Monday, February 13, 2017

Nana Files Day Four: a mishap or two

Seven o'clock arrived just as promptly as ever and we made a quick start on the morning by playing outside. It was sunny and windy and cool. The girls discovered the joy of wall sitting.  And we kicked balls around. 

We took a morning break from the TV, much to London's disgruntlement, and listened to children's songs on Alexa. There was much singing and dancing.

It was a nice overcast day, so after nap (Scarlet slept for three hours, I think I am wearing the little darlings out) we set off for the first park again in the wagon. I felt pretty energetic, much less achy than I've been for a while, so I figured the exercise was doing me good. We were almost to the water tower when I realised that one of the girls' water bottles was missing. Miss Scarlet must have biffed it over the side. Casualty number one of the day. I decided to wait until the walk home to look for it, as we were more than halfway to the park.
Miss London was full of smiles on the swing again.

And Scarlet rampaged all over the play structure, waving at everyone she saw. The girl has never met a stranger.

We had gotten a late start on the adventure, thanks to Scarlet's long nap, so it was after five when I finally talked London into leaving. I had promised her that we would stop by the lake to feed some bread crusts to the ducks, so we went home a different way. We were walking on the path by the lake and I was thinking to myself how nice it felt to be walking and not be in any kind of pain when BAM! I hit the ground, making a very inelegant and primal noise as I fell. I lay there for a moment, feeling all of the pain that had been absent a moment before, and a nice lady came up and asked if I was okay. I checked myself over, noting bruised knees and palms and wounded pride, but nothing apparently serious. She helped me to my feet and I hobbled off. 
We stopped a few yards on to feed the ducks and a couple of geese who were, of course, voracious in their feeding and so London hot-footed it back to the wagon and Scarlet chased the birds. Scarlet threw an 8.5 on the Richter scale fit when I made her get back in the wagon and then I noticed that my favourite Vista balloon cap was gone. I had put it on Scarlet's head because the wind was nearly at gale force and I thought it would help protect her little face. I was reluctant to allow another casualty of the outing so I retraced my steps and luckily it was lying in the middle of the path, just around the corner of the lake. 
On we went. Pretty soon, Scarlet had had enough of being in the wagon and so had London, so London pulled the wagon while I held Scarlet's hand. The going was veeeerrrrryy slow.

We made a detour back to the highway where the water bottle had escaped. I figured there was a slim chance we might find it on this part of the route. We arrived at the intersection and I scanned back down the road where we wouldn't be walking in case it was visible. Nope. Then London said, Look Nana, the top of the water bottle! I couldn't see it at first and doubted her, but then I saw it, sitting on the grass on the corner. It was only the top and it had obviously been run over by a car, but what are the odds of it being right there where we joined up with the highway? Bizarre. Sorry Sam.
The highway was a wind tunnel, it was ferocious. We were walking into the wind, poor Scarlet was facing it and there was not a thing I could do. She pulled her coat up to her face and sucked madly on her thumb. The poor dear was terribly tired but was such a trouper. 
Neither child took much convincing at bedtime. 
Me, I took three ibuprofen and watched the latest episode of Mercy Street then went to bed. I feel better than I thought I would this morning, just some stiffness in the parts that hit the ground, so the damage must not have been too bad. Either that, or I have mad recovery skills. 

If you know me, you will be surprised at this next photo. I think it's the first picture I have ever posted of a cat anywhere. Mad Max and I have a tenuous relationship. He claimed my stomach a couple of nights ago and I was okay with it until he started attacking my nice new watch that my honey gave me for Valentine's Day. Then he was ousted. 
I'm not sure who will be happier to see Mommy and Daddy, Max or the girls!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nana Files the Thzzzzzzzzz

