Oh, for pete’s sake!

Every day I say, “I’m going to update my site. Yes, I am.” Obviously I’m not a woman of action these days. I have, though, been snapping way more photos than I had been. So at least one of my creative outlets is being nourished. I have no idea of where to start with sharing those. I’m kind of OCD about things being out of order date-wise, but I’m going to throw up my hands and just go with it, starting with the East Grand Rapids Fourth of July Parade. We biked over with our neighbors, Chris and Billy in what Chris called our “bike gang.” Devin brought his mitt to catch candy, but ended up going with the old-fashioned method of scrambling after the pieces within five feet. Good times!

Oh, Shenandoah!

Tonight was the presentation of the opera Pearl by the kids at Devin’s school. And I have to say I was very impressed. It’s a workshop run by Hollis and William Bokhout. They somehow manage, in just one week, to teach the songs and dances to the kids for a Friday-night performance. Booyah! The costumes were awesome, the kids had a ton of fun and we were the totally proud parents watching Devin in his stage debut (if you don’t count the preschool holiday singalongs). Sheepishly, I had itty-bitty tears in my eyes when he took his bow.

Chatty Cathy (er, Devin)

He’s such good company. Really he is. Today he strolled (and ran) 3.2 miles with me during the local cystic fibrosis walk we participate in for his friend Hayden (and my friend Patti). All along the route he chattered. And chattered. And chattered. It’s exhausting sometimes, but it’s also fun because he says the most interesting things. Plus, we get to have random conversations about the IMF, tip jars and their purpose and how to get someone to the hospital fast if the medivac helicopter runs into a lot of traffic in its airspace. (That last one is still a mystery.)

I wonder sometimes when he’ll decide he doesn’t want to chat with me anymore. Sometime in the teenage years, maybe. Or sooner? I’m scared of that moment, to be honest. I’m hoping that all of this early communication will make it such a natural thing that he’ll forget altogether that I’m uncool at some point and just keep talking. One can only hope, right?

Oh, and he can tell jokes too. During a scene in The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship is running for their lives across a very, very narrow bridge. He turns to me and says, “Mom, wouldn’t it be funny if there was a sign on the bridge that said Single File Only?” Why, yes, Devin it would definitely be funny!

Mowing is tiring work

He’s kind of obsessed with our mower. We got this contraption last summer, but I hadn’t had a chance to use it until our first “mowing” of the season. I was getting started in the backyard when he asked if he could help. Turned out I needed the assistance because the bumpy patches, where I started, are the hardest ones to tackle with a mower like this. So we tag-teamed. One on each handle. And we muscled our way through those spots. These mowers do indeed require some extra pushing, and he found it difficult to handle it solo. Until we took it to the front yard and he found the perfect patch of grass.

And off he went!

Today he saw me going for the mower again and was quick to jump in. He did a nice job, but a few minutes into the session we heard thunder rumbling and I took over to get the job done a little faster. Little does he know that this will be his job in a few short years. Muah-ha-ha!

Apparently the bit of mowing he did was strenuous enough that he just had to take up a more leisurely activity afterward: watching a movie. Look at those tired eyes!

I’m a mum

I love being a mom. I get to hang out with this character all the time. He really is good company.

He was very excited about Mother’s Day. So excited that he gave me my gift a day early. And I love it!

He and Scott gave me cards this morning, then Scott and I read the paper together in a leisurely fashion. (He offered to make me breakfast, but I was good with a bowl of cereal and my tea.) Then Scott ran to the store to buy top soil while Dev and I geared up and took a bike ride around Reed’s Lake. After pedaling, we all jumped into the yard work. It was so beautiful outside and just being out there and spiffing things up was awesome.

Manual labor was followed by baseball at the park. We brought Juliette along so she could sit beneath the trees and wait for the squirrels to come by. For dinner, Scott proposed getting takeout and eating on the deck, which was perfect. Especially when he mentioned Bombay! Hello, samosas!

And now I’m going to bed early. I’m exhausted. I hope all of you moms out there had a lovely day!

Hellooooo, Harry!

I think I’m a 6-year-old boy disguised as a grown woman.

When the Harry Potter Legos showed up on the shelves, Devin was thrilled. But I was too. We’re on Harry Potter 6 right now and it’s just so much fun to read those books together. Even though I’d already read the series and knew that Dumbledore would die, I was terribly upset about it the other day. Damn that Snape!

There’s also Star Wars. I’m not all that well versed on the more recent movies, but I sure did looooove the originals. We got him the Lego Star Wars video game last Christmas and he and I play it together all the time. I think Scott finds it amusing. But, hey…he has his superhero and baseball obsessions. I’ll go with the magic and sci-fi stuff.

Art in an hour

We’ll be going down for a much longer exploration of ArtPrize this weekend. But today was just so beautiful and I needed to register so I could get my votes in today. So I grabbed Dev and we scooted downtown for a lightning-fast perusal of the art. I had been dying to see this piece by Beili Liu. I’d seen photographs and knew I’d love it. And I did. I voted up for several others, too, but I’m just sad that there’s so much I haven’t yet discovered. That first week goes by so quickly!

I loved that the 6-year-old happily stood in line with me on several occasions — to register, to argue with the computer about my password, to enter the GRAM and to walk through the Young Kim installation. After all of that sacrifice, I was happy to get him a hot dog.

A boy and his carpet square

I volunteered at Festival of the Arts last year, which segued into volunteering for ArtPrize. I decided to repeat my efforts for both gigs this year and, luckily, Fred (who coordinates a lot of this stuff) was up for having a volunteer of the younger variety come along too. Last night we spent an hour and a half laying carpet tiles and cleaning windows. (In a very hot and humid building since the Old Fed is unoccupied most of the time and they don’t run the AC.)

He was such a great helper! He’s a whiz at laying carpet tiles (and snagged some of the remnants to take home) and didn’t complain at all about the window cleaning. He got bored a few times and was, naturally, not thrilled about the sweaty hot mess he was becoming. But he liked it enough to volunteer again tonight. More window washing. And then some shelf washing. The latter was his favorite because it involved a big ladder with wheels.

Fred also made Dev’s evening by inviting us and another volunteer, Nicole, to climb up into the upper ceiling of the building, which used to house a post office. Up above there’s a huge space where people used to supervise the mail sorters below, peeking through slats to make sure they weren’t stealing mail. It’s dusty and creepy up there. So, of course, Dev loved it!

First cats, now bunnies

And goats. And roosters. And chicks. And sheep.

A church in our neighborhood hosts a free family fun night every summer with a bounce house, a dunk tank, hot dogs and ice cream, and a petting zoo. Fresh off the heels of his meet-up with the friendly cat in the other church parking lot (we live near many), he was eager to pet everything that was allowed to be petted. Although when the Critter Barn people offered up a chance to milk a goat, he wanted nothing to do with it. Apparently animals are only for petting.