Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Inside-My-Mouth Joke

I saw a new dentist for my checkup today. Long story about switching dentists. Not interesting. So, both the hygenist and the dentist remarked on what nice teeth I have. I get that a lot from oral health professionals. It's not that my teeth are particularly white or straight or anything... it's that I have very few cavities. I'm not nearly as fastidious about my tooth and gum care as is the Mister, so I always say I think it has more to do with just being born with good teeth. The experts generally agree.

Today's expert agreed, too. But, he went on-- "Yes, genetics play a huge role. But it's obvious you do take good care of your teeth. You must not be into sweets much, and I bet you never drink pop!" When I laughed (no easy feat with a stranger's gloved hands in my mouth) he replied, "Really? How much? A can a day? Two cans?" I just nodded and smiled.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Here Comes the Rain Again


We've had a really wet spring. Overnight, another round of thunderstorms rattled the cages of Krinkeland way before dawn. At one point, around 4:30, I believe, all four children were awake. I got Benjamin back into bed and happened to poke my head into the big girls' room; though quiet, Amanda and Elisabeth were wide awake, huddled on the bottom bunk around an iPod, trying to get a peek at the weather radar. Had I not been so exhaustedly cranky, I might have been amused.

All this rain has brought our lake level higher than we've ever seen it. I know it's not the highest it's ever been-- because long-timers tell stories of flood and ruin. Still, the pump system designed and installed to prevent future flood and ruin cannot be used this season, because the level on the pump-to lake is even higher than the level on ours (the pump-from lake.) As I type, Todd is in the lake, rolling in the roll out dock, so we will again be able to access it.

The high water level has shrunk our beach area by two-thirds... and, without the move, it would take a trip in a dinghy or a bionic jump to make it onto the dock.

The high water has made for beautiful clarity on my parents' smaller lake... though they had to rescue their neighbor's runaway pontoon this morning. My sister and BIL spent much of the day trying to dry out their backyard-patio-cum-wading-pool. The landscaping rocks in our backyard which typically lead to the beach now offer direct access to the water...

But, even with this crazy amount of rain, there's still no danger of our deck and would-be-screened-porch flooding. Good thing those genius civic leaders denied our project request.

It's not as though all this water will bring with it a bumper crop of mosquitoes or anything.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Theater Time-Out

I've spent too much time the past couple days scratching my head (Why, pray tell, did I decide to have another garage sale, and why did I agree to do it with friends?!) and holding my head, which hurts from dealing with a huge mess in the garage and, consequently, an even bigger mess in the house from all the time I'm spending in the garage! That means-- time to take a break and go to my happy place. Grab a cold can of Diet Dew and watch this clip from "Born Yesterday," the only straight play Todd and I saw on Broadway last month. James Belushi is the show's headliner, but these two are the real stars:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Under-What?!

Benjamin and I had a discussion at bedtime tonight about which is better to sleep in under pajamas: Pull-Up, underwear or nothing. Ben said, "Underwear is definitely best. It's the only one that tells you which way to go."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Peace, Love, Rock and Roll, Baby!

Always a great time, we are still tapping our toes and humming after the girls' spring music program at school. Your turn:

first grade, Elisabeth in second row, third from left, wearing white floral dress with white sweater



third grade, Amanda on right side of second row, in white sweater over her dress for the first song... off for the second


middle school, performing a song they heard on the radio and subsequently wrote out the choral parts and orchestration

She's Hard to Read

Guess what? Elisabeth is getting glasses. It's no optical illusion. Libby and Benjamin had their checkups with the ophthalmologist, and she confirmed what Libby told me the day Amanda got her glasses: "Amanda can't see far away, but I can't see when I read." At the time, I thought, whatever, Kid; you just want glasses because your big sister got glasses. But the eye doctor told me Libby was telling the truth.

While Amanda is near-sighted and will likely always need glasses or some kind of lens correction, Elisabeth is far-sighted and could potentially outgrow her need for glasses as her eyes grow. However, for now, the doctor said it's important that Libby get glasses and wear them all the time, to prevent further eye damage from the ways her eyes have been over-compensating to read.

