Thursday, January 31, 2008

Daddy's Home!

Larry got to come home Tuesday night. I was there in the afternoon when his Doctor was scheduled to stop by. He was very pleased with how Larry was coming along and said he would be free to go home tomorrow or, if we wanted to push the matter, that night.

We seized on the idea of springing him out that night. I mentioned that I would be busy with Max at the CF clinic the next morning and soon it was settled that I'd be picking up Larry later in the day.

It's such a relief for us all to have him home. Larry no longer has to deal with the constant intrusions from the hospital staff, I no longer have to drive back an forth to a hospital 40 minutes away and the kids... well they're just happy to have their daddy back home.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Artist of the Week: Flat Stanley

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Nate. Here he is curled around his buddy John. Nate loves dogs and John in particular. When they are not racing around the house I'll find the two of then together, happy as clams.

But this is not about John or even dogs in general, it's about Nate's Flat Stanley.

A while back Nate had a big Flat Stanley project for school. We sent off his Stanley along with an instruction sheet to my friend Paul in Australia. A few weeks later Stanley returned with a huge amount of pictures and all sorts of neat stuff. Then it was up to Nate to pull the whole thing together in a sort of scrap book.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This is the cover to the end result. If you click on the photo it takes you over to my pictures and from there you can see the whole set.

Nate did the bulk of the work with just a little help from me on the captions. The entries with a red border are excerpts from the diary of Stanley's adventures in Australia. I think it came out rather well. His final grade was a 97 out of 100 points. The only thing that held him back was that the teacher wanted a bit more research included in the captions. Nate did a little, but not quite enough.

I loved the whole thing and I can't thank my friends enough for what they did.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

My poor husband has been stuck in the hospital since Thursday. It was a planned event; he went in for abdominal surgery that will ultimately result in a much happier hubby.

But in the meantime I'm driving back and forth to the hospital until he comes back home.

I'm lucky that Larry has a wonderful mom. She came down Wednesday with her husband to help out. They were able to manage kids and school buses while I drove Larry up the hospital. They were also still around this weekend while I had to shuttle Nate to soccer practice and a baseball clinic. It was so nice to be able to leave the other three home with their beloved grandparents and not have to listen to them whine about how bored they are. Sadly Herb and Diane left for home today so I'm on my own until Larry comes back home. Admittedly won't be up to speed, but he'll be home. Although I do miss my mother in law's mad house keeping skills.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's Been a Long, Long Day

Road Trip
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I'm too tired to write, but not too tired to share an unbearably cute photo.

This is what Nate and Rebecca look like on day two of a long road trip. I glanced back a one point during our drive up north and saw them fast asleep. I'm glad my camera was up front with me and not squirreled away in the back.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Artist of the Week: Homework

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This weeks artist is Jake. Here he is ready to pilot the toboggan down the hill.

In our school system science and social studies are only taught for one semester in sixth grade. Half the sixth grade takes Science in the first semester and the other half Social Studies. Then at the start of the second semester they switch.

Jake was taking Social Studies during the first semester. This week marks the beginning of the second semester. His first assignment was to make a picture of a scientist. Note he also had to have me sign his permission form to participate in the science fair, so I'm fairly confident that the assignments will become a bit more academically rigorous.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Anyway, this is the picture he came up with. He asked me a few technical questions, such as "Can labs have windows?" and "Do the lights have to be off when you use a microscope?". And as you can tell my answers weer yes to the former and no to the latter. He then set to work on his picture and the end result was a scene that looks very familiar to me, a former lab rat.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Going Out

Last night we met up with an old college friend for dinner. Josh was in town on a business trip and had emailed me earlier asking if we wanted to meet up with him.

The answer was an enthusiastic yes. It has been nearly a decade since I've last seen him. He was like a little brother to me in college, albeit a six foot plus little brother that towered over me, but he is a total pussy cat. He had attended Larry's and mine wedding and five years later we in turn had gone to his. I paid him, with Jake in tow, a brief visit the summer following his marriage to visit friends in the Midwest. He is the proud papa for two boys and a girl. The youngest being a little two year old little devil that does what he wants with a smile on his face.

We arranged to met up in Asheville at a reasonably well regarded barbeque joint. Unfortunately the place decided to close early even though I had called a day earlier to confirm that they would be open for dinner.

Argh, now what would we do.

