At a play place recently, Ryan got his hand stamped. I’m sure this isn’t the first time it’s happened, but for some reason he noticed this time. “Can I keep this sticker at home?” he asked. I told him it would probably wear off, but that I had stamps at home we could play with.

So we did. He absolutely, passionately refused the use of paper, but he was happy to decorate any part of his body he could reach, eventually taking off his clothes to give himself more canvas.


And I admit, I had fun too.


Also I learned not to turn my back on him, lest he abandon the stamps and begin rubbing the ink pad directly on his body. The violet ink in particular was bad; the blue components faded, but the reddish ones didn’t. For days he looked bruised.


At Grandpa’s – The Tiller

On the day we left, Dad was ready to till in the cover crop in the garden. The kids had already been treated to an exhibition of the tractor, with the mower attached, mowing two-foot-high crimson clover down. We took the opportunity to see the next step of the process as well, the tilling. Since it involved an impressively loud machine, it was naturally a good show. My favorite part was watching them trail after Dad like little ducklings.





At Grandpa’s – Chopping Wood

Bob, Andrew and Elizabeth came down for part of a day, and spent some of their leisure time splitting some wood. This process was great for the kids to watch. What was fun for me to watch was how Bob interacted with my kids. He got them involved in choosing which log would be the next one to split, and in helping the process by yelling as the axe-wielder swung — moral support which is always critical to the success of the endeavor. Honestly, I think I should take a few parenting lessons from my brother.




Occasionally, just for fun, he even tore a mostly-split log apart with his bare hands. All the spectators found that impressive.

At Grandpa’s – The Woods

Walking in the woods with the kids is always fun, although when using an overgrown trail that first descends, then climbs a steep ravine, there can be some tricky bits. There was a difficult moment when we were about twenty feet from coming out of the ravine onto level ground, that I thought we would have a mutiny and they would head back. But it was fun, and for once I followed through on my impulse to collect some of the huge variety of leaves I see down there. They all wilted in the heat before we got home; sometime I need to go in there with a nature journal and a few hours to spare.




The kids really got into the collecting mode, but they liked focusing on flowers, which meant mostly dandelions. I received a lovely bouquet.

At Grandpa’s – The Beach

We took a just-because trip up to my dad’s house at the beginning of May, and happened to hit the perfect weekend — exactly the one where everyone sat around in shorts marveling at how hot it was. It was perfect beach weather, so perfect that we ended up staying an extra day, and not just because I wanted to go to my aunt’s knitting group with her.


The kids and I spent significant time at the beach, mostly engaged in three main endeavors. Two of these, burying feet in the sand and creating miniature construction sites, were engaged in by all parties with about equal enthusiasm. The last, that of making sand castles, was mostly my thing. Nathan joined in a little bit, but Ryan, despite seeming fascinated by the concept, turned out to have serious artistic differences with me. Specifically, I liked building castles and he felt they were better buried and/or demolished.




I managed to get one picture of my mostly-intact castle, with Ryan merely contemplating his strategy… But trust me, there was nothing left for the tide to take.

Server Up

Recently our twenty-year-old server died, necessitating a new one. I was very glad that Dave did the work to research, buy, and set up the new box, and it’s entirely unfair of me to make fun of the situation it created on his desk. Note that there are four keyboards and three mice there — and yes, they’re all in use.


A Little Spring – Inside