Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween costumes you've worn

Halloween 2009
Do you remember all of the Halloween costumes you've worn through the years? I've made a list of them for you:
>2007 (8 months old) - Pumpkin
>2008 (1 year old) - Elmo
>2009 (2 years old) - Doctor
>2010 (3 years old) - Luke Skywalker
>2011 (4 years old) - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
>2012 (5 years old) - Fireman

Sometimes you wore different costumes in a year as we attended different Halloween celebrations during October. What's listed above is what you wore on Halloween itself while going trick or treating.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One year ago today: S.D. Safari Park

A year ago today we visited the San Diego Safari Park. It's a second "zoo" near San Diego, where they keep all of their large animals that there isn't enough space for at the main zoo in the city's heart.

I remember that you didn't want to go to the safari park, but once we arrived and walked through the cool main gates and you saw the park was landscaped like a lush semi-tropical African village, you went "Oooh!" and started having a good time.

Probably the two things you had the most fun doing was the pond we walked around in which you could feed the ducks (We spent a bundle on pellets!) and then feeding the lorikeets (We spent a bundle on lorikeet nectar!), which landed on your arm as they drank from your cup.

We also each had one really giant ice cream cone in a waffle cone that left us both super full!

Here are a bunch of photos from our time at the safari park.

Monday, October 29, 2012

One year ago today: Brick or Treat!

One year ago today we attended the Brick or Treat Halloween celebration at Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif. You went dressed up as a Jedi knight, and I let you carry a fabric sword as a light saber!

Among the highlights was going through the Legoland candy line, where you got to get all kinds of free goodies at different stations. At each station you had to say "Brick or treat!" We then looked through it all in the middle ages part of the park where you got to run about on the big wooded castle playground.

We arrived late in the afternoon, stopping along the way at the Barnes and Noble in Temecula, where we read a lot of Halloween books. That's because we stayed for the Halloween fireworks that were held that evening!

Here are a whole bunch of pictures from our visit to Brick or Treat.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Recall our hike at the dry lake bed?

Two years ago today, we hiked across the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed near Palmdale, Calif. It's a low point in the desert where water collects in spring as snow melts off the mountains, but it quickly evaporates in the heat and dry air. At one time, when the climate was more wet, it probably was a real lake.

There was a neat nature center at the dry lake bed that we went to before going on the the hike. I purchased a roadrunner stuffie for you there! You loved your roadrunner and often took it many places with you.

You were just getting old enough that you liked to walk on our hikes, so you went all the way out to the dry lake bed on your own. I was so proud! But alas, that really tired you out. I wore the child carrier on my back, however, so I hauled you back to the nature center (which we then went into to buy the roadrunner stuffie!)

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our hike!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My sixth email sent to you!

Here is a copy of my sixth email, sent to you today (Oct. 27, 2012), just in case you do not receive it.

Hi Kieran,

Hope you are doing well. I am doing fine, though I miss you like crazy and can’t wait to see you!
Which brings me to some good news: We should get to see each other in just a couple of weeks, the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 9! We will get to spend a couple of hours together. I have a fun afternoon of games and toys and books for us. Would you like me to bring anything special for you?

I did not receive your email responding to my last email (from Saturday, Oct. 27). Perhaps your mother sent it to the wrong address when she changed the email name. Hopefully you will be able to send the email to me Sunday (Oct. 28). Also, I have yet to receive your emails to my second and third emails to you. Perhaps you could resend those, too?

Have you decided if you will be Anakin or a firefighter for Halloween? Your cousin Rebekah is going as a witch for trick or treat. Your cousin Bryan, however, is in seventh grade and too old to go trick or treating, so he doesn’t have a costume. Is your school planning a Halloween party? What are some of the costumes your friends plan to wear?

I wish I could be with you this Halloween. Last year we had lots of fun at Halloween celebrations, going to Disneyland, Legoland, Sea World and the pumpkin festival in Santa Clarita. We even got to see the Halloween fireworks at Legoland! Here are a whole bunch of pictures from our Halloween celebrations we went to last year.

This afternoon I got to hear a Beatles radio program, “The Beatles Year,” that we sometimes listened to Sunday mornings last year on our way to various places. The program told how the Beatles came up with some of songs from their CD “With the Beatles” and then played those tracks. When we first got the CD and listened to in the car, you thought it was called “Breakfast with the Beatles” – which actually was the name of a radio program we sometimes listened to – and you would get frustrated with me because you asked to listen to “Breakfast with the Beatles” but I’d tell you the radio show wasn’t on. You’d say “It’s not a radio show!” Eventually we figured out you really wanted to her the CD “Meet the Beatles”!

