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Continuing on with the adventures of the Danz family summer Heartland Tour, in the Chicago suburb of Palatine, we all got to go swimming at the newly renovated Birchwood Pool.
Besides a zero depth kids pool, there were all kids of sprinklers, sprays and water attractions. Will, completely fearless of the water, is testing out one of the sprinklers.
The most popular attraction was the shark slide. Here is Drew in the heart of the beast.
Will got to go down the shark with Daddy's help. Drew was a near non-stop shark slider.
Because so many lifeguards had already left for college, there wasn't enough staff to watch the busy Labor Day weekend crowd. So, Will and Drew had to take their turns in the lifeguard chairs.
Will, Daddy and Drew.
Aunt Donelda, without whom none of this would have been possible. with Drew and Will.
Click "Continue reading" for a shot of Daddy you've never seen before...
Mama caught Daddy precisely half-way in performing a one-and-a-half off the high dive.
The upgrade to the software that runs this blog, Movable Type, to version 4.01 is complete. The new version includes an entirely new backend, the part that only I see. Probably the most noticeable thing to visitors is the calendar type date in each post's newly linked title. Beyond that, the changes/fixes/improvements include:
The site is in the midst of being upgraded to Movable Type 4.01 so there may be some minor glitches until everything is finished. Commenting is still open. More details upon completion.
After much research, consideration and prayer, I have come to a preliminary decision on the Republican candidate to support in the 2008 Presidential election. Below are four men of outstanding character and accomplishment, any one of which could well lead our nation and do it a thousand times better than anything the Democratic party is putting forth. Seriously a Marxist, a trial lawyer, a man who's greatest accomplishment is being polished and some other left-wing unknowns, if not for the mainstream media simply being the propaganda arm of the Democratic party, this nation would not be divided and the choice for President would simply be one of these four:
JOHN MCCAIN: I have trouble saying anything bad about John McCain because he is a true war hero. He was a prisoner of war for five and a half years mostly in the infamous Hanoi Hilton where he was frequently tortured and yet despite being tortured, he refused an offer to be freed early due to his father being the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command, the commander of all U.S. forces in Vietnam. John McCain so believed in the principle of "first in, first out" that he chose continued torture over a trip home. As the result of his brutal treatment at the hand of the Vietnamese communists, John McCain to this day cannot raise his hands above his shoulders and has to have assistance in such mundane tasks as combing his hair. And yet, I've never heard him talk about these things yet alone use them as a campaign tool. Compare that type of character to 2004 candidate John-I-Served-In-Vietnam-Kerry. Real men don't have to tell tales, their stories are legend.
With that said, and with my unqualified gratitude to Mr. McCain for his service to our nation, there are just too many issues on which he stands that prohibit me from supporting his presidential candidacy. The biggest two are his desire to reward and grant immunity to illegal aliens and his sponsorship of grossly unconstitutional campaign finance reform. There are many other smaller issues too, all of which combine to overcome my immense respect for this fine man.
MITT ROMNEY: America's business is business. What's good for GM is good for America. There is no other candidate with anywhere near the business acumen of Mitt Romney. His success in the private sector doing what Americans do best is unparalleled in any candidate for the presidency now or ever that I can recall. Mitt Romney knows business. He has proven himself a successful leader, not only in the private sector but also as governor of Massachusetts and as President and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games which he took over and turned around after it was rocked with heavy dept and allegations of bribery.
Further, and perhaps just as important, this stand-up conservative was elected as the governor of one the must fruitcake liberal, left-wing, nut-job states in the country. The same state that repeatedly sends Chappaquiddick Ted back to the United States Senate elected Mitt Romney. Whatever black magic he's got in his bag I'd love to see it work in the general election. I'd be plenty happy if Mitt Romney were President. I think he'd do a great job of working with the left (not just caving in to them which the MSM considers "working with"), reforming our government and creating an environment most favorable to economic growth.
RUDY GIULIANI: As bad as September 11, 2001, was for America, the following day September 12 was a great day. Perhaps never has our nation been so united. Everyone, together, as one nation, wanted to strike back at those who would commit such a heinous act. Of all the candidates, I think Rudy Giuliani most remembers September 12 and would do what is necessary to protect our nation and take on the scum the oozes from the trash dumps of the world. He's perhaps not the best candidate on various social issues, but such positions probably make him more viable in the general election.
