Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fall’s first fickle breeze

November.  Fall has arrived for real – even in Knoxville.  The leaves have finished their show of blazing colors.  And now they lay all brown and lifeless all over the backyard.

And in our backyard – it means a little more than in most.  You see – we have “a lot” of trees in our little back yard.  And when the trees decided to let go of their leaves – they end up laying like a brown blanket.  Completely covering our yard about a foot deep.

Leaving this “ultra thick” blanket of leaves on the ground is not an option.  Not when you’ve spent as much time and energy trying to get our feeble little amount of grass to grow.  If the leaves lay all winter – no grass will return in the spring.  So the leaves have to go.

It is far from “quick and easy” – and ‘The Dad’ will take the help of anyone who volunteers – no matter how old (or young) they are…

That's a lot of leaves!

“Dad?  do we have to move ALL of these leaves?”

We have a pretty good leaf blower.  And it does a really good job at the “clean-up” work.  But to move the big pile – a simple rake works best…

The clean-up crew

“Whew!  This is hard work!”

The clean-up crew

“Time to work on this side a little bit…”

 

The clean-up crew

“Looks like we are starting to make some progress!”

 

And to get around all of those “child labor laws” – we asked Mike how he wanted to be paid for his extraordinary leaf raking effort.  He decided that riding around in the wheel barrow (for an hour or so) would be considered payment in full.

Ride the wheel barrow

“Weeee!  This is worth every bit of that hard work!”

Happy Halloween

Ahhhh – Halloween with a nearly two-year old.  A time when you can still dress them up in cute little costumes – but also when they are a little more opinionated about it.

This year – we decided to dress Mike up as a skunk.  After all – aren’t all two-year-old boys really skunks at heart?  And we found this adorable “'Lil Stinker” costume.  It was fabulous!

Or at least we thought so!

We dressed Mike up in some black sweat pants and a turtle neck.  We got out the costume – just knowing that he would want to jump right in.  Turns out (as you might have already guessed), he was a little less enthusiastic about it than we were.

Mike in his turtle neck

“You want me to wear WHAT??!?!!”

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“Listen guys.  I have a reputation to think about.  You wouldn’t understand…”

But all it took was a little persuasion.  A little from mom.  And a little from dad.  And in the end – he decided that it might be ok (and maybe even a little fun) to wear the skunk costume.

 

Skunk Mom

“See Mike – Skunks CAN be cute!”

 

Skunk Dad

“Skunks are such regal animals!  Real ‘lady getters’”!

 

Skunk Dad

“And being a skunk can be super awesome!”

 

After a few minutes of the shenanigans (well – ok.  Maybe it was somewhat longer than a ‘few’ minutes), Mike decided that being dressed as a skunk was at least worth a try…

Mike the skunk

“…I can’t believe I’m actually doing this…”

…and before long, we were all loaded up and headed to the zoo for “Boo at the Zoo”!  At some point, you have to point out the irony that we dressed our son up as a skunk and took him to the zoo to trick-or-treat.

...unloading at the zoo...

“Ummm – there are a LOT of other animals here.  You aren’t going to try and leave me here, are you?”

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“Hey – I don’t remember these bats being here the last time I can to the zoo!”

 

We made our way around the zoo.  Saying “hi” to all of the animals that were still out.  And stopping by each and every booth o pick up our loot.  Of course, there was one booth that we ALL enjoyed stopping at.  Yes indeed – Krispy Kreme had a booth!

Krispy Kreme!

“Yummmmm.  Doughnuts!”

The trip through the zoo ended at the “Haunted Carousel”.  How did we know that it was ‘haunted’?  Because it went around backwards!

Mike on the Carousel

“Hey!  This thing is going backwards!”

And in the end – even though we were a little hesitant at the start – we can absolutely say that we had a fabulous time!

Mike the skunk

“Hey guys.  You were right.  Being a skunk was LOADS of fun!”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What are you doing in Indianapolis?

A lot of people by now have noticed that “the dad” has been spending a rather large amount of time in Indianapolis for the last three months.  So – what HAS he been doing in Indianapolis?

The short answer is “working on improvements to the Verizon Wireless network for the Super Bowl”.

But – this week, the media has began to descend on the area.  And Verizon has been hosting media events and giving tours of Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis Convention Center.  And – a couple of days ago, the first article (that I’m aware of) was published.

I found it to be a pretty good read.  It really is remarkable to see all of the preparation that goes in to an event like the Super Bowl.  And “the dad” is certainly proud to be a part of “the big game”.

