Sunday, December 28, 2014

For Unto Us a Child Is Born

Baby, All I Want for Christmas Is You

Earlier in December we were on our way to my Mom's to celebrate an early Christmas gathering.  We drove by a church that had a Nativity scene set-up outside.  Here is the conversation that was struck up by Isla, our oldest daughter, when she realized that the baby in the manager was missing from the set.

Isla - "Where is Baby Jesus?"
Jess - "He hasn't come yet.  He will come on Christmas Day."
Brief silence while her four year old brain processed this.
Isla - "Maybe we should name our baby Jesus."

The sincerity of her suggestion obviously gave us a good chuckle at the time.  We hadn't decided on a name, or really even narrowed it down to a few front-runners, but we were pretty certain we would not be giving our child the same name as Jesus Christ Superstar himself.  Seems like a big namesake to live up to.  It wasn't until after that weekend that I actually stopped to think about Isla's comment.  What if she knows something we don't?  Could she be foreshadowing that her brother will be born on Christmas Day?  She doesn't even know what foreshadowing means.  If he is born on Christmas Day, are we kind of obligated to name him Jesus?  The plot line was thick with suspense.

Well, lo and behold what she "may have" predicted would come to pass (figured I should keep the lingo biblical as much as possible for this one).  At 3:00am on Christmas morn, in a lowly (sterile) stable (hospital delivery room), my wife gave birth to our first born son, Guthrie Rasmus Bruns.  He was wrapped in swaddling clothes (that part is actually true) and laid in a manager (a portable bassinet with some heating lights).  He weighed in at 8lbs, 9 oz, and was 17.5 inches long.  No angels, shepherds or cattle lowing.  Just the wonderful staff at the St. Cloud Hospital to oversee a pretty, thankfully, uneventful delivery.  Best present ever.      

We seem to have a knack for landing kid's birthdays on days that are already occupied with other festivities - our first shares a birthday with my wife, and now our youngest shares a birthday with the Son of Man.  When we found out our projected due date was January 1, we figured the odds of him being born on an already observed day were pretty high; between the Christmas and New Year Holidays, our wedding anniversary on January 2nd, and our second daughter's birthday on December 30th.  Poor Havi, along with now being the middle child, she'll be the only one with a birthday on a relatively regular day.  I'm sure that will be good shrink discussion material in her mid-40s.

All things considered, the timing of the birth seemed to work out well logistically.  We were hosting my wife's side of the family starting on Christmas Eve, so there were ample people around to watch after the girls as we dashed to the hospital - in a one horse open sleigh of course.  It was probably the commotion and emotion of having a dozen extra people in our house that set my wife into labor.  Interesting to note though, the actual day of Christ's birth is relatively unknown, and December 25th seemed to be picked somewhat arbitrarily.  The secular notion of Santa Claus coming on Christmas Eve wasn't conjectured until the mid 19th century.  One of the students I used to work with had a Christmas birthday, and while she said it was kind of a drag growing up, it was nice to always be able to spend your birthday with family.  I'm hopeful he'll have a similar mindset someday.

Now that we're home from the hospital, we're getting abruptly reacquainted to what life is like with a newborn - exhaustively amazing.  Newborns can be a relatively fickle group to entertain.  This was one of the most eye-opening things I learned after our first child was born.  Newborns sleep a lot, I figured, and I'll have all of this free time to be productive.  Wrong.  Newborns take a crapload of uninterrupted time being held (in insanely uncomfortable positions), snuggled, rocked, driven around in the car, etc.  The other night, I was playing a fun game with Gus (as we've taken to calling him when we're lazy) while we were trying to put him down for the night.  After wrapping him up like the mandated baby burrito and putting him in his cradle, I would shut off the lights and get into bed.  I'd then count the number of seconds I could lay there before he would start crying again and need to be picked up, only to subsequently fall fast asleep in my arms.  The highest I got was 300, which I actually thought wasn't too bad.    

Luckily our girls have been pretty enamored with him.  Isla is a mini-mom, always wanting to hold him, read books to him and sing her made up songs to him.  The fact that Havi has held him a couple of times and hasn't attempted to scratch his eyes out has been deemed a success.  We're also very fortunate to have Jess' mom, who is essentially on her way to canonization, staying with us for a few days to pamper us with gourmet meals and warm company.  Still, newborns are tiring.  Whether it is your first or your third.  With two other young children at home in need of your time, energy and resources, it creates a whole new dynamic - stay tuned for later post on that.  In the meantime, you'll have to forgive me if the updates don't come as frequently as previous ones.                

