Thursday, July 31, 2008

When You Could Just Really Use A Doorknob

A couple week ago, Landon was tearing our bedroom apart napping one lovely afternoon in our bedroom. Through a series of events that surrounded the entire nap time, I found the night stand got completely wiped off, a lamp was taken apart, all electronics unplugged (including his dad's alarm clock) and various and random items randomly scattered in various places. Later that night when it was finally my turn to go to bed, I found that the door knob had experienced great atrocities committed against it as well. Basically, it was in 3 pieces. And none of the pieces were able to function as a doorknob should function.

Now, perhaps he is a budding Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison but please, can't he dismantle destroy experiment with his own toys? Or with items already trashed? Or with sticks and stones? (Son, if you're reading this 20 years from now, I hope you're taking pity on your dear, old mother after all you put her through...)

Until that day, I complained that our door did not have a lock on it. Now I had real reason to complain since it now didn't have a door knob either. I neglected complaining because at that point, I was just very thankful that we at least still had a door never mind a knob or lock. You don't appreciate what you have until you lose something close to it.

So, using a tried and true honey-do-list technique that only works when it's his idea and not mine that I happened to try that day, I basically asked the husband if he could fix the door knob. I mean, it is his room too and he seemed even more desperate and disgusted when he found that the knob was broke.

He disappeared for a few minutes and came back saying it couldn't be fixed: it was missing an important screw *that he couldn't find.* (note the asterisks: they connect with asterisks later on this post.)

The kind and soft hearted wife that I am, I believed him. I mean, his amazing record at finding things that are lost is quite a document of the ability he in no way shape or form has for finding things... ie., like the glasses on his face that he can't find on the dresser because they happen to be on his face while he's looking for them, or the belt on his pants that he can't find anywhere because he's actually wearing them while looking in the closet for them, the countless times he's "lost" his cell phone only to have me find it on his desk... right where he left it. etc., etc., etc.

Still, I believed him. *He did say he looked* so you can't blame a man for at least trying. (re noting the asterisks just to make sure you notice.)

So, one bright early morning, Janae came into our room and shut the door. Now, this paragraph may not sound bad or suspecting of trouble or the beginning of a long, sad story but you have to understand that a door without a doorknob can sometimes still shut and latch shut BUT you can't open it to get out of it if it doesn't have the knob-turny-handle-thingy. Which is exactly what my door was missing. (the door knob was in 2 pieces on the buffet out in the dining room; the 3rd missing piece (the screw) was exactly that: missing.)

I was undressed (well, I mean, I did have pajamas on-- can you be undressed with pajamas on?), getting ready to shower when that door latched shut. I was trapped. I was locked in. I was a prisoner in my own house held captive by a three-year-old girl with braids and blue eyes.

So, what did I do? I rose to the challenge. My day could start bad, sure, I always get all the trouble anyway that's fine. I'll show it that I am undaunted! I'm in control! I'm woman! (blah, blah) Using a skinny, long, plastic, handy device that was randomly laying on the floor, I stuck it in the hole and tried to turn the latch. It didn't turn. But, at least I tried to open it in an attempt to rescue myself.

I could at least have that to say to Toby when I called him. For a guy, there's nothing like helping a girl if she is not willing to help herself. I had evidence to prove I was trying to help myself: I stuck a plastic thing in that hole and it didn't work. (you can't blame a girl for at least trying.)

Because I really wanted him to know about the distress I was in thanks to his incompetence Because I didn't know of anything else to do, I called Toby... "Honeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyy?" I said into the phone I was very thankful to just happen to have in my room (we JUST moved a phone into our room.)

All formalities aside, I filled him in on my day... how I was locked in my bedroom by a small child, barely 3' tall with no way to get out all because the door knob hadn't been fixed the other day because he couldn't find a measly screw because he had been distracted by reading a book instead of fixing the door the child just happened to shut the door while I was in it and the door knob was on the other side of the door.