Have you read any good books lately? This week I read “Oh No, Not Ghosts!” by Richard Michelson. It’s about a brother and sister who after going to bed at night keep hearing strange, scary sounds – like the floorboard going creeeeeak – and see something wriggling, sniggling, and slithering in the shadows. Except they don’t want to wake up their daddy, who is sleeping in the other room, because they don’t want him to know they’re scared. Guess what was making the sounds though? It was their daddy snoring!

Well, that is all for now. Be sure to have your mother recheck the email address and resend your emails! I love you!


Friday, October 26, 2012

At Grandma and Grandpa's

Here's a picture I found of you at Grandma and Grandpa Bignell's! It was taken when you were about  a year old (winter of 2007-08) and were just starting to walk around. It looks like you are in their living room. They've since replaced the carpet with a wooden floor and rugs. I'm not quite sure what you're putting on your head, but it sure look like you're having fun doing it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Places you've lived

Although you're only five years old, you've lived lots of places!

Here's a list of them:
g Crescent City, Calif. (birth to Sept. 2007)
g Eureka, Calif. (Sept.-Dec. 2007)
g Knapp, Wis. with Grandma and Grandpa Bignell (Dec. 2007-Sept. 2008)
g Santa Clarita, Calif. (Sept. 2008-Feb. 2009)
g Lancaster, Calif. (the "green house") (March 2009-March 2011)
g Palmdale, Calif. (April 2011-May 2012)
g Plymouth, Minn. (May 2012-current)

Where will you live next?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A 'picture' of my cat Winnie as a kitten

I saw a picture that I had to share with you because you have a kitty cat, and the picture reminded me so much of my cat of many years! Her name was Winifred Grace, though I called her Winnie for short. The photo that I saw is at right (It's not of Winnie but looks just like she did).

I got Winnie in 1993 in Las Cruces, N.M., when she was just a kitten. She stayed with me until dying in June 2008. That was a long time for a cat to live.

Whenever I used the computer, Winnie always would try to place her chin on my hand, and that meant I couldn't type! So I placed a book between the keyboard and Winnie so that she could set her chin on that instead. She did that but then started nudging the book toward the keyboard so she could get closer to me!

What neat things does your cat Yoda do with you?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two years today we were at Disneyland

Two years today we went to Disneyland in Southern California. As I'm certain you remember, we lived outside of Los Angeles until your mother moved you to Minnesota, and usually went to the theme park once a month (and sometimes almost every weekend!).

We had year-round passes so that we could park for free and get in on any day of the year. Usually we started at Disneyland and then when it got crowded after lunch went over the California Adventure.

In 2010, by far your favorite part of the park was Fantasyland with all of the kiddie cool rides. In fact, the photo I've included with this post shows us in Fantasyland while we were waiting to get on the It’s a Small World ride. You're explaining to someone how old you (It was your latest thing at the time!).

Here's a whole bunch of photos from our visit to the park that weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween 2011 at Disneyland

One year ago today we spent the day at Disneyland enjoying all of the Halloween sights and sounds!

Among the highlights was going through the Haunted House, which was decorated for "The Nightmare Before Christmas". The rest of the year, you never liked to go to the haunted house because it was too scary, but at Halloween you always loved it! I think "The Nightmare Before Christmas" stuff made it less scary.

The other big highlight was getting to meet Jack Skellington and Sally, characters from that movie. You wore a black T-shirt with skeleton bones on it, and Jack told you how much he liked your shirt!

You also got to meet Woody from "Toy Story" that day when we went over to his ranchhouse and colored some bat puppets! Later that evening, we drove back to my place in Encinitas.

Here's a photo album of our day at Disneyland!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Comic III from 'Darth Vader and Son'

You might remember from a few days ago that I told you about the book, "Darth Vader and Son" that I purchased for us. Here's another comic from it that I think you'll like!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My response to your second email

Received an email from you on Friday and wanted to print my response to it below, just in case you don't receive it. I sent it to you today.

Dear Kieran,

It is so good to hear from you! I miss and love you very much and am glad you let me know how you are doing.

I do have one favor to ask of you: Could you ask your mother to remove “Dingle Fritz” from the name she has assigned me on her email. “Dingle Fritz” is not a very nice word and inappropriate for an email between a son and his father. I hope it is not a word you use in school or with your friends or to refer to your mother. Okay?