Hopefully your Holidays have been as Happy as ours.  Hopefully they've been a little more restful.

I will only sleep if you hold me or watch me.
Try to put me down and turn your back, and I'm crying.

Baby Brother Gus!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Oh, Listen To The Music

And the Grammy goes to....

Two Sundays ago our family had the opportunity to see the Grammy award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers live in concert at the Historic Paramount Theater.  Yeah, big time.  For those of you unfamiliar with The Okee Dokee Brothers, or "Hokee Dokees" as my kids like to call them, they are two childhood friends who started an Americana Folk music group geared toward families and young children.  And yes, they won a Grammy for Best Children's Album two years ago for their debut album, Can You Canoe?, and have been nominated again in for their most recent album, Through the Woods.

I like music, a lot.  In my mind, what these guys do is fucking genius (yes, the expletive is necessary).  They are incredibly talented musicians and they've also found a perfect niche - people like me, with somewhat particular music tastes and enough disposable income (my wife's) that they want to expose their kids to music that even the parents will enjoy.  Yo Gabba Gabba is tolerable, these guys are legit.  As one of my friends mentioned, "I think I actually like them more than my kids do."  We also feel somewhat of a sentimental tie to the group as one of the "Brothers" went to the same college I did, and I graduated with his older sister and used to work with his wife.  Despite the fact that I've only met him a few times, I talk about him like we're best friends.

I'm very fortunate that my girls have both taken to music appreciation on some level.  The daycare they were at had an emphasis on music, and an incredible music teacher that they loved being around, so that really helped their exposure to the art form.  They love to dance, sing, and make up their own songs.  Isla went through a week-long "screamo" phase a few months ago which was both comical and somewhat frightening.  I wouldn't say I necessarily have a "proud papa moment" when she sings the chorus of "Timber", but it is somewhat endearing.  If they had ambivalence toward music, I would be heartbroken.  Some of you may know that I "play" sporadically in a cover "band".  So yeah, I like music, and I want my kids to like it too.

The genius of the Okee Dokee Brothers is that they combine simple, but beautiful and educational melodies, like learning how to spell Mississippi forwards and backwards, to make songs that parent and child can both enjoy on their own levels.  My girls like their music because they sing about trains, mosquitoes, and crazy boatmen.  I like their music because their instrumentation is complex, the harmonies tight, and the lyrics can be pretty deep if you really listen to them.  And I like the boatman too, he's just so crazy.  

Seeing them live was a a real treat (yes, I just said "real treat").  As talented musicians, I'm sure the first place they really want to be playing is a theater full of hyper-active kids with overly-concerned parents.  But they bring a genuine stage presence which engages the audience and encourages maximum crowd participation.  They talk about their instruments so the kids understand what is happening on stage, and they didn't seem to mind when an uncooperative youngster got on stage during their encore and had no interest in returning to his mortified mother.  It might not be their dream gig as musicians, but they seem to enjoy themselves and make sure that the audience enjoys it even more.  Seeing them live also gives you an excuse to dress the whole family up in flannel (if you need one) - it's standard issue show attire.

My girls loved the show, and as I was watching them enjoy it, singing along myself since I know pretty much all of the lyrics, I actually found myself getting a little choked up.  I'm sure many tears were shed at this particular Okee Dokee Brother's Concert for a variety of reasons.  But as I watched my girls dance and clap along to the music, it was emotional to think that they were enjoying something that I too enjoy so much.  Music can provide me with a whole host of emotions, but most often it brings me happiness.  To see that same happiness on the faces of my kids was one of those incredible parenting moments.

One of the first "kids" albums we picked up was a VeggieTales singalong CD.  It was, and still is annoying,   and has spent the better part of six months in our vehicle.  Isla pretty much has all of the songs down pat, and Havi is getting better as her ability to string sentences together increases.  I would listen to the Okee Dokee Brothers by myself if my kids were not around, but not VeggieTales.  As bad as this CD is though, when they start singing those songs, kind of off pitch, usually with the wrong words, I can't get enough of it.  I could listen to them sing "Bicycle Built for Two" from the backseat until I went deaf.

