Sunday, August 24, 2008

Or 5 or 6

(If you don't get the meaning of the title read the last line from the previous post.)

It's time for some much overdue Sydney pictures and videos. Let's do some videos first.

One day Sydney decided that the plants needed to be watered. We had just watered them a few days before so they didn't really need to be. Sydney insisted that they would be sad if we didn't water them. I explained that the plants could get sick if we did water them.

Sydney was determined to make the plant in the front room happy. But how would she do that? Why, by offering to let it play with her "soccer ball" of course!

At the end of the video Sydney does her usual of asking to see the video I just recorded.

Sydney is getting to be quite the basketball player. She's starting to learn to dribble and even though her jump shot is a bit short she's trying hard.

Oh, and WATCH OUT!

She can even steal the ball and drive to the basket.

Sydney still likes to build "play houses" in the bedroom while I'm getting ready for work. Here she is with Bear.

Sydney in her Play House

Our city's Parks & Recreation department has a couple classes each season that are age-appropriate for Sydney. (She's too old now for the Romp & Roll class we used to go to and that has been written about in this blog before.) There were a few classes earlier this summer. One of them was a pirate-themed class. They got to make pirate stuff and then go outside and find a treasure chest (full of more pirate-themed booty).

Here's a picture of Sydney at home after class. She has most of her pirate booty but after initially liking and wearing the eye patch she refused to wear it for the picture.

Sydney the Pirate

You may remember past entries from when Sydney was younger of a friend named Mary Jane. Mary Jane and her family moved to the Seattle area at the end of last summer. Mary Jane's dad had a good school/job opportunity there.

It was sad. The two of them were only about a week difference in age and had so far grown up together. Well, this summer they moved back. It might be temporary. It might not. We're not sure yet. Regardless, they've had a play date or two.

Sydney and Mary Jane

Yes, they're eating popsicles in the picture.

At another point this summer we went over to Hunter's grandparents' house for a barbecue. You may recall Hunter being another friend of Sydney's. We met him and his mom (and grandma) in Romp & Roll and have been friends since. Hunter's mom was having some friends over and since the grandparents have a big yard they let her use their house for the barbecue.

Sydney had a good time playing (and we had a good time socializing - with grown ups!)

Sydney and Mommy Parachute

Sydney and Hunter Bounce

That bouncy castle is something the grandparents bought for Hunter. It stays at their house. The older boy who fell down is named Matthew.

Sydney got a super special double treat a few weeks ago.

First of all, Grandma and Grandpa M arrived! No, really. They're all moved and everything.

They drove up with a small load of stuff in their pick up truck. A few days later the big moving company truck arrived and unloaded all of their other stuff. They're all moved in and living here now.

They still have the house down in Vegas and will be going down in the autumn to put it on the market.

I'm not sure. Don't ask me.

Sydney wasted no time at all in realizing she had someone new to read to her.

Sydney and Grandma M Read

For those parents out there wondering, that's a magazine called High Five. It's the younger sister to Highlights. It just started at the beginning of this year and is designed for children age 3-6. Sydney really enjoys getting it in the mail each month and we usually end up reading it to her several times in those first few days. And she's really good at the find-the-hidden-stuff pictures.

The second part of the super special double treat was Grandma B coming for a visit. She arrived the day after Grandma and Grandpa M (and the day before the moving truck).

You might remember from Grandma B's last visit that Sydney had her reading Blue's Clues books to her. Well, the Blue's Clues books are Sydney's favorite potty-reading books on her own, but she barely ever asks us to read them to her. But she remembered that Grandma B reads them to her.

A day or two before Grandma B arrived I mentioned that she was coming. Sydney got really excited and said she was going to read Blue's Clues with Grandma B. So here they are.


We are trying to get Sydney potty trained. She's somewhat reluctant, but we had some ideas and bought a few things to try to help the process along. It's been about a week with some successes and some remissions. I'll tell more about the process next time. Hopefully with more positives to share if we can really get this thing going.

Monday, August 18, 2008


The last weekend in July I went back to Michigan for my high school reunion. It's been twenty years. Wow.

First of all, let me apologize to those people I didn't get a chance to see when I was back home. It was a short trip (arrived in the middle of the night Thursday and left again Monday afternoon). There were lots of things to do, lots of people to see and I just didn't get to all of them. Sorry if you were one of the people I didn't get to see.

Sydney and Anne didn't make the trip with me. It would have been very expensive and we wouldn't have been there long enough to have to put Sydney through a full day's worth of flying each way on either end of it. Regardless of how good she's been when traveling before we didn't think it would be a good idea.

