Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I spent the morning getting some errands run, but I did stop and shoot a few pictures of a P-3 Orion that was making touch and goes.  He's from Whidbey Island NAS, but no one there would tell me what squadron he was it was national security or something.  Honestly, all i wanted to be able to do was say, "Hey, guys from Squadron XX, way to go, you brought smiles to me and my daughter this morning!!"   Oh, well.  Can't say thanks, gotta just think it at them real hard and maybe they'll hear.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Old Homestead

 About 25 miles to the East of my house is this homestead.  I've watched it through the years.  When I was still in high school it had a windmill for pumping water into a trough.  That has long since fallen.  There used to be a few more buildings, but all that's left now are two cars, two farm implements, and two buildings.  I doubt if the one below quite counts as a barn, but it IS an out building and that's close, right?

 I hope you'll click on over to Barn Charms and see some of the barns there.  I've been out of the mix lately for a variety of reasons, many of which center around being a parent of a two year old.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Too Much Elmo?

Christmas! Ho Ho Ho!!

 We spent Christmas Eve with Cora's family and had a great time!  I managed to snag a GREAT camera bag!!  Chloe managed to make a great haul, too!  But most of all it was great seeing family.  And, to me, that's the whole reason for the season!  I love seeing family that I don't usually see!
 Of course, this is Chloe's first Christmas!  We are so beyond happy to celebrate it with her!  She is a quick study and was ripping into the wrapping in no time!
 She and her cousin managed to keep everyone busy.  Here you see Leah with her baby and stroller!  Both girls liked that.  Something we did not foresee.
Merry Christmas to you all!!!  We are relaxing as a family this morning.  We'll see my parents soon and then have tomorrow to spend together as a family before Cora has to go back to work.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Happy Good Tidings!

 I hope every person out there has a Happy Holiday!  (If you're Jewish, enjoy that Hanukkah!)  We are going to celebrate Christmas...and a couple birthdays.  Cora's sisters were born today, so Happy Birthday to both of them!  (If it were me I'd have sent Santa a note concerning his disappointing lack of taste and consideration, but Cora was a good sister.)  If anyone is celebrating Kwanza, well, i don't know much about it, but I hope it's good!  And Boxing Day is right around the corner, Cora got that off, thank goodness!

Chloe loves to read, that's the reason for the photo above.  It's one of the shots I got of her this week.  I thought it was sweet.

I took the picture below and I wanted to share what I'd done to it...Which do you like?
  well, whatdya say?  I know you've got an opinion.  Everybody does, and they usually share it whether you ask or not, and I AM asking, so go for it!  I was just having fun with it, so there's no skin off my nose!

Enjoy the holiday of your choosing!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Pleasures of Sesame Street and Traditions!

It's 7AM, what are you watching on TV?  Here, at our house, it's Sesame Street.  Ahh, the pleasures of toddler devoted programming.  Today's show is about siblings.  Hurrah.

Speaking of siblings, my sister discovered something in her closet yesterday.  Click here and see the first picture, in that picture you will see the stuffed animals that my sister and I have been passing back and forth for over 20 years.  That is what she found in the closet.  We have been coming up with more and more devious ways of delivering the animals into each other's homes or arms.  One time my sister gave the animals to us on an airplane.  Another time I sent the animals to an aunt in Colorado, where she ambushed my sister with them as gift.  When my sister held an open house shortly after buying her first house, the animals found their way into her basement.  when we moved back from California, the animals came to help pack!  Ah, I love tradition!  

For the past week or so, I have been dropping hints, via texts, to see if she had located them.  Each time I was somewhat dismayed that she had not located them yet.  She had nearly caught me as I was arranging them in her youngest's bedroom.  I had explained that Chloe needed to be changed.  Thankfully, I had changed Chloe first, so had a diaper to offer my nosy sister when she came in and almost caught me!  I quickly hid the bag in the closet when she left, hand full of diaper.

Christmas is coming fast.  I think we are caught up on gifts.  I'd love to get more for Cora, but more would mean time and money that we don't necessarily have.

I took this picture at a local church.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ah, Solstice

 Chloe and I went to town yesterday.  I took her to the doctor for a quick check, she was fine.  Then we went for a short drive during which i took a few pictures.  Which I brought home and put my own touch upon.
 They were kind of boring shots before, but they are marginally more interesting now.
 As you can see, Chloe decided to play for awhile.
 I have a lot to do, but doing things with a two year old is, at best, a challenge.  I don't know how single mothers do a thing!  They have my eternal respect.  I get a few things done during the day, but honestly, it's a small percentage of what I could do if not tripping over Legos, toys, and a toddler.  Speaking of whom, have a look at this.  Chloe disappeared down the hallway the other night.  Since it was a bit too quiet, I went to investigate.This is what I found.
Should be a good day.  I need to find out what I am expected to bring for Christmas...what kind of food, etc. should be enough time for me to do some shopping.  I've been trying to make progress on the house, but yesterday, I was as tired as Chloe at nap time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Napalm Poo

I stayed home with Chloe again today.  As a teacher whose Christmas break is current and on-going, I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise.  We went to town and did some Christmas shopping, got some groceries, and hung around in stores doing daddy and daughter things, like I would sing to her while she was in the cart.  At one point I was singing, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," by the Beatles to her, when she said, in increasing volume "NO Dad-deee!"  Then she proceeded to tell me she wanted Down Baby...a song she has come to love.  Some heads turned since I had NOT been singing loudly.  Ah, the joys of a two-year-old.