In that regard, I have to thank my parents for exposing me to music when I was young, or at least having musical tastes and playing them, even if my sister and I didn't understand it at the time.  There is a reason I hum a lot of Simon & Garfunkel and always tend to put on James Taylor on Sunday mornings.  Hopefully, in due time, my kids will appreciate more of the music that I enjoy, save maybe the Nine Inch Nails.  I've already started to see some glimmers of hope when Isla requests "songs she doesn't know" for her dance parties.  That means DJ DaddyO gets to control the playlist.  You better move, you better dance.  

In the meantime, I'll keep playing my random mix of eclectic music and we'll still listen to our fair share of Radio Disney and Raffi.  When we can't seem to agree on something, we'll go with the "Hokee Dokees".

We opted for pink instead of flannel.
We actually always opt for pink instead of well, anything.

My other recommendations for tolerable kid's music:

Rockabye Baby - Lullaby renditions of rock bands.  If you are into music, you gotta check this out.
Baby Einstein - Yes this is kind of cop out, but they have everything you're looking for in one fell swoop - lullaby music, sing-a-longs, Mozart and animal sounds.
Yo Gabba Gabba - The TV show is crazy, but I like how they enlist actual artists (if somewhat obscure ones) to sing/write the songs     
Putumayo - It's like Baby Einstein for the worldly, cloth-diaper crowd.
Radio Disney - Yes it's over the top, and probably a little to promiscuous, especially for little girls.  But at four, they don't understand what they are singing.  Tread lightly here, or you may get requests to buy tickets for a Miley Cyrus show, or whoever will fill her shoes in five years.

*Before you buy, I always recommend checking out your local library to give these a test spin before you want to invest any money on said products.




Thursday, December 18, 2014

My SAHD Christmas List

Making a List, Checking It Twice

When people ask me what I want for Christmas, I usually mention something from Amy Grant's grown-up Christmas list; peace on earth, goodwill toward men, etc.  It's not that there aren't certain things I wouldn't mind getting for Christmas (I'm not that selfless), it's just that I kind of feel uncomfortable asking for them.  I also realized a number of years ago, that if you ask for something you really want, you might just get it.  One problem is that gift might not be exactly what you asked for.  Like one year I asked for a tent, and I got one, but it wasn't really one that I wanted.  I then had a tent that I would likely never use and still wanted a different tent (which is actually pretty selfish).  Sorry, Mom.  So I usually get the basics; socks, underwear, iTunes gift cards, popcorn tin.  Everyone is a winner.

This year, I thought I'd take a different approach, given my new adventure.  This is my SAHD (stay at home dad) Christmas List, based on what would compliment my daily operations:
  1. Food, lots of food.  In bulk.  We go to the grocery store about every two hours.  I'm scared to think of the number of cavities my kids have developed from the consumption of free bakery cookies and suckers at the check-out.
    Let me get more specific on what would work well:   
    • 2 Cows - one that will milk herself and deliver a half gallon of pasteurized, skimmed milk daily to our back door; another that will give birth to a calf and then walk herself to the meat market to be butchered and processed - the calf would then need to repeat the process the following year (circle of life)
    • A chicken that would lay 1/2 dozen eggs each week; more if we decided to do breakfast for supper or an egg bake on the weekend.
    • Year-round fruit-producing trees and plants; preferably apples, oranges, any/all berries but rasp, pineapples, pear (partridge optional).  We could even do the picking, it would be a fun family activity.  (I know what you're thinking, some of these things can't be grown in Minnesota, and especially not year round.  Damn it, we went to the moon, someone can figure it out.  Fruit is expensive!).
    • Weekly deliveries of individual yogurt cups.  The flavored kinds, please.  If they are from Greece, even better.
    • A baker to procure a loaf of fresh, sliced, whole grain bread between the hours of 2am-6am, three times a week.
    • An indefinite, bottomless cup of coffee.
  2. Diapers or paid tuition for a potty training boot camp (if such a thing exists).  The boot camp would be more environmentally conscious, but I'll let you choose.  It's a gift after all.
  3. Soap - dish, laundry and tear-free, combination hair/body wash - we prefer the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Brand, Donatello scented please.  See top photo below for reference.
  4. Piano lessons for Isla - as much as I told myself I would learn how to play the piano we bought off Craiglist, so I could teach her myself, let's get real.  If you can find a multi-lingual piano teacher, as my Spanish instruction is coming along about as well as my piano, that would be great.
  5. Annual membership to The Bounce Adventure - bounce houses are like country clubs for kids, hence the reason they sell absurdly priced memberships to them.  
  6. Knee pads - I spend a lot of time on the floor (engaging in play with my kids for those of you with heads in the gutter).  I'd be a much more effective horse/lion/dragon/cat with a little cushion.
  7. A retractable roof we can put over our backyard.  Synthetic grass could be useful too.  When we aren't using it, I'll rent it out to local youth sports teams and split the profit with you.
  8. A continually refilled gas card - for our bi-hourly trips to the grocery store and Bounce Adventure.
  9. A Yellow Mustang for Havi - See bottom photo.  You have a few years for this one.
  10. Weekly Wine/Liquor delivery - A toddler in a liquor store is like a bull in a china shop; best to keep them out as much as possible for moral and safety reasons. 
Just a few ideas in case you were planning to pick up any last minute gifts for me.  If they seem unreasonable,  peace on earth and goodwill toward men will also suffice.

