Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our hike into the Devil's Punchbowl

Outside the nature center at
Devil's Punchbowl, April 29, 2009.
Four years ago today we hiked the Devil's Punchbowl in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest. As you were only a couple of years old, I carried you on my back as we walked down into the punchbowl and then back up it.

Snow melt flowing from the higher San Gabriel Mountains - standing about 8,000 feet above sea level - cut the deep canyon that is the punchbowl. Uplift and pinching from nearby fault lines turned the sediment layers up to 80 degrees on their sides. It's truly a fantastic place!

When we got all done with the hike and had a snack, you played with my trekking pole in a pine grove near the nature center. After seeing the trees' fallen cones, you got a little confused and started calling them "pineapple trees"!

Then we went into the small nature center there, where they have live animals caught in the park, usually poisonous snakes. You were super fascinated by that and in the weeks ahead kept asking to go back to see them again!

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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Our first visit to Calico Ghost Town

Four years ago today we went to Calico Ghost Town near Bastow, Calif., for the very first time! It's an Old West town that used to actually exist near a silver mine!

We went on a train ride near the mines. Afterward, we went into the mines themselves!

Then we went shopping at the various stores. You also got to pan for gold! You got about a thimble-full.

Following our visit, we went shopping at the outlet stores in Barstow. I remember buying you whole bunch of new summer clothes!

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

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recall our hike along Lake Piru?

Watching a bug cross the road near Lake Piru,
Calif., on April 28, 2010.
Three years ago today we took a hike along Lake Piru, a reservoir near Santa Clarita, Calif. The water is held in a canyon, so the mountains rise straight out of the water in a really cool effect!

For me, the highlight of the hike was seeing a condor fly overhead. We spotted one searching for food near the lake; even at 500 feet above us, its wings dwarfed those of the raven that sat on the road just 20 feet away.

For you, though, the highlight was watching this huge bug cross the road in front of us (see picture at above right)! You must have spent close to a half-hour following it and were so disappointed when it finally disappeared into the grass!

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

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My email to you for week of April 21-27

Here is my weekly letter sent to you on April 27, 2013, in case you do not receive it:

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing today? I am doing fine, though I am sad that we were unable to get together on Friday as planned. I want you to know that I was not the one who cancelled our visit and that I was looking very forward to seeing you. I miss you every day, and there’s not an hour that goes by in which I don’t think about you. The good news is that we are scheduled to get together again on Friday, May 26, and that we will see one another again before then, though the exact day has not been worked out yet.

How is school coming along? Have you finished your unit on oceans? What new things are you learning in math? What interesting books are you reading? You are almost done with kindergarten – that must be exciting, knowing that you’ll be in first grade next year! I saw a children’s book at the book store called “First Grade, Here I Come!”, and I think I will pick it up for you so we can read it at one of our visitations during the next month.

The weather finally has turned nice, and I bet the last thing on your mind the past couple of days has been sitting in a classroom. There are lots of exciting outdoor places to go in the Twin Cities that mom and your grandpa and grandma can take you now that the weather is nice. I bet you can’t wait to go back to Como Park Zoo with the penguins. Although I bet the penguins don’t like the warm weather!

Now that the days are warm, I plan to do a lot of hiking, just like we used to do when we were together. I am writing books about the places I’ve hiked. There are many interesting places near the Twin Cities to hike. At one of them, you can walk across basalt (lava rocks) that are 1.1 billion years old! At another one of them, you see an interesting rock formation that looks like an old man’s face. Another park has a waterfall that is 168 feet high! So far, I’ve written four hiking books and three books about being a writer. Each of them are dedicated to you, and you are on the cover of two of the hiking books!

Since the snow is still melting in some spots, I probably will run into mud during my hikes. In fact, I recently read a great book about mud, which I bet you would like as well. The book was called “Mud” (What else would it be called?) by Mary Lyn Ray. It has lots of colorful pictures of people walking through mud. Each of them must avoid stepping on the blades of green grass that increasingly pop up in the mud with each turn of the page. I bet you can find the book at your school or city library.