"Besides going through the window, I have no way to get out of here," I informed him assertively with an aire that said thank-you-very-much-but-I-have-everything-under-control.

He sighed and breathed deeply and moaned and groaned pretending to show remorse, sympathy and regret over how much he disapproved of the kids doing this to me because he didn't know what to do next.

"Find something that you can stick in that hole," he advised.

"Oh, I did honey. I can't find anything that will work," I told him.

"You have NOTHING in the room that could fit in that small square hole?" He asked, sounding shocked that our room is not equipped with state-of-the-art equipment commonly used to rescue one's self from one's own bedroom. The only tool I could find was a level, under the bed.

"Dear, I have no perfectly square screw drivers made to fit in a door knob and designed with precision for emergency purposes. You will need to call your local hardware store and have them custom make you the recommended tool. I would give you the number right now but news flash: the phone book also is not something I normally store in our bedroom. If you get me out of this room, I vow from this day forward to equip our entire room with a week's worth of food, tools for emergency purposes and an adequate reference guide known as a phone book. Thank you for calling Woman in Distress Ministries, have a nice day." "No Dear, I have nothing," I informed him quite matter-of-factly.

"As long as the front door is unlocked, I guess the window is your only option," he said, regretting that he hadn't fixed the door in the first place informing me of my last option.

To which I calmly replied, "Oh it is indeed locked."

In a panicking voice tinged with disgust, he asked, "So now what?"

"Well," I said, "as long as the van is unlocked, I think I can get the keys out of there and then open the front door and then actually get into my own house again," ending my note in desperation because I didn't want him to think I enjoyed this kind of distress at such an early hour in the morning nor did I want him to think I was indeed mentally capable of handling such complicated scenarios because I truly was feeling desperate.

"Okay," he said with all the love and tenderness a man can have for a damsel in distress that he is trying to save because there really was nothing else for him to say.

Before hanging out my bedroom window and lumbering up the driveway while humiliating myself to the whole neighborhood because 1) I didn't have deodorant on yet and 2) I couldn't even get out of my bedroom from inside my house and 3) I really wouldn't want the neighbors to know either one of those facts about me, I looked one last time for something to stick in the hole.

And what should I find right behind the door with neon lights flashing blaze orange arrows at it unburied on the surface of the carpet? The missing screw.

I calmly gracefully serenely quickly utilized the redial button on my phone. His defense? "Oh, that's good... *I never really looked for it." * (were you noting asterisks?)

I didn't even go there with him. A man is always right.

Before ejecting myself out the bedroom window, I just so happened to find a Popsicle stick on the floor. Two to be exact. It fit perfectly. I wiggled it snugly in where-the-door-knob-is-supposed-to-be-hole-that-you-never-see-unless-your-four-year-old-destroys-your-door-knob-during-his-nap. The entire mechanism inside the door that the four-year-old has yet to figure out how to destroy couldn't reach when he was removing the knobs, turned in perfect harmony. The door unlatched.

I was free. And I fixed the knob right then and there because I wanted to tell Toby that not only could I find the screw but I could also FIX the door knob because I didn't want to lose that screw again and start the next day the same way I had started that day.

Within minutes, I was serving my little family a nutritious breakfast cold cereal and we commenced the morning by spilling milk on the table, crying in the high chair, letting the outside dog in, and fighting over who got the purple bowl for their cereal. Yeah, it was a great start to a great day.

Next time I'll just stay locked in my room because I think these kids had it planned all along. Seriously, I do. My kids are out to get me. Perhaps they want to have a day where they run the show and have all the cookies and candy they want and keep me locked up nice and tight. It's like they had this criminalistic plan all contrived where you have the booby-trap set-up guy and then you have the booby-trap detonator guy and then you have the good guy. Landon was Bad Guy #1 and Janae was Bad Guy #2 and I was The Good Guy.

