Tuesday, 31 July 2007


You Are the Thumb

You're unique and flexible. And you defy any category.
Mentally strong and agile, you do things your own way. And you do them well.
You are a natural leader... but also truly a loner. You inspire many but connect with few.

You get along well with: The Middle Finger

Stay away from: The Pinky

Sunday, 29 July 2007

And we're back to cute pictures of Lil'Bug

Finally, right? I'm sick of writing about homeschool socialization, teaching philosophy (wait, did I post that one?), and the like so I am sure the distant relatives who only visit to see new cute pictures of the dear daughter are sick of trying to filter through my boring rants to find said pics. So here are the pictures of how we spent Sunday morning (at Living History Farms):

The first one she is helping scrape buffalo hide, then the second one is when the interpreter tells her that she's helping to make leather and her shoes are made of leather.

Later she has a talk with the lamb. She is worried about a fox she saw so she's telling the lamb not to worry, "Foxes eat other people's chickens, they don't have their own and they are hungry." They don't eat lambs? I didn't have the heart to tell her.

Then the farmer at the 1850's house let Lil'Bug help cook lunch. She got the water from the well jug and placed the potatoes in the prepared pot.

The picture I wish I got? Lil'Bug also helped round up a chicken that had twine tangled around its feet. She did a very good job helping, a natural at chicken herding. :)

Friday, 27 July 2007

Friday Freewrite: Make a wish!

"Today’s a day for wishes. Write about a wish you dearly hope will come true in your life."

This was a tough exercise. It was easy to talk about history or thunderstorms and the like, but wishes are something else entirely. I grew up making wishes. Nothing happened. Then I learned something else: plans based on wishes fail. So I make goals and plan for the goal. Sometimes my goals seem unrealistic, but that just means I have to work harder to attain them.

Learning is like this. I wanted to learn about architecture, reading online and in books was not getting me the education I felt I needed so I went to Graduate school and worked with professors, professionals, and others to learn the technologies of the trade. It's an industry that changes quickly so I have to keep up with my reading to stay current in the field. Right now, I am a stay-at-home-mom (or work at home, with online classes) and I don't really get to use my education in architecture. I'm not even really sure I will re-enter the field professionally. That doesn't matter to me. I love learning about it and helping others, discussing technologies, and educating those who are steadfast and old fashioned about the trade about new things they may not have considered. I can talk for days on end about old houses.

Now wait, this does relate to the freewrite! My wish is that my daughter will someday get to be as passionate about something as I am about old houses. That she will find joy in a subject and find work in the field that makes her happy to get up in the morning and go to work, that she has so much fun that it won't be work for her and that she will never be bored. I can read for hours about the history of indoor plumbing (ie African aqueducts that pre-date the Roman ones) and retain the information because I genuinely find it interesting. I wish that she finds that too.

I can't really make that a goal that I can plan for, but I can facilitate her learning in a way that doesn't make her hate education. I can watch for things that interest her and put opportunities in front of her for her to choose. Right now she is watching a DVD on zoo management. She picked it out at the library and she was thrilled when we got home that I said she could watch it right away. I hate seeing her glued to the TV, but she is enthralled. We visted a vet's office today and she asked them when she would be old enough to help with giving animals shots. They told her at "seven years old" she can help hold and comfort the animals. They told her she has to weigh as much as the animal to be able to help. She told me she wants to be an animal doctor when she is seven. Cute. She's been looking through out Hobby Farm magazines too. Who knows? Maybe next year she'll want to be a firetruck, but right now she wants to know about animals so that's what we are using to teach her. A is for alligator.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Laundry Fun! We're Totally Nuts Here.

Here's the deal. My dearest husband has this terrible, painful skin thing and medicines are not working for him. The ones that do a little bit are icky AND expensive, but they treat a symptom not the root cause. He's always complaining about things smelling too strong or itching, especially clothes. I thought we should change bath soaps. We did, Amy at the Foil Hat rocks some serious Pure Castile. That helped a little. So what about laundry soap? Some of the moms on our discussion board were sharing recipes for such soap, but even those have borax, or fels naphtha, or washing soda- all of which he reacts to.