To read the article – just click here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The logic of a two year old…

Just by the title of the post – you already know that I am not going to reveal anything earth shattering.  Anyone who is a parent of a child (who is at least two) certainly already knows this.  And for anyone who is not a parent – there is nothing here that will come as a big surprise.

But it’s funny none-the-less!

Obviously, two year olds are miraculous creatures.  In just a few short months – they have mastered enough of their “native” language to be able to communicate effectively – and for the baby sign language users – they have mastered two languages.  They have learned to navigate through their environment.  They have made monumental achievements in coordination and motor skills.

But logic?  Not so much.

Here are three prime examples of the logic that our two-year-old has…

Diaper changing has become quite the ritual at our house.  It starts normally enough.  Off with the shoes (if they were on to begin with).  Then off with the pants.  Then you try and take the diaper off.  That’s when the disagreements begin.  Mike begins saying “no mommy – no!” and raising his feet in to the air and squirming around.  And so it goes.  A minor disagreement to be sure.  But Mike is resolute.  You can ask him why he isn’t letting you change his diaper.  His answer?  “I’m taking my socks off”.  To which the logical parent replies, “but honey, you don’t have to take your socks off to change your diaper”.  And the response?  Mike will look at you as if you have a toe growing out of your forehead and says “yes you do mommy”.  So – for the last couple of weeks, we simply let him take his socks off (and he insists that he has to throw them on the floor) and diaper changes proceed smoothly.

And speaking of diapers – we’ve been introducing Mike to the “potty”.  He has taken to it pretty well.  He is curious when we go “potty”, and he seems to enjoy “putting pee in the potty” himself.  He is also excited about “drinking more milk because it makes more pee”.  So we are considering starting “potty training for real” fairly soon.  Especially since we had a “major” breakthrough this past weekend.

You see – Mike has one funny quirk when he goes to “sit on the potty”.  He has to be completely naked.  No socks.  No shirt.  Nothing but naked baby.  Why?  Two-year-old logic.  Our big breakthrough?  This weekend, Mike peed in the potty with his shirt on!  We are hoping that the trend continues.

The last little episode of two-year-old logic (man – I should save all of these.  In the 365 days that Mike will be two, I bet I could have 365 examples of “two-year-old” logic!).  This one happened while taking Mike up to his room for bed.  Remember – two-year-olds have no logic to begin with.  And when they are sleepy, they have even less (is there such a thing is a “negative” amount of logic?).  I was carrying Mike up the stairs to his room when in that sleepy whiny cry-like voice he says “I want down!  I don’t want to go upstairs any more right now!”.  So – I put him down.  And he immediately started crawling up the stairs.  “Where are you going, buddy?”  He turns around and looks at me with an expression that can only mean “DUH!” and says, “I’m going up stairs”.  Since this is what I wanted in the first place – I let him continue on up while I followed behind.  Halfway up the steps he turns around and looks at me with pleading eyes and says “hold me”.  And I thought to myself, “Hmmm – this is right back where we started…”

I’m sure that logic skills will come soon enough.  But until then – it’s fun to try and figure out what is going on in their little heads.  Who knows – perhaps they have it right?  I don’t wear diapers anymore – so I can’t try the sock trick.  But I do use the “big potty” – maybe next time I’ll try it naked…

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Only 3 months behind…

I know.  I know.  I’m still behind.  And at my current rate, the number of tales I want to tell will quickly outpace my telling!  But I promise – I’m going to work on getting caught up…

And it starts with a beautiful fall weekend in the middle of October.  The weather was perfect.  We hadn’t had the opportunity to go camping all year (the current arrangement of working in one state while living in another makes weekend camping trips fairly difficult!).

So – with a fabulous weather forecast and an extra day off – we loaded up the camper and headed to Norris Dam State Park.

Mike REALLY loves being outside.  And he REALLY loves wearing his jacket (both indoors and out).  And he LOVED his previous camping trips – even though the last one had been nearly a year ago.  So we were fairly confident that he would have a wonderful time.

And we were right!  It all started from the moment we arrived.  We backed the camper in to the spot and all got out of the truck.  Mike immediately started walking around the camper and studying various parts as if he was performing some sort of inspection.  After walking the entire perimeter, he declared that the camper was a garbage truck!

While “The Dad” finished setting up the camper, “The Mom” took Mike and the dogs inside to keep them all contained.  “The Mom” flipped on the satellite radio to the bluegrass station.  Yes – for you camping purists – our camper is indeed a rolling Holiday Inn.  Complete with stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, shower (with HOT water), and – yes – satellite radio.

