Monday, October 31, 2011


About two months ago, we began talking about Halloween costumes with the boys.  They both love to dress up, so we knew this year the holiday would be a big deal at our house.  Sam wanted to be a superhero, and thinking that this might be the last year we could dress them alike or in tandem, we suggested that Sam be Batman and Noah could be Robin.  Sam was thrilled at the idea.  Noah was at first.  But soon, he realized that Robin is a pretty sorry costume.

"I want to be Batman!" he soon declared.

We tried to convince him that being Robin wouldn't be that bad.  "He drives a cool motorcycle," I championed.  "He's just like Batman, only younger," Joy cajoled.  But Noah wouldn't hear our pleas.  Like Dick Grayson, he realized that being Robin was for suckers, and he was ready to be a headliner.  So Joy and I caved and agreed that we would have two Batmans - Batmen, if you will.

Sam, however, had other ideas.

"If Noah's Batman, I want to be a Ninja!" he decided, throwing our plans further out of whack.  And you can imagine Noah's reaction to this development: "I want to be a Ninja too.  And Batman!"  We pacified Noah with the sure knowledge that Batman is both Batman and a Ninja, and set about looking for costumes that would please them both. 

We found them, as with most things, at Target:

As you can see, there is no passive standing as Batman and Ninja, only ACTION!  That and wondering who would win in a fight, Batman or Ninja. We'll see if we can keep up with them tonight.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hat Parade!

Sam is loving Kindergarten, and I think one of the reasons rests on the community his school works so hard to build.

Friday was one of the prime examples of this trend at his elementary school.  All of the Kindergarteners participated in the Hat Parade -  each student decorated a hat that was supposed to in some way symbolize who they are or things that excite them.  Then, they lined up with their classes and paraded through each classroom, from the 6th graders to the 1st, waving like beauty queens and basking in the love of their fans.

Sam's hat, you may ask?
 It was a racecar hat.

Joy and Sam and Noah went to buy hats and as soon as the boys saw the racecar helmets, everything was decided.  They bought racecar stickers to put all over it and, most importantly, googly eyes.  Sam cleverly put six googly eyes on the back of his helmet so you couldn't tell which way he was looking (if you, I suppose, considered him an alien with six eyes in front and back).  Most exciting was that another friend in class got the same hat and hot glued Hot Wheels cars all over it, so they got to parade together and have fun talking cars.

And don't worry - Noah wasn't left out of the fun.  His good friend Micah was there to watch Cole, Sam's good friend, in the parade, so the two of them set up for tailgating in the hallway, just waiting for the parade to pass by.

All they needed was a cooler to put their feet on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Best. Facepaint. Ever.

Last week one of Joy's Kindermusik families wrote her with an offer of tickets to the Kansas City Zoo's annual Kids Jazzoo.  She had extra and thought that we might enjoy the event.  Joy mentioned the offer to me, I said "sure," not quite knowing what the event encompassed, and she accepted on our behalf.

On Friday evening, we began digging around online to see what Kids Jazzoo was and quickly discovered that we had been invited to bring our children to their idea of heaven - there were up-close opportunities with the animals for Noah (including handling reptiles and getting to touch fur and skin from various animals), crafts of all shapes and sizes for Sam, and all-you-can-ride passes for the carousel and train for them both.

On Saturday afternoon, we zipped the boys into their dinosaur raincoats to protect against the bit of drizzle falling and headed to the zoo.  Jazzoo was every bit as fun as we imagined and perhaps a bit more.  Sam, who often gets bored at the zoo, was entranced by having a booth with something new to do or eat every three feet.  Noah stared in wonder at the animals (which, frankly, is his steady state at the zoo).  Joy and I ate and wandered and took it all in.

By far the best part of the evening was the facepainting.  Sam loves to have his face painted, but generally you get a small design on your cheek and away you go. 

Not at the zoo.

The facepainting booths were doing painting called "jungle eye designs" where the kid's own eyes are incorporated as the eyes of the animals.  Since both Sam and Noah are obsessed with Cheetahs right now for their speed and looks, they both declared they wanted to become cheetahs.

As you can see, the face painters acquiesced to their demands.