Libby had quite the time picking out her frames. It is hard for Libby to decide on anything. After multiple visits to different shops, she ended up choosing the first pair she tried on. It also appears to be the most expensive pair of glasses in the Western Hemisphere. But, she is excited to wear them... So the order is in.

Also, we've decided to sell the other two children-- in part to cover the cost of the eyeglasses, but also to ensure we won't have to buy more glasses for more children.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Venting and Validation

As you all know, my husband often travels for his job. Occasionally, it's just a couple days to a meeting or a conference in a large, U.S. city. But, more often, the trips are to northern Europe, where his company is conducting trials on a new medical device. The rate of travel ebbs and flows, but has been happening more regularly. In recent months, Todd has been gone as often as every other week.

The trips can be five days in length (a pretty quick turnaround for the distance) or they can be open-ended. You don't know panic until you're standing in the doorway with four little kids as your co-parent heads for the car and says, "I don't know when I'll be back." I don't get used to it. I don't get better at it. I don't settle into a routine, or ever even feel comfortable when Todd is gone.

Still, as much as I struggle with Todd's absence and bemoan the duties without reprieve of parenting solo... I've come to the decision that the day Todd comes home from a trip is even harder than when he's gone. From the moment of his departure, I'm counting down nights and meals and loads of laundry until Todd returns-- not only because I miss him, but because I need help! Then, finally, he returns.

He is mobbed: Benjamin wants to go on a boat ride; Amanda doesn't understand factoring; Elisabeth needs him to hear her recital song; Madeline is short 16 hugs; I want to leave just two of the children with him so I can run to the grocery store; and when can we all take a walk to the park? BUT, Todd's coworkers have questions about the trip; he hasn't had a home cooked meal with actual fresh produce in who-knows-how-long; Todd has ear doctor and dentist appointments to reschedule; the cable bill needs to be paid, the van's brakes are squeaking, and the water softener is out of salt; plus, Todd is sooo jet-lagged-- even though the clock says 4:30, his body thinks it's 11:30, and he never slept more than three hours in a stretch on the hotel mattress and didn't sleep at all on the plane.

So, the day Daddy gets home ends up being a big bummer-- for him, and for all of us. Todd generally struggles through a family supper and then immediately crashes till the next morning. That means I'm back to not only single-parenting, but pantomiming threats, to try to keep the gremlins quiet so Daddy can rest and recover. Generally, Todd will sleep for 10-12 hours and then the next day is much better. Until he goes again.

It is just our life. I guess I'm whining for the sake of whining. I know many families have a much better schedule than we do... and I know many families have things a lot worse. If you have any advice, I'll take it. But, I don't expect there's much to be done about. I'm thankful for the job my husband has, and I'm very thankful he's willing to do it.

I'm even more thankful for this series of recent photos I came across while downloading some shots this week. They make the tough times more than worth it... and remind me of this family's blessings on the flip side of the trials.




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In the Middle of a Wild Week

Elements of today's mayhem:




Benjamin's preschool bowling party


Solomon's preschool graduation


Oliver's third birthday


just because I'm a proud auntie

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pomp and Twitchiness


The season of spring school programs is upon us-- and we have a graduate in the house! Benjamin's preschool graduation program was this evening. The big bummer was Todd is out of the country. Fortunately for him (and you,) we got the whole thing on video. The good fortune continues, because we are leaning toward not sending Ben to kindergarten in the fall, but instead enrolling him in the preschool program at the girls' school. He'll get in the building and get acclimated to "the system;" we'll get to experience preschool graduation again next year!

No offense meant to the teachers, but-- one thing the preschoolers did not learn this year? How to spell:

And, just for good measure, here's further record of our boy's preference for turning side-to-side over actually singing. Oh, and he insisted on standing in the back row, apparently because he's sooo tall. Still, we're keeping him.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pavlov's Kid

When reviewing today's school lunch menu, Elisabeth determined she would like to take a cold lunch. I was surprised, because I thought the items on the rundown were all things she liked. When I asked, she pointed out "french fries or sweet potato fries." Libby said she doesn't like sweet potato fries. When I pointed out the word "or" and suggested she just ask for french fries, the girls told me that wasn't the way it worked.

