Dexter The Not So Mighty

From the day our pets met there's been a clear pecking order. I just assumed as Dexter grew he'd assert some dominance over the cats. Dexter is now pushing 50 pounds and is quite capable of eating a cat should the thought occur to him.

Alas, I heard whimpering coming from the kitchen last night. I walked in to discover Tom calmly guarding the water bowl. A fearful Dexter wouldn't get any closer. 

Dexter continues to try to befriend Tom. It's slow going, but Dexter remains hopeful, if a little thirsty.

Last Day of School

Christine snapped these picks of the kids as they headed out on their last day of school.

Alex and Conner on their last day of 4th and 1st grade

Allison on her last day of kindergarden

And with that summer has officially begun.

Photo of the Week

Last year I took part in the tail end of a photo project for 2012 called the Image Maker's 52 week photo walks. Here's how it worked.
Group members take a half hour walk once a week with their camera. Each week members post one image from their walk to share and discuss. Members of the group have attended photography workshops and photography tours presented by photographer Dan Splaine of Test of Time Photography in Nashua, NH.
There's something very therapeutic about making one image to rule them all each week. I joined near the tail end of the 52 weeks at which time the group disbanded never to be spoken of again. Except in the halls of the NSA Prism program where no doubt my picture from week 3 set off some alarms.

Here are the images I submitted.

Week 1: Conner (center) on the sideline during a soccer game.

Week 2: Found this on a walk through my neighborhood. Lots of great colors before hurricane Sandy came through. This is my first contribution to the Image Makers Group. 

Week 3: I tried to catch the liftoff of 9 simultaneously launched rockets. Turns out they rarely lift off at the same time.

Week 4: Caught this guy at my son's birthday party. Surprisingly cute for a skunk.

Week 5: I was traveling this week and didn't bring my Cannon so I went with the iPhone camera. This was taken after a particularly yummy meal under the influence of a not insignificant amount of sake.

Week 6:  Took this photo of my daughter while we waited for Santa. He was driving through town picking up donations for the local food pantry. The thing I like about it most is that she's looking away from the camera. It feels like a moment of innocence. The face paint was at her request. She'd been asking her mom to paint her face for a week.

Bonus image: Took this in my backyard while enjoying a night around the fire pit.  It would have been my week 7 submission if the group hadn't closed down.    

The full size images are available in my 52 Week Image Makers set on flickr.

Right Back At Ya Dad

On Fathers day Conner was running around like a mad man. As he passed through the room I said "Conner, you're driving me crazy!" Without missing a beat he responded "Right back at ya Dad."

Unrelated picture of Conner ticking off items as he gave
us a tour of his 1st grade class a few weeks back.

Story Land Vacation 2013

We headed out on vacation for yet another tip to Story Land last week. The kids are getting bigger and we spent a lot of time at the pool. Conner worked on perfecting his pool jumping technique and asked that I post this video "somewhere everyone can see it."

Eventually we headed out to Story Land. The thing that struck me this year was how much the kids have grown. For example, this is Allison walking under a small bridge at Story Land in 2008.

And this is her a few years later.

And this is Allison in the same spot last week.

Allison and Conner at Story Land 2013

She's grown up quite a bit, but not too much...

I'm not sure what happened with Conner in this shot. He's usually more photogenic than Barney Stinson, but the rest of the kids are so happy I couldn't leave this one out.

Fortunately, Conner perked up and decided he wanted a poster to hang on his wall of him on this horse. He named the horse Iron and came up with at least a dozen cool poses.

Conner riding Iron into battle

I even got a shot at riding Iron into battle.

We had lunch at the place Sara lovingly refers to as the "Turkish Food Court of Pain." Immediately thereafter, the boys took me on those spinning tea cups from hell. Alex bet I couldn't make it go faster than he could. I took the bait and after showing him who was boss I spent the next few mintes desperately trying not to hurl.

I am a grown man with three children and I have no excuse
for the level of stupidity I demonstrate every time I get on these damn teacups. 

In happier news Emily got over her fear of the Polar Coaster and took her dad on it over, and over, and over.

Emily and John rrockin the Polar Coaster

While we're on the topic of the Polar Coaster, check out this action shot I took with my phone. I'm quite impressed with my photo skills. 

Christine and Alex on the Polar Coaster

Most importantly, Christine and Allison managed to continue their tradition of sharing a blue slushy specifically so they could turn their tongues blue. Here they are in 2009.

Allison and Christine 2009

And here they are celebrating their birthday in style last week.

Allison and Christine 2013

All in all it was a great trip. More pictures from this year's vacation are on Google+ and a bunch from this and previous years are on flickr.