Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Penny Comes Home with Us!!!

We drove up North again, through falling snow, to pick up Penny today...not only are the next 2 shots taken of one of the most beautiful dogs in the world, but they were taken by me, over my shoulder, while driving in excess of 90 mph...


She is really a cutie...


She loves all of us, and Ben loves her "to the moon and back" already...


She is calm and sweet and has lots of kisses and beautiful coloring...


She seems to like keeping an eye on us, and follows us around the yard, sticking right by our sides...


She nuzzles and kisses and gently bites chins and noses and lips...never hard though...


She settled in nicely at our house, so far, and has met all of the cats and Cedar, and there haven't been any issues as yet...


We're excited to get to know Penny, and to let her get to know us in the coming days and weeks and months and years...

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She had a fun time in the shower, sitting calmly, unlike Cedar who freaks out in the shower...Penny even turned her face into the showerhead to lick and chew the water, and is now snuggled on Gail's chest...perhaps forever...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A sunny Sunday

It rained a bit last night, and we did a little yard work this morning, now that the snow is finally gone from our lawn...after lunch we went out to enjoy the sun and breeze and play a bit in the front yard...


Ben and I played some Petanque, a cousin of Bocce, that in Lake Clear requires the ability to play off of natural hazards and terrain-based challenges (no packed clay courts here)...



Ben got the hang of it very quickly, lofting the ball nicely with a underhand and backspin that allowed him good control...Lake Clear rules require a beverage to be in hand during play, but I gave him a pass on this rule this time around...



He loved playing, and was a good sport when I would rain metallic death from above on his well-placed balls, and shoot them across the lawn with a satisfying clank-thunk...



Cedar chewed up both of the cochonnets that came with our set, so we now use a smallish rubber duckie instead...we all feel that it only adds to the quality of play and the dignity of our august sport...


Once we got on a roll, Ben wanted to continue, so we headed over to Lake Clear Elementary (Ben's school) for some soccer practice...Ben started out in goal and worked on his traps and kicks and throws and getting front of the ball...



He has definitely improved his kicking since last year, and is getting quite good at kicking with the ball/side of his foot...



Next, I took a turn in the goal and Ben would dribble the ball in and then shoot on me...



He had fun, tried his best, and was only occasionally distracted by his cool new flashing shoes...



After a while, we decided to head home, and are now enjoying some "M ommy-made" popcorn and watching "James and the Giant Peach in the cool cavelike downstairs of our home...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Gail makes it home...


Gail is home...and done...she has completed her last semester of online classes at Capella University (she's working towards her doctorate), finished managing/overseeing Paul Smiths College assessment and re-accreditation process with the Middle States Council on Higher Education, helped her mother get back into her home after knee replacement surgery and is just back from a week in Atlanta in the last of 3 colloquiums (hosted by Capella)...

It's been a busy couple of months for her to say the least, so she spent some of this morning taking a well-earned celebratory nap on the couch, with Cedar and Escher in supportive nap mode nearby...

Checked out on shoes...

Ben came home with this certificate yesterday...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Clothes...



Ben's been growing like a weed, so when we went up to Plattsburgh last weekend, we bought him a bunch of new clothes from Walmart...yes Walmart...we don't have lots of options up in the Great Northern Forest, but Walmart is one of them, and the clothes are cheap and will last much longer than he is able to wear them...

He has been wearing different outfits of new clothes all week, and today he added a new pair of crocs to the mix, so I thought that I would share some pictures of him in his kickin' new outfit...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ben's New Bike!!!

We went up to Plattsburgh for some necessities yesterday, and one of the necessities was a new, and bigger, bicycle for Ben...we got home and tried it out in the driveway, and although he did well, he also promptly wiped out...blood and tears aplenty...so this afternoon we headed out in search of pavement, and struck...well...pavement...


This is a picture of Ben's super-awesome new bike!


Here's a picture of Lake Clear's equivalent of the Bonneville Salt Flats...complete with support vehicle...


