Sunday, June 30, 2013

All the states we've been to over the years

After putting together the map puzzle during our last visit, and going over all of the state you've been to, I thought I'd list all of the states I've been to during the years. I've placed in boldface the states you've been to as well:

New Mexico

North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My letter to you for June 23-29, 2013

Here’s my email sent to you June 29, 2013, in case you do not receive it.

Hi Kieran,

How are you today? I’m fine, though I miss you like crazy! I hope you’re having a great weekend full of fun!

Thank you so much for sending the email on Friday. I enjoy hearing about all that you’re learning in summer school, all of the fun places you’ve gone, and everything else about you.

Learning about the states sounds like a lot of fun! Knowing where the states are will be very useful when you travel. Do you know that you’ve been to 11 states? They include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin. I have pictures of you in each of those states but two: Colorado and Utah.

Discovering the stories about all the presidents is interesting, too, I bet! When I was a little boy, just a wee bit older than you, I had to write a report about a president. I wrote about James K. Polk. He was the 11th president, and during his presidency Wisconsin became a state. We also defeated Mexico in a war under his leadership, and that victory meant Mexico had to give up Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah (All states you’ve visited!) to our country, The United States.

I’m so glad you’re getting to throw the football at the park. You’ve always had quite an arm on you! Always remember to put your fingers on the laces when throwing the football – if you do, the football will go farther, and your throws will be more accurate.

Highland Park’s mist machines sound like a good time, too! Do you remember the big misting machine at the California Adventure theme park? Out of the bottom of a fake rocket engine, water would blow out – so much sometimes that it would fog up the area! You always liked when I walked you through it in the stroller. You would reach out and grab at the fog!

A very big holiday is coming up on Thursday – Independence Day! It’s also known as the Fourth of July. On that day in 1776, our country told England we no longer would be part of their country and were starting our own! What plans do you have to celebrate the Fourth of July? Hopefully you will get to see fireworks! I don’t think you and I have ever went to a Fourth of July fireworks together, though we got to see some great fireworks for Halloween and New Year's Eve.

Have you read any good books lately? I have. It was called “Apple Pie on the Fourth of July” and was written by Janet S. Wong. It’s the story of a little girl who tries to convince her parents – who were born in China and have come to the United States to live – that no one wants to eat Chinese Food on the Fourth of July. Instead, people want to eat hot dogs and have apple pie, she tells them. Does the little girl have to eat rice and egg rolls or will she get to have hot dogs and apple pie on the Fourth? You will have to read the book and find out! I bet you can get it at your school or city library.

Well, that is all for now. I look forward to receiving your weekly email, and will write again next week in response to it. I love and miss you very much! Have a Happy Fourth of July!



Friday, June 28, 2013

Remember your transporter playset?

A couple of entries ago, I wrote about the neat "Star Trek" bridge playset you once had. I'm following up today with the transporter playset that accompanied it!

While the transporter playset had fewer pieces, it was a little cooler as it had a chamber in which you could place one of the action figures. By pressing a button atop the chamber, it made a shimmering sound and lit up blue. The action figure in the chamber then "disappeared" from sight.

We'd set up the transporter so it was at the back of the bridge playset. Then members of the crew could quickly leave the bridge and beam down to the planet!

The transporter play set came with a Captian Kirk action figure, so we actually had two of them! Sometimes we'd pretend one was the evil Captain Kirk from the alternative universe. Othertimes he was just an extra crewman.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A musical flashback to our past

Entry to Snow White's Scary Adventure
at Disneyland.
The other day while listening to NPR, one of the tunes playing between the reports was this old German folk song (The reports were about Germany.), and I knew I'd heard that song before - in fact, I'd heard it quite a lot before! I couldn't quite place where, and then it hit me - I'd heard it in Disneyland at Fantasyland. It was one of the many songs that played on the speakers in the background as walking by the Snow White and Pinocchio rides.

Oh, how I miss not being able to take you there! We had quite a number of great adventures at Disneyland, adventures that will I'll never forget. But that still falls a little short of being able to make new memories with you!

