Sunday, September 30, 2012

'Hello? The banana is for you'

Had a banana this morning and instantly thought of you. "Why?" you ask.

Whenever we went to the supermarket together, you sat in the grocery cart seat, and as we'd pass the bananas in the produce section, I'd always say, "Why look at all of the yellow telephones they have for sale!"

You'd say, "Those aren't telephones! They're bananas!"

Ignoring you, I'd go "Brrrngg!" and then hold a banana to my head as if it were a telephone. "Hello?" I say into the banana. "Why yes, he's right here." I'd then pass the banana to you and say, "It's for you."

You'd hold the banana to your head as if it were a telephone and go, "Hello?"

Then you'd get this disgusted look on your face, knowing that you'd been tricked, and say, "This is NOT a telephone."

After a few seconds as we moved on, you'd unpeel the banana and eat it!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Surfer boy at SeaWorld's Arctic base camp

Posted a new cover picture of you on my Facebook site. It shows you dressed in your cool surfer clothes while at SeaWorld in San Diego during July 2011. The section is the polar area where we walk through this cool "base camp" in the Arctic and can see all kinds of aquatic animals from the Arctic, such as polar bears and Beluga whales. As going through the camp, we wind around this old 1800s ship that got trapped in the Arctic ice. It definitely was among your favorite sections of SeaWorld! The section the picture was taken is the supply room for the base camp explorers.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Jobs I've held in journalism, teaching

In a previous entry, I mentioned that these days I work as an editor and a writer. That's been my career for most of my life!

When I went to college, I studied journalism so I could work at a newspaper. My very first job was as a newspaper reporter in Red Wing, Minn. I covered Wisconsin news. I met your mother while I worked in Red Wing.

For several years, I also worked as a teacher. I mainly taught English but also journalism to grades 7-12 (and mainly eighth and ninth graders at that) at a school in New Mexico and one in Wisconsin.

But my heart was in writing and editing, so I went back into journalism and worked at several newspapers and magazines for several years in the 2000s. The biggest newspaper I worked for was The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif. I also was the top editor at two newspapers - the Prescott (Wis.) Journal and The Daily Triplicate in Crescent City, Calif. (You were born when your mother and me lived in Crescent City!).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recall reading Curious George books?

We've read literally hundreds of books together before you started school, and among the most popular of them were the Curious George stories. One that you were particularly fond of that we got at the library was “Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory” (by Margret and H.A. Rey).

In the book, Curuous George discovers how chocolate candies are made while visiting the factory. He decides to help out, though, and of course chaos breaks out! Chocolate candies of all sorts start coming out of the machine superfast!

Ultimately, though, he saves the day because he can use both his hands and feet to catch the chocolates and put them in the box. I don't know if I would want to eat a chocolate touched by a monkey's feet - would you?

Would are some of the Curious George books that you recall reading?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My email response to your first email!

Here is my response to your first email, sent Sept. 25, 2012. I'm publishing it here just in case you do not receive it.

Hi Kieran,

It was so wonderful to hear from you after all of these months. I’ve missed you every day that we’ve been apart.

I chuckled when you said the email was long – I suppose it was for an email, but we’ve been apart for a long time and have lots of catching up to do. I write and edit books for a living, so whipping off an email that long was pretty easy for me!

I’m so glad you like kindergarten and school. Other than your family, there’s nothing more important than your education. Even when school may seem boring or difficult, always do your best, and in the end you’ll be a very happy person.

I’d love to hear about your school. Do you go to kindergarten all day? When I went to kindergarten, I only went half a day, in the morning, and got to eat lunch at home with my mom and little brother. What kind of crafts have you made in kindergarten? Who are some of your friends that you play with? What is your teacher like?

I’m so proud of you that you’re learning to ride a bicycle! You might remember that before you left California we went to a few shops and looked at bicycles for you, and you were very excited about getting one. Pushing the pedals was very difficult, but now that you’re older and stronger, I’m sure it’s a lot easier. What color is your bicycle? Do you have any fun do-dads on it? When I was your age, we used to put streamers on our handlebars, and some of the kids even had horns! A few of us boys put a playing card in our wheel spokes so that it’d make this cool thwap! thwap! sound when we cruised around.