Luckily Larry and I both showed up early and Larry went off to prowl the streets for another restaurant. When Josh showed up I called Larry and he had just found a place that was open, the Ironhorse. We headed on over to get some dinner.

The place was mostly empty, which was good since we were a big party.

We were warmly greeted and shown to a table with a crisp linen tablecloth topped with a sheet of white paper. The place was not at all geared towards children, but they didn't even bat an eye over our crew of four. In fact that bent over backwards to accommodate us. There was no children's menu, but the waitress told us they did have chicken tenders and the kitchen could whip up some grill cheese sandwiches. I asked if they had pasta and she went to check with the chef. She soon came back (all she had to do was walk ten feet over to the low wall separating us from the kitchen) and said yes, but she didn't know what form. That was fine, the older boys can be flexible about pasta and the dynamic duo settled on grilled cheese.

The kids food came out in a flash and they all happily tucked in. well except for Max. He didn't like the bread and peeled apart his sandwich and ate just the cheese. I didn't let Max complain about it (they had already done so much for us and it really was fine, he can be a bit fussy about bread), instead I told him he could have ice cream for dessert along with his siblings. The rest of the dinner was marvelous. I had a shank of lamb and it was terrific, very tender and flavorful.

If we are ever up that way again I wouldn't mind going back.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Snow Post

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Except for the crusty bits on the deck, Saturday night's snow is gone.

Up next tomorrow we get to look forward to freezing rain, sleet and *maybe* a flurry of snow. In other words, another lame winter forecast. The winters of my youth were much better.

In this picture I'm about four or five at our house in Connecticut . My father dug us out and one of my parents snapped this as I moved down the narrow path. One of my earliest winter memories was during another big snowfall when I stepped in a drift and sunk past my hips.

My children got a taste of this about four years ago while at my mothers. She got over two feet of snow literally overnight. Max and Rebecca were far to young to remember, but the boys still talk of it with amazement. It's a pity we have to go so far north to get a bit of true winter.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

There is Snow and Then There is SNOW

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
We got some snow last night. The final total wasn't overly impressive (less than an inch), but it was enough to coat the yard with pretty white fluff and paralyze the area.

We were planning on heading up to Richmond for a concert at VCU. Jake picked out a woodwinds and percussion master class/ concert to fulfill his quarterly requirement for band. I had forgotten about it until that afternoon when I found the flyer stuck amongst some papers. We decided the whole family would go since it was both free and at a reasonable hour (6 to 7 pm).

But then the now kept falling and we decided to rethink our plans. As I stated to Larry "I have full confidence in our ability to drive in the snow, but I have serious doubts about the other drivers in the area." Richmond drivers are not known for their winter driving skills and this being the first snow event of the season it seemed prudent to stay home.

So home we stayed, well except for Nate who went off on a sleepover.

The snow we ended up getting was pretty, but not much to write home about. Even John was unimpressed, he just didn't like the cold stuff between his toes.

Bailey on the otherhand, in this great video off of YouTube, got a much nicer dumping from a blizzard in the 1990's up in Colorado. Warning there is music with the video, but it does add to the clip.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I love Max and Rebecca's teachers. I think both of them got placed in the right classes for them.

Rebecca has a very experienced teacher who has the calmest and best behaved class in the school. She is not at all mean, she expects such behavior and gets it. Rebecca looks forward to school each day and is genuinely upset when she can't go.

Max's teacher is much younger, but started in the Richmond public school system. Nothing fazes her. She is positive and has a very dynamic teaching style. Best of all she completely gets Max and all his little quirks. He is not her only special health needs kid in her class. One of his classmates has a severe peanut allergy which makes Max's need for enzymes and unlimited potty access small potatoes.

But, and you new there was going to be a but here, things are a changing in Max's classroom.

His teacher is pregnant and is due mid March. Which is a bummer for the class, but she would get them through most of the year before handing over the class to her replacement. Unfortunately she has transitioned into a high risk pregnancy and had to stop as of last Monday.

She wasn't in on Monday and that wasn't a big deal. Tuesday and Wednesday she was again absent. When Thursday rolled around and Max got a substitute again I knew something was up. That evening I got an email from the room Parent (the parent that helps the teacher organize all the in class parties throughout the year) that told us what was going on and that Max's teacher wouldn't be coming back.


Now I have to reintroduce myself and bring up Max's needs with a new teacher. I'm lucky that Max has become the darling of the office staff (he sometimes dances for them when he goes in to get his enzymes). They look out for him and very very conscientious about his enzymes. Max too is very careful about such things and does not hesitate to speak up for himself. I just wish it wasn't happening.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Southern Snow

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Usually doesn't stick around very long.

