Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Good Bye, Bob

Sunday morning my step-dad, Bob (above with my mom in August 2004), died. He had chronic ailments that were being treated over the last couple years. As much as he disliked doctors and hospitals it was appropriate that he passed at home.

My mom and Bob were married when I was very young. Bob was instrumental in my upbringing. He was a good, funny, intelligent man. His sense of humor had a strong influence on me and I like to think of it as the main influence on my own sense of humor. He and my mom had a strong love of books that was also passed on to me. (Though it didn't seem to kick in while I was actually in school.)

While I am very sad to lose Bob in my life - and Anne's and Sydney's - I am even more sad that my mother has lost her husband of over 36 years. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

After That

I really have wanted and tried to post this update sooner. Unfortunately, Blogger was the culprit in the delay of this post. Each time I came and tried to post it would let me upload the picture but then I couldn't insert them into the post. It was quite frustrating. Anyway...

Shortly after we got back from Michigan it was Halloween. Sydney had long decided that she wanted to be (don't click, Mom. It's a link to a Flash site and might be a bit much for dial-up. Maybe just Google the name if you're not familiar enough already) Word Girl for Halloween.

Here she is in costume:

The longer we live here the bigger our trees seem to get. Weird how that works. But it's not a problem for Sydney. She's loves playing in leaves in the fall.

Before we knew it Christmas time was here. (That was right after Halloween, right?) It was time to take our picture for our Christmas cards. My apologies to those reading this that got a Christmas card from us. You are about to see a duplicate picture.

And almost before we got our Christmas cards mailed, Christmas was here! (We're procrastinators, but we did manage to get them out before Christmas.) Sydney got spoiled, as usual, but here are some highlights. (Because they're the only pictures I have of Christmas they become the highlights.)

Like we've done each of the last several years, we had a fun Christmas Eve get together with our friends.Sydney got some very nice kitchen/cooking/baking items. They are real items designed for kids to use in the kitchen, not just play items for use with a kitchen play set.

Before we started opening presents on Christmas morning Sydney wanted her picture taken with all the Christmas stuffed animals. And Penguin, her favorite stuffed animal, of course.

Sydney was very excited about the Word Girl book she got. (She's jumping up and down.) (And notice her very loose front tooth.)

Sydney also got a Leapster Explorer for Christmas. She has had a lot of fun playing many various games on it. And she got a Tinkerbell pillow.

She also got a nice easel. It has a roll of paper on top you can pull down one side for painting or drawing. It has storage bins and lots of storage space. And there is a chalkboard on the side opposite the paper.

The real reason for the above picture is to show you Sydney's gap-toothed smile. She lost that very loose front tooth on Christmas night.

Grandma B's birthday is just past the middle of January. Each Christmas we send along a birthday present for her. Each year she knits us socks for our birthdays. So we pick out yarn we like and send it off to her to be turned into wonderful socks.

This year we didn't do such a good job of picking out yarn. Anne and I picked out yarn that wouldn't make good every day socks. It would wear our too easily. So Anne opted for a scarf. I opted for Grandma B to find some appropriate yarn in a similar color, knit socks in that, and use the other yarn as she saw fit.

Since Sydney's birthday is around the beginning of Spring Grandma B knits her socks a bit earlier so she can wear them while it's still cold and before she outgrows them. She usually sends them shortly after Anne's birthday socks in January.

Sydney picked out some yarn in her favorite color: purple! As it turned out, though, it had some color change in it, hidden in the ball of yarn, so the color changes slightly as it is knit. Grandma, being ever wise and figuring that Sydney would probably think the socks were weird changing color and not being all purple, knit Sydney a scarf. (She got socks, too. Both socks and scarf are in the picture. And she loves them both.)

Not long after all that, Sydney's other front tooth came out.

Look closely and you can see the tooth coming in the spot where the first one was lost.

