Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rainbow Royalty

Totally, amazingly, awesome. Having (or even viewing) the Queenly wardrobe is cool.

Apparently, she wore blue to 29% of events last year.   Full story here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sunshine of All Types

It's the return of non sequitur theater.  Some unrelated thoughts.

Setting: On a video call with one of my colleagues who lives above the Arctic Circle.  It's about 9am his time and quite noisy, so he gets up to shut the window.

Him: Sorry, it was so warm in the office this morning, with the sun shining in all night.
Me:  Uhhhh (taking a moment to parse the sentence), oh right, twenty-four hour sunshine these days.

When listening to Maroon 5's hit song "Payphone," does anyone else wonder where exactly they have found this pay phone?  In a museum?

Best part of the day: When I pull into the garage and Buster flings open the door, jumping up and down when he sees me.  His big brother is already a bit more blase, so I know to treasure these moments.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jedi Master

Q-ster has long outgrown his Jedi boots, both indoor and outdoor, and this weekend he suddenly expressed a desperate need for brown boots.  Fortunately, I had a pair of brown legwarmers that I'd originally purchased to turn into soft "boots" before I found the slipper socks, and he was satisfied with the look.  Not too bad.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fuzzy Mornings

After the arrival of my Mother's Day jellyfish last week, mornings have become even more huggy.  Buster has a sort of wartime "No comrade left behind" attitude and manages to clamber into our bed not only hauling his octopus and his blankie, but also my big octopus and big jellyfish all at the same time.  He deposits the crew on top of SwingDaddy and me, makes himself comfortable, and snuggles in.  It's fairly sedate until Q-ster arrives, and after a few lovely moments of family time, all mayhem breaks loose, with limbs flying everywhere.

This weekend, the plush tigers got involved too, but thankfully they stayed on the floor.

The boys also had a pretty terrific lightsaber fight with my dad - remotely.  We placed a video call on the iPad, and they faced off, hundreds of miles between us, but nothing stops a good Jedi with modern technology.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Meet You at the Statue

Just before Christmas, we went to an exhibit of holiday lights and international decorations.  Truthfully, it was kind of a mishmash, but there were some nice things to see. 

Since it was getting dark, I set a meeting point in case anyone got lost.  We picked the tallest "temple," since it could be seen from anywhere, but since it was round, we had to pick another landmark to know what side was the designated spot. 

Easy, there was a lit-up replica of the Statue of Liberty across the way.  "Ok everyone, we'll meet at the temple on the side near the Statue of Liberty."

Q-ster was good, he knew what to look for, but I wasn't sure about his little brother.  I pointed at the statue.  "Buster, do you know what that is?"

Yes!  He nodded seriously.  "It's the Statue of Red Robin."

Well, yeah.  We go to the local Red Robin restaurant about once a month, and I snapped this picture last weekend of the statue that greets us in the lobby each time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Best Friends

The best friends are there to support you when you really need a nap.


And in totally unrelated news, this is what happens when you give a small boy some old Mardi Gras beads and he asks you to "make some tie-knots in them."  He delightedly shows you handcuffs!  Just like Joseph wore in the Coat of Many Colors story when imprisoned by Potiphar.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lunatics on Parade

We made a pilgrimage to Maker Faire.  What is Maker Faire?  It's kind of hard to explain - you really need to see it.  It's a place that cherishes the the idea that everyone can be and should be creative and imaginative. Shortly after we entered the fairgrounds, a robot danced by, followed by a Dalek.

Then we saw this lady riding quite a remarkable bicycle. Quad-cycle?

She had a nice hat and costume too.

There was a fleet of R2D2s.

A newly married couple rolled by in their surrey with a fringe on top, steampunk style.

And we saw the designer of the Cupcake Cars get interviewed.

It's definitely an inspirational scene.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Art and Antics

Last week was Q-ster's turn for an Open House at school.  We admired the "royal portraits" that each child painted.

