27 July 2014

Family Reunion 2014

We attended a family reunion today.  Ellen discovered that she loves dogs.  She went wild when I put her down and let her pat one of the ones wandering about.  She didn't get her picture taken during the actual reunion because she spent most of her time in the sling on my chest, so I snapped one of her as I was putting her in the car to leave.  She was not making this face at the reunion.  She was giving everyone The Look.

The Bairn loves a good family reunion, because Grammie and Papa are there to chase him around and help him climb trees and the like.  His only real disappointment was that there was a pool and we came without any swimming gear.  Everyone told me to send him in naked, which I was willing to do, but it was a deep pool so he couldn't go in by himself and I wasn't willing to go in naked myself.  I explained that he needed an adult to swim, so he started asking all the aunts and uncles, "Are you a 'dult?"  He never did get to go swimming.

Papa helping The Bairn down from a tree

24 July 2014

Rain Day

I think it was the right decision to take the kids out in the rain today instead of cleaning the house.

As we were walking in the downpour, The Bairn turned to me, beaming, and exclaimed, "Isn't it a beautiful rainy day?"

But the house is so dirty that Ellen's knees and the tops of her feet are actually black with grime from crawling on my unwashed floors.

21 July 2014

Our New Pet

Steve's parents have moved back to Nova Scotia and with them has come all the things Steve was storing at their house in Alberta.  Some of it is good and some of it is not.  The Bairn just about went through the roof with joy when he saw Steve's old, metal Tonka truck and the books are welcome here.  There are also a alarming surprising number of hats.  Cowboy hats, ball caps, toques . . .

A few days after the hats arrived, Steve took me down to the basement to show me the progress he was making on the storage room.  He'd put up some shelves that day and sitting on one of them was a fez.

MBC: Did you wear that fez to put up the shelves?

Steve: It was more fun that way.

Possibly the best thing that came from Alberta was Scribbles, Steve's only pet.  He's a piece of fur with googly eyes and a felt mouth.  Steve's dad made Scribbles a house with carpet and wallpaper that matched Steve's house in the early 80s.

The kids love Scribbles and his house.   This morning I found E with her foot in the house and thought she'd accidentally put it in there, so I helped her out, but a few minutes later she was back in, sitting down, kissing (maybe eating) Scribbles.

(Pretend that this picture isn't in one of the most ghetto corners of our house and that it was taken with something better than a cellphone. )

20 July 2014

Gems from The Bairn

Steve (to The Bairn): Who do you like best?

Bairn: Mama.  (Turning to me) Her hair is so pretty.  (Then turning back to Steve with an accusing finger) But you're bald!  You have no hair!

The Bairn talks a blue streak in a sweet, 2-year-old voice with a few (sadly disappearing) baby pronunciations and odd turns of phrase.  He still says the 'r' sound like 'oy,' so he often discusses foyk lifts loading and boyds in the sky.  And he's very interested in 'old-time-fashioned vehicles.'

A few days ago he refused to climb into his car seat, so I lifted him in myself, provoking a bit of a fit.  As I buckled myself into my own seat, The Bairn suddenly stopped crying, sighed, and said in a very soft voice, which may have been to himself instead of to me, "I'll feel better in a few minutes."  After a short pause, he continued, "Excuse me, Mama.  Maybe we should go to the zoo, so I can pat a jaguar."

The Bairn has a little friend named Sam whose birthday is just a week after his.  Sam has a netted trampoline and hops like a tiny, joyful mountain goat all across it--up, down, and around.  The Bairn had never been on a trampoline before, so when he went to play with Sam last week, Sam's mother got on with him and held The Bairn's hands to show him how to bounce.  The Bairn bounced a bit, barely letting his feet leave the trampoline surface, and then decided to sit down.  Sam's mom would occasionally ask The Bairn if he wanted to stand up and jump and The Bairn would reply, "How 'bout I just sit here?"

18 July 2014

Summertime and The Livin' is Easy

I kind of fell in love with our backyard tonight.  We had a family with four children over for dinner and the weather was relatively cool with a breeze and the bugs weren't out yet, so we pulled out the camp chairs and the picnic blanket and ate hot dogs under the crab apple tree while the kids chased balls around and rocked on the teeter totter and pushed cars across the hideous, falling down deck and I thought to myself, "Why don't I spend more time with my babies under this crab apple tree, because it is perfection."

I would take a picture of the backyard to insert here, but the camera is broken.  This also means that you cannot see the pictures of The Bairn playing (surprisingly well) Steve's trombone or of Ellen doing her amazing standing and clapping.

Come visit us and we'll pull up a camp chair for you too.

09 July 2014

Happiness is a Day at the Beach

Steve's parents moved to Nova Scotia last week. Their house is across the road from the beach.  The Bairn is pleased.

07 July 2014

The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry

The Bairn loves poetry and I love reading it to him. In fact, sitting in the rocking chair reading "Disobedience" by A.A. Milne to The Bairn makes me terribly nostalgic, takes me right back to my own childhood, and gives me a sense that all the generations of my family must somehow be connected back through time by some variation on this activity.  My mother used to read it to me.

I recently found this children's book of poetry at our library.  It's full of gems and illustrated by a variety of artists, including Lois Ehlert, a favorite of The Bairn's.  If I didn't enjoy poetry so much myself, I wouldn't have imagined that The Bairn could sit still for so long asking for more.

Here are two of the poems we like best from the book at the moment (The Bairn also really loves one about a woodpecker and a silly one about scratching an itch.  Oh, and I also love reading him the one about rain by Langston Hughes, but I'm too lazy to look that one up.  Oh, AND I discovered that in Grade 9, Steve listed poetry as one of his pet peeves and when he looked through this book with us, he couldn't get past the non-rhyming poetry.  He says he doesn't know what makes it a poem if it doesn't rhyme.  Oh, the engineers).

Afternoon on a Hill

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when the lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!

--Edna St. Vincent Millay

Taking Turns

When sun goes home
behind the trees,
and locks her shutters tight --

then stars come out
with silver keys
to open up the night.

--Norma Faber
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