Friday, April 18, 2008

You must remember this...

When asked what we're supposed to remember about using a public bathroom, Max replied:

"Don't pee in front of ladies."

Apparently he really listened at school after being caught dropping his pants on the playground.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

That damn Jim Croce gets me everytime...

It turned out to be a pretty splendiforous, sunny day here today. The boys were cheery, the sky was sunny, and the windows begged to be rolled down as we rocked it in the rennievan on the way to the Farmer's Market.

Sammy insisted upon wearing his Halloween costume after finding it in the "too small, better find a new home" pile. He looked a little bit like an overgrown cowboy heading off to perform surgery, what with his fringed pants and green crocks and all. But like I've said, he owns the look.

Here is in October 2007 (6 months BC - "Before Crocs") to give you an idea.

At the Farmer's Market we enjoyed the warmest day in over six months by sitting out in the beautiful sunshine, munching on popcorn and feeling a cool breeze and the groove of the day. Sammy danced - with all kinds of style and "Jazz Hands"- to folk singer Ken who was entertaining us with the John Prine/George Straight hit "I Just Wanna Dance With You" while Max quietly read the John Deere catalog that goes everywhere with us. And both boys were delighted by the Summery goodness of a bag of fresh-popped kettle corn.

A then, in the midst of the sunlight and the dancing toddler and the guzzling preschooler, that damn Jim Croce song hit me in the gut like a fourth grader's first belly flop. You know the song - played on cheezy soft hit radio stations (aka Love Songs After Dark) -the tune that's all eerie because he wrote it for his son and then was killed in a plane crash months after he recorded it and every time you hear it you scramble for the dial, except that it's a button now (they haven't been dials in cars for years) hoping to change it before you even hear the first line because the cheese is sooooo melting out of your speakers.

Folk Singer Ken went right into it:

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that Id like to do
Is to save every day
Till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do

Once you find them

I've looked around enough to know

That you're the one I want to go

Through time with

And I found myself choking up, willing the kettle korn to find it's way down my throat without creating an incident that required a 4 year old to dial 911 on a cell phone.

Because I was in one of those moments: one of those "Time In a Bottle" Moments. I looked at my boys being so content with sunshine, popcorn, a tractor catalog, and an amateur folk singer.

And it was enough.

It was enough to make us laugh (and in my state, cry) and be very thankful for this day.

Thank GOD I had on my big black sunglasses, because if ANYONE ever caught my eyes welling up to a Jim Croce song I just might have to do something unspeakable.

And if that wasn't bad enough, I think Folk Singer Ken knew he had me in the palm of his hand. Because just as I was pulling myself together and getting ready to head over for one last sample of smoked salmon and call it a day...he busted into "Mr. Bojangles".

Which honestly, I could totally walk away from without a tear. But no, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had to add that little extra bit of sorrow about Mr. Bojangles with "The dog up and died, he up and died."

Because I really needed to explain "up and died" to a 4 year old today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays don't even get this guy down

On Monday, Max and I decided to have a tea party while his bro-bro did some quality napping (thank you, dear Sam).

These are the recommended ingredients:

The tea proved to be a bit hot for the preschool set, even with lots of milk.

We had one yummy cookie and Max offered to share it with me:

But I really don't think he wanted it to break. So I said he could have the whole thing.

And then, all of a sudden, our sunshine shifted and it started to rain. Gently at first, and then it got pretty forceful.

"Oh, good! Now the rain can cool off our hot tea!" Max giggled with praise for the rain.

Feeling like a total fun sponge without my Gortex, I suggested we bring the party inside so that Simi could enjoy it with us:

The tea was the perfect temperature for horses.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cowgirl Up!

Lightning McQueen (in Sam's left hand) and Sammy on their first mule ride.
A little slow for the superstar race car, and Sam wasn't sure what to make of the ride. He did enjoy saying a very authoritative and commanding "No!" to Becky if she got to trotting too fast. Never let go of McQueen, though.

