Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Me: Do you know what Leo's name means?
Felix: No.
Me: It means 'lion'. (pause) Do you know what Felix means?
Felix: Yes.
Me: What?
Felix: (nothing)
Me: It means 'lucky'.
Felix: No! It means 'elephant'. It means 'elephant that scares baby lions'!

Life With Leo

I'm watching Leo explore our house (again) as he does every day.  I just got hit with a wave of preemptive nostalgia for the days when he won't need to explore again.  You see, he goes from commonplace object to commonplace object trying to figure out a) what it is for and more importantly b) what fun thing he can do with it.  We also run into c) is it light enough to move around on his own.  Everything gets inspected closely until he is distracted into inspecting something else.
The something else is usually Ozzie.  He loves that cat.  Whenever he sees Ozzie he lights up.  Goes over to him and tries to interact.  This means that Leo tips his head to one side to be adorable and holding out a finger for sniffing.  Well, waving a finger.  He knows to do that but he doesn't have the speed right yet.  Ozzie then gets some pats and fawning and shortly thereafter escapes.  (I should mention that Ozzie is better with kids than any other cat that I've ever met.)
The other thing that will derail Leo's explorations is his blanket.  He is completely attached to his blanket and will search it out.  Yesterday it was on the other side of a baby gate and that fact drove him bonkers.  Drove me bonkers too until I figured out what he was trying to get. 
Leo is our explorer baby.  He climbs and climbs.  He's the first child to figure a way past the baby gate at the stairs.  We've found him on the dining room table and the stove.  Soon we'll find him on the refrigerator, no doubt.
I love the guy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Yesterday I washed the van while the kids were in it.  I was doing my part to encourage it to rain.  Alas, no luck.  Before the wash, I gassed up and while I was doing that, I heard shouting from inside.  Someone was yelling something like 'daddy'.  I peered through the very dirty windows and put a finger over my lips to DF, in the 'quiet' sign.  Then I noticed LL's smiling face and gave him a smile in return and a wave. 
After the pump was done I went inside and paid for the car wash.  When I got back to the van, both Relia and DF told me that it was LL who was shouting 'Da-da!'.  He did so again, just to convince me that it wasn't a fluke. 
We're tough judgers of words here.  Before we credit a new word to one of our kids, we need it to be clear and in context.  No accidental ones for us!  This time he passed the test.  Da-da indeed.

(Of course I could have done without the honor the middle of last night when he woke up and screamed it until I came to settle him...)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Leonard's Rules for Writing

Some absolutely great stuff in here.  My favorite is:
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can't allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. It's my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our Baseball Weekend

I was going to write up our weekend out but the FP Gal did a great job so I'm just going to link.  There were many highlights, but getting a baseball was right up there. 


Watched a bit of a Felix the Cat cartoon this morning. A while later our DF quietly asked me "when was I a cat?".

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Third Core

Fascinating story from the last days of WW II.  I can't believe they weren't more careful with this stuff.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


On Friday night we went to Frontenac State Park.  ('Frontenac' is French for 'daddy long legs', of which we saw at least a million.)  We got to the camp site just after lunch and we were lucky that the previous tenants had already checked out.  We could go right in. 
We set up the new tent and another small tent that the FP Gal bought for the kids to play in.  We handed out whistles to the older kids in case they got lost in the woods.  Eventually we had take them back because they wouldn't stop 'practicing'.  LL got some jingle bells which we attached to his pants.  We were afraid that he'd hate them but he surprised us and loved them. 
Right connected to the back of our site was a path to In Yan Teopa rock. This led us down to the a couple of spots overlooking Lake Peppin.  I took the bigger kids down there and within minutes we saw two different bald eagles soar past!  We saw the rock from above.  It wasn't very impressive.  There was a path leading down but I said we had to wait for the FP Gal before we hogged all of the discoveries. 
We returned with her after the camp was all set up.  The path was long and difficult.  To be fair, there is a sign at the top that says so.  The FP Gal had LL on her back which made it even harder.  We made it some long ways (2/3rds?) down before we turned around and hiked back up. 
It was hot dogs for supper and then we explored the surrounding area.  We set a small fence up around the fire pit so we didn't have to wach LL every minute.  Not many small children in our area unfortunately.  Several camps had bicyclists who met up there and took off again in the morning.  We found the biffy and a very rough sandbox.  According to DF, the biffy was 'full of dead flies'.  And live ones, and other bugs including one live rock moth which scared the hell out of me!
A little before 7p, I took LL for a ride to see if he'd fall asleep.  He did and afterwards I transferred him to the pack and play in the tent.  The rest of us had s'mores.  Finally it was dark enough to get the other kids down.  We hoped to see some starts but clouds rolled in and we really didn't see any.
LL woke up some time in the middle of the night and the party was on!  The FP Gal finally took him to the car so the rest of us could sleep.  About 530a, Relia woke me so I could walk her down the bathroom.  When we got back, the FP Gal rejoined us in the tent and DF was awake.  Not the best night of sleep ever. 
This morning we broke camp and decided that everyone was too tired to stay there anymore.  We took the scenic route back through Wisconsin and now we're back. 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

