Stan Winston toys

I was cleaning out the closet this summer and found some of the toys my uncle Stan sent to each of his nieces and nephews.  I had all of the characters in one set but was short a couple in another set.  Toren saw the toys and really liked them, so I let him open the ones in the incomplete set.  Here he is narrating a story with the toys:

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Florida Railroad Museum

I found a museum not far from our house that also operates a short train ride.  I took Toren one day to check it out.  Here we are exploring the museum (it’s an old sleeper car):

Exploring the other cars:

And enjoying the train ride:


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Going to scare Grandma

Toren decided he wanted to draw a picture for his Grandma after she sent him a Halloween card.  He wanted it to be really scary.  Here he is describing how Grandma will react when she opens the letter and sees the picture:

And here he is drawing:

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how Toren plays Risk

I’m not sure what games of Risk look like in your household (You do play Risk, don’t you?!?), but ours involve some nontraditional pieces:

Toren gets to use whatever toys he has around, like cars, as weapons.
Toren gets to use whatever toys he has around, like cars, as weapons.

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launching Toren

One of Toren’s favorite activities when jumping on the trampoline is for me to launch him really high.  We used to call this “skyrocketing” someone when I was growing up.  The video isn’t great because I was filming it; I’ll try to get better footage in the future:

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I knew this day would come

I think every kid eventually learns a song like this and parents wonder how and why.  Anyway, I overheard Toren saying this in the back of the car and had to capture it on film.  He explains where he heard it and illustrates that he obviously has no idea what he’s saying:

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hiking in Colt Creek State Park

Toren and I did a little hiking a few Sundays back at a new park.  The layout was odd and the maps they had didn’t align with the actually trails as far as I could tell, but we did get to hike around a lake (Toren made it most of the way) and actually saw an alligator drop into the lake and swim across.  Pretty cool!

Here are a couple of clips of Toren hiking.  In the first, he mentions rhinoceroses.  It was actually pretty funny what happened.  We were walking along a 1/4 mile nature trail with informational signs.  After reading one to him, Toren turned to me and said, “I be the next sign says ‘beware of rhinoceroses.'”  So, that’s what I was asking him about in this video:

Here he is hiking by the lake with the alligator in it:

He hiked the longest he has yet, about a mile, then I put him in the backpack and hiked him back to the car.  Here’s our route:

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In addition to our occasional hikes, I decided to start visiting some of the strange roadside attractions in the Tampa area.  Here are a few of the first places we visited.

A local RV dealer decided to use a few old Airstream trailers to create a work of art next to I-4 called Airstream Ranch:

We also happen to have the world’s largest confederate flag in the area, right next to I-75.  It was set up by a semi-white supremacist organization, Sons of Confederate Veterans.  I didn’t go to support it, just to see it:

We drove through Zephyrhills to see this Muffler Man, one of a batch of large statues created in the 1960s and 1970s that has something of a cult following:

At the same auto shop was another statue made out of a muffler:

After our hike we stopped by this weird roadside marker announcing Polk County as the Citrus Capital of the US.  It’s largely derelict now, but still there:

The last roadside oddity we visited was this weird house with strange yard art and sculptures:

There are still another couple dozen oddities in the area, so I’ll probably post more as we continue our adventures.

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Toren’s puppy

Yeah, Toren doesn’t have a real puppy; never will.  But he decided his robot puppy needed some water:

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