We were all worn out last night and the girls went to bed slightly early. I, however, have been riveted to The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult. I have a love/hate relationship with the woman; she is such a good writer but I sometimes hate her topics and her endings often leave me traumatized. This book has me hanging on every word, even though I don't anticipate a satisfactory ending. Holocaust stories rarely have one. So after blogging and watching the latest NCIS episode, I read till midnight when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  
Bad Nana! Pretty sure I dreamed about concentration camps all night for my sins. 
Seven o'clock rolls around at the same time every morning and so it did again this morning, and with it two little angels who came to bounce about on my bed and torment me until I cried "Uncle!" and dragged myself out of it.
We had a slow morning, due to me burying my head in the book every time it looked like things were clear for a few minutes. Sadly, the telly ruled. I redeemed myself by playing a "cooperative" game with London while Scarlet was napping. We lost to the board. Don't ask.
After Scarlet's nap and Nana's shower, we headed off in the car to a new playground. It is less than two miles away but there is absolutely no way to walk there while pulling a big wagon full of two little girls and their paraphernalia. Too many busy highways with no sidewalk. So we drove. 
The girls looked so cute this morning that I tried to snag a good shot of them when we got to the park, before they got disheveled. Like that ever works. This is as good as it got.

London likes to carry all of the snacks etc in her purse. 
She climbed up right away on this ....whatever it is....and had a great bouncy time. 

I put Scarlet in too, but she hasn't figured out yet how to stabilize herself against the rocking, so after a couple of good head bumps I let her run free.

London has no fear on slides and was trying her skills at climbing up them today. This one was too steep and she kept sliding backwards. 

I spent most of the time trying to remain a foot behind Scarlet as she climbed and ran and generally took my breath away as she trips lightly past all of the gaps in the play structure. It was a hot day and very windy, like yesterday. You can see how her dress was billowing out and her hair is all astray.

Yesterday, London was reluctant to go very high on the swing. Today, she wanted to go "way high." I told her she was so brave.

Scarlet just sits and enjoys the moment. No demands, no complaints, just happy to be there.

We took snacks. You know we did. Blueberries, bread, cheese crackers, and two of these.

I never shop at the airport on principle because of their ridiculous prices, but I stopped to look at the clearance table at the Made in Oregon store and found these caramels for 99 cents. Which I thought was an okay deal until I noticed the regular price. Seriously? $11.95 for eight caramels? Shirley they jest? So I bought two packets and every now and then the girls and I share one. Little tiny bites. London thinks they are manna from heaven. Scarlet offers no opinion but gets a slightly rapturous look on her face every time I pop a morsel in her mouth.

Pardon me for an unreasonable number of these poses, but how can I not? The child is edible.

Against London's protests, we stopped at Sprouts on the way home. Why don't we have these in Oregon? I seriously love this store. 

I bought clementines, mineral salt deodorant, organic chocolate bars, bulk dark chocolate-covered blueberries and cherries, and raw cashew nuts. Scarlet kept pulling things off the shelves in spite of being strapped into the cart (my baby entropy radar is underdeveloped) and London was never pushing or pulling the cart in the same direction as I was, but we managed to get out of the store without getting in trouble. London repeatedly told me she needed a sucker. At the checkout counter I noticed a little container of the beasts. I said, Look London, lollipops! Do you want one of these?
Those aren't lollipops Nana, they're SUCKERS!
Oh, okay. Pardon my childhood.
They were blissfully happy all the way home. For the whole five minutes. Note the glazed look in Scarlet's eyes.

London's friends were playing outside when we got home and she nagged me until I let her go out too. Scarlet was looking decidedly sleepy so she ate clementines and watched her tunes. London got slightly injured and came in for comfort, wanting her mommy.  When I reminded her that mommy and daddy are coming home in two days she said happily, And you're going home Nana! 
I decided to lay that one at the feet of the gods who overlook the insults of small children. 
A single chocolate-covered blueberry cured what ailed her and she soon ran outside again.

A snack of yogurt and clementines was just the thing before bed. 