I am getting very excited not just about hiking but the new “Star Trek’ movie. It comes out May 15. No one knows who the villain is in the movie, but there will be Klingons in it. Of course, with a new “Star Trek” movie means there will be new “Star Trek” toys! I can’t wait to go to Toys ‘R Us and see what the new toys are for us to play with.

Well, that is all for now. I love and miss you very much! I hope to see you within a few days.




Friday, April 26, 2013

Remember going to the LA Zoo?

At the L.A. Zoo play area, April 26, 2011.
Two years ago today we were at the Los Angeles Zoo!

After looking at the animals from Australia and the Africa savannah, we went to your favorite spot at the zoo: Neil Papiano Play Park. It as a huge play area with lots of animal statues that kids could crawl all over.

One of your favorite animals to play on was the hippo, which was "submerged" in a soft blue covering that helped cushion kids' falls. Another part of the play area you liked a lot was the "water slide" - a slide molded to look like a waterfalls.

In many ways, you liked the play area more than the zoo animals!

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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Past the big trees and the big waters

Kieran, 10-12 weeks old,
Crescent City, Calif.
Caught the end tail of a televsion program about Redwood National Park and instantly thought of you. You were born in Eureka, Calif., when we lived in Crescent City, Calif., wich is where Redwood National Park is located. Redwood State Park near Crescent City is where I took you on your first hike when you were just four months old.

Both cities were on the Pacific Ocean. Eureka was the larger of the two cities; the Eureka-Arcata area had about five times as many people as Crescent City, so about once a month we'd go shopping there at the larger stores and mall.

Whenever we'd go to on the trip, I'd say to you, "We're going on a big trip past the big trees and the big waters to the big city!"

You'd just smile back!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our day at the Poppy Festival in 2010

Carrying your bubble gun at the knights exhibit.
Three years ago today we went to the Poppy Festival in Lancaster City Park together! You were just three years old but had a great time.

We began by going on some of the carnival rides. I was very impressed that you didn;t mind going on them by myself, as usually you wanted me to go with you on all of the rides at fairs (Which was difficult for me to do because I was too big for many of them, but we managed!).

One of your favorite carnival attractions was the fun house with its mirrors and glass maze. The carnie girl running it thought you were cute and so let you go into it over and over without a ticket!
You also got a bubble gun and were carrying it around blowing bubbles everywhere. When we got to the car show area, some of the car owners thought you looked so cute with it that they called you "Bubble Boy" and asked you to blow bubbles arounf their cars! You happily obliged!

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our say at the festival!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Remember our "You're No. 1" exchange?

Last night your Uncle Chris and I got together and had coney dogs for dinner. I said to him, "You know why we like coney dogs?" He said, "No why?" I said, "Because we're both awesome."

Which got me to thinking about a wonderful, fun little exchange you and I used to do when we were together. You were about four years old when we began doing it.

It would start by one of us saying to the other, "You're No. 1."

To which the other would respond, "No, you're No. 1."

Then we'd both say at the same time as pointing at the other, "We're both No. 1!"

You're No. 1 to me, Kieran!

Monday, April 22, 2013

One year ago today: Poppy Festival

A year ago today, you, Jane, and I went to the Poppy Festival in Lancaster, Calif. We started the day by going on the rides at the kid's carnival.

You asked if we could go on the Tilt-a-Whirl, and it didn't look so bad, especially as we'd gone lots of spinning Disney rides, so I said okay. Boy, was I wrong! We both got off the ride all green in the face and staggering. You turned to me and said, "We're never going on this thing again!"

In the picture, you might notice there's a big slide in the background. You and Jane went down it together several times. Then we went to have a little picnic lunch and looked at some of the displays, like the quilting club and NASA booths.

But then the day starting getting hot, as is usually the case during late April in the High Desert, so we headed home.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures form our time at the fair together!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our last visit to the Mojave air show

A year ago today, we attended our last air show at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. We usually went to it every month, though sometimes we'd skip the ones during the hottest months of summer and coldest months of winter.