Yes I know that we can get big snowstorms down here in Virginia, but the normal course around here is a brief flurry of flakes that make everything wintry and pretty and by nightfall it is all gone. I have learned to send the kids out pronto to play before it all turns to slush. There was a few years go when we had good snow coverage for a week and a half, but that is rare.

Today's forecast is for snow showers and rain. At 7:00 am Jake noted that it was still fairly dark out. I told him it was cloudy and sent him off to school 15 minutes later. At a little bit past 8, while at the breakfast table, Nate excitedly noticed it was snowing. Max and Rebecca crowed to the windows, both brimming with excitement over the large fluffy clumps dropping from the sky.

At 8:35 Max, Rebecca and I donned our coats and piled into the van to go to the bus stop, Nate had already gone ahead by foot (his bus arrives at 8:40, the dynamic duo's is 10 minutes later). We pulled up to the stop and I watched as they danced under the falling flakes.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I snapped a quick picture and then the batteries in my camera died. In due time the buses arrived at their appointed hours and whisked them all to school.

I loved watching the big fat clumps of flakes fall from the sky. The lawn, the trees, the deck and all the furniture outside got a lovely pure white coating of snow. I took a picture of this lovely scene while chatting on the phone with Meryl. I knew it would be gone soon and I decided to document it. It was about a quarter to 10 when I took this picture. It had stopped snowing by then and the rain hadn't started... yet. The temperature was above freezing and you could tell that the clouds were really not done.

Over the next hour and a half I saw the snow slowly fade away. The deck is slick with water and all that remains is the slush on top of the table.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The last picture was taken at 11:15 am. Jake is going to be sorely disappointed that he missed out on all the snow. The slush on the table *might* be still there when he comes home at 3:30 pm, but I'm not counting in it staying for much longer. At noon there was a hard burst of rain that has now settled into a gentle drizzle.

I'm glad we head up North to see my Mom at Christmas, at least the kids get a taste of real winter. Right now she has 4 to 5 inches on the ground. That is the one thing I really miss down here in Virginia. To me winter should be cold with a nice thick blanket of snow on the ground. It's been cold, but lacking in the snow end of things.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Artist of the Week: Portrait of a Dog

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Miss Rebecca.

She loves to draw pictures and her efforts are littered about the house. She will also have me mail off pictures to friends and family. Ther will be no note, just a cheerful little drawing carefully cut to size and signed by Rebecca.

She also loves dogs, in this picture she is sitting on the couch with my mother's dog Gwen. The two of them really enjoyed each other's company during our stay at my mom's house. Rebecca still missed our dog, but Gwen's presence blunted her sadness quite a bit.

A few days ago Rebecca came home with a couple of roughly index card sized pictures she made at school.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

Both were of dogs, one was of a rather long legged and the other was this cute fellow. She told me both were of our dog John, but the first one (the long legged beastie) did not come out quite right, so she tried again. She liked both of them and proudly showed them off.

I love them both, but especially the second one. Jake thought at first Nate had drawn it and was doubly impressed when he found out it was his sister's handiwork.

I find the portrait evocative of the illustrations from Circle Dogs, one of the many children's books I have that feature dachshunds (I collect them, so sue me), but not completely. Her art is very much her own.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Can I Play?

Can I Play
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I took this picture about 5 years ago, Rebecca is just about a year old and Nate is about 4.

Nate was practicing piano and Rebecca was fascinated. She wasn't really walking yet, but she loved to pull herself up and plunk on the keys along with Nate. He was very patient with her and I think he liked the attention.

Today was Rebecca's turn to play piano, she got her first official piano lesson. We started her after Max because she wasn't quite read, but he was. After watching he twin for a few months Rebecca started to ask us how to play. She would carefully pick out the notes of one of the beginning pieces. She just had to get her confidence up and see that she could do it before committing to actual lessons.

Our piano teacher is fabulous with children and It went very well today. Rebecca breezed through the first lesson and is already starting to play along with the CD (it was weeks before her brothers could do that). Having Rebecca wait until *she knew * she was ready really paid off.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nope and No way

My dog oriented email lists are abuzz with about the latest Pamela Anderson tour de force: Blonde and Blonder.

Mind you it is not a good buzz.