From now on, I will sleep with Popsicle sticks next to my bed. And I'll always keep a phone with me... just for emergency purposes: you never know when a 3 year old might kidnap you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I fell in love a couple weeks ago with a really good cup of coffee. If you don't have one of these and you drink coffee, you have no idea what you're missing. It's called a Bodum French Press. Sounds fancy shmancy but in all honesty, it's a plain jane contraption that's nice and compact and good for small kitchens. And it makes great coffee.

It retailed at Bed Bath and Beyond for $49.99 but with my 20% off coupon, I struck a good deal.
(I finally realized what the "beyond" means in Bed Bath and Beyond: it means a Bodum French Press.)

It was especially a good deal since my old coffee pot was giving out and needed to be replaced and had always made gross coffee anyway. It was actually hard to tell that it was giving out since the coffee had never tasted good but the flood of water surrounding the pot every once in awhile indicated that the Mr. Coffee was going the way of all coffee makers and would soon end up at the landfill where we know all coffee makers go.

Some should just go there right now anyway and you'll agree with me when you buy your very own Bodum French Press coffee maker and enjoy a cup of it's robust, dark yet creamy goodness. You haven't tasted coffee until you've tasted Bodum's. (In case you're wondering, I am not getting paid for this advertisement -- except in the good cup of coffee sitting next to me.)

But, when you pour your cup of coffee, be sure not to put it in this cup like I tend to do. I love the $1 deal I got on it at TJ Maxx and absolutely adore it's tall, narrow elegance but find it's natural tendency to tip-over-easily-when-bumped to be a slight inconvenience... especially when it spills my good cup of coffee all over a crisp, white, piece of eyelet fabric with the pattern already pinned to the fabric. And gets on the books sitting next to the fabric. And goes under the serger just beyond the fabric.

Not to change the delicious subject to something less appealing, I just thought in case any of you are still wondering about my computer as I am still wondering about it, I thought you might be interested to know that it is still sitting in that nice computer bag. In the corner. On the floor. Out of sight, out of mind. Well, not quite out of mind but you get the idea.

Back to that cup of coffee... I need a refill.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What's Worse?

So, I find out that the gravel Alex was just having a blast playing in, was sprayed with Round Up yesterday. And the twenty-first-century-mom that I am, I go right to and look it up, just like all other moms do these days when their kids do deadly and toxic things.

Okay, so Poison Control is still there for you but at least you don't have to head right to the phone in the heat of a disaster if you use Google. Plus, I can never remember that number or find the "convenient place" I stored the number at. Google is so much handier, faster and obviously safer since it's literally at my finger tips. And it's not on the phone.

Speaking of phone, that seems to cause a disaster in and of itself anymore these days. I get on the phone to check on a sick relative or verify wedding plans and even though it's a tender caring thought that is propelling me to connect with my phone, it turns into a serious problem.

A problem like a 3 year old climbing in the fridge, looking for her vitamins that she already had. The phone rings/I call someone and suddenly, there she is in the fridge... every. single. time. I. get. on. the. phone. It's like that's her cue to get her pills for the day... "Oh Mom's on the phone -- GET ME MY ACIDOPHULUS!" I should just start putting her in the fridge as soon as the phone rings/I dial a number so that I don't have to wonder what all that racket in the kitchen is about.

Or that four year old that follows me around exhaling in a balloon, screeching the air out and then asking me politely (but loudly) if I would please blow his balloon up. Oh yeah, like I'm going to huff and puff into a rubber bag with a small opening and carry on a phone conversation. Balloons can wait. And so can those banana flavored pills.

So, back to the Round Up scene... after sitting at the computer for about 27 seconds which was also roughly about 25 seconds after I put Alex down on the floor, I begin reading that on skin contact, "No first aid procedures are required for Round Up. As a precaution, wash skin thoroughly with soap and water," I happen to jump up and remember that I have a 13 month old on the loose and the bathroom door was left open.

I make one step away from my computer (and breathing a sigh of relief that my child is going to survive the minimal contact that he may or may not have had with Round Up) just in time to see him splashing in a very unflushed toilet.