You must have had only half a day of school today – I see your email was sent at 1:40 in the afternoon! I hope you enjoyed your time off of school!

Playing football and tag with your friends and classmates sounds like a lot of fun. What position do you usually play when playing football? When my friends and I played football in school, our punter always kicked the ball backward so that it went behind him! When I told my Uncle George this, he suggested that we have our punter stand backward so that the ball went the right way. So we tried that – except he actually kicked it correctly, which meant the ball still went the “wrong way”! After that, we just decided to always go for it on fourth down.

Anakin or a firefighter for Halloween – that would be a difficult choice! Whichever you decide, I know you’ll look good in it. Maybe you could send a picture of yourself in your costume – surprise me with which one you choose!

If you have to wait until spring to learn to ride a bicycle, that’s okay. By that time, we hopefully will be able to see each other, and I can help teach you how to ride the bicycle (Now I better go out and remember how to ride one myself – It’s been a long time I’ve been on a bike! Don’t worry, once you learn, it’s something you never forget.).

What are you doing this weekend? Have you gone to the Minnesota Zoo yet some weekend? I like the jungle part at the zoo.

A guinea pig sounds like lots of fun in the classroom! Whenever we used to visit pet stores together, you always liked to watch the guinea pigs. Do you get to help take care of the guinea pig? When I was in kindergarten, our classroom had a salamander. I always liked the way his home in the glass cage was decorated with lots of green plants and rocks. It looked like a miniature jungle!

Have you read any good books lately? I just read “Time Train” by Paul Fleischman. It’s about all of these different places where you can find dinosaur bones – like Utah and Pennsylvania – and shows what those places used to look like when dinosaurs lived there.

Well, that is all for now. I miss and love you very much!


Here's what you wrote to me on Friday:


I go to school all day. Like playing outside, sometimes we play football or tag.

For Halloween I'm going to go as Anakin from Clone Wars, or maybe a fire fighter, I haven't decided yet.

Not sure if I'll learn how to ride a bike right now, maybe in the Spring.

Lots of different things to do on weekends so they fly by.

We have a guiena pig at school. So that is really exciting.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Remember reading 'Goodnight Goon'?

One of your favorite books last Halloween was "Goodnight Goon." It was a parody of "Goodnight Moon," a book you had as an infant/toddler.

In "Goodnight Goon," all kinds of monsters and scary things are making noises, keeping up a little boy at night. But he makes them all be quiet and go away!

We usually read the book when we stopped at book stores on our many trips to and from San Diego. I loved reading books to you, and always enjoyed having me read them to you. Since we only got to see one another on weekends, I could only read books to you one night a week, so we usually spent an hour or so at the the bookstores, making up for lost time.

I wish we were together this Halloween so I could read it to you. Don't worry, though, my attorney and I are working very hard to ensure that we'll be together next Halloween (and almost certainly before then!).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Comic II from 'Darth Vader and Son'

You might remember from a few days ago that I told you about the book, "Darth Vader and Son" that I purchased for us. Here's another comic from it that I think you'll like!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Two years today we went to fly-in

Two years ago today we attended the Mojave Air Show and Fly-In in Mojave, Calif. I tried to take us to the monthly event every month, though sometimes the weather was too hot or too cold because of its location in the desert.

The air show always had a good mix of airplanes and space stuff, as a lot of private rocket and spaceship companies had facilities at or near the airport. In fact, it was at the Mojave Air and Space Port that the first privately owned spaceship went into space during the early 2000s!

Another fun thing at the air show was the tram ride. You always were keen to go on that. It took us around the airport so we could see various airplanes, and sometimes it would stop and let us off so we could walk into hangars and see all kinds of goodies, such as airplane props used in movies.

Here are a whole bunch of photos about our adventure!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Recall going to the big RV show?

A year ago today we attended the the 58th annual California RV Show at the Fairplex (the Los Angeles County fairgrounds) in Pomona, Calif. It was the second time we'd been to the show, though we've stopped off to tour RVs displayed at other fairs.

You actually asked me if we could go to the RV show! You always liked walking through them, opening the cupboards, sitting in the drivers seat pretending to drive them, playing with the radios, and climbing all over the beds!

For lunch, we stopped off at a stand and enjoyed hot dogs from the famous Pink's in west Los Angeles. They had a stand at the fairgrounds. I'd have to say it was the best hot dog I've ever had!