This One Weird Trick (for putting kids to sleep)

I don't remember when I stumbled upon this, but it's been something of a lifesaver.  A couple of years ago I came across a copy of Kipling's 'Just So Stories'.  You know, the one about how the camel got its humps and so on.  The kids enjoy them, but they have trouble staying awake through them.
The stories are straight-forward but they have certain elements that bring on the drowsy.  Kipling has long phrases that he repeats several times.  For example, in the wonderful story about the Elephant's Child, he writes about 'the great grey-green greasy Limpopo river all set about with fever trees', again and again.  The phrase is wonderful but it has a certain lulling quality. 
Anyway, it works.  Usually one story will do it.  On hard nights (like tonight) I pull out the big guns.  I just gave Relia twenty minutes of the wonderful story, 'Kim'.  We read about poor orphaned Kim and his meeting with the Tibetan lama.  We read about the Lama and his journey to find a holy river.  Well, I read it.  I think she was out cold by then. 
Seriously, try it.  Get the unedited, full length version of some Kipling.  (It was written more than a hundred years ago, so you may need to do some editing of your own...)  But go out and get it.  You won't be disappointed. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

More Olympic Opening Ceremonies

Well, well, well.  Seek and ye shall find.  Yesterday I wondered if other full opening ceremonies were online.  I then found a bunch of them listed under 'Olympic Ceremony Database'.  Obviously, I haven't had a chance to look through all of them yet, but the more recent ones are complete. 
Included is some footage from the very first modern Olympics, Athens 1896.  There is less than a minute of footage.  It looks verrrry 1896.  My guess is that the old ones are all just small clips. 
Internet, you have delivered again!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Vancouver Olympics

I've taken to YouTube in the mornings to find things to show the kids.  Lately that's been Olympics heavy for various reasons.  The other day I ran across this:

That's the full opening ceremony to the Vancouver Olympics.  In fact, it's the video that was given to various broadcasts.  Some three hours of it that the talking heads of NBC, Sky or whomever, would provide commentary for.  Which means that you, the viewer, can simply watch this on its own merits. 
I know that the full thing is some three hours long, but do take a minute to watch the first couple of minutes.  There is a long establishing shot over the Vancouver harbor.  Eventually it comes to the BC Place, which looks like an exact clone of the Metrodome.  (Let's see, BC Place was built from '81-'83.  The Dome was built from '79 to '82.  Different architects but obviously the same design.)
There are two musical highlights for me, the first about the 2:01:00 mark and the other about 2:36:00. 

This clip led me to an Olympic channel on YouTube.  I'm going to look for other full ceremony clips.  I don't know why they wouldn't put them up.  There is no possible protection issue, since the actual events are long over.  I'll let you know what else I find. 

Have a Great Friday

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Twins Game

(I thought about blogging in the past week about, well, a bunch of stuff, but I noticed that I had four posts for July and that seemed nice somehow.  Anyway, I think regular blogging will resume now.)

We took the older kids to a Twins game today. 

Relia has been excited for this, literally counting the days.  When she heard that it was in August, she quickly connected it to her birthday.  She's been talking about fields and baseball for weeks now.  That excitement continued as we went into the park.  I think she was a little overwhelmed by the people and the noise.  DF, on the other hand was hungry, tired and cranky.  Some hot dogs fixed that problem.
By the end of the second inning, the kids were completely ready to go home.  They didn't like sitting down.  They couldn't really follow what was going on.  And, worst of all, TC Bear was gone and there were no more mascots to watch.  We alternated going for walks with them.  And both of them can be brought around with some judicious tickling and attention.  They perked up.
DF conked out about the sixth inning.  I think the FP Gal did too.  We decided to leave after the seventh.  I carried DF for a bit and then the FP Gal took over.  He woke up and seemed fairly cheerful.  I think they both had lots of fun and will want to go again.
Well, we'll see.