On Sunday the boys and I had a ball scrambling around a 70-year-old B-24 Liberator (a model of which my folks may remember hanging from our rafters for years) together with our little friend Anja. Either Americans were smaller years ago, or this plane was designed for operation by the 3-to-5 set. The boys enjoyed getting into turrets, and when hanging out in the clear nose turret with Anja, Henry insisted on closing the doors and saying "We need a little privacy!"
Following this thorough inspection, I got to fly in the old sucker with Anja's dad Bruce! He was able to borrow some great video gear from work, even sticking little cameras on the chin & belly. Talk about crazy, open-air excitement! (Seriously, when I was looking out the tail turret, I saw a fellow passenger's hat zoom past into infinity. "Hey, how'd we fly past a hat?" I initially wondered.) We haven't yet edited the videos, but here's a gallery from the adventure. Bruce jokingly complained, "I'm not sure these photos of you will turn out: you don't look happy enough."
Oh boy... we knew this day would come. Much as Henry discovered "Ollie's brother," Finn has uncovered a second Leo. The other night he misplaced his little buddy before bedtime, and in desperation Margot & I tapped into "the nest" of looens stashed in her closet. We figured that the MIA buddy would turn up after Finn's bedtime--but no such luck. A few days later, I came home to find Finn bouncing off the walls: "Dad-O, Dad-O, I have an exciting surprise for you!! Wait here!!" He emerged brandishing "TWO LEOS!!" I think he just lit up the western seaboard with his smile. And logically enough, as he'd dubbed Ollie's brother "Catamaran," Finn named Leo's bro "Leomaran."
Perhaps needless to say, the two buddies have been accompanying us everywhere, appearing in new T.A.L.B. stories (where they're rather emotionally reunited, having been separated as cubs back in Ghana, after which they try to catch bats in a pillowcase) and trying to "sneak" into preschool. Here's a little gallery of one happy kid & two smooching looens.
I will say it's getting a bit tough to answer Finn's repeated inquiries as to exactly how and why Leomaran showed up (or Catamaran, for that matter--"because toys can't flutter on their own!"). He's noting little differences (notably a little string protruding from the "old" one's face) that'll make future rotations (for "baths") and replacements tougher. Ah well--I guess we can treat it all as practice for future discussions of Santa Claus & the Tooth Fairy.
- Classic Rock:
- "Dad-O, I think Van Halen lives in a Led Zeppelin!"
- "Henry and I are Steppenwolfs. We're steppin' all over!"
- Paul Simon:
- Finn explains his pile of stuffed animals: "I'm making them my bodyguards & pals." (And yes, he's now calling me Betty, and I call him Al.)
- "Dad-O, I love that Paul Simon song, 'Diii-nos on a skateboard, Diii-nos on a skateboard, With nothing to lose.'" (He's singing "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.")
- Johnny Cash:
- I hear Finn singing Johnny Cash to his Legos: "I shot a man named Guido, Just to watch him die…"
- What's a terrific 7am wake-up? A yellow lion blankie poking its head around our doorway & growl-singing "Folsom Prison Blues." ("RAwr! I hear that train a-comin'...")
- Our sugar-addled boys are tearing around the hardware store's garden section yelling "My name is SUE, how do you DO?? Now you gonna DIE!!"
- Finn's loving Johnny Cash: "I'm building a car out of ice cream in my tummy, One Piece At A Time! (Can you tweet that?)"
- I tried hipping the boys to OutKast's frenetic song "Hey Ya." Finn: "These guys are berserkers!" Henry: "Yeah, give us Johnny Cash!"
Midweek we received a long-awaited package from Grandma Nack--the famous Lego cargo ship! Finn's been overjoyed with it, naming it "The USS Dubuque Iowa." ("Well," he explains, "It's kind of like the USS Iowa, and it was in Dubuque.") Henry's taken over the smaller Lego boats, and on Saturday he was in charge of filling up the kiddie pool ("Kitty pool?" he asked, quizzically) for some high-seas adventure.
Later in the day we decided to visit the USS Hornet, a retired aircraft carrier famous for its service in World War II and beyond (e.g. recovering astronauts returning from the moon). Unlike the Iowa, which is currently sort of a floating construction site, the Hornet is a fully finished museum ship. After some nervousness below decks (maybe due to the haunting?), the guys enjoyed scampering around the flight deck. They especially loved learning about catapults & running down the old launch tracks, pretending to burst into the air. Finn was fascinated to learn that fuel-handling crew members wear purple shirts and are dubbed "grapes." (He insists that the green-shirted guys must also be "grapes.") Seeing the ships moored nearby was also a treat: Finn loved seeing the cranes & hatches ("Like my Dubuque, but more massive!"), and Henry liked one ship being named the Cape Henry. Here's a gallery of the goings-on.
[Special thanks to our friends the Sturtevants for inspiring the trip by posting about their recent visit.]