This show was neat because they hosted a robot competition in which college students built robots to do tricks. You enjoyed watching them! You also got to sit in a lightweight experimental aircraft and to see the first privately owned spaceships!

I always enjoyed going to the air shows with you. We had a lot of fun at them learning about airplanes and spaceships and even got to meet some interesting people, like the actor who played Worf on "Star Trek."

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

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My email to you for April 20, 2013

Here is my email to you sent April 20, 2013, in case you do not receive it.

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing today? I am doing fine, thought I miss you dearly! The good news is that we get to see one another again in just a few days – on Friday, April 26! I am looking forward to seeing you again.

How did your concert go on Sunday? I’d love to hear you sing the songs you performed that day. What were the song titles?

When we were together, you always liked to sing in the car when we were listening to Beatles CDs. Your favorite CD by far was “Please Please Me,” which was the Beatles’ first record. Among the songs on it that you’d liked were “Boys,” “Misery,” “Anna” and “A Taste of Honey.” You also liked to listen to their greatest hits from 1968-1970 and to their CD “Revolver.”

Given that you enjoyed playing the piano so much during our last visit, I shall have to see if there is a Beatles song I can teach you on the piano. They wrote many of their songs on a piano even though they later played them only with guitars and drums. Pianos and keyboards do appear in some of their songs. Their songs are quite complex, though, so maybe we should start with something simple and work our way up to them?

What kind of things are you learning about in school? You must be up to letter W, I bet! Are you still studying the oceans? We used to live very close to the Pacific Ocean and went to a lot of aquariums and beaches there. I bet you have a lot to contribute to class given all of your great experiences. Have you told your classmates about the Aquarium of the Pacific?

Speaking of ocean animals, did you know that the Minnesota Zoo has new penguin chicks? One was born on March 2 and the other on March 21. There are very furry looking! You actually can watch the penguin chicks on your computer (Just like Curious George once did!); the zoo has a webcam that shows them during the day and early evening. Just click onto the word “webcam” to see the penguin chicks! Be patient with the link, though; it takes a few seconds for the webcam to start.

I bet the penguins like our wintry weather. Having lived almost your whole life in California, I bet you’re wondering where the warm weather and sunshine is! It’s about this time of year where we used to live in the desert that the days were getting too hot to be outside; we could only go out to play in the morning and the early evening. Don’t worry, spring soon will be here!

Have you read any good books lately? I have. The book was called “My Spring Robin,” by Anne Rockwell. It tells the story of a girl who goes for a walk one day and sees a robin. She then notices other signs of spring’s arrival. What signs of spring do you think she sees? Perhaps you can find the book at the city library when your mother takes you there to check out books or for children’s activities.

That is all for now. I miss and love you very much! I will see you on Friday!



Friday, April 19, 2013

Hiking Vasquez Rocks four years ago

"Kieran to Enterprise..."
Four years ago on Saturday (April 20), marked the second time we hiked Vasquez Rocks (which you called the "Kirk Rocks"). Four different "Star Trek: The Original Series" episodes were filmed here, most famously the episode where Captian Kirk battles the Gorn.

We'd gone hiking there before in January 2009 but didn't really know our way around! So I did tons of research and found where all of the show sequences were filmed and mapped it out.

We started by going to the "Friday's Child" episode rocks then we did "Gorn Rock" where the famous fight scene was filmed. We brought along our "Star Trek" toys to take pictures of at each sight!

Here's a bunch of pictures from adventure in 2009!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A picture of you and Grandma Bignell

In all of the pictures Grandma Bignell gave me of the time you lived with her and Grandpa Bignell, there weren't any photos of you and her together! That's probably because she took all the pictures!

I finally remedied that oversight on Friday. Here's a picture of her with you from that day.

Grandma Bignell was born after the Second World War in Eau Claire, Wis. She grew up in rural Fall Creek, Wis., and graduated from that village's high schoool in the mid Sixties. She married your Grandpa Bignell about a year after graduating; they were married in Arkansaw, Wis.