If I'd thought about it longer, I would have realized the school year is drawing to a close; the word "or" on a lunch menu means there's not enough of either side dish for everyone in school to have the same thing. So, whether one gets french fries or sweet potato fries could depend on lunch-shift timing, or the kitchen staff's determination of which is better. Still, Amanda, who is also not a sweet potato fan, opted for hot lunch:

"It's easy," Amanda explained. "When you get to the lunch room, you check to see which one they're serving. If it's sweet potato fries, you just talk really loud and make a lot of noise so that your table is the last one dismissed to get in the lunch line... so, they'll probably be out of sweet potato fries by the time you get up there. If it's french fries first, just sit down really quiet and be really good-- and tell your friends to be really good, and then you'll get the french fries first."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Safe and Unsafe

Between rainstorms, we dashed over to the local hospital, where hospital volunteers and emergency crews were hosting the annual bike rodeo. With the wet weather, events moved inside, as much as possible. All the kids got fitted for new, *free* bike helmets, so what's not to love about that?! Plus, there was free lunch.

While at the bike rodeo, I purposely did not take photos of the children in their new helmets with my smartphone to post on this blog, or anywhere else. Here's why:

I didn't do research to verify the concerns raised in this story-- just took them at face value. CREEPY! I will tell you it took just seconds-- literally a couple finger swipes-- to change the settings on my phone... and, hopefully, take steps to protect my beloved children. Thanks to my MIL for forwarding the chain email. I will be passing it along, too.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End of the World As We Know It


My children, like many, many others, were caught up in the doomsday message about the world ending today. There is a billboard not too far from our home proclaiming Harold Camping's prediction. Naturally, it would be a hot topic in the seven- to nine-year-old set. Heck, there were two, long, eloquent letters written by adults on the topic in this week's local newspaper.

When the girls came home from school talking about how some kids said the world was going to end on Saturday, I calmly answered their questions and reassured them it was not the case. When they asked how I could be sure, I quoted scripture: "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36.) That seemed to pacify them.

Still, one of Camping's believers cited today's date as exactly 7,000 years after Noah was caught up in the flood. When we awoke to rain, the kids got concerned. Waves of thunderstorms rolled through all day, and, with each one, it seems I got a few wary looks from little eyes. I think all will be better when we wake up tomorrow.

Oh, and we'll go to church.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Will Wonders Never Cease?


I finally got around to scheduling a two-year portrait session for Madeline. I like to get the kids' photos taken regularly. We do a more involved, custom photo session at one year; the rest of the time it's just cheapy, department store or big box stops-- wherever I have a coupon, and haven't previously had a horrible experience. I knew I needed to get Madeline's done, while she still looked two, but I just hadn't had a chance to take her anywhere. Plus, that kid is such a hot-cold-screaming-pain-in-the-tush lately, I was not exactly excited about the prospect of getting her face clean, her hair combed, and a decent outfit on her, not to mention making her sit still and smile for a total stranger.

But, this week, it occurred to me that Benjamin's preschool year was rapidly coming to an end, and the big girls would soon follow him into summer break, so if we didn't get the photo done soon, I would be going with three more children-- the only factor that could make the experience even more trying for me. Grandma P. happened to call when we were on the way to the store. I told her where we were going and she offered to meet us to assist. I said she shouldn't bother heading out in the cruddy weather, and I figured we could handle it.

Thank heaven, she didn't listen. I got Madeline through the rain and into the store, about 20 minutes before our scheduled session time. She wanted nothing to do with shopping or the shopping cart, and had a complete meltdown when we passed the arcade. I finally chased Maddy in the direction of the portrait studio and was met by a crowd. At 10:30, when we were slated to go, the young photographer still had two families, each with two young children, in front of us. "This is going to be a disaster," I thought.

Madeline quickly plowed through two packages of fruit snacks, broke her hair clip into two pieces, refused to give up her pacifier and had snot rivers running from her nostrils. I was seriously contemplating leaving, when Grandma and Grandpa appeared. We all took turns corralling and distracting Maddy, whose disposition did a 180 when she realized she had grandparents who needed entertaining. Maddy switched gears and started literally bouncing off the walls. She was hopping to and fro and rearranging the furniture, stopping occasionally to smear up the wall mirror. It was exhausting just to watch.

