Back when Max was learning to count to 100 (was that 2 years ago now?  We can’t remember . . .), he began to collect bottle caps to help him in that endeavor.  We were hopeful that he’d reach his goal and went out of our way to choose drinks with bottles, scour parking lots and ask friends for help.

Up at the lake, folks were helpful, too.  Friends and family handed caps over to Max and some would even stop by to take him to the campground to search for caps left in the dust.

Soon he had 100 in his possession.  Then it was 500.  At last count before this summer, we had 600+.

But then, THEN there was this: Our friends Bill and Carol who spend their summers at Iron Creek and their other times back in Florida are good people.  They like things like rum and coke and pickled cat fish.  They fish from the shore in South Dakota but back at home they troll brackish water in the gulf of Mexico and cast their lines next to alligators and manatees.  They are tanned, laugh easily and are the friendliest, nicest folks you will ever meet. Really, they are.  And they love, love, looooooove our kids.

They also happen to work at a bar.

Knowing all of this, we shouldn’t have been surprised when they showed up with a 5 GALLON BUCKET overflowing with bottle caps.  They – along with their co-workers and children – had been stashing them away for Max.

You should have seen his eyes!

They joked about wanting to know how many were in the bucket.

We took it as a challenge. Luckily, we were blessed with a week worth of rain in mid July and spent the better part of 3 days sorting and counting bottle caps.

EVERYONE helped.

Well, most of the time.

In the end, we had 3,572 bottle caps.

3,572! Now what?!?

We wanted to do something creative and something that we could give to Bill and Carol and our friends Lorne and Pat as a thank you for their help in helping Max reach and exceed his goal.

We settled on a flag mosaic.

Again, everyone chipped in.

It required A LOT of hammering.  And patience.

But when they were done?  Pure awesomeness.  And nothing, nothing beats the feeling of giving someone something you’ve made yourself.

Now what to do with the other 3,372 that are left?  We are open to suggestions!

We are also putting out a call for spare/old keys.  It has been decided that this will be Philip’s 100 collection, and, while he already can boast having a whole whopping 8 keys, they are a little trickier to come by.  Therefore, if you have any old or unwanted keys kicking around your junk-drawer or taking up space on your key chain, we would gladly take them!

We might even trade some bottle caps for them.