You might recall the book “Lizzie’s Do’s and Don’ts” that we got from the library (“Don’t climb high in trees. Don’t put 10 band-aids on your knees!”). One of the don’ts was that Lizzie’s mom got upset at her when she took a card from the playing deck and put it in her bicycle wheel!

Have you read any good books lately? I bet your kindergarten teacher reads books to you at story time. I just read “Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type.” It’s about these cows that find an old typewriter in the barn, so they type a letter to Farmer Brown asking for electric blankets. When he doesn’t give them any electric blankets, they go on strike and tell him, “No electric blankets, no milk!”

You said you have several pictures of me. I am glad to hear that. Where did you get the pictures? I don’t recall you having a photo album. I’d love to look at the pictures with you; I probably can tell you lots of fun stories about what was happening when the picture was taken.
Well, that is all for now. I can’t wait to hear from you!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A year ago today we went to Viking Fest

Kieran the Viking
A year ago today we attended Viking Fest in Vista, Calif., a suburb of San Diego. At first you weren't too excited about going, mainly because you didn't quite know what a "Viking" was, but once we got there you sure had a blast! When the time came for us to leave, you even begged me to let you stay longer!

We got to see people dressed up as Vikings engage in mock battles and sword fights with one another. Then you got to paint and decorate your very own shield and sword. And I finally let you get a face painting like you always wanted - you chose to be a pirate!

You are, of course, Norwegian on your mother's side of the family. I'm all English and German with a smattering of Dutch.

Here are a whole bunch of pictures of you at Viking Fest.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Your first email to me!

Received your first email from you! This is the first time that I've "heard" from you since May 9 - more than four months now. Of course, someone else had to write it for you. I've published it here so that when you're older and able to read it, you can tell me if it really came from you ... I have my suspicions about that as the email makes a concerted effort to show how your current situation is perfect and didn't answer a number of questions or respond to a number of topics I wrote in my email. In addition, the wording isn;t entirely the way you speak, not matching your speaking patterns. Still, I will give everyone the benefit of the doubt for now and presume you really got to hear to first email to you and that these really are your words.


I got your e-mail it sure was long.

I like my Kindergarten class and going to school.

I even go to bed early so I can be up to go to school early and play.

I have  a good breakfast every day.

I am learning to ride a 2 wheeler with training wheels and can’t wait for the training wheels come off and Grandpa can teach me to ride a 2 wheeler.

I still have several pictures of you and me.

Gotta go outside to play.  Bye.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

'Curious George Learns to Count...'

Remember this fun book, "Curious George Learns to Count from 1 to 100"? You used to look at it all the time. Curious George discovers all kinds of things that are needed for the city's big festival, and each time he finds something, he counts them. You then would count all of the things that George found - nine yellow ties and 24 blueberry pancakes and so on. There also was a neat two-page spread that showed the village Curious George lived in, and you used to marvel over all of the buildings and help George retrace his steps home. Thanks to all of the great pictures and counting opportunities, I always kept it in the car for you to look at on our long drives. I still have your book - it's in fairly good shape - for you to fondly look back on one day (And maybe even to read to your own children!).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A baby picture of you from 2007!

Here's a baby picture of you I found! Though I don't remember the exact date, but it was taken sometime in spring or summer of 2007, the year you were born. It is in the living room at our house in Crescent City, Calif.

You loved sitting and playing in this activity center - it had like a 100+ different toys on it and you could spin around in it so that you could play with different ones.

You were not a big one for the play pen behind it. You just didn't like being in it and would cry when put in, so we almost never used it. You were pefectly content to sit on the rug in the living room and play.