Even though he was a little spooked after yesterday's mishap, Ben got right back up on the bike and pedaled around, slowly at first, but then with increasing enthusiasm and confidence and speed...


He had a good time on the bike in our newfound play area...we'll be back again...maybe tomorrow...


After a gruelling workout, made more so by his desire to wear long pants/sleeves to protect himself from further injury, we hung out and talked bike talk for a while before heading home...


Here are some videos of Ben on his new bike for Gail, who is in Atlanta this week, and was sorry to miss these first rides on the bigger bike...ignore the sound...I think that the batteries in the camera are running low...

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We'll probably go back again later this week, but not update the blog unless he can stick the landing on some of the jumps that we have in mind, or learn to juggle flaming torches while cycling...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Puppy Videos

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Ben's new puppy...

We drove up to Westville this afternoon to look at, and choose, Ben's new (future) puppy...out of a litter of 11 puppies with 4 females, 2 unfortunately died...both females...so we had 2 chocolate girls to choose from...




They were both lovely and sweet, but after extensively play-testing both of them, we all agreed on the larger of the 2 puppies...she has a nicer head, prettier eyes, has a chunkier feel to her, and just feels right...in the picture above, she is in Gail's arms...we have been talking about names a lot lately, and went up with 8 possibles:
  • Brandy
  • Bubbles
  • Lobster
  • Lollipop
  • Colby
  • Rainbow
  • Marnie
  • Penelope


This is a picture of the puppy that we named "not Penelope"...


This is a picture of the girl dog that we named "Penelope"...


All of the pups had finished a wild rumpus and meal minutes before we arrived, so while they were happy to see us and snuggle a bit, they were somewhat sleepy...this is Penelope in my arms...


Once we had identified Ben's future dog we put on a collar that we picked up out the way up to the interview...you can see that the process exhausted Penelope, who is asleep on Gail's chest in the picture above...


In addition to the collar, we painted her toenails a tasteful and understated red color, as can be seen above...this is more of an identification tool than a fashion statement, but it works both ways...we'll be picking her up in a couple of weeks, and you'll probably see a couple more pictures and videos once she comes to live with us for good...

Gone Fishin'

Ben woke us up this morning at about 5:30am to tell us that it was snowing...groan...

Despite the weather, he insisted that we go fishing, so we got out his fishing pole and hit the driveway for some serious practice...


We started off working on the basics of his range of motion while casting and the mechanics of releasing the line...


We then moved on to direction and accuracy, aiming for (and eventually coming pretty close to) the red boating cushion...


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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring Break, part 4

This was our last day in NYC, so we crammed it full to the rim...Ben just went to bed (9:30pm) after a cool down at the end of our day...



We started out by going to the playground in Madison Square Park, which is in the shadow (architecturally if not actually) of the Flatiron Building...


Ben had, as always, a great time in this playground, which has a great mix of kids who look and sound very multicultural when compared to our playgrounds in Saranac Lake...


After some lunch, we met up with Anti-Sarah, who took a half-day and went out to the New York Aquarium, out in Coney Island...it was super...better than expected!

I couldn't capture all of the wonderful sea life that we saw during our visit (fast beasties behind glass and low light make for poor pictures), but I did get some video of our favorites...

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This otter was rescued by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, and when he could not be rehabilitated, he moved to this one, and has been educating New Yorkers and visitors for years...even though he is 16, he moves with a boneless grace that is amazing...

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The highlight of the visit for all of us was the giant walrus who spent as much time checking us out as we did him...

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Ben loved this walrus, and we had a hard time moving on...these videos don't capture the sounds he made while looking at us...squeaks and farting noises and bristly trumpeting...

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Anti-Sarah had better hope that this video is never seen by the head hunters for the Shark advocacy group that she is seeking a job with, or she'll be out of luck...

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I loved watching these jellyfish move around in the water, although they certainly give me the wiggins...

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These little mushroom-shaped jellyfish just seemed weird...like some anime cartoon gone wrong...