"Cowabunga, dude"
If they still make Mustangs in 2028 and if yellow is still her favorite color, she'd like one of these.
No way, I'd be able to afford it.  Ever.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Why I Nag My Kids

"If animals could talk to you the fishes and the birds, they'd say..."

I've recently realized that I've become a pretty big nag toward my kids.  But I think this okay, and I've found myself intentionally nagging them more.  I know what you're thinking.  Wait, you realize that you nag your kids, and you're making a point to do it more.  What is wrong with you?  Let me explain.

I ask my kids to say the magic words, "please" and "thank you" for those of you who aren't familiar with the lyrical subtitle above, approximately 53 times a day, each.  Okay, that might be low-balling a little bit, but it is a lot.  Why do I do this?  Because I want to teach them good manners.  I remember reading or hearing something in grade school about how you need to be told something 100 times before you remember it when you are young.  I have no idea if that point is scientifically proven, but it seems to make sense on some levels.

I am constantly reminding my kids to say please, thank you, your welcome, not talk in a whiney voice, etc.    You want more milk, what's the magic word?  I just changed your disgusting diaper, what do you say?  When I'm feeling especially naggy, I make them say it in English, Spanish and sign-language, just to drive home the point.  Is it overkill?  Maybe, but in the spectrum of having good manners, I believe in go big or go home.  I reprimanded our oldest about a year ago by telling her spitting was not "socially acceptable".  I'm sure the notion was lost on her at the time, but I did see a glimmer of hope a few months ago when she informed us that her younger sister was "not making good choices" by not staying it bed after being tucked in.

The other thing that I've noticed is that by hyper-nagging my kids about their manners, picking up their toys, and playing nice with each other, is that it has kept my own actions in check in those areas.  If I want my kids to mind their p's & q's, I've got to do so as well.  If I want them to appreciate the overabundance of toys, clothes and other knickknacks that have been accumulated for them by picking said toys up and treating them with respect, I better do the same to mine - you know like my action figures and stuff.  If I want them to be grateful for the food that has been provided for them and not be wasteful, I best be getting the clean plate award every meal.  This one I'm pretty good at, and I usually provide some teamwork to make sure that they are also award recipients (daddy garbage disposal as we like to say).

I've become so confident with my nagging abilities, that I've also started to venture into the "nagging of other people's children" territory.  These waters can be murkier, but I figure if my kids were acting like jerks (which they do, I've seen it) around other people, especially parents with young kids, I'd hope that they'd feel inclined to give them a helpful reminder that it's not polite to bite, especially the hand that feeds you.  If you encounter me gently reminding your offspring use their manners, please don't take it as a dig at your parenting ability.  Honestly, as parents, I think we can always use help in educating our kids on politeness, and the voices it can be easiest for them to tune off are likely our own - parents of teenagers feel free to back me up on that.

In truth, I think we all (the royal we) could use some daily reminders to be thankful and polite to each other.  How many times have you wanted to tell a colleague or friend that you'd be much more willing to help them out if they just used the magic words and a nicer tone of voice?  How many times do you think someone else has wanted to say that to you?  When was the last time you actually said please to someone before making a request; placing an order at a restaurant, asking your spouse for the TV remote?

