Monthly Archives: August 2009

My girl, the future builder

We seem to go to Home Depot about every weekend to get materials for some project or another.  You see, we have an old house on which we are doing all sorts of repairs.  Repairs may be a mild way of putting it.  We are sort of doing a central nervous system replacement on the old girl.  Anyhow, since I am not a professional and do not have one of those nifty trucks that just seems to have one extra of every part  or nut or bolt that I need, I need to make many trips to the home repair place.

(Reading directions?  What?  Huh?)

A few months ago, we just happened to be in the store when Home Depot was offering one of their “let your kids build something on our dime” classes.  For some reason, Isaac was not with us, but Abigail was very interested in the project so we participated in the class.  It turns out that HD offers a kids’ class in the morning on the first Saturday of every month.  We went back again this month and Abigail built a message board for her room.  On this trip, Isaac was with us but had slightly less than no interest in building the project.  Isaac is the sort of kid who likes to do things his own way and his own way never involves reading directions or sitting still.  Anyhow, he had no interest so Emily and Abigail decided to tackle the project.

Luckily for Abigail, her mother is willing to humble herself and actually read directions.  They did a marvelous job of nailing nails and screwing in screws and gluing that which needed gluing.  I knew they were underway as I could hear the hammer strikes as Isaac and I were elsewhere in the store looking at wood and block and other guy stuff.

(Thumbs up!  That’s my girl!)

Abigail does the bulk of the work on these projects and really enjoys getting to do her own work and seeing the finished project.  We are doing a new project at the house on which she and her brother are the main builders.  I surely hope her practice is going to pay off or else my fingers and thumbs will suffer under her hammer swings!

The birds and the bees

We were riding in the man-van the other day and, out of the blue, Isaac asked me for the definition of sex.  Well, I knew it was coming but I wasn’t sure when it would present itself.  I am not timid about telling him what I know (which may not take too long) but I didn’t want to tell him anything that was not age-appropriate.

I started by asking where he heard the word.  He said, “I think I heard it at summer camp from some of my friends.”  Dang, I wanted my kid to be the one to share stuff with friends so that they had to talk with their parents.  “Well, Isaac, sex can mean boy or girl.”  He replied, “Yeah Dad, I know that one.”

He has started to hear boys talk about girls being cute or hot so I tried that route, “Sometimes, when people get older, they say that someone who is cute is sexy.”  Of course, he was familiar with that one too.  I guess now is the time to spill my guts.

“Isaac, sex can also mean when a mom and a dad get together and make a baby.”  We went into a number of age-appropriate details and he seemed genuinely interested.  At the end however, he said, “That’s interesting Dad, but that’s not the definition I needed either.  I guess I’ll just go look it up in the dictionary.”  I tried my very hardest not to laugh out loud but that’s good stuff!

It turns out that we were listening to a station on xm radio, our satellite radio provider.  For some reason, one of the DJs said something like, “…and next on sex-m radio…” Isaac heard that and thought there must be another definition for sex.  And I signed up for xm originally because there were no DJs…

A Member of the Club

We harvested honey this weekend (more about that later this week) at Emily’s grandparents’ house.  I keep 4 hives at their place and they have a perfect setup in their garage for our honey extraction.  Emily and the kids and I were joined by Emily’s parents and her grandparents to make the extraction a family affair.  We started around 9 in the morning and finished by 6 in the evening.  So, we had an all day affair.

The kids were super well behaved in spite of the work and the heat (we finally had a hot day among all the rainy days) and the apparent boredom.  Under Emily’s grandparents’ house is a crawlspace in which an adult can almost stand upright.  The kids discovered that and found that it made a perfect hide-out.  The best part is that their hide-out was naturally air-conditioned.  The coolness was a great escape for them and they loved playing under there.

In time, they decided that their club needed to be a little more exclusive than it was when the started it (an hour earlier).  Isaac and Abigail were, of course, members and they decided to invite their great-grandmother to be the first non-founding member.  She happily obliged and helped them move in a table and chairs and met with them in their first members’ meeting…yes, Emily’s 82 year old grandmother crawled under the house and sat around a tiny table with the kids.  She is definitely a member of the club!

Though her birth certificate says she is 82, she certainly doesn’t look or act like it.  Both of Emily’s grandparents are built that way.  It’s so much fun to hang out with them and watch as nothing slows them down!  That’s a club I want to be in!

I tried pot

At my age, you would think I wouldn’t be messing around with new things…you know, experimenting and all.  But I had such a cold for the last few weeks that I needed to do something drastic.  A few folks I know suggested pot but I had no idea where to buy it.  Wait, did I say pot?  I mean the pot…the neti pot that is.  What kind of guy do you think I am anyhow?

Ok, so what is a neti pot, you might ask?  It’s like a bidet for your snout, a watering can for the snoz, a beak wash…it’s a tool to perform nasal irrigation and to bring you closer to our prehistoric ancestors.  It’s a caveman way of clearing your sinuses while, at the same time, giving you an out of body experience!  Basically, you mix a saline solution and, using a neti pot, pour it through your sinuses.  Pour enough in and you get a river of…well…boogers.  To see some robot-like people demonstrate this thing, click here and here and here.  I cannot imagine how real people could looks so placid as they pour salty water into their own heads so I figure they must be robotic.  Anyhow, please watch the first video at least.