The swing next the play pen also wasn't one of your favorite things. I think you just didn't like to be cooped up!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Baby picture along Pacific Ocean

Stumbled across this great baby picture of you and had to share it! The picture was taken in September 2007 when we lived in Crescent City, Calif. We traveled north into southwestern Oregon and took this in the very early evening while driving by the Pacific Ocean. It's looking south with California behind us. You always had a binkie in your mouth, it seemed - and always demanded that you have one handy! It got to the point where we tied a string to it and clipped it to whatever you wearing so that you could put it in and take it out whenever you liked!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My first email to you

I finally received your email address from your mother and sent ny first email to you. Just in case in don't receive the email, I've included it here for you to read.

Dear Kieran,

I am so glad that we finally are able to talk with one another. First, I want you to know that I love you more than anything in the whole world, that I have always loved you, and that I always will, no matter what. Next, I also want you to know that I miss you very much and think about you every day and all the time. I never wanted us to be apart and cannot wait to see you again. And lastly, that is the good news – we should be able to spend time together very soon, hopefully within the next couple of weeks.

The picture I included with the email.
Since we last saw one another four months ago, I have moved out of our condo in Palmdale to Wisconsin. You might remember when we used to go to the library together and looked at the globe of how I would point out where England and California was. I also always pointed out where Minnesota and Wisconsin were, noting that is where your mommy and I grew up. I live very close to you in Wisconsin so we can get together as much as possible.

In a few months, I hope to take you to the farm where I grew up in Wisconsin so you can meet your Grandma and Grandpa, who you used to talk to on the phone. They haven’t seen you since you were a little baby and can’t wait to have fun with you again. Your cousins Bryan and Rebekah and your Uncle Chris and Aunt Susie also can’t wait to see you again. Rebekah is in kindergarten, just like you.

I want you to know that I’m sorry I wasn’t there to see you off on your first day to kindergarten or to find out at the end of the day your thoughts and feelings about this first big day in your new school. You’ll learn a lot in kindergarten, and it’ll be a lot of fun for you, of that I’m sure. You’ll have the opportunity to make new friends, some of whom may last a lifetime. Be sure to get lots of sleep and to always eat a good breakfast before heading off to school – that’ll always make the day go better!

I would love for you to show me your kindergarten classroom and introduce me to your teacher and all of friends soon. There are so many things I can’t wait to talk to you about, fun places I can’t wait to take you, great games I can’t wait to play with you, and great books I can’t wait to read to you.

So tell me a little about your life these past few months. What is your bedroom and house like where you live? What are your new favorite toys to play with? What TV shows do you now like to watch? What is your teacher’s name and the names of your friends? What do you and your friends like to do together for fun? What is your favorite part of kindergarten? What kinds of things are you learning in school? What exciting places have you been to since moving to Minnesota? What would you like to do again when we get together?

I’ve included a picture of us together so that you have a photo of me. It was taken last Easter in Lancaster at the Easter Egg Hunt. I’ll always remember how you offered to share your Easter eggs with another little boy who was only able to pick up a couple of them. I was very proud of you!

I miss you so much, Kieran, and can’t wait to see you again. Hopefully, that will be in just a couple of weeks. When we do get together, I promise we’ll have lots of fun, just we always do whenever we spend together. I can’t wait to hear from you, so write back soon!



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Remember going to Fleet Week in S.D.?

Kieran in the Captain's chair.
A year ago today we toured a Navy ship and got to play around with a bunch of fun Marines gear during the Fleet Week Big Bay Family Festival in downtown San Diego.
The Navy ship tour was a little boring for both of us, but you did get to play with some of the stuff on a real, active duty Navy ship, including sitting in the captain's chair on the bridge (see the picture at right). You also look a little tired in the photos - no doubt because we had so much fun the day before, I think at Disneyland.
San Diego is a big Navy town with a base there and a major Marine base to the north on the way to Los Angeles.
Afterward, we went over the maritime museum and played on the submarines and an old sail ship (the Star of India) that had a kid's play area featuring a model pirate ship. You always loved to go to the the maritime museum (I'll be sure to post some photos of that in another entry).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meeting your (and my) grandparents

George and Ivis Mueller
I'm so happy for you, Kieran, that you will grow up getting to know your grandparents. Both sets of my grandparents had died before I was born, so I grew up without them. I guess I didn't really notice that something was missing from my life until I got to elementary school and started hearing all of the great stories that my classmates told about their grandparents.