Then I found soap nuts.

When I stumbled upon the Sapindus tree and its fruit/berries I was intrigued. I had been frustrated that all "soap" must use lye, but here was a plant that produces an agent that much of the world uses for laundry. Hmmmm. I cannot grow it in a zone 4/5. Surely someone has packaged it and is marketing it to hippies. If they don't, I will and I will get to roll in piles of "green" money.

Maggie's Pure Land got there before me AND I could order from them through amazon.com. That said, I was a little ashamed to use it, afraid that this would deeply root me as one of them, especially when it arrived and had a floating yoga hippie on the box and a free pair of love nut earrings. OMG. And then, what if its all a scam, after all the patchouli most hippies wear deadens their senses and they don't bathe anyway, so how would they know if their clothes were actually getting clean??!!?!?!?

Then my daughter itched at me. So in went the soap nuts and in went the clothes. They came out clean. Since there are no harsh detergents, they say there is no need to use fabric softener. They smelled like.....like....nothing. Like cotton. And DH itches less, claims that his shirts are so soft they tickle. So I washed sheets. The sheets dried in 20 minutes instead of an hour and each load had barely anything in the lint basket. It was seriously like I'd entered the laundry room of the Twilight Zone. Tonight I did the ultimate test, really stinky, slimy dishtowels that had sat in a bucket for two days. Clean? Oh my yes. I didn't even have to run them a second time or with bleach. When the soap nuts are used up, you compost them. I am sooooo totally the laundry queen! Now...... if only I could grow them myself!

The only downside I see is that my clothes are not super lamb soft like I was used to. I will continue on the quest to fix this, but DH and Lil'Bug don't seem to care. Also, I feel good about letting Lil'Bug help (she is such an adorable helper!), even handle the soap nuts. Check out the photos on the left for all the action packed sudsy goodness. (You have to click on the wash load picture to see most of the sudsing.)

We didn't do this to be "green", we did it to stop itching.

Mystery Melon?

Can anyone tell me if this is a pumpkin or a melon?

I know that we'll figure it out soon enough, but I am excited about having pumpkins and melons at all. You see, WE DIDN'T PLANT ANY! We have the worst time with squash beetle that I had just given up. These melons came out of the ground where the compost bin was last summer. So, any one who guesses right I will share some pumpkin soup with in the fall. :)

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Kill Your Television

I found this study. Here is the main gist of it:

Television Statistics
According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.

Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5
Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV
and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54

Just some food for thought for today. Seriously, minutes per week- 3.5. What are these parents doing??????? I can't go 5 minutes without Lil'Bug clamoring for interaction, discussion, or for questions to be answered.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Middle Name Meme

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.

4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Theresa, after my great Tant Therese.

Tired. Very tired. Of group dynamics, of friendships gone sour, of my neighborhood, of people criticizing our educational choices, of waiting to move, of student loans, of anxious students, and of being told that I don't clean my house very well. Bah.

Harry Potter FAN! I don't care for the fan fiction though, too much of it is sick and disturbing (I mean, these are children characters!) and not worth commenting further on. The books rock! H could also be for honey though. Ha.

Educated. I have a triple MA through the interdisciplinary program at ISU in Architectural Studies, American History, and (English) Creative Non-Fiction. I never had to take filler classes and it was a joy of an educational experience, what college should be, what all learning should be.

Ray of sunshine. I am an idealist until I hit a sour spell. Then I am that harsh, hard to be around for more than a little bit, August sun- the kind that burns with peeling. I chew on anger a little bit too long. I am working on this.

Egalitarian is what I am. Not a feminist, not a radical Proverbs 31 wife, not any varied labels of things. I believe that all are equal and I can find plenty of things wrong with people as individuals and I don't need to blanket label and make snap judgments. Except for hippies, I hate hippies; not the earth friendly mamas, but the pot smoking phony kind and there is a huge difference.

Soap. I am a soap junkie lately. I am having some trouble getting laundry soap just right, and a little frustrated that many cleaning products do NOT have an ingredient list. It's not like I'm looking for their formula, just double checking what's in 'em.

