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Archive for the 'A Boy’s Life' Category

Digging, Jumping and Cooking

October 29th, 2009

Where has the week gone!? We picked a wonderful couple of days to enjoy camping last weekend… it has been nearly the only sunshine we’ve seen in about two weeks. We really had a great time, and I’ll share a little more later. All the rain is incredible though, we’ve had far more than usual.

This maple tree was beautiful in the sunshine last Saturday. Some of the maples turn orange and red, and others a bright yellow. Maybe a sugar or silver maple?

maple-tree-color

I’ve been trying to work outdoors these past few weeks, but the weather hasn’t cooperated too much. My shed project is still there… waiting for drier weather. I managed to dig out the base for the foundation from the hillside. An enormous amount of dirt that I placed behind the barn near the beehives.   I wanted to remove the soil from the work area so the rain didn’t cause a muddy mess… that turned out to be a good idea.

shed-foundation

After I finished digging it out, I packed down a small entrance drive and the interior with gravel and it really worked well to prevent erosion and mud from heading to the barn.  My plan is to build a small retaining wall at the back, and then use dek-blocks on top of gravel for the foundation structure.  Not sure what kind of retaining wall I’ll build yet…

Of course the boy found the gravel pile a great place to test his jumping abilities. And yes, he’s wearing his pajamas. It seems that part of the school activities this week included “pajama day.”   I would never have thought of wearing pajamas to school as a kid… these days they seem to love it.  After school he thought it great fun to run around in them, especially with the brief sun that emerged for about 10 minutes!

pajama-rock-pile-jump

While it’s been raining (and chilly!) I figured it was time to get out the crock pot this week.  Started a new recipe that I call Harvest Slow-Cook Tenderloin… and it includes potatoes, onions, carrots and even apples.   Isn’t it colorful?  The tenderloin is under all the veggies and broth.

slow-cook-tenderloin

I let it cook for about 4-5 hours, and the crock pot does all the work.   The pork tenderloin comes out nice and well… ah, tender! 

slow-cook-tenderloin-2

I’m one of those cooks that makes things as I go along… recipes are simply recommendations… no hard and fast rules! It was pretty tasty.



Give a Dog a Hug Day

October 5th, 2009

 

Boy: “I’m going to give you a great big hug!”

 yellow-lab-hug

 

Dog: “Oof!”

yellow-lab-hug-2

 

They were made for each other.  Don’t forget to hug your dog! Okay, cats are included too!




Celebrating Life and Change

September 30th, 2009

Goodness has the weather changed.  Awoke to low-forties this morning and we put on a that first fall jacket.  That’s saying a lot for me… yet it feels so good!  Finished a host of chores over the past few days and an incredibly busy weekend.  It was the young one’s birthday of course, and it was a great day for him.

We shared a beautiful sunrise early one morning…

dawns-early-light

He never really had a big birthday party, and it was time.   Well, except for that preschool class party to that really sticky pizza place… we won’t go there right now.  That was four years ago I think.  This year it was an outdoor party at a small park near the school, and his class was invited to join the fun.   More than half the class came on a Friday after school and it was a grand celebration. The park was setup, and I walked a dozen kids there from the school to the great amusement of the principal watching me with a gaggle of third-graders.   But that’s okay, I’m pretty good with kids… but there were a lot of them! The party quickly became a sunny cacophony of school kids with genuine smiles and excitement.  We played balloon and three-legged races, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and a host of other outdoor fun with cake and ice cream.   The highlight was smashing the pinata!

The boy gets in line for the first go-around with fifteen kids lined up behind him.

homemade-pinata

This wasn’t just any pinata mind you… no siree, it was homemade!  Looking like a rainbow death star, this thing was nearly indestructible.  Put together with a team effort, (twice after the cat punctured the balloon inside the first soggy ball), the boy and I painted the outside with all sorts of pretty colors.  It was filled with a couple pounds of candy and 15+ kids took turns whacking it with the broomstick.  And yes, some of the kids nearly whacked the other kids but we tried to keep ’em back enough… not easy to do with so many candy-hungry feet scrambling around.