I don't know the song's title, but if I ever figure it out, I will post it here with a file of the song for you to hear!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another outing to Moonlight Beach

Two years ago today, we went back to Moonlight Beach! It had became one of our favorite Sunday morning stops before heading off on another adventure before we had to call an end to our weekend.

By this time of the year, the Pacific Ocean water was starting to really warm up, so while initially it was a little cold shock to hit our bare feet, after that it wasn't so bad! Then, after spending some time at the water and playing in the sand, we'd usually go over the the conession stand and get some lunch or a snack (usually ice cream!), and then it was off to the beach's playground for fun!

My fondest memory of the beach, though, was standing in the water together with me holding your hands so that when the waves came in, they wouldn't knock you over (Though they really pushed at us!).

Here's some photos from the morning of Sunday, June 26, 2011!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Taken back to our Disneyland plants

Bird of paradise flower
While visiting a local nursery (a place where plants are sold), I was taken back to the many times that we visited Disneyland. One of the beauties of that place is its great landscaping with all of the wonderful flowers and plants.

The nursery had those cool shrubs that spiral around and can be cut into shapes like there were at the It's a Small World ride. It also had white gardenias (a staple of the Los Angeles landscape), the herbs that grow in the Storybook Land ride, and bird of paradise that lined the sidewalk each walk we took from the parking ramp to the park entrance.

Do you remember the distinctive fragrance that filled the Disneyland night, especially in Downtown Disney as we neared the exit gates or the trams? That was midnight jasmine, which blooms in the evening.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Remember your Star Trek bridge play set?

The new "Star Trek" toys that you like so much during our last couple of visits reminded me of the great "Star Trek" play sets you had when the last movie came out a couple of years ago. One of them was the bridge set that your action figures could play on.

The base of the play set was a plastic sheet that was the bridge's floor showingwhere all of the pieces went. It came with a large viewing screen and the captain's chair with helm station.

The other bridge stations came with the action figures that we bought. Of course, we had all of the action figures!

We often put the transporter station (That'll be another entry!) and bridge play sets together so that we could have been big adventure.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Remember Jack Sparrow and pirates?

On Friday when looking at Toys R Us for some more "Star Trek" characters, I came across some of the old Disney "Pirates of the Caribbean" action figures, and they brought back a flood of memories!

You really like Jack Sparrow and had him and a few other of the Pirates action figures. You also had a super big pirate boat for the action figures that we got one night at Disneyland.

When we were at the Disneyland Pieces of Eight pirate store in New Orleans square, we'd sometimes get the swords and other pirate gear and pretend to be dueling pirates. I'd say "Tell me where the treasure is, Jack Sparrow, or I'll run ye through!"

And when in San Diego, we'd sometimes go to the maritime museum where they had old sailing vessels that you could tour. You called the museum "the pirate ships" (though submarines were there, too)!

I also had a big picture book that I kept in the car about pirates that you'd look at when we made those long journeys between San Diego and Palmdale.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My letter to you for June 22, 2013

Here is my email/letter from June 21, 2013, in case you do not receive it.

Hi Kieran,

How are you this morning? I am fine, though I miss you more than anything! I had a lot of fun with you Friday afternoon and can’t wait to get back together again!

It was great fun looking at the human body book just like we used to do when we’d stop at bookstores. You were very good at finding the little skulls. The human brain certainly was interesting, especially how it is made up of little cells that send electrical signals to one another that allows us to do all that we do. It’s amazing how it can do that, isn’t it?

I’m so glad you liked the “Star Trek” guys I picked up. I shall get some more of them for you. I think they are called “Star Trek Pods” and the set includes the starship Enterprise and other toys. I also will put together the Lego shuttlecraft for you – it has a chair in it that all of your Lego characters can sit in!