I was fortunate enough to have a couple of sets of aunts and uncles who served in the role of grandparents for me, though, and for that I am very grateful. On my dad's side were his oldest sister and her husband, who also were my godparents (All these years later, I must say that my aunt/godmother was very similar to Jane in behavior and outlook on life.). On my mother's side were her aunt and uncle, George and Ivis Mueller; my mother actually lived with them for a couple of years when she was growing up (Ivis, or "Auntie I" as we called her, passed away a few years ago but everyone else is still alive).

We always visited both sets of aunts/uncles at least once a month. Sometimes with my mother's aunt and uncle, we'd go two or three weekends a month, a for a while, we went to visit my godparents almost every day...that's a story of compassion on the part of my parents that I'll have to tell you about one day.

I can't wait to introduce you to my parents, my godparents, and to Uncle George. It will happen very soon, I promise!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Remember playing Beep! in the car?

One of our favorite games to play in the car when we lived in Palmdale was "I Spy “Beep!”This was a variation of the classic car trip “I Spy” game.

Looking out the window, one of us in the car would select an object that is commonly repeated – a green sign if on the freeway, a light post, a blue car – and say “Beep!” whenever the car passed it. You then would call out what you thought was saying “Beep!” for.

Usually that meant lightpoles, green signs, or a certain colored car.

I can't wait to play it and lots of other car games again with you!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A bit of advice: Practice Forgiveness

Throughout your life, Kieran, people will give you cause to be angry - some will be dishonest, wome will cheat you, some even will betray you. You can spend years thinking about why they did this. Such years are wasted time, though. It is best to forgive and to move on.

By "forgive" I do not mean to naively trust so you may be taken advantage of again. Instead, I mean to accept that what they have done is because of their own weaknesses - moral, emotional, spiritual, perhaps even physical. Perhaps if their lives had taken a different course years ago, they would not have wronged you or others as just have. And perhaps in the years ahead they will realize their weakness and strengthen their moral, emotional or spiritual fiber.

In the meantime, you must not let your anger and sense of hurt over their actions to rule you. You can empower yourself by forgiving them.

With that, my son, let give you some quotations about "forgiveness" to mull over and hopefully guide you:

"This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well." - Josiah Bailey

“…one who was ‘forgiven little, loves little.’” - W.P. “Ab” Abercrombie

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." - Les Brown

"Never does the human soul appear so strong as when is foregoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury." - Confucius 

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We finally get to see and communicate with one another!

Good news, Kieran! My attorney and I had a court hearing yesterday morning.

The court ordered that I be able to visit you once a month with the opportunity for new visits. We'll get to meet at Genesis II, a center in Minenapolis. There's no word yet on exactly when the meeting will take place, but if I have not heard by Monday, I shall follow up.

I also get to send you an email once a week. Your mother will have to set up an email for you, read it to you, and then type your reply to me. There's no word yet on exactly when we can start emailing one another, but if I have not heard by Monday, I again shall follow up. There's really no reason we couldn't start emailing one another today, after all.

I'm really looking forward to seeing you again! We have a lot of catching up to do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Decorating your new room

Went shopping this weekend with your grandma and purchased some items for our new house. I'm gettting excited about making the purchase and decorating the place the way I've always wanted my home to look; in the past, I either was just out of college and so had no money to outfit a home or I was living with someone else and had to compromise with their tastes - not that I ever disliked any of those mutual design decisions, but I always had to go with my second choice on everything.

I'm waiting to buy anything for your room, though - I want you to have a say in how you decorate it, such as the bedspread and posters and bathroom fixtures (yes, there's a half bath for you - sink, toilet, shower stall). We'll have lots of fun looking for stuff and decorating it.

