Sunday, February 24, 2008

Maple Syrup Time

February in hardwood forest country means maple syrup -- yum! We spent this afternoon at Lincoln Memorial Garden where you can learn all about tapping trees and cooking syrup. We started with a tree tapping demonstration. Here you see Kellan helping to operate the hand brace, drilling a hole into the tree. A spile was inserted next and a bottle attached to it. By tomorrow, the bottle will be full of sweet watery sap ready to be cooked into syrup. We also gathered some already full bottles and went to the cooker. Here we were able to sample some freshly made maple syrup (no photos due to keeping the boy away from the hot stove!).

All sugared up on our syrup, we decided to take a hike down to the lake. The frozen lake. It got cold eventually, but we enjoyed having an afternoon out. Even in wintry February. It can be done. I've just got to keep myself motivated!

Birthday Boy

Kellan is FOUR! He had a wonderful birthday on Thursday. Auntie Amanda was in town, so we picked him up from school early and went for a special lunch at Qdoba with Carmen and family. He also got to pick out a much coveted truck that he'd been eying at "Blue Store" (Toys R Us) with some birthday money. Next up was his requested birthday treat -- a tour of the state capitol building! Yeah, I know. What can you do? He loved it. Later we went swimming, followed by two special birthday ice creams at Baskin Robbins. He fell asleep on the way home. Surprised?

Yesterday we had the Big Swim Party. He had been looking forward to this for what seems like years. I am thrilled to say that it lived up to every expectation. We ended up with twelve guests which I think was spectacular for a mid-winter pool party at the height of flu season! We only had three invitees who couldn't make it. And wow, did they have fun. The party started at the pool. An hour of swim time with all of his friends.

Here we have Hank, Kellan, and Lleyton mid-jump. The lifeguard loved us.

A pool full of your best pals. What could be more fun?

More jumping!

Marcus and his dad. I had to include this photo. He is so cute! If you can imagine it, his personality is even sweeter than that face.

After an hour in the pool, everybody got dressed and went back to the party room.

Kellan's big party wish was to play "hitting baboons". Makes my job easy. I blew up lots of balloons during set up, left them scattered about the room, and when the boys arrived back from swimming, they knew exactly what to do! Must be a boy thing.

The theme was Curious George. The cake was fabulous. I wish I'd had more photos of Kel standing there while we were singing "Happy Birthday". This is the first time that I can recall being so in awe of the expression on his face, the joy in his eyes, that I stood there transfixed, happy tears in my own eyes as I took it all in -- and forgot all about the camera! At least I got a couple after the fact...

Caden and Griffin. Also Kara, Dominic's mom, in the background. They're expecting their new little boy this week!

Carmen and an exhausted Erik in the background. It was all too much. Wore him out, poor guy.

A final shot of the kids eating cake. Present time was chaotic. Didn't take any photos. Hardly managed to keep track of everything! Kellan is a very lucky boy with a big group of wonderful friends. The party was so special. It lived up to every expectation and then some! Perhaps this is the perfect age for a fun and simple party, or perhaps it was just the perfect mix of friends and a great afternoon of swimming that worked out so well. And we now officially have a four year old in the house.


Kellan had two of his best buddies, Carmen and Dominic, over for the President's Day holiday. It was a super morning. He has all sorts of new school friends, but still refers to his old playgroup pals exclusively as "my buddies".

Saturday, February 16, 2008

They call it "Fun With Photoshop"

Lots more to learn, but it certainly does brighten up some otherwise dull "around the house" photos. We were playing kitchen on Valentine's Day. Took a few photos and tried some Photoshop tricks to make them worth posting. I'm very much a Photoshop novice, but its fun as you learn. And so, here you go..

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Taking pictures of Kellan taking pictures of me...

Goofing around at home

Another long, cold, and bleak February week has passed. We didn't go anywhere interesting or do anything more extraordinary than school, work, church, and the rest of the routine. Kellan and I had two days off for Lincoln's birthday (which makes me think that I should have a two day celebration for my own birthday -- Lincoln had the right idea here!). Being a bit housebound with the cold, we decided to take some photos this morning while Kel played Geotrax. Exciting? Not really. Cute? But of course!

Do you read to the end of the post? Thought I'd add a funny side story. At the children's message in church this week, they didn't receive candy (Lent rules). I had explained it to Kellan in advance, hoping that he wouldn't embarrass himself up front. He seemed to take it very well, until he turned around to walk back up the sanctuary to us and stopped at each pew, hands outstretched, sadly telling everybody, "Sorry, no candy. There's no candy today. Sorry. No candy for the holiday...". Goof.