From the outside, “The Dad” heard what sounded like a thundering heard of elephants coming from inside the camper.  Turns out, all of that thundering stomping was Mike!  He was cutting a rug dancing to the Bluegrass music.  He absolutely LOVED IT!  And with that little discovery – the “Kids Channel”is now on MUCH less.  After all, “The Mom” and “The Dad” also prefer Bluegrass to “Kids Place Live”…

After camp was set up – Mike came back outside.  He walked out – took a few steps around – and with a very surprised look on his face he exclaimed, “It’s NOT a garbage truck!  It’s a CAMPER!”

And that set the tone for the rest of the weekend.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of fun.  And the best part?  We were all three together…

Mike in the tunnel

Mike decided that the chairs were his “tunnel”…

 

Mike in the tunnel

…and he climbed through his “tunnel” all weekend!

 

Mike with some dirt

“I need a little more dirt on this carpet…”

Mike and The Dad playing with cars

Mike and “The Dad” play with Matchbox Cars!

Mike playing with cars

“See daddy – this one goes like this…”

Mike playing ring toss

“Why throw the rings when you can just drop them on to the pole?”

Mike playing with some leaves

Pick some leaves up…

Mike playing with some leaves

…put them in the bucket…

Mike playing with some leaves

…and dump them on the carpet!

Mike with some dirt

Boys and dirt just go together.  The cool part?  Most of these cars belonged to “The Dad” back when he was Mikes age!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Metric

Ahhh – the Great Pumpkin Metric.  A sure sign that fall has arrived!  This is not to be confused with “The Great Pumpkin” made famous by Charles Schulz.  Nope – this is a bike (pedal – not motor) ride in Evansville Indiana.

We’ve ridden it in the past.  We’ve ridden the 100K route several times.  We’ve ridden the 50K route a time or two.  But we had never ridden the 25K route.

25 kilometers.  It works out to be about 16 miles.  It’s a route that many people ride with their children.  And this year – we decided to take OUR child on the ride!

We weren’t sure how it would go.  Mike had certainly enjoyed his rides in the bike trailer – but this would be farther (and longer) than he had ever gone.  So – with a “why not” attitude, we registered for the ride…

The morning of the ride was exceptionally nice!  The sun was bright.  Not a cloud in the sky.  The temperature was not to hot and not to cold.  It was going to be a perfect day for a ride!  We started unloading the bikes and the trailer.  As we unfolded the trailer – Mike wanted in right away.  We explained that it would be a little while before we actually started riding – but he didn’t want to hear it.  He was excited and ready to get started!

We finished getting the bikes ready.  Aired up the tires.  Picked up our packets.  Pinned on our numbers.  Stretched a little.  Gloves – check.  Sunglasses – check.  Helmet – check.  Hooked the trailer up. 

By this time, Mike was PAST ready to go!  He was ready to skip all of this silly nonsense and get on the ROAD!  So off we went on our epic journey…

I'm ready to go!

“Ummmm – can we go now?”

 

We had ridden about a mile.  That first mile.  On a long ride – it’s always the first mile that is the hardest – knowing that you have sixty-some-odd miles to go.  But for this short ride – it was the hardest because we didn’t know how Mike would do.  Then – all of a sudden – we heard it.  Mike.  In the trailer.  And he was….

…not crying…

…not screaming…

…not throwing a fit…

…not wanting out…

He was SINGING!  It was Old MacDonald (the Mike remix version).  “With a moo moo here and a moo moo here and a moo moo here and a MOOOOOOO!”.  At that point we began to relax a little and enjoyed the ride.

Halfway through the ride (about 8 miles or so) was our SAG stop.  SAG – Support And Gear – would be know to most “non-cyclists” as a rest stop.  A chance to get a bite to eat and a little something to drink (and a potty if you need it).  Since this was Mike’s first ride – he had no idea about SAG stops.  But he walked right in and handled it like a pro!

Mike at the SAG stop

“WOW!  This is a SAG stop?  I love it!”

Mike at the SAG stop

“Dang!  We need a SAG stop at home!”

Mike at the SAG stop

“Alright guys – let’s saddle up!  I’m ready to get back on the road!”

We finished up the ride with no problems.  Mike sang some more songs to us.  Some “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.  A little “Thomas and Friends”.  An encore performance of “Old MacDonald”.  He even took a short nap (one of the MANY benefits of riding in the trailer!).  Mike had a fabulous time – and “the mom” and “the dad” had a good time too!  We are looking forward to riding again next year!  And who know – perhaps we will take Mike on a couple of different rides next year!