Scarlet screamed like a banshee when I put her to bed. For about twenty seconds. I held off till 7:30 in the hopes that she sleeps an extra half hour in the morning. London fell asleep watching Octonauts and was highly insulted when I woke her up to put on pyjamas and get in bed, but was likewise out in seconds once she quit complaining. 
And now it's just me again, ignoring the dishes until tomorrow and anticipating collapsing in bed with the book. 
I may or may not have been talked into another trip to the park tomorrow. This time in the wagon. 
We shall see. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Nana Files the Second

I learned a few things yesterday.
Number one, don't feed the little darlings their yummiest things for breakfast, it's a waste of a good appetite. Save the yummy things for dinner. So we had eggs and french toast. Scarlet gobbled it down but London was playing hard to get.
Fine, I said, you can eat it later. Less chocolate milk for you tomorrow.
So she pulled her craft bins out of the pantry and concentrated on her art for a while.
The blue face in the top right corner is me. Be jealous.

And this is her whole family, including Wrangler and Max, the cat.

And after an hour or so of painting, Miss London cleaned her plate and declared it was time for ice cream. Er, okay, why not?
So they ate little bowls of ice cream.

Scarlet got pretty mad when her bowl was empty. This was after she forgave me.

While Scarlet took her nap today we made banana bread. As soon as she woke up we left, me pulling the wagon full of two girls, a picnic, and jackets. (Lesson number two, always take jackets.) This lake is halfway to the park and we quacked at the ducks and admired the scenery. 

We picnicked on cookies and banana bread (tasty! said London) and apples and ran around the play structure and mostly I chased Scarlet while trying to simultaneously keep an eye on the wagon and on London, who is remarkably daring in new situations for a timid child. One poor little girl threw her coat into our wagon and took a drink out of one of our cups, thinking it was her family's wagon. She was so embarrassed when her dad told her what she had done that she started crying and they had to go home. 

I was trying to get a good picture of Scarlet's gleeful expression so I stopped the swing. She stuck her little nose up in the air and turned her head away and wouldn't look at me until I pushed the swing again. Not even eighteen months old and a force of nature already.

The sun was low in the sky when I finally convinced London it was time to go home. I decided to take a different route to avoid a nasty road crossing that hadn't been apparent on Google maps. We passed right by the water tower. I love water towers, for no significant reason.

On the way home we picked a few pansies from flowerbeds at the intersections. London said her favourite colour was pink and the pansies weren't pink so she didn't want any. Fine, I said. After Scarlet had ripped apart several differing shades of pansies, London did a little pout because she didn't have a flower. Well, sez I, you only wanted a pink flower and pansies aren't pink. Do you want a different colour next time we see some? She nodded. And collected a purple pansy at the next corner. 
Score for Nana!
It was a long walk home because of our wee distractions, especially when Scarlet decided that she was going to be a hellion unless I let her walk with me. It was only a little over three miles round trip, but pulling the wagon made it seem more like double that distance. Plus, I am not in the best shape of my life, sadly. Five minutes before we reached the house I looked back at the girls and London was sitting upright with her eyes closed. She had fallen asleep. I put her head on my purse so that she wouldn't fall out of the wagon.

And so went the second day. One of the blessings of being a nana is being able to look after grandchildren when their parents take some much-needed time to be together. It makes me a bit sad that the girls probably won't remember this weekend, but perhaps some day, when they get older, they will read this and get an inkling of how much their nana adores them. 

The Nana Files:Part 1

Whenever I arrive at Charlie and Sam's house, I usually get the most enthusiastic reception from the weimaraner. Not that the rest of the family snubs me, they just don't follow me everywhere I go, leaning up against me and trying to knock me over. 
I am in Texas to spend a few days with the little girls while Mommy and Daddy have a long weekend on their own. Luckily, Wrangler went to spend the weekend in a kennel, or I might have spent the whole time on the floor.

Scarlet looked a bit confused when she woke up on the first morning to find Nana was the only adult in the house. After a few minutes she seemed to accept her fate and snuggled in while she drank her green juice and watched nursery rhymes on the telly.

London had a whole list of things that she was "so excited" for us to do together, so I didn't get to sit on my laurels for too long. I thought she might like this hairstyle because it kept her hair out of her face. 