The Empire Film Group announced last week that they:
will donate all of its net theatrical revenues from the forthcoming release of the comedy "BLONDE AND BLONDER" to the animal rights charity PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), an organization supported by the film's star, Pamela Anderson. The film will open in theatres across the U.S.A. on January 18th, and is expected to generate tens-of-thousands of dollars for PETA.
There is absolutely no way I will support an organization I loathe. Mind you I don't care for Ms. Anderson either, but Peta is dedicated to the elimination of companion animals.

The quote that really kills me follows:
"We wanted to do something different and something positive," said Eric Parkinson, CEO of Empire Home Entertainment, the distribution division of Empire Film Group. "The agreement to donate theatrical revenues to PETA was important to Pamela Anderson and could inspire greater attendance for the film. Their group performs important educational and legislative work for animal rights, and we're honored to support them."

Noooo, more like a quasi-terrorist group that wants to force its views on everybody else if you ask me.

I know that the net profits are never very much, but it is the principal of the thing. This little announcement guarantees I will not go to this film and I hope you will skip it as well.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Jump Jive N' Wail

'Cause it's Friday!

I'd forgotten about Brian Setzer and how much I love his sound. There is nothing like the sound of a really swinging big band.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Bright and Shiny Smile

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Yesterday was Jake's big day at the orthodontist. After seemingly endless dental appointments, tooth extractions and an expansion bar, he finally got his braces.

It took just over an hour.

He was fine until about four hours later when it hit him. His teeth and jaw ached. Dinner was pretty much uneaten. A little ibuprofen and twenty minutes later he felt much better.

This morning he was miserable, so much so I let him stay home. I figured he had earned it. He was a champ after his teeth were pulled and headed off to school with nary a peep.

But tomorrow he'll be back at school.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Artist of the Week: Gingerbread houses

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week I have two artists of the week because I couldn't decide which one to feature first.

Max is looking pretty happy here with a sled on his head. After a couple of sled runs he was grinning from ear to ear. Max definitely likes doing the sled thing.

Anyway he also had fun making his gingerbread house which has no gingerbread in it at all. It is an annual project at the elementary school and it involves graham crackers hot glued to empty milk cartons, royal icing and a ton of candy donated by the parents.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I got to help both Max and Rebecca with their houses because the "parties" were scheduled on separate days. (I think the two teachers got together and planned it out that way, they recognize that it's tough having two kids in the same grade.) It was good messy fun and it was the first time I've been able to participate in this project.

Rebecca (caught here in Nana's backyard) was first up. I brought in icing that I made from pasteurized egg whites because I'm paranoid that way. Before we started the teacher did a big speech on how we must not eat the frosting because it contains raw eggs, which I appreciated from a food safety stand point. Not that the kids weren't going to inadvertently eat some of it. Rebecca made the whole thing herself. All I did was split up the liquorice whips. She came up with the whole thing and did not want any help from me. I think I might have suggested the doorknob, but that's it. I think it looks quite spiffy. When were done the houses were left in the classroom to dry over night. This would give the icing sufficient time to reach its final rock hard consistency. Her house is the one on the left (click the picture of the houses to see more of them in their photo set with the added bonus of notes).

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Max's house was made on the following day. He wanted me to be a little more hands on than his sister. I got to smear the frosting all over the house. Max does not do sticky and I was not at all surprised to get the job. Once the house was frosted, he took over. I really liked what he did with the candy canes. I never would have thought of that. The peppermints on the left side just cracks me up. He carefully placed the peppermints and then declared that they were a tractor. The M&Ms represent cut grass while the gum drops are the longer, uncut portion of the lawn. Such a guy. At the end of Max's party I took his house home and picked up Rebecca's that is how they wee able to get home intact. Buses are not kind to gingerbread houses.

I'm glad I was able to be there when they created their little masterpieces.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Too Picky For My Own Good *With Update!*

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I have a purse and it is perfect for me. It's a small Coach bag that I bought about 10 years ago. I remember debating with myself if I should splurge or not. Obviously I decided to buy it and I never regretted that decision.

But, sadly, all good things come to an end. After 10 years, four kids and endless miles of schlepping it about, the bag is showing its age. The seams are worn and in spots all the way through. So now it is time to find a replacement.

