A Diary Of Special Days
Left Nerk2008Right Nerk

January 10

Matthew Scott       Welcome to the World, Nephew Matthew Scott! Kim's sister has entered the production pool!

Thursday, January 10, 2008
5:42 p. m.
6 lb. 7 oz.
19.5 in.

January 25-27

Gateway to the Frozen Woods

February 7

Project on Children's Thinking -- It's an elephant!        The Northwestern psych department has this ongoing project called the Project on Children's Thinking. They have volunteer children come in to take simple tests, and Xavier had the opportunity to take a pattern-matching test. They put a card on the table that had a simple pattern of animals on it, usually two of the same animal touching or three of the same animal, say one cat and two kittens, arranged in some geometrically regular pattern. Then he was asked to turn the card over. Surprise! There's a sticker on the back! Next the researcher showed him 2 more cards (laid out next to the original card); one showed a different animal in the same set of poses as the first card, and the other showed random animals in random placement, ONE of which was the same as the animals on the first card. (This is what it looked like.) He was asked which new card he thought might also have a surprise behind it. Younger children almost always pick the card that has the same critter on it. It's not until they're a bit older -- around 4 or so -- that they can perceive the pattern. Grade school kids almost always pick the matching pattern.

       He had SO much fun! He sat down in the little kid-sized chair, and when the researcher sat down across from him and told him they were going to play a game, he got all serious and hitched up his little chair and crossed his little hands and was all businesslike, ready to work. Then she showed him the first card, and he studied it all serious; "Yes, that's a picture of two pigs kissing. No question, those are pigs. Yes." BUT, when he flipped the card over, he exploded! The sticker on the back of every card is different, and he made the study take twice as long as it needed to by describing in detail what each sticker was and how that object works in real life. "That's an AIRPLANE! It goes up and it flies like this and it goes around and it goes down and it lands over here and it goes here and it goes over here and it flies!" The researcher was laughing so hard she almost fell out of her chair. (The whole thing was recorded, and they very kindly agreed to send me a copy of the video.)

       When they were finished, Arizona wanted to have a turn (he had come along with us. We had lunch with Mom on the way, and he was home sick because he'd had a fever the day before.) Arizona did one set of cards and, before the girl could grab them, he had turned them all over. You see, the secondary cards didn't have ANY stickers, because you're not supposed to KNOW which ones have the surprise. If you did, you'd learn the pattern, and then they'd be studying pattern learning and retention, instead of pattern perception. You could see him thinking, "This is kinda dumb; where's the surprise?" Regardless, they both got prizes from the Magic Drawers of Cheap Trinkets, AND they both got t-shirts! When I saw all the stuff they were giving away, I said, "Wow! You guys got funding!" I'm not sure how they took that.

Driveway Fire       We also had a less exciting but still moderately remarkable event happen that night. For the past few days it had been raining, then on Wednesday we got 6 inches of heavy, wet snow. The wet roads plus the wet snow plus the suddenly plummeting temperatures resulted in an inch-thick layer of ice under the snowpack. And since the rain had a chance to work its way down into the cracks in the roadbed, the ice sheet was FIRMLY attached to the ground. Even the big snowplows couldn't get it all up in one pass, and for days the roads all had chunks of ice stuck down all over the place.

       Well, I can usually get the snow off of the driveway -- by hand, mind you, I won't pay upwards of $700 for a machine that's just a giant screw attached to a simple lawn mower engine -- in just under 30 minutes. It took me 2 days of HEAVY work, around 6 hours, to chip out all of that ice. (It's a compulsion. Once I start a project, I have to finish it ALL THE WAY. It takes a LOT to make me give it up or do only part of it. When you shovel the drive, you're supposed to see the driveway, not a layer of ice.) I did half of it on Wednesday, and after we got back from the study I tackled the other half. I got so sick of it that I decided I needed something pleasant nearby to keep my spirits up, so I dragged out the firepit. We had a little campfire in the driveway while I scraped and chipped. When I finished with the ice, I brought out my camp mug and mess kit, and the boys and I had cocoa and tea made on a campfire. The firepit melted a big circle of frost on the ground. Zona borrowed some of my cold weather gear, too.

