Saturday, January 31, 2009

All About Danny

The other day, while unpacking Danny's backpack after school, I found an "All About___" poster for me to complete. Apparently next week Danny is "Student of the Week" in his class, and they use these posters to showcase the honored student. After reviewing the various categories, I immediately thought, "This is going to be great blog fodder." Danny didn't disappoint, either. The various categories/questions are mostly things I have never bothered to ask him, and frankly things I don't think he's given a whole lot of thought to. Thus, I opted to go with the method of asking him several times, knowing his answers would vary. I tallied his responses and put the ones most frequently cited on the poster. But I thought a few of you might get a kick out of reading all of his answers:

My favorite animal is: cow (2), giraffe (1), tiger (1), horse (2, including the one time he specifically said "Appaloosa horse"). This question was the biggest indicator that Danny doesn't completely understand what "favorite" means, because there is no doubt in anyone's mind that his favorite animal is the horse.

My favorite food is: pizza (4), fries (1), meatballs (1)

My favorite color is: blue (he was consistent on this one)

My favorite place is: Kangazoom (he said this every time, but I have to qualify it by mentioning that we went there on Wednesday, so had we gone instead to the aquarium or the zoo, I suspect that his answer would have been different)

When I grow up, I want to be: a cowboy who rides a horse (3), a hyena (1 - this was his initial response, which naturally put Clare and I into gales of laughter), a baseball player who hits the ball (1, and obviously the best kind to be), a lion (1). Mom and Dad, apparently all the Willie Nelson I listened to growing up, including "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," did not sink in...

My favorite thing to do is: work (4 - ha! the boy has no idea what that means); I coached him into a more suitable answer for the poster, which wound up being play baseball and play horses. I suppose I'm mostly relieved he didn't say, "watch TV."

If I had one wish, I would wish for: a horsey (2), but he also didn't like answering this question and frequently refused. I take this to mean that his life is so terrific that he feels no need to wish for anything.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Difference Between Mommies and Daddies defined by Parker and Danny:

This was followed (alas, when the camera was not rolling), by this conversation:

Danny: "Daddy, will you please pass the beer?"
Parker, sadly shaking his head no: "I'm the daddy." Enough said, right? (And Bill, what's your deal?)

Danny in the Hood

I'm confident that most parents reading this will nod their heads emphatically when I remark that kids have funny quirks. Idiosyncracies, if you will. OCD tendencies, possibly. But let's not go there. Anyway, of late Danny has been insistent on keeping his hood on. Which I was going to turn into a cutesy post titled "Little Red Riding Hood," until Tim commented that he looks like the Unabomber in training. I couldn't quite blow that one off, considering that the other day Danny told me, out of the blue, that he wants a "gun birthday." Won't that be a fun cake to decorate?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Anatomy of a Friday Night

We have a new ritual for Friday nights, bred from some combination of our penchant for tradition and an attempt at a New Year's resolution. What is this ritual? The not-at-all original, but most enjoyable, Pizza & Movie Night. More specifically, it's Homemade Pizza & Movie Night (except the movies are not homemade). Quite often, in the past, we would order pizza on Friday nights. As most of you know, this can be quite costly, and we're supposed to be watching our $$ these days. Lucky for us, Trader Joe's offers delicious pizza dough for $1.19. Even better, it affords the kids the chance to get engaged in the kitchen, which is something I always favor.

The evening begins around 5:30, when the kids eagerly don their pajamas. They come by their appreciation of jammies very honestly, because as a child I would change into them immediately upon my arrival home from school. The sweats I have "graduated" to as an adult aren't much better, as I am certain Stacy and Clinton would be horrified.

Once appropriately dressed, the creation of the pizza begins. Generally speaking, they exhibit excellent teamwork during this portion of the evening.

While the pizza is in the oven, they are off to play for a few minutes. Ideally Daddy gets home in time for the pizza to be served and the opening credits to roll (and the wine to be uncorked - though his absence doesn't necessarily delay that particular activity). All of which takes place on the couch.

Last, but certainly not least in Clare's estimation, is the popcorn.

It's a simple evening, and easy for parents who are tired after a long week. But it keeps the four of us in the same room for a while, sharing a meal as well as some laughs. What more can we ask for?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ode to Testosterone

It started so simply
A room in pale blue
“A boy will be different”
Oh, this is too true

Each stick calls his name
To swing or to hit
Now heroes and cars

He likes quite a bit

With an “Argh!” and a roar
He speeds through the day

And heaven forbid
When things don’t go his way

Yes, his temper his strong
But his love is so sweet
He is funny, and clever

A real parents’ treat

A cowboy by day
His best friend’s a horse
He gallops and neighs
(‘Cept on the golf course)

Yet when evening comes
And Daddy arrives
“Ahoy thar me parties!”
And the swords then do thrive

Yes, swords now are two

For Tim could not bear
That Dan was
But of course wouldn’t share

They say boys will be boys
And this I believe
I can’t wait to see
What’s next up his sleeve?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Filling My Chair

While I admit that I don't always race to school when it's my turn to help in the computer lab or art studio - there is simply not a teaching bone in my body - I was looking forward to today's experience. It was finally my turn to be the parent reader in Clare's class. Clare was also very excited about this. Last night we gave thoughtful consideration to which books we should bring to read, and selected three based loosely on the week's topic of "community helpers."

