Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day to Remember

Anniversaries are often times of celebration. They often involve getting together with friends or relatives that you haven't seen in a while to reconnect, catch up and enjoy each other's company. But anniversaries' primary purpose is to mark a significant event for remembrance.

Today marks one such significant event. There will probably be gatherings of family and friends. They will probably share stories of this day ten years ago. Stories of where you were when you heard the news. The only celebrating will be celebrating the memories of the life of a loved one lost.

But it all comes back to the primary purpose of an anniversary. To remember. To remember the ones who lost their lives. To remember the sacrifices made by the police and firefighters of New York. To remember the families and friends affected by the needless loss of life. To remember the reason why sacrifices are made. It's not easy keeping a country free. The freedoms we enjoy come at a price. Unfortunately, some people end up paying more than their fair share. We should not take our freedoms for granted. While we are remembering this tragedy from a decade ago, we should also remember to thank a vet, an active military member, firefighter, police officer or anyone else responsible for our safety.

Last year SP's and N1S's seventh grade cousin from Fargo entered a school contest to design something that honored the memory of all who sacrificed on September, 11th 2001. She came up with two pictures symbolizing what that date meant to her. The contest judges were so impressed that she not only won the contest, but her school decided to print her designs onto t-shirts to sell with all of the proceeds going to a veteran's organization in Fargo.

SP and N1s each have a shirt that they wear on most patriotic holidays. This year they wore their shirts to school on the Friday before September 11th.

Here, SP models her shirt. You can click on the picture to better see the detail that her cousin put into her design.

This is the back of the shirt. She incorporated the airplane numbers and the pentagon into her second design. The logo reads, "How Soon We Forget".

Many times we get caught up with what is wrong with the country. We need to balance that with what is right with the country too. Our country and the people in it are doing things every day to be proud of. Big things. Small things. They all count.

Take pride in your country. Appreciate what has been done for you. Return the favor.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Last of the Summer Fun

We are getting dangerously close to the beginning of September and the start of the school year. Once again we packed our lives in the pickup and headed northeast to Bayfield, WI to tent camp for four days. This is our third year in a row of camping here with our good friends who haven't yet packed up their gear midweek and changed campsites.

We had near perfect weather for the third year in a row also. Hot during the day and cool at night. The animals liked the cool night too because we were visited by many. The first night there was the noisiest night we have ever had to sleep through. The raccoons made not one but three separate passes through our campsite looking for food. In between raccoon raids, two White Owls were hooting back and forth like an Owl Idol competition. Then just as things quieted down for a whole fifteen minutes, and my eyes started to close, a pack of coyotes started to howl and yip. All these noises of nature would have been kind of pretty to listen too if it weren't for the thin piece of nylon tent being the only protection between my head and sharp teeth.

Perhaps the animals were drawn to our tent by our festive string of battery operated blue tent lights. Actually, they are Christmas lights but we didn't tell the raccoons that.

The second night we found out that duct tape doesn't hold lights on nylon very well. So the festive lights only lasted one night. Surprisingly, there were also no more nights of howling coyotes. Hmmm.

The weather was so nice this mermaid washed up on shore one of the days.

Our friends also rented a paddle board for the day. I don't think the kids did much paddling though. Instead, they used the board for a lot of falling in the water.

Later in the afternoon, we spotted some teenagers climbing all over a fifteen foot long log which had floated into the bay. They were about a hundred yards out. When the teens got tired and abandoned their find, Lady Di and her friend Kerry decided that they wanted that log. So they both jumped into the kayak that we had rented for the day and paddled out to get it. It took them about ten minutes to get to the log and about 50 minutes to tow it to shore. It was big and waterlogged and heavy. When they were within 20 yards of shore, a young swimmer told his dad, "Hey, I want to play on the log!" His dad, who had been watching LD and Kerry the whole time said, "For as much work as those two have gone through for that old log, I don't think they want to give it up so easily."

But it was so worth it. As soon as the log arrived, everyone from our two families immediately wanted to get on it and float. The boys even tried to pull it back out to sea but soon realized that they didn't want to invest 50+ minutes in the endeavor. Who would have thought that a big old log would be the hit of the beach?
The log is half submerged in this picture. It was also so slippery that a picture with all four kids actually standing on it was rare.

Since we usually camp the last week of August, it usually falls on Number One Son's birthday.

Here he is blowing out his birthday citronella candle surrounded by cupcakes. That orange ball on the table is our homemade ice cream maker. There is a metal cylinder inside the ball which holds the cream and vanilla. Ice and salt go inside the outer area of the ball to cool the cream. Once each section is filled with appropriate ingredients, it's up to the kids to play soccer with the ball to mix it into ice cream. It was a delicious thirteenth birthday party.

So that puts a cap to our summer of 2011. Now we can look forward to school starting in a couple of days. How will we ever get the kids to go to bed without White Owls lullabying them to sleep?

Stuff About Me

My photo
I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.