Apple lover. All things apple. I dream of someday having an apple farm. I don't mean that I plan on decorating any room in my house with an apple theme though. I love all things real food, soap, candle apple. I thought about A for apiculture, but since we've not yet kept bees, and I've eaten plenty of apples that's what wins out. Someday though.

Tagging: Mom Rox! Everyone else I know (I think) has already been tagged._ So if you lurk here and I didn't list you...consider yourself tagged!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Ooooopa Loooompa Doopadi Doo

Orange bedroom walls will do this to you,
If you wish to look like this too.
Ooompa Loompa Doopity Doo!

I can't quite get a picture of myself in the right light, but this morning I rubbed my eyes in and looked at my morning self in the dresser mirror. Whoa lady, if you ever wondered what you might look like with a spray on tan, paint your walls Geranium Orange. The reflected color was amazing, I even had the white eye rings like spray on tan ladies have. What a way to start the day. It was too early for my brain to process this, so my first thought was that my sheets, which are also terracotta orange, were bleeding dye. Then I thought maybe it was a weird rash. Then I fully woke up. Geesh.

Also, I finished Book 7 on Saturday afternoon. Dearest Husband wisely and graciously gave me a day off from kid duties, I ran errands in the morning, and settled in just before lunch to devour the book. For lunch, I was so unto the book I actually grabbed a fistful of ham out the fridge and a chunk of watermelon a bit later on. It was soooooo worth it. I am so in love with the character that I think looks like my DH and JK wrote him very well in this book.

I will post pics later along with my update on my quest for allergy free laundry.

Friday, 20 July 2007

The "S" Word, an exposition for those concerned

Socialization. Seriously. I thought it was "School" and homeschoolers were mocking people because of how very little time it takes to cover the material that a conventional school covers in 8 hours. So little that it is hardly like school at all, really.

But they were referring to socialization. The big nasty word that people who don't homeschool lower their voice and tone to say when commenting on the "dangers" of such a lifestyle. I'm a bit slow sometimes to read such body language and inferred meaning.

A student "informed" me in a flame mail that I am inflicting my daughter with an unfair segregation and she will have taken away from her team sports, school lunches, and friends! Um, no. Home School Assistance Program (HSAP) allows her to play on any team, take any class, go to band, etc that she wants, when she wants (not determined by age either, only ability) even dances if she chooses that. She also has the choice of team sports, practice, etc that are not connected to her schooling and there are many more of those, more on that later. School lunches? Hmmmm, maybe I should re-think my daughter's whole educational process so she can learn to consider ketchup as a vegetable serving, (insert rolled eyes here, I mean really?) AND FRIENDS? I have to laugh at that one. Lil'Bug has more friends that her socially inept mama (who is a product of Public School (PS)). I could even go on about comparing the PS classroom to Lord of the Flies. I've done this before when cornered with socialization, but that's the easy way to be snarky about it.

Why is the issue of socialization so often the fish brought out in "polite" conversation? Beats me. Maybe it is the only thing people can come up with since they can't argue test scores, manners, success, or happiness. Yes, happiness. Check out this link: homeschoolers all grown up. (It is a PDF.) So that's the formal research on it. A very, very low percentage of hmSchoolers end up in prison and a very, very high end up in college and HAPPY compared to the rest of society. Why then are we worried?

I started to look at it from a different perspective. What do they actually mean by socialization? What they mean is normal. Because realistically socialization is not restricted to public school days, and so very little of it actually occurs there K-8. Kids learn to socialize from their parents and community, their churches, their sports activities, etc. and most of that is outside school days. They may make connections to people at school, but the majority of the interpersonal interaction occurs outside the school bells.

So the real question is not about socialization, it's about normalcy. It's not about the academic education, it's about diversity in lifestyle and that is what people are having a hard time swallowing. PS institutional education is good enough for them, what they chose for their children, why is it not what we are choosing for ours? So they wrap this up in a big word and make it sound really bad, as if we are depriving her of something invaluable that she can't get anywhere else, when really that's obviously not the case at all. They are defending their own choices even though that is not what we are asking them to do. Am I worried that my kid is not going to be normal?

The answer is: I'm not.

I'm too busy with field trips and laundry to worry about something so silly.

