Friday, June 19, 2009

random thought...

.... from Dan.

A few days ago, I was telling a friend how much we'd enjoyed the movie UP when we saw it on opening day. In telling her about it, I shared that we all (me, the kids, friends who saw it with us) thought the boy character, Russell, was very much like Andy. Even Andy said "Mom, he's just like me!" It's really uncanny -- has me wondering if the folks from Disney have cameras in our home.

The next day, driving along with both boys in the car, Dan said to me, "Mom, you forgot one thing about Russell that's also like Andy."

"Really? What did I forget?"

"That's he's really, really nice." Said very matter-of-factly. Right there, in front of Andy. Dan thinks Andy is really, really nice AND wants to be sure we remember to say so. High praise from a little brother, if you ask me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Party pictures

We had a fabulous time at the park on Tuesday for Andy's birthday. Lots of pizza (too much, we're still eating pizza), delicious cake, wonderful friends, beautiful weather. Just fantastic all around. I got some pictures, tho not as many as I wanted. I missed several great shots because I didn't have the camera nearby often enough.

Usually, I get a picture of the cake before we dig in. This time 'round, we were all so busy having fun I forgot until I got the cake home. Here's what was left. You can see Andy's name on the piece saved for him to have later.

Thanks Grandpa & Grandma for treating us to the yummy cake!

One of the favorite features of this park is the top and bottom spinners.

There was tractor wagon surfing that looked dangerous enough to require helmets.
Miles driving, Dan surfing, Forest pushing.

Susan had gone to check on how the wrestling was going.
You'd think the boys would, at some point, tire of wrestling, but you'd be wrong!

How many boys will a tree hold? Andy was negotiating for his place.

He got in -- along with 4 others.

I'm not sure you can see them all, but there were 5 boys in the tree,
and more asking for someone to move over and make more room

And the very tall rope climber, with Dan at the top.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

boys and their toys

Bonnie, Austin & Miles arrived yesterday to spend a few days here in Albuquerque and join us at Andy's birthday party. We are very happy they made the trip, and everyone loved having them at the park yesterday.

Which meant boys, boys everywhere.

a long-running nerf war...

Dan at the top of the slide. He has such beautiful hair.

Andy, Bonnie & Cip

We talked about how wonderful it is that even tho we haven't seen them since last fall, having Bonnie, Austin & Miles is like they've never left, and we all saw each other just last week!

Dan, Scotty, Sky, Forest, Austin & Andy in a slower moment.

I started to type a 'quieter moment, but there aren't any truly quiet moments with 8 boys at the park on a beautiful day.

We had an amazing day afternoon and didn't leave the park until 6:30.

Andy's a teenager

It started just like any other day.....

So much fuss is made about the arbitrarily designated stages in our lives -- becoming a teenager; starting middle-school; starting high-school; turning 18 or 21. It's all part of the journey and the days tend to run together from where I sit.

Andy has told us that turning 13 will mean he's not a kid anymore, but a teenager. I don't know what that means to him yet, but I'm sure he'll still be the sweet, loving, funny Andy we've always known and loved.

We're having a party in the park, with pizza, cake & drinks and an abundance of amazing friends, many we've known since before Andy was 10.

Bonnie & her boys drove 4 hrs in from Arizona to be here for the celebration. They also spent time with the tribe yesterday, but that's another post.

Very big day here. I'm sure I'll post more as the day unfolds.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adventures with dry ice

Scotty was over for a couple of hours yesterday, and he brought some dry ice with him.

The boys had so much fun with it. They cut a hole in the top of a ziplok container to allow an opening for the fog to escape, filled it with water and got out the tongs for the dry ice.

They used the vapor stream to lift a bottle cap, a candy wrapper and to fill an inverted glass. Scotty mused about the possibilities for using dry ice vapor to power his steam engine, and explained that he's sure it would work since steam power is just about reaching the right pressure, to drive the pistons. He didn't have a solution for keeping the dry ice in a cold storage, but I'm sure he'll be trying to figure something out.

I took some pix, then a couple of videos at Scotty's insistence.

Scotty showing how pushing on the lid made puffs of vapor rise.

Chugging along in an unattended moment.

I apologize for the sideways video. I didn't realize we'd not be able to rotate it until about halfway thru, when I turned the camera. It has something of a Blair Witch quality to it, I'm sorry to say.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Virgins No More...

... not Cliff's Virgins, at least.

This past Friday, the boys had their first day at Cliff's Amusement Park. It's a local amusement park. Not as elaborate as, say, Kings Dominion or Six Flags, but plenty of fun with some really great rides. Cliff's is an Albuquerque institution, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. One the defining characteristics of who grew up in Albuquerque is whether you still trip up occasionally and call it "Uncle Cliff's" which it was until sometime in the 80's. I guess the Uncle reference just wasn't PC enough for this generation.

Andy remembered visiting Six Flags in 2004. Dan didn't, so for him it was a completely new experience. Both boys have been to the State Fair, but Cliff's is so much better than the Fair midway. Even better, the rides weren't assembled in one night by carnies!

I hadn't been Cliff's since Jr High (32 yrs ago - yikes!) and it's changed a lot. I knew it had bigger, better rides because you can see them from the road, but I had no idea how much they manage to fit into the small land area the park occupies.

The boys had an amazing time. Dan rode the Cliff Hanger (a 100ft tower drop ride) at least 20 times, the Rattler wooden roller coaster twice, the Fireball (a loop train ride) 4 times, and so many more. Andy loved the Himalaya and Tilt-a-Whirl which he rode several times, and the log flume ride once. No Cliff Hanger or roller coasters for him, tho he did ride the Scrambler a few times -- which Dan also enjoyed. We'll have to get back to Cliff's sometime later this summer with Gary.

I didn't get a lot of good pictures -- too much speed on the rides -- but here's what I did get.

Waiting for the Himalaya to start, hamming it up
Andy's meditative pose

during the ride

Dan in a quiet moment

On the Cliff Hanger, climbing up

Look out below!

On a recent day at home, Gary helped the boys with the water balloon launcher. Launching from the driveway, straight up into the air, then Dan would run out to catch the balloon, or get it hit.

We all had a great time. I didn't launch any balloons, but loved watching the guys all afternoon. We're hoping for more time at home for Gary, with a new local job beginning, probably on the 22nd. Home every night and all weekend long -- we won't know what to do with him first! Likely more balloon launching, more baseball, more lazy mornings, more kisses, more good mornings in person.... I'm not sure there's an end to this list! And we are all very happy and eager for him to come home!