You are really starting to learn your states as well – I was impressed with how many of them you knew on the world map puzzle! I’ve attached to this email a couple of photos of when we hiked into the volcano (and here’s a link to all of the photos from our adventure; mom will have to sign in to her Facebook account for you to see them). The volcano was called the Amboy Crater, and it was off of the old Route 66! The first picture shows the volcano in the distance, and the second photo shows you inside it.

Boy, have you gotten really fast! It was difficult to keep up with you when we were playing football (I guess that’s why you won both games!). I’m so happy that you remember how to catch the ball by using both hands and pulling it in to your chest. Sorry we couldn’t do the tackle drills like you wanted, but wrestling isn’t allowed at the center. Do you have any football jerseys? I bet by now you’ve outgrown your Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers jersey.

The Dr. Seuss card game is just as challenging as trying to catch you in football, I think. I will have to practice my skipping!

Have you set up your Hot Wheels car ramp yet at your house? And if you did, is car. No. 2 still going the farthest? I think it’s funny how the numbered cars that didn’t come with the ramp all went farther than the purple car that did come with it!

And how does your stuffie penguin like his new home? What other interesting things does he say?

Well, that is all for now. I am looking forward to seeing you again in just a few weeks. We soon will be able to start seeing one another every other week rather once every four weeks, and I am very excited about that. I’ve attached some pictures of our time together on Friday as well. Be a good boy, and I will see you soon!



June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013, in Long Beach shirt

March 26, 2009, Amboy Crater (Volcano)

March 26, 2009, in the center of
Amboy Crater (Volcano)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Seeing you later today!

I am very excited to be able to see you again later today, Kieran! We will be together from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.

I will bring some of the Star Trek Legos characters, and I also have some "Star Trek" spaceship models for us to put together. There are a few other surprises as well in the tote, as well as some old favorites!

I'm not sure which treat Grandma is mixing up in the kitchen for you. But I'm certain she'll have something yummy.

I'll see you later today!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Recall your cool shark-tooth necklace?

Do you remember the cool necklace fabric necklace I got for you at Disneyland summer 2011? It was made of light brown rope-like material that had dark brown and white beads weaved into it; a shark tooth hung from it.

The necklace looked great with with your surfer T-shirts and sunglasses, and you often liked to wear it. I recall once when taking you to school that you asked to wear it and did so proudly when you got to the schoolgrounds.

Once I find in my photo collection a picture of you wearing it, I will be sure to post it here!

Fortunately, the necklace is one of the few items of yours that I was able to rescue from my Palmdale condo before it was ransacked. I still have it - and am proudly keeping it as I await the day that we are reunited.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Remember our car's DVD player?

You might recall that when we made all of those long trips back and forth betwen Palmdale and San Diego that you had this wonderful little DVD player to watch videos on. After we'd played some imagined game in the car for an hour or so, we'd take a break from it, and often you'd watch a DVD to pass the time on the drive.

Two DVDs in particular that I remember you liked as one about Imaginext characters who were knights and samurai and the other about penguins. The Imaginext ones came with a set of action figures we got, and the penguins came from the library.

One problem we often ran into was that we plugged the DVD player into the car's cigarette lighter, and the cord was barely long enough! If it got jerked, it would come out, and we'd have to start watching the video all over again!

I loved to hear you laugh as you listened to the DVD with its headphones!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You picture is in the paper again!

I'm proud to write that pictures of you are appearing all over the place in the media. As I promote my new hiking books, newspapers/magazines/bloggers ask for pictures of me hiking. When I send them photos, and I'm always sure to include at least one with you in it.

Guess what? They always choose the photo that has you in it!

The latest picture and article mentioning you in those articles appeared in Saturday, June 8's Eau Claire (Wis.) Leader-Telegram. I've included it here for you to enjoy!

You were two years old in the photo. It was taken at Red Rock Canyon State Park in California's Mojave Desert.

Monday, June 17, 2013

'Octopus's Garden' will be a book!

Do you remember the Beatles' song "Octopus's Garden" by Ringo Starr? It is going to be turned into a children's book! The book doesn't come out until next year, though, but I will be watching for it as a gift to you! I know how much you liked Ringo's songs.

