No Harm Done

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Climb Ev'ry Mountain!

Well, not every mountain, but we climbed this one!

We (3 adults and 6 children) hiked to the top of Bogus Basin in southwestern Idaho. I think it took a little over an hour to get to the top. (elevation 8000 feet) It actually took longer, but we kept stopping for rests and to play in the snow. The kids were thrilled to see snow up there in June!

Here's Braden walking on top of a couple feet of snow. It was sunny and warm that day, and it was odd to be throwing snowballs in our T-shirts and shorts.

In this photo, we are no where near the top of the mountain, even though it looks like it. The kids rushed ahead of the grownups, and we hung back with the two littlest. It was a little disconcerting to not be in sight of the boys, but the trail was clear and they were with each other.

Brogan and C. were the first to arrive at the top. They were very proud of themselves. On the way down, they also led the charge. Near the bottom, though, Brogan turned around and came to find the grownups. He was crying about snakes. He didn't want to see any snakes and wanted me to carry him the rest of the way down.

'This occured to you now? You've already been to the top, were nearly at the bottom, and then came back up to see me? How many snakes did you see?" I asked.

"None. Bt I don't want to see any! Carry me!" he cried.

We went round and round about this, and I couldn't assuage his fears, so I decided to, um, redirect him.

I "borrowed" the "mountain lion prevention" trick from the Disney movie The Parent Trap. Picking up two sticks, I told Brogan that if he hit the two sticks together every few steps snakes would be scared away. He looked so funny clapping those sticks together, but he made it the rest of the way down the mountain on his own.

I googled and googled to find a picture from the movie of Vicki hitting sticks together on the way to her tent, but I couldn't find anything. So, go rent the movie (it's just as much fun now as when we were little) and enjoy it anew.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Boy and His Dog

While on vacation Brogan bought a puppy.

Not a real puppy, of course. I'm not that crazy.

Brogan has been asking for a pet for a long time. At first, he'd talk about how nice it would be to have a dog. Then, later, casually mention that a cat would be nice. He suggests birds, fish, lizards, and hamsters.

While on vacation we wandered in to a Build-A-Bear Workshop. We've never been there and, at the suggestion of Mrs. M., we ventured in. What a cute place! We had so much fun looking at all the styles of stuffed animals and all the clothes one could buy for them. We watched a little girl help stuff her bear and give him a heart.

All of the boys would've been happy to leave with a bear, but it was Brogan who looked at the bins of stuffed animals with longing in his eyes.

He wants a pet so badly, and we can't give him one (one son has animal allergies). Braden and Colson have special "comfort items" that they sleep with, but Brogan does not. So, after a quick conference with Braden, I told Brogan he could pick out a special stuffed animal.

His eyes lit up and he took his time searching for just the right puppy. The kindly woman who helped him stuff his new friend helped make this a special experience. Brogan then carefully washed and brushed his puppy, and looked over ALL the clothes to find just the right outfit.

When it came time to pick a name, I commented that he was a "Brown Sugar Puppy" according to the label. Maybe we could pick a name similar to that, like "Brownie" or "Sugar." Brogan had his own ideas, and said in a decisive tone, "His name is Hubert."



On Hubert's first night with us, Brogan took him to Grandma and Grandpa's house to show them. On the way home, they fell asleep together in the car.

In the past two weeks, Brogan and Hubert have become the best of friends and a special part of Brogan's life.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

When You've Gotta' Go.

This morning’s service at church was longer than usual. We’d been in the service for an hour and it was clear that the sermon was not ending anytime soon.

Brogan slid over to me in the pew and asked if he could be excused and use the bathroom. I moved over and let him pass. We were sitting on the center aisle, and to get to the door to leave the sanctuary Brogan had to walk down the center aisle to the front, and then cross over to the left side of the room. I was very proud of how quietly he walked to the front of the church – quiet is not in his nature.

When he got to the front of the church he caught the pastor’s eye and told him (in a voice that carried), “I’m going to the bathroom. I'll be right back.”

Everyone laughed,
M. put his head in his hands, and the pastor thanked Brogan for checking in.

I was impressed with the pastor’s ability to recover. He said,

“You know, that reminds me of a very old joke about a pastor whose sermon was running long. At one point, one of the deacons got up and started to leave. The pastor was a little riled and decided to call this guy out.

‘Deacon Joe! Where are you going?’ he called from the pulpit.

‘I’m going to get a haircut,” came the reply.

‘What? Couldn’t you have done it before the service started?” asked the pastor.

‘Didn’t need one then,’ replied the deacon.”

Friday, June 23, 2006

Welcome Home!

This spider's cousin greeted us in the garage when we arrived home this week. He looked much like this guy, but uglier. Isn't that a sweet welcome after several weeks away?

Normally, I do not get upset with spiders. True, I do not like them, but I'm not a screamer. (Well, there was that one time. But I was lying in bed and it crawled over my shoulder onto my chest while I was reading. Who would not have screamed?)