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from the RV show.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Comic from 'Darth Vader and Son'

You might remember from a couple of days ago that I told you about the book, "Darth Vader and Son" that I purchased for us. Here's a comic from it that I think you'll like!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My fourth email to you

I'm posting my fourth email to you, sent via email to you today, in case you don't receive it.

Hi Kieran,

How are you doing? Hope all is going well from you. I haven’t received any of your emails since Sept. 24; I’m hoping that you could resend them to me.

I would love to hear how kindergarten is going. Do you go to all-day kindergarten? I only had to go to half-day kindergarten when I was your age. Hopefully soon you’ll be able to show me your classroom and introduce me to your teacher and friends. It’s very important for parents to be involved in their children’s schooling.

Today I’m listening to a radio program about the Beatles, called “The Beatles Years.” Sometimes we would catch it on the car radio Sunday mornings when I lived in Encinitas. The show today is about all the big things the Beatles did during the month of October.

I bet you remember the Beatles concerts we went to. Of course, they weren’t the real Beatles, but they looked and sounded a lot like them, didn’t they? They’re called “tribute bands.” There are lots of Beatles tribute bands where we live now in the Twin Cities, and once you and I are able to see one another again, I’ll take you to see some of their shows if you should like.

I bought you (well, really “us”) a new book a couple of days ago while shopping in downtown Hudson: “Darth Vader and Son,” by Jeffrey Brown. It’s a series of comics about what Darth Vader would have been like as a dad if he had raised Luke Skywalker as a little boy!

Besides being very funny, the book seemed really special to me as we both like “Star Wars.” You might also remember that one Halloween we went trick or treating together with you dressed as Luke Skywalker and me as Darth Vader. And I’m certain you'll recall all of the great light saber battles we had in which you were Luke and I was Darth!

Some of the comics might not make too much sense until you’re a daddy yourself. That's okay - I'll be sure to save the book for you to enjoy with your own little boy one day!

How is the bicycle riding come along? Have the training wheels come off yet? With school and the colder weather, I bet you don’t have as much time anymore to ride your bicycle except on weekends. There probably will be some warm days yet before Halloween sets in to ride your bicycle. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

What costume do you plan to wear for Halloween this year? Is your school planning a Halloween party? I always looked forward to my school’s holiday parties because you got to eat lots of different cookies, bars and cakes that the others’ kids parents made but that my own mom didn’t!

Well, that is all for now. I look forward to hearing from you and receiving your other missing emails.



Friday, October 12, 2012

New book: 'Darth Vader and Son'

I bought you (well, really "us") a new book yesterday while shopping in downtown Hudson: "Darth Vader and Son," by Jeffrey Brown. It's a series of comics about what Darth Vader would have been like as a dad if he had raised Luke Skywalker as a little boy!

Besides being very funny, the book seemed really special to me as we both like "Star Wars." You might also remember that one Halloween we went trick or treating together with you dressed as Luke Skywalker and me as Darth Vader. And I'm certain you'll recall all of the great light saber battles we had in which you were Luke and I was Vader!

Some of the comics might not make too much sense until you're a daddy yourself. That's okay - I'll be sure to save the book for you to enjoy with your own little boy one day!

During the next few weeks I'll post some of the comics from the book here for you to enjoy. I can't wait for us to get together again so we can read the book together!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Recall Scottish festival in Ventura?

Two years ago today we attended the Seaside Highland Games - a celebration of all things Scottish - in Ventura, Calif. Since you're Scottish (on your mother's side), I thought it'd be a fun festival for you to attend and learn about your heritage!

The photo at right shows you standing by your family emblem. You're a descendant of the Clan MacDonell of Glengarry (a branch of Clan Donald).

The big thing that you really enjoyed at the festival was the parade of bagpipe players! I lifted you up onto my shoulders so you could see the whole thing! You also liked watching the border collies herd the sheep in some of the demonstrations of old Scottish arts being held.

There was a fun little playground as well. One of them included a ramp that would slant in different directions depending on where you stood on it.

Here's a bunch of photos of us at the festival!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My years working as a teacher

You probably remember from a past entry that I mentioned I was a teacher for a few years. When I first went to college, I earned a degree in education so that I could teach English and journalism to grades 7-12. While in collegeat the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, I taught for several weeks at Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn., under Joe Adams, the head of the English Department there.

