The Dog Days of Summer
I know several weeks have passed since I've updated just how grateful I am to be the father of two wonderful boys. Several folks have directed my attention to the widening gap in time between updates. Yesterday my mother-in-law dropped a less than subtle hint of her own. And when the mother-in-law raises a concern, it is in the best interest of all involved to address it. So here we go:
We spent a long 4th of July weekend in Ohio. I know, I swore after our 11 hour drive up there over Thanksgiving that seemed nothing short of a Tour de France that we would never make that trip again. I meant it. But time fades memories and we suddenly find ourselves smack dab in the middle of places we swore we'd never be again, like a dentist's chair.
I am very, very, very grateful to report that the trip to Ohio was without incident. More than that, there were actually moments of pleasantness that far exceeded bearable, which was the bar I had set for the trip. Once we were there, we all had a good time and many memories were created to fill the void left behind by the now forgotten Thanksgiving trip nightmare.
At the fair, Aunt Kara took time to introduce Elliott to the cows. She talked to him about all the work involved in raising cattle, how much they eat, what it takes to care for their living quarters, how much they weigh, and much more from the farmer's perspective of the cow. After her lesson, Elliott was most fascinated with a subject she didn't cover; just how much they pooped. As we made our way through the long barn, Elliott stopped to comment on the bathroom habits of each creature who had recently had a bowel movement, mainly quantity and odor. Experiential education at its best.
I, too, took time to introduce one of the boys to the cattle industry. Good leaders and teacher and parents I suppose all understand that you have to adapt the presentation to the audience at hand. So when talking to Ian about cows, I did so in a way I thought he could understand. "Ian, that's where we get the quarter pounder with cheese. When there's a little extra cash laying around, it's where we get the ribeye." His big grin told me I had indeed reached my audience.
The cousins took time-out from the festivities for a family picture. (Missing from the photo is cousin Ian, who refused to leave the cattle barn until he witnessed a quarter pounder come to life).
Even after a full day at the fair mingling with live animals, the boys were very taken with the porcelain bunny that hung out on gigi and papa Hoss's fireplace.
We went to visit great-grandma Cartwright. I was kind enough to carry the lunch in that we brought. Katie was evil enough to snap a picture of what she called "the pizza delivery man." With the looming expense of Ian joining Elliott at Kiddie Kingdom this fall, I'm afraid her picture may prove to be more premonition than practical joke.
I can't help but wonder which one of us will look better in uniform, the delivery man, or the garbage lady.
For a time, the boys were helping papa Hoss water some plants. But like so many things with these two, the end product is usually a distant relative to the original intentions.
The boys discovered a new park in gigi and papa Hoss's neighborhood. They liked it so much that on the way home from church today Elliott said he wanted to go to the park later on. I asked which park and he picked this one. I reminded him the park is in Ohio. He didn't seem to think that should be an obstacle. I do.
It was at the same park where Elliott might very well have gotten his start traveling across the high wire in a circus. I had no problem looking down at him crossing the cable; not sure I could handle looking up at him doing the same trick.
And like only a grandma can, Elliott was introduced to one of the finer treats in life - the ice cream sandwhich.
The boys got a nice treat traveling the rural Ohio roads. A doe and her two fawn crossed the road in front of us. We had to stop the car while they crossed; good old fashioned country manners.
Being in farm country meant one thing to both boys, more tractors to ride.
The summer has been busy, and as warm as I can remember. Every day the past two weeks has been well into the 90's, and many of them over 100 degrees. I'm going to try to keep up with the updates a little better, but frankly I'm a lot like Ian most days, I just want to crash.
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