I’ve only seen “pinata bashing” a few times before.  Seems like it’s  more popular these days, although I’m not a fan of the newfangled “pull-string” pinatas at the stores.  Have you seen them?   They are less dangerous, no whacking stick involved… and with society’s zeal to protect our children (or ourselves in preventing legal entanglement perhaps), each kid gets a turn at reaching up and pulling the pinata string, and some lucky boy or girl randomly pulls the trap door open to let out the prizes.  I’m sure it’s fine for the kids- they don’t know the difference.  We’re still of the “smashing the pinata” persuasion however, and enjoyed watching the kids swing the broomstick.

I held the rope on a pulley (the thing weighed about 20 pounds), and we quickly discovered how solidly built it was.  “Whack!  Thump!  Whump!” it sounded as each kid gave it a few swings.   That pinata made it through more than 20 turns, gradually falling apart, before I finally yanked it hard enough to dump the candy out, raining all over as the kids scrambled to fill goody bags.  They seemed well-rehearsed to the pinata ritual, and it was fun to watch.   After leaving the park that day I felt really good for the boy, and he was all smiles.   We were tired and hoarse, and hoping once is enough…

As if the big kids party wasn’t enough, the next day we held our annual Cub Scout carnival with a host of different kids at a different park…   The highlight of the carnival for me was hosting the bubble gum pie eating contest- an extension of his birthday party game.  You gather 8-10 kids at a big table, place a piece of bubble gum on a pie plate, cover it generously with whip cream and the first few kids to get to the gum using only their mouth and blowing a bubble win a prize.  Unbeknownst (is that really a word?!) to most of the kids, the sugar in the whip cream combines with the bubble gum sugars and makes it a gooey mess that is reeaally hard to make a bubble with.  The kids loved the game and we did it three times with a huge group of them.

The weekend finished with a quiet afternoon BBQ.   Lots of memories, especially for the youngster.   Along the way there was always time to appreciate the beauty of the world around us-

The last of the goldenrod is still beautiful…

sunny-goldenrod

And the pond!  It was a bright green color in a few places, with a light microscopic algae bloom after last week’s rain… we don’t see that color very often.

green-pond

When the wind blows, the light scatters over the surface of the water…  it only happens in autumn with the afternoon sun moving southward.  When the leaves begin changing it’s almost magical.  Maybe it is… it sure feels that way.

windonwater

I wandered around yesterday looking up through the canopy of green leaves. There are changes everywhere, and we have enjoyed the dappled shade this year.

canopy-of-green-leaves

The leaves will be gone soon, coming again in six or seven months. At breakfast this morning the boy was playing with a small hourglass. He wondered how someone decided what particular time would be measured by the sand, before clocks were invented. That’s a bit of history I need to learn.  We talked about how the seasons, and our lives, each have their time.  Like the sands of the hourglass… maybe it sounds trite, but it’s so very true.

Elementary School Redux: There’s Always Another Way

September 15th, 2009

School has been a bit challenging this year for our young one. The 2nd to 3rd grade transition begins focusing more strongly on independence and responsibility.  Lots of new expectations, routines and challenges.  And not all of them something each child is ready for.  In some ways it seems like they’re trying to make miniature college students out of elementary kids… our son has even got an official weekly planner that he must fill out everyday on top of his homework.   Good that they’re teaching planning and organization skills I suppose, but sometimes it’s just so much for them at 8-9 years of age.

He is fortunate that his school is full of caring, professional educators- it’s really a good little public school.  However there’s always an oddity or two among classroom management styles. His 3rd grade teacher, for example, does not allow the students to have more than one pencil in their desk.  If they lose that pencil, they must ask for a new one, and then they lose one of their recess playtimes for not keeping track of their pencil. If they just want a new one, they have to hold up the stubby remains of the old pencil before getting it. Ugh.  This new rule after having had access to pencils for the previous three years in K through 2nd grades.

Anyway, unlike the sweet, touchy-feely first and second grade teachers (and don’t forget the treasure box!), his new teacher is all business.  So he has been a bit confused and overwhelmed by these new rules and expectations.

