such great presents!  We’ll have to send them thank you notes.”

Jack is 5!

It’s been a whirlwind of 5 days since Jack turned 5!  (And a little bit of a whirlwind before that too.)  When Jack woke up this morning, he said pretty emphatically, “Mommy, I’m 5 now!”  The parties are over and the presents are all unwrapped and I think he finally realizes that he is 5.  Or “a whole hand” as he told his Nana.

We celebrated his actual birthday in Ocean City with his Nana and Pop Pop.  He had some very specific requests for his big day.  He wanted us to get up before him and be in the living room ready to surprise him.  Since he’s been getting up at 6am lately, it was a pretty early morning, but we were happy to oblige the birthday boy.  I guess it was a lot like Christmas because we woke up early, opened presents and spent the rest of the morning putting Legos together.

Lightsaber pen

More pieces for his nano/hex bug toy.  Casey got her own bug too.

Darth Jack

 Jack didn’t want to leave the house much because he had new toys but he also requested mini golf so we headed to the one he had picked out.  It was the prettiest mini golf course I’ve seen.  The hibiscus were gorgeous.  Jack and Casey played 18 and then we had some ice cream and listened to some stories about miraculous frog rescues from the course caretaker.  (Some got stuck in the pipes and they survived.)

Jack dined surrounded by his new Legos at lunchtime.

Nana made Jack a very special Star Wars cake with Darth Vader and Luke figures with lightsabers.  He also had his dinner of choice – pasta with pesto.  Because every really picky 5 year old loves pesto.

The cake was delicious, then we spent a little bit of time at the beach and then Jack fell asleep with his new Legos in hand.

Lightsaber Week

This is the first time I’ve started a blog post at 4:45 in the the morning, but I can’t sleep!  I have been sick with an extremely sore throat for the past week and we’re leaving on vacation today.  I’m guessing the combination of all the things I still need to do and the medicine I’ve been taking are not letting me sleep any longer.  Which is too bad because I haven’t had a good night of sleep in the last week either.  It’s only been a week of being sick but I’ve spent a lot of time on the internet looking at what everyone else has been doing and I feel like it’s been a month.  There are so many projects I could have done last week…not that I probably would have, but I could have!

On Sunday evening, I noticed a sore throat and took some zinc.  The sore throat was still around on Monday morning so I decided I better get out and do the grocery shopping while I was still feeling somewhat okay.  When Jack heard we were going grocery shopping, he immediately started a new campaign.  “Mommy, do you think we should go get lightsabers today?  Aren’t we going by that store where we saw the lightsabers last week?  How about if we are really good at the grocery store and don’t fight, we can get lightsabers instead of a donut or fruit snacks?”  (The donut or fruit snack bribe is very effective for grocery shopping.)

Jack’s final assault in his campaign was, “I don’t think we should go look at the jets today.  I think it would be more challenging to get lightsabers.”  More challenging?  I love when he tries to use big words.  It kind of worked…I had been thinking about getting them lightsabers and I decided it was close enough to his birthday that I could start spoiling him.

Bribing them with food is good, but getting them lightsabers takes it to a whole new level.  We bought the lightsabers before the grocery store, we talked about some lightsaber rules and then I let them bring them into the store.  It was amazing…I never heard another peep from either of them.  I’ve never been through the commissary so fast.  They sat so quietly in the cart and I’m not even sure they moved.  It was a little eery.

Jack was so excited to get home and start battling it out with Casey.  Unfortunately Casey wasn’t feeling so well either and she wasn’t much of a sparring partner.  I don’t think Jack’s lightsaber has left his side since he got it.  He’s had it clipped onto his pants almost everywhere we go and he’s been sleeping with it every night.  When we went to the doctor, I looked down at Jack and said, “You can have your lightsaber in here but you need to put your blade away!”  Although maybe it was a cute scene – miserable mom and little girl being defended by Jedi Jack.