She spent most of her life as a homemaker and running with farm with Grandpa Bignell. She did earn a CNA license later in life, though. She loves to gardan and some of her most pleasant memories are of you helping her in the garden by wearing the plants when you stayed with her.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Attending Scandinavian Festival

Viking encampment, April 17, 2010
Three years ago today we went to the Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The annual celebration of all things Norwegian, Sweedish, Danish and Finnish was held at California Lutheran University. As you may recall, some of your ancestors came from Norway.

At the festival, we looked at Scandinavian cars, dogs and food. We also went through the Viking encampment, where you got to hold a big Viking sword (see the picture at above left). We also got you a cool Viking helmet as well as a Norwegian flag! A couple of years later, we would go to a different Viking festival near San Diego.

Here's a whole bunch of pics from our trip!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hiking volcanic area four years ago

Atop the northern dome on Red Island,
the Salton Sea visible in the distance
Four years ago yesterday (April 15, 2009), we went exploring the remains of volcanoes in the desert! We drove all the way to the south end of the Salton Sea in California and hiked through four different areas, picking up rocks on the way.

Several thousand years ago, lava flowed up out of small volcanoes in this part of the world. Obsidian and basalt still can be found on the ground.

There's still lava not far underground, and it causes the water there to boil and steam up. Sometimes that water escapes to the surface in what are called mudpots, and we walked through a whole field of them!

After our adventure, we went to nearby Palm Springs, where we ate at Ruby's Diner and shopped at the downtown stores. I bought you a captain's hat at the hat store!

Here are a whole bunch of photos from our adventure!

A baby picture of you at 12 weeks old

Here's another baby picture that Grandma Bignell gave me of you! You are 12 weeks old in the photo and laying in your crib in your nursery. At that time in 2007, we lived in Crescent City, Calif.

You had the most beautiful nursery. It was all Classic Pooh - pictures, calendar, bedding, decorative storage boxes, etc.

One of the Classic pooh items you liked a lot was a mobile that hung above your crib. When turning it on, it would slowly spin about with each of the classic Pooh characters hanging on it and play the Winnie the Pooh theme song. You loved to watch it go around and around!

It was during that time that you took to the classic Eyeore stuffie. Until your stuffie bunnies came along a couple of years later, you and your stuffie Eyeore were inseperable! And yes, I still have that stuffie Eyeore!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our last trip to Disneyland together

Standing in line for Buzz Lightyear ride, April 15, 2012.
One year ago today was the last time we went to Disneyland together. You might recall that Jane and I had the condo in Palmdale, and the three of us went there as a family.

We showed Jane all of the cool places that we liked to go in Disneyland - like the Pinocchio restuarant, the tea cups, It's a Small World ride, and the Jedi Academy.

Then we went across the way to California Adventure. We tried to get onto the Monsters Inc. ride (Jane liked Sulley), but the line was too long, and we didn't have much time, so we instead went to the Toy Story ride. You and Jane went together in one car, and I went on the one behind you.

My one regret about the trip is that you asked to go to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, but it was getting late, so I said, "Next time." But there was no next time. How I wish I could take you there today to enjoy that playground...

Here's a whole bunch of photos from our adventure.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hiking the Waterfall Trail

Three years ago today we hiked to a waterfall on the Waterfall Trail in Placerita Canyon near Santa Clarita, Calif.

I was so very impressed by you - you walked the entire way to the waterfalls and back, which was about two miles! For the previous year or so, I'd mainly carried you on my back in a child carrier during our hikes. But you were having lots of fun exploring and didn't mind walking at all!

We had tried to reach the waterfall twice before but were stopped first by rain and then by me making the mistake of taking the long route, which was too far your little legs. But this time we took the "best" route.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our hike! The picture at above left is of you hiking down the trail alongside Placerita Creek.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My email sent to you on April 13, 2013

Here is my letter from April 13, 2013, in case you do not receive it.

Hi Kieran,

Grandma Bignell and I had a wonderful visiting with you yesterday! We both were so very happy to see you again and were so very glad that you had fun as well.