Case in point: The other day a note came home that he just “sat there” for three hours doing nothing in the morning.  I asked him what was the matter, and at first he didn’t know (he lives in the moment…).  But then he remembered:  “I lost my pencil and didn’t want the teacher to get upset by asking for another one, and then I didn’t know what to do…”  He really didn’t mind losing recess (they have three of them during the day), but he didn’t want to upset her, he felt overwhelmed and confused and so he just sat there with his head down.

Naturally my first reaction stemmed from that innate parental desire to just make everything okay for him (I haven’t figured out how to do that yet, and if you’ll be kind enough to share the secret I’ll gladly pay you a bunch of money).

leaving-for-school

     More rationally, I wondered why in the heck his teacher didn’t try to find out what the problem was, or try encouraging him to do something else instead of just letting him sit there for so long?! Argghhh.  And truth be told I was frustrated with him for not making his needs clear and asking for a new pencil and just getting busy.  It’s not like his teacher is a monster- she’s actually a petite woman and seemingly quite nice.  Well that’s another story…  But her business-like demeanor in the classroom will take some getting used to for him.

Besides, it’s so simple to me, right?  Just get a new pencil and get the job done?!  I was like that in 3rd grade, right?  Well, not at first anyway, but I was a fast learner.  Bear with me for an historical digression:

School always seemed fun and exciting to me somehow, and learning was a positive challenge.  But I remember testing boundaries in 3rd grade, to the point of making a really cool paper airplane once during a reading session.   I don’t know what I was thinking, other than being a little bored and trying to get the other kids’ attention.   They watched me with that airplane, wondering what I would do… almost daring me to throw it.   I remember the smiles and glee in my classmates’ eyes when I zinged that sucker toward the front of the classroom while the teacher was sitting with her head down reading.   Incredible!  That airplane flew beautifully, it was an amazing sight really, soaring toward the blackboard, rising higher and higher, and then?  It swooped down almost purposefully into the great big foot-high bun of hair right on top of the teacher’s head!

At first the silence was broken only with the gasps of my classmates while all eyes were riveted to the white airplane sticking out of the teacher’s hair.   And then laughter erupting all around me, at least until the teacher stood up.  I thought maybe it was okay?  Maybe doing something funny was good?   I was looking at the airplane, amazed at the result of my craftsmanship while also staring at the teacher’s face.  My eyes then grew wider with the knowledge that I just did something really, really bad.  Reality set in quickly with the,  “Who threw this airplane!”  voice that I had not heard before in a classroom.   This was one of three Catholic schools I attended in various states, at least through fifth grade, and I wasn’t going to tell a lie and commit a sin.   I raised my hand slowly, somehow knowing that I was all alone in this, and she motioned me to come up to the front.  I was then forcibly escorted by my arm into the hallway where I received a very stern lecture by a red-faced woman with spittle coming out of her mouth.   That was a new moment in my life.

I have no idea what she said, and was left in a chair for an hour to contemplate my actions.  I like to think I helped educate an entire class of kids regarding what one should or should not do in a classroom.  And it was about that time that I came to the conclusion that upsetting the teacher didn’t result in anything good, ever, and that doing tricks for one’s classmates didn’t help matters much either.  Getting in trouble was just not worth it, and I didn’t like the visibility.  It really didn’t have anything to do with my parents either- I’m not even sure they knew about it.  If they did, I was fortunate in that they probably just laughed.

But I think I decided then and there that I would not stick out in the classroom ever again.  And I didn’t. *(Pamela makes a good point that this  would be a sad lesson- learning to be invisible.  I would absolutely agree, but that really wasn’t my point.  What I mean by not sticking out, is that despite a person’s experience, there’s always another way to go about things, or see things, or learn from things… and you didn’t need to try to do things (like throwing paper airplanes) and stand out in a negative sense, except to be yourself.)

