Monday, June 22, 2009

What More Does a Dad Need?

There was golf, steak, wine, and family. In other words, I'd say it was an ideal Father's Day weekend, and I'm pretty sure Tim agrees.

Here, Tim and Danny practice their putting while watching the U.S. Open. This was the highlight of Danny's weekend.

We later took advantage of Crystal's photographic skills for an informal family photo, as they are so hard to come by!

Cheers to all of the dads we know!

Friday, June 19, 2009

So Danny Thinks He Can Dance

Danny frequently and spontaneously decides to show us his "moves." I decided it was time to take them public.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grampy!

We love you and hope you have a marvelous day!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Good Walk Unspoiled

[Guest authored by Tim]
While water slides were the unequivocal highlight of the vacation, a close #1B for Danny was "golfing with Daddy" on a real golf course. Due to renovation, the hole right outside our condo was closed, enabling Danny and I to intrepidly transition from our backyard to real tees and greens.

Danny has one "real" golf club, a sand wedge, in addition to his myriad (mostly broken from overuse) plastic clubs. In anticipation of the big moment of hitting the course, Danny was intent on practicing with his real club inside the condo. With Danny, there are no half swings, so we frequently uttered the admonition "Danny, be careful, that club is dangerous inside the condo," to try and protect furniture, life, and limb. Thus, as we were ready to hit the course, Danny issued my second favorite line of the trip: "I'm going to bring my dangerous club, and my yellow putter, and my red one." I view this as a lost marketing idea for Titleist, who would sell millions of "dangerous" clubs if so branded.

Our hole, which we played back-and-forth 9 times over 3 days, was #7, a short 320 yard par four with water near the green, and importantly, 2 sand traps. The basic plan was that I'd hit a 9-iron, Danny would blast away a few times, and then he'd pick up his ball and we'd go walk to mine. Then repeat, closing in on the green, where we'd eventually hit a few putts, and then play the hole backward toward the tees. Danny was, as expected, very excited throughout. With some practice, he not surprisingly started to make solid contact with the ball and even get a few airborne. Additionally, he was very open and respectful to instruction. When he took a divot (frequently), he learned to stomp it down. We worked on getting his hands in the right order on the club (right hand low), and when I shouted "Danny, hands!" he dutifully stopped his swing and re-gripped. He also cheered for all of my shots with genuine enthusiasm ("Wow, great shot Daddy!"), which made me feel as if I was in the U.S. Open.

The entire experience was great, and made me long for future golf adventures as he gets older. Two highlights stick out. On the second day, Danny hit a shot that veered into the greenside bunker. "Oh man, I hit it in the bunker" he joyfully exclaimed. That was the first thing he told Liz and Clare when we returned that night, and was clearly pleased that he got to go into the bunker and hit it again. On the last day, he topped that, by hitting a nice lofted shot onto the green on our last foray. The pride with which he announced "I hit it onto the green" upon returning home was wonderful. He has subsequently told multiple strangers, plus a few neighbors, about these shots. In fact, many of you reading this may have already heard about them.

BTW, the #1 pronouncement on the trip was as follows. One day, we got the kids soup from Panera for lunch. Danny had black bean soup, and proceeded to slobber the soup all over himself, his clothes, and the table. After watching this for a few minutes, the neat freak in me couldn't stand it, so I asked him to "Focus, Danny." Flash forward to our ride home. Liz jumps into the van from procuring Starbucks, and immediately notes that she's spilled iced coffee on her dress. To which Danny deadpans: "Focus, Mommy."

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Sweet Spot

If you asked each of us what was the highlight of our vacation, we'd all give you the same answer (although Danny might also say golf). Tim had a brainstorm right before we left for Florida, but we kept it secret until the morning we were ready to go to... Adventure Island, a water park in Tampa. Of course, two minutes after we made the announcement and ran to throw on our swimsuits, the heavens opened and let loose a torrential downpour. After brief deliberation, Tim and I decided "nothing ventured, nothing gained," banking on the fact that since it was an hour to the north, hopefully Tampa had a better forecast. It took a solid 40 minutes on the road, but eventually the clouds cleared and we found blue skies and sunshine.

Aside from a 20 minute shower in the middle of our day, the blue skies and sunshine remained, making for an absolutely marvelous family outing. We knew the park would be a big hit with Clare, who reveled in her visit to White Water last summer with Tim and has spoken of it monthly thereafter. Danny was more of a mystery, and I simply hoped that he would hold up long enough for Clare to get in a good visit. We needn't have worried, because from the get-go Danny was gung-ho. Once he took his first trip down the water slide, he was hooked. Judging from his water park performance and on the Viper at the lake, Danny feels the need for speed. Such a boy.