Both of us were very impressed with your math abilities. You are very advanced for you age! For as long as I can remember, you’ve been very good at math. When you were only two years old, you started counting. By the time you were three, you could count up to a 100, and by the time you were four, you could count by fives and tens.

Playing games was a lot of fun, too. The card game you taught us was very interesting. Your cousins Bryan and Rebekah like to play games as well. They play everything from Candy Land to Clue and lots of card games, like Go Fish, Old Maid, War and lots of others. Bryan also likes to play Battleship and Stratego. When we were together, I was just starting to teach you to play checkers and very basic chess. What games do you like to play with your friends?

The U.S. map puzzle was a good time, as well. You know a lot of states and where they’re located! Do you know that you’ve been to 1 out of every 5 states? The states you’ve visited or lived in are California, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I can tell you lots of stories of what you did in each state and have pictures of you in most of them. What states what you like to go to?

I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the books at school. I also read a good book recently. It was called “Being Rude” by Joy Berry. In the book, a young boy who’s in kindergarten/first grade goes around doing all kinds of rude things to other kids, like cutting in line and talking out of turn. He soon finds that no one wants to be his friend at all! Will the little boy start being nice to others so he can have friends again? You’ll have to read the book and find out! I bet you can find it in your school or city library in the children’s section.

Watching you discover how the piano works also was fun. I’ve enjoyed watching you discover and learn new things. That you were so fascinated by the piano was not surprising, for you’ve always been interested in music. When we lived in Lancaster, you used to play my guitar, and I even bought you a toy one to play with when we were in San Diego. You also had a recorder (a flute-like instrument), drums, tambourine, and harmonica. In my office, you’d line up all of your stuffies, give them each an instrument to play, and then taking the guitar would give me a concert in which you played Beatles songs!

Have a good time at your concert Sunday! I wish I could be there to watch you sing. I love and miss you very much and will see you on again on Friday, April 26. I look forward to receiving your email, maybe with a picture of you at the concert!



Friday, April 12, 2013

Can't wait to see you later today!

You with Grandpa Bignell, winter 2007-08
I'm very excited about getting to see you today, Kieran! It's been a long time since we were able to spend time together.

I have a surprise for you, today! I'm bringing Grandma Bignell with me.

You actually have met her, though you certainly don't remember it. She and Grandpa Bignell took care of you from Decmber 2007-September 2008 when you lived with them. Also, when we were together in San Diego/Palmdale, you spoke to her weekly on the telephone.

She's very excited to see you again after all of these years. We'll all have lots of fun together playing games, with toys, reading books and having snacks.

I love you!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our many, many hikes together

Vasquez Rocks, April 2011
This week I released my third book about hiking, "Headin' to the Cabin" (It's all about hiking trails in northwest Wisconsin and is dedicated to you!)). I always enjoyed taking you hiking with you when we lived together in California, and hopefully soon we will go hiking together across Wisconsin, Minnesota and many other states!

The first hike we ever took was when you were four months old. We took a trail on a ridgeline behind our house through a redwood forest.

When we lived in Lancaster, we usually hiked in the desert during spring and autumn but then when the temperatures got hot in summer, we'd hike in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest near where we lived.

Your favorite place to hike was Vasquez Rocks (You called them the "Kirk Rocks"), and you often asked to go there. You also liked just about any place that had sign posts so you could find and count the numbers!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

States that you've visited so far

As you've gone through these pages, you've probably noticed that you've been to a lot of places. So today I've made a list of all of the states you've been to (and tried to include the dates you were there, if I could remember). The list doesn't include states you flew over in an airplane - you had to actually touch the ground and go into a building that was sunk into that state's soil!