Your nursery was a Classic Pooh and very cute. But it mainly was decorated to please your mother and me. I have a few of the items from the nursery and some pictures of it packed away. When we lived in the green house in Lancaster, your room had Star Wars decor and was red, white and blue. Jane and I were going to decorate your room at the Palmdale condo in football decor; she had picked out (and even purchased) this wonderful bedspread, lamp and other items, but we all know how that turned out.

Anyway, I'm thinking football again - except you had asked for an NFL helmet design. But I'm wide open to whatever you might like. And if you can;t decide, I may go with a surfer look! :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My latest effort to see you again

Tomorrow is a big day for us, Kieran. My attorney and I are heading back to court for a hearing so we can see one another again.

We're asking for: the right to visit one another; the right for me to call you by telephone each night; that your mother write a weekly email updating me on your health and schooling.

Usually the court's goal is to reunite children with their parents; those who've written the law understand that families are important in people's lives. There are laws, though, to protect children who've been abused that result in families staying apart; unfortunately, sometimes angry people misuse those laws to keep children and their parents apart. In the long run, the court system typically recognizes this misuse, so say strong - time is on our side, and we will prevail.

In my next entry, I'll tell you how it all turns out. My fingers are crossed!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Have you made any good friends?

Now that you're off to kindergarten, I'd like to ask about your friends. You've probably made some while in daycare or playing around the neighborhood; once in school, young boys and girls have a tendency to quickly gather together in groups of like-interested children. What are their names? What are they interested in? What kinds of things do you like to do together?

I remember my own father asking me the same question when I first went off to kindergarten. I recall being a little anxious about the question, as if it were some measure of my worth as to whether or not I'd made friends or not with other children.

But I don't mean to make you feel anxious. Now that I'm older and a dad, I understand that my father wasn't judging me but simply taking an interest. Just as I once did, you're closing on a point in life when your friends' ideas and perspectives will become more important to you than your parents' views and opinions; it's a natural part of growing up. So knowing who are your friends tells me if I did a good job or not raising you - if you've selected friends who are good to you and keep you from getting into trouble, then I've done my job well; if you've chosen friends who are mean to you and get you into trouble, then I've done poorly. Knowing who your friends are isn't a measure of your worth - it's a measure of mine!

So, tell me about your friends...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Your favorite foods through the years

As we grow older, the kinds of foods we like change. When I was a little boy your age, I loved grape juice but now I don't like it all and prefer orange juice.

What kinds of foods did you like growing up? Here were some of your favorites from before you entered kindergarten: hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, apple juice, string cheese, squeezable yogurt, M&M's plain, Subway sandwiches (just the meat and cheese!), mint chocolate chip ice cream, lasagna, tiramisu, York Peppermint Patties, sugar cookies, potato chips, corn dogs, hamburgers.

One food you definitely disliked was peanut butter and anything containing nuts! You'd actually grimace whenever you thought something might contain nuts.

My favorite foods are shrimp, scallops, lobster, pizza and cashews. For beverages, I like coffee, Coca-Cola and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

What are your favorite foods?

Do you reall your bunny Logs?

You and Logs in Mojave
Desert, March 2011.
When you were a toddler, you won a bunny rabbit at the Poppy Festival in Lancaster. He was your best companion by far, always carried around and in bed with you. About a year or so later, you found at some store an identical but shorter and smaller bunny. You begged me to buy it for you, and I did.

You named the new stuffie Logs, and that bunny became your best pal, always carried around and in bed with you. I'm not sure why you named it "Logs"; it might have been misheard name of a clone trooper on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars", I think, but Logs stuck.

You then renamed the bigger bunny "Log's Daddy"! I was very flattered by that! Log's Daddy stayed with me in San Diego and always had a reunion with Logs when you visited on weekends.

I'm not certain what happened to either bunny in the various moves we made. I'm betting you still have Logs, though!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Why you should go to college

As you begin school this week, you're starting a long journey in your formal education. I hope that I've already instilled in you that you'll go to college, but just in case years from you you must ask the question "Should I go to college?" and I'm not there, my answer is "Yes!"