Somehow I managed to figure out at a very young age, that if you just do what the teacher wants, getting things accomplished, along with the studying and homework of course, you can get decent grades and get through school just fine.  And then you can manage your own time… your own program and do the stuff you really want to do.   Teachers love kids who just do what they ask them to do…

*******

     So back to the story at hand:   As I sat there with my son last week, I really wished I could inject him with some kind of Vulcan mind-meld device that would give him years of experience and knowledge about the world around us, just for momentary use of course…  Enough to stand up, walk briskly to the teacher, look her straight in the eye and say:

“Ma’am it seems I’ve lost my pencil. Now I understand I’m going to lose my recess, and that’s fine even if it is a really silly rule. But I would in fact like to learn something here! I really love school you know,  and I especially enjoy science and reading.  Math? Not so much, but even that is better than just sitting in my chair for three hours with a sore butt!  So please get one of my personally-labeled pencils out of your cabinet, and would you mind redirecting me a bit? I seem to have forgotten what it is we are working on. Thank you!”

The squeaky wheel gets the grease as they say, even in the classroom. Our young one is a bit shy and not very assertive at times, so he doesn’t ask for help when he needs it. After relating his predicament to his teacher, she remained ever the professional.. “He needs to learn the rules and do it on his own…” Ah the rules, always the rules.  We don’t want learning to get in the way of the rules now do we?

She’s right of course, within reason, and at least in terms of her classroom management style and meeting the expectations established for the kids in that context.  The pencil rule isn’t something I would do, but then again she’s been teaching for 20 years and I haven’t. The kids are going to have to learn to succeed in that environment.   But you know, there’s always another way… another angle, a different approach and a child that isn’t the same as the four thousand seven hundred and fifty-two children they’ve worked with previously. And it’s not just teachers, but as parents and mentors too.  Sometimes I think we miss opportunities to really make a difference and gain a little perspective.

Ah well, the school year has just begun.   And it looks like I’m going to get to know his teacher really well this year.  We all must learn to navigate the written and unwritten rules of life.  And more often how to succeed despite those rules and the challenges we find along the way.  As for my son, I know he’s going to have to learn at his own pace. And I’ll love him just the same. But sometimes it’s really hard to watch.

Recipe for Summer Fun

July 6th, 2009

1 medium sized Boy;
1 large Yellow Lab;
1 squirty hose;
Add water;
Stand back!

labrador-fun

Imagine the playfulness of that dog in the picture… and then imagine he’s that way no matter where  he is, and that the boy loves  to play with him.  They both have a smile on their faces.  I think watering flowers was the mission, as you can see by the watering can.  But it didn’t work out that way.  It’s like having a 90 pound three year old racing around with an 8-year old boy.  Neither of them listen very well, and both of them are intent on doing something.   Since I’m never quite sure what that is, I usually just direct traffic or try to stay out of the way…  


Growing Through Summer

June 30th, 2009

What a difference a week makes in the weather- it’s just beautiful out there in the mornings.  The sky is incredibly blue this week, although we need to water to keep the garden growing along.   Aside from moles running willy-nilly throughout the vegetables, everything is doing okay.  It’s even time for the sunflowers- they’re always so cheerful looking when they bloom in early summer.

sunflower

The japanese beetles are still with us- I won’t show the picture, but we had a totally filled “bag-o-beetles” across the pond.  I moved the traps further away and it has helped keep the numbers down around the house and garden.   Look at this muscadine or wild grape vine- it’s growing on top of a rusty old hay rake, and the little black dots are the beetles just covering it.

muscadine

The wild elderberry is in full bloom too.  I think the wet spring really helped the elderberries this year, and they’re growing abundantly all along the roadsides.  The berries will be ripe in August and September.

elderberry

Time to cut more grass too- which is strange because there’s a ton of clover growing and bees all about.  So there I am worrying about running over the bees while they’re trying to gather nectar for honey.  I went in the hives yesterday… lo and behold one of the hives is really building out their frames with honey.  The other hive, not so much.  But since this is our second year, the bees are not only gathering nectar, but they have to build out each frame with wax honeycomb.  It takes time and energy, so there won’t be a lot of honey this year.  But as I pulled apart the supers (boxes of frames), the wax broke in several places with glorious light colored honey pooling on top of the frames.  One of these days very soon…

On a personal note, Mom is eighty years old today- Happy Birthday!  I can only hope to be as strong and healthy… we went blueberry picking the other day, filling up our little buckets.  I really tried hard to put up a nice, clear picture… must be my camera :)

blueberry-picking

Ganders, Tanagers and Swimming with the Dog

May 9th, 2009

It rained so much yesterday that I saw a creek running through the garden.  Thank goodness I made the rows perpendicular to the slope below… the water just ran out the ends and under a fence.  We previously had a nice dry couple of days, but now I think it has rained non-stop since yesterday. Finally the sun broke free of cloud this afternoon and it was a beautiful evening, transitioning to a full moon… I love bright, full moon nights in the country. It’s almost like stepping back in time, or looking into some strange other world.