March 21-28

       We drove to New Jersey to visit our new nephew this week. I refuse to fly until the illegal TSA is taken down; that's why we drove. Pennsylvania is very pretty driving country. In Jersey, we didn't do a whole lot, really. We stayed with Kim's sister in their nice new house. Like, really new. They bought it while it was still being built, kinda thing. We also got some nice professional shots of all the boys together... and all the us together, for that matter. It was nice to be visiting relatives in early spring, instead of just sitting at home being depressed by the cold, muddy, mercurial yuck. Early spring is my least favorite season. Really, it's the only season I dislike. All the others rock, in one way or another. Early spring just blows.

       On the way back, we stopped in Ohio to hang with our friend T, whom we know through the Mensa SIG (special interest group) I run, Densa. Mexican followed by Burger King, a gastronomic delight!

April 24-27

Into the Woods

May 3

       One of the neat projects in the first grade classrooms at Arizona's school is the "Mystery Reader" program. Every Friday, with few exceptions, someone comes into the classroom in disguise. It could be a friend or family member of one of the kids or one of the school administrators. The person is completely disguised so that none of the students will recognize them, and they aren't allowed to speak.

       The kids ask a bunch of yes/no questions of the mystery guest, trying to figure out who it is. It's an exercise in logical deduction and reasoning. When they determine that the reader is attached to someone in the class, everyone stands up, and they ask questions that will eliminate people until only one person is standing, and then that person can guess who the "mysterious visitor" really is. Once revealed, the guest can ditch the disguise and sit at the front of the class with their kid while reading a few stories.

       This project is so much fun. Arizona had his Dad, Mom and both Grandpas come in as mystery readers throughout the year. The difficult part of this for us was finding an outfit that the boy would not recognize any part of. That meant completely covering my clothes, down to my shoes. I borrowed this Boba Fett mask from a coworker and Joel built the rest out of cardboard boxes and paper bags.

       As I shuffled down the hallway, sweating up a storm, kids going about their business in the hallways stopped and pointed. "A Robot! There's a robot coming! Look at the robot!" When I got through the classroom door, there was no way I would make it past the desks to the reading chair without disaster ensuing, and since you can see my face through the mask if you look closely enough, the teacher had me stop at the door . I couldn't effectively shake or nod my head, so I answered questions by moving my whole body, which made all the kids laugh the first 4 or 5 times.

       They quickly determined I was someone's Mom, and had a son in the classroom. All the girls sat down. Then they got kinda stuck. Some kids tried asking specific questions about their own Moms. "Do you paint people's nails?" "Do you work at a bank?" That was getting nowhere, so the teacher suggested they try to ask questions about my kid. After some false starts (Are his eyes green? Depends on the day...) some kid had the clever idea to ask if I had more than one kid. That eliminated the only children. Did I have 4 kids? 3? 2? OK then, is the other one a boy? Seems Arizona is the only blonde kid in his class with just one younger brother. yay!

May 13

       The boys spent a quiet Saturday morning making Mother's Day cards for their grandmothers. They had all the art supplies out on the kitchen table and the creative juices were flowing. I was in the living room doing homework, and Joel was somewhere else in the house doing his own thing, so the children were unattended. This should not have been a problem, however, because they were working together and the most dangerous thing they had access to was blunt ended kids' safety scissors.

       At some point, Arizona finished up his card and brought it out for me to see, then brought it to his Dad, then stopped by his room, picked up a book, got distracted... you know how it goes - especially with little kids. Meanwhile, Xavier is quietly crafting in the kitchen. Nice peaceful Saturday activities. All is well with the world.

       Then I went into the kitchen to start cleaning up for lunch.

       What I found was a pile of cloth scraps and my child dressed like a waif, with a scraps of cloth hanging from his neck. I started shouting, and he looked down, grabbed one side of the tattered night shirt, and pulled it across his body.

Me: "What did you do?!"
Xavier: "I put a shirt back together."
Me: "You chopped it up into little bits!"
Xavier: "No, I fixed it! See?"

       By this time, Joel has come to the sound of my yelling and I decided that as much as I wanted to take a picture of him wearing the remains of the shirt, it might lessen the effect of the lecture. So I took it off of him and attempted to reassemble it on the couch. Behold, my bad baby's latest masterpiece of destruction:

       It was once my favorite night shirt. When Xavier was a chubby little baby (it happened, believe it or not) we used to call him "Buddha-belly." One day I was in the mall and saw something in the window of Urban Outfitters that I just had to buy for Godmama Kathy. I had never shopped in this store before, and as I walked in I saw this t-shirt sitting on a table. A big smiling picture of Buddha with the words "For Good Luck Rub My Tummy" And it was the softest TShirt I'd ever touched. Perfect for a toddler's night-shirt.

