Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Paging Dr. Lutterman... " AKA "Papa"

the consultation...

pre-op examination...

going under the knife pliers...

post-op recovery...

ready to be discharged...

S'MORES, which loosened tooth... $ .50
 doctor bill... $0
having a Papa who provides a blood-free pain-free experience--PRICELESS!

*Disclaimer: No children were hurt in the pulling of this tooth."

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Bare Bear Necessities

Earlier this summer, my sister Becky, Mom, and I were playing a game late at night. With the windows wide open on the warm night, the sounds of summer were easily heard... traffic on the highway, frogs croaking, crickets singing, wind blowing through the trees, plastic breaking....

Wait a minute. Plastic breaking? Did we just hear plastic breaking?

After ignoring this sound for a few minutes, Mom finally got up and looked out the window to the backyard. In the pitch blackness, it must have taken a couple seconds for her eyes to focus with only the small yard light for illumination. Finally, she said, "Ummmmm..... there's a bear out here."

What???? A bear? We haven't seen a bear around here for years!

Becky and I went to the door quickly, in time to see a rather large black bear munching happily on sunflower seeds which were scattered on the ground after he'd completely destroyed the bird feeder. He dined for several minutes, then lazily got up and lumbered around in the driveway, coming over to the back steps to check things out.

We watched for several minutes before I went to get my camera. It wouldn't focus through the door and screen, so we decided to crack the door open a bit. Mr. Bear decided that was enough human contact for the day, and he high-tailed it outta there, back behind the garage toward the garden. The following day, I took some pictures of the evidence.

 The contraption formerly known as a bird feeder.

The flying saucer remains of said bird feeder.

Mr. Bear approached these steps, as we gazed out the window. Yes, he was probably less than 8 feet away from us.

This electric fence surrounds my dad's corn in the garden. Mr. Bear must have been running lickety-split and once he hit the wire and got a good shock, he tore up the wires pretty well!

A few raspberry plants met their demise in the run-in with Mr. Bear. Branches were broken off from the entangled wires.

My dad has a fairly large hand, so you can see how big Mr. Bear's paw is in comparison.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tea Time (Swanson Series, Part Three)

One of the girls' favorite activities at Gramma's house is having a tea party, complete with Great, Great, Great Grandma's china tea pot, with its stains from years of use. Of course, the "tea" that is enjoyed at these modern-day tea parties is really some form of juice, but when you hold up your pinky and talk very properly, it's nearly authentic.

Many concertos are composed by small hands right here.

Another favorite activity? Rummaging through Gramma's many totes of fabric to find the perfect piece for dress-up. Here Callie models an old dress, with a improvised veil.

You just never know what Ashleigh is going to come up with. She's sportin' a mascara mole to complete her "flapper" look.

Natalie's a vision of blue in her Indian sari-type dress. Looks like she has the model hand thing figured out as well.

Two Three peas in a pod...

What does little man Micah do during such girlie activities? He bonds with Papa of course. They putz in the garage, play trucks, and have their own party, without all the dainty foods and pinkies in the air, of course.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to School in Numbers

100... hours of painting this summer

7... butterflies flying on the walls

140... photocopies made

489... books waiting to be read

3... classes I'll be teaching

10... boxes of brand new washable markers

2... spotless, handprint-free tables

15... flowers growing in our room

12... chairs

2,500... sheets of construction paper

20... students registered

9... boys

11... girls

200... fingers ready to fingerpaint

13... new toys bought this summer

31... calendar numbers laminated

6,327... stickers (not that I really counted)

836... Clorox wipes to be used this year

8... hours until school starts

1... teacher excited for tomorrow!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Of Boat Rides, Swimming, and Lawnmowers (Swanson Series, Part Two)

For months, my nephew Micah talked about "riding in Papa's boat." One day, Papa fulfilled Micah's dream. A boat ride on a beautiful day.

Gettin' ready to go!

Lifejacket? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Backwards hat? Check. One little boy bursting with anticipation? Absolutely.

"Can we go already, Papa?"

Bon Voyage!

Callie and Ashleigh waiting for their ride.

Here they come!

Bon Voyage take two.

After the boat ride, Micah talked non-stop about Papa's boat. First boat ride? Complete success.

After the boat ride, I took the girls to the lake for swimming. It was a hot, humid day--perfect for a cool down in the lake. 

Let the water fight begin!

Second only to Micah's love of the boat is his thrill of riding Papa's lawnmower. While he doesn't necessarily like the loud noise, once he is standing by Papa, hands on the steering wheel, all fear of the loudness is forgotten and complete joy takes its place. See?

Big boy driving all by himself. **

Natalie LOVING driving fast!

Ashleigh... eight years old and driving already.

Callie not to be outdone by her younger sister gave it a try also.

**No child was injured during the riding of the lawnmower. It was not even running.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Minnesota Logging Camp (Swanson Series, Part One)

I was able to spend a lot of time with my nieces and nephews this summer. I'm going to do a series of posts from our activities this summer. 

My parents and I took Callie, Ashleigh, Natalie, and Micah to the Forest History Center, an authentic 1900s logging camp. Costumed employees portrayed lumberjacks, camp cook, blacksmith, and clerk.

Accordian player in the bunkhouse

Camp Cook (incidentally, the highest paid person in the camp)

The camp horses--very hard workers

The Blacksmith

The Clerk

The girls were impressed with the checker game.

One tired boy, after he woke up from a nap on Papa's shoulder.

All winter, the lumberjacks would cut the trees and haul them to the river. They were marked (shown below) to record the length, estimated board feet, and logging camp from which it originated, to ensure the right logging camp was credited for the logs.

When spring arrived, log drivers would float the logs down river to the sawmill. They would get their meals from the river wanigan during the log drive. After visiting the wanigan, the girls posed for a picture.

We visited the 1930s Forest Service patrolman's cabin. Nearby is a lookout tower where rangers would spot forest fires.

Callie, Ashleigh, Mom, and I started the long trek up the lookout tower. Halfway up, Ashleigh got a little scared of heights, so I turned back with her. Callie and Mom made it all the way to the top, and Callie even got a certificate of achievement!

The old fire engine was a hit!

Back in the visitor's center, Callie explored a logging truck.

Ashleigh trying her hand at the sawmill.

Natalie in a machine much bigger than her!

This tree was large enough for Micah to walk through.

The Forest History Center is great fun for everyone. If you're ever in the area, you should check it out!