Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal viewing

For a three-year-old obsessed with princesses, TV watching options don't get much better than this.

Who needs cartoons and kids shows when you can watch a royal wedding? I suspect Sydney is wishing right now that we'd named her Kate.

She slept in long past the actual wedding, but paid close attention to the abbreviated re-plays on the news. She proclaimed the wedding dress as beautiful, making comparisons to the dress Ariel wore when she married Prince Eric in the Little Mermaid. (I have no idea what Ariel's dress looked like, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sydney is right. She pays attention to important details like that.)

Sydney was quite concerned by the carriage ride. "Why is the Prince wearing a hat? He shouldn't wear a hat. He should wear a crown."

She then grew hopeful. "Where are they going? Are they going to dance? I want to watch them dance."

Her final conclusion: "The princess is very beautiful and the prince is very good."

At least she's not letting the royal treatment go to her head. As her attention span started to run out, Sydney happened to spot a container of cleaning wipes that I'd been using earlier. "Can I help clean?" she asked. She's now running around the living room wiping everything she can find. Apparently my little princess prefers the first half of Cinderella more than the happily ever after.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The power of prayer

It's been said that faith can move mountains. It also seems able to move trains.

Taking the back roads into town a few days ago, I drove over a hill and could see a train in the distance. I grumbled aloud about having to stop at the railroad crossing.

From the backseat, AJ suggested, "We could pray about it."

As I continued to drive ever closer to the crossing, AJ prayed aloud, "Dear Jesus, please make the train go faster so it gets out of our way."

Figuring this was as good a time as any to explain that praying doesn't always mean we'll get our way, I told him, "AJ, you should know that even though God answers our prayers, it isn't always the answer we want. Sometimes, he..."

And right then, before I could finish the thought, and before I even got close enough to need to hit the breaks, the last car on the train cleared the crossing.

From the back seat, a delighted little boy giggled and proclaimed, "I'm magic!"

Determined now that he needed to learn this lesson, I waited for another opportunity. Spotting a red light in the distance, I suggested rather dryly, "Why don't you pray for the light to change to green.

"Dear Jesus," he dutifully prayed, "please turn the light green."

This time I was at least able to finish my sentence about needing to be patient and accepting that God may have a reason for giving us something other than what we prayed for. But I doubt it sunk in. Because seconds later, and before I got close enough to the intersection to have to stop... you guessed it... the light turned green.

I'm taking it as a sign that God is perfectly happy with AJ's way of thinking.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter sweets

Sunday was one of the nicest Easters (in terms of weather) that I can remember: bright sun and temperatures in the upper 60s. It was the warmest day of the year so far, and we spent as much time as we could outside during Easter dinner with the Jaski's.

First thing on the agenda - an Easter egg hunt. The eggs were filled with coins and hidden outside, making it a literal search for treasure for AJ.

Sydney managed to hold her own, carrying the eggs around as if they were maracas.

After dinner, there was more time to play outside. Sydney figured out how to blow bubbles, and happily showed off her new skill to Max, the only one at the party who's younger than she is.

Meanwhile the bigger "kids" played an impromptu game of baseball in the front yard. Once AJ figured out which landmarks were the bases (The lamp, AJ! Second base is the lamp!), he had a great time. Though he seems in need of a refresher course on how to play the game. He recapped it for me like this, "We lost. But I got Tim out. But he was on my team."

For me, the afternoon highlight came a few minutes later. With Jeff pitching, it was Tim's turn to bat. (It's worth noting they were using a plastic ball and kid-size bat.)


I can only wonder how many times this scene has repeated itself over the last 30+ years. How much have the houses changed and the trees grown since the first time these two faced off against each other? Back then they were boys just a few years older than AJ is now.

Back then, I'm guessing post-game conversations included comparisons of skinned knees and bruised shins. Now the talk focused on sore shoulders and knees. No matter. This was a perfectly relaxing afternoon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The thrill of the hunt

Did we really think they would sleep in on Easter morning? Did it seem possible they'd stay in their beds right up until we woke them for church? Did I really think I could stall the Easter egg hunt until after we returned home?

Sounds like someone (no need to name names) enjoyed a little too much chocolate while pinch-hiding as the Easter Bunny, and the sugar was affecting her ability to reason.

Jeff had to work the night before, so my intent had been to let him get as much sleep as possible before church. Too bad the kids didn't see it my way. AJ was awake by 8 a.m., and quickly scoped the living room for hidden eggs. By 8:30, Sydney was awake, too, and there was no holding them back.