After a morning of doing bubbles outside and playing, Scarlet went down for her nap and London promptly went into event planner mode. First on the agenda was cookie-making. Chocolate chip with pink sprinkles. I tried to talk her out of the sprinkles but no deal. London is quite the little baker for being not even four yet. I turned away for a moment and a rather large amount of sprinkles went into the dough. My plan had been for her to shake the sprinkles on top of the cookies so that not all of them would be sprinkled, but I was foiled before I even started. 

Then on to the Valentine craft that Mommy had bought at Hobby Lobby. Or so London informed me. And look what happened to her hair. She went to the bathroom and took an inordinately long time so I went to check on her and she had very carefully taken out the band that held the two braids together, unwoven the braids, and left her hair in the two pony tails. I don't like it tight, she said when I tried to tidy up the pony tails. 
Okay then. Scruffy ponies it will be.
She really stuck to the job and pretty soon there were three hearts stuck to every ladybug wing. That's 24 of them, in case you were wondering. Nana had to do the rest of the gluing but she helped by sorting the pieces out and handing them to me as I needed them.

Then it was time for a cookie break. 
Delicious, she said.

We went for a walk, me pulling the big wagon, in the afternoon to look for a neighbourhood playground, but I didn't do my research before we left and the girls were getting cold so we turned around and came home after about half a mile, determining we would try again the next day. Dinner, another cookie or two, and a movie, and pretty soon we were all in bed. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Segways, fishies, and battlefields in Georgia

Jeff and I had some family business in Georgia in October. After it was all done, we spent a couple of days in the Atlanta area and then I went with him to Denver on his business trip. It was my first time in both places, other than layovers at the airports.
Ever since I saw a group of people on a twilight Segway tour of the capital in Washington DC that one time we were protesters, I have wanted to ride one. I noticed an ad online for a tour in Atlanta so we decided to go for it. We took a Midtown Atlanta Segway tour at 2 o'clock on a very cold and windy afternoon. 
But first, seeing as how we arrived in central Atlanta early and had an hour to kill, we took a ride on Skyview Atlanta, which was just around the corner from the Segway office. 

It was slightly interesting and we got to see some of the Atlanta buildings, but on the whole we thought it was a waste of $30. I did like these solar panels on the roofs of the parking lot structures though. Seems to me it's a win-win.

Sadly, the Segway company doesn't give you much time to take photos, so this is the only one Jeff got of me. But let me tell you, I rocked the beast. It was such fun, in spite of the ferocious wind! We were chilled to the bone by the time we were done. The tour went for about six miles. We even got to do a Leonardo di Caprio-on-the-bow-of-the-Titanic move. From now on, every city tour I take will be on a Segway. And Jeff wants to buy one. Or two. Sadly, the price is prohibitive.

Jeff is getting his Segway legs. It's actually a bit hard on the leg muscles. The movements to control the machine are very subtle but taxing over the course of a couple of hours. It was hard to walk when we finally got off the machines, and we kept wanting to tilt around the corners and bend our knees when we walked over bumps.

But I did manage a selfie in the square by the Coca Cola museum.

People made of people.

We never miss a good aquarium, so the next stop was the Georgia Aquarium. The displays were amazingly beautiful.

We managed to catch a dolphin show, but the lighting was not conducive to photos. 

The next day, before we went to catch our flight, we drove up to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. We took the tour of the Visitors' Center, which covered the history of the Civil War from a fairly unbiased point of view, and then drove to Cheatham Hill for a small walk around the battlefield. 
If you know anything about Jeff and me, you know that we visit battlefields. This was a whistle-stop but we were so glad we made it. One of Jeff's ancestors fought here. It was interesting to visit a battlefield in the South, as all of the others we've seen were in the North. We wished we had had time to walk some of the many trails in the park, as the woods were so beautiful on this autumn day. These photos were all taken on Cheatham Hill.

This is the Dead Angle. It is a field that was totally covered in union soldiers' bodies and the two sides called a truce so that they could bury all of their dead.

If you are interested in learning more about Kennesaw Mountain, this is a good reference.
Next up, adventures in Denver.