Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I'm not a knitter. Gawd knows I've tried. Life has tossed it in my face countless times since P arrived on the scene and I've followed the flow. Even finally made a hat. And while I luuuuv knitwear, clothing, designing, yarn and creating, somehow the combo just hasn't gelled for me yet.
So a good friend sent me a link to a knitting book. It included a comical section on "yarn stashes." (Yes, Dina, I thought of you ;) The author's defense had me busting a gut. Don't be ashamed of your stash, she pointed out, after all, some people have rock collections.
The inference, I believe, being that this would be, um, odd? And suddenly, I saw her side of the story. The one I had never seen before. I mean, when you put it that way, collecting rocks is kinda kooky! Yet it seemed so natural as a child...
And seems so to my child, too. Who would be happy to have a yarn stash and a rock collection...
So, I've been meaning to post about his Kansas Nature Shelf for a year or so. Its, erm, quite impressive. Not only has he personally collected an amazing array of beauties, but those that love him have added sea shells from South Africa (thanks Grandpapa!), sponges from St. Martin, armadillo shells from Florida (thanks Grams;), turtle shells.... Even more impressive, his grandmother has dedicated an entire window ledge to gorgeous rocks, special sticks, exquisite shells and.... dirt and dead bugs.... in her very clean house!
As the child has been sick since his Great Period of Overindulgence, we've been lounging around the house a good deal. And the Little Man has been focusing on his shelf.
While I make breakfast, I can hear him humming on the stairs, arranging things. Then, later, as I clean up from lunch, I can hear his little voice scripting plots for the cicadas he houses in stumps and rock huts. This summer he had a dying and rebirth rock and that saw a lot of action. Then, Gramsy found a frozen lizard this fall and left it, alongside a new snake skin and bright blue robin egg, on the kid's well loved shelf. The lizard has had the lead role in many, many afternoon affairs.
Then, yesterday, the child decided it was time to revamp the shelf. All of it was to be removed and renovated. Oy ;)
It was carefully categorized onto various trays and boxes: fossils, woodland finds, ocean finds, field finds, animals.. and dead bugs. Its a, erm, large collection.
And then today we were able to build. He made a lovely moss home for lizard under a tree root system. Paper thin seed pod offerings turned to boats and carried dried bugs around an imaginary river bend to lizard's house. I pulled out my, ahem, rock collection, some 30 years in the making, and he designated a space for me to build. It was fabulous fun. I probably could have knitted a scarf or something much more useful... but I'm coming to terms with the fact that that may not be in my cards ;) (Despite my awesome support system - thanks, Em ;)
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Enjoyed pizza parties with Grams....
Finessed his nut cracking skills with Gramps... (Which he has been dying to do ever since we saw The Nutcracker a few years back. I'm not sure why it took us so long to purchase some nuts in their shells and set to cracking... He cracked a bunch, lovingly filling a bowl, saying they were his contribution on Thanksgiving.)
He's enjoying eating different foods, exploring new tastes and textures. He finds the double fridge here super fab...
And then, it was the big day. The child didn't sleep Thanksgiving Eve, he was too excited about the coffee cake we had left to rise and the following day of fun at Aunt Marielle's ....
F.U.N. ;) (omg we love Bric!)
E's whole family was there. It was a fabulous treat. Even Aunt Alicia's family came (which thrilled us to pieces since we so adore them! P can't get enough of Alicia's baby brother, dubiously dubbed "Rodney" by the Little Man...) And for the first time, there were other Schultz children! I'd absentmindedly wondered in the past how P would react to losing the limelight at family functions (inevitable with so many relatives;). I mean, he really loves getting ALL of the attention, what could one expect when another rugrat hems in on the love?
But the drama was only in my head. He played a bit with his peers but mostly bopped around per usual. When the adorable three year old brought down the house with his singing and entertaining abilities (preciousness!) the Little Man didn't seem to care and was content to climb the brick fireplace and play hide and go seek with his serious favorite, Courtney. Maybe he wouldn't smother a sibling...
E's wonderful cousin (a dentist;) missed a lot of the fun, fixing E's tooth and thereby killing the awesome hillbilly thing E had going on...
Phoenix always learns so much from his various Uncles, in this case: Contracts. (We love Blaine!)
After a full day, (due to my dad's surgery, we skipped my family's turkey time for the first time ever, leaving us to luxuriate in one spot for the entire food filled day), the kid invited himself to a sleepover at Aunt Marielle's. She sweetly agreed and the date was set for the following evening.
And then the child worked himself into an over-excited frenzy. He couldn't go to sleep that night, talking about all of his slumber party plans. He couldn't sleep in the next morning for all of the ebullience. And so, before the day even started, he was exhausted :)
Chillin' before the slumber party.
