Friday, June 27, 2014

Some Dead Life, and Some Live

 Joss and I took Eli to the newly-reopened Bean Museum on campus. This is the one that our friend Ethan O. calls "The Museum of Dead Life". It is, mostly. Here the boys are playing Ugly Grizzly Bear and as you can see, here they are "shaking their head in anger at the crowd around the cage."
 Here Joss was happy to be wrong that they did not have an elephant. They did indeed.
 Eli in front of the butterflies. I am still such a sucker for a blue butterfly or a green scarab beetle.
 And we imitated many different animals, alternating between fierce predators and horrified prey. We went to Carterville park and played around until nap time (we are specializing in tiring out toddlers right now). 
 That evening, we went out to El Azteca for dinner, Pop 'n Sweets for dessert, and walked around the west side of campus.
 There we ran into a deer who was pretty far from the mountains.
And several new families of ducks. They're doing a lovely job sprucing up these two sections of campus, but please don't get me started on the rest of their remodel.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Because Pirates Aren't Punctual . . . Are They?

 I was pushing the statute of limitations for holding birthday parties, but we did it anyway. Over a month late! We decided to do our old favorite, the pirate party for Joss. If you look closely at the picture above, you'll see that the dining room is no longer red. It's blue. I was going to paint it a nice warm cream back before my birthday in April, but that is what life's like around here. You think you're painting something cream in April and you end up painting it blue in June.
Some of the food: wee fishies (goldfish), cannonballs (whoppers), peg legs (baby carrots), and a pirate's fruit salad (I am a big fan of the blueberry cannonballs).
 My decorating team really outdid themselves with this one. I loved the centerpiece.
 The birthday boy, working on his squint. I learned from this party that it's better to do something you know you can do well than to listen to the whims and desires of a 6-year-old, who wants to roll every birthday party he's ever attended into one marathon of festivities that staggers the imagination and vacuums out the savings account.
 More treasure. One of our guests is a savvy businessman already and he was fascinated with all the foreign money we had around and how much it might be worth at the currency exchange.
 So here is how this party goes down at our house. The opening activity is learning to make paper boats. Works well as the guests come trickling in. 
 K was not only a great boatbuilder, she also dressed up in costume.
Once the boats are made, we go outside and bomb them with walnuts in the wading pool. Use balls if that works better for you, but we have walnuts.
Then the kids all get onto the trampoline together with a bunch of black balloons. They have to sit, kick or blast the "cannon balls" to bust out the secret letters to find the treasure map.
 Here they are solving the puzzle: X A B S O N D
Which became SANDBOX, where they all ran and found another bottle with a message inside it. Also, a spider, which was very fitting and spooky since they were looking for spider rings as clues.
 Rob's map was a treasure itself (and a fine example of the spelling that Dave Barry rails against here, in his fine essay on English Grammar). To fynde ye treasure: Ye must gather ye spider ringges. First go ye to yonder birdhouse and to the secret sign o' the dandelion. From the end o' the cross-hatches finde ye a barrel and then ye find Dead Man's  Rock  and walk ye plank. Thence see ye the hidden boat -- the Black Pearl from whence ye preceede to the poop-house. Use ye telescope to fynde ye yeller/black gate and take ye hydden pathe to wee brydge. Wander 20 paces to ye lamppost and fynde three blue flowers. Turn ye heads and fynde Sea-Lyon Rock. 20 paces over a Brydge and then ye open it up . . .
 They ran off to the birdhouse . . .
 Past the cross-hatches
 Looking for ye olde poop-house (there is a Honey Bucket sitting outside one of the homes under construction right now).
 And a snake showed up along the trail, just to give it an authentic feel . . .
 There they are at the lamppost, looking for the seal rock. Only one or two kids nearly got knocked off the bridge in the excitement of finding the treasure . . .
Bonanza! They found the loot! I had asked Rob how long the treasure hunt would take, and he said "Oh, 10, maybe 15 minutes" so I had the lunch all ready. But they took a good 35 minutes racing around the neighborhood looking for spider rings (it really doesn't look like we live in the 'burbs in these pictures, but we do. There is just a sliver of wilderness in the middle).

Then they came back and ate lunch with pirate ale before their cake and ice cream and watched Pirates! Band of Misfits.
It was a great party, but we are now done with this one. Anybody want a Jolly Roger flag and pirate tablecloth? Let me know -- I'm happy to pass them on to the next band of pirates!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We got another cousin!

 Yay! Benjamin was born this week and we got to go see him!
 He is absolutely perfect and so cute!
 We've gotten to have his big brother Eli around while his mom was in the hospital.
 Here are each of the kids getting to hold him.
 They all seem to have inherited their dad and grandpa Shumway's abilities with wee babies.
Welcome baby Ben!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Scout Overnighter: Goblin Valley

 Going through our pictures, I realized that Rob has been doing a really good job as scoutmaster. They have done a whole lot of stuff together. I had forgotten all about this trip down to Goblin Valley in June.
 They stayed outside, on BLM land, and had this great campsite with a hoodoo in it. Rob got up in the middle of the night to move his tent because he had convinced himself that it was going to fall on him in the middle of the night. 
These guys go roughing it for real, with no water and no facilities at all. In my camping life, I'm heading the other direction. I want to find excellent showers next to lakes and streams. That's what I'm talking about!
 After breakfast, the boys went on a hike. Since it was a slot canyon, I can't show you very many pictures before I start hyperventilating. That's Kirt.
 And there are the boys, running ahead, determined to wedge themselves permanently into the landscape.
 The whole crew this time around: Kirt, Ben, Will, Carl, and Matt.
 Thankfully Will didn't have any problems with this hike. Thankfully there weren't any flash floods either.
 The boys.
Chillin' in the hoodoos.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Marshmallow Toasting Selfies

Maddie Lou and David O, cousins who share a brain. And a sense of humor. These two were quoting movies, singing songs, and making puns all night long around the fire pit. It makes me wonder if this is the way Rob and Heather used to be.