Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Little Readers

We made our usual trek to the library last weekend, where Buster found Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle book, to his great delight, and Q-ster found a junior reader of Les Miserables, to even greater delight.  Really?  Did someone really decide that making a kid's version of this story made any sense?  Well, in this household, it was very welcome.

We came home and both boys immediately curled up with their books and were silent for a good half hour.  Q-ster later complained that the book was only told from Jean Valjean's point of view, so clearly things were missing, but at least he got to read a sort of sanitized version of Hugo's epic.

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's All Relative

After listening to Top 40 radio in the car, both kids were singing lyrics from a One Direction song, "We go crazy, crazy, crazy. . ."

SwingDaddy: ???

Me: Well, after them belting out lines like "The color of despair!" and "One more day to revolution" from Les Miz, at least this is more age appropriate.

SwingDaddy: Age appropriate would be something like "The Wheels on the Bus."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Blogger's Dilemma

It was one of those moments where as a good mother, I probably should have jumped up immediately and said, "Stop that right now! Someone's going to get hurt!"

On the other hand, it was really funny.  I compromised and stopped them after one big ka-pow.


Welcome to Octopus Sumo.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wormie Comes Home!

My mom carefully saved this elementary school art project for me and I brought it home after our visit last week. 

My drawing skills are almost identical to what they were then.  3rd grade, maybe fourth?  I figure we must have been at least 9 or so to be trusted with pieces of glass.  I love having him by the kitchen sink with all the bright sunshine coming through the colored glass.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Now, Lions

Okay, one more cupcake post before we return to Disneyland.

Buster is enrolled in both the Monday-Wednesday-Friday morning session of preschool as well as  Tuesday-Thursday mornings. His big brother Q-ster only attended MWF at that age, and we discovered that it was insufficient activity, leaving him with the opportunity to generate a whole bunch of trouble out of restlessness.  The five-morning plan has been working great for Buster, and he's eager to go to class to play with his friends every day.

That does, however, lead to some oddities, like double snack days.  Each child has a turn to bring in snack, and for birthdays, is allowed to bring a treat.  Since Buster is technically in two preschool classes (even though it's the same classroom, same teachers, and some of the same children,) he has two birthday snack days this week.

We did Crocodile Cupcakes yesterday, which were not entirely identifiable as crocodiles.  And now, it's back to Lion Cupcakes for day two.  I gave up on the Lego Chima Lion logo, because the tube frosting just doesn't support such fine lines, and fell back to a more generic lion face on yellow frosting.  Candy eyes to the rescue again.  I'm hoping the eyes stay black and white on this yellow frosting, because the crocodile eyes turned green overnight, probably due to the green frosting seeping in.

With two eyes on this set, I did notice that the pupils are different sizes between the candies, leaving the occasional mismatched eyes that turn the cupcake into a sort of lunatic animal.  Oh well.  I can't imagine any five year old rejecting a chocolate cupcake over aesthetic reasons, so it's probably ok. 

These aren't going to get pinned in Pinterest, except in some kind of cakewrecks page, but the birthday child is pleased, and that's what matters.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chocolate Croc

We interrupt the Disney series with an important message.

This is what happens when your child, who has been requesting Lion (Lego Chima Laval) cupcakes, suddenly changes his mind and wants Crocodiles (also Lego Chima) instead.

These are the ones where you can identify that they're supposed to be sort of reptile-like.  SwingDaddy kindly says that they look a bit like pterodactyls. Several of the icing scribbles that I mades aren't even clearly animals, but all is saved by the cute candy eyeball. And the fact that my audience is five year olds who will happily eat a chocolate cupcake regardless of the decoration.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Disney Day One

We got to Disney's California Adventure park for "magic hour," an early hour before the park opens to general admission, and thus were privileged to stand in line for a long time earlier than anyone else.  Actually, it was pretty good.  We had a 40 minute wait for Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land, the most popular new ride, but after that, everything was fast - no more than 20 minutes - and in comfortable weather.

Both boys, especially Buster, loved Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, a "tractor" ride that whips you in figure eight patterns.  I joined them on return rides, once I realized that it wasn't a spinning ride.  (It turns out that Buster loves spinning rides, like the Mad Tea Party tea cups, but those are best done without me.)

We also enjoyed Luigi's Flying Tires, which were a kind of hovering craft.  Buster and I don't weigh a lot, so we were able to go pretty fast across the ground, at least between bumps with other tires.

We had a family nap in the late afternoon and returned to the park for the "World of Color" water and light show, after having made the obligatory Mickey Mouse ears purchase. 

Mouse ears have made some leaps in technology over the years. These lit up in colors that changed to match the show - yellow in the first photo and green in the next.  The buildings trimmed in lights are not part of the show, by the way, those are just background.

After a while, the boys were tired of wearing their hats and the adults ended up as the bearer of the ears.  We need to think of ways to work these into everyday life.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Arriving at Disney

We made the trek to Disneyland last week - the first big family trip - and had a great time with my parents, my sister and her family. Let the good times roll!

The hotel had amusing details everywhere.  The lighting fixtures in the bathroom.

A subtle Mickey print in the carpet.

A beautiful headboard that lit up with fireworks and played music -  "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes."

We ended up at a "character dinner" that first night because it was the most conveniently located.  Buster declared that he loved the place because it had what he wanted to eat - corn on the cob and hot dogs.

The boys were somewhat unimpressed with the characters . . .

But my sister and I got a picture with Belle and my dad got a picture with Dale the Chipmunk, one of his faves as a child.