While I layed on the couch feeling pretty miserable all week, Jack spent a lot of time working on his lightsaber skills.  “Mommy, do you want to see my skills?”  He and Casey have spent hours together pretending to be Jedi and Sith and roaming the galaxy.  They also spent a lot of time working on a lightsaber show.  Jack wanted more of a duel but mostly it was a solo show while each of them showed me their skills.  Jack can even add some Jedi mind tricks into his routine sometimes.

There’s got to be some practical use of these “skills” Jack is gaining right?  He puts so much effort and thought into it.  Turns out that the lightsabers were a good buy this week!  Jack keeps telling me it’s one of his favorite toys.

New Song in Town

Since they were babies, Pat and I have sung songs to Jack and Casey after their stories, right before bedtime.  From classic bedtime songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to patriotic songs like “God Bless America” to sporty songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and the “Eagles Fight Song”, we had a pretty decent repertoire.  I’ve sung almost every single children’s song I know plus a few that I learned along the way.  At one point, I was singing about six songs every night to Jack.  Then he started asking for new songs and I started making them up.  It’s not so easy to make up a new song every night.

About six months ago, I let the kids watch the Wiggles sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on my phone.  Every once in a while, if I had my phone upstairs I’d let them watch a few songs.  They liked it and I liked that I didn’t have to sing Twinkle Twinkle anymore.

With the Star Wars craze that currently has this house in its grips, the kids wanted me to sing a Star Wars song.  Humming the Darth Vader theme song wasn’t quite enough.  So I converted “This Old Man” to suit my needs.  The kids call it “This Old Man Star Wars.”

It goes a little like this…
“This old man, he played one, he played knick knack on my [insert the name of a Star Wars character here].  With a knick knack paddy whack….”

It no longer rhymes any more and it makes no sense, but the kids love shouting out different characters for me to use on each number.  (Leia is always 2.)

But even “This Old Man Star Wars” got old.  One night I pulled out the iPad, opened up YouTube and searched for Star Wars songs.  We found a few versions of Star Wars theme music with different Star Wars images.  But a few nights later, we found our new favorite song.  It’s sung a cappella, with Star Wars related lyrics, but to the tune of several other movie themes written by John Williams like Jurassic Park, Jaws and Indiana Jones.

(Now that I spent half an hour trying to find this exact version, I’m not sure how we stumbled across it in the first place.  It would help if the person who posted it had spelled “cappella” correctly.  There are a few other versions out there but this is our favorite.)

It is sung by an a cappella group named Moosebutter.  With a little more YouTube searching, we found a video that shows one guy who made it look like he sung all the parts.  The screen is split into four parts and he sings/lip syncs all four parts.

Jack loves it.  He has the words memorized.  I find myself humming random parts of it during the day.  Casey sings along too.  (Pat is still warming up to it.)  Jack even knows which version of the singer (he has different T-shirts on) is singing which part.

And so, bedtime songs have been modernized a little around here.  2011 – the year of bedtime songs on the iPad through YouTube.

Memorial Day Weekend 2011

We had a great Memorial Day Weekend in our nation’s capitol and surrounding areas!  There were lots of “firsts” for all of us I think!

We stayed with Mitch and Jenny; Jack and Casey had a great time with their cousins Charlotte and Chase.  However, it was definitely the first time that Jack and Casey have fought over who gets to sleep in the master bedroom closet, on the floor.  Jack slept there last time we visited so he naturally assumed that’s where he should sleep.  But Casey didn’t want to miss out on any fun and she wanted to sleep there too.  There was room for both of them but Jack didn’t want Casey there and eventually she was enough of a bugger that we moved her downstairs to a futon…with her dad for most of one night.

On Sunday morning, we headed into Washington, DC and the kids got their first metro/subway ride!  Jack loved it and Casey enjoyed it too.

While switching trains, Jack and Casey had pretend lightsaber battles to pass the time.