So, I guess I saved his life from the wolves only to hand him over to the lions on a shiny, silver platter. He may not be contaminated from toxic chemicals but toxic biological waste is a sure guarantee, thanks to the evidence I found on him.

I'm not risking utilizing Google's bar and the keys on this computer that would spell "my child played with pee" in case he decides to play with matches or stick a metal prong in an outlet or drink bleach or crawl out to the street or choke on a cheerio or do some other deadly thing while I'm checking on the procedure prescribed for urine smelling children. We'll just wash him up and keep him out of trouble instead.

(In case you're worried, the said child was sleeping through this whole post, safely and soundly.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Working It Up in the Corn Husker State

Nebraska continues to amaze me. Which is actually a good thing otherwise I'd be bored stiff after 5 years in this flat, corn field state.

Seriously though, 'corn field' is about all I can think of right now. Cobs and cobs of corn filling and overflowing pick up trucks. And about a quarter of that (okay, my figuring could be off... I stand corrected if so) mounding high in the back of my van.

It all magically transformed into a tractor bucket full of neatly shaved corn cobs and about 200 bags of sweet, yellow, juicy corn all ready for a hand full of freezers spread across this side of the state.

First the corn had to be picked. That was only for the strongest, the bravest and the smartest (I have to talk these people up because really, their job was a big one.) "The Slackers" stood in knee high grass with grass hoppers climbing our legs and large bee-like flies buzzing around our head while we husked.

Husking for several hours in the hot sun brought "close fellowship" and an array of topics to discuss. Grass hoppers and bugs added to the excitement as well as certain children that failed to remove all the hair from the naked cobs. Sharp knives hacked the ends of the cobs off and usually an aunt or two would shriek in horror when the child closest to them would start flailing and stabbing at a cob of corn. It was scary. Children with sharp knives should always be careful or better yet, they should just not have knives at all when their aunts are around. Or, the aunts should just stop shrieking in horror. (says an aunt who shrieked a time or two).

Then the corn was "cleaned" and stacked/piled/dumped into a place where it waited to be cleaned and cooked.

A double propane heater boiled the kettles of water which cooked the corn for either 3 minutes or 5 minutes, depending on who was cooking it and if they were getting their way with the timer or not.

Then the corn was quickly transported to cold water. Once the cobs began to float, they were moved to an even colder tub with ice in it. There it was cooled and carefully watched so it could be moved out ASAP in order to keep everyone busy (namely the cutters).

The Person moving the corn would shout an echoing "CUTTERS" as he carried the cold corn in colanders to the make shift, plywood-board-on-saw-horses table where about a dozen people stood ready with bowls and sharp knives. From there the corn was cut into sticky, kernelly bowls and then carefully measured into hundreds of bags (okay, just make that 2 hundred) and then counted, re-counted, counted, re-counted and then re-counted again before being stored in a cooler, freezer or box.

A home cooked meal spread itself throughout the processing part of our corn work and our hostess was amazing. She seemed to manage being at least 7 places at once and yet stayed unstressed, giddy and throwing her two cents around. I love people like that.

I would've taken pictures but I didn't bring my camera. Just envision big tables heaped with yellow corn. Huge rubbermaid bins piled high with a juicy mound of corn. And old wash tubs filled to the brim with waiting, yellow corn. And then picture lots of dirty, wet, sticky people yelling to be heard above the loud fans and noise while cleaning, cutting, packaging and tasting corn.

I learned some new phrases today and what they mean. Also, some new experiences were experienced today.

"Working it up." Three little words, but whoa, they mean a lot. WORKING must be emphasised (if you know what "work" means, you understand how to emphasis it) and use the word "up" to the fullest, highest amount you can fathom. 'Working it up' is a great way to call what we were doing with corn today.

"Shucks" is not always used as a euphemistic word to describe frustration, disappointment, etc.; it's also another word to describe the husks wrapping the corn before we strip it off.