Rudy Giuliani shares the same cross-over appeal as Mitt Romney, getting himself twice elected mayor in a city who's average citizenry give a whole new meaning to the word diversity and in a state who twice elected carpetbagger Marxist Hillary Clinton. The nation would clearly benefit if it was led by the same person who showed himself to be such an incredible leader in the wake of unimaginable disaster.
FRED THOMPSON: By most any current indication, there is little to distinguish the conservatism of these four candidates. However, on some important issues, each of the above have been a little late to the table. Fred Thompson stands alone as having always been a consistent staunch conservative. While still in school he campaigned for Barry Goldwater the father of the modern conservative movement, and over the years he has maintained the most consistent conservative views and voting record of any other candidate. Despite Bill Clinton and Al Gore winning Tennessee in 1992 and 1996, Fred Thompson won the Senate seat vacated by Al Gore in the 1994 election despite originally being 20 points down in the polls. He went on to win again in 1996 with the most votes ever received by a candidate in Tennessee for any office.
The heart of Fred Thompson's political beliefs is the concept of Federalism and that when people seek solution to a problem one must ask: "Is this something government should be doing? If so, at what level of government?" As a former member of the Federalist Society, nothing warms my heart more than a candidate whose core belief is that government is not the solution to all problems and, in the rare instances when it is the solution, one must determine what level of government is best to offer a solution, the preference always being local is better. Fred Thompson's speeches are inspiring. He not only says the right things but backs his positions with conservative ideology and passion missing from the other candidates and their equally correct answers. Fred Thompson does not walk on water and I can easily find things for which to criticize, but I know of no other candidate more qualified to lead and inspire our nation.
As I first said, my support for Fred Thompson is preliminary. I am always open to learning more about the candidates, their stance on the issues and their performance on the campaign trail. However, as it stands now, the Danz Family supports Fred Thompson to be the next President of the United States. I urge you to also support Fred Thompson.
Last week Will's vocabulary doubled almost overnight. In a just a day or two span he went from "mama" and "dada" (much more of the former than the latter) to include "uh-oh" and "nana" (a much loved fruit). For Will, "uh-oh" included accidentally dropping his sippy-cup as well as throwing his sippy-cup...as in, he's done drinking, he tosses his sippy-cup, we turn and look at him and he says "Uh-oh!"
I'm always forgetting to write down the funny things Drew says, but here are a couple of recent items:
Mary: (reading traffic signs on trip from St. Louis to Chicago) 259 miles to Chicago!
Drew: Mama that's a lot of miles.
Mary: Yes. It's over three hours to get there.
Drew: Tell me when there are zero miles.
Drew: (playing eye-spy in the car) I spy something yellow.
Mary: (after many wrong guesses) Give me a hint.
Drew: It has green around it.
Mary: (after many more wrong guesses) Give me another hint.
Drew: It is outside of the car.
Mary: (ponders a long time) I give up, what is it?
Drew: Corn. (they were driving through central Illinois surrounded by fields of corn)
Drew: (in McDonald's...a person passes the table and in a surprising clear and not-so-soft voice) Is that a boy or a girl?
Mary: (*pause*...*pause*...in a low voice) I don't know, let's wait and see which bathroom the person goes into.
Mary: It's a girl!
Drew: (coming out of the bathroom at home) Daddy, the little boat is a big boat.
Don: Yes, Drew, the toilet is clogged. Thank you.
(The outline of the water surface is the shape of a boat's hull, normally small, but big when clogged.)
In May a website started that I only recently found called Military Motivator. It is a takeoff on the well known inspirational posters but with a military theme. The site encourages reader contribution and so I created and submitted five of which four were used (one really wasn't that great). You can make your own too (on any subject). Here are two of the ones I made with three more after the jump.
GRATITUDE: How do you thank those who most bear the burden of ultimate sacrifice?
[UPDATE:] Blackfive has determined my "Gratitude" MilMo (Military Motivator) to be The BEST Military Motivator Photo- EVER.
FIRE POWER: Knowing that when each side calls up to heaven, your side will deliver the goods!
FOG OF WAR: Only those that have put their life on the line get to second guess a soldier in the field.
U.S. NAVY: Providing the greatest office views since 1794.
PARTY TIME: Having a few friends drop in.
On the second leg of the 2007 Heartland Tour Mary and the boys visited Mary's college friend Stacey and her three children, Jonathan, Nicholas and Alexandra in St. Louis. They were fortunate enough to time the visit to coincide with Alexandra's second birthday party.
Stacey with Alexandra and Will.
Will, Drew, Jonathan, Nicholas and Alexandra.
