Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pirate Considerations

This belongs in the category of Way Overthinking Things.

The little dude is studying Suzuki piano, but his teacher also has him practice reading music from other sources.  This week's assignment is titled Pirate of the North Sea.

Perhaps I have been spending too much time with Scandinavians, but I can't be the only person that recognizes that a reference to pirates in that location would mean Vikings, and the North Sea is um, cold.

This one seems to be dressed for the Caribbean.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Animals, Real and Imagined

While we were in the midwest this summer, Grandma N took us to the wild animal rehabilitation center where she works.  It's a charming vintage house that has been converted to hold cages for animals in each room: Birds with damaged wings, orphaned baby squirrels, the occasional ill-advised wild pet that has outgrown its owner, that sort of thing.

Buster is a little skeptical of some residents.

The whole crew admires the birds.  The center is focused on caring for and the releasing the animals back into the wild, rather than fancy viewing enclosures, so most of our pictures were of the kids and not the creatures.

Hmmm, this guy seems a little subdued.  Is he ok?

We read his tag - oh, he's an opossum, so I suppose this is normal.  Just playin' possum, ma'am!

Next, we went upstairs to a little room and gathered around a cage with two pretty birds.  I can't remember what injuries they were rehabbing, because we were startled by a massive thudding sound behind us.

I turned.  Something, something big was throwing itself against the other side of the door, a door that was barricaded by a cinder block.

Time for the Harry Potter-induced overactive imagination to go wild!  What is it? A hippogriff?  A three headed dog?

Grandma N told us the story.  Apparently, someone kept a coyote cub as a pet until it got big and couldn't be controlled.  The animal center retrieved it and determined that it was too domesticated to be re-released  - it would come to humans and eventually bite someone or be shot.  Instead, they are training it to behave so they can bring it to educational events about wildlife. We were assured that he had a comfortable space on the other side of the door, even if he was kind of restless.

 I like the emotionally intelligent sign: Any unauthorized contact could result in euthanasia for the coyote!

They know the type of people who come to the center love animals, so they don't want someone overeager to get into harm's way.

After the excitement, we headed back home for popsicles. It was a good day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lego Olympiad

A couple of weeks ago, I walked upstairs when the boys yelled, "We're building the Olympics!'

And they were.

The little dude explained that the spiky thing to the left is the cauldron and the table on the right holds cups of Gatorade.

It does have some similarity.

The marathon.

SwingDaddy contributed the pole vault (see the athlete just above the cross bar.)

A discus thrower.

And the little remote controlled car that takes the discuses (discii?) back to the throwers.

We love Lego.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Look at Meeeee!

Both the boys have been taking lots of taekwondo class over the summer, and Q-ster has made rapid work of the belt progression.  He earned the right to take another level test, which is indicated by the colored tapes the instructors put on the kids' belts.

Buster has been quite anxious to progress another level as well.  He's been doing his forms at home and striking poses whenever he has a free moment.  Nanny J commented that with all the kids out of school, summer classes have been very crowded, and it's hard for him to get noticed, being such a small guy.

This week, the big kids were all back in school, and he was ready to grab his moment to shine.  The instructors saw him perform and commented on his good form.  He got a few head pats and . . .

his TAPES!  He was over the moon.  The boy is ready to test for his orange belt.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Playground Pals

We made a foray to the elementary school playground this weekend. My sister and I walked a few laps while the boys and my nephew clambered all over the equipment.

Q-ster showed the the line painted on the asphalt (not pictured - it's just a line of paint) that delineates where the kids are allowed to run.  On the classroom side, they have to walk and maintain order.  Once they cross the line, they can run as fast as they like.  That's a nice, clear rule.

The three boys huddled in the tunnel for a good while, scheming and plotting.  An excellent use of a Sunday morning.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How We Measure Up

The micro dude and I were curled up with his soft blankets, and I luxuriated in the experience, idly reflecting,  "We are expert snugglers."

He thought quite seriously for a moment and declared that “We are masters at snuggling.  No, we are GRAND MASTERS at snuggling.”

I'll take it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cephalopod Beauty School

This is what a freshly washed and blow-dried octopus looks like.

Well, not quite blow dried, but Nanny J did put him in the washing machine and dryer.  The micro dude has loved him so dearly that he was getting a little grubby.  Now, he's a nice, fluffy octopus.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yogurt Redux

The yogurt saga does not end.  A long time ago, I wrote about how I adored these cute European yogurts with muesli compartment and folding spoon, and then in May, I wrote about how I'd recreated my own version from a cereal-and-milk traveling container (above.)