What's your name?

My Rapper name would so be Professor D. and I would so get to say Professor D. is in the hizzle. Right? Snoop Doggy Dogg, while he would so fail my English class for this simply on the annoying factor, has a website that will translate regular English into gibberish:

My Rizzle nizzle would so bizzle Profizzle D. and I would so gizzle to sizzle Profizzle D. is in thizzle hizzle Rizzle Snoop Doggy Dogg, whizzle hizzle would so fizzle my Englizzle clizzle for thizzle sizzle on thizzle annoyizzle fizzle hizzle a wizzle thizzle wizzle trizzle rizzle Englizzle into gizzle

Seriously. Try it.

Also, this post was inspired by my dear Stinky B.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

What others must think of us

What others think of us....

Yes, I am a professor. I teach English Literature and Composition at our local community college. I love it. It does not pay very much but it allows me to stay at home with Lil'Bug. I also love teaching and learning. I put a lot of hours in and I still care about most of my students as individuals. I am not the one up in the Ivory Tower, though I did study those while I was in school. Sometimes I bang my head on the table in frustration, but I have learned to move my coffee first. :)

Every semester is different, but similar. This summer semester I have many more papers to grade than usual and trying to keep up with that task is quite a feat. Perhaps the thing that is out of whack is the amount of money we spent on my education versus my earning potential as an online adjunct English professor. Doesn't matter. Raising and educating my daughter is the most important job I could ever do.

No complaining?

How did that work out for me? Did you see the last series of posts? Ha. I failed so miserably that my former Intro to Computer Science (that was actually a Java Programming course disguised as an entry level elective, that I took the semester I was to graduate) professor would have been impressed. He had the voice (almost the same build too) of Richard Dryfus in "What About Bob" and he even said, "baby steps," a couple of times. That didn't help me learn Java though.

Anyway. Fresh start right? Tonight I am going to try and cook a make up meal, finish grading summer semester papers, and clean house. All while fighting a summer cold and caring for a very energetic and angelic almost three year old. The worst kind of idealism is hope. Whatever. I am so going to beat this day!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Blogging is the new scrapbooking

.......but without all those weird scissors. I like blogging. So many of the interesting moments that Lil'Bug and I share are lost to the frantic chaos of our busy lives. I also needed an excuse to write again (if only I could get away with a blog for my novels, I might actually work on finishing those. Bah.) and I also get to share pictures with far far away people I love. If I were scrapbooking, I could not share our joy daily, but my Dearest Husband would be insane with all the arts and craft bits. Ok, more insane, since we already have a bit of an issue with our daily "art" exercises (complete with jumping jacks and running laps, it is like a dance aerobics and art class hybrid.)

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Another sleepless one

I'm not sure why it is I can't sleep this week. It is making me cranky, or as a friend put it, "A freakin' ray of sunshine..." Indeed, a massive ball of incandecent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace. Oh wait, that's the actual sun, I'm just radiating from it.

Today we had a great play date, a disaster of a dinner, and a wonder filled bedtime for Lil'Bug, but goodness it is HOT! Somehow I must have turned off one of the AC units so as to better hear my guest, but that was a terrifically bad decision. Now it is sweltering.

I am thinking of ways to not just bore relatives and friends with what we had for lunch, so to say, on this blog. Ideas are welcome. So far I have found the Homeschool Carnival (County Fair) (Thanks to lurking Christine for that link! I had seriously never even heard of it!) and a suggestion from a student situation to blog about the reality of homeschool socialization versus what people perceive. Also, yes, I still have Angie's Chai brewing and will post it soon. Any other ideas? Anything any of you ever wanted to know about me?

And lunch? The other day we made Mac N' Cheese from scratch. When I was busy shredding cheese, Lil'Bug made a tower out of stuff. The original had more glass items and was much taller, but that met the rather predictable ending while I searched for camera and then batteries.

Tuesday morning

Me: What can I do to occupy you while I do this dishes, Lil'Bug?


Me: Why not?

Lil'Bug: I don't WANT to be occupied!

Me: Ok.

Lil'Bug: Mama? I want to paint. I wan to eat an apple. I want to spin.