Finally, about a half-hour behind schedule, we were up. The young man apologized for the delay, citing some problem with the computers, but I cut him off: "Whatever," I said. "It's fine. But this is one stubborn, high-spirited toddler who is ready for lunch and a nap. Plus, I need to pick up her brother from preschool in a half-hour. So, let's do this quickly." I pointed to a neutral background and he set up the perch, while warming up Madeline with "gimme fives."

In that moment, America's Next Top Model was born. Maddy put her hands in her lap, crossed her ankles, leaned in, tilted her head, and posed, posed, posed. Each shot was more adorable than the last. She made it a little tough to choose just one for my bargain-basement package, but I did it. Naturally, these are copyrighted (that's why there are words all over them) but I thought you'd appreciate a peek. Even if you don't, humor me-- she's my last child.







Thursday, May 19, 2011

See What I'm Dealing With Here?

I called out Benjamin for lying to me because he was, quite obviously and very poorly, lying to me. Ben tried to divert: "Did you know lying is a sin?" I countered, "I definitely do know lying is a serious sin. Do you know lying is a sin?" Ben replied, "I had no idea."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Great Moments in Motherhood

Does this ever happen to you?

Elisabeth had a nasty scooter wipeout this evening, and now sports bandages on her knee, foot, and big toe. Just minutes after tucking her into bed, Libby hobbled down the hall to my room and reported, "My foot really hurts-- when I walk on it." I replied, "Yes, I know. So, go lay down in your bed." Libby said, "Oh" and returned from whence she came.

The Sweet Life

*laundry tumbling
*children napping
*supper made
*sun shining
*lounge chair reclining
*Diet Dew chilling
*People Magazine waiting

I'm sure I'll regret later the work I could be doing now... but lake living is calling!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where Would I Be Without My 9-Year-Old?

Amanda: "Mom, there's a spot on the back of your pants."
Mom (brushing the backside): "Oh, I know. I sat in something wet."
Amanda: "It looks like you peed your pants."
Mom: "I know it looks like that, but I didn't."
Amanda: "But it really looks like you did."
Mom: "I understand you think that... but it's not true. I sat in something wet (gesturing). It's nothing."
Amanda: "Maybe you sat where Maddy peed."
Mom: "No one peed."
Amanda: "How come you didn't change your pants?"
Mom: "It just happened. It's not that big of a deal. It's hardly wet."
Amanda: "Well, I think you better change your pants. Otherwise, people might think... you know... that you peed your pants."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Musicals Are Our Crack

Between working on the theater program at the kids' school and taking our recent trip to New York, Todd and I have officially become theater junkies. We have always enjoyed theater-- as actors and crew members, but especially as audience members-- but, now, I think I can accurately say, we are addicts.

I am uncertain at this point which will be the root of our financial demise: the cost of the tickets or the cost of the babysitter.

On Friday night, we went to see a friend perform in a collaborative community theater production. A fun time-- what isn't a fun time when beer and wine is included with the ticket?-- but the actors sure would have appreciated a larger audience. Come on, theater fans! This evening, on the recommendation of friends, we went to see the Broadway touring production of "Next to Normal."

Again, the cast could have used a fuller house. Todd pointed out it was the weekend of the fishing opener, but I said I doubted the two crowds crossed paths too much. Going in, we knew next-to-nothing about "Next to Normal." It was a bummer of an awesome show. How's that for a review? I tell you, that is the production where we needed the free liquor.

Next on the agenda: choosing a musical for the Saints on Stage kids to perform in 2012, and taking our big girls to see "Guys and Dolls" next month. It's a good thing both our cars are in working order... and we don't have a hankering for designer shoes... the budget's gotta give somewhere!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One Boat

The first spring we lived in our house, Todd and I were watching a late-night movie in the den one Friday when I looked out the doors on the back of the house and saw what appeared to be a flock of UFOs. There were dozens and dozens of little, white, red, and green lights dotting the darkness. Upon further examination, and also calling on Todd to look, I realized the lights actually belonged to flocks of fishing boats on the lake; it was past midnight, and the Fishing Opener had arrived.

In the years that have followed, I have always enjoyed watching the anglers take to the water the first moment the season starts. I figured last night would be no exception, and I stayed up to wait for the launch. But, midnight came and went, and... no boats.

