Holiday World, Cookie Monster, The Git Up

DAYS 20-31 -- So much for the old version of the Summer of Tim where I was writing daily. I kind of like this new post-whenever-I-feel-like-it method though.

So here you go. Eleven days wrapped up nice and neat for you with few words and many pictures.

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We road tripped it to my hometown in Southern Illinois for a few days including one day spent at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana.

Yes, for those of you outside the Midwest, there is a town in Indiana called Santa Claus.


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My dad's birthday was this past week so we had the chance to celebrate with him while we were on the road. My brother and I took him to an escape room set in the original jail house in Benton, Illinois. This is the jail where infamous bootleger Charlie Birger was arrested and executed by hanging in the late 1920s.


Former NBA star and coach (and current Senior Advisor of NBA Operations) Doug Collins played high school basketball in Benton. His childhood hoop is on display in the museum along with a chunk of the tree it was attached to.


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With a storm rolling in, I had to take the obligatory photo from the back of my own childhood backyard.


Anna was daydreaming on my dad's back porch while it rained ... that is, until a huge lightning strike brought her back to reality.

 

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Baseball for Mason and softball for Anna came to a close this week freeing up our Tuesday and Thursday evenings for the rest of the summer.


Anna's team finished first for the season and second in their league tournament.


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Along with a few toads, we have caught somewhere in the neighborhood of three bajillion lightning bugs in the back yard so far this summer.


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Cookie Monster covered the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley and it was fantastic.


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North Prospect is the busiest street in Champaign-Urbana. It's the land of box stores and chain restaurants. And I love it when this happens.


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Charlotte has mastered the Git Up. I'm still working on it.

Space Food, a Staring Contest, Father's Day

DAYS 15-19 -- After almost a full week without an entry into the Summer of Tim, I can only assume you've started showing symptoms of withdrawal. Well, let me do my best to alleviate your cold sweats and shakes with a look back at the past several days.

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Working backwards, Father's Day was terrific! Church, a lazy afternoon, a half-hour phone chat with my dad...followed by a walk with the dog and a trip to Yo Yo's...capped off with some time on the deck.


Every time we go to Yo Yo's (a local yogurt place), I explain to the kids that they can get tons of toppings if they pick the right ones. For example, a mountain of Lucky Charms marshmallows is the same weight as a fraction of the head on a gummy frog. Oreo crumbles weigh far less than gummy sharks and spiders.

Still, I let them choose what they'd like. Mason went with the cotton candy yogurt ... topped with a giant gummy frog, sour gummy worms, and the gummy spider that he dropped on the floor when he tried to make it crawl up my arm.

Of course, he did.

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Saturday morning, I picked Anna up from a sleepover at a friend's house and we decided to take the long way home. By the long way, I mean driving an extra 15 or 20 miles to get some Dunkin' Donuts.


The kids' donut preferences have become pretty predictable -- Mason likes chocolate long johns, Charlotte goes with the plain glazed, and Anna likes anything with sprinkles. Being the day before Fathers Day, we grabbed some extra special donuts while we were there. Nothing shows love for a father like his children eating fried dough covered in sugar.


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Since we were pretty much trapped inside on Saturday because of the persistent rain, I took time to catch up on some Mister Rogers work. I realize that some of you reading may not be aware of the Mister Rogers stuff I do ... so check out NeighborhoodArchive.com sometime. That's the tip of the iceberg.

The book project I've had the pleasure of working on since last fall is coming together quickly at this point. I'm super excited to see it on shelves this fall! Of course, you can pre-order this beauty online anytime you'd like.


Foreword by Tom Hanks?

Yeah, that Tom Hanks.


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A serious staring contest took place in our house this week.

The cat won.

I think I heard them talking about trying rock-paper-scissors next.


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Mason got some astronaut food this week -- a freeze-dried ice cream sandwich.

Despite his half-hearted thumbs up, I don't think he was impressed.


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Were toys this stupid when I was a kid?


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I've discovered the joys a kayaking early in the morning. One morning last week, I headed out to a local lake where, other than one guy fishing off the dock, I had the entire place to myself. The water was like glass as I paddled to the middle of the lake where I leaned back in my seat and just sat.

That's all I did. I just sat and breathed the fresh morning air.

And it was glorious.


I'm realizing more every day that it's important to stop sometimes. Stop worrying. Stop hurrying. Stop the noise. Stop everything and just sit.

"Remember what peace there may be in silence" ... right?

While I was out, I took this picture of the trees on one shore reflecting in the water. Kind of cool to look at it side-by-side with the same image flipped upside down.

 

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The St. Louis Blues won their first Stanley Cup this week which is super cool for the many Blues fans I know. I used to go to Blues games when I was in high school and I've always considered myself a very surface-level Blues fan, but not to any degree that I can say I had any investment in this team prior to Games 6 and 7 of the finals.

But they won. So a huge congrats to all of my Blues fan friends.

But as good as that victory was for you, we all know that the best Game 7 was won in 2016.