Even more fun to come!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kites and Feathers

Buster's preschool took a field trip to a local park and farm last week.  It was just windy enough to manage light kites.

There was an awesomely huge peacock showing off his tail. He was quite a bit taller than the kids.

I've never seen the tail-folding-up process before. I wish I got it on video - he sort of folded it together and then backwards, like a big bustle dress that swooped behind him.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sealife Babies

Sea creatures, everywhere!

Adorable hats.

I need to find a small child who can wear these octopus hats.

Even my soap refill is getting into the octopus business.

The pouring instructions include a little octopus in the drawing.  Not sure why, but it's cute.


And lastly, a giant octopus balloon!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Even More Easter

I was pretty pleased with this hiding place for a green Easter egg.

SwingDaddy topped me though - he balanced one on top of the giant "5" balloon leftover from our nephew's birthday.

And I think I've finally posted all our Easter stories.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Preschool Mutant Ninja Turtle!

Suddenly, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are popular again. I sewed shells for Buster, who likes Raphael, and his cousin, who favors Leonardo.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Five years ago tonight, Buster kindly waited until Dancing with the Stars was over before being in the right position for me to push. Twenty minutes later, he arrived. This kid has always had great timing.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The TV Op that Won't Be

I got an email yesterday, a very nicely worded inquiry for a casting call.  Reading between the lines, I think they were looking for the "tiger mom" role in a reality TV show about different styles of parenting.

Uh, thanks, but no.

I sent a polite note back, thanking them for asking, but I have a hard time imagining a parenting-focused show that will lead to anything but media destruction of its participants.  Even if one manages to be a controversial and hated-enough character to get invited to yet another reality show as follow up.  Best case - Dancing with the Stars.  More likely - something like that show were the D-list celebrities learn how to high platform dive.  Worst case - a show where you have to eat live bugs.

Maybe it's time to produce our own video program.  With a Les Miserables chorus, of course.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


As you all know, I'm a fan of the cuteness (if not necessarily the taste) of bunny Peeps. My sister made me this charming bunny Peep wreath for Easter!

We had it hanging for a few days, but as SwingDaddy put it, Peeps are not very structurally sound, so as they started to wobble off the wreath, we turned it into a centerpiece.

Most of our Easter things are finally put away now.  If Earth Day wasn't looming ahead in April, it would be really tempting to toss the plastic eggs and start fresh next time, but every year, we wash and dry all the egg shells.

Ready for Easter 2014!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Les Miserables, Continued

This week, I finally managed to catch some of the Les Miserables re-enactments on video, which I won't post in deference to both the messy background of our room and potential embarrassment sources to the boys in the future.

Scene: Q-ster poses in front of his "microphone" stand doing a darn good job imitating the expressions of our favorite Enjolras actor (Ramin Kamiloo), singing "Do You Hear the People Sing" with gravitas.

Buster grabs the red flag that I sewed for them and starts waving it behind his brother, quite militantly and on the beat.

It's a great image.

Then, I'm particularly glad that I confiscated the original incarnation of the flag, where I had a thin wooden dowel on the edge, and replaced it with a foam tube that SwingDaddy found at Home Depot.  Why?  Because Buster, as he's waving the flag back and forth, starts eyeing his brother, and just can't help getting a little closer, and a little closer, until he whacks him in the back with the flag.  He stays on the beat, but now hitting his brother every measure.

And the Q-ster tackles Buster and the video devolves into a wrestling match.  You can hear me say, "Hey, finish the song!" in the background.

End scene.

Monday, April 08, 2013

The Beliebers of the North

There is so much absurdity about North American pop culture that I can't help be delighted when I see a soberly socially democratic and responsible nation go nuts over a phenomenon like Justin Bieber.

There was a near riot last summer when he played a free concert at a certain Scandinavian capital.  He returns (he returns!) this month, and school exams dates have been changed in neighboring towns to accommodate.  A special delegation has gone to London to study the traffic and security arrangements that were used at the O2.

"There has never been such a comprehensive event there. This is larger than the Eurovision Song Contest," says the police superintendent, who has been planning for the concert for months.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Captain Rex Goes to Las Vegas, Plus Macarons

The boys' sneakers were in a sorry state, so we went shopping for new ones.  Their feet are getting so big!

We've done the Captain Rex shoes (right) many times before, but there has apparently been an escalation in the flashing shoe category.

Instead of little blue lights that appear on the "visor" of the shoes, the new shoes now have a big flashing panel that reads "R-E-X" across the front. I'll have to see if I can get a clearer picture with the other camera.

We also made a shop at the pastry shop, where I chose a macaron, for which I've long had a fondness.

The boys chose miniature cupcakes.

A cookies-n-cream mini cupcake for Q-ster.

and vanilla with lots and lots of multi-colored sprinkles for Buster.

By the way, I had to look up the difference between macaron, the prettily colored cookie-cakes, and macaroon, the coconut cookies. It's good to know that there's room for that much confectionery in the world.

Friday, April 05, 2013


We visited Q-ster's school for open house tonight.  The boys were mostly interested in getting to the book fair being held in the library, so we had to persuade him to tell us more than the perfunctory introduction to his classroom.  His teacher is pretty awesome, and it was fun to see all the other families.

We also visited Q-ster's old kindergarten classroom. Buster will attend class in either this room or the one immediately adjacent next year.  We noticed there was a new alphabet carpet, and look how they illustrated the letter O.  Could it be?

Oh yes, it's an octopus!