This morning, all morning, I kept watch on the lake, and saw only one, lone fishing boat, with two die-hards huddled inside. When it's 44 degrees and raining, I guess, even the die-hards would rather stay home. We got as far as Todd taking the kids to Fleet Farm today to buy new fishing rods-- or "reelers," as Benjamin called them. That was Krinkeland's contribution to the sport of angling.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Go On With Your Bad Self

I was at the girls' school this morning when one of the teachers passed by and commented to me, "You look just like one of the middle schoolers." I dismissed her with a "Pshaw" and a wave of the hand, as I summoned all my humility to maintain an expression that said, "Me? A girlish figure? Surely, you jest." As I was walking to the car, I looked down and realized I was wearing a blouse and a skirt in the same colors as the middle school uniforms.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to Tell a Male Snail from a Female Snail

This is the kind of question we wrestle with on the first really warm days of the season. For those who care, the answer is here. For those who care only slightly, but are not interested in clicking on the link or wading through the scientific jargon, I'll just tell you: Snails-- at least the kinds that appear in these parts-- are simultaneous hermaphrodites, which, it turns out, is not just a slang term my Gua uses to describe some of her former neighbors from the trailer park, but is an actual scientific label which means freshwater snails have both male and female reproductive systems. However, you need two of them to reproduce.

This is important information here in Krinkeland. The children have spent their after-school hours hunting for snails along the shoreline. When they find them, they put them in a sand pail and carry them around, until I find the pail, feel sorry for the snails and re-release them into the lake.

So, Todd is gone again, and I have been falling down on my Free the Snails duties, I guess. This afternoon, Amanda reported to me that "Bob" and "Omelet" were going to have babies. She knew this because "Bob" laid eggs. Yeah, I Googled this one, too... and it turns out a lot of species of snails do lay eggs. I won't bother with the link, because I know you really don't care.

Amanda will be thrilled to learn the reproductive piece. She was trying to figure out how to get "Mommy" and "Daddy" pairs of snails to give to her friends, so, they, too, could grow snail families. Her working theory was that she knew "Bob" and "Omelet" were a male/female couple because she saw them kissing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Big Boom Theory

Dear Mother Nature,

Many thanks for the 5:26 a.m. wake-up call. It was effective for all six members of Krinkeland. I will remember, for future reference, if we ever all need to be awakened from dead sleep-- to leave on vacation, or if the house is on fire-- one, huge thunderclap is all it takes.

Benjamin huddled next to Daddy in our bed. The two big girls jumped into bed together. Madeline was up, for good. And, you, dear Mother of the Earth, did not appear to help mother that ornery child.

The day was filled with plenty of:

And an overabundance of generalized whining, crying, backtalking, and other miserable practices.

Next time, please keep your loud opinions to yourself.

Regards,

The Cranky Queen

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned from Gua

The two older girls and I went with Grandma and Grandpa P. to visit Mom's mom, "Gua." At 95 and counting, she still lives on her own... makes weekly pilgrimages to the casino... and keeps me in stitches. Among the wisdom she imparted today:

*Amanda should pray to Saint Odelia for good eyesight; then she won't need glasses.
*Kids are capable of staying home alone around age seven or so. She did. Why don't today's parents trust their kids?
*She (Gua) does NOT have a hearing problem-- everyone else just mumbles.
*Calling a dead sister's 98-year-old husband and hearing his "girlfriends" in the background is never fun.
*There's nothing better than a Chinese buffet lunch, UNLESS cream puffs are absent from the dessert table. In that case, lunch is crap. And, it doesn't matter how many times one has visited the same Chinese buffet and that cream puffs have never been present at said buffet's dessert table; one should still always inquire about cream puffs, at least twice.

Someday, when I am a mother of four... a grandmother of 13... and a great-grandmother of many more-- including the youngest, a namesake whose name the great-grandma still forgets (Gua, nee Lucia, called my niece and her great-granddaughter Lucia "Lucinda" today... and when I corrected her, reminding her the baby was named after HER, my grandma said, "Well, at least they didn't name her 'Gua!'")-- Where was I going with this? Oh, well. A Happy Early Mother's Day to Our Beloved Gua, and to all!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bossy Benjamisms

When told it was time for him to clean up his toys, Benjamin sassed to me, "If you want something done, do it yourself!"