I can give you all of the tried and true reasons to go to college, such as "You'll earn more money with a college education"; "You can't find a good job without a college education"; or "The girls alone are worth it!" But really the main reason to go to college is to take a few years to explore the world in depth and by doing so to learn about yourself.

We never really stop growing as individuals, but college can give you lots of different experiences - through what you read, by meeting other people, via exploring all that you can learn through the arts - that'll you'll never get anywhere else, especially once you start working and raising a family. These experiences will help you answer lots of difficult questions about ourselves, such as "Who am I?"; "What's my purpose?"; and "What do I really want to do in life?"

You may not find all the answers, but the journey an educational environment like college offers will help you come closer to figuring it all out. So give it a try - I bet you'll enjoy it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dad's favorite TV show - 'Star Trek'

Spent a little time talking with your Grandma today (Who can't wait to see you by the way - she took care of you every day for several months when you were a baby and your mother stayed with them.), and she read to me some "Star Trek" trivia questions that appeared in one of her magazines. I got 1 out of 2 right but dispute the veracity of the second question!

Anyway, if you don't already know, "Star Trek" is my favorite TV program. You enjoyed watching the cartoons versions of it and The Original Series (The ones with Captain Kirk) while a toddler and in preschool). For a while, you even had each of the action figures fromt he series!

I watched "Star Trek" ever since I was your age (five) and really got hooked when the cartoons came on the air - I was probably in first grade when that happened. Of course, the show was cool in that it offered all kinds of action and cool monsters and neat gadgets. But I also really liked the adventure of traveling to new and exotic locations - one of the most interesting "planets" that I always wanted to visit as a kid was filmed at Vasquez Rocks County Park - where we did lots of hiking when we lived in California!

But what I liked most about the show was its philosophy that people could get along and work together out of mutual respect for one another. The Enterprise crew were noble people who came in peace and only wanted to learn about places and cultures they encountered. They defended a civilization where people were equal, intellectual and just.

Do you still watch "Star Trek"? I would love to watch it with you (and introduce you to Grandma, too!).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wish I could be there for first day of kindergarten

This week you likely began kindergarten, Kieran, and I want you to know that I'm sorry I wasn't there to see you off on your first day or to find out at the end of the day your thoughts and feelings about this first big day in your education. My not being there was not my choice; I fought in the courts to be able to see you earlier this summer but was denied because of lies told about me. I am continuing to fight, however, through the courts for us to be together and have a good attorney now who should be able to reunite us at long last.

The first day of kindergarten may not be something you remember, but it certainly is an important day. As a news reporter, I covered the first day of kindergarten a few times, even interviewing the children. It perhaps was more of an emotional day for the parents dropping off their children, as mom and dad finally realize their child is taking his first real flight from the nest.

You'll learn a lot in kindergarten, and it'll be a lot of fun for you, of that I'm sure. You'll have the opportunity to make new friends, some of whom may last a lifetime. Be sure to get lots of sleep and to always eat a good breakfast before heading off to school - that'll always make the day go smoother!

Soon I'll be able to see you again, and when I do, I want you to show me your kindergarten classroom and introduce me to your teacher and all of friends. Okay? Okay!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Watching traffic at the playground together

Here's a journal entry from mid November 2009 about climbing the playground rocks at Lancaster City Park:

My fingers grab hold of a niche in the hard fiberglass rock, just behind the heel of your small feet. Children's laughter and gleeful screeches bound behind us. We reach the rock's summit, and you pat the rock for me to sit next ot you. Silently, we face the freeway beyond the park's soccer field. The rock's pebbeled surface leaves impressions in the pads of my fingers.

"Eighteen wheeler!" you suddenly shout, pointing at the freeway.

I glance up, catch the tail of a semi-trailer zomming out of my view.

"Another eighteen wheeler!" you say as one zips past going in the other direction. A silent beat. "Garbage truck!" you holler.

"There goes an ambulance," I respond.

"No lights on," you say.

"It must be going back to the fire station."

Then barely before I finish, you shout, "SUV!"