 Unfortunately, Sam go an itchy mouth with his black lips and wiped his face on his arm, which is why it smeared a bit.  Still, the boys had fun playing at being cheetahs, and running fast, and growling at each other like prey the entire night.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sam First Day of Kindergarten

This morning we dropped Sam off for his first day of Kindergarten.  Actually, I shouldn't say that we dropped him off, it was more like we were dropped as Sam ran into his classroom, announced himself with a "Hello, Mrs. Flatley," and immediately went to work surrounded by new friends and experiences.  Joy and I went down to the "cry coffee" hosted by the PTA and tried to distract ourselves from the momentousness of the occasion. 

It didn't work.

Sam will flourish in Kindergarten - he has a wonderful teacher, a school that works to build community, and an unquenchable thirst for learning.  Our hope is that he's able to drink his fill and then come home every day to share with us.  That's he's allowed to follow his creativity while acquiring the discipline to shape it.  And that we can let him go while giving him a safe place to which he can always return.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Champaign Gang

Two weeks ago I had to run to Champaign to do a bit of clean-up research for a presentation and article I'm writing.  And while it might seem strange to speak of running a 400 mile trip, we did just that - there and back again in three days.  Although I spent most of my time in Harry Partch's archives there, Joy and the boys came along to visit dear friends from grad school that we manage to see at least once a year.

On the last day, we grabbed lunch with them all before heading out and snagged this picture on the benches outside:

Look at that line of deviousness.  I love how they all are sitting with their feet in different positions, clearly showing their personalities.  In a few years we won't be able to get together without them taking over our plans with plans of their own (and yes, Sam has a pair of chopsticks from lunch).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Noah's Third Birthday

Noah turned three last Saturday.

Three.  3.  Trois.

We decided that instead of overloading Noah with one jam-packed day, we would spread things out over the course of several, so we actually began celebrating on the Tuesday before his birthday.  That day, we went to the free play hour at Emerald City.  Emerald City is a curious place - it is clearly a gymnastics center with all the balance beams and pommel horses you could ever need.  But it also has a large area built up for kids to play in and they make extra money on the side by letting kids have birthday parties and come play on the trampolines and slides and zip lines and ropes swinging out over large foam pits.  Oh yes, there is a huge foam pit you can jump in, writhe around in, and jump on your brother in.  Obviously it was Noah's favorite part.

 Wednesday we rested, but Thursday we spent the entire morning at the zoo.  Sam has never been a big fan of animals, but Noah has long been obsessed with them.  Last year we traveled to the Omaha zoo for his birthday, so we decided to explore the KC zoo this year, especially since they recently acquired a polar bear.

Noah loved the polar bear.  We got to watch her swim and do huge back flips, touch some polar bear fur, and watch a short video on how polar bears are in decline.  Noah would have stayed there all day, especially since it was obscenely hot even at 10:00 in the morning.  In fact, it was so hot that besides the polar bear and the sea lion show, Sam and Noah both were more interested in riding the rides than seeing the animals.  So we rode on the carousel (Noah picked a lion as his steed) and all around the park on the train.

On Friday evening, we took Noah out for yogurt.  Perhaps you've seen these new establishments, but they feature self-serve yogurt, tons of toppings, and you pay by the ounce.  Noah piled his cheesecake yogurt high with chocolate syrup, blueberries, and sprinkles.  Three-year old heaven.

Saturday morning was Kindermusik for both boys (we took cookies for Noah's class) and then lunch back at the house.  After lunch, we cut into Noah's cake, opened presents, and began the dinosaur portion of Noah's birthday.  As you can tell from his new bedroom, Noah LOVES dinosaurs.  He picked out the cake he wanted (a dinosaur dig with sugar cookie bones) and picked out the place he wanted to eat that night - T-Rex.  What's better than animatronic dinosaurs and big mounds of macaroni and cheese to go with them?  As you can imagine by the time we got back home Saturday night, both boys were wiped out from all the birthday celebrating.  Happy Third Birthday, Noah!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Noah's Big Boy Bed

For Noah's 3rd birthday, we moved him into his big boy bed.  Joy's parents supplied Noah with a new quilt and pillow sham for his big day (with dinosaurs!) and I spent the afternoon taking down the crib (for the first time in six years) and putting together my old twin bed from college.  The bed is missing a few slats that I'll need to make, and we're still rearranging his room to git his new bed, but Noah has declared it "cool" and already sleeps like a champ in it.  But that may be because he sleeps with Buzz Lightyear next to him to protect him through the night.