It’s not a strange world here for the geese- they seem to have made themselves right at home, and the little goslings are growing bigger everyday.  They had the nerve to be up near the top of the hill yesterday, a stone’s throw to the barn, ripping out grass by the rootfuls!  With visions of eroding hillsides in mind, I called our little hunter, the foxy looking japanese Shiba, and ran around toward the barn hoping he could chase the geese into the water.  The geese knew something was afoot and half waddled and bumbled their way down the hill to the pond at high-goose-speed.  They would never have let him get very close- a big 30 pound goose will beat a dog up pretty good with it’s wings and beak!  I knew they’d make it to the pond as the shiba took his time, trotting toward the water with a gleam in his eye. 

Canada Geese with Goslings

After the geese plopped into the water, the Big Daddy Gander puffed up and stretched his neck, honking loudly in protest at this intrusion by such a fox-like creature, with Mother Goose and the goslings following a few yards behind.  The shiba wandered along the shoreline, looking wistfully at these floating bundles of feathers, and the big goose followed him step-for-step just out of reach off shore badgering the little dog.  Eventually the shiba tired of the noisy scolding and went on his way.  The geese seemed “proudly placated” and swam away.   They seem to know we’re only temporary guests in their native aquatic home. 

Birds are making quite a showing this spring, and yesterday was no exception as I saw a flash of red behind the house.  After a quick double-take, I realized it was brighter than the red of our resident cardinals.  And there he was- the Summer Tanager was back, calling and watching me.  I was admiring his color and sound when I remembered I had a camera in my hand!  Such a beautiful bird, they really only pass through for a couple weeks, and eat many bugs- especially wasps and bees!  “Look out girls, the tanagers are here!!!”

summer-tanager

Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote about Summer Tanagers on a Warm Day, and was lucky to have captured some of the most beautiful bird pictures that I’ve taken- those of the male and female Summer Tanager sitting in an oak tree near the house.   I had never seen the female’s yellow green coloration before, and those pictures are two of my favorites.

Not to be outdone by the geese swiming in the water, the young boy seemed to think summer was already here.  School’s out in a couple weeks, so that’s understandable.  But he wandered down near the pond a couple days ago while I was planting tree seedlings…  all he had on were his swim shorts and he carried a floatie.  There I was- shovel in hand, covered in dirt, sweat and untold chiggers and ticks, and all I could think of was that I’d really like to be swimming too (the pond wasn’t my first choice).  

Actually, I chuckled when he said “I’m going swimming!”  And I said, “In the pond? Now? It’s kinda cold in there…”  He didn’t seem to care and I didn’t want to discourage him.  The geese have really only been here a few times, and the area was clean enough.  Otherwise I wouldn’t let him swim.  “Well, what did Mom say?” I asked.  He said, “Well, she was in the asparagus patch and I just kinda walked by her and waved.”   She later thought he was very cute in his swim shorts, not thinking he was serious about swimming in the pond just before dinner.  We went back and got his life jacket since he’s not really at deep-water swimming strength yet.  We let her know, and then back to the pond where he got a good 5-10 minutes of paddling fun in the water.  

Boy and Yellow Lab in pond

He didn’t say, but it sure looked colder than he thought it would be…  Of course the yellow lab wasn’t just going to watch,  he dove right in too!  I had to give the boy credit- it’s a little early in the season for pond swimming in my book, but he sure had a quick bit of fun.   And me?  I’ll get there this summer, but for now I wasn’t quite ready to make the Leap of Faith into that cold water!