"Daddy! The Easter Bunny came!"

Who needs an alarm clock when you've got an overly excited wake-up service? After that, the hunt was on.

It's always a challenge to get decent photos of the Easter egg hunt. They're moving so quickly, by the time the camera focuses, they're long gone, in search of more.

Racing around the living room, AJ of course had to count out loud, keeping tally of his eggs so that he could gloat he'd found more than his sister. Sydney couldn't have cared less. She found plenty and was perfectly happy.

Jelly beans and M&M's, chocolate eggs and Tootsie Rolls. It's a candy-lover's dream!

As he took stock of all he had found, AJ proclaimed, "God and Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny can read my mind!"

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dye job

I don't know how we've skipped this tradition all these years, but this weekend marked our first attempt at dying hard-boiled eggs. At least the dye part worked. We discovered Sunday when we tried peeling one that the "fool proof" instructions for cooking the eggs that I'd found online, really weren't fool proof.

Sydney had a short attention span for dying eggs. What she found fascinating, however, was mixing the vinegar with the dye tablets to see what color they'd become.

AJ couldn't stop with merely dying the eggs. He had to experiment with the wax marker...

And the stickers that came in the kit.

One last step in the preparations for the Easter Bunny: preparing a plate of goodies and a note. We had a small skirmish in the kitchen as AJ and Sydney fought over who could bring the carrots from the refrigerator to the table. I suggested they use teamwork - Sydney could carry the bag and AJ could actually put the carrots on the plate. That worked, and they quickly moved on to finding other veggies to set out as well.

AJ added a short note, "To Easter Bunny", and taped it to the plate. He then added his extra special touch. (Note the gift in his Easter basket.) He'd colored a picture of an Easter egg earlier in the day, rolled it up and had me help put a rubber band around it. He then wrapped a another piece of paper around that, stapled it at least a dozen times, found a leftover Christmas gift tag and stapled that, too.

You'd think the sugar rush had already set in as these two finally went to bed. Sydney was a mix of excitement and fear. After talking big all day Friday and early Saturday that she was no longer afraid of the Easter Bunny, she only needed one look at the big furry guy walking around at the Easter egg hunt earlier in the day to have to admit she still wanted nothing to do with him. But then we saw the movie Hop, which featured an adorable, little Easter Bunny who wasn't nearly so scary. So the thought that one of those two creatures was coming into her house while she slept was just a bit overwhelming.

AJ was happy to play brave older brother (Surely the Easter Bunny would appreciate his good deed. It works with Santa.) and let Sydney snuggle with him as they at last fell asleep.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Boing! Boinngg! Boinnngggg!

There goes our sanity. Bouncing away.

Saturday morning dawned with great opportunity. Sure it was cold and overcast for the buzzilionth day in a row, but there was an Easter egg hunt at the zoo, and a royal Easter egg hunt at Enger Tower. If we scheduled wisely, we could make it to both. What fun!

Of course, AJ slept late and I was in no particular hurry, which meant suddenly we were rushing around to get out the door in time to make it to the last hour of the hunt at the zoo. And then Jeff woke up and suggested that if we skip the hunt at the zoo, then he'd be able to join us.

I broke the news to the kids, telling them we'd go to the zoo another day. Sydney was so excited that she got to wear her princess dress to the royal egg hunt, that she was fine with the decision. AJ was a bit miffed that he couldn't dress as a pirate, but begrudgingly went along with the new plan when we told him he could be a knight and carry a shield and sword. So everyone got ready. We at a quick lunch. And then we were off.

And then we got a flat tire. On I-35.

The optimist in me recognizes it was a good learning opportunity. I've never attempted to change a flat tire before. At least now I know how. (Though I doubt I'd be able to, noting how much muscle power was involved in loosening the rusted bolts.) Meanwhile the realist in me waited until the very final stage of the process to pull out my camera. I doubt Jeff would have found humor in me capturing shots of him on the ground with just his legs sticking out from under the truck.

Thankfully, some friends (a colleague of Jeff's) happened to spot us on the side of the road and stopped to help. They had a fancier jack, which sped up the process.

Still, we were at least 45 minutes late to the egg hunt, which meant all the eggs had already been found. At least the royal party was still there, posing for photos. That was enough to thrill Sydney.

Trying to make the trip not a complete waste, we climbed up some rocks so the kids could see the incredible view of Lake Superior. It was right about then that I realized the last time I'd been there with Jeff was our wedding day. In between the church and reception, we'd had the limo driver take us there. How things change!

