Thursday, May 29, 2008

T-ball

Ben started T-ball this week, and had a good time both Tuesday and Thursday...


It's a league coached by volunteers from our community, and Ben knows kids on each of the 4 teams in his age-group...


He's eager to learn, and was incredibly excited to get his uniform tonight (a cap and t-shirt, pictured below)...all of the kids took turns hitting and fielding under the direction of his 2 coaches...
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Penny was fascinated by the game, and watched every at-bat intently...


Here's his uniform...the kids are picking out the team name next Tuesday, just in time for their first game...

The following 4 videos are of the practices Tuesday and Thursday night...


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Monday, May 26, 2008

T-ball

Ben is signed up for t-ball this spring...the first day (last Thursday) was rained out, but that gave us a chance to go shopping for gear on Saturday, before meeting up with La-La and Uncle Steve...



The t-ball bat, and Ben doing a bit out of "The Warriors"...



His glove and ball...we played catch and practiced hitting for awhile when we got home yesterday afternoon...reports of Tuesday's practice to follow...

Memorial Day Weekend, Part 2


Gail took this cool picture of Ben and some "Harry Potter" glasses this morning during a summy moment...


We went out on a geocaching adventure, and were the first to find a brand new one being guarded by gazillions of highly aggressive mosquitoes and black flies, despite the windy conditions...After geocaching, we went for a nice walk around Jones Pond...Penny went in the water with me up to her shoulder, and then regretted it when she got cold...

The weather got windier and colder, but we still had a fun time on our walk...



Gail and Penny love each other...

Memorial Day Weekend, part 1

We started off the long weekend with a day of hanging out and reading and taking it easy...Gail and I had the day off, but Ben had school due to the Saranac Lake School District having had one more "Snow Day" than I did over at Lake Placid (it's in quotes because the SLCSD missed the day in question due to burst water mains)...


The following morning, we started out with some quiet reading on the couch for everyone...


Cedar and Penny were into the book, but they fell asleep on their end of the couch after awhile...


We then headed up to Plattsburgh, to the McDonald's on the shore of Lake Champlain, to meet La-La and Uncle Steve, who were in Burlington for a marathon that Steve was participating in, and were going to pick Ben up for an overnight...this particular McD's is superb for a number of reasons: it has an indoor playplace, which is invaluable when the weather is frightful and my favorite little boy has some beans to run out; it is right by the water and has a nice place to walk and play with little puppies....


...and it has a really great little beach to run around on, along with some great rock-hopping rocks as a part of the retaining wall...Gail and I made the exchange with La-La and Uncle Steve, headed to one of two visits to Petsmart this weekend with Penny, went home and watched some violent movies via pay-per-view ("No Country for Old Men" and "American Gangster" if you were wondering)...we took the ferry over to Burlington the next morning to hook up with the slightly western contingent, at the end of the marathon in Burlington's Waterfront Park, and then headed home...stopping at Petsmart again with Ben and Penny...


One of the signs of summer, despite the hard frost we had Sunday morning, was the opening of Donnelly's Ice Cream...


Penny likes ice cream, she has decided after careful consideration, and would like us to go back on a daily basis for more...


Ben also like ice cream, but has some trouble managing his cone, in terms of dripping...he managed to get ice cream on his ball cap (no biggie, it was only a Red Sox hat after all), his nose, his forehead, his elbows (yup, both of 'em), his shirt, his shorts, his shoes, his dog, his mom, his dad, the grass, and probably on low-flying birds and/or satellites...


Penny initially tried the lunge and bite method, which had a promising yield at first, but then led to a shutdown of the cold-and-good pipeline...she learned that there was a bigger long-term payoff if she would sit and lick...


As always, there were choco-nazis present, ever-ready to tell us of the incalculable damage that we would do to our dog by sharing our chocolate-vanilla twist with Penny...but I think that pre-emptive power-stares on my part shut them down before they self-righteously interrupted our family fun (ask me to tell you the story of Zeke's sparkly poop sometime)...



Ben was in nirvana eating his cone, enjoying the sun and smells and view, and watching Penny share our cones...it's been a nice weekend so far...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lake Clear Beach in the Morning...

...after a rainy night, smells like pine and waves and a little bit like seaweed and dead snails/fish...very nice indeed...

We went over this morning at 9:30am, which may sound early for a Sunday, until you remember that we generally get our day started well before 6am...it was below 40 degrees when we got up, but by 9 it had warmed up to about 50 degrees, which we figured was enough for a trip to the beach...


We got there and set up a blanket, and Penny found a nice stick that had been stripped by a beaver...


Penny likes finding ways to get sand onto the blanket...it's a gift...


Wandering down the beach, I found a soccer ball that had washed ashore punctured, but was still a ton of fun to play with, kicking around and burying...


In the picture above, you can see a suspiciously shaped hill in front of Ben, and photographic proof of my theory that most of Penny's activities on the beach end up taking her on or over Gail at some point...


After a while of running around the beach, chasing Ben in and out of the water, and walking with me down to the scene of the soccer-ball rescue, Penny had to take a laydown while leaning against Gail...


After swimming and getting wet and feeling the cool wind against skin and fur, both Ben and Penny felt the need to take shelter with Gail on the blanket...


Gail read the 3rd book in the (FABULOUS!!!) Charlie Small series to Ben and Penny for awhile...


But the cool wind and water had already made enough of an impact on both of them..they were both shivering in the snuggle-pile, so we headed home...