An Egg on a Stump

May 4th, 2009

How did we slowly transition from winter to spring, and then Bam!… all at once everything blooms, grows and needs planted, cut, started or fixed?  And then it rains for what seems like forever!  Well, the rain is finished, for at least a couple of days, and we’re drying out for now.   A good thing too or the garden seedlings would rot.

So many happenings…  The more interesting story the past week was that pair of wood ducks that were here.  I thought they might nest, and apparently they were thinking about it.  They seemed to have a particular affinity for this stump for a couple of days, swimming around and climbing up a few times a day. 

wood-ducks-on-stump

Then the rains came, and they just disappeared.  I don’t know if was because the larger canada geese showed up too, or the rain, or why else they decided to leave.  But around that same time I noticed something white on the stump from quite a distance away .  I didn’t think anything about it at first, and watched it for a couple of days.  Finally the young boy and I walked down for a closer look- and wonder of wonders, Mrs. Wood Duck left an egg on that stump!

wood-duck-egg

I was amazed but also disappointed because I knew the egg had been sitting there unattended for over two days and nights in cold rain.  Just an egg on a stump, sitting by itself for several days… and the ducks have never returned to the pond.    So we went down this weekend and decided to get the egg rather than let it be eaten by some other critter.  That was a story in itself… the water is a few feet deep there, so we had to decide what to do.  We ended up using a long cane pole and a plastic grocery bag to noodle the egg into the bag, and lift it off the stump.  Of course the bag blew away in the wind, and we had to go get it… then back to try again.

bagging-egg-on-stump

Finally successful, we looked at the little egg, about the size of a medium grade A chicken egg. 

egg-in-hand

It was semi-transluscent, and I wondered if it would have been healthy or not even if the wood ducks had remained. We could have left it there of course, but I know it would have been food for the turtles and such with the next warm day.  It’s now sitting nestled in a towel in a box, why I don’t know.  Maybe we should try to incubate it anyway… it would take all of 30 days or more to hatch if it was still viable.

On the subject of waterfowl, I spotted a migrant Pied-billed Grebe on the pond today.  This little dude was frolicking on the water, and diving and fluffing its feathers all about.  When it saw us trying to get a better look it dove under the water, finally reappearing some twenty or more yards away.  It was amazing to see how far these birds can swim under water! It then poppped its head above water first like a periscope clearing the area, and then it popped up again, perched on top of the water.  I didn’t know what it was until I could get the picture zoomed in for a closer look. 

pied-billed-grebe

I also wanted to share the fun of last Friday.  On a lark I stopped by a particular area to look for morels, even though they should be nearly finished popping out of the ground in our area by now.  With so much rain I figured maybe we’d have some more.  I looked for a half hour, and then did a double take walking along the edge of a field, looking under some brambles and vines.  Lo and behold I saw a large morel!  I had to fight my way through the vines, and I finally came upon it, amazed that it was as big as my hand.  I was speechless, and once there I found another morel five or six feet further on, and another… fighting through the vines… it was almost like one of Ed’s mushroom machines! 

fresh-morels-2009

I had visions of the day being filled with bags of morels… I was lulled into a false sense of fortune however, because after continuing to search for more than an hour I didn’t see a single other morel.  It was simply a lucky find, yet one that I really appreciated.  Altogether I found nearly a dozen, and cut them carefully just above the ground.  These were good size chunky morels like I’ve never found before.  I share the story because it was neat, and hopefully to serve as inspiration not to give up!  The last two years I was skunked… but Ed motivated me to head out more diligently :)    And no, I have no idea why they grew in that area… I didn’t see any elm or maple trees, no rotting logs, or anything else significant. The leaf litter was thick under the vines, and conditions were just right I suppose.  That and someone else probably missed them. 

fried-morels

On Saturday morning I split them into halves and thirds, and they cooked up beautifully with a little breading and parmesean cheese mix.  Incredibly tasty (if you like mushrooms) but I couldn’t eat them all, and ended up freezing most of them to save for another day.  If I ever find bushels like some folks, it would be nice to dry or dehydrate them and use for cooking throughout the year.