Finishing the ride

Mike and “the dad” finishing the ride!  Notice that Mike is taking a drink from a cycling water bottle!  Gotta train them early…

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“That was FUN!”

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“All that riding sure made me thirsty…”

Pap would be proud!

Ok – I understand that it has been a while since the last post!  However, if everything goes right this week – then you might be in luck.  There may be another post or two later this week!

But that is for later.  And this is now…

There is SO much that has changed since August on the “Mike development scale”.  He really is – quite literally – changing every single day.  But if you are going to tell a story, you’ve got to start somewhere.  And since Mike truly is “all boy” – then we might as well start this story at “the boy’s store” (known to many as ‘Lowes’).

We had been working on  painting / remodeling the upstairs bathroom.  It was one of the first rooms we did when we moved in to the house – which means that it had gone the longest without much done to it.  Of course, that means that we needed to make a trip or two to to Lowes to buy some tools and supplies.  One of the things we needed to get were some new “white” plugs and switches and eventually found our way to the electrical isle.  Mike stood in front of the all those display light switches and said “WOW!”.  Twenty minutes later he was still flipping all of the switches on and off!

I just stood there and watched him with a big smile on my face.  Because in my heart – I know that Mike’s “Pap” was looking down on the two of us and telling all of the angels in heaven, “That’s my grandson!”

 

Mike likes light switches!

Off and on and off and on and off and on…

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mike learns to play Corn Hole!

On many evenings, Mike will walk over to you and grab your hand saying “Walk!  Walk mommy!  Walk!”.  He will lead you to the front door and proclaim that he wants to go outside.  Once he gets outside – he’ll announce that he is going to Todd and Maureen’s house.

This weekend, Todd and Maureen were having a gathering at their house (a small party for Angie) and they invited us over.  Mike grab our hands and said “Walk!” and we said “ok…”.  We went to the front door and Mike said “outside” and we said “ok…”.  Mike said “Go to Todd and Maureen’s” and we said “ok…”.

He was obviously only Todd and Maureen to be there.  At most, he was expecting Angie and her dog Max.  He certainly wasn’t expecting a house full of folks!  We actually got to see a small “shy” streak!  But it only lasted for a minute before he was socializing…

We made our way out to the deck and sat down.  Mike started watching on ongoing Corn Hole game.  Just in case you’ve never heard of it – it also goes by other names like Bean Bag Toss or Hillbilly Horseshoes.  The goal is to toss a “corn bag” (same as a bean bag) on to a board.  If it lands on the board you get 1 point.  If it goes in the hole on the board you get 3 points. 

Mike watched and watched and watched.  Teams changed.  New games started.  And Mike kept watching and studying.  He would occasionally point as if he was going to make a grand proclamation about what he was watching.  But then he would put his arm down and study some more.

He was obviously studying the game.  Learning the rules.  I’m sure he was doing “toddler level” calculations on inclined planes and projectile motion (Sid the Science Kid IS one of his favorite shows – and they have “toddler level” episodes on things such as this!).

After some time, the Corn Hole players took a break.  Mike grabbed my hand and said “Walk daddy” and he led me to the Corn Hole boards.  He stood next to one board for a few seconds – taking it all in.  Then he reached down and picked up one of the bags and studied it.  Then he looked down at the other board.  I said, “Go ahead buddy.  Give it a try!”

He looked up at me – then looked at the board some 30 feet away – then looked at the board right next to him – and looked back at me with a very expressive look that said “why throw it all the way down there when I can throw it in the hole right here”…

…which is exactly what he did!  And then turned and looked at me with his big grinning face as if to say “see daddy – that was MUCH easier”!

Mike plays corn hole

“This game is a lot easier using MY rules!”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The first step towards potty training…

We’ve never been ones to rush Mike’s development.  Well – except for the walking.  But I’m guessing that everyone who might be parents to a child with clubbed feet would be at least a little anxious about that…

But as for everything else, we’ve completely taken the attitude of “it’ll happen when it happens” and we simply enjoy the current moment rather than trying to usher in the next.

And the same goes for potty training.  Sure - it seems like it would be nice to not have to mess with diapers anymore.  But that is the last little tidbit of “babyhood” that we are hanging on to.