And here's a last picture as a bonus. This is from my phone and was taken back in June. Our small city has a celebration each June. This past year we went as usual. (Have I ever mentioned the really awesome Italian sausages I get at these types of events throughout the summer? I have? Well, the guy is at this one, too, which is the main reason for going. For me.)

There was a petting zoo there that had camel rides. Sydney wanted to ride. And not long into the ride she discovered that camels smell. But here are Sydney and Anne riding a camel.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Back In October

Back in October we went to Michigan to visit my family. Grandma B hasn't been able to come out and visit us for a while. She has to stay close to home to be available to a couple family members with some health issues. So we went to see her instead.

We went to the house to see Grandma and Grandpa B. First order of business was making friends with the dogs. They are friendly dogs, but friendly after you know them and even friendlier if you feed them snacks while getting (re)acquainted. Sydney had fun with the dogs.

After that Anne and I went off to visit a couple wineries in the area.  Sydney went to go have fun with Grandma B. They went to McDonald's for lunch. Then they went to the bird sanctuary to feed geese. Or ducks. Or maybe it was the fish hatchery to feed fish. Do you know how long ago that was? And you expect me to remember? Oh. You expect me to update sooner so I do remember? Fine.

We got to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa B at the house, too.

As you can probably tell by the clothes, it was very nice weather in Michigan for our trip. Especially considering it was October.

The next day we went over to Great Grandma Monette's home. Aunt Heather, Uncle Jason and Cousin Kimmy came. Grandma B came, but Grandpa B wasn't feeling well so he stayed home. We had pizza for lunch. We also took lots of pictures of everyone with Sydney.

Sydney's riding Great Grandma Monette's rocking horse (with Great Grandma watching from behind). Which she's had since I was young.

Chatting at the table.

Sydney and Aunt Heather. Have I ever mentioned before that my sister, for whatever reason, rarely ever takes a good picture? For proof I offer the pictures below, which are the best of the lot.

And really, I love my sister. She is a very beautiful lady. But the poor thing just very rarely can take a good picture. Cousin Kimmy is in the background of this one.

Heather's cracking up here because as soon as Sydney sat down on her lap Sydney ripped a big, loud fart. And proceeded to act like nothing had happened.

Sydney really liked that rocking horse, in case you can't tell. Here she is with Uncle Jason.

And some attempts at a group picture.

The next day we went to see my buddy Vic. He was the best man at our wedding. We went with him and his daughter, Kayla, to a pumpkin patch place with lots more than just pumpkins. It was a fun day.

Kayla and Sydney picked out a pumpkin.

Yes, this is the same pumpkin, but we needed a picture with Vic, too.

Sydney likes to bounce. Though she's fallen down here.

See? Bounce.

They have this drainage pipe set up as a giant tube slide. Kayla took Sydney down it. Why? Because all the adults knew it was going to be really bumpy and we could make Kayla take Sydney down it. Mwahahahaha! Luckily it was too bumpy for Sydney and she didn't want to go down it again.

They had a climbing area with tubes and hay bales.

And pumpkin Peanuts characters.

And pumpkin Sesame Street characters.

And water troughs you could pump water into and make ducks float down.

And an orange train made from old barrels pulled by a tractor.

For the more daring kids they had a zip line set up.  We didn't think Sydney would want to go on it. But she did. We didn't think she'd want to go on it once she got up to the front of the line and had it right there in front of her. She did. We were surprised but happy. She zipped right along on it.

Sydney was tired that night and went right to bed.

The next day we played at a playground. Full of dinosaurs!

Then we met Grandma Cathy for lunch. She took us out to Cornwell's Turkey Farm. They have turkey on the menu. They also have the best peanut butter pie. I got a slice despite my usual efforts to try not to eat peanuts around Anne since she's allergic.

Sydney and Grandma Cathy:

Somewhere in there, probably the next day based on the order of my pictures, we went to Kingman Museum. It is a small, local museum in Battle Creek and is mainly a natural history museum. It was a bit disappointing from my memories as a kid going on school trips, to be honest. But the main attraction I wanted to go for was prominenetly displayed in the main hall right inside the door.