       If you happen to see one of these somewhere, buy it for me. I have no idea how I'll find a replacement.

May 24-25

       We had a wonderful weekend, but there was one dark spot. A horrifying moment that turned out OK in the end, but nearly gave us all a heart attack. Starring (who else) Mr. Trouble Trouble himself, my 4 year old.

       So, we had family in town for our annual Memorial Day bash, and decided to spend Saturday at the zoo. After lunch, the boys wanted to play on the playground equipment in one end of the zoo, while the grownups wanted to go see the wolves. I was a little tired, so I offered to stay with the boys while the rest of them went on to the wolf habitat. I sat at a picnic table and watched Arizona and Xavier climbing and sliding and running and having fun. I was afraid Xavier was going to lose his hat (a baseball cap borrowed from his Dad), leading to drama, so every time he ran past in his bright orange shirt I checked that the hat was in place and occasionally called out to him to straighten it.

       The playground was teaming with children, and soon there were a few with bright orange shirts, but mine was the only one in a hat. All the more reason to keep an eye on that hat.

       At one end of the climbing/sliding contraption is one of those big curved ladder things. Like a half a jungle gym with rungs spaced as far apart as the child is tall. Those things always terrify me. They just look too big for my little boys to manage the step from one rung to the next, and there is nothing but empty space between them and the mulch on the ground beneath. These things were not invented by anyone with young kids. Especially not with two little boys, one of whom wants to do everything his big brother can do. Anyway, both boys have climbed these things a million times before, and I know that Xavier is now tall enough to manage it without trouble, but my heart was in my throat as I watched him make his way up to the top, nonetheless.

       Just as Xavier reaches the top, along comes Arizona, who zips right up the jungle gym thing behind him. I switched my attention to the big one, marveling at how quickly and nonchalantly he sprang to the top, despite the obvious precariousness of the situation. A slide blocked my view of the top platform, but Arizona soon appeared on the other side of it and ran across the little wobbly bridge towards more slides at the other end.

       Xavier did not appear behind him. I checked the bottom of said slide - not there. I figured he was either hanging out on the top platform for a few minutes, hidden from me, or had chosen the slide going off the other direction, so I started to scan the park area for his orange shirt. Suddenly, there were about 8 kids in bright orange shirts, and none of them were mine! I started to walk in and out of the equipment so I could see around all the obstacles, and couldn't find him anywhere. I found Arizona and asked him to climb to the top where he had a better view and look for his brother.

       Finally, before I could get really hysterical, I called Joel and told him to hightail it back to the playground RIGHT NOW and help me look. He encountered another eight million kids in bright orange shirts on the way - none of them Xavier. He and my Dad got to the playground and split off in opposite directions to see where Xavier might have run off to. As soon as the rest of the group caught up, I turned Arizona over to his Aunt and Uncle and headed for the nearby ice cream shop to see if Xavier had gone looking for handouts. I was also looking for a zoo staff member to get them on the hunt and couldn't find one anywhere.

       After what seemed an eternity, but was probably only a few minutes, Joel encountered "Rob" who saw him looking frantically around and said "Are you looking for Xavier? I just handed him off to a zoo staffer back there." He was a good 50 yards away from the playground, back in the direction we had come from after lunch. He had walked up to "Rob" and said he was looking for his Daddy. He described Daddy ("He has a green shirt and a black hat") but didn't feel the need to mention MOMMY, who was actually frantically searching for him right at that moment.

       So, all ended well, with lots of scolding and hugging and me feeling like the worst mother on the planet. After all that, he had the nerve to say "but I want to stay on the playground!" when the group moved on.

       "Should have thought of that earlier, kid."

May 25

       Memorial Day Weekend, and our 14th annual Memorial Day "Overnight" Barbecue. Not much happened that hasn't happened in years past, as far as Memorial Day parties go. Nobody stayed up till sunrise, just like always, lots of meat and fun, just like always. What makes this year different is the fact that this party has officially grown large enough that it is becoming the annual family summer party. Kim's folks came up from Texas, and Liz and Larry came in from New Jersey, all just for our party. There were 2 new humans at the party, something like... gees... 7 other kids, and 14 adults. (That's 23 humans.) Arizona helped by making some GREAT signs, identifying the trash and recycle cans, which way to the restroom, where the food was, and which room the baby was supposed to sleep in. We all had the party, of course, but we also had a family trip to Brookfield Zoo, which was great right up until the events of the previous entry. (And once we got the kid back, the rest of the day was great, too.)