I did the sensible thing and checked out Coach bags both online and in stores around town. Unfortunately Coach no longer makes my bag and the ones they do have I do not want. They are either ugly or too big. I favor a small bag that I can sling over the shoulder or across my body. I like having a flap, not zippered, enclosure.

purse contents
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As you can see in the next picture I really don't carry much. I have my wallet, my coin purse, the check book and my cell phone. Not pictured is an assortment of bits and pieces of paper, old receipts, a tube of lipstick and some key chains (you can see some of the paper peeking out o the front pocket). In a pinch I can also cram in a bottle of Max's enzymes and a small thing of apple sauce. But that is it. I travel light and I like it that way.

Most bags I find today are far too big. I just want another plain and simple bag.

I'll just have to keep looking. Maybe I can send my old bag back to Coach and get it refurbished. Any ideas out there?

Update: Ha! I went on eBay last night and lo and behold I found a black version of my bag. I was able to snag it today for just $25.50 and that includes shipping. I love eBay.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Best Present

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
We didn't get to see my brother when we were visiting our mother, but he did leave us a present in the garage. He had flown in to see our Mom a few weeks earlier and picked out a beauty of a toboggan for us.

It's huge and can actually hold all of us if we squish ourselves just a bit. Every parent we encountered at the sledding hill admired it, the kids were no so impressed. But after a run they would realize that the old fashioned toboggans are still pretty cool. I would invite younger kids to ride down with us when it looked like they were being left out by the older kids in their group. Rebecca loved it when we picked up two extra girls and had an all girl sled run.

It has a very smooth ride as the wood flexes over the bumps on the the hill. My brother apologized for the lack of padding, but the sled really doesn't need it. It naturally has a far less jarring ride than the plastic sleds.

Here is a little sample of what it's like. The camera does bounce a bit, but that's due to the camera operator (me) than the sled.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It's a Barbie World

Barbie is a major player in this household. Growing up I was never a fan of Barbie and I had reservations about her when I became a parent. Then Bratz came out and Barbie started to look pretty good. Rebecca is a huge fan of Mattel's web site and she has all sorts of Barbies in her room.

But this is not about Rebecca, it's actually Nate that inspired this post. I noticed lately that he has been singing a bastardized version of "Barbie Girl." A few days later I was revisiting one of my favorite websites, Skippy's List, and from there to Skippy's blog. It's been a while and while reading up I click over to this gem:

I had to share this Nate. At the tender age of 9 he is already a huge history channel fan and has announced to us that he is going to join the military when he is an adult. I knew he would get a kick out of this. It combines the military, his new favorite song and a big dose of silliness.

And boy was I right.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside

It's officially wintertime around here with the mercury falling down to the *gasp* to around 16 last night and barely cracking the freezing mark during the day. Admittedly this doesn't hold a candle to what my mother is enduring up north in Vermont, but it's cold for around here.

This to me is ideal reading weather. I burned through two books on our travels and both were excellent reads. The first one was "Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938" by R.A. Scotti, I found it at my mother's house. She always has a few good books scattered about. I'm a weather junkie (as so is my mother) and my mother clearly remembers this particular blow and has told us tales of it. She was 9 years old and she and her family lived on the shore just north of Boston. It was literally the first hurricane she had ever experienced. Their first indication of how big a blow it was going to be when the barometer 's bottom fell out. My grandfather exclaimed "Jesus Christ" and then they all hurried to batten down the hatches. My uncle, stupidly and on his own, decided to save his father's new boat by riding out the storm. He lost control of the boat and nearly lost his life swimming back to shore. The boat in the end grounded and was stove in on one side.

The story is well researched and written with photographs documenting the absolute destruction of the Long Island Express. We have come a long way in weather forecasting and it was interesting to learn that the hurricane of '38 was the first one to hit the Northeast in over a hundred years. The weather pattern is certainly far different now.

Next up was "Water for Elephants: a Novel" by Sara Gruen. A work of complete fiction that completely draws you in to the life of a traveling circus from the perspective of the pseudo vet (he is and he isn't a vet, you have to read the book to find out the whole story). It's funny, tragic, heartbreaking and racy. Not something for the boys to read. It was at my in-laws and I tore through it in one night. My father in-law recommended it to me and I picked it up as something to read while doing laundry. I ended up staying up far to late to finish it as we were leaving the next day. I was a bit drawn out and my eyes were feeling a little gritty the next day, but it was worth it.

So that's what I did for winter break.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New York Moments

Proud Papa
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As part of our trip up north we spent a day in Manhattan to visit friends and meet someone (Ethan) for the first time.