Man oh man were the Micronaxx ever eager to bring Mom-O her first breakfast in bed! Well, to be honest, they were excited to sample the fruits of our "secret mission" to nearby Flower Flour. (Finn kept gleefully threatening to "ruin the beans" by disclosing what we were up to.) In fact, both guys were excited to the point of being train wrecks, nervous that somehow Mom-O wouldn't share, or (in Finn's view) that I'd get sidetracked changing Henry before escorting them upstairs ("Don't get into the poop stuff--it's always a big deal, and he gets upset, and blah blah blah!"). Happily, a few bites of sugary goodness restored their pluck:
My only regret is that I couldn't find a tube of brown frosting with which to change "Mom" to the much more fitting "Mom-O."
Afterwards we all delighted in the boys' first boating experience--something they found especially exciting given our recent nautical exploring (more on that shortly).
One of my big goals for Summer 2012 was to rehab the gazebo in our backyard. Ever since we moved in 6 years ago, it's been in great-idea-waiting-to-happen suspended animation. It's been piled with random outdoor toys, mismatched junky outdoor furniture, and other bits and bobs. A couple weeks ago, I embarked on the Great Gazebo Rehab, with a couple of small helpers by my side. After all our hard work, the gazebo looks fantastic and is ready for many, many hours of lounging. Here's the gallery showcasing the completed rehab!
Finny started calling the newly-refreshed structure our "Little House in the Big Woods," thanks to Grandma Nack's reading of Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic book to the boys during her last visit. Clearly Finny absorbed a lot from the story, because after "sleeping" in the house, he and Henry would wake up, put their "hunting caps" on, and hunt wolves and bears, being careful to stay close to the house and not get eaten. After a successful hunt, they were quick to offer salted bear and wolf meat to me for dinner, before hitting the sack again to rest up for another big hunting day. Our actual house is now called the "Big House in the Big Woods."
A brief anecdote from Grandma Nack:
When I was with the boys, I spelled their names, including their last name. Then I told them I had another name than Grandma, which was Pat. Finn looked at Henry and said, "Her last name is Grandma."
In possibly related news, alongside "Sweaty," "Nonsense," and the other firemen, Finn now deploys Fireman Jim Nack. Go figure.
Delmas Avenue, 7am: A beaming Finn just ran into the TV room where Margot and I were sitting. "Hey, I have four things to tell you dudes!" he announced.
"One is, 'Jeez Louise, Fillmore's eating cheese!'
One is, Stegosaurus eggasaurus.
One is, Rhino vyno.
And one is, Brontosaurus applesaurus!
I made those up while I was sleeping!"
So now you know.
We started yesterday morning with a trip to the local nursery to find some flowering perennials to plant along the border of the gazebo. The guys really got a kick out of the huge displays of all sorts of flowers, shrubs, fruit trees, and veggie plants. We checked out some decorative fountains, prodded at some lily pads, smelled all kinds of flowers, and discussed what our favorite colors were. The color discussion led us to the plants we ultimately chose - some with purple flowers (a Henry favorite) and some with red flowers (Finny and I like those). We picked up some soil conditioner and mulch, then went home and got to work.
The boys got to break out all their construction vehicles and wagons in the process. Here's a photo gallery of our project. Finny and Henry were excellent transporters, dumpers, waterers, and diggers. I think Finny's favorite part was filling his dumptuck with planting mix and dumping it onto the freshly dug "old dirt." When Henry wasn't resting and watching from afar, he decided he wanted to be in charge of watering, which was fine until he "accidentally" watered his brother from head to toe!
By lunchtime, the three of us were dirty and hot, but very happy. We got our new plants in and had a fantastic time doing it. Now we can't wait for them to grow!
[PS--The guys were so amped up from the ice cream I'd bought them in Santa Cruz that when the three of us returned to the hardware store for mulch, they ended up tearing around the garden section like maniacs. I had to secure them like this. --J.]
I loooove me some slang. But what do I love more than slang? The fact that our family generates our own slang on a nearly constant basis. John and I are both word lovers, and we're also huge goofballs, which makes for a perfect combination when it comes to coming up with fun, unusual ways to describe otherwise dry, quotidien things. Here's a fresh installment of slang from the Naxx, both micro and macro:
Poop rock: The fake rock in the yard where we hide a spare housekey. You can probably guess what the rock looks like.
Potty shot: Why simply "go potty" when you can take a potty shot? See also: "Sor-ry for potty rockin'" (with appropriate credit to the band LMFAO)
DPT: Short for "dipetorium," which was our slang for diaper changing table. We still call the boys' dressers DPTs, which is even better now that this is a completely obsolete term.
Monster style: Putting ones shoes purposefully on the wrong feet. I can't even really remember why we call it "monster style" but the guys love it.
Beasts: Mom-O's hair clips, which both guys love to wield as they chase Dad-O around, trying to "bite" his clothing.
"Buds in the car, buds in the car…": This is our sing-song way of reminding the guys to leave their buddies (Leo and the two Ollies) in the car when we go out, so we don't lose them. Born from the infamous "Pants on the ground" song that went viral a few years back. The full Micronack version is "Buds in the car, buds in the car. Lookin' like a FOOL with your buds in the car!"
Brusha: Toothbrushing. Heard at 7:15pm most nights, "Ok guys, time for brusha!" [See also "Sugarbugs," as in "We've gotta get those sugar bugs off your chompers." --J.]
Rubba: Eye rubbing by a tired Micronack. Heard at 7:30pm most nights, "But I'm not doing rubba, Dad-o!"