Our exchange goes on like this for a while, each pointing out to the other every fuel truck, motorcycle, bus and police car that passes. All the while your sidle closer to me. A lull in the traffic leaves us sitting quietly next to one another.

"Would you like to go now?" I ask.

You shake your head.

"Do you want to play on the slide or the jungle gym?"

You shake your head again.

"What would you like to do then?"

Your cheek presses against my chest. "Stay here."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Your name and photo appear on blog!

The blog Indirect Observations gave a positive review to my latest book, “Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities” on Monday day. In doing so, it ran a picture of the book's cover, which has you on it, and some background information about us and all of the hikes we've done over the years.

The blog also ran a picture of the author's son, a little boy who looks to be your age and dressed in his wildnerness explorer hat even looked a bit like you. The author wrote a very nice paragraph about how she and her son tried one of the games in the book and with great results! I guess the fun we had together is something other parents and their children also love to do!

Hopefully in another week or so I'll have all of this court stuff resolved so we can be together once again - and then have all kinds of fun once more!

Monday, September 3, 2012

First time you ever enjoyed popcorn

You might remember this story that I used to tell you about when you were a baby - no more than nine or 10 months old - about when I had made popcorn one evening. I sat in my lap, snug against my left side, as I watched television with a bowl of hot buttered popcorn tucked against my right side.

Once I started eating the popcorn, you sniffed the air and looked at me with this facial expression that said, "Can I have some, too?"

Because you didn't have any teeth yet, I was worried that you might choke on it, so I broke off a bit of the popcorn and placed it in you mouth. You sucked on it and had this look on your face that said, "Hmmm! This is good!"

After maybe half a minute, once all of the butter and salt had been sucked off the bit of popcorn, you spit it out! Patooie! Then you looked at me again with this expression that said, "Can I have some more?"

So I gave you another bit. And after sucking off all of the butter and salt, you spit out the popcorn bit again!

You must have done that for the next 10 minutes until you were all full and didn't want anymore!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Your sand toys through the years

As I promote my new book, which contains a poem set at Ventura Pier, I began to think of all of our great visits to that beach and the sand toys you had. You're always in my thoughts, it seems, no matter what I'm doing.

Your first sand toys weren't meant for the beach at all but for the big sand pits at the local playgrounds. The Santa Clarita park near where we lived when you were a year old had a great sand pit to play in around a huge castle-like play equipment. most of the other other parks had good sand pits, too, though of varying quality.

We mostly took our sand toys to the beach, though - lots of shovels, buckets, and a few plastic trucks that we could build roads for. There also was this great colorful toy that you could dump sand into and it would go through a funnel turning a wheel below it.

The picture on this page shows you in March 2012 at Ventura city beach with the Ventura Pier in the background. These were the last sand toys I purchased for you. I had forgot to bring our sand toys because I'd been moving stuff to our new condo, so we stopped at Target and picked up these!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Remember our R2 Trouble game?

Probably your favorite game to play as a preschooler was R2 Trouble. It had an R2D2 in the popmatic center where the dice was, and if R2 was standing after you popped it, you got to go again. The pieces also had little stickers of Clone Wars characters on them.

Because of your age, I had to simplify the rules for Trouble. For example, you didn't have to roll a six to go to start; you could go anytime you wanted.

The big problem we had with the game was that you didn't like when I landed on one of your pieces, sending you back to start over. So I made a rule that so long as we agreed not to send each other back to start, we couldn't move our piece on top of the other's. Sometimes, though, you couldn't resist sending one of my pieces home, and though I had ask to reconsider because that meant I could then do the same to you, you'd still send me back to start. Boy did you ever get mad, though, when I then did the same to you!

Because of the rules, the game really just became a race to see who could roll the highest numbers to get our pieces home first. Despite that, the game was a good way to teach you how to count, about the same rules of game playing, and learning how to deal deal with losing and adversity.

Later, as you learned how to use a scissors, you'd cut up pictures of Clone Wars action figures and tape them to the pieces so that we'd have new sets of characters to play with!