Here's the list:
>>Arizona (Sept. and Oct. 2008)
>>California (Feb.-Dec. 2007; Sept. 2008-May 2012)
>>Colorado (Sept. and Oct. 2008)
>>Iowa (Sept. and Oct. 2008)
>>Minnesota (Dec. 2007; Sept. and Oct. 2008; May 2012-current)
>>Nebraska (Sept. and Oct. 2008)
>>Nevada (Sept. and Oct. 2008)
>>Oregon (Aug. and Sept. 2007)
>>Utah (Sept. and Oct. 2008)
>>Wisconsin (Dec. 2007-Sept. 2008)

You've been to 1 in every 5 states so far, and you're only six!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A picture of you at 10 weeks old

You might remember that I mentioned Grandma Bignell gave me all kinds of pictures of you from when you were a baby and when you stayed with them. Here's one of those pictures at right!

You are 10 weeks old and laying on the bed in the master bedroom at our house in Crescent City, California. That would have been at the beginning of May 2007.

Crescent City gets a lot of rain, so sunshine there is rare. I remember coming home one night from work when it was one of those rare days in which the entire sky was cloud-free. It was about the time you were 8-12 weeks or so.

I took you outside and pointed at the sky. Your eyes followed my arm, looked up at the blue sky, and you gasped in awe! You couldn't stop looking at it!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Remember hiking the poppy reserve?

Three years today, we hiked the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve! The poppy is California's state flower, and at one time fields of it covered whole swaths of the state. But as the state become more populous and more houses and businesses and farms were placed on the land, the poppy fields began to vanish. One place where a large field was preserved was west of where we lived in Lancaster.

In late March and early April of every year, the poppies bloom, turning the landscape orange with blossoms. It's an awesome sight, and I always tried to take you there to enjoy it.

You were just a little over over 3 years old when we took this hike! And yes, there was a visitor center at the park, where I'm certain you got a little something!

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

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Celebrating Easter one year ago today

Although this year we celebrated Easter on March 31, last year (in 2012) we celebrated the holiday on April 8 (which is one year ago today!).

We were living in the condo in Palmdale, and we had spent all day Saturday together. When you woke up Sunday morning, I mentioned that the Easter Bunny had left something for you at the front door! The Easter basket was a good mix of toys, candies and clothes that Jane and me had picked up for you just the week before on our drive from Wisconsin to California.

After a little breakfast, we went to the Easter Egg hunt and festivities at City Park in Lancaster, Calif. Following the egg hunt, one child had very few Easter eggs in his basket and was afraid that he wouldn't receive a reward for turning in the eggs (All the children received some candy and a little toy for turning in the eggs), so all on your own you offered to share some of your eggs with him! Jane and I was so very proud of you for being so generous.

Here's a whole bunch of photos from Easter 2012!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My email to you for April 6, 2013

Here is my email for you, sent April 6, 2013, just in case you don’t receive it:

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing? I am doing fine, with the exception that I miss you very much. I have great news, though: We get to see one another a couple of times this month! We will be getting together the afternoons of April 12 and April 26. That’s next Friday (April 12) and then just two weeks after that! I can’t wait to see you again!

The snow is beginning to melt and the weather to warm up, so I think I am done snowshoeing for the year. But that means I’ll soon be able to start hiking again! I always enjoyed the great hikes we took to the tops of mountains, through desert canyons, and to cool places like Vasquez Rocks (You always called them the “Kirk Rocks”!).

Speaking of the Kirk Rocks, did you know that there is a new “Star Trek” movie coming out? It will be released in May, and you even can see it in 3D at IMAX theaters. I can’t wait! In the meantime, I’ve been reading lots of “Star Trek” books to satisfy my hunger for Captain Kirk’s adventures.

How are your reading classes going in school? You must have gotten through most of the alphabet by now. Have you read any interesting stories? I always liked reading to you when you were a preschooler. You’d curl up on my lap in the comfy living room recliner, and I’d read to you a whole bunch of books we got at the library and a few that we purchased at the book store. Some books you liked so much that you wanted me to read them over and over! You always enjoyed flap books, too.

Grandma and Grandpa Bignell say “Hi”, and so do Uncle Chris and Aunt Susie. They all have some Easter gifts that I had planned to give you March 29 when we were to last get together. But since the date for Easter changes every year, what’s the difference if you get them on April 12 instead? J They all are looking very forward to finally being able to meet you in person and enjoy looking at old pictures I have of you.