I decided to go into journalism after graduating but then went back into teaching. From 1992-94, I taught at Deming High and Middle schools in Deming, N.M. My first year there, I was named teacher of the year at the middle school thanks to an essay written by one of my best students ever, Chris Martin Briseno.

I then moved back to my home state of Wisconsin and taught at Merrill Middle School. I mainly taught English to eighth graders. During that time, I earned a master's degree in education at UW-Stevens Point. In 1999, though, I went back into newspapering.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Remember the Pumpkin Festival?

Pumpkin Festival 2010
Two years ago today we attended the Pumpkin Festival at Lombardi Ranch in Santa Clarita, Calif. It was a Saturday, a little warm even for California, and we had a great time!

You got to walk through straw bale mazes, touch and feed llamas, goats and a calf at the petting zoo, took a tram ride through the corn maze with its scarecrows, and played on an old fire engine. We even brought home a pumpkin for Halloween!

I always liked to go to the Pumpkin Festival because with autumn and its farm setting it reminded me of the Midwest where I grew up. But given the vegetables sold at the market there and the heat, it definitely was a California experience!

One neat thing about us now both living in the upper Midwest is that there are tons of autumn and Halloween festivals to go to. I can't wait to take you to a whole bunch of them next year when (hopefully!) we finally can be together again.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Some good advice on succeeding

Today I read a great quotation by the Chinese philosopher Confuscius: "Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."

There is no shame in failing, Kieran. Often we lack the knowledge or skills necessary to succeed, but rarely do we ever know what we need to understand or master a chllenged until we've tried it and come up a little short. Failing is way of learning. For example, did you know that Thomas Edison tried 999 times to invent the light bulb but failed each time? On the 1000th time, he finally figured out what was wrong and got it right!

Today, no one thinks of Thomas Edison as a "failure." Instead we think of his great successes (inventing the light bulb as well as dozens of other inventions, such as the ability to record electronically). Arguably, though, he failed many, many more times than he succeeded.

What would have happened if Thomas Edison had quit, if he'd never rose again every time he failed? No one would know who he was. And maybe we wouldn't have the light bulb today!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hiking Red Cliffs Trail in the desert

You at Red Cliffs Trail parking lot
Oct. 7, 2010
Two years today we hiked and explored towering volcanic deposits left in the Mojave Desert more than 12 million years ago. They were the red cliffs at Red Rock Canyon State Park, California, along Highway 14.

This probably was the first hike where you really got interested in rocks and actually started trying to remember their names when I pointd them out! The three main kinds of rocks there are basalt (black), volcanic ash (white), and sandstone (red). You thought it was really cool that the black rocks came out of volcanoes!

You even picked up some of the rocks and brought them home! I have them in a box and will give them to you when you're older.

This wasn't our first visit to the state park, but it was to that area of the park Some of the red cliffs stood more than 20 stories over our heads!

Here are a bunch of pictures of our hike.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A copy of my third email to you

Sent this email to you Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, and am posting it here in case you don't receive it:

Hi Kieran,

How are you? Hope you are doing well. I did not receive your response to my email sent Sept. 25. Perhaps you could resend it? That’s why I’m so long in getting back to you; I was hoping to first see what you wrote, and then I could respond to it.

How is kindergarten going? What are the names of your friends and what kinds of things do you like to do together? My best friend in kindergarten was Ronald Wolfe. We were next door neighbors, so we got to ride the school bus together. Our kindergarten classroom had these large cardboard blocks the size of shoeboxes, so Ronald and I spent a lot of time building cool things with them: forts, bridges, mini-cities and so on. It was a lot of fun.

Halloween is almost here! What do you plan to dress up as for trick or treats? Last year when I lived in Encinitas, we went to a lot of different Halloween celebrations together during the month of October, and if I recall correctly, you dressed up as something different each time! Let’s see, you were a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and then a Jedi knight when we went to Legoland and then a clone trooper when we went to Sea World. Do you remember meeting Jack Skellington and Sally at Disneyland? That was all a great time, and I have pictures of each of our trips as well as other Halloweens we spent together. You can see the pictures here.

Have you read any good books lately? I just read a really good book called “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” by Linda Williams. It’s about this old lady who takes a walk in the dark woods and this pair of shoes starts following her! But she wasn’t afraid of them. After all, she’s not afraid of anything (I would be scared of a pair of shows following me, wouldn’t you?!). Then a pair of pants starts to follow her. But she wasn’t afraid of it. Then a shirt and all kinds of other clothes start to follow her. But she wasn’t afraid of any of them. And then a jack o’ lantern starts to follow her! Do you think she was afraid of it? You will have to read the book and find out!