We took the metro to the Smithsonian stop at the mall and made our way to the Air and Space Museum. On the way, we saw the Washington Monument aka The Big Pencil, the Smithsonian Castle and the Capitol Building.  Pat told Jack that the Capitol Building was where all the Senators worked.  He responded with, “Oh, like Padme Amidala?”  He’s not only learning to wield a lightsaber but he’s learning important lessons on government from Star Wars.

We also literally stopped to smell the roses.

I asked Jack to pick between the dinosaur museum and the air & space so this was his choice.  It was also his choice to blow through there in under an hour.  It’s the first time I’ve gone to a museum and learned nothing.  I just followed Jack around.  There was a lot to take in at the Air & Space museum and I think he was just a bit young for it so he just wandered through.  If you ask him what his favorite part of it was, he’ll probably tell you it was the french fries that we had for lunch!

Our second stop of the day was the National Building Museum.  A friend had sent some information along about a Lego display there and I thought Jack would enjoy it.  After the crowded Air & Space museum the National Building Museum was quiet, beautiful and fun for the kids.  The Lego display was pretty interesting but after looking at the “professional” Legos, there was a whole area for kids to create their own masterpiece.

And this is what they came up with…I didn’t even know they were familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright.

After the Lego room, there was another room for kids.  This time the Lego bricks were life sized bricks and the kids had a lot of fun building a tower taller than Daddy.

Even the outside of the National Building Museum was fun…

After our day in the city, we headed back to Mitch & Jenny’s for a barbeque with their friends and neighbors.  Pat volunteered to work the grill, which is another first…first time in a few years I would say.  And then he told me he enjoys grilling!  I had no idea.

On Monday we had big afternoon plans, but the morning involved train rides and carousel rides, so it wasn’t too shabby either.

While waiting for the train, I tried to take some picture of the dads and their kids…not a one where they are all looking and smiling but I love what I got instead…

 
The grand finale of the trip required us to go separate ways.  Pat and Jack went to Jack’s first Phillies baseball game (at Nationals Stadium) and Casey and I went on our first shopping excursion to Ikea.  The whole time they were at the game, we were at Ikea.  We spent about 3 1/2 hours there somehow.  Casey played around all the furniture displays and then I dropped her off in a child care area and did some more shopping.  We loaded up my purchases in the car and Casey wanted ice cream so I decided we might as well go back into Ikea for it.  It was a good choice…only $1 for a cone.  Casey spent at least 30 minutes eating this ice cream cone and required 8 napkins.  But it was apparent that she was enjoying herself.

 
Pat and Jack had a great time at the game too.  It was so hot that Pat didn’t think they’d stay very long but their seats were in the shade and they watched most of the game.  Jack also got a ride in a rickshaw and another subway ride.  In the end though, if you ask both of them what the favorite part of their afternoons was, they both said, “The ice cream!”

Easter Weekend

We loaded up the car and headed to Ocean City to join Pat’s family for Easter weekend.  When we went in February, I packed based on the temperature and failed to factor in the wind and it was so cold there!  The fleece wasn’t enough – I needed my down jacket.  This time, I thought I packed enough warm clothes, adding a cardigan or sweatshirt with every outfit and I was still freezing.  I missed my fleece.  When I took the kids to the playground on Friday, I had to resort to using the rock climbing wall as a wind break to stay warm.  By Sunday it finally warmed up and everyone was asking each other if they had thought to bring sandals or flip flops or shorts.

Thankfully the Easter Bunny knew to look for us in Ocean City.  He brought a very Star Wars themed bag of goodies for Jack and some Star Wars and Princess themed items for Casey.  I slept awful the night before Easter…kind of reminded me of when I was little and would listen for the Easter bunny or keep waking up and wondering if it was time to get up yet.  This time I was worried because I didn’t tell Jack and Casey to yell from their bedroom when they were awake.  I didn’t want them to come out and see their baskets before I could catch their reactions.  I also wanted to make sure we were all up early enough to play with toys, eat breakfast and get dressed before Mass at 8:30.  So I woke up three times in the night to check the time and then we ended up having to wake Jack and Casey anyway.

