Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to the GRANDMama!!!

Today we celebrate the Birthday of a very special lady, mother, grandmom, wife, sister, and friend.

She teaches us to be brave, open our hearts and sing out strong...

With a tender grace matched by no other... We love you and we miss you mom! Happy Birthday!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sledge Hammer

Check out these fancy dance moves by our little Peter Gabriel fan!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Big Apple

According to Ben, this is an "Appoe". We keep explaining to him that there are other round foods. However, pumpkins and tomatoes have both continued to be "appoes" every time they are encountered. There was a "Biggest Pumpkin" contest at the Farmer's Market. This is Ben's vote for the biggest... whatever it is.
Ben was pretty impressed with the size of the orange fruits. He really thought they made great drums. That was pretty fun.However, he really just wanted to go to the playground. There, he rode the giant squirrel with glee!
We bought a lot of nice produce at the Harvest Festival. We let Ben bring home a small pumpkin of his own. He placed it on a stool and pushed it all around the house. He told us how excited he was about his "appoe".

We got some yard work done too. Our garden did a little something this year; we are learning. I have been peeling, freezing, roasting, and drying tomatoes. We had enough tomatoes that David decided to make some Tomato Bisque. That was brilliant! It was delicious!Sophie helped us harvest some of our tomatoes. Ben loudly informed us that Sophie had gotten hold of one of our "appoes". Apparently, I don't enunciate well while in the produce isle of the grocery store.

Our "Kiddely" sunned herself and pretended to ignore the tomato fiasco.

Sophie herded Ben around the yard with us a few times before we headed into the house. Thanks to Moeller's Nursery, we had the freshest, sweetest corn-on-the-cob of the year. Ben wouldn't eat any, but at least he did not call it an apple.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ode to 2nd Hand Shopping

I am a big proponent of buying things used when you can. In my opinion, refusing to shop at thrift stores and consignment shops is like recycling but then refusing to buy anything containing post-consumer waste. That being said, sometimes you can't find what you are looking for and sometimes there are good reasons that the stuff is there! However, if you look carefully, and often enough, you can run into some treasures that are there just for you.

Take for example this crazy 65-cent "Ducks" shirt I found for Benjamin. It quacks me up! It is perhaps the goofiest shirt he has ever owned. I love art. Don't get me wrong. This just happens to be tagged "not it" in oh so many ways. My local artist friend, Gail, and I critiqued it over coffee. It is so absurd that I actually love this shirt. Let me tell you why.

Ducks have webbed feet. I think Ben even knows this. How hard is it to draw webbed feet? The fact these this particular fowl have golf-club feet indicates they are not of a common duck genus; nor even a member of the family of Anatidae. But, rather, this appears to be a gaggle of mutant Kangaroo Duck. The "mama duck" appears to have a "joey duck". There is a mound of green grass but the Kangaroo Duck appears to feed on the shards of black "I"s and "M"s found where they stand precariously close to the edge of the stream. The candy-corn shaped bills indicate pecking. We will have a copy of Edward Lear's "The Duck and The Kangaroo" placed on order to eliminate any confusion this illustration may have caused for our young biologist.

You will also notice that the "sunshine" in this picture is actually a soccer ball. And, although the print shop clearly had the color yellow on hand, the sunshine remains white. It could be that the "artist" intended to present white light yet unseparated by a prism. However, my instincts tell me that this whiteout was because the "artist" was as high as this soccer ball when the scene was rendered. Someone forgot to put the "yellow" number on this paint-by-number eyeball in the sky.

Yes, it is a subtle silliness that pervades our home. We are all about animals, shapes and colors these days. We are, simultaneously, working on Benjamin's art appreciation and looking forward to the My Kids Closet consignment sale coming up at the Hamilton Fairgrounds. Who knows what sort of wacky attire I am going to bring home this time!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On the loose!