This spider was monstrous. It's body was easily two inches long, furry, and had long, thick legs. I kicked it out of the garage and it made a noise as it scraped across the driveway.

It had a face!

I have been hiking in Costa Rica and had tarantulas crawl on my feet, and that was still much less frightening than finding a giant spider in my garage. He now haunts my dreams and tortures my soul!

Thankfully, it was dead by the time we arrived upon the scene. That's something the receptionist at the exterminator's office kept repeating to me when I called the next morning. She seemed to think it was important. I, however, belong to the " If there's one, there are most certainly others" theory.

Braden scooped it up into a jar and set it the garage to await Mr. Exterminator's arrival. Tomorrow I can just kind of wave in the jar's general direction and not have to look at it again.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Enter the Spinmaster

Yesterday I took the boys to the library for their summer program series. Their sign said the "Spinmaster" would be there.

Not Bill O'Reilly.

The Spinmaster's name is Brent Dillinger and this kid is amazing. He started yo-yoing at age 12. One year later he entered his first national competition and took 5th, I believe. The following year he won the National Championships. At age 15 he took second place at the World Championships.

At age 16 he bought himself a porsche with his earnings.

He's now 18, and has plans to go to college next year. Unless he gets that show in Vegas. Or that show at Disneyworld.

The kids were mesmerized by his yo-yo routines. He started with a 3 minute single yo-yo routine, then explained the tricks to the kids. Then he did a 3 minute routine with 2 yo-yos at the same time. Then out came the Yo Stick, and the freestyle yo-yo (not attached to the string). He closed with his light show: 2 lighted yo-yos simultaneously, in the dark.

He was amazing! I enjoyed how he smiled the whole time, seemed to love performing, and patiently answered the children's questions afterwards. I had no idea there was so much to yo-yoing beyond "Walk the Dog" and "Around the World."

One thing I love about the internet, is that if you search long enough you can find just about anybody. Here is a video of Brent Dillinger three years ago. He's fantastic in the video, but he's obviously improved in the past 3 years and added more tricks to his routine.

I cannot get the video player to load on this blog, but if you CLICK ON THIS LINK RIGHT HERE you'll be taken to a page with the video on it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Doing My Part To Promote Global Unity

I've noticed an interesting trend over the past couple of months. People from all over the world have been coming to my blog.

No seriously. They have. Really.

Look. Here is a list of countries that have visited my blog:

Czech Republic
Puerto Rico
Russian Federation
New Zealand
Hong Kong
Saudi Arabia

48 countries. All united in their quest. They have all come searching for the same thing.

And what is their common desire? Photos of my adorable children? No. Biting sarcasm? Witty social commentary? No and No. Vegan recipes? (Do you even think that one's a possibility? Get out.)

No. People the world over have come to this blog in search of..........


Yes, apparently MacGyver is experiencing a sudden, worldwide surge in popularity. In December I blogged about "Feeling a Little MacGyver-sh", and the photo I used was then embedded on a Finnish movie database. I think. Not being fluent in Finnish, I'm not entirely sure how that happened, but I think that's the gist of it.

Sadly, none of the MacGyver-seekers get linked to the actual blog entry about MacGyver. They are simply sent to my home page. Today, confused MacGyver fans all over the world were sent to my page looking for a picture of MacGyver and were instead treated to a large picture of Cookie Monster. And so, to pacify the masses, tonight's entry prominently features the adventurous MacGyver.


Monday, June 19, 2006

It's scary how accurate these can be.

Don't hate me because my eyes are googly.

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking

How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

Friday, June 16, 2006

Just for You, Mrs. K.

I should SO be in bed, but I wanted to post photos of us at a restaurant in town for Mrs. K. We went with the M. family, and selected this establishment solely because of the place's name:

Yes, you read that right. "Donnie Mac's Trailer Park Cuisine." We could not pass this experience up! Shower curtain dividers, rusted chairs, piles of old tires, flamingoes, dead plants - everything you'd imagine in a place like that was there.

The place looked sort of as you might expect. I think it was an old garage that had been cleaned up and renovated. It's an open-air place, and the staff roll up the 3 garage bay doors every day. You can eat inside or outside. The decor is primarily supplied by the Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store down the street. The owners aim for shabby chic cuisine, and our food was actually much better than I'd expected. Wait. That sounds bad. Before eating here, I was expecting roadside diner quality food, but our meals were delicious!

The kids chose the best seats in the house - the inside of a rusted out car. Squeezed inside this car were two bench seats, a plastic tablecloth-covered table, a wobbly hula dancer, and four to six children. Oh! And astroturf! The owners' attention to detail is impressive!

The older children ate in the car. I'm not sure if you can see what is on the table, but Braden had a bowl of clam chowder and a side of fries. (Several months ago he began to eschew children's menus. I love that I have a ten year old that will order oysters or grilled red potatoes in a restaurant.) Braden's friend G. ordered the spagettios (served in the can with a plastic spoon) and a side of cheetos.