I've previously chronicled Google's special logos that it puts up for a variety of holidays and its utter failing to ever recognize Memorial Day or 9/11. So, on Tuesday, it came as no surprise when Google again failed to remember those that lost their lives on that fateful day. Also, as before, the search engine Dogpile rose to the occasion and showed Google exactly what class looks like.
But, Google surprised even me today when it chose to honor a well known virulent Jew-hater. Google's logo for the day recognizes Roald Dahl and three of his popular book. Avid reader Matilda, from the novel of the same name sits on the "G" surrounded by books, the second "O" is replaced with a peach floating on water with a tiny figure aboard it from James and the Giant Peach and the "L" is replaced with a partially-unwrapped chocolate bar with a Golden Ticket inside from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
It's unfortunate Google doesn't have access to some type of search function that might have made them aware of Roald Dahl anti-semitic statements such as:
"There’s a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity...I mean there is always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason." - Roald Dahl
"Never before has a state generated so much sympathy around the world and then, in the space of a lifetime, succeeded in turning that sympathy into hatred and revulsion...It is as though a group of much-loved nuns in charge of an orphanage had suddenly turned around and started murdering all the children." - Roald Dahl
I'm sure it was all an innocent mistake on Google's part, after all it's not like they chose to honor a famous Jew-hater on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Now when is that...if only there was an easy way to look up simple information. It boggles the mind...or it boogles the mind.
While at Aunt Michelle and Uncle Matt's, Michelle, Gillian, Mary, Drew and Will got to go to the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park, Kansas. Established in 1978, the Farmstead was designed to depict a turn of the century farm and the promotion of family values. The beautiful and diverse park was renamed in 1985 in honor of Overland Park police officer Deanna Rose.
Michell and Gillian take a milk break while Will relaxes in his travel stroller.
Drew really enjoyed the 1900s one-room schoolhouse and writing on a slate tablet. Other attractions include a 5,000 square foot dairy barn, an Indian encampment with a 600 log earthen lodge filled with artifacts and furs surrounded by tepees, a nature trail with a butterfly garden, chime garden and repose area, a Johnson County Master Gardeners area and a prairie playground.
Other activities at the Farmstead include pony and horse drawn wagon rides, a fishing pond, stream mining, goat bottle feeding and making schoolhouse crafts.
Will in the dairy barn pointing to a cow, something he doesn't get to see every day.
Click "Continue reading" to see selection of animals the kids got to see.
In Kansas City, we all finally got to meet Miss Gillian! Will knew exactly what to do with her...hug.
Drew was incredibly loving and gentle with Gillian. He checked out her little fingers, gave her pats and got an opportunity to hold and rock her. At one point, Gillian almost even went to sleep in Drew's arms.
Both boys agree...Gillian makes a great pillow.
But nobody is as comfy as mommy Michelle and daddy Matt.
Will, Drew and Gillian.
Mary, being some combination of crazy and a saint, all by herself, came up with the plan: (1) the four of us drive to Kansas City on Saturday to visit her sister, brother-in-law and their new baby, (2) I fly back on Sunday to work during the week, (3) she drives alone with the boys to St. Louis on Tuesday to see a friend and attend her daughter's birthday party, (4) she continues on alone with the boys to Chicago on Wednesday to see my mom and sister, (5) I fly to Chicago Thursday to spend Labor Day weekend together and, finally, (6) we all drive back to Tulsa on Monday.
Will enjoyed the trip with his new neck pads which really helped support his head while napping in his car seat. Between naps, Will watched DVDs, wrote on the Magna Doodle and played with a long procession of toys handed back to him from the front. Drew, seen here kicking back watching a DVD, was an incredible trooper.
In Drew's lap is his Star Wars Transformers Boba Fett & Slave I. Drew was such a good boy on the trip to Chicago and all the time there that we bought him the transformer to play with on the trip back. The package says it is for children 5+ years and Drew is only 3 1/2 so we didn't know if it would be too hard or frustrating for him...how wrong we were. We waited until we were outside Chicago before giving it to him in the hopes of maximizing it's entertainment value during drive through the flat cornfields of Illinois. After an hour we figured we had gotten more than our money's worth. After two hours of transforming back and forth and playing with the resulting ship and guy we were amazed. All told, the trip took 13 hours of which about 10 were driving and we figure Drew played with the transformer for total of about 5-6 hours! The Star Wars Transformer was easily the best purchase ever...and there may be some more in the boys' future...*wink* *wink*.