News Flash; There Has Been an Escape! The convict is a white male, 36.5 inches tall, last seen leaving his crib! Following several escapes from the 4-sided solitary-confinement security unit, parental authorities have had to admit that "Baby Ben" would be safest in the "Toddler" version of circadian containment (featured below). Luckily, secondary containment (his bedroom door) has not yet been breached.

Monday, September 19, 2011

All Together!

Dylan came from Moscow to wish his Mama a Happy Birthday! I had all my guys together and even held them down long enough for a picture!We had missed Dylan so much!We are all glad to have David back from his business trip to Belgium, too!We also got to see Dylan's girlfriend Kelsey again!
Ben had a good time decorating her with stickers. It is hard to accessorize tie-dyed attire properly, but Ben made it happen.Dylan and Kelsey played with Ben a lot, but only Sophie could keep up with Ben on our trail!
Now if we could just keep her off the patio furniture maybe she will become a good family dog!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Ben has gotten the lingo down pretty well, but he hasn't figured out how to stick his thumb up. Somehow his gesture is still effective. The sunglasses really help. With a future so bright, ya gotta wear shades! "Future" for a toddler is about 30 seconds, so the sunglasses were a short-lived thing.Ben is sort of redefining what "Cool" really means. Really, how cool do you feel when juice is running down your chin, you're still in your jammies at 10am, and you've wet your pants? That's confidence baby! Poor thing. He has no perception of what a little dork he can be. I love it! He is a daily reminder to not take life too seriously.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Julie!!!

Today we celebrate the amazing woman, mother, wife and friend that is Julie Burkhart! Kind beyond words, creative, fun, beautiful... every day I am so thankful to be a part of her life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Papa!

Boy, that is one cute little papoose! Thanks for passing along your good looks and charm, Papa!

I think the James Stewart / John Wayne grin (should I say smirk?) is an especially endearing family trait. Ed and I wear it with pride. I love this picture! I can't help but think it is missing a bolo tie, though. We hope you have a birthday full of all of your favorite things, cowboy!

We Love You Papa!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Grandparent's Day!

Our boys are very lucky to have two sets of grandparents who love them very much! We are very thankful too! As I assembled these photos I couldn't help but notice how much these brothers are alike!Ben says, "Dylan started it!".

They are both very cute and they love their grandparents very much. Grandparents make the best audience!Grandparents know how to have fun! Grandparents get you treats and never make you eat your peas.They teach you cool tricks and valuable lessons.

They read you good stories.They sing you good songs.

They tickle your funny bone. They give you rides.

They let you help them.They are always there to support you when you need them.

They pass on their good looks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are you ready for some football?!?

Football season is about to really begin, kiddos!No sissies allowed! Get your bets in and make em good! Great Grandma "Griz" Eileen taught Ben how to kick a football today! She's a great coach. That is a good thing because it took him a while to get serious about it. "I'll hold it and you kick it." Ben, having seen Charlie Brown episodes, was suspicious at first but soon realized Great Grandma Griz is no Lucy. Now he's a pro!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tall Dry Grass

"Dada! Dada! Pweeeze!" Ben called out in an urgent tone accompanied by much pacing and jumping! "How could it be that Daddy is mowing the lawn without me!" he thought. I guess Daddy forgot that Ben knows how to ride tractors now! "Dada! Pweeeze!" he cried! Of course, Daddy didn't want to discourage this fervent interest in Ben's future chore! Training started right away! Daddy turned down the motor and took Ben on his first real tractor ride around the yard.If you look into the distance you can see the Sapphire Mountains are capped with heavy plumes of smoke rising from the 41 Fire Complex. As part of the early fall yard work accomplished, Daddy mowed an exercise pathway around the perimeter of our lot. Sophie took Ben "hiking". As the the sun was getting low, Ben and I played in the tall grass with our shadows.

This was a grand farewell to summer.Mother Nature has gotten pretty serious about cleaning up this fire season. We sat in the dark of our back porch last night, ice cold rum punch in hand, and watched the crown fires flame up over the ridge. This morning the entire mountain range is gone behind a thick layer of smoke. It is quite the magic trick! When the smoke clears we will see what is left standing.