So while in Michigan I stayed with my friend Victor. He was my best man at my wedding.

Victor and Me

A lot of people attended the mixer on Friday night. Most of the people I at least remembered in the "oh, yeah" kind of way most people do at reunions. There were only a couple I didn't remember at all and there were several people I knew fairly well, having gone to school with them for the better part of our K-12 education.

Two of my best friends growing up were Tim and Keith. They weren't at the mixer on Friday but were at the dinner on Saturday.

John, Tim and Keith

Tim I went to elementary school together, though we really didn't become friends until fifth (maybe sixth) grade. In seventh grade we started junior high school (7-9th grades) and met Keith. Keith has the same last name as I do so we met in several classes we shared since we were sitting next to or in front of each other.

The three of us spent the better part of our youths playing role-playing games together. Tim and Keith eventually went away to college. I stayed home and went to community college, but then dropped out. Tim and Keith stayed close and were best man for each other at their weddings.

Here is Tim with his lovely wife, Marianne.

Tim and Marianne

Anne and I got the pleasure of meeting Marianne just before we got married and about a year (I think?) before they got married. They took a trip to Vegas and we all got together. Even though I don't know her well it was good to see her again and know that she and Tim are doing well (and have two children).

They live in Chicago where Tim is an Assistant Principal at a high school. And I would like Mom (Grandma B) to know that we are partially to blame for Tim falling in love with Chicago. Although most of the blame goes to my Uncle Dave.

We went to Chicago in ninth grade. It was a birthday present for me. Mom took us there for several days over spring break. During the visit we saw Uncle Dave who was living there at the time. One of the most vivid memories Tim has of that trip is Uncle Dave driving down Michigan Avenue, swerving in and out of traffic and Tim thinking he was going to die in the back seat. We were going out for Indian food for dinner. (Tim told me to mention that, Mom. And Uncle Dave, if you see this. He still remembers great things about that trip.)

Here is a picture of Keith and his wife, Wendy.

Keith and Wendy

This was my first time meeting Wendy. I kind of felt like I knew her (and their three children), though, since I keep up with the blog Wendy keeps.

While there were a lot of people it was good to see again at the reunion there was one other person I was very happy to see. This is my friend Michelle.

Michelle and Me

Michelle had a bit of a crush on me at one time, but mostly I just annoyed her. Anyone who knows my sense of humor will understand why. And since I knew she liked me and I could annoy her with my sense of humor I made that much more of a point to annoy her. In fact, one of our teachers was so amused by the situation she declared that we would be married within five years of graduation. (Sorry, Mrs. Miller, didn't happen. In fact, Michelle is still happily married to the man she was dating when we graduated.)

Even though we've barely seen each other since graduation Michelle and I still got along great and seemed like we barely missed a beat in all the years. (Though I tried not to annoy her.) She even said that she talks about me all the time. She has a 16 year old son who is struggling with Algebra, she said, and she is constantly telling him, "If my friend John was here he could help you with that."

On Sunday I didn't go to the Family Day picnic. Not much reason to since my family wasn't there and my two closest friends with family weren't going to be there. So instead I took a little road trip to Hell, MI.

I have an online friend who goes by the name of Oppiejoe over at the Museum of Hoaxes forum. (You might remember that we met Alex, the owner and Curator of the Museum when we went to San Diego in February.) He lives in Michigan and we wanted to get together to meet while I was there. A good "middle ground" that was interesting enough for us to get together was Hell. So we met there.

AJ and Me

We met, we talked (though I was bit socialized-out after the previous two nights with old classmates), we shopped a little and we had ice cream. (It didn't melt as fast as you might think.)

Oppiejoe came with his lady friend, his daughter and her boyfriend. As we walked around we found the little "church" behind the store that is used for weddings in Hell (apparently). I managed to talk Oppiejoe and his lady friend to stand in front for a picture.

AJ and Janna in Hell

Since pink lawn flamingos seem to be a fairly common trope in stories over at the Museum of Hoaxes I found the Skel-A-Flamingo a funny item in the store. I had Oppiejoe hold it and snapped a picture.

AJ and Skel-A-Flamingo

When I got home I sent information about the Skel-A-Flamingos to Alex. He posted about them on his new "shared" website/blog, Weird Universe.

I think that's all I have for now. I have more to post, but that will be in a separate post (or two). I was going to try to get them up last night, but the site where I host my pictures was down. And I don't have enough time tonight so the updates will just have to be a bit slower than originally planned. But look for another one in a day or two.