Saturday, March 24, 2007
And I thought my driveway was bad...
This is up past the driveway where the woods end. Nice, huh?

This is the approach to the driveway from there.

Why am I such a sucker...?
For buying things for my little sweetie? I know I don't need to buy her love; it's not that. But when I see something related to one of her favorite characters, or something that I know she'd be interested in, I want it for her. I don't buy everything I see like that. But I buy more than I she needs and probably more than I should.

I saw this in Wally World the other day and decided it had to come home with me. Thankfully, she does actually like it.

I contemplated this one too, but came to the conclusion that since we eat cereal dry in our house the crisped rice wasn't really practical. See? I can sometimes say "no."

Noni and Popi's influence
The other evening when we were dressing Emma for bed she asked me to sing "Sunshine" (You are my sunshine) and "Jesus Loves Me."
Thursday, March 22, 2007
That's today's new surprise word. For a long time I've been coaching her to say "Delicioso!" like they do on Dora. She mangles it pretty badly. It sounds more like "Ees-o-so." So imagine my surprise when she pronounced M's supper "Delicious!" Spoken perfectly. The ice cream afterward was "delicious" too.
Smart little Chickie
After Emma and I pulled out the stroller and went for our two mile walk on Tuesday I asked M to please check the air in the tires. When he did he found there was no air in them, but he foam had kept them going. Great. When he was done he set the pump and gauge on the kitchen chair. The next morning Emma found them. I remember thinking "I wonder what she thinks that is; she has no frame of reference for it." Or so I thought. She pulled it down and wanted me to stand on then end so she could pump it. I asked her what it was and she said it was a bicycle pump. Then I asked M, who was in the shower, if he had shown her the pump. He said no. Finally we figured out that she had learned all about it from episodes of Dora and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. So TV isn't a complete wasteland.
The bridge
This bridge passes over a creek that flows through the yard of the house behind the store. Get all that? Emma loves to get on it and throw things into the water.

A little drama has developed, apparently.

Things seem to be better this way...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
"That's Wonderful!"
That was a new one I heard today.
Ready for the summer!
I picked this up for Emma today. I'm a sucker for the suit and grass skirt combo. I have given in to this Dora thing of hers. I've got to learn to stop spoiling her before she catches on.

Practicing her gardening skills
The poor child has nothing to water yet, but that didn't stop her. She insisted that I put water in the watering can and set out to find something to water. The holes in the rotting stump apparently fit the bill. As did the dead sunflower stalks.

Watering trough, revisited
After all the important watering was done we had to go back to the special rock pile and get another rock to sacrifice to the watering trough. In this picture you're seeing the giant "hole" the rock made in the algae. Yuck.

I got over the guilt over Emma dropping rocks in the watering trough when I took the time to notice that there was a rubber tire in the middle of it.

After the rock sacrifice I was led on a long meandering walkabout.

New skirt
She was really happy with this. It tickled me because she kept walking back to the full length mirror to look at herself. The only reason she got to go outside in it was because her diaper leaked and her pants got wet.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
A rare yellow-crested whippersnapper...
...held in captivity.

The final journey of the rock
Emma found a pretty white rounded rock. A keeper if you ask me. But no, she wanted to go throw it in the water. Which meant a hike across half the property to get to the water. Which is actually a trough fed by the spring, so don't tell the farmer.

"Throw it in the water!"

In it goes...

A nice shot of the lovely abrasion on her face from yesterday. A strawberry of unknown origin she got while playing with her friends at the babysitter's.

Mission accomplished.

Monday, March 19, 2007
Wish I had been there
This past weekend, as you may know, there were protest marches and vigils around the country marking the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. A large protest in Washington, DC, was planned by ANSWER. Jane Fonda and Cindy Sheehan were to be there. They were expecting tens of thousands to protest the war. I don't know how many of you saw the reports, but the last time there was a huge protest march for the war, some protesters painted graffiti on the Capitol steps. Many people were outraged by this, especially because the Capitol police were told to stand down and no arrests were made.