Here are the words to "Octopus's Garden":

I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade

I'd ask my friends to come and see
An octopus' garden with me
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade.

We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Resting our head on the sea bed
In an octopus' garden near a cave

We would sing and dance around
Because we know we can't be found
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade

We would shout and swim about
The coral that lies beneath the waves
(Lies beneath the ocean waves)
Oh what joy for every girl and boy
Knowing they're happy and they're safe
(Happy and they're safe)

We would be so happy you and me
No one there to tell us what to do
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden with you.

Here's a video of the song so you can hear the music and see the words as they are sung!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Visiting the Santa Barbara Zoo

Three years ago today we visited the zoo in beautiful Santa Barbara, Calif.!

Though a small zoo, it was very pretty and had some great animals. The highlight for you probably was getting to feed a giraffe. You held leaves up to it, which it stuck its tongue and took from your little hands!

I like the condors a lot - they have been my favorite bird since I was a little boy! We also got to see gorillas, took a train ride around the zoo, fed goats, and went to the play area for fun!

Here are a bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My email to you from June 15, 2013

Here is my letter to you from June 15, 2013, in case you do not receive it.

Hi Kieran,

How are you today? I am doing fine, though I miss you very much! It was so nice to receive your email on Monday and catch up on what you were doing.

I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying summer school. Does it go through August? Do you get some time off from school to enjoy summer vacation? Which of your friends are going to summer school with you?

I bet seeing the dinosaurs was a lot of fun! The science museum in St. Paul has a good collection of them. Which dinosaur was your favorite? My favorite dinosaur is the Troodon. It walked on two legs like a bird and had the biggest brain of all of the dinosaurs – and that still was only as large as a chicken’s brain! Some scientists think the Troodon may have had feathers.

The Twins game sounds fun as well! What team did they play? Who won (Hopefully yours!)? My two favorite baseball teams are not doing very well this season – the Dodgers are in last place and the Brewers are in fourth place! Maybe they’ll get things turned around, but usually by the end of June if a team isn’t in second or first place, the odds are against them going to the playoffs. Hopefully next year they’ll do better!
I’m so proud that you’ve learned to ride a bicycle! What color is your bike? When I was a little boy, we used to put playing cards in the spokes of our bicycle wheel so that when we cruised down the street it made this neat thwap, thwap, thwap! sound. Maybe you could send a picture of you on your bike.

I bet you had lots of fun at the farm. Did you get to feed any animals? Where was the farm at? Grandma and Grandpa Bignell no longer have animals on their farm, but when they did, there were cows, pigs and chickens. And of course, they had dogs and lots and lots of cats.

Tomorrow is a big day – it’s Father’s Day! This year to celebrate Father’s Day, I am reading essays at a book store in Stillwater about fatherhood and what a great son you are! What will you be doing for Father’s Day this year? Friday (yesterday) also was a holiday – Flag Day, in which we honor an important symbol of our country and all that it stands for. Did you notice a lot of American flags out yesterday? Traditionally people hang flags from their house on Flag Day. Did you hang one from your house?

Next Friday is the first day of summer – and also the 21st when we get to see one another again! That’s just six days away! I can’t wait to see you then!

Be good in summer school, and I’ll see you on Friday! I definitely will brings the “Star Trek” stuff! I miss and love you very much!



Friday, June 14, 2013

Remember Abby Cadabby?

You never were much of a Seasame Street fan growing up, though there certainly were parts of the show that you loved - Elmo when you were two and later when you turned three, Abby Cadabby.

In particular, you especially like her segment, "Abby's Flying Fairy School". You'd stop whatever you were doing and watch it from start to finish! It was all about Abby learning how to be a fairy.

Abby always was trying to learn new things and usually messed them up at first - par for the course for three years old! But she was determined to received her fairy godmother wings!
I think you loved the adventures she went on and the fact that she was three years old. You always were able to identify with the characters who were the same age as you - Elmo at two, Abby at three, and Caillou at four.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My dinosaur memories with you

I received your email on Monday, and you mentioned going to the science musuem in St. Paul to see the dinosaur skeletons. I bet that was a lot of fun!

