Monday, June 29, 2009

Portland Children's Museum

We also visited the Portland Children's Museum -- we're becoming quite the experts on children's museums!

The coolest room at this one was the dig pit, filled with rubber "gravel" and lots of dumptrucks and shovels:

Driving the steamroller. (He's a Bob the Builder character, but I don't know who. Cooper didn't much care, given that the entire exhibit was giant construction vehicles.)

Using the compound miter saw:

Driving a big train:

And this "senior picture" was taken on the Nike campus, where Carmen works.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A rose by any other name...

While in Portland, we visited the International Rose Test Garden. It took quite a while to drag Cooper away from this water sculpture to actually see the flowers.

I told him he could choose any flower around and I would take his picture with it. He picked the petal on this step:

Gathering petals...

We got home with a sweaty handful of pink rose petals.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Our cat Mikey died this past weekend. First some fun pictures, and then the story:

Mikey in an egg carton he had chewed up:

Sleeping in the cat bed (sort of) with Sydney:

Now the story:
A couple of weeks ago, we had noticed Mikey drinking more than usual. We took him to the vet last week, and tests showed a UTI, so the vet sent us home with antibiotic. It didn't help. Things got worse, in fact.
So we took Mikey back in this past week. An x-ray revealed a mass of some sort in his tummy. Mikey had surgery on Thursday and the vet removed a "blob."
He said he'd never seen anything like it. It felt sort of hard, almost like a rubber bouncy ball. The vet guessed that it was pushing on Mikey's bladder and blocking the exit when Mikey tried to pee, causing problems.
We visited Mikey after his surgery on Thursday, and he was doing ok. He had peed already, which was a good sign. The next step was to get him eating and pooping, and then we could bring him home.
Friday we went back to see him, and he was completely lethargic. Didn't even lift his head or turn to look at us. They said he'd been that way all day. Not good. I suggested maybe it was the "finally -- the pain is gone!" sleep and his body was just recovering. But no one seemed very hopeful. They had him on IV fluids and antibiotics, and he was sleeping on a heating pad.
We called Saturday morning when the vet clinic opened, and the vet said Mikey had died.
We decided to have Mikey cremated and then, in a week or so, we'll bury his ashes in a shoebox full of his favorite things out by our redbud tree...
I got Mikey (and Sydney--they're littermates) in August 1997, literally as I was driving out of Kansas on my way to law school in Illinois. He was just six weeks old then, so he'd have been 12 next month.
We'll dig out our old photo albums sometime soon and scan in some pictures from Mikey's life.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The queen bee

Just in case you couldn't find Cleo the Queen:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Taking the show on the road

We flew to Portland, Oregon earlier this month to visit Cooper's Aunt Carmen and Uncle Toban. We did tons of fun things, but the biggest hit was Carmen's Woody doll (from Toy Story).
As you can see, Woody is holding a guitar. It has little sensor on the strings to you're supposed to "strum" the guitar with Woody's hand and hear him sing (or whistle) various Toy Story songs.

But Woody quickly became just a nuisance who wouldn't let go of the stinkin' guitar. Instead Cooper strummed the guitar by himself and danced around, dragging Woody helplessly behind.

(Carmen and Toban's greyhound Jamie got in on the action with her squeaky toy.)

Toban joined the fun with his banjo:

And Toban also shared his yo-yo collection with Cooper:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Checking out the bees

Alan and I took advantage of a morning when Cooper was at Miss Brenda's house (the daycare) to go officially introduce ourselves to the bees.

Alan is opening the hive and using a smoker to blow smoke on the bees. It's supposed to calm them. Or maybe just make them move away from where you are. I'm not entirely sure, but frankly it just seemed to hack them off a bit.

My magic beekeeping hat and veil. To be honest, I was terrified. And of course all the books say that bees can smell fear. Fabulous. (Hey... maybe that's what the smoke does! Hides the "fear" smell!)

This is the first story of our hive. The wooden slats are the tops of frames (check out next picture) where the bees hang out -- lay eggs, build their comb for honey, do other bee things.

It took a bit of nervous work (though surely we'll get better at this!) to pry out one of the frames. We're supposed to be looking for the queen, newly laid eggs or developing larvae, and pollen/honey work.

And you can see all three of those things in this picture. Our Queen Cleo is there -- can you find her? She's got a longer body than the other bees, and it doesn't look as striped. And the pods in the bottom center/left of the photo are orange pollen caps. And then in the lower right of the photo (six or seven circles in from the right edge of the photo) are small white larvae.Success. So far, we haven't screwed up anything major!
And for those of you keeping score at home, the tally is Emily - 0 and Alan - 1 (bee sting, that is).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Visiting Wichita

Helping Grandma Carol plant flowers

Watering them:

Riding on Grandpa Jerry's tractor:

This is my favorite picture from our trip to Wichita. Cooper is enamored with lawn mowers. Somehow he convinced Grandpa Jerry to get his out and mow the lawn while Cooper and Daddy sat in the shade and watched!

At the Kansas Firefitghters Museum

Monday, June 08, 2009

Right brain in action

Play dough.
Demonstrating the new elbow-smushing technique.
And yes, that's a bike helmet on his head. It helps his creativity.

(The part you don't see is how it took me longer to get everything set up than it did for him to get tired of painting!)

Playing guitar hero (with a tootsie pop!)

And playing the new Raquet Guitar.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mama and Me

For Mother's Day 2007 and 2008, Cooper and I took pictures in one of those little photo strip booths in the mall. I thought it would be a fun tradition to continue, but it's getting harder and harder to find those little photo booths. So I improvised this year.

Maybe I should have waited until after snacktime?

"Cheese" does not always make a happy picture face!

Monday, June 01, 2009


Cooper got a fabulous new big-boy summer haircut -- Miss Martha used the clippers on the back and sides!

And he got an orange sucker too!

And then this was Alan's new summer toy:
A bee hive!!
Alan's family had bees when we was growing up, and he's been itching to give it a try again. So we found a nearby beekeeper (or apiary, as Alan just informed me, in a slightly haughty tone) to bring us a hive, a queen (whom I've named Cleo), and 25,000 of her favorite servants (they should increase to 60,000 shortly -- yikes).

My current bedtime reading:

And the youngest beekeeper-in-training.
(Right after I took this picture, I ran to the house and googled "how to treat bee stings in young children." Fingers crossed we won't need that for a while...)