This went great for about two months, until the rubber ring that cushioned the connection between the pieces got moldy and rapidly disgusting and I had to toss the whole thing.  I began the search for a new yogurt and granola delivery system.

I found another two-compartment container and gave it a go.

There's a little spoon that attaches in two pieces to the underside of the top piece.

After you open the lid, you assemble the spoon.

Add granola, and dig in!

Part two: It turns out that this container wasn't really meant for liquids (unlike the blue one, which had a cereal compartment and a milk compartment,) so the yogurt sloshed all over the place and made a big mess.

Solution: I've reversed the compartments, so that the yogurt is on the bottom and the granola is on top.  As long as I don't tip the container it seems to work.  I can't keep the spoon in it's clever place under the top compartment because it'd get all yogurty, but I just carry it in a separate re-usable ziploc bag.

So there you have it, the latest in yogurt transport.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day One, Grade Two

The little dude waved cheerfully and went to talk to his friends. I must have gotten a bit of dust in my eye as I walked back to my car.

When SwingDaddy slicks down the boys' hair in the mornings, it always make me think of Calvin talking to Hobbes after his mom combs his hair for school pictures.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

This Week in Pop Culture

The Hunger Games movie DVD was released this weekend, and I eagerly checked the shelves at Target to pick up my copy.  Only it wasn't that simple.

You can get the movie on DVD for $16.99.

Or on Blu-Ray for $19.99.

Oh wait, here's the copy with the special features for $22.99.  I loooove specials! And they've been flaunting the quality of the specials in the press all month.  Shoot, it's DVD with specials, not Blu-Ray.  Now what do I do?

 Ah, finally, on another shelf, the Blu-Ray edition of the movie with special features.

Yeah, I did actually spend an extra eight dollars for this deluxe version, but I think the last DVD I bought was one of the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks, about three years ago.  It's a rare want, or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

On an unrelated pop culture note, I did actually locate the payphone that Maroon 5 has been singing about. If you're not familiar with the song, it goes like this:

I'm at a payphone trying to call home
All of my change I spent on you
Where have the times gone, baby it's all wrong
Where are the plans we made for two?

And it made me wonder exactly who in the radio-listening, high-in-demand-demographic of teens is going to know what a payphone is.  I couldn't think of the last one I came across - in fact, I heard that some business in New York City was launching a trial of phonebooths converted into wireless hotspots. 

Then I ran into this, in little Alesund, by the North Sea.

There you have it, there is at least one working payphone in the world.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Q-ster ran excitedly to the door to greet me when I got home today.  "I lost my tooth!"  The other front tooth as already grown in and it's huge, especially next to the new gap in his mouth.

I joked that we should call him Gappy.  "Like Gabby Douglas?" he said.  We agreed that Gappy Douglas would be a good stage name for him while he did gymnastics in the living room.

The Mermaid Gets Married

 Madame A and I went to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DeYoung Museum back in July, and it was pretty amazing.  Weird, but amazing.  He was the designer behind Madonna's infamous cone bra in the Blond Ambition tour in the 90's, as well as the movie The Fifth Element. 

Above is the mermaid's wedding gown.  Note the coral-encrusted crutches, since as a mermaid, she would have some trouble walking on land.

The faces on selected mannequins were projected images, which had an eerie effect.  They would blink, occasionally speak, and startle me.

A closeup of the crutches.

And the concept art.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The 14th Wedding Anniversary

Traditional Gift: Ivory
Modern Gift: Gold jewelry 
Geek Gift: iPhone5  I.O.U.s
I love you, sweetie! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Baby's First Book

Buster has been longing to read for some time, so we've been practicing a couple of letter sounds each night, and today, I pulled out the "BoB" reader books.  He read his first little book!

Mat.  Mat sat.  Sam. Sam sat.

He's pretty excited that he's mastered the adventures of Mat and Sam.  Another one!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Golden Girls and Boys

Yes, yes, our house is a total mess.  But check out the triple jump competition going on in our living room today . . .

In other Olympic news, our Nordic friends celebrated gold medals in women's handball.  I like how the team attended the banquet after the game wearing cute matching red dresses and blue shoes in their country's colors!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Olympian Inspiration

When I arrived home from work yesterday, I discovered the boys shirtless and backstroking their way across the living room carpet, flipturning against the wall and then completing their race.

Next up was fencing - notice the repurposing of their Clone Trooper masks as fencing helmets.