On Thursday, the boys made Welcome Home signs for our newest little friend, Baby Davy. Simon’s picture was of Jake (on the left/bottom), Baby Davy (in the middle), and Joie (on the right) dressed as “injas” [ninjas], hiding under a giant tree.
I snapped this shot as he was almost finished. He added a few more details and signed his name, and then I took the dictation of what he wanted the sign to say: “Welcome home, Jake and Joie, and especially welcome home, Baby Davy.” (Ian’s sign, which you can see a corner of at the top of this photo, had a similar theme—he loves to be like his big brother—and said, “Welcome home, Baby Davy. Happy having a new baby.” I’m not sure what all ended up in his final draft, but in one version he was drawing multiple circles, and when I asked him what they were, he gleefully explained, “I’m making Baby Davys!”)
What I found incredibly interesting—besides the fact that drawing a family of ninjas seems like such a quintessentially “boy” thing to do—was that Simon didn’t paint the ninjas from the start. He first painted the people as he normally would (stick figures with giant heads) and then added the ninja costumes later: “Okay, now I have to camouflage Joie.” “Why?” “Remember? They are ninjas!” I love his four-year-old logic.
In other news, I have been quilting again. My friend Kerri came over the other morning to talk quilting, and I have been rather obsessively reading about quilts (specifically about modern quilts), thinking about quilts, and, yes, even working on a quilt ever since.
I started this one almost eight years ago, shortly after Jason and I got engaged. The goal, of course, was for it to be done by our wedding. And, yeah, so seven + years later, it’s not done. And, actually, I am kind of glad because I am going to change it up and make it truly unique. I suppose it might be more dramatic to blog about it when it is all finished, but, let’s face it, even though I’m on the quilting kick now, it still might not get done (not trying to be pessimistic, just sayin’), and then even if I do actually finish it, who knows when/if I’ll get around to blogging about it. So I’m doing it now while it’s on my mind.
Someday I will tell the story of how my friend Erin and her mom, Judy, taught me to quilt. It’s definitely been a stable interest/desire of mine to keep quilting, but I generally lack time and gumption to actually do, rather than just dream. Also, I love to start projects; this is a well-known fact about me. Following through is harder.
So this particular quilt, my unfinished wedding quilt, was intended to be a Double Irish Chain. I have all the blocks made (81 of them, in fact), and all that was really left was to sew them together to create the top. But as I’ve been inspired by more modern quilts, I started thinking about how I could make these traditional blocks into something a little more reflective of my current tastes. I also wanted to come up with something that had meaning for our family, something that was unique to us. The result ended up being a collaboration with Jason, which in itself adds meaning. We played with a couple of different layouts, but this was the one that I was most pleased with.
The two crosses at the top represent Jason and me, and the three across the lower half represent the kids. I really like all the negative space, but, good grief, quilting math is hard, and I won’t be sure I got it all right until I sew it all up. I’ll also need to add a border (or three) of the neutral fabric to make it bed-quilt size. I haven’t planned the back exactly yet, but I do have 41 minus 13 of the darker squares and 40 minus 12 of the lighter squares plus many dark and medium would-have-been-border strips and various measures of the neutral fabric. I’m thinking I will do a nod to the traditional layout of the double chain but also incorporate some modern elements. It’s a work in progress for sure.
Ever since “A” week at his preschool, Simon has taken a special interest in acorns (we collected a few to take for Show and Tell that Monday). A few days ago, he found that a couple of his treasures had cracked open a bit, and he wondered if maybe that meant they were ready to grow. So to test his hypothesis (thank you, Dinosaur Train), he and Jason (with Ian tagging along, if I remember correctly) headed out to plant the seeds.
The next day as we were shuffling kids out the door and into the van to get to church, Jason and Simon took a quick detour to water the acorns. As Simon headed back toward me and climbed into his carseat, I could tell something was wrong.
“Did you water your acorns, buddy?”
“They were dug up. The sqwooowuhs [squirrels] stole them.”
(And I just have to pause here a moment to laugh at how quick my temper flared and how incensed I was at those darn squirrels. What right did they have? Those were NOT! THEIR! NUTS! A fierce and swift mother love is triggered at the slightest injustice—perceived or actual—done to my child).
“Well, silly squirrels. How do you think they knew they were even there?”
He paused just long enough for me to know that he was really considering the question, and said, “Well, maybe they hear-ed me and Daddy talking yesterday when we planted them. . . . Or maybe they smelled them.”
“Well, shoot, buddy. That’s disappointing, huh?”
And I thought that was probably the end of it.
[A few minutes later, from the back of the van] “Mommy? I think we can build a remote control robot, and then from inside the house you can just push a few buttons and the robot will make a really loud noise to scare the sqwooowuhs: a Real Dinosaur Roar!”
