a day at the fair

This cow could be the official Ohio State Fair mascot!
The sky glider was the only ride the boys asked to go on.
This kid built his own motorcycle, and these boys were full of questions.
We saw cowboys and dairy cows and butter cows and baby cows!
The Herbert Administration Building was named in honor of the Thomas whom Tucker was named after.
So many food choices - sno cones and ice cream and funnel cake and fresh squeezed lemonade...
I remember fishing at the ODNR pond when I was a kid.  Tucker wanted to release the fish he caught, but Tolliver let us bring his home, and we had fish tacos for dinner!



Okay Mom, watch this.  Watch!  Watch!  
You saw that?!

He's a real swimmer now, diving down to retrieve objects, kicking his feet to move forward.

I spend pretty much the entire time at the pool watching.  And re-adjusting goggles.

Mom, you know scientists have trouble classifying centipedes?  Also they are venomous, and nocturnal.
Mom, you know the largest hail ever on record was the size of cantaloupe?  It fell in South Dakota.
Mom, you know that a lot of planets have their own moon?  Actually, Jupiter has like sixty of them.

He unleashes a torrent of unsolicited information.  His sharing doesn’t strike me with strong interest, yet does fill me with a sure sense of connection.

I spend pretty much the entire day listening.  And thinking about how quiet the house will be at bedtime.

*Sign up soon for what was formerly known as Celia's Walk:
The Battling Batten Disease 5K Run and Family Fun Walk
Sunday, November 8 at 10am
Scioto Audubon Metro Park



We drove to Des Moines in the middle of the month.  Although our first stop was Anamosa, in order to participate in the Chelsey's Dream Foundation 5K.  We're expecting a new nephew in November, and the Bildstein family has offered to provide financial assistance in the adoption process.  It was a pleasure to meet such a generous, resilient couple, and it felt a little like their daughter's spirit was with us all week with so many butterflies crossing our path.
And then we spent several days with the Vaudts, listening to outdoor concerts at the local winery, building Legos, playing in the backyard and making flower chains, picking fresh raspberries and refilling our coffee cups two and three times.
We visited their farm too, exploring the creek that runs along one edge, catching snakes and frogs and insects, fashioning a makeshift slip and slide, bunking together in one big room, building bonfires that lasted past midnight and cooking pancakes over open flames in the morning.
It's hard to choose a favorite part of the trip - watching our kids play together is at the top of the list.  And so is the fried fish dinner Andy whipped up.  Walking to the nearby playground to see Celia's bench was pretty special too.  But one of my best memories is the outdoor shower.  It was dark, the air was warm, and looking up at the sky it seemed like a celebration, a grand, illicit party the galaxy was throwing after most humans had been put to bed.
I love getting away and being together.  Time not spent at home sometimes helps me refocus.  Out there I was able to remember that problems are like stars:  When you’re up close, they can burn you, but when you see them from a distance, when you give yourself some space, they are phenomenally small flecks.  Getting away cannot eliminate stress, but spending time with friends sure can shrink stuff and shift perspective.