As E and I were NOT invited to the slumber party (I believe the exact words were, um, "buzz off"...) we dropped the child off and left for two hours. When we returned, he was lolling in an enormous fort with Grandpapa (my phone pics of it didn't turn out - boo!). I climbed in and caught up on the evening. Much fun had ensued. Then people had shown up and... he didn't like them. Hated them, actually. I nodded and listened. Apparently, they had yucky energy...
I was slightly surprised Seth and Alicia were hanging out with hobgoblins, so I just listened and got the exhausted child some cheese. Then it all came out. He was having the time of his life - until they showed up. Then everyone started playing cards and ignoring him! He was sure it was linked with their arrival, and he didn't want to take it lying down. He was going to go tell them they were awful. Maybe he would smother a sibling.... ;)
He was hungry and tired and cranky. My motherly instincts wanted nothing more than to take care of him. Bundle him up, take him home and get him to bed. After he vented his frustration at losing Center of the Earth Status, I offered to take him home and cuddle him, we could try again a different night?
And so the child said to me, "Mama, I'm six now. I really want to have a slumber party. I'll be disappointed if I go home. I need to do this."
So we stayed ;)
We hung for a couple hours while fabulous family cycled through, very much not ignoring the child ;) At one point, he was so tired he laid down with me to sleep in the fort. After a few minutes he told me he thought I should go hang with the adults. That he needed to be able to fall asleep by himself at his slumber party. I think this is the part where people write the phrase "chest swells." He sounded so big.
But before I crawled out, he told me this: "Mama, I love Courtney. I hope she sleeps beside me in the fort tonight. I want to see her when I wake up in the morning." The little romantic. (Courtney is Ethan's college age cousin. Phoenix has talked about her regularly since last Thanksgiving. He has placed her, in his ever present ranking system, above his girlfriend Rose from across the street.
E and I left soon after this. The child was joyfully cackling and sneaking about with Aunt Alicia when we bailed somewhere around midnight....
Ethan retrieved a happy but exhausted child the next morning. He had done it! As the fam had big, gamey competitive plans for the day, there was no rest for the weary. The boys did the rounds with volleyball and bowling, finishing it all off with an overthetop stop at the bowling arcade. I met up with the child as he played some spinning wheel game that distributes tickets. He asked me to take a turn and bam, we hit the jackpot. Tiny red tickets poured out of the flashing machine. The child watched with awe and happiness. In my head, I heard chainsaws and falling trees :)
The child, feeding his (literally) one thousand and a few hundred tickets into the ticket counter....
Aunt Alicia, taking a turn at the wheel.
After exchanging his tickets for wacky possibilities, the child then went for a visit with Uncle Cash and Aunt Maria. (This was a seriously long weekend for the child.) Upon sipping her delicious tea with chamomile, he was practically falling asleep in my arms. By bedtime, he had a fever.
And so we've spent the day, recovering. After feasting on foods his body didn't appreciate, the child repeatedly requested healthful nourishment (and raw honey for this throat;) all day. To be perfectly honest, the last few days have been hard for me (parentally ;) Ridiculously enjoyable in all other ways!). I so love taking care of the kid that watching him eat unfab foods and sleep so little smarts. Seriously. Its tough (for me, at least) not to get in the way of his learning! But not only has he had a blast, he also learned the limits of his body this week. Something a lot of college kids are still working out ;) Hopefully, this will give him a leg up on that business, while E and I are still around to make him chicken broth and tea following his "hard partying" days ;)
All in all, it was a holiday full of thanks and happiness (thanks to such fabulous family) that the Little Man will remember for a long, long time.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Bound and determined to see my bff's new babe, P and I just did our first solo roadtrip. And it was a blast. I was a tiny titch nervous, seeing how last year's roadtrip to Colorado found me fulltiming it in the back seat with the Little Man... and I wouldn't be in the back seat this time.... But the kid was seriously self sufficient. He snacked and watched a video on the way out (and I sent up silent thanks to the library's DVD section.) I expected more of the same on the return trip, but the kid surprised me by sitting in his seat for EIGHT hours.... just chillin'. He chatted with me and looked out the window. Played with a toy. Chatted and looked out the window. For EIGHT hours. (Just as a point of comparison, the same trip took us about 12 hours last year and was fairly painful...) I'm seeing endless road trip possibilities here...
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Happy, happy fall harvest.
More fire, of course.
P has become fascinated with quill and ink writing. I promised to pull mine out when we hit Kansas and the kid didn't forget. We spent hours today with our turkey quill and traditional fountain pen. My mother gave me the most glorious inks years ago. They are waterproof and vivid and.... scented. I shit you not. Delicious, natural aromas that make you want to draw for days on end. The child was in heaven.