Trying to make the best of a bad situation, I suggested we head to the follow up activities, which supposedly included games and crafts sponsored by the Children's Museum.

Another mistake.

There were no games. There were a couple craft activities with way too many kids in way too small of a space. We let Sydney make a flower, and then we were out of there.

To cheer the kids up, Jeff suggested I take them to see the movie Hop. (Jeff had to work, and he'd already taken AJ to see it the night Sydney and I had gone to Beauty and the Beast.) That seemed as good a plan as any, so off we went. It was a cute enough movie, and it definitely put the kids - and me - in a better, more relaxed mood. (Though I've made a mental note to never again see a movie with AJ that he's already seen. Non-stop narration telling me what was about to happen.)

Thank goodness none of that is what Easter is really about. It's a new day and the sun is shining brightly. Halleluia! We have so many blessings and reasons to praise God.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ever changing

Oh where, oh where has my Sydney gone? Oh where, oh where could she be?

My little, pink-loving diva suddenly informed me she doesn't want a princess birthday anymore. She wants to have a Batman party instead. And at bedtime, instead of her usual insistance on her nightgown or all-pink pair of pajamas, she decided to wear AJ's hand-me-down sleeper.

I doubt this shift in preferences will last long. By morning she was multi-tasking, taking care of Baby Sleeping Beauty, while watching her Sleeping Beauty movie, which of course requires her to act out the scenes with her Sleeping Beauty and Prince figures.

Oh no! She can't find her regular Sleeping Beauty figure, only the version of her in a wedding dress, and that simply doesn't work. Especially because the wedding dress version of the doll has a veil that keeps falling off, so "she's just a peasant," I was told.

I heard a statistic recently that reading to a child exposes them to 20-percent more words than they'd normally hear in conversation. When I hear my 3-year-old use the word "peasant", I wonder if that's a good thing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Part pillow fight, part wrestling match. The laughter that resulted are some of my favorite sounds in the whole world.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Matching fashions

Behold... the perfectly coordinated preschooler. Granted, since spring doesn't seem to want to arrive any time soon, we had to convert Sydney's new sundress into a layered ensemble, complete with long sleeved shirt and leggings. But take special note of the socks. It's the socks that make the outfit complete.

Look closely... that's Snow White on the socks - the perfect match for Sydney's Snow White underwear. Silly me for not realizing how critically important it is to match socks to underwear. Sydney stared at me in disbelief when I started to pulled out the plain white socks. She ran to the sock drawer, and with Mommy's help found the pair she needed to complete the look. (That's what I get for buying treats from the dollar bins at Target.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Saturday surprises

A little bit of this and a little bit of that added up to a whole lot of fun this past Saturday. First on the agenda: the March of Dimes' annual March for Babies fundraising walk. I've been volunteering on a committee, helping organize the event, which was held at the Depot.

Jeff watched the kids in the morning while I helped set up, but then had to bring them to me so that he could get some sleep before going to work. That meant the kids had a chance to explore the various museums within the Depot.

Someone needs to teach AJ how to hold one of those old-fashioned contraptions known as a telephone with a cord.

Meanwhile, at the Children's Museum he discovered that metal objects placed on large magnets, become magnets themselves.

Auntie Barbie also volunteered at the March for Babies event, and mentioned she was going to be working at a health and wellness fair later in the day. So when we finished at the Depot, we headed to find her. Not only did we find her, we also found Champ the Bulldog.

Sydney wouldn't go near the mascot (no surprise there), but she did enjoy attempting to hula hoop.

Of course, as fun as all that was, it paled in comparison to the best discovery of all: a bouncy house!

Sometimes spontaneity can lead to the best surprises!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Save us!

For once, the headline isn't a reference to some self-deprecating story about my parenting skills. Rather, it's the literal translation, I just learned, for "Hosanna". How have I made it 41 years without knowing that? I thought it was a sort of cheer, similar to "Hooray!"

In church yesterday for Palm Sunday, the Sunday School kids led the procession into the sanctuary. This was Sydney's first year taking part. I assumed I would see her walking slowly, glued to AJ's side as he urged her to go faster. Nope! When the march started, Sydney was near the front, proudly holding her palm branch high in the air, clearly not needing nor wanting her brother's help.

As the procession continued, AJ at last made it in.