The parents of Ethan are the very same people who got married last February. He is just a smidgen over a week old and we got to see him and his parents before we drove back home. There he is snug in his father's arms. I think his father is very happy with his new title of daddy.

Of course no trip to NYC is complete without pictures.

Since all six of us were heading into the city we decided to drive. I haven't driven much in NYC, so it was fun for me to play navigator and snap pictures while Larry manned the wheel. I got some classic shots when I remembered to take them.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

We crossed over Manhattan to the west side and then cut across at 57th and then dropped down Broadway. It was fun pointing out landmarks to the kids as we drove down Broadway. The Flatiron building is one of my favorites and I was pretty happy with the picture I got. Traffic was moving fairly well until we headed into times square. At which point we then realized that the next day was New Year's eve.

All sorts of things were being erected in Times Square, from stages to sound systems and a car up on a pedestal. We tried to figure out where the ball was going to dropped, but it was too quick. I have never done the Times Square thing at New Years, standing outside endlessly in the cold surrounded by strangers is very unappealing to me. I'd rather be at a party (or parties!). Anyway the crowds were not too bad, but we did get redirected to 7th ave. Which we didn't realize until a few blocks later. But it was not a big deal and we got to show the kids Madison Square Garden, a far more meaningful landmark to boys.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
In addition to all the landmarks NYC is filled with surprising details. At one point we were driving by one of the ubiquitous fast foods joints when something caught my eye. There was a line of seahorses done in what appeared to be ironwork above the restaurants awning. I don't know why they were there, but I was able to grab a quick photo as we passed by. I found them to be utterly charming and I was glad I saw them.

Then there is the downright odd.

dead santa
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It was a true "only in NYC moment" when this decidedly bizarre vehicle was in front of us. At first I only saw the two "Santas" hanging off the sides and the pile of junk on top. I didn't deem it picture worthy until I got a good look at the trunk. The dead Santa inside with a bony claw snaking out to clutch a club's name on a battered piece of wood was worth breaking out the camera. We followed the car for a few blocks and every time traffic slowed pedestrians would take pictures. It is a very effective for of advertising.

It's a good thing we don't do the Santa thing or I think this would have traumatized the kids. There was the potential to freak out Max (skeletons are very bad in his books), but his siblings had enough sense not to point out that aspect of the display in front of us.

Nate & Ethan
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Soon we reached our destination. I think the hardest part of the trip was finding a parking space for the van. The rocket box was on top and quite honestly when it is on the van it is too tall to fit in most parking garages. After dropping me off with the kids Larry was able to find a legitimate (and free!) spot not too far away.

It was great seeing our friends again. The new daddy is Larry's oldest friend and is called Uncle Johnny by our kids.We hit it just right and got to see the rest of Jon's family. Ethan's Bris was that morning and Jon's parents (who were almost Larry's second parents when he was growing up) along with Jon's brother (another good friend) and his family were still there.

Those of us over the age of eight got to hold the baby. Rebecca was kind of interested, but didn't sit still long enough. That's Larry's hand helping Nate support Ethan's body. It was a good visit and Ethan looks like a fine addition to the world.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Artist of the Week: Sledding

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
One of the high perks of visiting my mother, aka Nana, up in Vermont is that it is Vermont. We are far more likely to encounter snow up there in quantities far greater than what we experience down here in old Virginny.

Nate is this week's artist for his dare devil enthusiasm for the sport of sledding.

He desperately wants to learn how to ski and/or snowboard. At some point we'll ship him west to my brother in Colorado, but until then he has to make do with the awesome sledding hill next to his Nana's and the various sleds she has in the garage. For the five or so days we are there, he is outside hitting the snow.

This year he came up with a new twist. He decided to try riding down the hill while standing up. Ironically he hit on this notion just after I commented to Larry how my brother and I used to "surf" down the hill on our sleds. Larry suggested that I show Nate and I replied that he didn't need and encouragement from me on how to find new ways to wipe out.

And wipe out he did.

I started giving him pointers like bend the knees and stick out your bottom. And of course I had to show him how I did it (and I'm proud to say I did a decent job- the wipe out at the end was a bit rough, but not injurious). As the day wore on he got better and better, to a point that he was better than I ever was.

And here he is:

He was fine after that wipe out. I loved the fact that he'd give a big thumbs up after each and every one.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

the picture
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I hope y'all have a good new year, filled with love, happiness, laughter and good health.

We're back home and I'm so glad to be able to sleep in my own bed.