Owen has been working really hard to master his balance bike, and we finally decided he's ready for a 'real' bike. As for whether we're ready to handle putting it together, I'm not sure. I got down to the basement to collect all the tools listed as necessary for assembly and realized I didn't even know what a torque wrench looked like. Does it make me an optimist that I came back upstairs, did a Google Image search of torque wrench, and then went back down to find it? I sometimes catch myself thinking of our toolbox like it's a magic treasure chest that can produce whatever tool I need. Sure... until five minutes ago I'd never even heard of one of these gadgets, but maybe Tinkerbell packed one down in there somewhere for me anyways.
Owen has been mentioning things he wants to do this summer off and on for the past week, so I finally called a meeting with him in front of his art easel and took notes in crayon while he brainstormed. Here's what he's come up with so far:
Go to playgrounds (plural)
Hike with friends
Make a star LEGO
Play golf at the golf course
Go fishing and feed the ducks at Star Lake
Play in the creek with friends
Learn to read
Learn how to spell bulldozer
Learn how to tie shoes
Go to the Fiat car dealership
Visit a cave and take a really bright flashlight
Launch a model rocket
A nice mix of the simple with the outrageously ambitious, I think. If you see one you want to help us scratch off the list, let us know!
It's been almost a year since we left for a month's adventure in Italy, so lately I've been eating Nutella and working on Italy-related projects just to torture myself.
I got a notice that My Publisher is having a 60% off sale through the end of May, so I decided to finally compile all the photos we took during our trip into a book. I've got to spend $200 to get the price knocked down to $80, so maybe I'll even finally get around to making Owen a baby book or two. Good thing he's a dude and probably won't care about that sentimental stuff anyways.
And I've recently gone back to working on a watercolor of Rugiagli, the farm where we stayed. I started on it not long after we got back, but my technique stunk and I got discouraged. Round 2 is going much better! My plan is to send it to the Bassani's (the owners of the property) as a gift. Maybe I'll try to salvage attempt No. 1 (on the left side of the paper) and keep that one for us. I'll try to post final picks when it's finished.
Owen asks about going back to Rugiagli at least once a week, and I'd love to go back too. But overseas travel ain't cheap, and it would mean sacrificing the chance to go new places. What do you think is better: finding that one special place and learning its every nuance or continually exploring places new? In other words, are you the kind of traveller who commits or do you like to keep it casual and date around? You know, are you the Kirk Cameron or the Tiger Woods of traveling?
Uncle Tommy and Aunt Charolette came over a few days ago to give us some tomato plants. And then Uncle Tommy was kind enough to give Owen a lesson in planting and caring for them. I payed attention too.
We're going to put three out in the sun the old-fashioned way and try two in the greenhouse. I forgot and left the grow light on the first night, and Scott said it startled him when he glanced out the window. I think he thought a spaceship had landed in our backyard or something. Here's to having tomatoes in about 60 days!
Our dining room is one of the few rooms in our house I haven't really touched since we moved in two-and-a-half years ago, so I've been working up a new plan in my head for a few months. I even made a (pretty lame, but took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out) mood board for it. Wanna see?
I've been hoping to find more bentwood chairs to go with the four I inherited from Papa, and I finally spotted some on Craigslist yesterday afternoon. Four for only $10 each, but they were an hour away in Cullman. So I decided to put it in the back of my mind, test fate, and see if they were still available this coming weekend when I might have time to go get them. But then it rained this morning, which normally wouldn't have anything to do with anything, except that I'd cleared my schedule for the day to chaperone Owen's field trip to Oak Mountain. The field trip got cancelled, I spent about 5 minutes wondering what to do with myself, and then I heard a teenaged voice in my head scream ROAD TRIP!
Side note to all the moms in my life: I made sure Scott knew where I was going AND I checked in several times AND I promised to abort mission if the place looked sketchy when I got there. But I knew it wouldn't because the Craigslist poster made generous use of exclamation marks and smiling emoticons in (her) communications with me. Serial killers don't do that. Don't even try to question my logic.
Long story shorter, I got there, met a nice lady, bought her chairs and got some leads on good thrift/junk stores in Cullman. I only managed to check out one of the places before getting back on the road to Birmingham, but I scored some good stuff there too. And the best part is that when I opened the back of the car to add my new loot to the chairs that were already back there, something caught my eye.
Turns out they're not just bentwood chairs, they're Thonet. THE bentwood chair. I almost turned into a woohoo girl right there in the parking lot.
I don't think these are really old or crazy valuable or anything, not to mention they've been given a bad refinish at some point, but they're definitely worth a good bit more than $10. (Which Scott likes to point out is moot unless I actually resell them.)
Now I'll be working up the courage to paint them.
Suzy Hoodless; via The Design Files
Color suggestions? And if any of you wish to forfeit your grocery money for the next few months to buy me these to go at the ends of the table, I won't stop you!!!!!!!
Since I still owe you guys pics of the trails in our own backyard, I thought I should start by clarifying that these are not them. Maybe someday ours will be this nice! On Saturday afternoon we went with a bunch of friends to hike in Red Mountain Park.
Owen spent several hours preparing and packing. If you enlarge the photo on the left, you can see where he's even got sunscreen clipped to the outside of his bag. He also brought two kinds of snacks and a spy watch. If you enlarge the photo on the right, you will see proof of his failure to pack wet wipes.
Part of an old mine. Christine told me that when Owen first entered the clearing and spotted it, he referred to the ruin as stunning. Sometimes he reminds me of Manny from Modern Family.
The older girls had an overnight GA event the night before, and it caught up with them about halfway into the hike. Owen actually got more and more energetic as we went, running a good portion of the trail back. (Thank you Robin for running with him!)
It was a great afternoon! I would suggest for next time though that we add the zip lines and delete getting ticks.
Planning to come back and add all his old birthday and half-birthday pics later today. Right now I'm off to the dentist for a filling. Ew.
Nov 2007, May 2008, Nov 2008
May 2009, Nov 2009, May 2010
Nov 2010, May 2011, Nov 2011
Oh, phooey. Now I've made myself teary. Let's distract ourselves with two random thoughts:
(1) Owen has had a LOT of bad haircuts in his few short years.
(2) Can we all let out a sigh of relief that his nose didn't stay the way it was in that newborn shot?
At Owen's request, I made him a chocolate cake with white icing and crushed peppermints on top. (Well, I made half a cake that said Ha Bir Ow because I'm cheesy like that.) I asked him what made him think of such a cake, and he said he made it up, which is voodoo creepy because that is the exact kind of cake my late grandmother made for me when I was a kid. Surely I've casually mentioned that around Owen at some point? Or has Owen had it at your house, Mom?