That is the polar bear my Grandfather Baker shot way back in the '60s. He had it in his house for years. It was down in his trophy room along with a bunch of other animals he shot on hunts. Several years ago he donated it to the museum. I remember being amazed by it as a kid because it was so big. Even as I got bigger and hit my full height it was huge.

Here it is from above:

After the museum we went and picked up Cousin Kimmy after school. We took her shopping for her birthday which was coming up in a few weeks. And by the food court at the mall they had Sydney's favorite ride!

It was even a double-level carousel. And, of course, Sydney had to ride on the top level.

After the mall we met Grandma B and Great Grandma for dinner. The next day we flew back home.

Tune in again soon. I have another post (also with lots of pictures) I'll need to put up soon. Because I need to get stuff caught up so I can tell you about the great vacation we just got back from and then Sydney's birthday. Holy cow, she's going to be six tomorrow!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Picture Update

Because I've been busy and neglectful you get a post with a bunch of pictures spanning Sydney's birthday and hit or miss over the last few months.

Many of you probably know that we got a dog back in March. I grew up with dogs, Anne wanted a dog, Sydney wanted a dog. So we got a dog. Several days later Sydney and I were showing signs of suffering some from allergies from the dog. Sydney was wheezing a bit after a few days. We had to take him back to the Rescue we got him from. We were all very sad and disappointed, but we were also very happy that he was adopted the same day we took him back.

This is Roscoe, our four-day dog.

The spring season here was particularly nasty. Everyone had allergies and the people who normally get allergies got them particularly badly. This may have had something to do with our reaction to Roscoe. Or it may not. We might try a dog again but it won't be for several years when Sydney is a bit older and a bit more ready for one.

In early April was Sydney's birthday. So here are a bunch of birthday pictures!

If I remember correctly, the only pictures I took of Sydney opening presents were presents that Grandma B got her. This was the first year Grandma B wasn't able to be here for Sydney's birthday. So I wanted to make sure I got pictures of Sydney with Grandma B's presents so I could post them on the blog in a timely manner so Grandma B could enjoy them.


So here are the present pictures.

More of those coming up later. Sydney only opened a few presents at her party on Saturday. She opened the ones her friends brought her and a few others we let her open. The others we saved for her actual birthday on Monday. The Sunday in between her party and her birthday was Easter. Here's Sydney waiting anxiously to be able to come downstairs on Easter morning.

And her Easter basket.

And Sydney digging into her Easter basket before egg hunting.

The main present Sydney got for her birthday from Mommy and Daddy was...

It's probably just a touch too big for her. And she has no idea how to ride a bike and be able to balance on it. After two failed attempts at putting training wheels on it (the axle is too short so the bolts that would hold them on can't be put on) we have finally taken it to a bike shop. We should get it back in a day or two (yes, it took us all summer to take it in) so she can hopefully ride it on her own.

I had the day off work for Sydney's birthday. As a special birthday treat I took her to our local Build-A-Bear Workshop. She built one of her new best friends, Fuzzy.

The door jam barely visible on the right side of the picture is Sydney's bedroom door. We have her measurements there. On her fifth birthday she was right about four feet tall.

She also insisted on measuring Fuzzy, who was about one foot tall.

Also on her birthday she insisted on taking a picture with Fievel. Remember him?

And Sydney once again got birthday balloons from Great Grandma Monette.

And Sydney got to open more birthday presents on Monday (her actual birthday). These pictures are Grandma B presents again. I think.

One day Sydney asked if she could take a picture with the camera. She decided she would take one of her various art supplies here in the office.

One morning Sydney crawled into bed with us and then zonked out. I was already zonked out and Anne got up and got the camera.

At the beginning of the summer Sydney asked if she could cut her hair shorter. She felt her hair was too heavy and too hot and she wanted it shorter.

And found this picture of this funny looking kid on the camera so I decided to post it here.