On Easter, Grandma Bignell gave me a whole bunch of old pictures she had of you when you stayed with them in 2008 and of when you were a baby. I’d never seen most of the pictures before! I’ve scanned them all into my computer and will have to show them to you sometime.

I recently read a very good book that had a lot of very pretty pictures in it. It was called “Bear Wants More,” by Karma Wilson. One day Bear wakes up and realizes that he slept all through winter and that it’s now spring! And you know what a bear who has slept all winter is when he wakes up? He’s HUNGRY! So all of the animals of the forest try to help Bear find enough food to eat so he won’t be hungry anymore. Do you know how they do that? You will have to read the book and find out! Maybe you can find the book at your school library or at the city library when you mom takes you there.

That is all for now. I miss and love you very much and can’t wait to see you next Friday!



Friday, April 5, 2013

A baby picture of you at 11 weeks

Here's a photo of you when you were about 10-12 weeks old. You are in a bouncy baby carrier that you absolutely loved to sit and sleep in. You especially loved the blue bunny rabbit hanging from the handle bar. In fact, I still have that blue bunny rabbit; I cut it off for you because you wanted to play with it when you'd outgrown the carrier!

The picture is taken at our house in Crescent City, Calif. You are on the bed in the master bedroom. To the left of the bed would have been your bassinet where you would sleep at night during the first few weeks of your life before you moved on to the nursery.

The white and brown cat sleeping on the bed was named Merlin. He was a little skittish but always liked being around he. Should you start crying, he'd get very agitated and coming looking for me to help you! That's one loyal cat!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Playing airplane at the park

Do you remember playing "airplane" at the park in Lancaster, Calif.? At the park off of Avenue K, we'd sometimes pretend to be airplanes, holding our arms out at our sides like wings and trying to remain balanced as we walked the curb around the wood chip pit surrounding the climbing rocks.

It was a great exercise for your young body because you learned how to keep your balance.

To make it even more fun, we had to avoid "crashing" into each other! But you didn't want to blink or you might "fall off" the curb into the wood pit!

Of course, sometimes you liked to crash into me just for fun!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Photos of you when you were a year old

Over Easter, Grandma Bignell shared with me all kinds of pictures she had of when you were about 10-17 months old! You lived with Grandma and Grandpa Bignell from December 2007 to September 2008 on their farm outside of Knapp, Wis. In September 2008, you came back to California to live with me in Santa Clarita.

At above right is a picture of you with Grandpa Bignell and your cousing Rebekah. She is six months older than you and in kindergarten, too! The picture was taken at Grandma and Grandpa Bignell's house.

I am so glad to have all of these pictures of you. While I had a few, I now have tons of them!

Grandma Bignell also shared with me old family pictures of her grandparents and other ancestors. I have a website listing your family tree, but it's only of your grandpa's side of the family - researching that has been so time-consuming that I haven't had time to post your grandma's side!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Memories of our Easter 2013 together

A short entry today, but one I want to share with you - photos of our Easter 2013 together. The basket included: a stuffie bunny rabbit with a soccer ball that you named "Ken"; a bag of Army soldiers; a Jake and the Neverland Pirates book; a Batman puzzle; Cars bubble solution and wands; and several pieces of candy, including Peeps and Cadbury carmel eggs and Tic-Tacs!

Monday, April 1, 2013

'Crazy books' you've loved through the years

One of your favorite kinds of books to read when a preschooler were those that turned the story on its head - that is, ones in which the books were sort of like an inside joke. In honor of April Fool's Day, today I'm listing some of those "crazy books" you loved so much.

"There's a Monster at the End of this Book" certainly was one of them. In this Seasme Street book, Grover tries to keep you from reaching the book's end because the title says there's a monster there. Except the monster is Grover!

Another one was "The Book That Ate People." It was about a book - the one that you were holding in your hands - that eats any person it comes into contact with!

A third one was "Do Not Open This Book!" Readers weren't supposed to open the book because it wasn't finished being written - but by reading it, you help the author finish writing the book!

What fun books are you reading now?