Adventure Update # 035: The Hack-A-Thon

Kids participate and win big at the Hack-A-Thon, I get to play Santa, and we get a visit from Saint Nick!

Oh, I do like my Mondays! At least I have a LITTLE more control over my own schedule!

I spent a LOT of time carting kids around this weekend! So much so that we STILL haven’t had a chance to get our Christmas tree!

Hack-A-Thon (AT&T Binghamton Youth Hack)

A few weeks ago I heard a commercial on the radio for a hack-a-thon just as I was pulling into my office parking lot. I concentrated on the web address they gave on the commercial intently for the next 35 seconds (repeating it continuously) – until I could make it into my office and type it into the web browser to check it out. I then shot myself a message and cc’d Melani on it – so I could get her input on it when I got home that evening.

I wasn’t totally sure if the kids would be interested – but we decided to sign them up and give it a shot. It was free, after all – and they certainly are nerds!

Gracie, of course, was enthusiastic for me to sign them up for the event from the very get-go. Dominick – pretty much so, and Annie was a reluctant participant at best – that ended up having a great time! Overall, it was a real hit!

Dominick & Annie with thei Hack – A – Thon project

It was an all day event over at the local community college that went from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm – with them providing breakfast and lunch. Their projects had to help combat cyber bullying & promote online safety. They could use any number of programming languages or approaches to accomplish this goal.

The entire event was well run and organized. (Thank you Pam Puri CEO & Founder of!) I was very impressed! These people had done this kind of thing many times before!

Gracie with her Hack – A – Thon project

We were blown away at the awards ceremony at the end! Apparently AT&T was the money behind the event. Gracie won an award for “most effective project” and Annie and Dominick won for “best teamwork”! Gracie won a 8″ Amazon Fire Tablet and Dominick & Annie won Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones!

Gracie – Prize winner 2019 Hack – A – Thon!

Gracie was also interviewed by the local TV news station – WBNG – which you can see below.

WBNG News: Hack – A – Thon 2019

WBNG News 12 evening news 11:00 pm Saturday December 7th, 2019

Melani and I were both very proud of them all! Great job kids! 👍

Saint Nicholas

Kids morning of Saint Nicholas day!

Saint Nicholas did fill our shoes the other day for Saint Nicholas Day!

Gifts from Saint Nicholas!


Gracie @ Basketball

Dominick & Gracie were supposed to each have 2 games this weekend. Both of them missed their Saturday game, since they were at the Hack-a-thon all day. It was probably for the best- since those two have both been struggling a little with a stomach bug for the last several days.

Boy Scout Santa!

Dominick had a pack meeting for scouts on Friday night. Right when I walked in I was asked by the pack leader if I wanted to don the suit and play Santa for the evening.

Well – I didn’t really WANT to – but I do encourage the kids to step-up to the plate when asked to help – so I kind of felt compelled to do so and set a good example. The suit was large enough, but apparently there was no pillow – to help with my abdominally challenged frame!

So I had to create a new hole in the belt that was a good 10 inches from the previously smallest notch. I have, ostensibly, been the slimmest Santa that has ever worn the suit!

When I came into the room I tried my best to be big & loud! I also made a comment explaining that it is a common misconception that Santa is fat. I explained that it is BECAUSE of all the cookies and treats left for him on Christmas Eve – that Santa BECOMES fat that very evening! I also glanced down the hall and yelled at Rudolf to stay outside the building and to wait for me on the roof!

The kids just stared at me!

When Dominick came up to get his pine wood derby he kind of looked at me suspiciously, like he thought it might be me- but wasn’t quite certain. I looked at him and greeted him by name – and asked him to say hi to his dad for me!

It was a lot of fun – and I was glad I did lend a hand.

I’m still not certain that Dominick knew it was me….

Hey – check out my cringe-worthy gift guide that I just posted. You can find it here: 7 GIFT IDEAS FOR YOUR WIFE/GIRLFRIEND THAT ARE WAY BETTER THAN JEWELRY!


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Blessed father of 4 wonderful children & trophy husband to 1 lovely wife. Part-time blogger, full-time nerd & aspiring Renaissance man!

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All constructive comments are welcome!

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