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Have you heard about this grocery store in Vancouver that is using embarrassing plastic bags in order to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags?

Absolutely brilliant.


You can read about it more HERE.

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The kids and I are regularly adding songs we like to our individual Amazon Music playlists. "Alexa, add this song to my ___ playlist" is a common phrase in our house. I recently added Midnight Oil's "Beds Are Burning" to my playlist but Alexa misheard "Tim's playlist" for "Kids' playlist."

Since the kids often listen to their playlists at bedtime, I thought it would be best that I rectify Alexa's error. I mean, I'd love it if my kids listened to good music instead of the garbage that's on the radio these days (man, I sounded really old there), but a song with lyrics about a bed on fire is probably not the most soothing melody for a child trying to fall asleep.

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Anna has gained so much confidence this summer as a softball player. She a regular Kris Bryant, no?


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I enjoy seeing the kids using their creativity. Despite the fact that they're on their screens more than they probably should be, they still make time to exercise their imaginations.


But this stuff they're watching on their screens ... what is this stuff?

Mason can sit in front of the Chromebook and watch video after video of other kids playing with toys. This is so bizarre to me. With a room full of his own toys just up the stairs waiting to be played with, he sits and watches other kids play with toys.


It's just odd.

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A few weeks ago, we found an unopened National Geographic "Make Your Own Volcano" set at the thrift store for a buck or two. Did we need a homemade volcano? Of course not ... but for a few bucks it sure made for an hour or two of fun!


After making the volcano from plaster and slapping on a coat or two of paint, it was time for the eruption.


Thrilling. I know.


. . .

How about this?

Words I'm pretty sure I never thought would come out of my mouth:

"That's a shadow, stupid. You can't eat a shadow."

I was talking to my dog. Not my kids. I swear.

. . .

Outside on a beautiful summer evening, the dog enjoyed his dinner on the deck, Anna showed off the fireflies she caught in the yard...

...and Charlotte watched Tik Tok videos.


That's what summer's all about, right? Watching video clips of random strangers doing stupid things set to music.

Whatever.

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Fireflies or lightning bugs? Is this a regional thing like soda and pop?

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Closing out this thrilling week in the Summer of Tim, let me share with you proof that my kids are awesome.


Bet you didn't get a personalized comic book for Father's Day, did you?

I didn't think so.

Pork Rinds and Basketball Robots

DAYS 11-14 -- It's been a few days, huh? Fear not, faithful readers -- the Summer of Tim is not coming to an early end. I just don't have any idea what I've been doing! And I'm completely okay with that.

For the most part, Friday through Sunday was spent sitting on the back porch drinking coffee and throwing a softball to the dog. When my cup would get empty, I'd fill it up. When Dutch would bring the ball back to me, I'd throw it again.

Drink, fill. Throw, retrieve. Repeat.

It's a pretty simple formula, really.

The kids spent a lot of time outside, too. Sort of.


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Monday was spent at work as we conducted interviews for an open administrative position in our building. Unfortunately, as part of the interview team, I had to wear socks and pants -- two items of clothing that are entirely optional throughout June and July.

I had stopped by my office for a minute earlier in the week (I seriously have no idea what day it is) last week for a few minutes and had Charlotte along for the ride. Everyday during the school year, the kids get on the bus at the high school where I work and are then dropped off at their respective schools. I noticed yesterday that Charlotte had written a note to her future self on my marker board.


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As has become somewhat of a tradition among my circle of friends, a few of us got together last night to watch Golden State play against Drake in Game 6 of the NBA finals. Here is what I learned while watching this game:
  1. Drake is super annoying. Good work by ABC by giving him little to no camera time.
  2. There is a musician/actress named Awkwafina. Yes, spelled differently but pronounced just like the bottled water. What a stupid name.
  3. Despite their unfair reputation on the snack hierarchy, pork rinds are a popular snack among basketball watching males between the ages of 35-45.
  4. If you cheer when a player on the opposing team suffers an injury, you're not a sports fan. You're just an asshole.
  5. Kawhi Leonard might be a robot.
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This picture is beautiful.

The PB&B Burger

DAYS 08-10 -- I could go on and on about how Charlotte, Mason, and I conquered IKEA while Anna is away at camp. I could talk about how we stayed up too late and slept in the next day, mistakenly missing scheduled dentist appointments in the process. But let's get down to some serious Summer of Tim business here.

I've heard for several years about an unusual combination used to top hamburgers that many claim is surprisingly delicious -- bacon and peanut butter. As disgusting as it sounds, I've always wanted to try it. I mean, I like bacon and peanut butter and hamburgers. All three together has to be good, right?

With burgers fresh off the grill and bacon straight out the pan, I spread some Peter Pan on the bun and gave it a shot.


The verdict?

I didn't hate it. But I'll probably never eat it again.

Whatever.

. . .

Today turned out to be the day that I love most every summer -- the day I realize I have no idea what day of the week it is. At one point this morning, I thought it was Monday.

It's not Monday.