The child, arranging his favorite shrine.
First, my sister in law rocks (for lots of reason, but I'm speaking specifically, here). This new iphone app has me swooning with happiness. Sure, the shots are shit so far, but I'm positive that with the right combo of lens and film, phone photos will soon be so faaaaaab I'll cry. Yes. I am a geek. Thanks, Alicia!!!!
So, I was using absolutely any excuse to snap a shot while I cleaned and packed last week (yah, its an all week affair for us...) It was like getting to play every few minutes all day long. I love new toys that cost a buck, create no trash and bring endless happiness.
Still the fave toy: BB's Chateau.
The child, he figured out that he could really draw. It just happened, all in one day. Then he started sketching scenes of scariness (featuring me, amidst a storm etc) and laughing with glee. Afterwards, he folded his stories into airplanes and flew them to me so that I could writhe in anguish. He was very pleased with himself ;)
He moved on to sketching the cat. She was a dutiful model. And he chased her down and returned her to her post if she forgot her job. Eventually, he set up an entire art table (chairs and a board as the table, books for inspiration, a trash can for rejects, select drawing accoutrements) in the corner of the room. Believe it or not, I didn't snap it ;)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Our journey, to Phoenix, was one long collecting adventure. We missed Agate Beach (much to the Little Man's dismay...), making Moonstone Beach a must. Though it didn't live up to the kid's imagination (a beach made entirely of moonstones, which would be lovely;), he was pleased to fine 3 moonstones that afternoon...
He was also pleased to find a really deep cave. And this one wasn't half buried by water. Unfortunately, it also wasn't as remote as the ones we'd found half buried by water and was therefore less, erm, clean and desirable, so we didn't venture into the deepest, darkest recesses, sans flashlight ;)
To be perfectly honest, I'd vote this as our least favorite stop, moonstones aside. I'm not sure if its because this particular beach just wasn't anything special.... or if it was the stench of wet dog and dung that hung heavily (and mysteriously) in the air... All I know is that we were quite happy to head to the car (and roll up the windows) after this particular stroll :)
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
As with all things, once the child's needs had been met, he was more than merry to meet ours. Satisfied with the new crab haul from the beach and an afternoon of stream hopping, he happily agreed to go to an old growth grove. Exactly what E had been dreaming of, for years...
It was almost dusk, brisk in the shadows and frustratingly impossible to photograph. I was torn between documenting and reveling. These trees were mind boggling. The silence and space were beyond words.
P found one tree he was determined to live in. He carefully described how he would rig a stove, where he'd attach the water bucket that would be fed by the stream below... He was adorably shocked when he realized we wouldn't actually be doing this ;)
Our super cute kitsch lodging that night. We hiked so late we almost had to sleep in the car, everything was booked up but this. I can't even express the sheer joy of finding a bed when you think you may be scrunched in the filthy back seat, kicked by a five year old, all the chilly night ;)
A well rested Little Man, the next morning.
P and I, back when we had a porch and a yard...
We love living in NYC. As P and I ran errands today (the first day in a few weeks that I could scoot, thanks to the lovely hole in the back of my leg from that venomous varmint...) I sighed (happily) that we could scoot, feel the crispness, ride through the leave's rustles, taste that taste the air always has in November... rather than being trapped in a car.
But its funny how quickly that all changes. A few more blocks, a little more breeze, and a heated vehicle doesn't always sound half bad ;)
But seriously. We love so much about NYC that we've left lovely lives, twice, to endure the pain that is moving to this city. And, yet, we can't help but think about leaving it...
I read an article the other day in which a mother defines the one problem with raising kids here: S-p-a-c-e. I'd add access to nature, but that's pretty much it in a nutshell.
And so we chat about moving, on a regular basis. Its just chat, so far ;) Our trip to Portland fueled the fires, we luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv'd Portland.
And the child. He fans the flames, regularly. Wistful childhood wishes. A yard to hold a stick collection. A spare room to hold a.... well, a lot of collections ;)
E and I, ever devoted (to that gag yourself degree) feel pulled by our charge's yearnings. And then he'll say something that has us head-smacking, remembering his brain, and thereby his decision making faculties, is still, erm, developing ;)
Like shortly after his birthday, when he announced at dinner that he no longer longed to move to Portland. "Yah, why?" we asked. "If we moved, then I couldn't get to the Lego store." Oy ;)
Similarly, was yesterday. E and I have a weird habit of singing songs (constantly) that contain a phrase we've just heard. Sometimes this extends to something we've just seen. Its ridiculous and subconscious. So, I simply saw an apple on the shelf and started singing "Don't sit under the apple tree," as I joined P at the table. We were working on a project. He loves hearing songs, and was listening carefully, so I repeated it a few times. Long pause. "Sing it again, Mama." Repeat. Long pause...