We got Ben into Gail's sweatshirt, came home, are getting some warm lunch into him, and he is already talking about heading back to the beach later in the day...Penny is asleep on my left foot...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

An Afternoon at the Beach

We did some chores this morning, and some yard work, and Ben and I got haircuts (not with Patty, Fuz), and then this afternoon, we went over to the Lake Clear beach...


Amazingly, there is still some snow plowed up at the end of the parking lot...


There were lots of trilliums in bloom...


We got down to the water, and Penny immediately went for this tree that must have washed up after the ice broke out...what can I say, she dreams big...


The wind was blowing, the rain was only about half an hour away, and the water was about 45 degrees...everyone established their bases of operation quickly...Gail found a nice big log to lean against and watch Penny and Ben...Penny ran back and forth between Gail (and dry ground) and Ben (and the water and waves)...Ben splashed in, and eventually swam in, the water, as if the coldness of the water and wind was all in my mind...


Penny is almost too cute...seriously...when I was walking in the water with Ben, she would come over and sit on the edge watching me nervously...she doesn't trust waves as far as she can bite them (which isn't very far, although she keep trying)...


Ben found a piece of 2 by 4 that made a great raft and paddle and gamepiece...most of the game involved splashing and trying to crush the waves with mighty blows from his whammer...


This was a mistake that turned out fun...she was sitting on the shore waiting for me to assure her that I was all right, and she sprang into action, leaping away from me at the same instant that I aimed the camera too low...I like the motion implied by her front foot while she was pushing off with her back foot...she spent lots of her beach time sproinging around, and (after getting wet) having little running fits involving tight turns and short sprints...


She got her nose quite sandy while exploring all of the treasures underneath the surface of the sand...


After seeing that we were happy to let him get as wet as he wanted to (although we weren't crazy enough to follow his lead), Ben got right down into the water and swam around, even having some waves crash over his head...


After working hard to get a root (which she thought was a stick with one end poked into the beach) out so that she could play with it, Penny got very tired all of a sudden...the picture above almost exactly coincides with her batteries running down...she's asleep at my feet at this minute, warm little puffs of sweetness hitting my toes every second or so...


Ben had a fun time playing in the waves at the shore...crab-walking while the waves broke on his back and head...


Gail was happy to provide a haven for exhausted choco-labs while Ben and I played in the water...


Penny managed to lift her head up when I came over to visit and scratch...barely...


Ben's final game involved chasing his crocs, which would surf away from him both speedily and erratically thanks to wind and wave power...we managed to talk him out of the water as storm clouds raced towards us across the lake...he is so excited about being able to swim in the lakes and ponds around our home, thanks to the warm (ish) weather, that he wants to go swimming every day until snow flies again...

Weekend...

It seemed to be a long week for me...I don't begrudge getting up to walk Penny, but it does cut into the number of high-quality ZZZs I manage to accumulate during the course of the work-week...we watched "The Adirondacks", on PBS on Wednesday night (until 11pm!, which is late for us...it was worth it!)...I had lots of meetings at work this week ( a necessary but unfortunate part of my job, I would prefer to be in the classroom working with my students), which resulted in some student discipline issues...long weeks happen, even in nearly perfect jobs in paradise...

On to the Penny Pictures...


Penny and Cedar are working out their relationship day by day...there are still some growls and tense moments during mealtimes, but they continue to explore their shared love for sleeping on couches, an area in which they are in complete agreement...


After Penny's first morning walk (around 4:30am) I often bring her in to snuggle and sleep with Ben for a bit...I took this picture in the dark, and the flash filled it in quite nicely, although the focus is a bit soft...


She woke up for a second when the flash went off...Ben did not...although she has creepy eyes in this picture, the focus and cuteness is a little better...


Couch-napping training session #47b...Penny snores so beautifully that you might think that generations of chocolate labs were selectively bred just to yield the cute buzzing and gurgling sounds that we are treated to every time she dozes off...


The above isn't a great picture because of the extreme distance and the limitations of our cameras, but I wanted to include it because of the fun that Ben and Penny were having together, playing on the field in back of our house...they chased back and forth in the long grass until the bugs of dusk drove us inside...poor Penny has a lot of bites on her perfect puppy tummy, bugs seem to find it yummy...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cedar and Penny...napping

After a full day of running around, Penny and Cedar snuggled up together on our couch while we watched the movie, "Zoom!" downstairs...


They love hanging out together, although Penny does sometimes hang off of Cedar's neck by her teeth...

Secret Fort, part 2

We got to talking about Ben's fort, and how we could keep stuff for him down there, and Ben suggested geocaches, camouflaged so that nobody would be able to see it...we ran by the dollar store and picked up some paint to color some ammo-cans I just happened to have lying around (yup, I'm that guy...geocaching, camping, Zombie Squad, etc.)...


Camouflage went out the window once Ben saw the colors...he especially liked the gold, which, to be fair, was really cool (if not terribly subtle in the deep woods)...


It even got the top of the salt bucket pretty and shiny...


After gold-ing up a couple of ammo-cans, Ben shifted gears and added some other colors, including black and red and white...


He got a really cool pattern going by making a series of black and red dots in wavy lines alone the sides of one of the ammo-cans...


We brought three ammo-cans down to the fort: from left to right they hold food and toys and books...


We tested out the food/drink can, and the toys can...playing with Penny on the soft mat of 50,000 years worth of accumulated pine needles...at the end of our playtime we covered the cans with a couple of balsam branches...