Party Food

June 8

       A quiet family day on the lake. We headed over to Busse Lake, rented a rowboat, drowned some worms, and rowed around. Caught not a thing, of course. We made it all the way across the lake, then we let the boys explore the opposite shore for a bit, skippin' rocks and climbing logs. Just a disgustingly wholesome outdoor family experience.

June 13-15

       I've been so excited about camping since I started up last November that I got Kim and the boys to agree to come out to a local site this June, just after school ended for the summer. We went to Chain O'Lakes State Park, up by Grass Lake, for three days of car camping.

       It's interesting to see how car camping and backpacking differ. Since the car is doing the heavy work, you can take all SORTS of neat stuff. We had lots of cast iron cookware, and lots of extra snacks, and lots of fresh cooking ingredients like real eggs and real milk. And a hatchet for chopping wood, and wood (can't cut your own at this park) and chairs and plates and silverware... just everything. We kept all the food cold by tossing it in a cooler with a chunk of dry ice. Let me tell ya, dry ice keeps things COLD. We put all the refrigeratable stuff in a warm cooler with the dry ice, and an hour and a half later, when we got to the camp site, they were frozen solid. Have you ever peeled a frozen egg? It's weird.

       The most interesting thing about the weekend was the floods that were happening 'way up in Wisconsin. Surges of water were coming downstream, and one such surge hit Grass Lake while we were out in the middle of it, fishin' and boatin' around. Grass Lake is called that because of the large cat-tail grass bogs that form where the river flows into the lake. Acres and acres of this stuff. Well, while we were out in the lake, a water surge broke off a 5-acre chunk of bog and pushed it into the inlet that leads to the campground boat launch. That part of the river just suddenly ceased to exist. We motored back to where the launch had been and found nothing but cat-tails. I called the park and they told me to either pull out somewhere else and call for a bus or wait till the water pressure pushed the bog out of the way again. We opted to fool around on the water some more and wait. Once the bog pushed through, little boglets kept drifing along. At one point, while heading back in, we actually had to race a boglet. Sorta like low-speed train baiting.

       The Daily Herald ran an article about the drifting bogs. You can read it for yourself here.

June 16

june 16 - first lost tooth, tooth fairy letters, rest of summer begin busy summer classes (swim, karate)

       Arizona lost his first tooth today. Both his Kindergarten and First grade classes were counting lost teeth in school, and when this one got wiggly he was hoping that it would fall out before school ended. It didn't, so the first thing he wanted to do when it did was write a letter to his best friend about it. That will be tomorrow's kick off to our plan to have him write and read on a regular basis throughout the summer. He's already ahead of the curve in school, so we aren't pushing him to get ahead or anything, just trying to keep him interested and entertained while reviewing the basics. He tends to get pretty sloppy when he's rushing through an assignment, so neatness will be the focus this summer.

       But that's not the point. The point is that my baby lost his very first tooth. He's so proud. It was hanging by a thread yesterday, and it was all Joel could do to avoid pulling it out himself, but Arizona didn't want to pull on it, so we all managed to wait. He spent most of yesterday and today pushing the tooth ALL the way forward with his tongue, but not knocking it out. I wanted to get a picture of this stunt, but before I had a chance, on the way home from dinner out this evening, he suddenly said "Hey, my tooth came out!" And there it was. A teeny tiny little sharp, flat tooth (right-of-center, bottom).

       While we were all enthusing in the car, Xavier asked "Can we go buy him a new tooth?" We explained that this would not be necessary and Arizona showed off the new adult tooth, already poking through behind the gap.

       That night, Arizona wrote a note to the tooth fairy to put under his pillow. In the morning, the note had been replaced with a new note, written in fairy dust, and a gold dollar. There was also fairy dust on the floor next to the fairy door on the boys' bedroom wall.


       Welcome to the beginning of an unexpectedly busy summer. Usually, I like to leave summers pretty much unplanned. For one thing, not enrolling the kids in 7,234,654 camps, classes, and activities is a fork of a lot cheaper. Also, I just really think kids need a lot of unstructured time to goof around and discover how to entertain themselves.

       That said, I do think that some activities are OK, as long as one doesn't go overboard. So, the list ended up including swim class Monday through Thursday for both boys, Arizona and I started karate (details later on this page), the boys and I spent a weekend in Kentucky with my folks -- at which we ended up helping with a local VBS -- Uncle Joe came to visit, and he went camping with the boys and I at Illinois Beach State Park. That's a lot of back and forth, especially compared to what one normally manages during the school year.

