May 2012

Clifty Falls 2012

This weekend we made our annual visit to Clifty Falls, Indiana for a multi-family, multi-generational camping trip. This entails four of five days of camping for the Grandpas and three days of camping for the Grandmas, children and grandchildren. The main event for the weekend is to listen to the Indianapolis 500 on a 1980’s era streaming audio device.
Streaming Audio circa 1980
This year was as fun as it has always been. It was also very hot. Daytime temperatures were in the mid to upper 90s. The temperature cooled off a bit at night, but barely enough to allow comfortable sleeping. By Sunday night we were all ready for some serious rest.

Usually we have an entire island of campsites to ourselves. However, this year this year we had to share the island with some interlopers. They seemed to be darn nice people who nonetheless will surely be vanquished in the next Battle of Clifty Falls Campsite Reservations, which takes place at midnight one night in November when the campsite reservation system opens for 2013. The campsite we lost in the island was replaced by another site across the street. This allowed good access to the water spigot, which provided hours of entertainment for everyone but especially for Everett and Bradyon. Highlights this year were the water balloon fight, the marshmallow fight, the water spigot and the pool. Photos and videos of the of the trip are here.

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Today we sold our house in Cleveland. This has been a very long process but is now a huge weight off of our shoulders. Coinicidentally, this occurred the same week that Melissa graduated from Case Western. So we are celebrating two big milestones and getting use to the idea that we no longer have any formal ties to Cleveland. In the midst of this, Everett reminds us of his place in our lives, which began at almost exactly the time we moved from Cleveland to Wisconsin. One recent morning Everett woke up and lay down between us in bed:

“We have an Everett sandwich. You and Dadda are the bread.”

Melissa: “What are you?”

“I’m the good stuff.”



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Mother’s Day Tradition

There are some activities that are so fun that they become instant traditions. Visiting the Great Wolf Lodge on Mother’s Day is one of them. We went for the first time last year and it was a high priority for everyone to return this year. So on Friday afternoon we packed the car and headed to Ella’s Deli in Madison for some delicious midwestern treats, mostly fried foods with cheese followed by ice cream. Everett has recently started categorizing foods by whether they are good for your tongue or your body or both For example, while eating an ice cream sundae at Ella’s:

“Is this good for my body?”


“Well, I think it’s good my tongue.”

Dinner at Ella’s was the first bump we encountered in an otherwise smooth trip when Everett realized that the carousel was running, but that he would have to wait until after dinner to ride it. Not happy about this.
Standoff over the Carousel Ride at Ella's Deli
This trip also came at a time when Everett’s bedtime is getting later and later. In an effort to increase sleep time at night we have been trying to make it through the day without a nap. It seemed like the time for this was right because while he still takes good naps, the time that he falls asleep at night is getting later and later. Bedtime is usually between 7:30 and 8:30 but he often doesn’t fall asleep until 9:30 or 10pm. Our first night at the Great Wolf Lodge we swam until almost 9pm and then tried to wind down, but Everett didn’t go to sleep until close to midnight, then got up at 4:30am and wanted to know if it was light outside yet, and finally slept a bit longer until 8:30. Rough night.

We spent the day on Saturday in the pools and on the water slides.

Everett can still ride with us on a couple slides but isn’t quite tall enough for the big boy slides, so those might have to wait until next year. By the time we were done swimming Everett’s lips were turning a tinge blue from the cold. When I mentioned this to Melissa he became alarmed. “Am I choking? Am I getting enough oxygen?” These questions arose because during his recent case of croup we had a rough night when he was having a lot of trouble breathing, which resulted in an explanation about respiration and the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. To alleviate his concern we explained to him that he was still a very rosy color and was getting enough oxygen and had nothing to worry about other than the need to get warm.

The lifeguards at the Great Wolf Lodge seem vigilant, perhaps even hypervigilant. Some of them quickly traced a set path like the polar bear at the zoo. This was quite a different experience than the lifeguards we grew up with who seemed more like a scene out of Caddyshack.

We had Mother’s Day Dinner on Saturday night at Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Company followed by storytime in the lodge.
To promote sleep we created a nest for Everett, which was moderately successful. On Sunday we swam in the morning and stopped at Subway for lunch before heading home.

Everett recently asked Melissa if we could please try harder to have another baby so that we could all have some wedding cake. We have explained to him that we are, which he confirms from time to time with questions like “Are you sure you are still trying?”, making it clear that he wants a brother or sister. In the meantime he has started taking more conscientious care of his animals. Chick came with us on this trip and needed a nap during he day on Saturday. So Everett put socks, pajamas and slippers on him, and then put him in bed.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms in our lives!

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Everett has recently started talking about his body as though it is something distinct from the rest of him. A few examples:

“My body just changed it’s mind. I want someone to come upstairs with me.”

After his bedtime: “My body wants to be in your bed.”

“My body wants to play frisbee”

“My body really wants to go to the Great Wolf Lodge”.

“Sometimes after I have one cookie my body tells me it wants another one.”

This is not the first time we have noted that his body seems to like sweets. Recently he started holding his hand in the shape of a circle against his stomach and saying “Even when I’m full, I have a little more room in the shape of a circle for a cookie.” And if that leaves any doubt then here is a picture of the dessert we gave him for his first birthday. We have since been informed that this is a “medium-sized cupcake”.

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Everett recently learned about static electricity. Or, as he calls it, ecstatic electricity. As in:

  • “Ecstatic electricity!”, after one of us goes down the plastic slide at the playground and then shocks the other family members.
  • “My hair is ecstatic-y.”

It’s surprising that Chris has never heard of ecstatic electricity before, especially considering his education in electrical engineering, and that he has spent a significant portion of his life around engineers who have an unbelievably nerdy sense of humor.

Strangely enough, static electricity came up recently in one of Everett’s books, Amazing Cows, which has a story about Violet the cow, Morton the pig, Baxter the very loud chicken and Wendell the very confusing duck. At one point Wendell is singing a slow, sad song about static electricity that goes like this:

You used to cling to me,

Give a zing to me,

Tell me, my laundry,

What went wrong?

Oh, the static electricity’s gone…

Lastly, here are a couple things that make Everett, if not ecstatic, happy at the very least: licking the cookie dough off the KitchenAid mixer and tromping through mud puddles.

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This video was taken on Sunday afternoon during a trip that Everett and Chris took to Lakefront State Park. The park is mostly an artificial island in Lake Michigan that is a haven for birds and people looking for a nice walk with a great view of downtown. Interestingly, in the span of about an hour there we collected several small crab claws. We have never seen crabs there and thought they might have been left by humans, but these are too small for people to eat and they were scattered across a large area, suggesting that they were left by birds or some other animal. Also interesting was the fact that we never saw any other crab body parts, just the claws.

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Yesterday Everett and George went to the Milwaukee Art Museum. In a rare moment of stillness they sat down to draw.

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Everett usually prefers to paint rather than draw, but George was drawing a pirate ship so Everett got into the spirit and soon afterward introduced Melissa to the syncapotenuse, which is a white-colored animal that lives in the ocean. It is the only animal of its kind and it eats fish. Even though the name sounds whimsical, like a cousin of the hypotenuse, Everett is very consistent about the name. This is what it looks like:

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