This time the protesters were planning to stop by the Vietnam Memorial (The Wall) and wreak a little havoc there. In steps the Gathering of Eagles. These men and women are mostly veterans, who were motivated to action by the thought of the Vietnam Memorial being defaced by the same sorts of peaceniks who demoralized them and spit on them thirty years ago. Their goal was to stand in a cordon and protect the wall. The put out the call to veterans across the country to make a stand do defend the legacy of their generation and to show support for the men and women fighting for their country now.

Many of the Veterans groups also happened to be motorcycle groups, not unlike the one that Popi belongs to. He wanted to be there, but our weekend plans intervened. I wanted to be there too, but could only be there in spirit.

According to the park police the estimate was that the gathering of Eagles was 30,000 strong. People came from Hawaii, California and all across the country. The peaceniks numbered about 20,000. Did you see this on the news? Of course not. Yes, I am one of those that believes the leftists control most of the popular media and that this narrative did not fit their anti-war agenda so it wasn't mentioned, or it was only misrepresented in passing.

It happened, and it happened peacefully. The park police were on top of things; actually way ahead of either the protesters or the counter-protesters. To get to the Vietnam Memorial you had to go through a security tent and step through a metal detector. This prevented any spray cans from getting through. They had each group separated by a no man's land that was patrolled by police. There were no major incidents reported.

Most everything I have learned about this event I've had to gather by following links from blog to blog. There are a few good round-ups. The link I gave above has some good stuff.

This column, notably from outside the U.S., captures the spirit of the event quite well.

This blog account of the event I particularly enjoyed for the narrative.

Here and here of lots of good links to blogger accounts of the event.
More weekend pics
Since family does seem to be checking in...

Here is my little prickly pear, trying to keep her cousin J from getting up on the bench with them.

Yet minutes later she's holding hands with her. She runs hot and cold like that. Those two seem to have a "thing" going on. My theory is that since they're closest in age of the cousins each is more direct competition to the other. I'm hoping they iron it out and become good buddies all the time. Right now Emma seems to idolize her older cousins.

Uncle B is picking up a funnel cake for the crew. Alas, they were a bit disappointed. I think the verdict was "overdone."

Everyone holding their smile while their face freezes.

Hey look! A Pop's cake! You hardly ever see one of those!

Everyone is enjoying Little M's birthday very much. Yummy.

Sunday, March 18, 2007
Picture of the day
I made M take some pictures of the icy trees this afternoon, right before we drove to pick up Emma. Just beautiful.

It was a great weekend at the store
I wouldn't have given you a nickel for the turnout we were expecting when we woke up to a few inches of snow Saturday morning. But I guess so many people drive from so far away that they don't know there's snow until they get here. Fortunately March and April snows don't stick to the roads for quite as long. Travel was pretty easy. But it was bitterly cold and windy and snowy all day. Fortunately for us the store is inside where it's nice and warm. For some strange reason that seems to be a draw to freezing festival-goers. We did remarkably well. On Sunday morning we had a few more inches of snow. It was absolutely beautiful. Those that showed up for the last day of the festival were treated to a marshmallow world.
Festival in the snow!
It was below freezing and snowing intermittently the whole day. You could only stand to be outside for so long and then you had to find somewhere warm to unfreeze your face. I got to run around with my family for a while before I went to work. We started at the high school. Noni and Popi and the kids had pancakes and sausage and gravy. Aunt K. and the Nanny shopped the vendors for while. When Emma and Jenna were tired and cranky Noni took them home for naps. Eventually everyone else made it over to town and grabbed some food; including funnel cake, country ham sandwiches, french fries, BBQ and cheeseburgers. Once everyone had their fill of the events in town they headed for our house. I made them stop by the neighbor's to see his maple syrup operation. As it turned out, I left work and got home before they did.

We played games and chilled out till M came home and then we had pizza and birthday cake. Little M got to open her birthday presents while under the careful supervision of her little sister and her little cousin. After the party was over the crew bolted for the door. Emma went home with Noni and Popi so that M and I would be able to work all day on Sunday. Here are some pictures of the events...

Playing with the free balloons from the politicians.

Checking out one of the primitive benches for sale.

Emma running around with her best buddy. He goes anywhere she pulls him!

The intrepid crew on main street.

Party time back at the ranch
While we were waiting for M to come home from the store we played Ten Thousand.

"How am I going to get the icing off of this cake?"

The birthday girl, who turned six on the 15th.

Now a very happy birthday girl!