Afterwards our darlings posed in front of a trailer in the parking lot. They didn't like that part much, but I'm trying to get them into Glenn Beck's "Fusion" magazine. They'll thank me once they're famous.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

It was a perfect day. We froze most of our time in Oregon, and on the day we'd designated as "Beach Day" the sun came out, the winds died down, and it was beautiful. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

Colson digs in the sand while the bigger boys climbed the giant sand dune.

M. and Brogan sitting about a third of the way up the giant sand dune. It was tall and very steep. The speck to the left of the tree at the top of the hill is Braden. He went all the way up, then came back down to meet M. and Brogan, then climbed all the way up again.

Braden playing in the waves. The water was chilly, as it always is on the Oregon coast. Braden eventually went in up to his waist, and had a blast jumping and splashing around. The rest of us merely got our feet wet.

Brogan and Colson building sand piles.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I Just Have To Ask...

Who keeps giving this man a camera?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What. No Jell-O?

The Mormon missionaries who have come to my door over the years are never this persistent. Thankfully.

I would enjoy their visits so much more if they were as entertaining as the ones in this video.

Watch two missionaries who are on a quest for a 100% conversion rate.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Random Unrelated Photos

We were very busy visiting Aunt D. and Uncle D. There's too much to narrate, but here are the photo highlights.

There was a cute, adorable baby to hold and entertain. Baby J. is 3 months old here, and all of the boys got to have a turn or two holding him. Brogan proclaimed Baby J. to be "a very fine fellow." In this picture, Colson was tickling him with a small husky dog puppet.

Here is Aunt D. playing with Baby J. It is so much fun watching my former college roomie become a mother! We met 18 years ago when she was a recovering cheerleader and I was a Dukakis-voting Democrat. Can you believe that?!

Aunt and Uncle D. have many things in their yard that boys love: a dog, lots of space to run, and a big dirt hill. They put all of those things to good use! Somehow the boys found a large tree branch and tied crepe paper to it to make their flag. With Uncle D.'s help, they planted it atop the giant dirt hill in a scene not unlike that on Iwo Jima. Their dog, Lucy, stands proudly with them.

This is a boy in need of a dog. Brogan and Colson spent lots of time out back playing with and talking to Lucy. In this photo, Brogan is hugging her.

Uncle D. has a large shop out back that contains several vehicles and projects in various states of construction or restoration. The boys are sitting on two of his antique tractors while he entertains them with many tales of practical jokes you can pull on people who are welding.

We drove down to our alma mater and spent several hours rediscovering the town and exploring the campus. One of the main buildings was open, and I took the boys through, describing the classes I'd taken or events I'd participated in.

Here the boys are posing on the stage of the main auditorium.

Brogan and Braden really liked the desks you get to sit in at college classes. Do you think that will be enough incentive for them to attend?

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together.

There was a whole lotta' A-Team going on in our van this trip.

We received a portable DVD player for Christmas, and this was our first multi-day trip we'd taken with it. The boys travel well on our road trips, but the movies definitely helped them get over the rough patches. We'd pull the dvd player out and unpack it during what would be their normal naptimes.

For the trip I'd purchased 2 new sets of dvd's: "The A-Team (Season 1)" and "The Best of the Electric Company."

Braden really liked the A-Team episodes. Brogan and Colson did too, but they quickly tired of any scenes in which Mr. T. or Murdock did not feature prominently. There was a lot of dialogue in the early episodes, and a bit more plot than Brogan and Colson could follow.


Too much plot in an A-Team episode? That's not something I thought I'd ever type.

On Day 3 we stopped at Multnomah Falls, located in Oregon's COlumbia Gorge. It's a beautiful waterfall with a path that leads right to the top. I've climbed it several times in the past, but there was no way we were going to attempt it with three children (one of whom insisted his legs would. not. move.) in the rain and with temperatures that had us shivering.

In Oregon, if you wait for the rain to stop before you do anything outside, you will end up never doing anything. It was one of those annoying Oregon mists, too: A rain so light that you felt ridiculous carrying an umbrella, yet you would quickly become soaked if you didn't.

I pity the fool who doesn't pack warm clothes for their family on a vacation! But that's exactly what I did: shorts and t-shirts, check. Anything warm: nope! It was 96 degrees at home, and everyone on the coast insisted it was warm, but we froze!

Anyway, back to the falls. The boys stopped for a quick photo in the parking lot across the highway from the Falls.

A short way up the path there is an old stone bridge allowing hikers to cross from one side of the falls to the other. We went as far as that bridge and then turned around. Here's a view from it. My camera didn't do it justice.

Colson was tickled just to be out of the van. He giggled and danced on a bench while we got ready to hike. Note the socks pulled up as far as they'll go in an effort to stay warm.

Road Trip!

2000 miles.

3 days.

30 hours of driving.

3 small children.

2 adults.

No. Coffee.

First we saw this!

Then we saw this!

After that, things got exciting and we saw more of this!

We saw a LOT of this!

Next time, we're flying.