Jason and I laughed and told him that sounded like a good idea and that maybe he could invent that kind of remote control robot. Then Simon and Ian happily spent the rest of the ride to church plotting their revenge on the poor squirrels with ever-more-imaginative devices. By the time we arrived, they had thought up some kind of remote control (of course) knight/volcano that runs on “gas and water and pizza, but not fuel” and that swings its sword at the squirrels and pours hot lava out of its mouth.
I think the real takeaway here is that I have a lot to learn about boys.
As I was making lunch today, I heard Simon singing a song. The words were pretty simple, “Clara and her brother, Clara and her brother, Clara and her brother.” I peeked into the living room just as Ian was adding his “harmony”: “Dara and he bru-vah, Dara and he bru-vah, Dara and he bru-vah.” Ian’s part also had that sweet toddler vibrato and Doppler effect that comes from running and singing at the same time.
They’ve moved on. Clara’s down for a nap, and the boys are tigers eating their rice balls, which they are pretending are meat. Their sweet song, though, is a little bit stuck in my head and forever stuck in my heart.
This morning we tried an experiment: what happens when you mix baking soda with vinegar (and food coloring)?
An explosion! according to Ian.
The boys mixed and played for nearly two hours. Mommy bliss (and kid bliss too, actually). We learned a few things along the way as well:
* “Winegar smells kinda yucky.”
* Baking soda tastes “not too good.”
* You can’t actually get your hands clean by washing them in the colored vinegar.
Perhaps most important, we learned that it’s almost as much fun to play with un-colored vinegar as with the colored stuff. Yeah, I hadn’t totally thought that through. But all was not lost! As it happens, the very thing that made the mess was the solution to it as well. I told the boys that when they were done, they could scrub the table with their mixture, which, of course, was a win win: the stain came off the table and the boys were busy and happy for an additional twenty minutes at least.
I was quickly running out of ideas for our impromptu scavenger hunt. I had already sent Simon (and, in theory, Ian) to bring me back a stick as long as my hand, a green leaf, a brown leaf, a rock, a yellow flower, a blade of grass. Simon suggested a red flower, but I realized the only red flowers in sight were not for picking. And in a flash of foolishness? brilliance? a little from column A, a little from column B? I gave Simon my iPhone and sent him to take a picture of the red flowers. He came back absolutely beaming, and with a decent shot to boot.
He spent the next 15 minutes or so eagerly running off to take a picture of this and that and coming back after each picture to show me what he had seen. We could have continued, but then he wanted to play fireman, and, well, that’s fun too.
Later that evening, Jason and I were struggling for sanity with forty-five minutes or so to go before bedtime. The light was softening, the shadows were just beginning to lengthen, and I wanted nothing more than to grab my camera and escape for a walk. And again the same flash of foolishness or brilliance hit me: I did grab my camera, but I also handed Simon my iPhone, and I and the boys headed to the park to take pictures. In theory, we took pictures of the same things (we took turns picking the subject), but as you can imagine, our perspectives are quite different. I hope that this will be just the first of many times we take our cameras out together (and, in fact, we did go out the next morning as well). I think it will be a great time to push myself creatively and also to challenge myself technically—to use my camera on manual mode, for example.
In the midst of this, I remembered a long-neglected blog I started a year or so ago: Pictychy. I re-read the About page and realized that, yeah, I still want to do that. So, I’ll be posting some of my favorites over there. Check back or add it to your RSS feed to see what we’re up to.
Yesterday—which happened to be my 39th birthday—brought a handful of firsts (in chronological order):
* Clara’s first tooth. She’s been working on it for weeks now, but it’s finally visible for sure.
* the first time Ian sat in the big boy swings without help. He gave very clear instructions for being pushed: “Higher! Higher! Higher! Enough!”
* the first time I realized Simon can carry a tune when he tries. He likes to sing, I think, but singing in tune is hit and miss. He did a perfect (to my ear, at least) rendition of the Olympics theme song (Bahm BAHM bah buhm buhm buhm bumm ....).
* the first time Simon stopped in his whining tracks and apologized with real sorrow for behaving badly. Oh, goodness. (I suppose this is a little hard to pin down, as he has sometimes apologized unprompted and has definitely apologized with sincerity, but something about this one seemed particularly mature.)
* the first time Ian said, “I love you, Mommy” completely unprompted and out of the blue (i.e., not in response to me saying, “I love you”). A heart melter, that one.
It seems like maybe there was one more Ian-related one earlier in the day, but I’m getting old, and my memory . . . what’s the word? . . .
My name is Renae, and The Grand is where I keep thoughts, observations, and photos from my life.