"Shelly" is a cow. And she knows her name.

You don't have to have OCD in order to insist on counting all the cobs just so you can know how many cobs to pick/plant/plan on next year. Or wanting to throw the shaved cobs off the tractor bucket in the dark one at a time in order to count them... "one... two... three...." Is it even possible to count that high in the dark? What would happen if you accidentally threw an extra cob but didn't know if it was just one extra or two extra? Unanswered questions remain as the person wishing to intricately count each cob did not get their wish to come true. We will never know how many cobs of corn we effected on this green, growing earth. Or how many we should effect next year.

Bare feet on a cement slab sandwiching a green, gooey worm is a very impeccable experience. Don't try it. Just don't.

The R on your vehicle does not stand for "roll forward." It actually means 'Reverse' (or, backwards, if you use simple English) and if you don't intend to go that way, I suggest putting it in D for drive. Because we all know that the only way to go forward is to 'drive.' (You'd think you'd remember this stuff from your Driver's Ed book...)

And when the bowls are finally empty, the kettles have quit cooking and the knives are laying still, we all know what the corn is then: it's all; the term used when something is gone/finished/empty/over/etc. in Nebraska.

That sums it up for Nebraska Corn Season First Picking Of Season 2008: it's all. But, it all was very fun.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

That Computer Again

Well, it's back, in all it's splendid glory. Yes, that's my computer I'm talking about. It's sitting somewhere in this house closed up, cold, unused, dead and lifeless. Basically, as normal as ever.

I did find a snazzy computer bag for it at a discount price. That's nice.

The smart Geek (ie., the dude with Geek Squad at Best Buy) informed us that the real problem with my computer is that the new ram (or would it be Ram? Or RAM????) that we put in when we first bought the computer is not compatible to the mother board. He assured us that the ram is fine and the mother board is fine but they are not compatible to each other.

You may notice that I italicized 4 words in the above paragraph. For those of you that didn't notice, go ahead: re-read the whole sentence just to know what I mean.

For the rest of you that are still reading, that ram was installed per Best Buy's suggestion/recommendation and included in the purchase of that computer. Basically, what I'm saying is that when Toby asked what ram we could get to "upgrade" the computer to a higher gigabyte/speed/power/performance (whatever), they pointed to a package and said, "Here. We'll put this in for you." And now they blame us. And will charge us to re-purchase the original ram.

The nice people they are, they offered to put it in for free but from what I hear from a reliable source, slipping a ram in a computer is similar to injecting a memory card in your PC box. So, we'll handle it from here, thank you very much.

Even my non-computer savvy sister-in-law who so kindly stood in line for hours (well, not quite but almost) just to pick up my computer on her trip into to town the other day, offered to re-insert the ram for me. I honestly trust her more than the Geeks in that Squad at this point.

That service plan at Best Buy isn't bringing us much service. After one long stay at the computer clinic, hard drive wiped, screened cleaned and full analysis and diagnosis made then shipped across creation and finally landing back in our laps, the computer didn't work. Why didn't they check the ram then?

After another even longer stay at the computer clinic, the computer comes home with a repaired bottom (yeah... it had been cracked but that was how I could tell it apart from any other computer), no wiped hard drive, no replaced motherboard (like they told us they'd probably do) and still functioning wrong, it's back in our laps. And they say, "Oh, the problem with your computer all this time is that the ram is too big for it." So, tell me why it had to sit in their warehouse for weeks??? They obviously weren't doing anything to it all that time.

And guess who is required to fix it after all the "professional help" that was supposed to fix it? Not them and their service plan Geeks. Why couldn't they just slip a ram in while it was at the computer junk yard? I mean really, is it THAT big of a deal compared to replacing the motherboard like they thought they would do?

