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??!?!!”


“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?”


“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!”