It is amazing to see how much the kids have changed in the past few years. Pumpkin Carving pictures from 2009 through 2013.
The Easter Bunny worked furiously through the night preparing and testing the treasure routes, hiding eggs all along the way. I wonder if there was any confusion this year as there were in years past, hiding eggs but forgetting where the next downstream one was to go. Probably!!!
After a quick breakfast to take up any precious room that might otherwise be used to store extra chocolate, or for the hideout of a recently digested Peep – they never do quite die and I am certain that one day there will be an uprising we will all regret – the treasure hunts began. This year though it was to be a bit tougher for each of the explorers; Jacob was getting older, Isaac was up a good challenge, Violet could now read and Piper was becoming the princess of puzzles.
While visiting in Indiana over the summer Carol and I took the kids on a super secret road trip to somewhere cool and exciting near Dayton, OH – or specifically the National Museum of the United States Air Force. When looking up things to do this seemed like a good option. It was reasonably close to Indy to accommodate a day trip, there was no entry fee, they had food onsite and best of all it was chalked full of anything and everything that could, did or might one day fly.
There is no pamphlet that could ever come close to doing this place justice – no way – no how. This is the best museum I have ever been too related to aviation – ever. I think it might even top or at minimum rival the Smithsonian in D.C. – hard to say though since my visit there was in eighth grade. Regardless, the Air Force museum was top notch from the moment we entered when they opened until we were ushered out the doors when they closed. A long day of walking, reading, sightseeing and generally staring in disbelief at the sites surrounding you in three massive hangers. Continue reading
Christmas this year introduced a new member to our family named Red. And NO to those of you thinking the unthinkable – the family head count remains at a solid seven, including the dog. This little persons name, after much enthusiastically and somewhat fanatical debate among existing family members was determined to be “Red”. Red the Christmas Elf. He would only be around for a few weeks out of the year, didn’t eat much and pretty much remained stationary throughout the day – at some point during the day, when our eyes were cast elsewhere, he would just vanish until the next morning. Red had some specific rules about being touched or bothered as well – certainly the kids were to strictly forbidden to touch him and to leave him alone lest he lose his observational and somewhat magical powers granted by the spirit that is Christmas. Red’s job was to cast a watchful eye upon his family, take score of the good versus bad and report back to some higher power a recommendation as to which list each household member might befit. Somehow during his strictly “observational” process he would always find a way to cause mischief and leave a mess.
Two nights before Christmas however, Red left something additional in each of the stockings of the Children of the Corn. A gold dipped envelope containing a silver inked letter from The Man himself. Now was the time of reckoning. The time of knowing. Was it the good list or the bad. What did Santa think? What did he know? When we opened our weary eyes the next morning would they sparkle and shine from majestic reflection of silver and gold or be dim from broken hope and disappointment.
A recent foray into the kids school yesterday to return a book bag overlooked by its rightful owner upon exiting the van while hastily headed to stand in a magical line. Said book bag in hand I signed into school and applied my sticky name badge identifying myself as non-hostile. It was then that I noticed an unusually large number of kids standing in line around a corner, a destination somewhere unseen, and sound decibel levels near rock concert pandemonium. Earlier the kids were excited about purchasing a special pencil at the book store before class so I figured Piper, the rightful owner of the abandoned book bag, would be in line somewhere. Searching, I was passed by kid after kid, each with a pencil in hand, or tucked up under their nose, all sniffing heftily. The line continued down a hall and around a corner and at the end I saw the destination of each of the queued – an ordinary looking table, attended by ordinary looking teachers, selling ordinary looking pencils. But wait. The kids near the front of the line were vibrating with joy and excitement. Looking past each ahead with both envy and hatred that they might reach their destination first and by chance deplete the stockpile of tabled treasure. I heard then from the peddlers up ahead, a dreadful announcement, “Only three left”, followed by a roar of elementary curses and a crushing push from those in line trying to rush the table in a last ditch effort to get their clammy hands on the last of the vehicles of their writing desire, the type of rush you would expect when Great White uses pyrotechnics on stage. It was at this moment that I learned of the connection between this now hysterical line and what our kids had been robbing piggy banks and having lucid dreams for. Smencils. These crafty little gems things are drugs but for entry level fiends. These magical little rolls of graphite surrounded by wood and topped with a squishy colored eraser might as well be laced with Florida Snow or Fatty perfectly disguised for private consumption for the level of obsession they insight. The line alone to purchase one of these was on par with how the Mac-ites enthusiastically lines up days ahead to offer paper donations to their fruity deity. I finally caught up to my bag-less princess and her brother skipping their way to class from the now broken line of envious onlookers. They were not in the lucky bunch to get a hit but both were optimistic that the next time the peddler came to bear gifts that they too might be able to fly.
We found a story in Isaac’s school work about our family dog, Uno. He loves to watch and play with Uno and we guess he has recently noted one of Uno’s special fall time activities. Our precious family k-9 has taken to befriending his pillow bed in a somewhat feeble attempt to sate his masculine urges. I have to wonder what goes though his head when this happens. Whenever we see Uno partaking in his enjoyment we stop him quickly but I am curious what the kids think he is doing…..Hiyo Silver….Away.
Jacob wrote a story recently for school about some time we spent playing in the yard. I thought instead of writing something up along with the pictures and video I would just use his story. Let him know what you think.
2010 was the year that I got my dad two katana swords for his birthday. Which I thought was really cool. The sad thing is that I didn’t get to play with them until last Saturday. Also because it was one year since I had got those swords. They’re really cool and it was worth the waiting! They are made of white oak which is a very strong type of wood. One of the swords is over half the weight of the other! I could barely lift it. Well, anyway I asked my dad, “Can I get the ninja swords out and play with them?”. “Gosh, I totally forgot about them!”, dad replied. “Well, all right.”
After about two months of talking about it, we finally got our day at the gun range. Jacob has been very patient over the past few weeks as trips have been planned and rescheduled or rescheduled and cancelled. Today though was the perfect day and instead of just Jacob and I going, we were all able to go and take our shots. We headed to Bulls Eye Marksman Gun Club and Indoor Range.
Jacob was interested in shooting his first rifle and after a few months of talking about it and learning the various safety aspects of doing so, it was time. They both hear me talking about going to the range and have been interested in joining me. I thought that would be excellent as well and have been working to that end. I certainly want them to understand and respect weapons as they grow, in particular if they have an interest – one of those instances where if they have an itch it sometimes helps to let them scratch it with you versus with someone else. Regardless I want them to understand what is acceptable and what is not. What rifles, shotguns and pistols are for, how to be safe around them and what to know and do when they might handle one. This was our first hands on lesson.
The day had finally come. We don’t have a small caliber rifle and I was wanting to start him out light with a 22 so both the noise and recoil didn’t give him a bad taste from the beginning. The range had a nice bolt action Ruger 22/77 with a low power scope that we took out for a spin. I was hoping for something with iron sites as a start but this was what they had and we made the best of it. It was a bit heavy though and there was some awkwardness in holding it because of the weight but the boys made the best of it and shot quite well.
Jacob won the coin toss and got first shot. He did remarkably well considering he had never shot before and we were in a very crowded and loud range with lots of noise offering easy distraction. His first two shots found their mark near the center and he was excited to continue. We let each of they boys run a clip through and took turns at the reload. Isaac had some initial trouble with sighting through the scope and adjusting to the weight. We propped it up on a towel that the range had for just this scenario and let him hold it a bit short and he was able to find his mark. After a few errant shots he slowly worked his way into the black and orange and as the shooting continued he was able to keep his mark most of the time.