We got home and I gave her lunch.  She finished and I decided to give her some play time to wind down.  I was sitting in my chair when I heard her grunt and strain.  I knew it was a poopy diaper, and normally would have called, "NOT IT!"  But Cora was at work, and the dogs do not do well at baby sitting.  I've tried!

So, I gave her a couple minutes to be sure there would be no surprises when we got to the changing table.  See!?  Smart, huh!

When I grabbed her I noticed her sleeves were still wet from the soup she'd been playing in.  Then, as we crossed the threshold of the hallway I became aware of a moistness at her lower back.  "Huh," I thought to myself, "I didn't see her spill soup back there."  Just then the air currents changed and I got a very heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach as I realized what I was probably feeling.  Never being one to enjoy a good mystery, I turned the child over to investigate.

I instantly regretted my curiosity.

There was was the color looked to be the consisten- ...well, it was crap.  It was a gooey form that had properties of watery refried beans.  I assumed it was more pasty and would stick to wherever it was.  That would have been a useful form for it to take.  It did not however act that way.

I noted that what had come out was creeping out the back of her diaper, much like a tube of tooth paste, except you never want your tooth brush within a mile of this stuff.  The smell was...overpowering.

I set her down on the changing table and began to take her clothes off only to find they were all contaminated.  I started say "NO, no, no, nooooo," without realizing it.  I used that horrified, semi-speechless, scared voice, you know, the one you keep hidden away, saving it for a Zombie Apocalypse?  Yeah, that one.

Chloe began to move as she always does, but the tone of my voice must have meant something to her, it probably touched one of those primal parts of her brain, because she stopped.  I grabbed a clean diaper and put it under her and began removing the old, and cleaning her bottom.  I got her cleaned enough that I felt I could put her down.

Then I began to remove the diaper which was full and sodden.  I expected the entire pile to remain stable, stuck to itself and the diaper, obeying known laws of physics.  However, as I neared the diaper pail, some strange vagary of gravity, or perhaps it was an air current, slapped playfully at my hand and the entire affair shifted, at which point the pile disintegrated and flung itself in several directions at once.

I was staring in slow motion as the whole affair fissioned into a horrible mess.  Splatters lit upon the comforter of the bed, the sheet, the diaper pail, the garbage can, the pair of pants I had removed a moment before and other less important, but equally revolting places.  My hand was no longer safe, either.  It was like napalm, it stuck to everything it touched.  Yet, it seemed quite willing to travel!  Oh, the humanity!!

Chloe remained at the epicenter of the odor extravaganza.  She looked fairly calm, except for the fact that I knew what was on her back.  I quickly ascertained there was no helping the bed, and returned to my daughter after depositing the vile Luv atop the diaper pale.

I examined her at arm's length and decided the bathtub was the safest bet and off we flew.  I held the child held away from me, whilst muttering what I hoped were comforting words, but must surely have sounded like I didn't hold any hope for saving her.

Into the tub, I discovered that a shirt can be taken off the wrong way.  This saved her from getting it near her head and after a quick bath, we returned to her room for pajamas and then I let her sit in the front room under a towel while I began to address the mess simmering in her room.  Decontamination took awhile, but finally it was safe for human occupation and I sent her to nap while I tried to forget the horror I'd witnessed.

Cora and my sister tell me this is not uncommon for parents.  I have never heard poop stories like this.  Of course, I rarely used to pay any attention to parental stories since they obviously are boring compared to the world of history and aircraft.  I now have a personal interest in these stories, since one day they may save my life, so if you have one, let me know!!!          

A Day With Daddy

 She was trying to help me in the kitchen while I was doing dishes, but she inevitably wants to shut the dishwasher before i am ready, so I told her to go play with her computer...I even set it up for her...she seemed to like it.
 Then we went for a walk and got the mail.  We went to the park and played on the swings and went down the frosty slide.  Then we came home and she made some fashion choices before watching Sesame Street.
 She was totally engrossed in Sesame Street and if she noticed the flash going off, ignored it.
 Then it was time to do an art project, which included paint, but I chose to leave the camera in a safe place while that was happening.  It was safe when the crayons came out.
 I think days with Daddy are ok by this girl's reckoning.
 She loves Elmo, have you noticed?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Busy Weekend, and Never Long Enough

 I saw someone post on Facebook a photo that had obviously been run through a program, but I liked it and sat there visualizing how they'd done it.  Of course, iPhones do it automatically, but I had to do all the steps in the right order.  I think I did ok, not quite and exact match, but close.
 This weekend we tried to get some of the Seasonal stuff done.  Cora managed to wrap packages, we got a chance to go shopping, and we took Chloe to see Santa.  Check out Cora's blog for THAT photo!  It was awesome how she walked up to the man in red and, while not entirely relaxed about it, nevertheless confident.  Plus we were only a few feet away.  She's been talking about Santa for the past couple weeks!  Convinced that he'll be bringing candy...I'm sure he will.
 We built a gingerbread house, and by built, I mean we purchased a pre-made one and all we did was ice it and decorate it.
 Chloe helped herself to the candy decorations and by the end of the evening was bouncing, literally, off furniture.  She also accompanied herself with a Ti-ti-ti-ti clockwork sound that seemed to have the tempo of her movements!  We took her for a walk to try and burn off the energy from all that candy.  I have never seen a kid get so wound up on sugar!