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We ended our visit to the Aquarium with a live show featuring a super-talented harbor seal and his entourage...we had a wonderful time at the New York Aquarium, and hope to visit again sometime...special thanks to Anti-Sarah for the idea and the legwork involved in making this trip happen...

This evening, after a super thin-crust pizza dinner, Ben and Sarah and I went to Jump, a great theatre experience that combines martial arts with acrobatics with comedy...




We had a wonderful time, and Ben really enjoyed the action and kicking and jokes and seeing live theatre...



They did amazing jumping and flipping and fighting...Ben couldn't take his eyes off of the performance...



He was tired enough at the end of the performance that he had a little meltdown once we got outside, but he did get a chance to say hello and thanks to a couple of the performers who were talking to the audience on their way out before he crashed...we got home and read a story with muz, and he went to bed...he was asleep before I left the room...

We've had a great time in NYC, and (but?) he'll need a couple of days to recover from the fun...

Spring Break, part 3

The first day we got to NYC, Ben spied Maggie's new bed and was very impressed...Muz and D offered him the use of it while we're visiting (without consulting Maggie I have to add)...

It's a step up from the run of the mill dog-beds, and Ben loves it...



The above is a picture of the bed as Maggie sleeps on it...


This is a picture of the dog-bed as Ben sleeps on it...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Break, part 1.5 & 2

Sorry for the discontinuity, but I had to add this picture that I meant to include in the last blog entry...it's from last weekend, at the end of a Muz-made blueberry preserve feeding frenzy...


Now, on with the regularly scheduled blog entry...




This morning, Ben and I went to the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and had a fun time...the current main exhibition is: "Gods, Myths & Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece".

The exhibit was great, and like the rest of the museum, is designed for kids Ben's age, and is chock full of interactive and hands-on activities for little people...


The picture above shows an Odyssey-related game that had Ben steer an ancient Greek vessel by moving from side to side...the computer tracked his movements and would alter the heading of the ship and the background of the screen as we avoided (or sometimes crashed into) rocks, monsters, and angry gods...


They also had a great climb-in-able Trojan Horse...


Can you spot Odysseus in the picture above?


They had a cool display on Aristotle, and his theories on logic...and Ben had fun trying to fool this bust of Aristotle in an animal identification game based on the characteristics of a few dozen animals and some basic questions used to organize/classify them...


Upstairs in the building, they had lots of edu-taining activities and displays, including this one on firemen and fire-safety...


Ben picked what must have been the smallest fire-jacket in the bunch, and stuck with it...he loved this spelling game that involved a combination of putting out fires with laser-guided water cannons and spelling various three-letter words...


He also really liked playing this game about germs and getting sick...he found it more fun and easier to play the part of a virus than to be the immune system...here he can be seen infiltrating the nose of a potential sickee, and avoiding both the snot and nosehair with a grace and skill that would make most virii jealous...


We ended our visit with a brief stint of Ben as postal carrier, a job that he loved, but ultimately found unfulfilling...he liked bringing packages to kids and shunting them down the slides in the post-office (packages, not kids)...

All in all it was a fun museum, and we may go back again...there were lots of nice kids, many moms and nannies, and 2 dads (including me)...it seemed like a neighborhood destination and playdate spot, as some kids seemed to come there quite often to hang out with friends and the nice staff members...

After leaving the museum, Ben and I walked over to Zabar's, a museum (or shrine) of food and food preparation...we wandered the aisles for a delightful 15 minutes, looking at and smelling the wonderful food before picking out some great stuff for our lunch...4 kinds of olives, cheese, smoked salmon (and some bagels from H&H, the best bagel place in the known universe), sweet sausage, a couple of salads, dried fruit, etc...I was going to take a picture, but as soon as I had it laid out at Muz and D's house, Ben fell on it like a lumberjack at the noonday whistle...he may have eaten some of the enamel off of the plate...he tried everything, and like almost all of it (he's not a big fan of olives)...I also got some coffee (blue mountain style) for when we head home...

A nice morning and lunch...Ben's education continues...