Me: Ok. Those things will occupy you.


I got out the paints, the apple, and turned on some dancing music. And what is she doing? Sobbing inconsolably.

Monday, 16 July 2007


Bravewriter's freewrite friday: How do I feel during a thunderstorm......?

I delayed writing this one on Friday. I had a hunch that it was not a fiction exercise and it had been so long since I had been awake during a thunderstorm that I wanted to save the freewrite for a chance to write it out of the present. It worked like a charm. We finally got the rain we needed.

In "A Farewell to Arms" by Earnest Hemmingway there is a scene, a love scene, that involves the rain. I read that and it was the beginning of my love affair with thunderstorms and the written emotion of narrative. I would take virus luring walks in the cold rains that fell in Eastern Illinois where we lived, walk down to the river and watch the horizon of storms in the sky and water. Yes, I was dramatic. Across the river was an old insane assylum where the movie Child's Play was filmed (it was used as the set of the apartment building, Go Chucky!). It was a tall spired gothic structure, very church like.

Whenever I was feeling broken hearted teen angst I would walk out there in the rain. Thunderstorms made me feel that way, reminded me of turmoil. Then I grew up.

As an young newly wed/college student, I studied weather patterns. I was not a storm chaser, but I loved to track the radar online and then sit out on the open porch and drink hot tea when the storms would roll in. I still felt artistic inside when they would fill the sky. Then what is called a microburst dropped a steel door out of the sky onto my first new to me used car and bent the only tree on our small property in half. Dropped an old oak tree down the middle of a neighbors house and then blew back up into the sky. So, you see, a smashed car and mangled ten year old pin oak were nothing compared to our neighbor's loss, but still.

Last night my daughter slept though the night for the first time in her life. No requests for water, no midnight pee runs, no nightmares. She's almost three. How did I know she didn't wake up? I was right there watching her, worrying why? Seriously, this kid wakes up every 3 hours and has since before she was born. WHY IS SHE STILL ALSLEEP? Poke poke poke. Nothing. (She tossed and turned a bit, but did not wake up until 7:30 AM.)

Around 3:30 AM the storms rolled in. Lil'Bug's room has the south wall, nothing but windows, five of them, one is a big picture window. The storms were frightful and terrible and beautiful. Loud and bright. I just lay awake and tried to relax. I finally fell asleep around 4:40 AM. I fell asleep thinking about how my little girl's lavender purple room with the five windows is a perfect princess room, the kind of room I always wanted her to have and I am a little sad we are moving.

So, maybe I have not outgrown the angst after all.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

We love the Fraggles

Lily has been singing, "Muck and Goo for you...." all week. It took me a while and finally asking Dear Husband to figure out where she got this. (No pictures, all are copyrighted!) Here it is:

Muck and Goo [01:17]

Performed by: Red, Uncle Matt, Pa Gorg, etc.

Notes: episode 20, also in episode 42 (partial)

Give me one and give me two,
Cover me with muck and goo.
Give me three and give me four,
Cover me with guck and gore.

One, two, muck and goo,
Down my sock and in my shoe.
Three, four, guck and gore,
Spin me 'round and sing some more.

Give me five and give me six,
Cover me with big, fat sticks.
Give me seven, give me eight.
Cover me with slime and slate.

Five, six and big, fat sticks,
An ice cream cone for me to lick.
Seven, eight, slime and slate,
Sing it now and don't be late.

Give me, give me number nine,
A bag of bones and a ball of twine.
Give me, give me number ten,
Run back home and start again.

Nine, nine, a ball of twine,
First it's yours and then it's mine.
Ten, ten, that's the end,
So run back home and start again.

Run back home and start again.

Recipe Time! Sunday morning fare

(Hmmmmmm. What to do with leftover bratwurst? Casserole of course!)

