By way of an end of summer missive, we'd like to start with a hope that everyone reading this had as spectacular a Labor Day weekend as we did.

Certainly there are many Americans who have less than us, and, notably, there are many Americans that have less than they had several weeks ago. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Katarina - and with their families. We've done what we could for the victims, donating, praying. Mostly we've tried to emphasize to Bailey and Cody why it is vital for all Americans to come to the aid of their fellow citizens, when the need is great and when one's resources allow.

It was an awful thing that happened in America's Southern states as a result of the storm - we've tried to do what we can for the victims, and we've done what we can to teach our sons about the situation.

Someone had a birthday this weekend as well - see if you can guess who, from this picture. Those are Harry Potter hats, and the birthday "boy" is in the middle. Someone turns 45 on Tuesday....'nuff said about that! Truly, though, it was a fun birthday, pizzas were prepared on the grill, a three-layer chocolate birthday cake was consumed, and genrally a fun time was had by all.

Following that, we had our last of the season tickets for theKane County Cougars today. We always have a LOT of fun at these games and we have pretty good seats down the third base line by the visitor's bullpen. Today, a fine fellow from theCedar Rapids Kernels named Freddy Sandoval (number 21, if you're scoring at home) walked up and gave Cody this ball. Obviously, we hope Sandoval makes the bigs - not because we can then sell the ball on E-Bay, mind you. It is not even autographed. We hope Sandoval makes the big leagues because like most people, we believe that one GOOD turn deserves another. And Freddy Sandoval's good turn today certainly made Cody's day!

But wait! There is more! Later in the game (and regrettably, when Daddy was off buying hotdogs and chicken fingers and french fries for a certain ravenous horde), a foul ball was hit down the third base line, and was retrieved by a certainnumber 35 from the visiting Kernels (second from the right in the picture), one T.J. Stanton. This ball was promptly handed to Bailey.

UPDATE September 6th, 5:30 a.m.: Just realized that this update did not include any pictures of Carolyn, which is wholly unnacceptable, but is corrected here! Here is a picture of Carolyn and Cody with his aforementioned baseball, here is a picture or CarCar with both boys. Glad that oversight is fixed!

So yes, we left the last Cougars game of the year with a baseball for each boy. Not a bad way to end a summer.

Of course, this was a day game, so when we got home, the boy-o's were still up for some playing. And play they did, play to exhaustion, as shown here, with their friend Ben. Playing in Ben's Geo Tractor. Playing with their monster trucks, playing with Baby Taylor. Just, generally, playing.

Kids should play a lot during the summer months. Ours certainly did. Happily, Carolyn and I had many opportunities to play with them.

School starts Tuesday for Bailey and Cody. And summer is largely over, though there will (hopefully) be plenty of warm days left in September and early October.

On that note, we have some interesting and fun things going on in our backyard over the next few weeks! Hopefully we'll be able to put some updates here about them, so stop by and see what's going on!

We hope everyone who is reading this had a grand weekend, and a grand summer. Certainly we did.