I have lots of "dinosaur" memoires with you.

When you were a preschooler, we had a whole bunch of plastic dinosaur toys. We'd play with them on plastic mats that showed jungle and volcano scenes.

We also went to see life-sized models of dinosaurs when we could. There were some at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles, at the Los Angeles County Fair, and at a roadside attraction called Charlie Brown's Farms in Little Rock, Calif.

You also had a great book called "Ten Little Dinosaurs." The cover had a dino with googly eyes on it, so when you shook the bok, his eyeballs spun!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Remember Moonlight Beach?

Two years ago today we went to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Calif.! I lived outside of San Diego at the time, and we often went to the beach that was about a mile from my house.

You always loved to play a game with the waves of avoid being caught by them. As the waves receded, you'd follow them, then as they came roaring back in, you'd run away from them! It was so wonderful to see you laugh! We'd also build sand castles and sometimes bury each other in the sand!

The ocean water was a bit cold in June, and so you did get a little chilled that morning. But after burying you in the sand heated by the sun, you quickly warmed back up!

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

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

At Disneyland two years ago today

Our perspective for the June 11, 2011, Jedi Academy.
Two years ago today we were at Disneyland together, Kieran!

Perhaps the highlight of the day was that we watched the Jedi Academy just a little offstage. You hadn't participated yet in the show, and we were checking it out so that you could see how it all worked.

About midway during the show, Darth Vader came back by us and slapped his light saber on the railing right next to where you were, and you jumped back!

When Darth Vader walked away, you turned to me and said, "I don't like that Darth Vader!"

Here are a whole bunch of photos from our adventure!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Remember your cool Lego RV toy?

Do you remember your Lego RV that we out together together when living in the green house in Lancaster? Since you liked both Legos and RVs, it felt like the perfect toy to have!

You were fairly young so only helped me put together part of it. You sure liked playing with it, though!

After a couple of days, though, you started taking it apart. I think you were interested in how it all was put together and kind of wanted to do that again.

That didn't bother me, as I sure could relate to such a desire. When I was about the same age, my dad built this great model railroad set for me. I  had so much fun helping him do it (Though he did most of the work!) that I tore it all apart so we could put it together again!

The downside of taking apart the Lego RV, though, was that parts would get lost so that I couldn't put it back together! The instructions also couldn't be easily followed because the parts taken off didn't match the order in which they were put on!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Your favorite 'Star Trek' cartoon

One of your favorite "Star Trek" cartoons to watch on DVD was the episode "Yesteryear." The story was about Mr. Spock as a seven-year-old, undergoing a major test...which an older Mr. Spock who's traveled into the past must help him with.

While it was a well-written episode, as a preschooler I doubt you liked it for the finer points of its plot and character construction! I suspect you enjoyed it because the main character was a little boy, just like you, and you could identify with that character!

You also like the first "Star Wars" movie, "The Phantom Menace" a lot because it was about a little boy, a young Anakin Skywalker. And Jonny Quest - the story of a young boy and his faithful friend, Hadji - also were your faves to watch!

I'd love to hear your memories of what "Yesteryear" was about - your favorite scenes, the memorable images from it! Here is some more about the episode.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My email to you for June 8, 2013

Here is my email sent to you on June 8, 2013, in case you do not receive it:

Hi Kieran,

How are you doing today? I’m doing fine, though I miss you more than anything! I am looking forward to seeing you in just two weeks, on June 21. We also should be able to start seeing each other every other week after that.

How has your first two weeks of summer school gone? What stuff is the teacher covering in our classes? Have you read any interesting books in class? Are many of your friends back in summer school, too? Do you have new classmates for summer school? So many questions, I know! But you are the most important person in the world to me, so I want to know everything about you!

I purchased some new fun “Star Trek” stuff for us to play with when we get together. Some of them are the Lego characters. Another is a set of models of the spaceships from the show. The models snap together, and we should have a lot of fun building and playing with them. Have you seen the new “Star Trek” movie yet?

