Thursday, June 22, 2017

Family BOB

This summer we are making a BOB.  BOB stands for Book of Books.  Whenever anyone reads a book, they write an entry in the Book of Books about it, kind of like a book report.  It's great because we can read about what the rest of us are reading, and what we liked about it, or didn't like.  I've also been including some unusual vocabulary words that I've come across for the kids.

Summer Books and Movies

Summer Books and Movies

Oh, but the kids want it to stay private.  It's just for our family.  We almost did a BLOB, which would have been a Blog of Books, but they decided that it would be better if we kept it private and handwritten.  They helped me design a cover and title page for our BOB, and we assembled it into a three-ring binder.

Summer Books and Movies

So far, I have written entries for:

1.  The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins
2.  Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
3.  One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4.  The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman
5.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I'll admit it.  I've been reading a ton of Neil Gaiman this summer.  Right now, I'm reading Trigger Warning, a short story collection by Neil Gaiman.

I've also done some entries on the books that I have read with the kids.

Summer Books and Movies

I think I can safely reveal that Lex read and wrote and entry for Charlotte's Web.  He gave it five stars.   I still need to get him a copy of the movie to watch.  The first one I got from the library was scratched and wouldn't play.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This is what Summer looks likes

Summertime is in full swing here.  

Here are the boys, lounging in their swim trunks, waiting for me to get ready to take them to the pool.



And here is Lex, eating a tiny bowl of chocolate ice cream, topped with all the whipped cream he could get out of the can.



Just the way he likes it.


And here we see the boys at the bowling alley with their good friend, Jaxon.


The ice cream truck has taken to driving around inside our apartment complex, and Lex hears it each and every time.  This time, he got a Sponge Bob popsicle.

Monday, June 19, 2017

In which Kevin goes to Cleveland and I steal his photos

Kevin had a work-related trip up to Cleveland recently, and he took the chance to stop and see his family while he was there.

Behold, here are the photos he took that I am usurping and posting here:

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Kirk, Ella, Kevin, Peter and Ruth

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They went out to eat at Grandpa and Ruth's favorite restaurant.  We ate there with them last fall.

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Lake Erie

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day

This year for Father's Day, the boys and I decided to take Kevin to a day camp at a hunting outfitter about an hour away from our house.

So, we got up early and drove out into the middle of nowhere.  Absolutely remote.  We already live in the middle of nowhere, and then we left that little bit of civilization and drove for an hour into the wilderness of Texas.  No GPS, no address.  Just go this many miles on this road north of this small town, and you will see a sign.

I was pretty sure we were going to get lost, but we found it!

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The kids spent the morning doing a 3D archery range.  While we were doing that, Lex got stung by a bee on the arm.  Then, I got stung on the ear.  Then, we took a break for lunch.

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2017 Father's Day-36

Father's Day 2017

The camp provided hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch, but the line was super long and in the hot sun.  We had brought a cooler with some snacks, so we ended up eating those.

Note to self:  chocolate cookies don't do well in the heat.

Father's Day 2017

Father's Day 2017

We were looking forward to doing the after lunch activities, which included shooting BB guns, 22-caliber pistols, rifles and skeet, along with more archery, tomahawk throwing and I even heard something about bombs.  There was going to be brisket for dinner, and I would have stood in line in the sun for that.

BUT it was hot.  Too hot.  And Connor was starting to show signs of heat stroke, so we had to pack it up and head home.  By the time we left, it was already 101 degrees outside.  It got up to 106 that day, and the National Weather Service asked everyone to just stay inside between the hours of 3 and 7 PM.

So, I'm glad that we left, because it was way too hot to be there.  But we were all sad that we left, because it had promised so many wonderful good things.

Maybe next time...

In any case, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to Kevin!  We love you!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wheat in Texas

The field next to our house is full of wheat right now.

Texas Wheat

I plucked one through the fence so that I could show it to the boys, and we spent a little time this morning learning about how wheat is turned into wheat bran, semolina and white flour through the miracle of modern factory machinery.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Down with the Show!

Connor has gotten really good at organizing protests around here.

To be honest, I'm not even sure what "Down with the show!" really means, but it's his go-to protest phrase.

Remember the video I took of him protesting bedtime a month ago?

Here are some recent protests:


This one says, "We need screens, too," and refers to a time when I made them turn their video games off to get ready for bed, but I was still using my phone and Kevin was still using his computer.  They felt this was unfair, but whatever.  I do appreciate his scotch-tape and yardstick sign-making skills.  He marched all over the house before getting into bed.


These signs say, "OP graphics card in my computer soon!  Or else (and you won't like else)."

Connor hung these protest signs on Kevin's computer last night, because he wants the really good graphics card installed in his computer next.  (OP means over-powered around here.)

If that statement doesn't make sense to you, and I'm not sure that it would, here is some background:  there are three gamers in our family, and one computer engineer who is always taking apart the computers and reassembling them into different configurations.  Just a few days ago, he took his computer and Lex's computer completely apart and switched the cases and some other things around.  He left Connor's computer alone entirely, but the really great graphics card ended up in Lex's machine, and I think Connor was jealous.  It's not like the other graphics cards are terrible.  It's not like Connor hasn't had his fair turns with the GTX 1080.  (I can't believe I know that's what it is, but it is.)