Preheat oven 350-375 degrees

Beat 8 eggs.
Chop into quarter bite chunks the following:
1/2 medium tomato (leftover from grilling fixings)
1/2 medium white onion (see tomato)
1 small bell pepper (see previous post for picture)
1 smallish anaheim pepper
2 leftover and cold grilled bratwurst from the day before grilling feast
then add:
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
salt and pepper to taste
beat some more as you add ingredients
add 1/3 cup of milk

What's missing? Ah, cheese! I've always had problems with cheese either burning on the top before the eggs are done or messing up the consistency if it's mixed in. So, I found several "learn to cook" websites that had bread crumbs and butter lining the pan and the cheese (sharp cheddar and Parmesan sprinkled on that before the egg mix is added. Done. It worked beautifully in a 9x9 glass dish, cooked for 45 minutes, (or until done, do not trust oven temps and times to be perfect or disaster is in your future!).

Yum. Serves 4.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Saturday Harvest

Bell Pepper, Anahiem Pepper, Banana Pepper, Blue Lake Green Beans (not in photo, but just past the bottom of the photo), AND.......one little red tomato. Yum.

The red tomato is our first of the season to ripen and Lil'Bug found it, picked it, coveted it, carried it around the yard, refused to share it, reluctantly allowed me to photograph it and wash it, and then ate it. Fun stuff.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Seven Wonders, my version

The modern seven wonders list was just released. That got me thinking. How about a seven wonders of Iowa list?
Grotto of Redemption
ANY one of our remaining historic county court houses (the wonder part is that they are still there at all!)
Covered Bridges
Neal Smith restored prairie
Hamm House in Dubuque
the Newton Library Bronze Dragon
all of Allamakee county

What are your favorite Iowa places? What should be on the list that I missed?

*I really want you lurkers to have a say, I want to know who is reading here. :) Then I want to read your stuff too!

Garden headaches

See that? That is a borer worm. Evil little sucker. Hollows out the plant then the second picture shows what's left. That is/was a pepper plant. Last month I posted pictures of my beans with a question of what did it, (ok, maybe I forgot to add text to that post.....) anyway, the answer is the pictured little pest worm. And no, this does not mean we are giving up our principles and turning to chemical poisons. We looked at pesticides at the garden store and every single one of them said: "WARNING, THIS PRODUCT KILLS BEES".......I refuse to be part of the problem. We need bees more than we need another pepper or bean plant. What we need to do is foster our lacewing population and get our soil even healthier to the plants can defend themselves.

Garden produce

Positive thoughts

It is possible that I am just trying to avoid thinking about the many negative things that I could gripe about (and have to my poor friends who are good sport about my whining), but here's a thought from Brave Writer:

Who in history would you be?

I would be me in a different era. I like me. I am not in love with 2007. I want to live on a farm, in a place that does barn raising and makes cheese from fresh milk and sweaters from sheep wool. Ok, maybe I want to be Amish with or without the whole go to church a lot thing. But really, the root of it is, in a community people don't use their neighbor's trucks for roman candle launchers.....because children and adults are taught to respect each other and each other's property, recognizing the hard work of others and not stomping on it. Fire blight, crop faliure, I can handle, but stupid people....not so much.

So, back to the history question. I would have liked to meet Amelia Earhart before she disappeared, asked those French royal dudes what kind of cake was their favorite before joining all the other angry housewives with bread knives, and then seen the Midwest's prairies before people planted corn everywhere. Maybe that's why I like Neal Smith Prairie Refuge so much. Then again, I do like the artistic visuals of planted corn and bean landscapes.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Update: forcast is busy

One of my three readers asked me why I had not posted anything since we got home. It's complicated. I took on an extra class in the middle of the semester and I have to redesign the course, create assignments, and quell student anxieties that are inevitable when a new professor steps in and takes over with only 4 weeks left in the semester. I have been very busy with that and my other 3 classes approaching their end date as well.

Then, we have been interviewing Realtors. It's a long, yet worthwhile, process. We learn a lot and they get to know the property. Then we are really busy getting the house ready to plant the sign in the yard. I am busy with my own anxiety about moving, or rather selling. I am rather attached to this house.

But mostly, we've been laying low and not doing anything really terribly interesting. It's hot and humid here and we are still tired from our trip. We went to park day, but it was pretty standard. I've been complaining alot out loud about 4th of July festivities encroaching on my quality of life, but I have declined to write about it. No neat pictures. No neat narrative. I promise I'll write when I have something lovely to share!