"Mama, what does "Boddee Ells Bummee" mean?"
Oh, "anybody else but me?"
"Ahhh, sing it one more time."
Then, a smile of understanding. "He likes to have all of the attention, doesn't he? He's just like me! I like to have all of your attention. Or Papa's."
That's a whole 'nuther blog post in itself. (Like, when I was massaging E's locked neck this weekend and the child decided he just Couldn't Stand not getting my attention. Despite the fact that he and I were chatting away while E lay prone and silent. It wasn't alllll of me:)
Hehehehehe. I love kids and their still developing brains, wherever they want to live (that day).
Monday, November 8, 2010
The kid and I kept it mellow yellow today, giving him a little extra R&R space after his exhaustion induced fever last night.) Silly kid ;)
But a girl can only take so much Lego and lounging with toys. So I suggested we bake that cake we skipped last week. P changed it from a carrot to pumpkin request and we rolled up our sleeves...
Of course, the child wanted many, many layers (the efficient, dishwashing mama much prefers the single, non-stack variety. B-o-ring;) Speaking of, as I washed the dishes, he hummed happily behind me. I glanced around and saw that he had cracked open the b-day candles and was on a decorating spree.... This quick snap was taken when only one of the layers had been blessed by his brilliance. Guess he took that B-day make-up thing seriously ;)
When we lit it tonight, I swear, I thought our fire alarm would go off.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Seems like E and I have been trying to get to the Redwoods for forever :) Years ago, a doomed trip had to be abandoned (due to emergency surgery - how many times can a guy need crazy surgeries before 40?!?! He just had another one last week....) So we were beyond thrilled to finally make it, and with the kid to boot!
But things didn't start out as dreamy as we'd hoped that day. The child hadn't slept enough the night before and was very tired. He was therefore feeling a bit obstinate about the whole "hiking" business. Beach was what he wanted. Trees, shmees ;)
I'd been smacked over the head, just a few days before, with the universal reminder to go with the flow (after oh so not flowing en route to the lighthouse ;), so I was determined to stay centered (at least kinda ;) So we focused on finding a solution that would meet all of our needs... and boy did we!!!!
Driving out of the park, around to the coast, back into the park and up a dusty dirt road at 5 miles per hour (for an hour or so) landed us exactly where we needed to be. There was a beautiful, forlorn looking beach (with sea lions and crab shells and fog) and a gorgeously green hike (with canyon walls and streams for jumping.) The kid was happy. We were happy.
A swamp sat between us and the beach. Logs were strewn over the small streams, serving as passages. This made a small child very, very happy :)
Huge dunes, between the swamp and the ocean.
When we got to the beach, the child saw... crab shells. Happyhappyjoyjoy! He had been a bit morose, ever since the collecting beach in Oregon. He'd have happily lived his life right there, and our passing south to less collectable sands seemed less than ideal to some...
Playing with his favorite crab...
We lolled about the windy beach until the child had his crab-finding-fill and then headed inland for our hike. It followed a fern-walled ravine, right up a creek bed, switching back and forth over the water. The anti-hiking child was more than happy to leap back and forth over the stream and balance on beams in the dark ravine, despite his earlier promises to the contrary. Phew ;)
P, giddily disappearing into the shadows.
Balance beam hiking.
Honestly, I can't even imagine the upkeep on a trail like this. The "boardwalks" must float away every season when it rains. The logs are alllll over the place. The child took a chunk out of his head, attempting to pass under one at a high speed. (We, left behind in his dust, didn't see it happen. So, a few minutes later he says, "I got a bonk, there might be blood." Pulls off his hat - HUGE gash! He decided to just leave his hat on for a bit, "To catch the blood." Oy:)
P, showing "crabbie" the trees.
Where our trail started to disappear... Here, we met up with two other hikers, also looking for the "correct" trail... We all eventually discovered a strange dead end, despite trail markings... So, P, E and I decided to loop back around and retrace our footsteps for an easy, fern filled finish. Our new friends chose to follow the third trail blaze. Of course, hiking with a child takes time. So, by the time we were just reaching the trail head, they had already tried the new path, looped back around and overtaken us, telling us their crazy reason for repeating their steps. The third blaze had been marked with a "caution" sign that stated: "Danger: Possible Death ahead." Ummm?
P's make-shift boat certainly kept our pace leisurely. He set Crabbie sail downstream and dodged and jumped behind, "saving" the crab when it sunk.
On a bridge at the top of the river. P was tickled.