—Aunt Amy’s 45th birthday party: We hosted a movie night for Aunt Amy’s 45th birthday in early May. We moved the couches all into the movie room, and Annika and I decorated (a concession stand, a walk of stars, a marquee that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY!), theatre light string, etc.). The feature was Ghostbusters, at least for the grownups; meanwhile, upstairs, the more recent Frozen was our babysitter (the kids watched it in our room, and it worked really well — although when it ended, I heard Lukas crying at the top of the stairs, because as he told me when I reached him, "You need to put on more Fwozens!”).
—A visit from the Villari family: Our college friend Alex (whom we hadn’t seen in years) and his wife Amy and their two young boys were vacationing in California from Brooklyn, so they swung by for a visit the day after Aunt Amy’s party. Annika was awesome — having one of her best Perfect Child days, heh — and Lukas was great too, even when calmly but stubbornly defending his toys from the slightly-younger AJ (the older of their kids; the other is a 5-month-old baby). It was so good to see them all!
—Mother’s Day: Annika made me four gifties, including a tea tray (with tea bags, cookies, and flowers, made with Daddy’s help), a lovely card, a picture frame she made in school that said #1 MOM, and a flower in a little pot. Later, we managed a successful restaurant outing, to the Fish Market for dinner; it was super-crowded and we had to kind of snag our own table in the bar area, but the kids held it together and we all actually got to eat, yay!
—Swim playdate with the Carneys: On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, we had the Carneys over for a swimming-and-grilling afternoon. Lots of fun, with the kids all getting along and having a blast, and us able to eat at the table outdoors since the days are getting longer now.
—Daddy’s birthday: Daddy got pretty much exactly what he wanted from the kids: They were good all day long, they made him cute cards (and Annika made a little birdhouse as well), and they sat up with us to a late dinner complete with two kinds of chocolatey cake (one vegan, one definitely not).
—Mamalah’s visit: As part of her Christmas present from us, Mamalah flew out from Texas for about a week near the very end of the school year. She napped when Lukas did, and hung out with the kids the rest of the time, displaying massive amounts of patience with crafts (e.g. a puppy made out of yarn … “simple!” said the kit …) and Paw Patrol (see below).
—Memorial Day weekend: We spent the holiday weekend almost entirely in the pool — it was a hot one — and ate almost nothing but grillage the whole time. Nice and easy all around!
—Art Show: There’s a program at Annika’s school called Art Vistas, and for each unit, the kids make a different kind of art; at the end of the school year, they have a big art show featuring at least two items from each kid. We went after dance class on the big day, and saw Annika’s items: A fish portrait, and a handmade ceramic bowl. She was super proud of both, and it was cute to see how excited she got to see them, in among the many displays.
—Pitching for the Yankees: From all the baseball on the TV this time of year, Lukas has developed this hilarious pitching stance, including the stomping foot and the big windup, usually wrong-footed so that he has to hold on to furniture to stay upright while he’s doing it — which he does every time he’s about to throw, which is almost constantly. The kid has a hell of an arm. Also he’s finally learned to catch — not every time, but he gets it, and can more often than not make the play.
—Annika the hula hooper: They have hoops on the playground, though Annika had never quite got the hang of hula hooping. But one Friday this month, it all came together for her, and then she did it all weekend long (there was even a bruise on her hipbone from the constant thwapping of the hoop she has at home) — she added all kinds of moves with the thing, too! Impressive.
—The latch hook rug: I told Annika one night about the latch hook rug my brother made in 8th grade (an orc), and then she wanted to try it. I thought she’d probably dig it, so we went to a craft store and got her one. Now … as with a lot of these half-remembered crafts, I forgot how although it’s not exactly difficult, there’s kind of a knack to it, so we had a frustrating half hour or so until I revived my rusty skills well enough to help her do it, and then she just took off with it. She worked on it for nearly two hours the first day, making pretty dang good progress, then put it aside to work on later — and she keeps picking it up from time to time, hooking another line or two. It’ll look good when it’s done!
We are now blazing through all the shows on Nick Jr., and the current King of Shows is a computer-animated Canadian import called PAW Patrol — or, as Lukas calls it, PAW Control, which is apropos because I’m pretty sure it actually does involve mind control. They both frickin LOVE this thing — the deal is, there’s this kid, a teenager (?), named Ryder, and these six “pups” (always pups, never puppies, or dogs) who have special skills and equipment (e.g. there’s one who’s a police officer, and the one female pup flies a helicopter), and they “save the day” in and around “Adventure Bay.” It’s super, SUPER annoying for adults, but as I said, the kids love it, and it’s not offensive or anything — just nails-on-chalkboard irritating if you’re over age eight. I hear the theme song, lyrics included, in my nightmares.
—“Ian [on Olivia] was bein a ghoster! He was scarin all of dem!"
—Countdown mashup: “One, two, paghetti, go!”