There are a whole bunch of great movies coming out this summer that I’d bet you love to see. “Monsters University” (the follow-up to “Monsters Inc.” – remember when we used to go on that ride at California Adventure?) comes out on June 21. “The Lone Ranger” (Remember when we used to play Sheriff Jack and the Deputy?) comes out on July 3. Finally, “Disney’s Planes” (It’s like “Cars” except the main characters are airplanes!) comes out on August 9. Hopefully, you will get to go to each of these movies, as they all sound like lots of fun.

Now that’s summer here, I bet you’re enjoying spending time outdoors! I didn’t receive a response to the email I sent to you last week, so I will have to ask again how the bicycle riding is coming along? I bet you’ve got it down already! If not, don’t worry – you’ll get better with practice. Be sure to wear a helmet when you go bicycle riding, though; if the bike crashes, and you don’t have a helmet on, you could get hurt!

I will be outdoors a lot as well this summer, hiking trails in the Northwoods. My latest hiking book is doing well, so I’ve decided to write a follow-up to it. There are some neat trails that go over ancient volcanic rock, to waterfalls, and past beautiful lakes and rivers in the Northwoods. I always liked going hiking with you in the Angeles National Forest when we were together and sure wish we were allowed to be together this summer to explore all the neat places Minnesota and Wisconsin have to offer.

I found a new book you might like to get from the library! It’s called “Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein. It’s all about this young chicken who keeps interrupting everybody! Do you know of anyone who interrupts someone? It’s not very nice of them, is it?

Well, that is all for now. I miss and love you very much and can’t wait to see you on June 21!



Friday, June 7, 2013

Remember watching Sprout?

Sprout host Nina and Star.
About the only television programming I'd let you watch during the day when you were a preschooler was public television. Living in Los Angeles County, we got two PBS stations and on cable got their Sprout network.

You loved the Sprout network and its great commercial-free kids programs. There was "Kipper," about a dog who went on all kinds of adventures, and "Fireman Sam," a show about firemen who were always solving all kinds of non-fire problems. "Calliou" was among your favorites as well, especially when you both were four years old, or the same age!

You definite favorite show, though was "Thomas the Train," which always came on at 3:55 p.m. Monday through Friday. You had this internal clock that told you when 3:55 was approaching, and just before the show, you'd come and get me. We always sat in the recliner with you on my lap and watched the show together!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grandma and Grandpa Bignell's anniversary

Today is Grandma and Grandpa Bignell's anniversary. They have been married 48 years! That's a long time!

They met in spring 1964 while on a high school class field trip in Madison, Wis. They went to different schools but during the field trip ended up in the same elevator together! The next year, they got married!

They lived a few different places as getting their footing, but since March 1974 they've lived on their farm outside of Knapp, Wis.

I wish you were here to enjoy the anniversary celebration with them. They do, too. They took care of your for several months from mid-December 2007 through early September 2008. We all look forward to the day when we can be together again as a family.

Here's a link about them on our family website.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Recall our visit to historic Fort Tejon?

At the First Sergeant's desk in the barracks.
Three years ago today, we went to the Fort Tejon State Historical Park north of Santa Clarita, Calif. You loved it!

The park is a collection of historical buildings, with exhibits and displays, from when an Army fort was at the site in the 1850s. The day we were there, several re-enactors also were on hand demonstrating how people lived during those times.

One of your favorite things to do there was to "play" Army and "Star Wars" in the buildings. You looked at them as a giant playground!

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

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What we did two years ago today

June 4, 2011, California Adventure
Two years today we spent the day in Disneyland!

I had just moved to San Diego and so didn't have a lot of money - one thing I did have, though, were our annual passes to Disneyland! So we started using them every weekend we were together until I got a few more dollars into my account.

We went to Fantasyland, Toontown, and Tom Sawyer's Island. That afternoon, we headed over to California Adventure for the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail! One of the cool things you did at the chellenge trail was the tire swing!

