We went to Powell Gardens!

IMG_1155 _Snapseed IMG_1173 _Snapseed IMG_1184 _Snapseed IMG_1216 _Snapseed IMG_1227 _Snapseed IMG_1262 _Snapseed IMG_1306 _SnapseedTop 3 takeaways from our trip to Powell Gardens:

1. LEGO is seriously some cool shit.  They had 14 amazing LEGO sculptures at Powell Gardens – you must go see them.  LEGO may not be more amazing than Nature, but Nature best be watchin’ her back.

2. It is annoying how DH is 3 years older than me and happily  kneeled to get his picture taken in the lil’ kid photo cutouts.  My knees hurt just looking at the picture of him in the grape.

3. Fresh fruits and vegetables are yummy.  (You aren’t reading this blog for breaking news, hopefully?)

We went to the Kansas City Zoo!

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IMG_1019 _SnapseedTop three takeaways:

1. My stepkids’ crack is dippin dots.  From the moment they heard “zoo” their minds were working on a way to get them.  It started on the drive down, “Hey, you know what is good that they have at the zoo?  Dippin’ Dots.  Maybe we should get some?”  to seventeen more mentions of Dippin’ Dots.  Cut to the moment we reached the Dippin’ Dots cart and they were asked if they would like some – playing it cool, they consented… I mean might as well since the cart is right here and all, right? Well played, junkies, well played.

2. The African sky tram is one of the top 3 greatest things in Kansas City.  But I am biased, I like anything where I can sit on my ass and see stuff.  Way better than walking my ass around to see stuff.

3. Little kids are so rude.  We got their early, and as the day wore on the invasion started.  We are a package of grumpasaurases who were rolling our eyes at the audacity of little kids to cry and squeal and meander in front of us with their chubby little awkward legs.  I mean, SRSLY, LEARN TO WALK, 3 year-olds!!

 

 

Our Summer To-Do List!

IMG_0667I am not sure if this is ambitious or not.  And why do I care if it is ambitious?  It seems like enough to do so that summer doesn’t sneak away without me noticing. And that is enough.

Enough until I decided I had to capture it all in a scrapbook.  Because, for me, enough isn’t enough until it is too much.  Regardless, away we go!

Our Family Summer To Do List:

1. Go to the zoo.

2. Go to Powell Gardens.

3. See a play.

4. Cheer on the Royals.

5. Go camping. in. a. tent.  (Cabin camping will not suffice for SD – it is hardcore, or not at all.)

6. Make the front yard gorgeous.

7. Go to a contemporary art museum.

8. CAMP GINGER!!!!  (theme yet to be decided)

9. See an outdoor concert.

10. Go to Worlds of Fun.

11. Fly a kite.

12. Go to a farmer’s market.

13. See fireworks.  BOOM!

 

Holding On!

Both my husband and I lamented last year how the spring and summer seemed to pass without marking it much.  Things were crazy for me at work, DH was transitioning into a new role with the kids, and we seemed to just let the summer disappear.

This year we are trying to be conscientious about our time spent.  To do the things that come once a season, to not let the last summer the kids have before the new world of middle school disappear.  For me, it doesn’t come naturally to engage in things other than total shut-down recovery – especially when it is hot outside.

To help this along, for the next 28 days no TV or video games.  Something I seemed to have tried a least a bazillion times, usually unsuccessfully.  Today marks the fourth day.  It has been easier than I thought, but with some real touch-and-go moments.  Today at worked SUCKED – and I made this proclamation originally after a great day at work – but my buzzing stress and emotional dry well made the whole thing seem whack-a-doo this evening when I got home.  But I ate dinner at the dining room table, read, practiced hindi, and now am writing.  And not once today did I turn on a television.  I am anxious to see how the next 28 days changes me.  Hoping against history that I will be able to hold on – to the summer, to my resolution to turn off and tune in.

Another bag!

Another bag!

I made this little bag for my sister-in-law’s birthday.  Filled with geeky stuff that I hope she liked.

Camp Ginger: China Day!

Camp Ginger was supposed to be Monday through Wednesday of the upcoming week, but because of stoopid stuff at stoopid work, it had to be cancelled.  So Camp Ginger will be spread across some weekend days.  This year’s theme is world travel.  Our first stop was China.  Here is what we did:

0800 Travel Ready

The morning kicked off at 0800 sharp with a review of the agenda and distribution of China goodie bags (which were oversized chinese food carton containers.  Did I pick China as our first stop for Camp Ginger as an excuse to get these from Michael’s?  The world will never know.)

The goodie bags contained: A t-shirt for a craft project, a dragon, a notepad featuring pandas, and a lighted contraption that is supposed to simulate the look of fireworks in one’s mouth.  All items were made in China, of course.

0845 Dragonboats @ Brush Creek

We sat on the banks of brush creek and watch teams compete in dragon boat races.  In addition to the action on the water, we saw a multi-car crash (nobody was hurt – a not so bright guy hit six parked cars at low speed), and a girl who has a crush on SS stopped by with her grandmother to say hi.  It was a beautiful morning – I love sitting outside on a blanket and watching things – not sure why, but I do.  I think the kids got a bit bored, but I could have stayed there all day.

1100 Lunch @ P.F. Chang’s

This really speaks for itself.  I love Ma Po Tofu.  Blue Koi would have been better, but there isn’t one walking distance from the day’s activities, and I had a gift certificate.:)

1200 Chinese Art @ Nelson-Atkins

A world-class collection of Chinese art is right here in KC.  It was very beautiful, impressive – and the recreation of the temple brings back warm fuzzy remembrances of my childhood.  It was good for me to get out of my usual-treaded ground at the Nelson.  And I can’t recommend highly enough doing one thing per day at a gallery – makes for a much fuller, relaxed, engaged experience when you plan to look at only one area or room.  And the permanent collection is always free and parking is $5 and easy.  Srsly, just pick a room and go.