There was also a display of "quilt square" designs.  Q-ster's is the one in the middle with the colored diamonds for Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Ravenclaw, with an "H" in the middle for Hogwarts.  Harry Potter FTW!

The best part was playground time, as usual.

Ah, first grade, so cool already.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What Every Mother Wants

My Mother's Day gift from SwingDaddy and the boys arrived today.  A giant blue plush jellyfish to join our octopus!  We had a lovely, huggable evening.  Since we've been calling the octopus a "he," we've decided that the jellyfish is a "she."

Thus, our sealife follow the gender color conventions from the 19th century, when blue was a girl's color (associated with the Virgin Mary) and pink was for boys (since it was similar to red, a power color.)

Buster couldn't pronounce the word octopus two years ago, when our plush friend arrived, so he said, "o-pus."  He's got octopus mastered now, but he's still got the cute toddler L-W inversion, so our new friend is a jewee-fish.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The First Waltz

A precious, precious moment from last month - April 4, to be exact . The first waltz with my boy!

Q-ster was (re)reading about the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and asked about the waltz that Harry learns.  He asked a couple of times, so SwingDaddy taught him the steps for a box waltz, and he asked me to dance.  We had a very nice little waltz!

It almost made me cry.  This was a moment I looked forward to since I first knew I was having a son, but it came even sooner than I hoped.  I am growing my own dance partners!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

National Day

My overseas colleagues celebrated their independence day, which is seriously flag-bedecked.  The photo above is the street leading to the palace.  The photo below shows the children's parade, which includes almost all the schools in the capital city.

It's popular for people to wear the costume of their region.  I made several co-workers to promise to send photos of their families, and those were fun to see.  Here are the Crown Prince, Crown Princess, and their children.

The little princess was old enough to march with her school for the first time. 

It would be fun to see the festivities in person someday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Attention Span

I think we've hit a key point in our family - when all four of us can go to the theater together and sit through a show without whining to leave! That includes the parents too.

We took Q-ster and Buster to see a local youth production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, one of my favorite musical theater shows.  Glorious score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and clever, clever lyrics by Tim Rice. (Joseph interpreting the Pharoah's dreams - "All these things you saw in your pajamas/Are a long range forecast for your farmers.")  The boys were mesmerized from start to end, complete with confetti cannon.  Seriously, I want a confetti cannon for any event I hold from now on.  It's impossible not to feel triumphant and festive at the same time.

The student performers varied, not unexpectedly.  Joseph had a good voice and plenty of likeability.  The two girls sharing the role of narrator valiantly tackled the high notes, with mixed success, but they too had good stage presence.  The little boy singing Napthali (There's One More Angel in Heaven) had it all - voice, charm, and star power.  Q-ster noted that he had "good movement" - which is how he occasionally hears us praising specific performers, so it's good to know he has the eye.

We'd been watching YouTube clips of video version starring Donny Osmond all week in preparation, and whatever you might think of his cheesy 70s legacy, the dude is a Performer, seriously magnetic. Here he is as the young Joseph in Act I, a decade later as the Pharoah's assistant in Act II, and a video clip of the first part of the show.

Q-ster has requested that I sew a coat of many colors.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More on Telescopes

We finally had a chance to talk to the preschool teachers about the mysterious construction paper telescopes that Buster brings home from class every day.  Apparently, the whole class was massively into the fad at the beginning of the year, and there are still two or three children, Buster included, who still want to make a new one every day.  They've taught him to use the tape dispenser, so now he can "roll his own."

The pile grows.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Now I Know My ABCs

 It’s that time of the year – school open houses!

Buster proudly shows his alphabet book.
Caterpillars busily eating their leaves.
The micro dude starts an archeological dig.  
The lessons of cooperation!  
The kids managed a pretty impressive sandpile. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mama's Day

Morning snuggles, the best part of any weekend.

Q-ster made quite the amazing card, with a little essay about me and paper flowers with promises written on the back ("I will clean my room," etc.)  Apparently, my favorite thing to eat is chicken and he is "glad to be my child."  He also thinks I look nice in dresses, which is lovely to hear.  Buster beaded a bracelet on pipecleaner and brought home a small flowering plant.  When asked what kind of flowers they were, he explained, "They are small and white."  The school teachers outdid themselves this year!