So, they wrote down the garbled and gibbered numbers that should be on the new ram we install. They couldn't sell it to me because they didn't carry it in the store. (not like I really want to buy anything more from them for that computer...) The place of purchase they recommended was a website online. (where else is a website?) But, Toby's computer blitzed out and our house was honestly computer-less for 24 hours. And there was no way we could get mine "fixed" since our internet access was the link to the missing piece for my computer and that was gone thanks to two faulty, Best Buy computers that wouldn't turn on. It was at that point that I got that nice computer bag. It looks really nice, all filled out with a nice, closed up lap top inside it.

Turns out that Toby's computer has a glitch in it that needs to be repaired. But as long as you don't do any irrational thing to it like close the lid without hibernating it (or did he tell me it was "sleeping" it?) or pull the chord out while in use, or the electricity goes off unexpectedly, etc., you're fine. I'm on that computer now.

Toby on the other hand, decided to purchase a desk top computer because these laptops seem to have traditional hiatuses that make it very inconvenient/impossible for him with his business work. So, now we have a desk top and two back up laptops... if you can call that one in that nice computer bag a back up computer.

Not to make this into a rant or anything but just to get the word out, if anyone googles "Best Buy's computer service is the best" I hope they come to my blog and get the rest of the story.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Random Realities of Real Life

While splurging in luxury, and drinking coffee while surfing the web (ie., checking email, blogging, etc.), I am listening to a busy dad upstairs making pancakes with 3 small, motherless children. The busy-ness above me could be a reflection on the busy-ness of life around us and ahead of us lately.

My computer is still with the Geek Squad at Best Buy. (No comment on it's "success" because I have none: they don't return my calls or answer the phone when I call.)

My generous, sisterly heart offered to make 5 bridesmaid dresses for my sister's wedding in order to pay back all that nanny service she gave us for several years. Thankfully, my sister here was the "umph" I needed to just go ahead and offer my sewing services. It happened in a phone call when I told my sister-in-law that Britt could not seem to find any dresses but the idea she had seemed simple and you-wouldn't-think-too-hard-to-find. "Why couldn't we just make them?" was the question asked and the next thing I knew, I had yards and yards of shimmering bridesmaid fabric sitting on my porch. Now that we're trying out another pattern, things should start taking shape soon.

My daughter is also in the wedding and is required to wear a flower girl/miniature bride dress. That project sounds really, really fun. I want to do one of those white, fluffy, full, yards and yards of tulle, little dresses. Thankfully, the boys require no sewing for this event so I'm really thankful that we have 2 boys and 1 girl in our little family, just for sewing purposes.

My schedule isn't quite full yet so we're sticking in a little camping trip next weekend. That sounds like loads of fun. We're going with a group of couples/families from church and we're just staying one night, about 45 minutes away. The plan is to split our family and Toby's brother's family between a tent and a camper... girls in one, boys in another, type of thing. The kids are really looking forward to "canting" (as they call 'camping') and Toby and I think it'll be fun to just chill and hang out for a day or two with friends and family.

Since this is a very random post, I'll fill you in on another few details...

2 applications of sun block does not keep me from burning on July 4th.

Alex is not walking yet; if he learns within the next 2 months, he will walk down the aisle at Britt's wedding. (Not exactly to commemorate his achievement but you could look at it that way if you want.)

Mowing on a gigantic John Deere tractor in a cemetery can result in tipping one gravestone over. I know because I tried it. Well, I didn't exactly try but it did happen.

A cat that mouses by pulling live mice out of a hole in the wall, five feet off the floor and then kills them and puts the dead mice on the office chair is good. A cat that "snakes" (she catches/kills snakes) and puts them in a plastic grocery bag that just happens to be laying on the floor is better; you just take the bag out and throw it away without even touching the snake. Let's just say our cat is definitely earning her keep.

Fourth of July is by far my favorite holiday. It always has been ever since I can remember.

I always look twice when I see a National Guardsman so when they're in the parade, I tend to stare. The National Guard in our town's parade is my favorite display -- even if they do tuck their pants into their boots. They're my favorite next to the Pro-Life float. I saw a quote yesterday that made a lot of sense: "You can't have Liberty and Justice for all without Life."