1400 Screenprint Chinese Characters

I went gagagoogoopants over this project that I found on the internets.  SOOOO F’ING COOL!!  And so the craft for China day was screen printing Chinese characters onto t-shirts.  This might be the coolest craft ever, with the exception  that there is a lot of wait time.  I hope the kids remember our dining room table always had some sort of craft in progress – and that they will remember the day we screen printed.  The little screens we created for this project are reusable, so if you want to screen print your own item with the character for “Fire” or “Crazy” (the kids’ choices), let me know.

Things I Love Right Now

1. Vegan taco night

 

2.  My husband of 5 years + 14 days

3. Making little pouches with ZIPPERS!!

 

4. Solar Astronomy

5. The promise of fresh summer tomatoes around the corner

6. Fuel Friends Spring 2012 Mix

7. lmgtfy

English Turtle

We went to the school carnival last night with the kids and their friend E.  E is the bomb.  She is sweet, but she also gets shy SD to find her inner goofy.  And I found a new hobby – photographing the kids as if they were in a 90s grunge throwback band named English Turtle.  E obviously is the lead singer – she naturally posed when I said “ok, look like an alt band”.  SS and SD took a little more direction – but I think this photos really capture the artistic depth and ironic goofiness that is English Turtle.

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Passages

It has been quite a month.

I went to San Francisco and went to a conference with smart people and I missed my husband without whom the city we love is not the same.  And Mattie came to visit.  And she scratched the love out of us – demanding our full devotion and the warmth of our bodies.  And then shortly after she died.  And I was miserable.  Quiet moments stabbing me into crying.  And I still had to work a lot.  And then Easter and the kids wore stripes and giggles and my tears agreed to wait.  And then Polly.  And spring was too early and the flowers were everywhere.  The tulips made Ian sneeze and his eyes sting and he didn’t get mad at me – didn’t even think of it.  And I still had to work a lot.  And I turned 38 by the glow of my computer screen.  And Annie got her hair cut and found a time machine and frolicked just a bit.  And today I am finding balance and things are going to be changing and getting better and harder.  And always there will be the memory of little Mattie sleeping on my head, trying to get close enough to suck out all the marrow of all my love.  And I would give it to her a million times over.  I miss you little pup and will never forget.

26 Days of Family Fun (Day 2)!

Last weekend we hosted two of the kids’ friends for a sleepover and a comedy magic show. 

Here are my insights:

1.  I hope friends are a reflection of the type of person we are.  Because my friends are way awesome – awesomer than me.  And it was great to see that the kids have awesome friends too. 

SS’s friend was just about the coolest kid in the history of 10 yr olds.  He knew Kings of Leon and has a burgeoning sardonic humor and a funky fresh haircut.  And he appreciates knowledge – which is good, cuz SS has some.

And don’t even get me started on SD’s friend.  She was off the hook.  Very bookish, very friendly, very funny – and had pockets full of contraband Jose Pepper peppermints.

2. I don’t get boys.  I don’t understand the overt competition.  Or why they are so grabby of each others’ possessions.  And why they don’t like to talk about who has a crush on who.  And all the loud noises.  Being married has inoculated me from the fact that the male gender completely frickin’ eludes me.  DH is a beautiful anachronistic match for me.  But the complete puzzlement I felt while observing SS and his friend reminded me why I completely gave up trying to comprehend straight men fairly early in life, resulting in – 1. Most of my male friends in life have been gay and 2. I spent part of my early 20s dating women even though I am not really attracted to women romantically (again, sorry those women).

I am being extra nice to DH since this – as I have been reminded that I probably need to hold onto the one member of the male gender who is straight and I can relate to. 

3. My SD has SIX boys who have a crush on her – 6!!!!!!!  She can understand boys (she has a twin brother, after all), and so girl talk is not exactly her thing.  But in the long car rides this weekend to and fro Liberty, Prairie Village, and Olathe, her friend shared with me that there are many, many boys who have a crush on SD, including one who has had a crush on her for 4 years!!!!!!!!!

This is interesting to me because in my entire school career (k through college), there were exactly 1 boys who had a crush on me.  And he was a literal psychopath (long-time readers of this blog will remember he is the first boy I kissed (5th grade) and now is prison for murder via decapitation – happy story).  I dated, but I worked for that – strategic campaigns that required military-level planning and precision.  And by the 5th grade SD has SIX boys with a crush on her.  And she is like, “whatevs” – she really seems like she couldn’t care less.  Bless her.  It just isn’t that interesting to her.  I think she feels badly for them because their crushes are unrequited and that they get nervous around her, but that it really isn’t her problem. 

One of the reasons boys didn’t like me was because I was big and had weird hair.  SD definitely does not have those problems – she is so pretty and graceful and has straight, non-weird hair.  The other reason boys didn’t (don’t?) like me is because I have this crazy big not shutty up personality.  And that is boy antidote. 

I don’t want SD to have a personality as over-the-top as mine, but I don’t want her to be seen as a quiet vessel by boys – in which their personalities can take over and allow them to NOT SHUT UP.  I wish for her enough boldness in her that the weak boys are scared off, and the awesome boys are intrigued.  And for her to not be interested in any of it until she is 29.