The kids walked to the front of the church and sat down, with the pastor immediately delivering the children's sermon to his already-assembled audience. His first question to the kids: What does Hosanna mean? AJ guessed it was the name of the parade. Sorry, no. That's when the pastor told the kids it means save us.

The pastor also told the kids that palms were waved back then, just like we wave flags at parades today. I held my breath, waiting for AJ to say something about flags and army soldiers, but he kept quiet. Until bedtime. During his bedtime prayer he brought it up. "And Jesus, I know they used to wave palms because they didn't know how to make the sticks... the sticks for flags."

I love how his mind reasons!
One other humorous story from church... during Sunday School, we walked through a fairly elaborate "journey to the cross." It was a series of five stations, each designed to help us think about the events of Holy Week and the sacrifice Christ made. At one station, we were directed to put small rocks in our shoes, so that as we walked we would be reminded of the discomfort caused by our sins. At a later station, we removed our shoes and the stones and then dropped them into a jar of water, symbolizing Jesus washing away our sins. Throughout the process, AJ did a good job following directions. When we got to the jar of water, AJ pulled off his boot and tipped it upside down. Let's just say there was a whole lot more sin pouring out of his boot than the couple rocks he'd added a few minutes earlier. I'd had no idea he was carrying around so much gravel in his boots.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The greatest show on earth


Prepare to be dazzled by lions and elephants and clowns. (Not to mention dalmations, acrobats and pretty girls on horses.)

The kindergarten version of a circus came to town, beginning with a parade of the 26 kids who had speaking parts - one for each letter of the alphabet. 

After that, it was time to wait for the rest of the kids to file in. Note the blackened nose and whiskers on AJ's face. Mrs. Boese came through for him!

None of the categories of costumes seemed particularly easy to create. The non-animal performers (i.e. clowns, acrobats and pretty girls) were mostly pieced-together costumes, without a lot of sewing. The ring masters' jackets looked rather elaborate, but matched so well I'm wondering if they were borrowed. The dalmations and elephants were generally dressed in sweatsuits (white with black felt polka dots glued on or plain grey, respectively), but the elephants in particular involved more elaborate head pieces. And then there were the lions....

AJ, as tall as he is, seems destined to always be in the back row. That's something I never experienced! I do give credit though - he warned me ahead of time that he was standing in almost the same spot as he had for their Christmas program, so we knew to get their early and find seats more toward the center of the auditorium. (By the way, the costume in the front row, second from the right is the original one that I'd copied)

During several of the songs, AJ got to whistle...

And he sang his heart out. (Or maybe he was roaring.)

Even more exciting than his speaking part, all of the lions got to jump through a hoop a few times as part of the show. I didn't get a decent photo because the kids moved so quickly... until AJ's shoe fell off, which hung up the line a bit.

But he had fun, which of course is what matters. And in his mind, his reward for a job well done was getting to come home with us right after the show, and now enjoying nine days off  for Easter vacation.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lights, sirens, action

Sydney's made a rather drastic change in her career plans. "I'm going to be a firefighter when I get big, instead of a princess."

Actually, I think she pronounced the new profession more like "fighter-fighter," but hey, she'll have plenty of time to figure that out. At the same time she'll hopefully realize that the job involves more than riding in a cool truck and eating cupcakes.

Friday, I needed to meet up with a photographer I've been working with this past week. He just so happens to also be a firefighter. He was on duty, so getting the disc of photos from him meant making a stop at the firehall. Sydney was fascinated.

Jack knows what Jeff does for a living and of course is well aware of the friendly rivalry that exists between their two professions (Jack's son works with Jeff), and so was more than happy to give Sydney a little tour of the truck he typically drives. We held off on wailing the siren, figuring it would scare her, but she sure did like turning on the lights.

And then, as if the visit couldn't be any more perfect, he brought us into the kitchen where they'd been celebrating a birthday earlier. Sydney got the last cupcake.

Then, as if the story couldn't be any more perfect, Sydney got to tell Daddy all about her adventure - while sitting in the auditorium of AJ's school, waiting for AJ's play to start. As Daddy groaned in mock horror, we heard a chuckle from behind us. It just so happens that one of AJ's classmates has a father who's a firefighter, and he heard the whole thing. Classic!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Last minute practice

Waiting for the bus this morning, AJ couldn't resist reviewing his big line for today's Circus play just one more time. I'm glad he's taking it so seriously, but can't help but think if he doesn't know it now, he never will.

He's a little disappointed that he can't draw whiskers on his face. The teacher drew the line (no pun intended) on just how much help she could provide to get 20 kids in costume.