While coaching his little sister on how to "slide" down the stairs on a down comforter, Ben told Madeline, "Do not be afraid. God is with you."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Planes, Backhoes and Jackhammers

Our little town has been a very busy place, and the kids and I have really been enjoying taking in the action.

I had two young nephews in the car, along with Benjamin and Madeline, when we noticed a small plane coming in to land at our town's little airport. It was the first day of nice weather in a long time, and it appeared the airport was very busy. So, I took the road that ran alongside the landing strip and parked so we could watch. In a very short period of time, we saw two landings and four takeoffs. (I think there was at least one student pilot in the mix, just going up and coming back down.) The kids loved to comment on the planes, especially the propellers (or, "spinny things," as Ben called them) and the landing gear. They even asked me to put down the windows so they could hear the planes' engines.

Across town, huge backhoes are tearing up the corner of a busy intersection to make room for a new Walgreen's drug store. Apparently, the Walgreen's scouts found a corner of this fair universe on which there was not already a Walgreen's. Of course, the corner was not empty-- it already housed a family restaurant and a gas station. So, those are being torn down to make room for the new building. Ben could sit in a parked car for hours, watching the cranes, wrecking balls, backhoes and dump trucks.

Even when we stopped at the convenience store today, Benjamin noticed the car wash was closed and there were piles of rubble in the driveway. I pointed out a crew must be repairing the sidewalk; workers were using a jackhammer on a Bobcat to break up the concrete. Ben and Maddy thought it was hilarious the work was so hard it actually lifted the machine off its front wheels.

It's kind of cool-- everything you can see, if you just take the time to look.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Itchy and Scratchy

Amanda came bursting into the house and asked, "Mom, can we play with (the neighbor girl)? She has head lice!" Seeing the look of horror of my face, Amanda quickly added, "Oh, don't worry, Mom. She's on medication."

Later, while I was boiling the kids' clothes and scrubbing their heads before bed, I tried to explain a little more about lice. I said it was not the neighbor's fault-- anyone can get head lice, and I've heard it's really going around the elementary schools again. But, I said, it's important to minimize contact because lice and their nits are so hearty, it's really hard to get rid of lice once they get into a house. I described washing with a special shampoo (the "medication" to which the girls referred) and using hot water and high heat from the dryer to kill the bugs on everything from pillows to bedding to carpets to car upholstery. "So," Amanda summarized, "it's not that getting head lice would mean we would have some terrible, awful, serious disease... it would just be really inconvenient for you." And I spanked them all soundly and sent them to bed.

This morning, Benjamin emerged from the mud room carrying this little LED lamp on an elastic band that I wear when I go walking at night-- or spelunking. "Uh-oh, Mom," he exclaimed, "looks like (the neighbor girl's) head light got into our house after all!"

Monday, May 2, 2011

Corny

I'm sure this post should be on the death of Osama bin Laden... or the appearance of flurries in these parts... but, I was going through photos of the weekend and just keep coming back to these:














Guess Madeline's favorite food?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Party Time, Excellent

On Saturday, we celebrated Madeline's second birthday with a lunch for family. I tried to plan it for early in the day, because I am aware how our Maddy begins to melt shortly after noon. She did. Part of the way through gift-opening, she received a sleeping bag, and was thrilled when someone unrolled it so she could crawl inside and open the remainder of her presents while lying down.

Saturday evening was the girls' school's annual fundraiser, Spring Fever. The theme was "Wild, Wild West"-- yeehaw! The event always includes a silent auction, a live auction, a costume contest, other contests, a dance, plenty of food and drink, and good times with friends and family. Hopefully, we raised more money than we would robbing a stagecoach.

After church this noon, we took the young 'uns to Heifer International's Baby Animal Fair. It's always a fun time, and an educational one, too. The highlight was the look on Madeline's face as we perched her atop a yak for a photo op.





Following the animal fair, Todd, Amanda and I went to see the local high school production of "Godspell." If you want reviews, you'll have to ask Todd and Amanda personally. They're the theater critics.

What a weekend!