Jack was hilarious when he woke up.  He was still a little groggy from sleep but so excited because he knew that it was Easter morning.  The first thing he said was “I bet the Easter bunny hid something in Brady’s stroller for us to find!”  Hmmm, the Easter bunny didn’t think that that was the first place the kids might look or even think of as a good hiding place.

We all had a wonderful weekend together with delicious food, great company and the entertainment of watching 5 cousins, all under the age of 5 play and interact with each other.  It seemed like a pretty relaxing weekend at the time, but when I think about everything we did, it seems it was quite a busy weekend.  We went to the playground, got Jack a haircut, snooped around the hardware store, tried to teach Nana about Star Wars, drew a Star Wars character guide for Nana, colored in our new coloring books, went to a children’s craft fair, said hi to the Easter bunny a few times, played baseball & soccer, shot discs in the air with our new toys, played with new toys, played with the babies, went to church and sat nicely, went swimming in the pool, played at the beach, rode bikes around the neighborhood, went to an egg hunt, took part in an egg/spoon race, walked around the neighborhood, fought lightsaber battles with Jedi Bob (who apparently knows Yoda), played with bubbles, watched a little tv, watched the Flyers lose and win, cleaned the beach house for the next renters, played hide-and-seek, red light green light, and Simon Says and ate a lot of animal crackers and “dirt”.  And there was more but I think that pretty much captures the weekend pretty well.

The Star Wars Obsession Continues

A couple of weeks ago I found a book at the library called  Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary.  It has pictures of every Star Wars Lego set made in the last 10 years.  When we first got it from the library it was in really good shape, almost new.  Since then, Jack has thumbed through it so many times that it now looks a little “aged.”  I decided he needed his own copy of the book and when a friend told me they had it at TJ Maxx, I stopped by and picked it up for him.

The book I bought came with a special mini-figure of “Celebration Luke.”  As soon as he saw the mini-figure, he went crazy.  “Mommy!  Mommy!  It’s Luke!  It’s Celebration Luke!  I didn’t have that one Mommy!  This one came with Celebration Luke!  Now I don’t have to use the other one that isn’t really Luke!”  I pretended I didn’t know that the book came with Luke and it was a surprise to me and he just kept talking about Celebration Luke.  I’m not sure he got that excited on Christmas morning.  Pat and I were talking last night about how Jack makes you want to buy him things because he is so excited about them and he loves playing with them.  And yet, we don’t really need to buy him any of them because he has turned all the other Legos in his collection into intricately built spaceships and is constantly working on a new space creation.  He even created his own R2-D2.  

Every night we read little tidbits from each page of his book about the different sets or the different mini-figures.  The facts and information he has picked up from this book and other Star Wars books we have gotten at the library are incredible.  Last week when my parents were in town, I heard him explaining something to Grampie about Star Wars and it was verbatim out of a book we had read.  In fact, I’m not sure Jack has talked about anything besides Star Wars in the last few weeks.

But we can’t leave Casey out of this obsession either.  She’s not quite living in a Star Wars world like Jack, but she’s absorbing a lot of it too.  She started out with a pretty good impersonation of Chewy and now she sings the Darth Vader theme song right along with Jack.  They were watching Empire Strikes Back in the car a few days ago and she said, “Mommy – Leia loves Han Solo.  But Han Solo is getting frozen now so Leia loves Luke.”  At which point I made sure she knew Luke and Leia were brother and sister.  The cutest thing about Casey though, is listening to her say everyone’s name.  I love it when she says Padme Amidala.  We got a new book at the library today that has a group picture of everyone standing together.  Casey can tell you everyone in that picture and it’s so cute that I had to get a video of it: