Sunday, September 21, 2008

Champs and Grips

If you're ever looking for the right medicine to deliver to a nursing home, I highly recommend bringing something like this:

Ice cream is optional

Well, maybe not.

Sam and I took a trip back to the Midwest to visit my grandparents after getting some sad news about my grandpa's health. My brother joined us, which was very special considering that he and I shared so many memories of visiting the family farm together as kids. Now the farm has been sold, we've grown and created the cousins for our kiddos that we never had, and age is catching up with all of us

But corn is still king, my grandparents are still our biggest fans, and hey, how 'bout them Cubbies?

Sam cruised around Pinecrest Manor in style, rotating between my grandpa's ever-present silly side effects (always a hit with the toddler set), and my grandmother's fleece blankie on her lap.

We took the folks for a ride in the country, and I totally forgot to warn Sam about "The Grip", my grandma's trademark move.

I'm not sure what this yoga move is called, but I'm calling it "Showing Off At The Nursing Home". He likes to call it "Rook at me, guys"

It was a very memorable visit for all of us. No better medicine.

Ok, Cubs, let's go all the way for RW.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

A clean canvas (and clean boy)

Before anyone gets concerned or worried that I'll be getting the blow torch or chain saw out shortly, those aren't safety goggles. They are swim goggles.

Swim goggles that Max wears on his head regularly. Like during air travel (he had them on when we flew to visit my parents last week), meal times, art projects and any other opportunity where they might be needed.

Just not in a pool, or any other swimming environment. They don't feel good over his eyes, but apparently, they feel very good on his head.

Go figure.

Later today, when the boys were out playing and I was doing something inside, I heard the blissful ring of cheery voices and jubilant giggles.

Awww, now that's music to a mama's ears. Nothing makes me happier than the sound of my children's laughter.

And nothing concerns me more, either.

Upon further investigation, I found the entire box of chalk dumped in the garage, where it had been mutilated by a big wheel.

When my jaw dropped, Max explained that he had done it because he knew that I liked rainbows and that he wanted me to have a rainbow racecar track.

Troubles melting like lemon drops in the land of lullabies and Nascar racing.

You gotta smile at this guy...

"If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, then oh why can't I?"

Monday, September 1, 2008

He's No Potato Bug AND he can make Samurai Pie

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

-Robert Heinlein
Time Enough For Love, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

This wouldn't be my list, but it sums up Mr. Wonderful -- and why I admire him so much -- perfectly . With one exception, I've known him to accomplish each of these listed above.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Wonderful.
No rush on the exception, you gallant and magnificent man.
I love you and all of your mad skills.

Exalted Ruler Meets Bon Jovi (and it was All Good)

Samuel P. Taylor State Park - August 2008

Walking down the road today on our weekly garbage mission, the boys and I noticed that Summer is easing into final boarding stages before she departs and leaves us with her chilly sisters Fall, Winter and Spring. Today's wind was cool and crisp on my cheek, and the long shadow of Max pulling Sam in the Red Flyer wagon was noticeable in the morning sunshine.

With blue sky and delightfully ripe and juicy blackberries welcoming the little fingers and lips of my baby bears, this garbage day is far removed from the cold and wet walks of Winter. But it occurred to me today that the pleasant garbage walks of 2008 can probably be counted on one, or maybe two, hands. With that thought I couldn't help but feel a little of Summer's joy fading. Also present are the stirrings of anticipation as we head back into the routine of preschool, activities, and the ever-important friends of toddlers and their parents: structure and consistency.

The past two weeks have been filled with travel, family, reunions, and reconnections. We have been blessed with the fulfillment that comes from warm and full days shared in joyous exaltation at the ballpark, the sandbox, the playground and the backyards of those we love. The boys are growing physically, transforming dramatically under the shade of hot afternoons. Sammy speaks new words and is able to communicate his needs so that others can finally clue into his sweet and sensitive world. Max is able to control his engine and keep it running "just right" most of the time, allowing us to relax and enjoy his magnificent personality minus the goofy and wild side of four year old boy rambunctiousness.

Last week I got to reconnect with people who are near and dear to me, even if not in close proximity. I treasure their friendships and am so grateful for the ties that bind.

Big boys on big wheels. The littlest cousins show that they have what it takes to ride on the wild side.

Pictured above are two key components to pleasant air travel for one adult traveling with two small children. New tractors opened at the Starbucks near the departing gate. Diggers and cranes are shown here with a heavily bribed set of oatmeal raisin cookies. Not pictured: a Grande Americano in the photographer's hand, ensuring the optimum levels of caffeine (high) and whining (low) necessary to await the rigors of a two hour flight.

Cracker Jacks snuck in a diaper bag: $2.99
Anchor Steam Beers served in a ballpark plastic bottle: $8

Garlic Fries (aka Heaven in a grease bucket): $4.

Being with my father as he turned my son into a SF Giants fan: priceless

Peanuts and tractor jacks...I don't care if I never get back...

Hey Trojans! My best buddies from High School all dolled before heading out for our 20th year reunion

Friends from kindergarten and preschool. Hard to believe that I was Max's age when we first hugged and now we show up unintentionally coordinated in green together. Is this some latent Crayola fascination or are we on the forefront of a new fashion trend?

That would be the Exalted Ruler of the Elk's Lodge where the '88 Trojans reunited to "Never Say Goodbye" (shown here with my dear friend, Amy, who traveled from Hong Kong and was fabulous).

Doing the best Rick Astley impersonation EVER! (I got moves don't I?)
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

A perfect summer day with good friend Alli B., great food, hair-of-the-dog blood orange mimosas, and the closing ceremonies of the 'Lympics.

Bubbi, bikes and redwood trees. Summer just doesn't get much better than this (matching shirts are really just icing on an already damn tasty cake).