Saturday, March 29, 2014

Halloween 2013: Poison Apples and There's Waldo!

 Last year for Halloween, the kids dressed up at Ash, a Pokemon trainer, Misty, another Pokemon trainer (whatever the heck that means?), and Paige was Pippi Longstocking in her handmade costume.  

(Later, she won the costume contest!)  

We took the kids to the annual Halloween party down at the flight line on base.  There were the normal activities, such as a bouncy house, games, and face painting.  

There was also this blast from the past:  Bobbing for apples!

Due to the insane germ-a-phobic nature of modern society, I thought the days of bobbing for apples was long gone.  

 Paige, ever the daring adventurer, wanted to try this dental activity. 

There she is!  Chasing apple after apple with her mouth open in the water that had been in umpteen numbers of other mouths, and harboring countless numbers of germs and infectious agents.
Good job, Paige!  Keep trying!  

 Finally, she was able to grab one of the apple stems that had probably been inside the mouth of at least a dozen other people, including the hacking and green boogered toddler who tried before her. 

 Congratulations on probably contracting cholera or typhoid!

 Later, she told me that while she was bobbing for the germ apples, she was feeling a bit gross about the whole thing.  

Maybe some traditions are better off abandoned and quarantined and autoclaved

 Meanwhile, Phoebe was busy making Waldo want to go missing again after she beat the crap out of him with a bat.

Happy Halloween!

Tree Tipping on a Hike

For Christmas last year, we spent a few weeks with family in North Carolina.  Part of that time was deep the heart of Suburbia.

Within the confines of shopping malls, congested streets, and endless cars, there is a hidden gem; a beautiful park with streams and walking trails. 

We went for a hike on a cold, muddy, and gorgeous day.

 Cousins posed on a rock acting silly....

 Paige planked because I told her it was a thing, you know, to plank on things.  She was confused.

Jerry even came along for the hike.  He's too many for a jacket, by the way, while the rest of us froze to pieces. 

He's not a pleasure hiker.  Not a pleasure walker of any kind.  So he finds other things to do.  Manly things to do. 

"Hey, Phoebe.  I think that tree over there needs knocking down."

 So he went in there, gave it a push, 

 and a shove, 

 and very manly pushed over that dead tree. 

 Thus, a trend was set.  

Cousins C and C destroyed tree after tree.

Josh wanted part of the action, of course, so he chose a large tree to prove his budding manliness.

"Dad.  I need help."

(Josh's mantra is "I need help".)

 The big guns were called in and soon that tree, too, was fodder for the decomposers.

 After every tree in creation was knocked over, we continued our hike slowly, fording streams, and braving rapids barely moving.

 And amid the far-off sounds of the encircling Suburbia, our family grew closer on a cold, muddy, beautiful day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Family Magic Trick

Every time we visit with Grandpa, the kids are treated to a magic show.  This is no ordinary magic show, this is one done by a professional, a master of slight of hand and mind power.  No, really.  Grandpa was an eye surgeon.  Oh, and he's brilliant. 

By some mysterious force, he can make a quarter magically disappear from the table, and using only HIS MIND, send the quarter across the room to a different location.

 He's been doing this same trick for years and the kids remain as curious as ever.....

Paige:     "I have an IQ of approximately 195.745.  Certainly I can deduce the flow of the fifth dimension as dictated by String Theory to precisely circumnavigate the laws of physics to determine the destined arrival coordinate of the Washington State quarter, Denver mint, 2007, once it has been mentally projected across time and space by this dastardly brilliant magician."

Phoebe:       "He wants my red hair.  He's always trying to steal it.  Maybe if I give it to him he'll tell me the secret.  But I like my red hair.  So, I will just sit here and look impossibly cute.  That always works."

Josh:           "Um?  That's strange.  Quarter was there.  Now gone.  How he do that?  Pokemon.  Chocolate.  Candy?  I don't understand....."