I heard a great speaker/author named VJ Smith at a conference back in 2008, and have heard him present a few additional times since then.  Typically at the start of his presentation, the throws handfuls of colored business cards into the crowd that say "Thank You" in a variety of languages.  He instructs the crowd to distribute them to people who don't say the "magic words" when they are needed.  Small, simple words that if inserted routinely into our daily lexicon can have such a huge impact on others around us.  Shameless plug, if you get a chance to check out any of VJ's books, I would strongly suggest it, especially The Richest Man in Town.

I've received a lot of "Thank You" cards over the years (because I'm so awesome at what I do, obviously).  About two years ago, I received the most memorable one from a student who had worked in our office for a while and was going on to bigger and better things.  In the note, she said one of the things she felt she learned from me was "what it really means to appreciate someone", commenting that she thought I said the "best and most sincere 'thank yous' of anyone" she knew.  A little ironic to be thanked for your thank yous, but I was totally humbled by this comment.  

That's why I nag my children, and maybe your's too, so that they can get a card like that someday.  Plus they are too young to understand the concept of nagging or remember how many times I have nagged them to do something, hence the reason I have to nag them.  Yes, that is circular reasoning, but it works here.

You're welcome.  

Sure, I'll let you get tattoos.
But only if you say please and ask in a non-whining voice.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

When to Expect the Unexpected

A former client that I used to work with had a great saying, "there's the plan, and then there's what happens."  It was a poignant comment given the project that we worked on together; planning a three day conference attended by more than 300 people from across the state of Minnesota who all had a variety of quirks and personal needs.  I found myself thinking of her comment this past week in relation to our Thanksgiving Holiday plans, and what actually happened.

My wife only had Thursday off, but our plan was to head to her parent's place to celebrate the holiday.  My goal was to have the van, yes the van, packed up and the girls ready to go by the time my wife would be home from work on Wednesday so we could hit the road.  The two hour trek would put us there just in time for dinner.  We'd celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a traditional feast, watch some football, and stick around for an early supper to cash in one more free meal before hitting the road.  We'd put the girls in their jammies before leaving and they'd likely fall asleep on the way home, providing for a seamless transition from car to bed.  I could spend some time on Friday putting our life back together and unpacking all of the extra items we always seem to return with after visiting the girl's grandparents.

Great plan right?  I thought so.  I had the snacks packed in the diaper bag and the suitcases by the backdoor ready to be loaded in the van, yes the van.  We were tracking perfectly until a crying toddler woke up from her nap and wanted nothing to do with anything that wasn't being held.  As a parent, it takes a little time to figure out the cues of when your kid is not feeling well, but after a while you develop this sixth sense that something is just "off" with them.  It's not always something that you can explain, or immediately recognize, but you start to notice that glaze in their eyes before they projectile vomit their last meal, which always seems to be chili or one of your favorite foods, which becomes no longer your favorite food.

Luckily it wasn't the projectile vomit this time, just a 102 temp.  We have a baby thermometer that gives you three options for body temperature analysis - armpit, oral or rectal.  To this day I have yet to use the rectal option, and can't foresee myself doing at anytime in the future, ever.  If you take rectal temps, you are an amazing person, and also a little crazy in my view.  Usually my weapon of choice is the armpit adapter, but Havi was not interested in that approach.  We agreed on taking an oral temp, which resulted in her giving me a 5 second window to put the thermometer in her mouth.  Seeing as she was not going to let me put it under her tongue or close her lips, I figured the 102 reading was probably indicative that she really had a fever.  Our normal readings tend to hover around the 95 degree range, which I recently learned is when initial signs of hypothermia set in.

So the audible was called and Havi and I spent Thanksgiving together in our pajamas while Jess and Isla went to my in-laws.  My wife was certainly bummed.  More so probably by the fact that she would now be the one behind the wheel of the four hour round-trip (she hates driving).  This was not our first foray in adjusting Holiday plans. We had to interrupt our regularly scheduled Christmas programming last year when all four of us were suffering from a variety of ailments in the days leading up to Christ's birth.  Luckily, or unluckily since it probably extended the length of the plague over our house, all four of us were able to hunker down together.  I thought maybe it would be the start of a new family tradition.