Here are some pictures from our day!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Recall playting with the Slip’n Slide?

With summer's arrival, I got to thinking about all of the fun we had at the green house in Lancaster playing outside in that warm California sun. One of the "toys" we got was the famous Slip’n Slide.

It was really nothing more than a long, bright yellow sheet of plastic with little tubes that sprayed water over the sheet, making it slippery. You then can slide on your belly across the wet surface, having lots of laughs while staying cool.

I remember you loving it, especially running through the water sprinklers (You may have liked that more than sliding across it!). Unfortunately, as we lived in the desert, the sprinklers turned our back yard into a mud pit that washed away the grass clinging to the thin, sandy soil!

So I put the Slip’n Slide away until our yard could heal. By the time it did, though, the days were too hot to be outside with temps regularly in the low 100s.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

We get to see each other more often!

Good news, Kieran! On Thursday, in court we won the right to see one another more often! We now will get to see each other every other week.

We still will be limited to only two hours at a time, but the opportunity to see one another more frequently is better than what we've been forced to endure this past year.

Do not worry; I am continuing to stake steps so that we can see each other every week and to speak with one another each day, just as we used to be able to do when we lived in California. You are the most important person in the world to me, and I never will shirk from my responsibilities to you.

In addition, your mother also is required to email me each week about what is going on in your life and to read you the weekly emails/letters I've been sending. I will be checking with you to ensure that you know the content of those emails so that we know that those court orders are being followed.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My email to you for June 1, 2013

Here is my letter from June 1, 2013, in case you do not receive it:

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing today? I am doing fine, though I miss you a lot! I have very good news: We will be able to see one another more often – every two weeks in fact. It may take a while to get it all arranged, but soon we will get to visit one another every other week. I’m very excited about getting to spend more time with you and about all of the fun we will have.

How was your first week of first grade? What did you learn about in your first week? Do you like your new teacher? What is your new classroom like? Does your teacher have any fun field trips planned for the summer?

I recall you telling me last fall about learning how to ride a bicycle, but you had to put it off until spring. Have you gotten out the bicycle and mastered pedaling and steering yet? When I was a little boy your age, our local John Deere tractor shop also sold bicycles. While the clerk was helping my dad, I got on one of the bicycles to figure out how it might work. I started pedaling, and the bicycle took off through the store! Zip it went past the shelves of tractor parts. I didn’t know how to stop the bicycle, though, and crashed into the front counter! After that, the store clerk always kept his eye on me whenever I came into the store. By the way, don’t ever do what I did in the John Deere tractor shop. Not only was it very naughty of me but my elbow hurt like heck for the next week because it hit the hard floor.

Do you have any trips planned for the summer, such as the zoo or the fair? I will be traveling around Wisconsin promoting my book and researching hiking trails for my next one. Some of the places I’m going to are: the St. Croix River, which has neat rock formations on it; Big Manitou Falls, which is as tall as 16 houses stacked on top of one another; and Lake Superior, which is one of the largest lakes in the world (It would take days to drive around it!). I’m looking forward to going to all of these new places but sure wish you could come with me to see them.  

What did you get to do for Memorial Day? Did you go to any ceremonies? Memorial Day pays honor to soldiers and sailors who died in battle defending our country, and often there are special programs at cemeteries and parks. You’ve had many ancestors and relatives who served in the armed forces. Your Uncle George served in World War II, which was the biggest war the world has ever seen. He fought in France and Germany against the Nazis. Your Grandpa Ed (who you are named after) also served during that war and played a very important role in it; you’ll have to ask your mother to tell all about him.

How are your “Star Trek” Lego toys holding up? Hopefully they haven’t come apart! If they do, maybe you’ll be able to put them back together using the instructions I put in your bag. You always can bring them with you when we get together, and I’ll help you put them back together. I will bring some more character packets when we next get together (June 21 at the latest), and hopefully we will get the Gorn!

Well, that is all for now. I miss and love you very much and can’t wait to see you again!