All-in-all, it was a good weekend.  Cora and I got to eat lunch sans Chloe!

On the down side, Cora doesn't get to spend much time with us for the next couple weeks.  Which is totally sucky.  I think you ought to get two days for Christmas!  At least!  So, Chloe and I will be a Dangerous Duo this week!

Have a safe week!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's a War!

I own a Nikon.  I have shot with a Canon.  I like my Nikon, but I am fond of my Canon, too.  Not everyone has similar sentiments.  Lot's of people have STRONG opinions on which brand to buy, and which is better.  People will write some interesting things concerning the other type.  I prefer Nikon for my big cameras, and given our experience, Canon for point and shoot.  I haven't had the chance to use a big Canon, so my preference is limited to experience.  I found this video and thought anyone who sees it would get a big kick out of it, even without knowing about the fierce loyalties involved in camera brands.

Note the Canon people are the good guys...poor Nikon men.  I hope it brought a smile to you, it did for me!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Someone's Turning SIX!

  Long ago, the Beatles, a group that most of my generation and the generation before are familiar with, took a misunderstanding and went with it.  Paul McCartney was in an auto accident.  The fans thought perhaps Paul had died and because the group was experiencing such success that they had taken a look-alike and dressed him up as the now deceased Paul.  The Beatles took this odd hypothesis and they added to it by putting "hints" on their album covers and in their songs.  To most people, the albums look like 1960s albums, but to a devout fan who was certain of a cover-up, they looked like hints of Paul's demise.   Take, for instance the left handed guitar as a grave on the Sergeant Pepper Album.  Or the lyrics of "Glass Onion!"  Or the cover of "Magical Mystery Tour!"  There are MANY instances that fans cite as being hints of the loss of Paul.  I just thought that was an interesting, I'll go on to more interesting stuff!

The main point of this post, is:   My oldest nephew Eli is turning six in a few days.  He is an awesome little boy, whom I am quite fond of, and he is ALL boy!  So, it should come as no surprise that the game my sister and brother-in-law chose for everyone to play was completely boy related.  SHOOTING!  It couldn't BE more boy!  Boys LOVE shooting shit!  That's the God's honest truth!  I was a boy!  I loved shooting things!

I shot probably 500 to 1000 birds around our house between the time that I was 8 and 15.  I don't recall the exact year I received my first BB gun, but it was a wonderful toy and I spent many hours pushing .177 caliber BBs through its barrel.  I probably put more than the company-specified number through it.  It finally died.  It may be somewhere in my stuff, but I think I finally got rid of it since it wouldn't shoot past fifteen feet by the time I was 22.  I should have kept it.  It was a Daisy.

I need to get one for Chloe.

So, we had marksmanship games.  Involving BB guns, rubber band guns, and Sling shots.  My team was the Green Team.  We had my High School friend Brian, Myself, and his wife and one of the kids.  Brian nominated me as the shooter for the BB gun round.  I did my best.  I decided quantity was more important than quality, and I was rewarded.

I was greatly disappointed when I found one of the targets for my rubber-band gun was taped down and would not fly away as expected.  I know that my teammates added to our tally immeasurably, so I can't take credit for the final tally, as you can see, Brian ALSO got a bit of time in on the BB range.  It was a great time!  I enjoyed catching up with my old High School Friend and I couldn't help but notice that he would be a great parent!

But, I digress, it's nearly Christmas!!  It even showed in my sister's bathroom! 
 The Birthday Cake was homemade and delicious!  Look at the cookie snowman!
The birthday boy's youngest brother was cute as usual...

 Grandpa even tried to help his Grandson during the shootout!
I can only assume it is difficult having so many birthdays near Christmas...I'll never know, of course.
 Ahhh, back to the shooting!
Note how my father takes aim with his i-phone!

 David, observing the fall of shot.
 Uncle Brian making his best Davy Crocket impression!  "Goodbye Santa Anna!"
 Ahh, here is the Birthday boy!!  SIX is such an IMPORTANT age!

 I couldn't NOT shoot his sister, too!  Isn't she becoming a grown up!
 Now we see the birthday Boy opening gifts!
 And what both Cora and I are foreseeing as a dastardly duo...two cousins, frightening close in age, it will likely be the case that we will all be looking for them in the future when someone sees smoke. 
 Ah! CAKE!
 The SIX year old begins to wish!  I know he will be an awesome kid!  He already is!
Did I mention that the GREEN team won?  Yeah, that would AT LEAST in part, be because of ME!!!!

Never bring a knife to a shooting match!

And never challenge me to a match of marksmanship!