On the morel hunt that day I came upon one of the largest red oak trees I have ever seen.  I could tell it was a red oak species of some kind by the pointed lobes on the leaves far above me.  But this tree was massive!  My hat provides a little perspective, and I became a literal tree hugger for a time wrapping my arms around it to measure its size. 

big-red-oak-tree

The tree’s circumference came to over fifteen feet measured by my reach- and I wish I knew what the exact species was, but I couldn’t determine it.  I love seeing big trees like that… the stories they could tell us.  I’m always on the look-out for a new Missouri Champion Tree.  The state has quite a list going, but I’m willing to bet there are other really old trees out there that no one has measured!

The Easter Bunny Lives On

April 16th, 2009

The Easter Bunny came and went this year… it won’t be the last, but it’s different than when kids are really little.  So many fun times with holidays- running around hiding things, bringing joy to the little ones while nearly being discovered.   For the first time, our son- almost finished with second grade- started asking me questions before Easter this year.  “How does the Easter bunny get inside the house to hide eggs?… How does he hide our own eggs?…  And the candy- that all comes from the store anyway…”  and then the looming question he had been waiting to ask:   “Daddy, is there really an Easter Bunny?”    

I was dreading that question, or any question remotely related to it.   He still believes, still trusts, still sees the good in everything… I wasn’t ready for him to begin the walk down the pathway to rational analysis of the world around us.  I looked at him and simply said, “Your Grandpa and Grandma really loved hiding eggs around the house, and watching you find them.”   He looked at me with thoughtful eyes, both of us remembering my father, gone a few years now, and how we would visit their house for Easter.   He looked away for a bit, and then back… “Who hides them now, at our house?”  A simple, innocent question.  I smiled, and he knew.  I said it’s something we love to share with him. He smiled too, like he discovered something, and the conversation moved on. 

 Later that night in the kitchen while we were coloring eggs with him, he asked loudly, “Daddy, I wonder where the Easter Bunny will hide the eggs this year?”  I looked quickly at him, wondering if he was going to say something to his Mom that he knew about the Easter Bunny…  She was standing at the sink behind him- he smiled, and winked at me.  Is that great or what?    We had a really nice Easter.

Enjoying the Four F’s

March 25th, 2009

The pace of spring is quickening, and like that of nature it seems our lives are becoming equally hurried.  We spent last weekend running all around, essentially a of couple days with family, friends, food and fun.  Which included an uncharacteristically large gathering for dinner with relatives from out of town.  Lots of great food and conversation, and birthday celebrations too.  A magician was brought in for entertainment- that was a hoot.  I’ve never really been to a “magic show” on a birthday, but the kids really loved it.  The gent was pretty funny and the kids were mesmerized.   It was one of those nights where you eat too much, and it all ends too soon with everyone heading back to rejoin their own lives.  We also spent a day with the cub scouts on a grand outing for the kids.  It was a busy, fun-filled day that included a train ride and a tour of some impressive sights.  

See if you know where the mystery photo of the day is from…  isn’t it beautiful? This is very large, probably thirty feet across the side.

stained-glass

 
For a closer look, here’s an inset from the right side, rotated to show a better view. Maybe it holds a clue! I can’t imagine how long it must take to design and build stained glass art. 

stained-glass-inset

 Update: Yes! It’s the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City- an amazing building.  Under the capitol dome above, between the two cherubs is a banner- which says “Missouri State Capitol – Made from Missouri stone.”  The entire capitol building, inside and out, is made from limestone marble from various sites throughout Missouri.  The only exception are eight columns in the House chamber that were made in New Hampshire.  They are one-piece solid granite columns weighing over 26,000 pounds each.  The murals, paintings and stained glass throughout the capitol were incredible.

The tour was very interesting, as well as learning more about Missouri’s history. With a band of active young kids it wasn’t all about art and history though. We finished the day by spending a few hours playing ultimate frisbee football, which is kind of like touch football, only you have to stay where you are when you catch the frisbee, and then throw it to another player on your team. A few of the adults joined in- what a great time! I can’t remember when I’ve had grass stains on my knees from diving catches while playing a game outdoors… its been many years.

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