Buster also added some flowers (lower left) to his latest gun/sword/laser Lego extravaganza, in honor of Mother's Day.   Hope you all had a nice day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Happened to Stride Rite?

I wore Stride Rite shoes as a kid, and the boys have been wearing Stride Rite shoes since they could walk.  They made sturdy, comfortable shoes that lasted until they were outgrown.  Even more perfectly, they made a line of Star Wars themed shoes, and the boys wore blue Captain Rex shoes for an entire year.  They got a little battered, but as expected of their quality, they lasted until outgrown.

This year is a different story.  We got yellow Commander Cody shoes for the boys.  Fairly rapidly, it became apparent that Q-ster's shoes had a manufacturing defect, so the store took them back and exchanged them for another pair at no charge.  And then two months after that, those tore along a seam, so I brought those back also.  They had the blue Captain Rex shoes in Q-ster's size, so I brought those home.  Two months later, look at them:

Three big holes in the material.  That's three pairs of wrecked shoes in six months.  While I believe that little boys can go hard on shoes, this is crazy.  The previous pair lasted twelve months - no holes, no broken seams, no protruding wires.

Buster shoes developed torn seams as well (lower shoe, towards the toe,) but since it took six months, I went ahead and just paid for new ones.  I was feeling uneasy about returning to the same store with yet another problem.  Did Stride Rite change suppliers?  Did their quality standards go way down?

Q-ster asked for lace-up shoes anyway, so I got him a new pair of sneakers by a different brand.  We'll see how they turn out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

In Which I Arrange My Own Cute Yogurt

In my travels, I have totally fallen in love with this cute yogurt.  Yes, cute food does taste better.  I wrote a whole yogurt post about how the little foldable spoon and separate muesli compartment are just perfect.

Now, I am determined to recreate this, but with more environmentally sustainable packaging.  Family sized vanilla yogurt and granola.  I've started buying nonfat, so it's a bit healthier too.

I've purchased a two-compartment container that is meant to hold cereal and milk separately, and the milk section is kept insulated and cool.

There's even a little foldable spoon!

The proportions aren't quite right, since the cereal compartment is much larger than I need for granola, but it working out pretty well for taking to the office so far!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Other Festivities in Red, White, and Blue

We headed up to San Francisco over the weekend to check out a celebration of the country that I'm always going to visit and for which I'm getting a little tired of finding a way to not write out the (searchable) name.  Hmmm, will have to think about that going forward.  Anyway, the folks west of Sweden.

 We got to see a traditional Viking tent, complete with spear and shields.

A demonstration of curling, from the Olympic silver medalist, Christoffer Svae.  Apparently, the crazy argyle pants aren't mandatory in curling.  The event program says that he choose them for the national team to draw attention in the "otherwise conservative and Canadian-dominated curling sheet."

SwingDaddy and I were most interested in the folk dancing, of course.  I attempted a few photographs, but with just my little point and shoot in the bad light, not much turned out.  The national champion from some years back came to demonstrate his specialty, which is Halling, the men's solo dance.  Every culture has some kind of dance where the boys show off to impress the girls.   He was great, as was his son, who looked about 9 or 10.  (We noted that his son's age probably coincided with when he stopped competing.  We all know that story.)

There was also a fashion show of the traditional costumes from each region.  What's particularly interesting is that the particular designs really date from the romantic movement that swept Europe in the 1800s, which also drove the popularity of the national dances that we perform in vintage dance (i.e. Bohemian National Polka.)  There are a few of the regions that have costume styles that have been in continuous use for centuries, but most were revived in the national movement of the 1800s.  There's a nice explanation and a whole series of beautiful photographs here, and a photo of my favorite regional costume here.

Q-ster said he liked the dancing best and Buster said he liked the waffles best.  All in all, a good outing.