Like I said, this cold was ridiculous.  I was getting desperate and, apparently, pretty whiny.  Emily said, “go get a neti pot you big baby.  The nurse at school swears by them.”  At that time, I really didn’t understand so I decided it was worth a try.  The local drug store had plain old pots, but being a guy, I opted for the turbo pot.  It seemed best since I wanted to not only have an out of body experience, but also wanted to really experience my throat chakra.

Mohinder was not impressed

Ok, enough foolishness….I got down to business and tried this thing.  I suspect I lost 25 pounds or so and now have enough room in my head to stow a carry-on bag for my next flight.  A neti pot, and especially a turbo neti pot, will clear you out!  I have done this a few times and indeed, my cold is much better.

So, Isaac, wanting to one-up me, decided to give his own version of nasal lavage a try.  Some day he’ll crawl down from that tree that he launched himself into when I turned the hose on!

An evening…shot

The kids have been involved in an archery instruction program at their grandparents’ church all summer.  Last night was the final night of the program for the summer (but it restarts in September).  The church uses the Centershot curriculum which is pretty neat.  The kids love to shoot and have improved imensely.

Isaac has advanced into using heavier bows and shooting the full length of the range.  He hits mostly in the colored part of the target and really, most are very near the center.  Abigail, who is smaller of course, shoots at a softer and closer target and has improved in her ability to stick the arrows.  They love shooting and will definitely continue in the fall.  I think that we also plan to buy them bows so we can shoot during the off-season (whenever that is)

Since last night was the end for this round, we went to see how everything works and the instructors let us shoot as well.  I shot first and did ok.  It’s been a long time since I shot a bow (25 years?) so I was pretty pleased.  Emily shot next (her first time ever) and shot ok.  We went again and Emily shot much better than me the second round.  In fact, she shot the only bullseye of the evening at the range.  That’s pretty typical of us which is pretty funny.  I am a pretty good shot with a rifle and pistol but she is even better.  But hey, I am thrilled.  If the times ever get tough, I am sending her out to hunt and gather!

Anyhow, I think we have found a new family hobby as all of us enjoy shooting and there are plenty of opportunities  to practice.  A few weeks ago, Abigail said she wanted to hunt with me.  Last night, she recognized what hunting was…”Dad, why can’t we just leave the animals alone?”  It was a good opportunity to talk about the source of our food.  Still, I think we’ll be a target shooting family more than a hunting family initially…

She’s pickled and I’m sauced!

I tried and I tried but Emily got pickled the other night. Of course, the same night, I got pretty sauced so I guess we’re even. The garden hasn’t produced most things very well this year but we do have a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers.


We’ve already made plenty of salsa with the tomatoes and peppers, onions, etc that we got. We figured tomato sauce can be used for about everything so we made a batch of that. It’s pretty easy really so it was ideal. We run the tomatoes through our Velox tomato press and then throw it all in a crockpot to cook down.  Some folks boil their tomato puree until it is half the volume.  We just throw it in the crockpot (uncovered) and forget about it for 24 hours.  By then, it is cooked down and we are oficially sauced.  I think we had about 2500 pounds of tomatoes and once it was all cooked down, we ended up with 5 pints of sauce.  We’ll run throuhg several more batches of sauce because it is so handy when we need to make something yummy over the winter!

(That’s the good stuff…I love the smell of vinegar and pickling spices)

Neither Emily nor I like cucumbers raw.  Emily doesn’t like them pickled either but she’s sauced, obviously.  Anyhow, I love pickles so we made a bunch with the cukes we harvested this year.  I grow dill too so we definitely made our pickles from some of the freshest ingredients around.  I suppose we could make vinegar, but I don’t think we’re ready for that yet.  Anyhow, I love making pickles because the smells of the ingredients take me back to when my Grandma canned pickles.  She canned tons of stuff and the smells and the warmth of the kitchen remind me of her<sniff, sniff>

(This is really a pressure canner but it’s deep enough to water bath can too…without the lid of course)

Ok, so it was a bunch of fun getting pickled too.  Don’t tell, but I figure we’re get pickled and sauced a bunch more times this summer!

All I want…

Abigail has had a loose tooth for several months.  Her top left tooth has been “wiggly” since the beginning of June but she could never work up the courage to work it so it would come out.  I have been wiggling it every day for the last week or so hoping to challenge its flexion.  Finally, last night I was able to get a finger around the top of the tooth so I yanked it.

She had a look of horror on her face as I held the offending tooth before her eyes.  She didn’t really realize I had pulled it until she saw it.  As soon as she saw it, she licked a little in her mouth as she tasted the tiny bit of blood that resulted.  Of course, it stopped almost immediately but her gagging continued for a few more minutes.  She is fairly dramatic about tastes and smells so this was par for the course.  It was sort of funny I guess and, thankfully for her parents, we know she will never be a good vampire.

(still in shock after waking up this morning)

Once her drama ended, she really got into discovering which words no longer came out the same way without her tooth (Click here to hear her talking).  She was overjoyed!  She bounced around singing and talking and having a great time sounding funny.  Immediately Abigail starting singing, “All I want for Christmas is my one front tooth.”  It was so much fun to see her excitement after she realized that losing teeth isn’t so bad, and maybe even fun!

So, do you ever help your kids’ teeth along?