AJ will be a vision in brown today. I sent him to school in brown shirt, pants and shoes to minimize how much he needs to do to get ready. The shoes are new. In fact, I think they're the first pair of "dress" shoes he's ever owned. As he put them on, he declared, "these are probably girl shoes."

"No," I told him, "those are called deck shoes. Those are the kind of shoes you're supposed to wear on a boat so you don't make scratches or marks."

AJ started to recognize the potential coolness of his new footwear, but still seemed unconvinced.

Thinking quickly, I pulled an Eddie Bauer catalog out of the recycling bin. Sure enough, there was a guy on a dock wearing fairly similar shoes. Next to the picture were cut-out shots of shoes showing the color choices: brown, navy and tan.

AJ quickly started taking off one of his shoes.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He pointed to the inside of the shoe, which had the brand name Cherokee printed in white letters on the sole. "Look, it's the same," he said, suddenly quite satisfied with his shoes.

Confused, I looked back at the catalog. Over the picture of the brown shoe, in white letters, was printed BROWN.

His reading skills still need work, but Mommy's spin-doctor skills remain in top form.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A few observations by Sydney

Let's hear it for spring! Maybe if we cheer loud enough, it will actually stick around.

Sydney explained yesterday's weather like this. "It's just a little chilly and windy. It's really spring. But there's still a little snow."

Two other cute Sydney stories...

To get Maggie to swallow her pain medication, we've been wrapping the pills in cheese, deli ham, or anything else we can think of to trick her into eating it. Sydney apparently has watched the process more closely than I'd realized. Our supper last night was a pasta dish with sausage, shrimp and diced deli ham mixed into the sauce. As she picked up a piece of ham with her fork, Sydney asked, "Why is Maggie's medicine in this?"


At bedtime, the kids sat in AJ's room, looking through his books. AJ had chosen Sharks and Sea Creatures and was trying to share some of his knowledge with his younger sister. Sydney, for the most part, was unimpressed. I walked in the room just in time to hear her question, "there's no pink sharks?"

"But look, Sydney," AJ did his best to find something that would grab her interest, "this one's called a cookie cutter shark."

Not good enough for Miss One-track mind. Sydney responded, "does it turn pink?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What a circus!

We moms talk. We share our horror stories and battle scars. From the discomfort of pregnancy to the experience of child birth and the many sleep-deprived nights that follow. And then, five or six years later, we continue to talk, warning future mothers of kindergarteners about the costumes that are expected of us so that our little darlings can shine on stage.

Last year, I was on the receiving end, listening in wide-eye terror to the tails of fellow hockey moms who had stayed up late sewing/creating lion costumes for their sons' kindergarten program. Wait a minute! I sat through three years of home ec. class. The teacher said sewing was a great way to design your own clothes and save money. Never once did she mention I'd need the skill to save my son from being the kid with the bad costume in his school show!

The school year has progressed. I've learned to tie-dye. I've pieced together an elf costume. And then came the letter:

Dear Parents,
We are starting to work on our acts for the Circus. It will be a circus you will not want to miss! It will be a 3 Ring circus with all four Kindergarten Classes...

More details followed, and then, the inevitable:
Your child has picked the following part: LION

Thankfully, another good thing about moms is that when we have a good idea, we tend to share. We're all in this together, after all. And so, after taking a few deep breaths, I called my friend Crystal, one of the women who'd made a lion costume the year before. Crystal first offered to let us borrow her son's costume. But of course AJ wanted one of his own. So instead, using the original as a guide, (Crystal is one of those amazingly creative people who makes things without patterns.) I was able to put together... drum roll please...

... the cutest lion costume ever!

My right thumb is killing me from cutting too many layers of blanket fleece at a time using too dull of a pair of scissors. Admittedly, there is as much hot glue involved as there is thread. But using an inherited sewing machine that's likely older than I am, I threaded a bobbin, figured out how to set the stitch on zigzag, and pulled it all together.

Let's have a roar for Mommy!

AJ absolutely loves the costume. And with a little prompting from Daddy, he even remembered to thank me for working so hard on it.

Let's just hope it all holds together until the end of the day Friday.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What a Beauty!

It's safe to say Sydney is absolutely captivated by musical theatre. Just don't call it a show.

"It's a play," she reminded me on more than one occasion.

Monday became girls' night out as my favorite princess and I got to see the touring production of Beauty and the Beast at the DECC Auditorium. Of course, half the fun of going to a live performance is dressing for the event.

