Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Road Trip '09: Faribault, Minnesota, Day 2

Day two was mostly a driving day; we drove through the beautiful farming lands of Kentucky, and on through the rest of Kentucky into Illinois. Shortly after we crossed over the border, we stopped in Metropolis, IL, the self-proclaimed home of Superman:

This fifteen-foot statue keeps a constant, unmoving watch over the small town:

I assume that if any Bad Men were lurking in his town, he would come to life and bring them to Justice.

The town is steeped in Superman; there is even a Super Museum. Fortunately for a two-and-a-half year-old, there are a few other interesting things to see, like this dolled-up mouse:

There were plenty of interesting colors, textures, and geometrical arrangements for a back alley photography study, but I'll limit myself to posting just one of them here:


We ate at the Hardees in Metropolis, easily the least-super meal of this trip (a place like Hardees should not attempt burritos and tacos), and drove a couple hundred miles more through Illinois. There is a lot of road construction going on there.

We spent the night in Champaign, IL, and on day three made it into Iowa.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Road Trip '09: Faribault, Minnesota, Day 1

We're driving to Minnesota to see Anna's family!

We set out Sunday morning at 9:00, and had a fairly uneventful drive up through the top of Georgia. Around 11:00 we made it to the Tennessee Welcome Center in (or near; we're not sure) Chattanooga:

(Yes, I know it's not an exciting place. But if you ever go there, this is what you'll see.)


We were fortunate enough to meet Kevin Eames and his family for lunch in Lookout Mountain. The Lookout Mountain Cafe, where we've met them a few times before, was closed for renovations, so we ate at the new chicken fingers place, Gutherie's, only a stone's throw away.

After lunch we went outside to visit for a while, and to be entertained by Jessica's running and climbing and gesticulating and her impromptu monologue about squids, armadillos, witches, and whatever else was on her mind:



It was great to see Kevin and Lisa and their family; I wish we could see them more often. But at least we see them more now than when they lived in Iowa!

After we said goodbye to the Eameses, we went only a couple of miles away to one of my favorite places, Rock City Gardens. I have pictures of myself at Rock City that go back nearly forty years, which is just about as far back as I can go without being in utero (or non-existent). I can't remember a time when I didn't love it there, and I was eager to take my little girl there.

I'm happy to report that Jessica loved Rock City as much as I do, though I'm not sure what this face was all about:


Jessica and Anna indulged me by posing as Humpty Dumpty:

And Jessica made a new friend in the Rock City Maine coon cat (a stray rather than an official resident, I think, but they seem to take good care of her):

I had no luck in getting a full family picture in front of the Rock City Gardens June 2009 bench, but I at least talked myself into posing there:

(The bench is there even when it isn't June 2009. They just change the sign.)

In many ways, Rock City reminded Jessica of Stone Mountain--which is why she had such a hard time staying on the path:

However, unlike Stone Mountain, Rock City has Fairyland Caverns, where you can see, among a great many nursery rhymes, Jessica's former favorite, Humpty Dumpty:


Later, after we'd circled Mother Goose village about a million times, Jessica and I posed in front of a vintage fire truck:


Here are a few pictures I took in a study of that beautiful truck:




And finally, Jessica after a full day of walking:

Before we left, we wandered through the gift shop and I bought a copy of my friend Tim Hollis's new book, See Rock City. I'm looking forward to reading it.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. We drove for a couple of hours to Clarksville, TN, where we spent the night (we passed Mickey Dolenz at the train station), and Jessica and I went on a late-night trip to Wal Mart to get toothpaste for her, and Pop Tarts for me.

And so ended our first day out on this trip.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Artist at Work

“Color helps to express light,
not only the physical phenomenon,
but the only light that really exists,
that in the artist's brain.”
-- Henri Matisse

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Anniversary

Eight years ago today, Jessica's Mommy and Daddy got married to each other.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

These Hands

These hands can
* draw with crayons
* build with blocks
* pet a kitty
* bang a spatula
* remove the peanut butter from the pantry
* flap excitedly in the air
* press Daddy's nose
* stroke Mommy's hair
* turn the pages of a book

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wearing Daddy's Shoes; Playing With Mommy

Yesterday when Jessica found Daddy's shoes lying on the living room floor, she couldn't resist the temptation to try them on and walk a mile or so in them. She said it wasn't so bad:

Here are a couple of pictures of Jessica playing with her Little People farm (and also with Mommy, who is off camera but clearly the real subject of Jessica's attention) earlier tonight:



Thursday, June 11, 2009

Napping with Mommy, Loving Luna

Today, Jessica took a good hour-and-a-half nap with her Mommy:



Later in the day, she lavished some affection on the ever-so-patient and tolerant Luna:


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Six Weeks Along

As I write this, my wife Anna, who is sleeping in the bed beside me, is six weeks pregnant with our second child. Our two-year-and-four-months-old daughter, Jessica, is sleeping down the hall in her "big girl room," the room we moved her into so that the room adjacent to ours could be her little brother's or sister's when that time comes. Jessica does not know that in a little over seven months she will become a big sister; no one besides Anna and me knows it, and we won't begin telling people for another six weeks.

We are excited about this new addition to our family, but also a tad nervous. It's easy to forget all the little stresses and sources of worry that inevitably accompany a pregnancy, but when you're pregnant again--or your wife is--they all come tumbling back.

Anna's pregnancy with Jessica was not the smoothest--there were a couple of trips to the emergency room, a night in the hospital around 27 weeks, a condition called placenta previa to deal with, gestational diabetes, and the unexpected delivery by C-section exactly three weeks before the due date. But it gave us our beautiful daughter, and it was all worth it.

Nonetheless, we hope that this one will go a little more smoothly.

--Chris

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sandbox!

Today we got new sand--two hundred pounds of it, in fact--for Jessica's sandbox so she could finally really play in it. Jessica loves playing in sand almost as much as playing in water, and here are some pictures of her having her first real dedicated go at the sandbox:




(She said she was going to take a nap in the sandbox. It lasted about three seconds.)



Friday, June 5, 2009

Rainbow!

Tonight as we ate supper, Jessica pointed through the sliding glass doors towards the backyard and said, "A rainbow!"

And, sure enough, there was: