Monday, June 12, 2017

New Toy at Old Playground

We returned to Knobels Sunday. Great time. Love it. Used $99 worth of tickets on rides, though we only paid $91 for the tickets . . . I really can't stop thinking economically with that park. But I spend enough time on that last year.

Sam enjoyed the coasters, though he did make himself nauseous by the end of the day. So nauseous he couldn't eat at Hoss's. That will probably be the final time I ever get Sherry to eat at one. By the way . . . enormous phase shift at Hoss's. Now one orders from a menu at the table. Stunned, I am.

Image result for hoss's

Let's get back to Knobel's. Sam and I think that Twister beats Phoneix by a hair. Both are long coaster rides (each is longer than two minutes). Flying Turns probably isn't worth another $3 from me, but that's okay. I did get to ride my first roller coaster with Caroline, who lost a tooth on her second Phoenix ride. Sherry, of course, enjoyed the Haunted Mansion which she claims hasn't changed in four decades.

I brought my new toy along: a new camera. I probably spent a bit too much on it and the awesome lens for it, but I resolved that my Normandy trip would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see some amazing places, and I want to record it faithfully. I practiced picture-taking a lot at Knobel's, on random things as well as my kids. Here are some of the better shots.

After our first trip. 

Twister, from the ski lift. 

Of Caroline, on the ski lift. 

There's the baby tooth that trip #2 on Phonenix removed. 



Okay, that's creepy. It's an attempt at playing with aperture and filter. 
The kids are finished school but I'm not, quite yet at least. This trip to Knobel's is one that I hope can be an annual tradition for a little while.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Unintentional Snow Day

I really didn't expect a snow day in June, but that's what happened.

A telephone ringing at 4:55 in the am hardly ever heralds good news. Today it was just weird news: word that due to "shelter in place" procedures and "working with authorities" stuff all CBSD schools were closed. After a while I found out that all the hubbub was over an escaped non-violent inmate. It's kind of strange that such a situation will shut down a 20,000-student district, but I guess one doesn't want kids waiting for the bus while a fella in handcuffs is doing a Dr. Richard Kimbal impersonation.

If today's day off was weird, tomorrow's day back will be even weirder.

It's funny, though, how quickly a free day off can fill up. I took care of quite a bit of church business. Had a former neighbor come by to fix some locks. Completed some grading. I also attended a school awards ceremony that I didn't even know was occurring. Given the mostly empty rows of chairs in the back of York Avenue Multipurpose Room, I think most parents were unaware of it, too.

There was, however, a chance to update this blog and post a picture (a forbidden picture, perhaps) of Caroline from her dance recital, courtesy of my mother- and father-in-law who were able to sneak in a photo of her tap routine.

Excellent. Scales balanced.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Balancing the Scales on June 3

There was a big Caroline event yesterday but it's largely lost to film. Caroline's dance studio held their annual recital. She was splendid. And, the well-run nature of the recital and the obvious rapport between the grown-ups and the girls reassures me that she's in good hands there.

But to make sure I'm not favoring Sam too much (my photos from yesterday are mostly from our trip to Reading that afternoon) I'm including some photos from Caroline's spring fashion show.

Caroline's Bitmoji. 

I should point out that the pink activity tracker has a purple wristband that we can use instead.

One big surprise, though . . . it would seem teal is Caroline's 2nd-favorite color.

The First Summer Trip

A few photos capturing my day at Reading's World War II Weekend with Sam follow.

P-39 Airacobra, which I don't remember seeing before. Sam and Jacob were excited to know that the hole in the propeller cone was actually for a 20mm cannon. 

Favorite plane ever. 

A Red Army veteran holds court with the help of a translator. 

Sam learns about a paratrooper's kit. 

Sam with a grease gun. 

Kendra told me to look for this Weasel. 

B-17 comes in for a landing. 

B-17 touching down.

A Japanese torpedo bomber. 

An Avenger. Really, it's a shockingly large aircraft for carrier use at that time. 

FDR impersonator.

Not a great B-29 photo, but the plane was spectacular. 
Perhaps our favorite father-son moment was on the way out of the event when we were turning onto US-222 and "FiFi" made a banking turn above us. The view from our minivan was splendid. Of course my safety-minded driving prevented me from reaching for the camera.