June 29 to
July 16

       After accidentally evicting a caterpillar during our summer yard cleanup, we decided to try our hand at raising it into a butterfly. Arizona had raised a caterpillar as a first grade project, and Joel was terribly disappointed that he did not get to see the butterfly, so we jumped at the chance to do it again as a family project.

       Thanks to the miracle that is the internet we were able to identify our caterpillar as a Black Swallowtail and figure out what it would eat (parsley and carrot greens). Unable to ascertain the gender of the caterpillar, we named it "Fred," after a character in the TV show Angel who goes through her own metamorphosis in the final season. Yes, I'm a geek.

       We found the caterpillar in our driveway after clearing away the day's cuttings on 6/29/2008. Joel built an awesome little environment in an old empty aquarium with several of the cuttings from the bush where Fred was living before our weekend gardening. Also a carrot, some fresh dill, and a live potted parsley, all favorites of the breed.

       On July 2, 2008, I got home from work to discover that Fred had become a chrysalis (pupated, says Arizona). For almost two weeks there was very little change and I worried that we'd done something wrong. Joel and the boys went to Kentucky to visit his folks and I promised to take pictures if anything changed. Late one evening, I noticed that I could see a pattern of orange dots on black through the skin of the pupa, and sure enough, we had a butterfly the next morning, July 14, 2008. Throughout the day the butterfly dried out it's wings, and a little more internet research revealed her to be a Winifred, rather than a Frederick. The double row of yellow marks and blue on the rear wings mark her as female. A male would have a single, solid yellow stripe and no blue. Since the boys were in Kentucky, I mixed up some hummingbird nectar to keep her healthy until they got home the next day. The cats were fascinated every time she fluttered her wings.

       On July 16, Joel carried the aquarium out to our vegetable garden so that Fred could find the carrots as a good place to lay eggs. As soon as the lid was lifted, she took off into the sky, happy to be free. She moved so fast, I didn't get a picture of the release, but fortunately we were all there to see it.

See the pictures of the whole process in our flickr butterfly set.

July 21

       Arizona and I started taking parent/child karate today. We're studying with the Illinois Shotokan Karate Club, which is an independent school that only accepts students through their local park districts, which means they don't have to maintain thier own dojo, since they use various park district facilities. (They DO have their own dojo, but that's beside the point.)

White BeltWhite Belt

July 24-26

       OK, so Joe came to visit for a week, and for a few days of that we (he and I and the boys) went camping at Illinois Beach State Park. This was a highly amusing experience. For someone who has been backwoods camping, this is almost like staying in a hotel. For one thing, the park is in Zion, Illinois. Zion is part of the extended sprawl of Chicago, although I think it's far enough away that they don't call it a Chicago suburb, but the entire Illinois lakefront is one long developed stretch, anyway. The point is, the park is literally at the end of about 200 yards of driveway in the middle of a typical suburb. There are streetlights, a parking lot, a convienience store, heated indoor showers and proper restroom facilities, AND the store operates a delivery service. That's right; roughin' it out here involves sitting around in your campsite waiting for the cart to drive up with ice cream, toilet paper, firewood, cupcakes, and everything else you might find at your local 7-11. Plus, the beach is a 5-minute walk away.

       All in all, it was a good time. The boys had fun, especially in the lake, and of course nobody sneers at ice cream delivery. (Although I honestly can't remember if we bought any ice cream or not.) I think the best way to describe it might be "a 1- to 2-star hotel without walls".

August 6

Arizona rides! (Without training wheels.)
Arizona rides!

August 12

Mousetrap       There're mice all about, all the time, whether they're in your house or not. You can't really keep them out of the garage, especially a 50-year old detached garage. So we don't try. We don't keep any open food out there, anyway, just canned goods on the pantry shelves, which are of no interest to wildlife of any sort. (What would happen to the world if the mice all figured out how to open tin cans?) Still, there is a garbage can out there, which tends to receive all of the trash from the cars, which usually means fast food wrappers. So, Kim came home with a cold chocolate something-or-other from Starbuck's. It came in a clear plastic cup with a domed lid. When all that was left was a bit of chocolate smear in the bottom, she left it in the cupholder, from whence I moved it to the workbench, intending to gather it up when I took the trash out the next day.