Clare had several favorites on Adventure Island. True to her ocean-loving self, she got a big kick out of the wave pool, which was admittedly pretty cool. She liked the water slides, too, though she was somewhat cautious on them until the end of the day (more on that in a moment). But the biggest thrill for her was jumping off of the cliff platform into the eight-foot pool. Of course, she opted for the little platform, which was opposite the 20-foot platform. Nevertheless, she charged off of it with gusto at least 50 times throughout the day. (And may I also add that I saw a teenage girl shriek with fear over jumping off of this particular cliff.) Our little social butterfly also made two different friends at this particular attraction, which was cute to watch from my spot across the pool - at one point Clare looked at me, pointed to a girl, and mouthed, "This is my friend!"

As the day began to fade, and we moved into our seventh hour at the park, we decided to make our way one last time to the water slides. Throughout the day Tim and I had both tried to convince Clare to go down the slide by herself - there was one in particular that was very tame. But it wasn't until this final round that she decided to try it. This might have been because I made a deal with her: if she went down a slide by herself, I'd jump off the 20-foot cliff. What astounded me was that once she decided to do it, she went with absolutely no hesitation whatsoever. Naturally, she loved it and took half a dozen more solo visits (making another friend along the way, one who incited her also to try the faster slide).

Finally, though, we had to pry both kids away from the slides in order for me to make my jump. Clare decided she wanted to jump from her cliff when I jumped from mine. Afterward, Tim decided my jump was not aesthetically pleasing (he mocked me for plugging my nose), so we made him jump, too. Given his fear of heights, I thought he handled it pretty well.

Both kids were loathe to leave, but fortunately there was a Dippin' Dots booth placed by the exit. And by the time they had dried off and eaten their ice cream, I think the exhaustion started to set in. For all four of us, really. Tim and I were nearly as active as they were, and just about as enthusiastic, too. Turns out we all love water parks! Tim joked that it won't be long before they'll be wanting us to drop them off for the day (but we'll stay and have fun without them). For now, we're enjoying that sweet spot where the kids are old enough to have fun with us, and young enough, too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


We Seymours do a lot of traveling, no doubt about it. But it had been close to two years since the four of us took a trip by ourselves. So, thanks to the generosity of Donna and Larry, we loaded up the van and drove down to Sarasota, Florida for a week of beach-combing bliss. More specific stories to follow, but below is a quick montage of photos to tide you (Grammy!) over:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer's Splashy Start

Since the school-year resumes so early in these parts (the week of August 10), summer's days already feel numbered, despite the fact that this is the first week of summer vacation. In order to maximize this precious time, we chose to kick it off by heading to the Pryors' lake house, along with the Plummers (sans dads, natch - somebody has to pay for this lifestyle). Six kids, three was hard not to feel outnumbered on more than one occasion. But if you put the outrageously loud voices (at least for 5:30 a.m.) and inability to get a truly good night's sleep aside, what you're left with is an energetic bunch who (mostly) enjoys each other's company and loves the water.

Which, by the way, was the perfect temperature. The days were just the right side of hot for me (a.k.a., not too hot, but warm enough to incite jumps into the water). And the water hovered around 84 degrees or so. We boated, we lazed on the dock, we fed fish, and we remarked what a difference a year makes. Last year I was trying to coax Clare into jumping in, which she finally did with a floaty. Danny wanted little to do with water. This time, Clare was the Cannonball Queen. And while still cautious, Danny spent quite a bit of independent time in the lake. He did a couple of jumps off the dock (after mustering up his courage by watching the other kids and counting to about a million), but it'll probably be next year before he's doing it with gusto. (Do you like how I oh-so-casually and presumptively wrote "next year"?)

Best of all, this time we got to try the Viper. I must first say that I am irritated with myself for not bringing my camera for this experience, but what can you do? The photo below shows you what the Viper looks like:

Now, in its full glory, you have two people seated on it while it is tethered to the back of the boat. The driver then drives the boat around the lake, as fast or slow as the Viper's passengers desire, and as bumpy (over the wake and waves) or as smoothly as they choose. I am happy to say that both kids tried it. Clare went for three rides, so she did like it, though she got nervous if it was too fast or bumpy. Her first ride was with Brady, and then she rode with me. The boat has to go a bit faster to pull an adult with satisfaction, so suffice it to say she was quick to blame me for the fact that she didn't like that ride as well.

While everyone was taking turns in the Viper, Danny was riding fairly placidly on the boat, and I didn't think he was really paying that much attention. But towards the end he announced that he wanted to ride on the Viper. My first reaction was that he would hate it, so no way. But Amy wisely counseled me to let him try it, figuring that we could get him off if he hated it. So, away he and I went - and he'd still be riding it if we let him! "Yippee ka yi yay!" he shouted over and over. "She's making me laugh!" he said, in reference to Jennifer driving the boat. Full smiles and joy on his face.
Damn me and my lack of camera!!!

We're off to Florida tomorrow for a family vacation, so stay tuned. I'll try not to miss any photo ops this time.