That would be Sam's favorite moment. For me it was the joy of taking him from one living history reenactor to the next, engaging in conversation, and Sam hanging in there for it. This will be an annual event for some time, which is good. After all, Sam promised that some year for my birthday he'll get us a plane ride. When he's old enough to have a job. And, he warned, that will be the only present I get that year.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Summer is getting very, very close.

It feels like summer is here! Almost. The queue of papers I have to grade defies that conviction. But a weekend up at Hickory Run got me thinking of free time outside, lower blood pressure, and time with Sherry and the kids.

This might have been trip #10 on Shades of Death

Hickory Run was running pretty deeply

Caroline traversed the Boulder Field for the first time
A pleasant surprise on the way home. Sherry and I decided to stop at a diner in Allentown. The Trivet. I need to say that the cinnamon swirl pancakes were nearly a spiritual experience for me.

Might be the finest diner pancake of all time. 

They know to serve scrapple with syrup!
I think there might be a new tradition: Trivet on the return from Hickory Run. Oh, and the new slip ramp makes a trip to Hickory Run all the easier.

Yeah. It's summer.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Favorite Photos from 2016

The year 2016 was one of the most rewarding for me as a husband and father. Here's some photographic evidence.

We were hit by only one snowstorm in 2016. It was deep. It was beautiful. Coming on a Saturday, it didn't disrupt our lives too much, simply led to a peaceful and enjoyable weekend. 

The home of one of America's worst presidents was a side trip on our annual weekend with the Kosters. Sherry and I have continued our tour of presidential homes. Buchannan's was the only one we visited in 2016. 

Stephen spent a lot of 2016 with us as he finished his senior year at North Penn. Uncles get few opportunities to spend time with nephews; in this way 2016 will remain a precious memory. 

A general store? The Landis Valley Museum was another side trip for us on another weekend in Lancaster, this time with Andrew, Amy, and their family.

My days as an orchestra dad started in May with a trip to Dorney. The minivan, by the way, has a good 84,000 miles on it at years end and has proven to be a wonderful family hauler. 

Caroline competed in her first ever Iron Knights Triathlon. She also lent her bike to her brother when a flat tire threatened to end his day early at this annual event, one of the neatest I've ever seen a public school conduct.  

A successful return to one of my favorite places of my youth, Knoebels Park. Still one of the finest amusement parks around. 

We can explain, really we can. 

An outstanding fireworks display made a short trip to Pittsburgh all the more special. 

I'm thrilled that my children get as excited by historical places as they do. This was Sam on the final day of an exhausting tour of England. 

She's *this close to smiling. My niece, Lilith, and I share a moment in the backyard at Mom and Dad's. We now have nine nephews and nieces, with a tenth expected in spring of 2017. 

Sam handled the broken pinkie much better than I expected. It was our biggest medical scare of the year. We're lucky. But it is amazing how costly a broken pinkie on the non-dominant hand can be. 

I'm still obsessed with camping and now dream of someday getting one of these Crickets. 

Wow, our girl is growing up. Here's Caroline on the day of her dance performances at the local mall. It's also the first time since we can remember that she wore jeans. She liked posing in them. 
Happy New Year, readers. May 2017 be a year of joy and good health.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


I finally got inside one. I'm in love. It's a Cricket!

I foolishly took this shot after the roof had been lowered. 

At the back of the trailer. The back wall lifts, though. Seriously, it does. 

The bunk that claims to support 130 pounds of kid! There are two in the model I looked at, each hanging above the v-shaped (or should I say heart-shaped) double bed for parents. 

Now that's a small kitchen. 
So, I'm smitten with what is essentially an aluminum, tow-able tent. Probably $20-$21,000 is too much to pay for such a thing. But it's so awesome. And now my head is filled with the dreams of simply backing into a spot at Hickory Run, popping the top, and having an instant outdoor home.

Oh, and I think it's small enough I could even fit it in my garage. That is, I could fit it in the garage if I could somehow figure out the angle that would allow me to get in there in our alley.

The saleswoman was skeptical that I was thinking about towing it with the purple Honda Fit I drove to the dealership. Fear not, I said, I have a minivan.

I've seen so few other poor uses of money that seem so fun. I want it. I don't care if I'm not quite in the target demographic (seriously, check out the site: their models look a lot younger, less clean-shaven, and more granola than Sherry and I). I want it. Christmas isn't far away. One only lives once.