Monday, June 30, 2008

Constructive Activity...

Today is Addy's 4th birthday. Her major present this year is a swing set. She loves to go to the park, but it is easy to talk ourselves out of putting both kids in the car to make it happen. Not to mention that we've got some rare breed of mosquitoes in Cary that are very active in the daytime and crave the blood of children. Plus- there's the fact that most public parks don't have bathrooms. Anyway, now Addy will be able to swing, slide and climb to her heart's content.

Jen found the set in stock at Wal-Mart (a rarity) and she and her dad (Howard) wrestled it home and couldn't wait to tear open the boxes and get to building. About 8 hours of labor, 483 pieces of wood, 3648 screws and fasteners, 1 trip to Lowe's, 1 drill recharge and a brief rain shower later- it's done. Howard and Jen did a great job- and I think actually enjoyed the work and the time together. Hope Addy enjoys this gift from her mom and dad and both sets of grandparents.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sealed or Sprinkled???

"Death is a part of life."

True, but most of the time most of us prefer not to notice it. Then we turn on the news and find that Tim Russert or George Carlin is no longer with us. Or we pause on the obituary page while thumbing through the paper- and check the ages of the deceased to see who might have left us "before their time". Or we pull to the side of the road for the oncoming funeral procession- and then rush off to pick up the dry cleaning. These kinds of encounters remind us that death walks among us in impersonal ways.

Other times, death is a bit more personal. Like when we got news a couple weeks back that a friend of 15 years died unexpectedly at age 40. Or when a close friend told me that a woman who was like a 2nd mother to her had passed away last week. I've got the privilege of helping the friends and family of the latter with the memorial service tomorrow. On Monday I met with them to talk about the woman they had loved and lost and to make arrangements.

As we talked, I discovered that there wouldn't be a casket. Ellen had chosen to be cremated. She reached this decision during a casual conversation with her kids about what they want to have happen after each of them died. So, the family will be given the ashes, which they'll go about spreading in places yet to be determined.

Which got Jen and I talking about our own wishes. Would we want to be sealed in a casket or an urn? Or spread out in the places we loved in this world? In the end I decided that I wanted the family that was left behind to do whatever would be most meaningful to them. If it helps them to have a tombstone to visit, then so be it. I'm thinking that I won't much care at that point.

If I get to pick? At this point I'm leading towards being cremated and having my ashes scattered around. That way the family won't have to maintain or feel guilty about not showing up at a graveside. And, maybe they'll get closure from visiting spots that were meaningful to me. So far, only the Grand Tetons are a lock on that list.

How about you? Made up your mind about your final arrangements? If you were to be scattered, what spots hold that kind of significance for you?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From The Vault...

The beauty of digital cameras is that you can take a ton of pictures. The worst thing about digital cameras is that you take a ton of pictures- don't print any and forget about most of them.

So, here are some recent shots that have been stuck on our memory card. Thought I'd post a few before they were exiled to IPhoto forever:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How She Sees It...

Tonight after dinner the family ran out to Lowe's. We still have a few (and I use that word very loosely) projects left to complete our domestic transformation and needed supplies. When we got to the checkout, Jen decided to take Colston out to the van while Addy and I paid for the goods.

Afterwards, the daughter and I hit the parking lot and started to look for our vehicle. As usual, Jen had found a close spot. Addy remarked that the only better places were the "potty parking spots".

Oh, not familiar with the "potty parking"?

Take a peek:

As someone who uses the bathroom fairly regularly, I think potty parking is a pretty good idea. I wonder if Addy can trademark it and bank some cash.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wild Kingdom...In My Yard

We chose our latest home because of the established neighborhood with lots of trees. As a bonus we got lots of critters who feel free to use our yard whenever they feel like it. So far we've seen lots of birds (bluebirds, robins, cardinals, hummingbirds, finches, woodpeckers, and others we haven't learned to identify yet), bunnies, bugs (including lightning bugs- Addy's current favorite), the occasional cat and a herd of squirrels. We've heard about the raccoons and deer that roam our hood, but they haven't dropped by yet.

Yesterday I got this shot of a squirrel who was hanging right outside our sliding glass door. I think he was taunting me, but I could be wrong.

Of course, having all the animals around is great for the kids. Who needs a zoo? And, if the cost of food keeps going up- all those survival shows I've been watching on the discovery channel are really going to pay off with some good eating!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beating The Heat

You know that old saying that "It's great to have a friend that owns a __________." Usually that blank gets filled in with words like "truck", "boat", "big screen tv w/the NFL package", or "vacation home". Yesterday we found a new noun to complete that phrase- "giant inflatable waterpark".

The Bazer's are some of the most generous and hospitable folks that Jen and I know. They are constantly looking for opportunities to share what they have been given with others. That includes their inflatable waterpark- which consists of 2 different slides and a pool. With Monday's playgroup facing temperatures creeping towards triple digits, they decided to blow it up and let the kids get wet-n-wild.

In theory, Addy couldn't wait to tackle the water slide. In praxis, she isn't much of a daredevil.

But after a few runs, she found her groove and had a blast:

Kind of makes you want to grab your suit, huh?

Thanks to Shane, Tomra, Ashton & Ireland for the fun. Gracias to Anissa for her fine camera work.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hate Tests? Like Pictures?

My inbox gets it's fair share of uninvited forwards every week. Some I just delete. Most I skim, then delete. A few I actually appreciate. Recently, my mom sent me one that fell into that all too rare, latter category.

This particular fwd contained a link to a personality test. Now I've taken plenty of these things under the guise of "professional assessment" and "team building". However, this one was different and actually enjoyable for a few reasons:

  1. 1. I didn't have to take it. No one would be evaluating my results with my future up for grabs.
  2. 2. It is image driven- with pictures instead of words.
  3. 3. It has 15 choices per statement. Not two that I had to agonize between.
I thought that my results were pretty accurate. Here they are.

What do you think? Sound like the Fred you know?

How about you? TAKE THE TEST and let us know how you fare. (The personality test should appear at the top of the screen. If not, look in the right hand column.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

That's Our Boy

Thought I'd catch you up a bit on what's happening with Colston:

  • He's 14 months old today. In one sense he looks so big. In another, he's still our baby boy.
  • Walking is now his preferred mode of self-transportation. But being carried by an adult ranks higher overall.
  • Colston likes me (Fred) better than Addy did at this age. He comes running and grunting when I walk in the door.
  • He is a big, but finicky eater. He's got a healthy appetite, but one day will devour something and refuse it the next. At this point he's starting to want whatever we're eating and seems to like more flavorful foods.
  • The boy isn't NEARLY the talker that his sister is. But then neither are 98% of the people occupying the planet.
  • Colston is more interested in household items than baby toys. Yes, that's the remote he's toting around in these pics. He's also fond of getting into the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. (No worries, the cleaners and meds are elsewhere.)
  • Most of the time, he's sweet and cuddly. If you are holding Colston and he wants his back rubbed or patted, he'll start rubbing or patting yours.
  • He's got a killer smile, complete with dimples, the nose squinch an the occasional single eyebrow raise. Watch out ladies!
  • Colston LOVES his Little Tykes car. He waves at it whenever he walks into the garage. This is an improvement. We used to have to keep it covered because if he saw it he would throw a fit until we put him in it.
  • He's a boy- which means he likes to bang on stuff.

Colston brings a lot of joy to our family. As does his sister. We'll give Addy some equal time in the near future.