It was then bedtime. Ever since Christmas, Clare has added a breath of fresh air to this routine by opting to read to us. It's great! We get to lay on her bed and close our eyes (though we have to remember to look at any pages that have pictures on them), and Clare couldn't be more delighted to be the one reading. Not to mention that her books have been fairly interesting lately - so much so that during White House White-out (an "A to Z Mystery"), Tim used to box me out when it came time to put Clare to bed, because he was eager to find out what happened next. Anyway, as Clare prepared to read another chapter of her book, I suggested that perhaps she could read one of the books to her class during my visit. "YEAH!" she shouted joyously, immediately tempered with, "'s parent reader day. I don't know if Mrs. Tollenaer will let me do that." I assured Clare that I would ask her teacher, who was more than happy to oblige.

So Clare proudly took her place at the front of the classroom. I groaned inwardly when she chose the longest of our three books to read herself, and even wondered if she would give up halfway. Not a chance! I can't say that her classmates were always completely attentive, but they were pretty good sports (after all, they were supposed to be hearing from their "special guest," moi). And Clare was so pleased with herself! So while I may make a hobby of writing about Clare's finicky eating and the like, today was one of the many examples of why Tim and I keep her around.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

JAM Today at the Seymour Gallery

Today you're in for a visual treat, thanks to my talented, artist mother: Jennifer Arensdorf Morlan (a.k.a. JAM). Over the past few years she has contributed some beautiful pieces to our home, allowing us gorgeous, one-of-a-kind artwork to balance out the mass-produced prints that are more in line with our budget. For Christmas she added to this bounty - with an award-winning piece, no less! It's titled "Clouds over Chianti," and is the perfect fit for our dining room (as she, in her infinite interior design wisdom, knew it would be).

This seems a good opportunity to show the other JAM paintings we possess. This next one hangs in Clare's room, and was inspired by a mural that my mom painted in my room when I was a little girl (it was awesome):

Like the good Grammy she is, she couldn't leave Danny high and dry, so she did this series, which she titled "Celebrating Daniel," to welcome him to the world. (I remember receiving the paintings during his most colicky stage as an infant and joking to her that I hoped we would be celebrating him at some point!")

Any of you who have been to the house have likely seen these, which I love because they are so distinctive and once again fit perfectly into the dining room.

Last, but not least, is "Surf Romp." My mom based this on a photo I took of Clare and her cousins at the beach one summer day. I love this piece because it really captures the spirit of the day, which was a magical one (as are so many of the days Clare shares with Katy and Nicki). The other day, while I was carrying Danny downstairs after his nap and he was still a bit groggy, he pointed to this painting and asked about it. I showed him the girls, and he grew a bit upset, shouting, "I want in it!" (You can probably imagine from this how gatherings of the four children proceed.)

This concludes your tour. But stay tuned, as we still have plenty of wall space (hint, hint).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Daddy Day, Pacific Edition

On our last day in California, while Clare and I spent a girlie playdate with Kelsey, Colleen, and Aunt Jennifer, Tim and Danny took off for the Pacific Ocean. Tim makes sure to visit the ocean at least once each time he heads West, and this time around he worked in a few trips - but this was the only one that involved Danny. It was a gorgeous day hovering near 70, and the two of them had a blast running from waves, observing seagulls, and building sandcastles. They capped it off with a trip to the famous In-N-Out Burger, where Danny ate like a man by downing a burger. The sweet and simple life of a dude.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome, 2009!

It's a pretty typical day around here, on this first day of 2009. I disrupted Clare reading in her room, but she gamely obliged to stop and make the above sign before shooing me out so she could return to her book. Tim has just finished watching a recorded version of the Irish basketball game from last night and is now "working" with Danny. Macho readers of this blog, previously horrified by the tutu incidents, will be happy to see that, thanks to a multitude of testosterone-laden Christmas gifts, Danny has manned up his toy supply. The best example of this is his new tool workbench. In fact, he is so enamored of this that he was inspired to create a tool dance, which I got on video but will spare you due to the fact that some may have celebrated a bit too much last night. (I am personally not loving the hammer today...) Oh, and the fact that Blogger is not allowing video uploads today. It wasn't that great anyway.

Happy New Year to all - and a shout out to the victorious females in the 2008 NYE Catch Phrase Bowl!