Fire trucks that spray water in the parade are a big hit.

Taking pictures of fireworks is easy. Getting pictures of fireworks to turn out nice is hard/difficult/next-to-impossible/etc.

Not turning all the lights out in the park where the town fireworks are displayed, is annoying and takes away from the fireworks.

Seeing 3,200 white crosses on the college lawn was stunning and shocking. We all know that many babies die every year in our country but to see a symbol of each life is heart breaking. Pray to end Abortion!

I am feeling guilty for sitting here while Toby slaves away on his Saturday morning breakfast tradition. I should at least go get the syrup on the table. Or set the plates out. Or offer 2 adult hands in a kitchen overran by toddlers.

Hope you all had a wonderful Fourth and remembered that the Liberty and Justice we have in our country is because of God. But still, our liberties would be limited if it wasn't for the freedom our country has given us to worship and live the way we want. May we never forget The Hand that turns the king's heart.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Fun In The 'Good Life' State

I've been in Nebraska for 5 years. Over 5 years, actually. And I've done a lot of things in that time while in Nebraska. I've lived in 4 different houses, owned 5 different vehicles, resided in 3 different cities, birthed 3 children, laughed, cried, cooked, cleaned, etc. BUT, I have never found a nice place to go in the dead of summer when all you can think about (at least when you're from Wisconsin) is a good, old fashioned, swimming hole.

Until recently.

At last! I have found the place! It really helps to have friends in high places... ie., friends that are aware of such a wonderful retrieve from the summer's heat. I guess I should've just asked a lot sooner.

My friend/beach buddy, Sarah, is one of those "think of everything" moms so of course, she didn't forget to suggest buckets and shovels and sand toys for the kids. The boys (and maybe the girls did too) would drive their dump trucks at full speed into the water and race them around on the lake bed. It seemed like an imaginary way to play with a dump truck but I've heard that imaginiation stretches a child's thinking habits and developes their brain better.

So, yeah. Our kids should have better brains now because Sarah thought to even bring dump trucks to the beach which resulted in good brain expansion through imaginary comprehension of driving truck under water.

What fun it was. 9 kids, 6 and under really made it fun. It was like watching a whole flock of fishing bobbers float in the lake. Only these "bobbers" had arms and legs and a mind of their own to head deeper in the lake.

We had a rushed lunch, since everyone wanted to get in the water, and even had a couple dads/husbands show up in time for the food. It was great fun for everyone.

Mouthfuls of water and sand. Buckets of sand clinging to wet clothes.. Scattered sand toys across the beach. Basically, there seemed to be a lot of sand. But it was still fun. Especially for those that used it for other purposes: you can't tell from the pictures very well but Alex topped his lunch off with a generous serving of sand. "Some like it hot; some like it cold..." he liked it just the way it was.

No matter how careful I am to put on even amounts of sunblock, or stay directly aimed under the sun's glare, I always always get burned on one side of my body and hardly warm on the other. This beach day was no exception. They tell me that the sun is more direct in Nebraska than in Wisconsin because of elevation. But, wow. This is pathetic.

I think I need some type of scope like guys put on their guns in order to zero in on the target with precision. Only this would be used the other way around: I would be in the scope, all zeroed in and slowly adjust to the sun's position in order to not become a half baked lobster instead of an evenly ripened strawberry. No pictures of this but I can assure one arm is dark/red and the other is light/white. And it just looks weird. I suppose after it happens enough times this summer, I'll eventually be evenly roasted like a rotisserie chicken.

The beach was public but we were surprised to find it large and private and the water not too sea-weedy. I think it helps to go in the morning and then leave right after lunch. Not only do you avoid the hottest sun of the day but you also can find your swimming hole to be quiet, partially secluded and fun to be had for everyone.

We're already talkin' about doin' it again. Anybody wanna come?