Friday, August 18, 2006

Captivity inspires climbing

It was a long trip but we found an amazing park on the way down and long hours of carseat captivity always inspire climbing. We stopped and let the boys run, climb and slide for about two hours. What a great park. It is exit 14 of US-58 (if you are interested in making the stop). The pictures tell the story. We arrived home around 9:30 pm. As always it was nice to be home in our own beds.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Birthdayville in VA

Vacation - part 4: (after a brief dental intermission)
Our last stop before the long ride back to Georgia was in McLean, VA at Grandma and Grandpa Batdorff's home. It was a relatively smooth ride home until the end when the windshield filled up with another heavy rain storm. Fortunately it was one of those storms that cleaned up behind itself leaving a beautiful bright blue morning. Janice and Grandma took the boys to see their first real life waterfall. I would like to say the boy's amazement lead to an invigorating discussion about the Hudson River School, Thomas Cole and the depth of romantic artistry achieved by such natural wonders. But it was all about climbing on rocks. Apparently rock climbing is much more interesting than loud mouthed waterfalls. Even the pretty ones.

Later that evening Janice got a birthday motorcycle ride on the "world's fastest production bike" in a mid-length dress. Not really bike ridding attire. Nonetheless I watched the mother of our three children straddling a fast bike speed away in a dress. [Later I found out they stopped and bought a pair of pants at a near by TJ Maxx.] I have been assured that Jeff "would never put his little sister in harm's way" but I have yet to hear an exact accounting how fast the "world's fastest production bike with the mother of our three children" actually went.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dredful Dental Superstitions (DDS)

My first visit to the dentist as a child was so overwhelming that it gave me spots. I was so anxiety ridden that the blood vessels in my face actually burst providing little constellations of purple spots. Dentists were a little "child challenged" in years past and my experience was not entirely unique. The experience was foundational in developing my rather Pavlovian response every time I go to the dentist - fear. I still practice the habit of mentally and physically preparing myself as I lean back in the dull green vinyl chair: (1) Hands at the edge of the arm rest - not cliched but slightly clawed. (2) Breathing steady and through my nose. (3) Muscles relaxed and (4) some small talk with the Dentist before he begins.

So when Friday morning came and I thought about Nathaniel's appointment I concerned myself with the primary element in preparing him: ambiguity. Fortunately Janice had worked with Nathaniel all morning. Janice is on the other side of the spectrum and still wonders what a cavity feels like. When she sits back in the dentist's chair they loose money. When I step across the threshold calendars flip open for pre-vacation planning at some prestigious resort in the Bahamas. Dentist's love me. I am sure there was a nod of satisfaction when word came that I had 3 children along with a prayer for genetic cloning. Janice had prepared Nathaniel well and he was elated to be going to the dentist with daddy. I had a cleaning scheduled after his. We walked in and he could not sit still as anticipation washed over him. He was at the Dentist with Daddy! I was sweating like a pack of defrosting meat sitting alone on the kitchen counter.

His name was called and we walked back. A jovial hygienist guided us to room with a dull green chair. Nathaniel walked slowly his eyes taking in all the machines, cords and instruments placed methodically around the room. He sat in the chair and the hygienist slowly guided him as he leaned back and clipped a paper bib under his chin. She looked over and reminded me of Janice's request to take a picture. We snapped a couple shots with the suction tube dangling from Nathaniel's grinning mouth. I was still sweating. As a parent you wonder if your children can see through you or if they trust you so much that some things go right over there heads. He was so proud and genuinely happy to be atop that gleaming green chair with daddy watching him. He was oblivious to my concerns. Initially the x-ray was a slight source for concern but that faded as it was only a click and a whrr from a really cool camera. And to my surprise they actually cleaned his teeth with metal picks and electronic brushes. I was under the impression they were going to tickle his teeth a bit with some silly toothbrush, we would all laugh and they would ask for a second appointment. When she reached for the pick I could feel the chill of the A/C against the back of my sweat soaked shirt. As she started scratching at his teeth he frowned with curiosity and his nose wrinkled at the taste of the gritty green gel on the electronic toothbrush. But he was at the dentist with daddy cheering for him and all was good.

After he swooshed and spit out some fluoride in a paper cup for the slightly apprehensive hygienist (she thought he might swallow it) the Dentist came and shook his hand. The Dentist made a quick investigation and pronounced his teeth in good health. My shoulders relaxed. When presented with the toy box Nathaniel thoughtfully choose a specific toy for each person in the family. I got a blue plastic frog.

It was a good day and as I passed a mirror in the dentist's office I noticed something. No purple spots.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Field of Weeds and Dreams

We are parked just outside the entrance in to our property.
The property is on the other side of the trees.

A view from the top edge of the property with the
entrance mentioned above at my back.

A long scenic view - if you click this image
you will see a REALLY BIG view (400 kb)

We stopped by our field of weeds in Greenville, NY and dreamed for a bit. Someday our home will be here nestled in with the lush green landscape (6 acres total which continues past the tree line on the right). There is a small pond at the top of our property and we all tried our skill at getting a rock from the road in to the pond which was a lot harder than it looks. The boys initially tried by using biggest rocks they could lift. Nathaniel and Ben would pick up huge rocks grunting them forward only a few inches. Eventually they realized it was much more fun to toss rocks at a closet target and splash them in the big brown puddles along side the road. The new game provided instant gratification as well as a need for dry clothes.

It truly was a beautiful day. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Next stop - Birthdayville in VA.