When the magic is complete, the quarter is located and the kids remain stumped.

A fun family tradition:  The true magic behind the trick. 

Where'd the Red Hair Come From?

 If I have heard it once, I've heard it a billion times:  "Where'd your kids get all of that red hair?"

Sometimes I smart aleck an answer with something like:
a.  The mailman 
b.  aisle four (hair color) at Walmart
c.  spontaneous generation (when I'm feeling very haughty)
d.  I don't know (when if fact I don't care)

So where did the red hair come from?

It came from genes, genetics, DNA.  A little bit of Viking, a smidgeon of German, a hint of Scottish, and a dollop of mutt.

See?  This is Jerry's sister.  She has mystery red hair, too, in the exact same shade and texture as my three red heads.  Isn't her hair just glorious?  I try not to be jealous, but wow.  Those are some pretty locks. 

So what do I usually answer with when someone asks where the red hair comes from?

e.  Their aunt has red hair.

Problem solved.

Why a Four Wheeler?

Question:   What is the purpose of a four wheeler, anyway? 

 Answer:  To go for a ride with your aunt (who has red hair, so SHE is where the red hair comes from, people!)
 Answer:  To cuddle on with your mom (who is sporting awesome Santa socks, by the way).

 Answer:  To go for a cruise around the farm, saying hello to the trees, bees, horse poop, and name rocks.
 Answer:  As a consequence of this farm cruise, the dog has now been exercised.  Bonus! 
 Answer:  To go for a ride with Dad who is holding on for dear life.  (Cousin and Uncle demonstrate this use.)
 Answer:  To learn how to shift gears, use a thumb throttle, and the difference between rear and front brakes. 

Answer:  As a stable mount for target practice in case of zombie invasion, apocalypse, or gun control enforcement. 
Answer:  Enjoying life with family and friends, out in the sun, surrounded by nature and God's creation.  (And a good excuse for Jerry to wear this flannel shirt.  If the Bahamas thing doesn't pan out, we WILL buy a farm with land and horses and four wheelers, only so Jerry will go full-up cowboy.  Hubba hubba hubby!)

Conclusion:  Four wheelers are for life, liberty, and the pursuit of booty happiness.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Horse Whisperer

 On the way to the chicken barn, we have to walk (or ride a 4 wheeler) across part of the pasture, often going past, or through, a small herd of horses.

Josh went to camp last year, ranch camp, where he was voted "Best Junior Rider-Boy", and nicknamed the mini-horse whisperer. 

Thus, he is a horse expert, has no fear, and horses do his bidding.

 Me?  They circle around me, nibbling on my clothes, inhaling my hair, and generally scaring the fool out of me.

 See how nice the horse is with Josh?  He's gentle and calm, and loves getting pet by our horse-whisperer, Junior.

"Whatchoo lookin' at, Lady?  Get any closer and those box-blonde locks are MINE."

Christmas Chickens

For first time in many years, we spent Christmas with extended family in North Carolina.  We stayed a few days with the Fosters in Raleigh, a few days with the Wagstaffs in Apex, and a few days with the Reynolds at their farm in Cedar Grove.  

During the farm visit, we went to the barn to see the chickens.  And loud-mouthed roosters, too.

Most of the roosters were quite smaller than the hens, but they had style.  And class.

This rooster had too much swag.  

"Look at how my waddle waddles.  I'm swag-tastic!"

Josh enjoyed chasing the chickens, making them cluck and screech.  Eventually he would catch one and carry it lovingly around the barnyard, despite his maniacal behavior in actually capturing it.

Phoebe had no problem at all catching this chicken.  It practically walked into her arms.  I thought it was her popular personality, but when she finished rubbing her face all over the back of it, I discovered this particular chicken was missing most of it's back feathers and looked sick and dying.

After this picture was taken, Phoebe got a face full of cleaner, a bath, and an exorcism.

No reason to take chances with chickens!