And so it goes with kids, and life in general.  You prepare yourself for one thing, and then the power goes out and you have to scrounge for the flashlights.  I used to work in the event planning field, and on a daily basis we would have to improvise our operation because of something that came up that we couldn't have foreseen - like the power going out.  This happens all the time if you work with or interact with people, which I'm assuming 99.99% of you do.  People are people, and they're going to do whatever they want to do.  Kids are little people; little people with a very undeveloped prefrontal cortext (the part of the brain that  manages complex cognitive behavior; aka forethought; aka thinking before you throw yourself on the floor of a grocery store to kick and scream at the top of your lungs because your sister is sitting in what you believe is your designated seat of the plastic car on the front of the grocery cart.)

Don't get me wrong, this doesn't negate the importance of proper planning or being prepared, whether at work or in life.  I don't adhere to the philosophy of keeping the bank account as close to zero as possible because you just never know if Publisher's Clearing House might show up at your front door.  But you have to learn how to be able to play the cards dealt your way.  Or, to utilize another metaphor from Jon Kabat-Zinn - "you can't stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf."  Mahalo.

There is also a certain level of hilarity that comes with embracing whatever life throws at you.  I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad while I was in college, and one of my traveling mates said something pretty memorable early in our trip, after we managed to board the wrong train.  10 years later it still resonates frequently with me.  She pointed out that "if everything went as planned, there would be no good stories to tell."  Remember that day when everything went as planned, when your spouse/kids/coworkers did everything you asked of them - you actually didn't even need to ask, they just intuitively knew what they needed to do keep your perfect day in tact?  Of course you don't, because that never happens.  But even if it did, it wouldn't be memorable.  Where is the suspense in that?

Toward the end of my semester abroad, I actually made a list of the all the "Not Sweet" things that happened to me during the semester.  Here is a small sampling:
-Lost countless numbers of times
-Multiple wrong trains/buses
-Lost three weeks worth of traveling photos from five different countries
-Pick-pocketed - wouldn't have been a study abroad experience without that happening
-Debit card expiring mid-semester
-Got crapped on (literally) by a bird

Of course these were all frustrating and aggravating experiences at the time, but now when I look back at that list I can hardly contain my laughter.  These are the stories I tell, because they are the most memorable.  In the past four years, my kids have provided me with countless additional stories with the hilarity amplified to a new level.  I'll leave you with one that happened to me today as I was finishing this post.

Somehow I managed to get two nappers this afternoon, something that doesn't happen very often.  It took some serious effort though - putting our two year old in our bed while her older sister screamed herself to sleep in the room and bed that they share.  This was done after allowing them two attempts to "rest" in the fort they had constructed in the living room.  They thought sleeping on a wood floor would be comfortable (prefontal cortex hard at work).  When that didn't seem to work out, and the fort collapsed, I made the executive decision to relocate them to better napping quarters.  I sat at the top of the stairs for a few minutes after Isla's blood curdling screams stopped just to make sure they were both sleeping soundly.  When I concluded that they were, I made a mad-dash downstairs to try to accomplish everything I felt I needed to get done.  This blog post included.

30 minutes in, Havi starts crying.  I make my way to the bottom of the stairs and the crying stops - strange how that can happen sometimes.  I wait motionless, because we live in a house that creaks, for a few minutes to make sure she's fallen back to sleep before sprinting back to the computer to resume typing.  15 more minutes pass, and she's crying again.  Back to the bottom of the stairs, and this time Isla is up.  She wanders over to her sister without noticing me at the bottom of the stairs, and the crying stops.  Thinking I might have bought some more time, I try to escape undetected, but Isla comes out of our room and spots me.  Busted.

She looks at me, and I can tell she is still exhausted.  She slides down the stairs on her rear and when she gets a few steps from the bottom, jumps into my arms.  She's still tired so she puts her head down on my shoulder.  Our moments like this seem to be getting fewer as she gets older, so I'm totally cashing in on this perfect daddy-daughter Hallmark scene.  We're swaying to the Mason Jennings' song playing in my head that always makes me think of her whenever I hear it.  I'm positioning my mental camera to take a picture that will forever capture this wonderful memory.  And then she farts.

Expect the unexpected.      

The Fort

The resters in their fort