(Why do I get the feeling I'll have flash backs to this night when Sydney is dressing for her prom or wedding?)

A colleague was able to get us two free tickets, and what a fun night it was! Lots of little girls dressed in their finest princess gowns, and Sydney complimented just about every one of them. I couldn't help but wonder as she was eyeing each one up, at what age do they switch from giving nice words to catty jealousness?

Sydney earned lots of smiles, too, in her yellow dress, accessorized with gloves, ring, beads and a crown. I'd found the dress on a clearance rack Sunday, and the gloves, jewelry and purse (which she decided to leave at home) in a separate set. As Sydney admired herself in the mirror, she said, "Let's see. Something's missing." she then proclaimed,  "I know!" and ran off to her room, returning with her crown.

Sydney sat on my lap throughout the show. There were a few scary parts, but for the most part she watched in fascination. The best part for me was watching her reaction. Tiny gloved hands clapping in enthusiasm, or covering her mouth in awe of some of the fancier dance numbers. Lots of giggles. (The director did a good job keeping the Beast from seeming too scary.) Even the romantic moments seemed to effect Sydney. She would lean back and plant a sweet kiss on my cheek.

It was after 10 o'clock when the show finally ended. Amazingly (or perhaps not so surprising considering how enthralled she'd been) she stayed awake the entire ride home. Much of the time I could hear her singing off-key the final line of the theme song, "Beauty and the beast." (I think I'm going to have to buy it on iTunes.)

Thankfully, Jeff is off today, which means my little beauty can sleep in, as opposed to letting us see just how beastly she can be when she's tired. I've already warned him that she wants to wear her new dress again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bunny preview

Easter is two weeks off, but a big furry creature hopped into town for a preview Sunday.

One of my children was excited to see the Easter Bunny.

The other child... well... we got her this close:

Wasn't it just four months ago, on this very stage, that Sydney conquered her fear and sat on Santa's lap? I tried using that logic with her and got basically a "Yeah, so what's your point?" response. The Easter Bunny isn't Santa, and Sydney wasn't going anywhere near him. End of story. Thank you very much.

In addition to the photo opp with the big bunny, another highlight (all planned by the school's ECFE program) was a cake walk. Oh goody, because the kids weren't already on enough of a sugar rush, they won four cupcakes.

Amazingly, Sydney's sweater remained white all afternoon.

There were also a few crafts, a sheep to pet, and an Easter egg hunt. (Thankfully, most of the eggs were filled with rubber band bracelets, erasers, tattoos and other non-sugary treats.)

Sydney may not want to go anywhere near the Easter Bunny, but she sure enjoys the traditions he represents.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Isn't it funny how you take a restaurant for granted if it's open year-round, but if it closes for five months over the winter, you can't wait to eat there again when April rolls around?

Gordy's Hi-Hat re-opened for the season this past week, so Saturday night we headed there for our standard meal: Cheeseburger for me, fish for AJ, hot dog for Sydney, and Mushroom Swiss (and whatever fish AJ can't finish) for Jeff.

Of course, no trip to Gordy's would be complete without a trek across the parking lot for ice cream and to climb on the playground. AJ didn't even have to check out the 32 flavors (though he did) to remember that Superman ice cream - some brightly colored concoction that I should sample sometime to find out how it tastes - is his favorite.

Sydney - big surprise - wanted pink ice cream, and of course there were three options for that. Strawberry won out over cherry nut and cotton candy. Knowing how much (little) she actually eats, I split the scoops and ordered my favorite for the other half - Mackinac Island fudge. (I had a buy one, get one free coupon for the Betty Boop cones)

AJ snarfed down most of his, with the exception of a few licks he shared with Daddy, and a few licks that didn't quite get into his own mouth.

As expected, Sydney was "done" with her ice cream long before it was gone. She happily ran off to play on the playground...

Until she spotted Jeff sampling a little of what she'd left behind.


Ultimately she did share, but it sure was funny to see the look on her face as she ran to save the treat she hadn't wanted just a few minutes earlier.

For AJ, it was just another part of "the best day of my whole life." (has anyone else noticed how many of those he has/declares?) Baseball in the driveway with Dad, followed by dinner at a restaurant, plus ice cream and a playground, followed by the UMD Bulldogs winning the national hockey championship. I could write a whole other blog post on the humor of listening to AJ cheer alongside Jeff. At least he hasn't picked up (yet) the yelling at the screen when things go wrong. And at least, on this day, everything went right.