       Well, the next day I went out there and heard something moving in the cup. Overnight, a small field mouse had climbed in to enjoy the treat and found itself unable to climb out again. He was the most pathetic little mess. Field mice have larger eyes than house mice, so picture an anime mouse with its fur all spiky from chocolate, with huge black eyes looking up at you, saying as clear as day, "Please! I'm not ready to die!"

       I took him inside and set up an aquarium for him with lots of shredded paper towels and some seeds and water, and gave him a couple of days to clean up and rest, then I let him go on the hill, near some spots that might offer cover to a little mouse out on his own.

September 8

       Well, now Xavier is 4 and, like his brother, brilliant. His pre-school teachers recommended him for pre-k this year, even though it's supposed to be for almost-5-year-olds who juuuust missed the cutoff date for kindergarten. He's excited to be going to 5-day pre-k; it's just like his brother's school, where you get to go every day. He's definitely ready for this. The little bugger. Today, it begins.

September 20

       Introducing the newest member of our family, Miss Tapioca Chai. Whe drove to Bloomington on Sept 20, 2008 to meet Melissa, who drove in from St. Louis with a kitten she had rescued the week before, and she (the kitten, not Melissa) joined our little family.

Evil Kitten

UPDATE: As the kitten grew, her "antics" inspired a hit novel. Read it online:
Oh, My Evil Kitten

September 26

       So, we have a couple of friends who are going through a divorce. It's pretty upsetting for us (let alone for them) because we're good friends to both of them and their little girl. Tonight we went in to Evanston to have dinner with Mama Kat and Chalise at Flat Top Grill.

       In the grand scheme, this isn't a terribly memorable event, and not the sort of thing that you'd normally find in a collection of special days like this, but because of the circumstances -- this being our first experience trying to stay close to two different people who can no longer stay close to each other -- this event stands out for us.

       Plus, Chalise and Xavier are really cute when they get together. Xavier always loves playing with Chalise, because she's the first kid he's ever been able to play with who is smaller than he is.

Xavier and Chalise at Flat Top

September 27

School House Rock Live!       A friend of ours from college, Michael Herschberg, (in green at right) is in a group that performs "School House Rock, Live!" for kids all over the city. We took the boys to an outdoor show in Glenview. Arizona says, "That was the best live show I've ever seen in my WHOLE LIFE!" which is a ringing endorsement, considering he's seen several live shows now, and liked them so much he's added one to his life plan.

September 28
& October 12

       The Thompsons invited us to join them and Andrew's scout troop to visit a local corn maze. I'd never been to anything like that before, but I figured Arizona would enjoy the time, so I said, "Why not? Arizona, Xavier and I will gladly join you."

Kimberly got her corn!       Wow, this place was cool. Richardson's Corn Maze is a pretty big place, and they do some pretty cool work on that maze. It was huge, and it's not just a start to finish wanderfest, either; there are 24 checkpoints buried throughout that each have a unique holepunch that you can mark your maze card with, and if you find them all you get a certificate. Also, they have a big ol' tube slide, and a cornbox (like a sandbox but with dried corn), and an observation tower, from which you can actually see the pattern in the maze. They also sell pumpkins and sticks of butter with roast corn inside. (For those unfamiliar with my dialect, that's a roast ear of corn dipped in a vat of melted butter.) There are also a bunch of picnic areas with tables and campfires. Those fires were one of the best parts of the trip, 'cause they don't light them with balled-up newspaper and matches; they have a guy who drives a golf cart loaded with firewood and gas cans, and he douses your log pile with gasoline then tosses in a match. Poof!

       Kim got jealous when she found out they had corn, so I had to go back with her 2 weeks later.

October 4

       apple pickin with mama kat and chalise

October 5

       move Jim out

October 10

       Once again, our friend Michael Herschberg is performing in a local musical. This time it's "Damn Yankees" at the Metropolis Theatre for the Performing Arts right here in Arlington Heights. He scored us some discount tickets for a performance the night of our 11th anniversary, and we had a theatre date. The show was great, I managed not to actually sing along out loud, and we had such a wonderful time that we decided we definitely have to do this more often now that we know it's right here in the suburbs - not 5 minutes from our house.

October 19

       fright fest with thompsons

October 23-26

       WeeM 33

November 3

       Xavier climbs a tree

November 7-10

Into the River

November 15

Orange Belt

November 21-30

       Jersey Thanksgiving

December 9

       Rip out wilson cieling

December 21

white with 2 stripes

December 35

       Christmas, thompson pillows, grandma towels