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In addition to her consulting work, homeowners' board, getting ready for visitors, doing all the work ahead of Will's birthday and raising two awesome boys, Mama somehow found the time to continue the Danz tradition and make a terrific cake in the shape of the birthday year being celebrated.
First, we all (Mama, Daddy, Drew, Will, Ma, Pa, Uncle David, Aunt Catherine, Aunt Donelda and Miss Sue) feasted on Mama's world famous chicken enchiladas. And, then, it was time for cake! Unfortunately, Will didn't quite know what to make of the candles being lit.
Fortunately for Will, he has an awesome big brother. I told Drew to blow out one of Will's candles to get things started. But, Drew not wanting to take the fun away from Will just showed Will how to blow the candles without actually blowing one out. And, that was all it took to cheer Will up and save the day. Will then succeeded in blowing his two candles out all on his own.
With the candle episode behind him, Will dug into his cake. Woo-hoo!
Mama even got a thank-you-kiss for all her hard work.
Will did a terrific job of opening all his gifts.
Daddy, Aunt Donelda, Aunt Catherine, Drew, Uncle David, Will, Pa, Ma, Mama and Miss Sue (the camerawoman) all shared Will's special day.
Miss Sue reading to Will and Drew before bedtime. Sue was an incredible help the whole weekend and we were all glad she was able to come down with Aunt Donelda to see the farm and help celebrate Will's second birthday.
Today we woke up early packed everyone in a rented 12 person van and headed out to Goltry, Oklahoma.
Will and Drew on their Great-Grandma and Grandpa Buller's farm where Grandma Danz grew up. Apparently, "hold still and look at Daddy," somehow translates into 2 and 4 year-old language as "wave your arms madly about."
Daddy and Aunt Donelda behind the garage where there used to be peach trees, a scrap metal pile, and fences we would climb on and grab the irresistible overhead electrified lines for a jolt that is remembered well into middle-age.
Daddy, Drew and Will on the porch in front of Grandma Danz's childhood home.
The family renting the farm owns a horse which recently had a foal.
The foal was surprisingly friendly...a little too friendly for this city slicker. He must have thought I had food or treats because he wouldn't take no for an answer. After following me like a Pamplona bull as I backpedaled away, mama horse came and got him and led him back to the barn.
I made some panoramas of some of the farm views. This one is looking out East.
This panorama is out behind the barns looking North.
The view looking East from the house.
Aunt Donelda came to visit for Will's birthday. We tried to come up with something "Oklahoma" to do and found out that she had not been to a Bass Pro Shop...so off we went. [This is actually a post-birthday shot as evidenced by Big Bird which Drew came up with all on his own to give to Will, since there were no first day group photos.]
OK, so with stores in 27+ states, including one in Chicago, it's not technically an "Oklahoma" thing but it was fun for the boys to see the fish and stuffed animals and gave us all a chance to stretch our legs before dinner. We had dinner at the Bass Pro Shop restaurant. Everyone enjoyed their seafood while the boys and myself, Mr. Anaphylactic-Shock, partook of other fare. Our waitress will forever be remember as the least enthusiastic server ever.
Both Drew and Will really enjoyed watching the fish.
Mary and I went to see Phantom of the Opera Sunday evening at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. We saw Phantom when it first came to Tulsa in 1996 which neither us can believe was twelve years ago. It seems much more recent. As it was before, the performance was incredible. I'm by no means an "opera person" but it doesn't take the ability to tell Puccini from Spontini to appreciate Phantom.
Last time we sat much farther back, while this time we were in fourth row seats which allowed a phenomenal close up view of the performers and sets. We both tried to find things that were different between the two performances, but it was very difficult. A subsequent review of the programs showed there was very little difference to be found, but Mary believes the way the performers worked their way down to the subterranean level was different.
My only, admittedly personal and uneducated, criticism was that the actor playing the Phantom in 1996 (Thomas James O'Leary - IMDB) made the character more sympathetic and tragic than the actor playing the Phantom this time around (Richard Todd Adams). Through some combination of sitting closer, different performers and seeing it for the second time, the Phantom character seemed more angry, bitter and less sympathetic this time around. But, still, no less enjoyable. I wouldn't mind catching it again in another dozen years.
Today, Ma and Pa Youngman celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary!
About once a year I grow a goatee/mustache...no particular reason. I came across a self-portrait from when I got my first digital camera in 2001. I thought recreating the pose before I shaved off this year's appurtenance would be interesting. Yikes, tell me it's the lighting, otherwise someone's getting old!
Happy 4th of July!
God Bless America!
The Scene: After a delicious meal at the Cheesecake Factory the day before, Daddy has some left over ribs for dinner. At meals, we often discuss the foods, where they come from and how they get to our table. Drew understands that milk comes from cows and can name just about every major food that is made from milk. He also knows that chicken comes from chickens, beef or just "meat" comes from cows and pork comes from pa-pa-pa-pigs (his mnemonic for remembering the source of pork).
There was only one slight flaw in Drew's wealth of knowledge, he only understood "comes from" being in the sense of milk comes from a cow, as in the cow gives us some milk or some hamburger and then goes about the rest of its day happily eating grass in the fields...until tonight:
Drew: What's that?
Daddy: It's a rib.
Drew: What's a rib? [Although he knows what a ribs is away from the dinner table.]
Daddy: It's the rib of a cow, like you have ribs. [Poking Drew in the ribs.]
Drew: How do they get it?
Daddy: They cut the cow up.
Drew: Oh...[pause]...but they're cute.
Daddy: And, tasty!
Drew: Oh. [Contemplating becoming a vegetarian without even knowing what a vegetarian is.]
Daddy: Eat your meat.
Drew: It's not meat, it's pork.
Daddy: [Realizing today's food lesson has gone far enough.] Eat your pork.
A neighbor got a Little Tikes Slam 'n Slide Inflatable Water Slide and invited the boys over for some fun. We sure never had toys this cool when we were kids, Holy Cow, the thing was amazing. Officially 9 feet high, it's a mountain of fun to 2 and 4 year-olds. Drew never tired of constant sliding.
Will wasn't quite up to the task of climbing the slide and hung out in the wading pool portion, still loving every minute of it.