February 28, 2011

New Yorkers!

Our good friends Michael, Min, Lewis and Ivy came to visit us last week. Michael and I have not seen each other since Alden or Ivy was born... over three years. It was really good to see them and spend time together

Out of town friends are great at making you do stuff you have been meaning to get around to doing. In this case bowling, ice skating, and sledding.

Ilana was down in New Hampshire with Scott for the first couple days. Alden and I did really well as a couple dudes hanging out. I did keep him up pretty late for a few nights (around 10pm) but he was pleasant enough and enjoyed the night life.
After bowling one night we went across to the ice rink and took in a hockey game. The kids were mesmerized. We decided to go skating the next day.
Alden was not as into skating as I wanted him to be, but I am not sure what I expected. He made it around the rink twice before deciding to quit and eat catsup in the lobby.

We also went sledding over a couple days at various locations.

February 21, 2011

Evvie's Birthday

Alden and I attended a birthday party for Evelyn Burns, one of his little friends. Ilana could not make it. She was visiting her father in New Hampshire helping him recover from his skiing accident. Alden was the only dude out of the seven kids invited, and was a bit shy at the party. Here are some photos.

February 20, 2011

More Turkeys!

I counted 17 this time. Our lifestyle is apparently turkey-rich.

They were looking for food this morning, it was about 9:30am when Alden and I saw them.

February 19, 2011

Young Artist Alden

We have been trying to get Alden to explore his art supplies more frequently. He is not particularly interested in sitting and drawing on paper, and when he does draw he quickly gets distracted and moves on to other things... although that is true for most stuff he does.

I am not sure where the bell-curve is for three year old interest in art, but as a parent, want some refrigerator coverings. Today I discovered that he prefers boxes to working on paper and believe may have witnessed a creative breakthrough.

Some earlier work of young artist Alden.

February 14, 2011

Alden and Kerstin Chase

Alden is yelling "tractor (English), tractor (Spanish)" here.
I have no idea why, but I think it's funny.

February 13, 2011

National Toboggan Championships 2011

We went to the National Toboggan Championships in Camden this Sunday. There were about 500 teams, most were local but some traveled from all over the country to participate and there were a even handful of international teams as well. The races were broken up into several categories: 2, 3 and 4 person sleds, as well as kids and experimental categories. Kerstin's friend from work, Steve (pictured above in the hockey jersey) was one of the participants in the 4-person category. Steve joined a hockey friend's toboggan team last year and has been hooked ever since. Their team made it to the semi finals last year, so he decided to look for sponsorship this year. Steve cold-called Sam Adams and asked them to sponsor his team, and lo, they did. They sent him a toboggan with a beer bottle on the bottom (Darrell is holding it in the photo above), gave the team a bunch of beer and basically told them to give it away during the event. Kerstin was happy to oblige their corporate overlords.
There were best costume heats as well. If these guys didn't win it, they certainly should have. I don't know what they were, but they rocked! We also saw a Star Wars team, a Santa Claus team and an owl-head team.
We pulled Alden around in his own sled most of the day. He wasn't so interested in the competition itself, but he enjoyed being dragged about on the ice and snow and he really liked "skating" on smooth patches of ice.
From what I could tell, toboggan championships mostly involve drinking in shacks on the ice, with an occasional sled run now and again. The sled chute funnels tobogganers onto the ice of a large lake, where most of teams were held up in their own ice shacks, drinking and barbecuing. There were also a handful of food vendors, and a large bonfire along the banks of the lake where one could warm hands and feet. Alas, there was no public indoor area to seek refuge from the cold. And it was COLD! I think it barely reached double digits (F) by midday. By the time we arrived on the site at 11, Steve and his teammates were pretty sloshed. (Note the bottle of Crown Royal on the ice. It was empty within a half an hour of this shot). We left at about 2. Alden did very well for being outside in the cold for 3 hours straight!The team names were fairly amusing. Lots of references to ash (the preferred toboggan material) with names like "Frozen Ash", "4 Ash wipes" and "Cracker My Ash". There were also lots of toboggan refs like "Soggy Boggin' Boys" and "Throbbin' Boggins". Beer and wood references were also rampant.
And here's a video of a team going down the chute. Most teams endured this rather terrifying (or so says Steve) run silently, but not these folks. I think sleds could get up to 45 miles per hour. There were a few crashes, but no injuries that I was aware of. There wasn't much technique to toboggan racing from what I could tell. As you can see on this video, the sleds are launched by officials, not the racers, using a tetter-totter-like device. Steve says there isn't much you can do to give your team the edge except for how you treat the bottom of your toboggan. The treatments varied from turtle wax to bees wax and animal fat. I have no idea which was more frictionless, but it was a heated topic of conversation among competitors.


Alden got us up at the regular time (6:30) making the regular request (read a story). After half of a Frog and Toad tale he wanted breakfast so we went downstairs and saw out this out the kitchen window: turkeys!I counted six of them, walking along the top of the snow towards the house. Alden thought they were pretty and wanted to pet them. I told him they would run away if he did that.
We saw a flock of turkeys in our backwoods about two years ago, but have not see them since. Not sure if they were just passing through again or if perhaps they winter in our woods... that would be really cool.
It made me wish I had put out corn or grain or something for them ... then I remembered all the mice in the house when we first moved in and figured the turkeys looked fat enough.

February 12, 2011

A Little Light Dance

Alden is a big fan of mid-80's electronic hip hop, especially Pump Up The Volume, (or as he calls it, "Pull Out The Volume"). He rocks out hard to this song when Kerstin calls it up on the stereo and shows off all his moves here. I'm putting this up to entertain a certain member of my family but hopefully others would find it amusing as well.

Alden has seen the music video (below) so many times that he's memorized the cuts and likes to relive these moments. This is why he keeps saying "lunar lander" at the end.

February 6, 2011

Snow play

The snow is piling high, as you can see it is halfway up the windows. The temperatures have been consistently low so it just keeps growing. Yesterday was the first day in a couple weeks where the weather got warm enough to go out and play

I scraped the ice layer off the driveway and Ilana and Alden built a snowman and went sledding in the backyard.

The snowman was a success, the sledding... not so much.

There were about three feet of snow to tromp through. Alden could not walk through it and did not like being carried because of the awkward falling sensation when walking through deep snow. The sled adventure was mostly Alden losing his cool waiting for us to break the snow for a sled-run or being impatient while we walked to the top of the hill for a ride.