However, Mike has certainly started to take an interest.  And while we don’t want to rush him in to anything – we also certainly don’t want to hold him back either.  So we have some “potties” (thanks Jim and Allison!) and we are take the first little step.

It’s not exactly “training” – at least not yet.  It’s more of an “introduction”.  Potty – meet Mike.  Mike – potty.  And there are already some funny stories to tell.

One of the clues we had that Mike was interested in the potty was that he started showing a keen interest when “The Mom” or “The Dad” went to potty.  It’s dangerous when he goes to watch “The Dad” potty.  He has seen shooting streams of water at the water park.  They sure were fun to play in!  Hey look!  Daddy can shoot a stream of water!  That sure looks like it would be fun to play in!!!

It’s less dangerous when he goes with “The Mom”.  But he is learning by observation.  So – here’s how it goes.  You sit on the potty.  And sit a little longer.  Then a second longer.  Then you grab some paper and throw it between your legs and in to the potty.  Cool – got it!

All of our “more experienced” parental friends have told us that you also need some sort of “reward” for using the potty.  Some sort of “incentive” so that they’ll keep wanting to come back.  Something like a sticker – or a small piece of candy.  Candy?  Mike?  Giving something sweet to Mike would be more of a punishment. 

But we do have a small “reward” for Mike when he uses the potty.  Something that makes him extremely excited.  So happy that he can’t wait to get his hands on it. 

What is it?

A single square of toilet paper for him to throw between his legs and in to the potty…

Hey - I'm busy here!

“Umm – can I have a little privacy please?”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shopping with Mike

This past weekend – JCPenny’s was having a white sale.  And we have been needing some new pillows for our bed.  And there you have it – supply meets demand…

We all three loaded up and headed to the mall.  Shopping with Mike has never been much trouble.  He usually enjoys it as long as you don’t loiter in one area too long.  And after loitering in the pillow section for longer than what we should have, Mike reminded us that it was time to move on.  “The Dad” took him out of his stroller and they went for a walk while “The Mom”stayed to search for that perfect pillow.

Mike wound his way through the bedding department.  After a few minutes, “The Dad” realized that Mike was stopping and looking at each of the display beds that were set up.  He would walk up to them, look at the design on the comforter, the pillows on the bed, and then shake his head and quietly say “no”.

After stopping by a dozen or so beds, he found the perfect one.  A simple, green colored comforter with green and brown pillows on it.  He turned around and looked up at “The Dad” with an excited look in his eye and began patting the top of the bed.  Even “The Dad” could figure out what that meant – so he picked Mike up and sat him on the foot of the bed.  Mike immediately made his way up into the middle of the pillows, rolled over on to his back, looked over at “The Dad” and said, “Night night”.  Then closed his eyes and did his best fake snore.

After a good chuckle (19 months!  Where do they get this stuff!) “The Dad” looked at Mike and asked, “Hey buddy – is this the one you like?”

With all of the seriousness of a jury handing down a verdict – Mike looked up and answered “Yep”…

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“This is the bed that I liked the best!”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Color Train

I’m sure that many of you have never heard of the book “The Color Train.  A First Book of Colors”.  As a matter of fact – you can’t even find out anything about it from Google.  And if it’s not in Google, then it doesn’t exist!

Except this book does exist.  I have a copy of it sitting right here next to me!  I’m guessing it’s about 37 years old (there is no copyright date in it).  It was printed by “Western Printing Company” before they became “Little Golden Books”.  It’s one of “the Dad’s” books from when he was Mike’s age.  So you know it has to be older than dirt…

And right now – it’s Mike’s favorite story!  He absolutely loves it and we read it to him nearly every night – at least once (if not two or three times).  And as soon as he sees it, he gets excited and starts bouncing up and down and clapping his hands and saying “Color Train!  Color Train!”.  You can’t help but to smile along with him…

This past weekend, we took a very rare trip to the mall.  We came in through a JCPenny’s entrance – wound our way through the store towards the mall.  As we were exiting Penny’s and entering the mall – there it was.

THE COLOR TRAIN!

And it was chugging around the mall!  And kids were riding in it!  It had the red car!  And the yellow car!  And the blue car!  And the engine!  Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!!!!!!

Mikes eyes were absolutely as big as pie pans.  He couldn’t believe it!  The color train was REAL!  For Mike, it was every bit as amazing as finding out that Santa Claus was real.  Of course, we had to follow it around the mall to find out where it stopped.  And as we walked up to it – Mike kept saying “Color train!  Color train!” as if he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t as excited as he was!  and then it happened.  He touched it!  It really was real!  Again – Mike was stunned with disbelief.  His eyes really WEREN’T deceiving him!  The color train REALLY WAS REAL!

It was absolutely the best trip to the mall I’ve ever had.  And I know it was Mike’s favorite too!

The Blue Car

“Holy cow!  I’m sitting in ‘The Blue Car’!  You never told me The Color Train was REAL!!!”

 

The Yellow Car

Mike sat and patiently explained about all of the cars.  “This is ‘The Yellow Car’.  Up there is ‘The Black Car’.  Behind us is ‘The Blue Car’ and ‘The Red Car’.  ‘The Engine’ is up front!”

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Trip to Lowes

Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse.  The quintessential “Man’s Store”.  Not saying that there aren’t plenty of women that shop at Lowes – there certainly are.  But it just doesn’t seem like the women in the store have that same gleam in their eye.  That little sparkle that all of the men have as they wander aimlessly down the aisles.  Like a kid in a candy store.  That “Wow – look at THIS!  And THAT!  Would you look at THAT!!!”

You might think that this is a “learned” behavior.  I do it because I saw my dad do it and he saw his dad do it.  And so on and so on.  Throughout the history of hardware stores.

But I’m here to tell you that this behavior is at least partially genetic.  And here is why I think so…

A couple of weekends ago we took Mike to Lowes.  It wasn’t his first trip – but at 18 months, it was the first time he’s been since he’s been “aware” of his environment.  We walked in the front door to be greeted by several shiny lawn tractors. 

“Tractor!  Tractor!” he announced and took off running.  Not once did he ever turn around to see that “twinkle” in his dad’s eye.  At that point – he didn’t even care if his dad had eyes!  He was 100% on his own…

“That’s right Mike!  And how does a tractor sound?”

“blub-blub-blub-blub-blub”

We spent the next 45 minutes investigating every last feature of every last lawn tractor.  Tested every seat.  Kicked every tire.  Inspected each mowing deck.  Yanked on every steering wheel.  Mike pointed out every color – “green” and “yellow” (obviously for the John Deer’s), “red” (those were the Toro’s)…

And on it went until it was finally time to walk the next 20 yards in to the store (are those grills I see up ahead?).  Before we left, I asked Mike which one was is favorite.  Without hesitation, he immediately walked up to the Husqvarna and excitedly announced “Orange!”.

That’s my boy!  You can take him out of East Tennessee – but he’ll always be a Vol…

Mike on the John Deer

“You guys never told me that Lowes would be SO MUCH FUN!”

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What happened to June?

Boy it sure has been a while since I posted something!  So much has happened that I’d never be able to put it in one post.  And I’ll never get caught up if I put it all in separate posts.  So I’ll give you the highlights for June.

First of all, Mike, “the Mom”, and “the Dad” got to spend an unusually large amount of time together!  “The Mom” ended up not teaching for the first summer session.  And with some planning, and also some very “unplanned” trips, we all three got to spend most of the month of June together.  And what did we do with our time?  Why – we enjoyed being a family!

And here’s the where the whirlwind highlights begins…

We spent lots of time at parks.  Mike discovered slides!

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“Weeeeee!!!”

We got a new train set.  Thanks Tanya!!!!  This has been a BIG hit!!!

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“Now I can say ‘woo woo’ and ‘chugga chugga chugga’”!

We learned how to do some chores – like washing dishes!

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“Washing dishes is fun at my age!”

We discovered (or re-discovered) the Fun Fountain…

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“Wow!  The clown head sprays out water and lifts the hat in to the air!”

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“I like to catch the water and eat it!”

We went to the zoo too!

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“That red fox looks like our dog ‘Foxy’!”

We took Mike swimming for the first time.

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“Look at me!  I’m fearless!!!”

And Mike turned 18 months old!  A year and a half.  How can that be?  He was just born a couple of weeks ago.  Or maybe it was a month or two ago.  Certainly not more than three months ago…

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“I’m a year and a half!  And I’m growing like a weed!”

We did have on really sad moment during our “month of June”. Our Aunt JoAnne lost her battle with cancer. She always had a knack for making you smile – no matter how you might be feeling at the moment. And while we will miss her, we are so very thankful that she is no longer suffering.

That about sums it all up.  We had such a wonderful time together.  And we got to see a lot of friends and family too!  I’ll be sure to post more 18 month pictures (they turned out very nice!) and I’ll try to be better about keeping you all updated!

So – until next time – as Mike would say, “bye bye”!