I wonder what he means by "Or else."  Also, I seem to be out scotch tape.

Monday, June 12, 2017

All the States

It has been a few years since I have updated this list, so I figured that now was as good a time as any.

Here is the current status of things:

Lex has now been to the following 30/50 states:

1. Ohio
2. West Virginia
3. Kentucky
4. Pennsylvania
5. New York
6. New Jersey
7. Connecticut
8. Massachusetts
9. Tennessee
10. Virginia
11. North Carolina
12. South Carolina
13. Georgia
14. Florida
15. Maryland
16. Missouri
17. Illinois
18. Arizona
19. Washington
20. Indiana
21. Texas
22. Oklahoma
23. Arkansas
24. New Mexico
25. California
26. Nevada
27. Kansas
28. South Dakota
29. Michigan
30. Colorado

Plus Washington, D.C.

(Lex is short one state because he hasn't been to Wisconsin yet.)

Connor has been to the following 31/50 states:

1. Ohio
2. West Virginia
3. Kentucky
4. Pennsylvania
5. New York
6. New Jersey
7. Connecticut
8. Massachusetts
9. Indiana
10. Illinois
11. Michigan
12. Wisconsin
13. Tennessee
14. Virginia
15. North Carolina
16. South Carolina
17. Georgia
18. Florida
19. Arizona
20. Missouri
21. Maryland
22. Texas
23. Washington
24. Oklahoma
25. Arkansas
26. New Mexico
27. California
28. Nevada
29. Kansas
30. South Dakota
31. Colorado

Plus Washington, D.C.

I have been to the following 31/50 states:

1. Ohio
2. West Virginia
3. Virginia
4. Kentucky
5. Tennessee
6. Pennsylvania
7. New York
8. New Jersey
9. Connecticut
10. Massachusetts
11. Indiana
12. Illinois
13. Michigan
14. Wisconsin
15. Missouri
16. Kansas
17. Arizona
18. Georgia
19. Florida
20. North Carolina
21. South Carolina
22. Maryland
23. Texas
24. Washington
25. Oklahoma
26. Arkansas
27. New Mexico
28. California
29. Nevada
30. South Dakota
31. Colorado

Plus Washington, D.C.

Here's to visiting the rest of the USA!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Zapata Falls

The final stop on our 12th Anniversary Colorado Road Trip was the Zapata Falls.  We found the Zapata Falls at the top of a mountain that didn't have a paved road.  We drove very slowly up a very bumpy trail.  It was very rough terrain.  At one point, Connor just asked us to drive faster because he thought that would make it smoother.  Kevin sped up, and Connor and Lex immediately yelled for him to slow back down, because it made it so much worse.

We finally made it to the top, and the kids and Kevin changed into their swim trunks so that they could get into the falls after we hiked to them.  The falls were approximately a half mile away on a foot trail.

And so we hiked further up the mountain.

Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls

The Rocky Mountains are aptly named.  There is an abundance of rocks.

Zapata Falls

As we got closer to the falls, the first clue that we were approaching them was the noise. We could hear them first.  But the second clue was the temperature.  The closer we got to the water, the further the temperature dropped.  And suddenly.  It was like walking into a huge refrigerator.  The falls are snow melt, and the water was freezing and the whole area was very cold.

The kids and Kevin persisted in taking off their socks and shoes (and shirts) so that they could further explore the falls.  This might have been a chilly mistake.

Zapata Falls

The rocks were freezing to stand on.  Look at Connor's face!

Zapata Falls

A little cold never stopped Lex, though.  He was in the water up to his knees and wanted to explore everything.  After a little while I made him come back and get his clothes back on, because I was worried that he would get hypothermia in his toes.

Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls

After we were done at the falls, we hiked back down the mountain to the parking lot, where we found a nice little monument area.

Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls

Look how tired!  It was a big day of hiking in all sorts of difficult terrain.

Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls

This last photo is a panoramic view from the monument area at the top of the mountain.  Click on it to see it properly.

So, then we packed up and started heading back home.  Thus ended our 12th Anniversary Colorado Road Trip.  It was wonderful!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Great Sand Dunes

On the final day of our 12th Anniversary Colorado Road Trip, we started the day by going to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

We had stayed as close to the Sand Dunes as we could, but they are sort of in the middle of nowhere, so we had a short drive that morning to get there.

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If you look at the horizon, there you can see the sand dunes between the mountain base and the foreground.

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Our first stop was the visitor center.  There was a gift shop and some exhibits describing the formation of the dunes.

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Great Sand Dunes

This is a panoramic photo taken of the dunes from the visitor center.  Click on it to see it in all it's panoramic-ness.

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Official Family Photo taken at the Great Sand Dunes

The main thing that we did at the dunes was sand sledding.  We rented some sand sleds, and then we took off our socks and shoes and rolled up our pants to walk across the river so that we could go to the dunes.  The river was icy cold.  The temperature outside of the dunes was about 60 degrees.  But, the sand heats up quickly and traps heat, so it was closer to 150 degrees on the sand.  This meant that I ended up carrying the dog across the sand, because he would have burned his little bitty paws .

We took the Go Pro with us while we were on the dunes.  Here are the videos: