|What better place to play and avoid the loud drums & cymbals than under the table?|
|Just the first of many hong bao devoured by the red Nian!|
|The Pipsqueak's Grandma enjoys a close encounter of the CNY kind.|
|This is what happens to a close-up when your subject gets so close that you almost fall over backwards...|
|Miri has always been a little afraid of this guy -- and I gotta admit those big empty eyes are a bit creepy!|
|The big red Nian makes its way through the crowd (nearly pushing Dad out of his chair)|
|The Pipqueak's Grandpa isn't sure if he should take a photo... or dive for cover!|
|Alas, I failed to catch any of the lucky flying veggies... but there were plenty left behind on the floor!|
|Oohing and aaahing over the cake that's about to be devoured... or just making sure to get a choice piece?|
|A small fraction of the kids' handiwork. One of these days I'll learn to read those characters...!|
As usual, the kids were running up & down the sidewalk, balancing on rocks in the landscaping -- at least when they thought none of the grownups would notice -- and generally making good use of the last few minutes before everyone scattered to their respective homes. I noticed the restaurant's back patio was flanked by a pair of the shaggiest trees I'd ever seen, and I was able to reach just far enough through the fence to grab a couple that would make good wands once I'd figured out what kind of tree they were... an activity interrupted by the sudden need to remind the kids that it really wasn't a good idea to try to climb the big stone lions by the restaurant's front door.
|Say hello to Betula nigra, commonly known as the River Birch, one of North America's shaggiest trees.|
|If we can't climb on him, then we'll just include him in our conversation!|
 My name's not Ollivander, but I am indeed a wandmaker. It's a fun hobby that letss me work with wood in a way I haven't had a chance to since the long-ago days when I used to help my grandfather in his basement workshop doing carpentry & repair work.
 The kids are actually pretty good -- their behavior's appropriate for their respective ages (and locations), they just kinda get a little carried away when in high-adrenaline groups. :-)