Your cousins Bryan and Rebekah have not decided want they want to dress up for Halloween this year. They are very excited about Grandma baking some Halloween cookies, though! She has cookie cutters to make pumpkins, black cats and autumn leaves. She just bought lots of orange frosting and cool black and green and purple sprinkles to put on them. Hopefully we will be able to get together soon so I can bring you some of her cookies!

I’ve missed you every day that we’ve been apart and can’t wait for us to get together again. 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 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?

Well, I best let you get back to playing. Have fun and be sure to write back!



Friday, October 5, 2012

Dynamite magazine, among my fave reads

I can't wait until you're older and can read! Hearing what you think about the books you've read and seeing what new things you learn from the various books and magazines your enjoy will be very exciting for me.

When I was a little boy just a little older than you, one of my favorite things to read was Dynamite magazine. It came out each month, and we ordered it through our school. The magazines had articles about some popular actor or singer and lots of comics and fun games in it (and sometimes even posters!).

I've been able to find online the covers to some of my favorite Dynamite magazines. Unfortunately, I don't have the actual magazines anymore, but just seeing the covers brings back some great memories!

What kinds of books do you like to read now?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Today is Grandpa Bignell's birthday

Today is your Grandpa Bignell's birthday. He is 67 years old. That's treally old, isn't it! When I told him that, he agreed!

Although you may not remember him, you lived for a few months with Grandma and Grandpa Bignell. I have a couple of great photos of you and he laughing together when you were a baby, but they're packed away, so I couldn't post them here.

Grandpa Bignell was born in Durand, Wis., and grew up in the country near Arkansaw, Wis. He worked for a while at a meat packing plant in South St. Paul, Minn., where his father and an older brother also worked. But he spent most his life running and building his farm, outside of Knapp, Wis., which is where I grew up.

Here's a photo of Grandma and Grandpa Bignell in the late 1970s when I was a little boy. That's me on the right and your Uncle Chris behind me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My high school school spirit award

One award you'll always see hanging on my office wall, Kieran, is one I received my senior year of high school for "leadership in school spirit"!

From my sophomore (10th grade) through my senior year (12th grade), I announced wrestling meets, basketball games, and track meets at my high school in Menomonie, Wis. In addition, during my senior year my friends and I launched a "sticker" campaign in which the morning of the boys basketball game, we'd hand out stickers, with some slogan on it about beating whatever team we were playing that night, to everyone in school. Sometimes we'd also hang up posters with the slogan.

The stickers and posters helped get fellow students excited about the games, and more people started to attend, which I think got the basketball players more excited, and they started winning more games!

The reason I'm so proud of this award is because it shows what people can accomplish when they work together - and it just takes a few people to get everyone else excited about working together!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Playing Johnny Quest at the air museum

It was a year ago today that we toured the airplane museum at March Air Force Base near San Bernardino, Calif. The day was terribly hot - in the 90s if I recall - but we still had an incredible amount of fun.

You particularly liked the old World War II Army jeep that was there - we sat in it (you in the drivers seat, of course!) and played Johnny Quest together! You were Race Bannon, and I was Dr. Benton Quest!

You also liked one of the airplanes, an old World War II bomber, and made up a story about how it was the plane you flew during the war! You've always been quite imaginative, no doubt from all the creative playing we did together and the books we read while you were a toddler and a preschooler.

While there were lots of planes to look at, we were both a little disappointed that we couldn't go into more of them - I think we got spoiled in San Diego because the planes they had on the aircraft carrier and the Marine base museum allowed us to!

Here are pictures of our big adventure!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Recall going to Brick or Treat?

A year ago today we went to Brick or Treat at Legoland, the theme park's Halloween celebration in Carlsbad, Calif. You went dressed up as a Jedi knight! Tons of other parents pointed out your costume to their kids they were so impressed!

The first highlight of the evening as doing the Brick or Treat, in which all of the kids walk through scary Legoland scenes and get free candy and other goodies at various stations. After that, we went off to play at the huge castle playground.

The night ended with us watching the Halloween fireworks! You always wanted to go the Disneyland fireworks shows, but they were really late and a long drive from where we lived in Encinitas, but Legoland was only four miles from my place!

Here are a whole bunch of pictures from Brick or Treat!