Giving some sense of scale to Sam and the horses. And yes, he's feeding them rocks. "Humry, humry" he kept telling them. And yet, they never sampled his offering.

My favorite tractor warning sign. I'm not sure if it's supposed to mean that heterosexual partnerships are forbidden, or if there are amoeba or protozoa in the engine, or if there's a men's room nearby. Or maybe I should tell my kids to get the hell off the thing before they lose an arm. Maybe.

My other favorite sign was on the "Arbovirus Study" pen. But I can't post that and eat the fresh farms eggs in my fridge. It's taken me nearly ten years to handle the poop on the eggs, I just have to pretend that I never saw the sign.

What sign? La la laaaa....

Who needs to watch the deer and the antelope roam when you've got these two barnyard monkeys?

Plenty o' room to roam.


The thing about Sam is that he does nothing without intention. If you're going to wear the hat, wear it like you mean it. And this kid owned it.

So, we had one interesting developmental milestone loom up during our trip. Max, who normally finds me to be the most fascinating, scintillating and entertaining person in his universe, decided that I was a "naughty Mommy". And that I made bad choices. And that I shouldn't be with him and Daddy. Or ride the horse with him. Or go in the truck or tractor.

Gulp. I had a moment of panic and wondered if we had crossed some strange time travel vortex in which we skipped ages four through 12 and were delving right into adolescence. Mr. Wonderful kindly and wisely suggested that it had more to do with some sibling rivalry business finally showing up now that Sam is more mobile, vocal, and competes for tractor time. And since I wasn't about to let Sammy out of my sight with about, oh 420 things within 12 inches that could kill or maim him, the little guy was constantly with me.

Conversations were held, needs were met, and we eventually got our sweet little guy back. And when we got home and I was doing my 12 step laundry recovery program, there was a knock on the garage door.

I opened it, and this is what I saw:

My little guy came home.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Life is a Highway - I wanna ride it all night long

800 miles later, we've survived the age-old test of familial endurance; the roadtrip.

I'd characterize the first portion of our trip as "Icy". And I don't mean the weather.

Our long ride was made even longer by the not-so-veteran-road-warrior maneuver on my part to leave the house in my bedroom slippers with no other shoes packed. Nice. It added a 30 minute detour onto our journey and almost an hour of "let's just not talk about this" silence in the front seat of the car. And if this blog affords me nothing more than the opportunity to defend myself in the most public of ways, may I just mention that I'd spent a great deal of time and energy and valuable brain cells provisioning the rennievan so as to avoid a Stolpa/Kim family catastrophe?

Given the conditions of the mountains - not to mention the back seat boys - I think we were all glad that we had enough food to feed North Korea with the extra sandwiches, pretzels, water and chocolate. And CDs, and DVDs, and scooby doo underwear and diapers and wet wipes and and and and... did I forgot to turn off the stove?

And don't forget the truck books.

It made me realize just how good it was to be a kid; when your only job was to look out the window and keep your hands off your brother and out of your nose. At least while no one was looking.

All discomforts of the road were nearly vanquished when we saw the look on the boys' faces upon arrival at the ancestral farm. Their smiles and cheers almost made my constricted bladder and semi-permanently contorted neck injury seem worth it. Almost.

Greeting the hay kitties. "Kitty humry. Kitty humry. Heee heeee heee!" Over and over and over again. Not only hungry, the kitties are also pretty mean, so it was good that Sammy is a LOUD farmer.

Max, however, got very quiet on the farm. He takes it all very seriously and has a special reverence for all things equine. Especially his favorite horse.

Within minutes of departing the rennievan, Max was begging to be lifted onto Simmy. No saddle or bridle, just hanging on by the mane (and Daddy) and I'm almost ready to exhale. But not quite.

Introducing the latest member of our family, Jasper:

And one of the oldest members of the family, John Deere circa 1945 with Sammy at the wheel.