Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Aforementioned Good Weekend

This weekend was quite satisfying. We had fun. The kids had fun. And we even accomplished some of our goals. How can you beat that? There was hardly any fighting between the children and only a little bit of whining. Add to that enough physical exertion and good eating to put my weight at its lowest since before Halloween and you are starting to get the picture...

Friday night was the Tiny Tots talent show. It's an annual event at Josh's preschool. Each of the four preschool classes had practiced songs. Additionally, any kid or group of kids could do a performance more or less of their own choosing. Josh and a few friends were going to lip-synch The Wiggles. Josh and I were also going to tell a story together. Josh also wanted to wear his Spiderman costume and sing the Spiderman theme song. Well, two of the Wiggles got stomach bugs, leaving a hole in the program. So, we decided we would use that slot for Joshua to sing Spiderman. Not that he couldn't have done it anyway at the end of the show. There were plenty of unscheduled performances and assistance from kids in the audience. Josh had fun singing with his class. He also went up with a couple of the other classes and sang with them. It was a pretty informal night. His first trip to the stage was because we told him to go with "his girlfriend" to sit in front where they could see better. Next thing you know, he was on stage.

Later in the show, Josh went up for his big singing debut and froze. He just stood there holding the microphone. So, I offered to sing with him. I sang the first half of a line into the mic and then held the microphone in front of his mouth. He whispered his part. He sang loud enough for the audience to hear on "Look out! Here comes the Spiderman!" So, we decided to stop there and let them applaud. He surprised my by being so shy. We practiced in the car and he seemed ready to go.

Several of the acts were really cute and most of the parents were were quiet even when their child was not on stage. There were two sisters in cute outfits who sang "Four Hugs a Day". One of Joshua's classmates had a very eclectic costume and did an interpretive dance to some drum heavy music. Her outfit included a grass skirt, African style face paints, a beaded head covering, and much more. My favorite act of the night was the group of kids who performed the fable "The Lion and the Mouse". The older brother was the lion and the younger brother was the mouse. I thought that lent a nice added level to the story.

Two hours later we were off for home and bed. The grownups caught up with some backlogged episodes of West Wing and Lost before turning in.

Saturday was yard work day. We continued our yard reclamation after all the rains. I mowed it twice to get it reasonably short for overseeding and fertilizing. I did a fair amount of raking, but I couldn't find a rake that did a thorough job of gathering up the grass. The tines were too far apart. I had left the bagger off for the first pass because the grass was apparently too heavy to be sucked into the bag. Therefore, I had to leave it off for the second pass because all the loose grass was clogging the mower on its low height setting. I raked as much as I could before we had to get ready for Maya's performance.

While I was doing this, my wife was working on the area that had been a vegetable garden before we moved in. It had gotten overgrown with grass and weeds after the vegetables had bought the farm. She started weeding, mulching, and planting shrubs. She made very good progress. Enough progress that she needed to go out for more wood chips and a couple more plants. Once I was far enough ahead on the lawn, she seeded and fertilized the front and side yards.

We showered and changed and got to the show. It's Winnie-the-Pooh in case you've forgotten. It was their best performance yet! Almost all of the kids had added touches to their performances, Maya included. You'd think that it would get old, as many times as we had seen it. And yet, I still laughed several times. The kids' energy was infectious. Maya's fight scene was very silly and she and Kathryn performed it with great gusto.

We returned home exhausted but satisfied. It's a good feeling to accomplish something with your hands, especially when it improves the environment around your house. The yard is really starting to shape up and become a place where we can play or the grownups can sit quietly basking in the tranquil beauty, though not at the same time.

We squeezed in a bit more yard work and one more Home Depot trip on Sunday morning. (As a side note, I'm not a fan of HD, but we don't have a local hardware store.) I did some more raking and snacked a bit. We didn't have much time as we had to drop Maya off early for the show. The rest of us were off for a special treat. I had bought tickets for Stomp back in July and had forgotten about them. Maya was upset at being left out, and rightly so. But it was just one of those things. I tried to console her by asking, "Would you rather see a show or be a show?" She grudgingly admitted that she'd rather perform. And I pointed out that I was going to take her to the Escondido Rennaisance Faire in a few weeks anyway. Just her, and not Josh. This made her feel a bit better.

The rest of us were stoked for Stomp. We just knew Josh would have a blast because he likes to drum and pound on almost anything and anyone. We were sure he would appreciate it. Five minutes into the show, he asked "Is it almost over?" He did warm to it. I did notice him bouncing to the rhythms on occasion. Some of it was just too loud for him. So, there were parts where we covered his ears. However, when we talked to him about it later, he said he enjoyed it. I, on the other hand, thought it was great. My wife liked it, but thought the Boston cast was better. More athletic. Still, the comic timing was excellent, and the rhythms were astounding.

We headed back home to wrap up the yard work. I finished raking with Josh's assistance. I was thrilled he wanted to help. I figured he would cut ten to fifteen minutes off my task. He put on his gardening gloves and wheeled his wheelbarrow over to one of the grass piles. He took out his mini trowel and began loading the grass. He was spreading the pile a bit, but that would be an easy fix. All he needed to do now, was to bring the grass to the compost heap and I could dump it for him. Here is where we ran into a snag. He dumped it on another pile. Then, while I was raking the first pile back together, he scopped grass from the second pile, spreading IT out, and returned it to the first pile. So, it ended up slowing me down instead, but we had fun, so who cares?

I wrapped up by mowing one more time to suck up the dead grass. It was more vacuuming than mowing as I had raised the mower up again. The day had been partially sunny and warm, so that the dead clippings had dried out. They were now very light once the rake had loosened them from the ground. I got a full bag of grass from this effort and the compost heap was back to its huge old self again.

From there, we had some dinner, read a little "Cat in the Hat" and proceeded with the bedtime ritual. Josh added a step or two. As I stripped him down for his shower, he ran off, naked, down the hall shouting "I'm Thing 1!" I had to catch him with a net, as in the book. I substituted and afghan which was all right by him. He was just glad I was joining in the game. We did that a few times. I hid behind something. He ran by. I netted him. I wanted to be annoyed because he was dawdling, but I couldn't be. He was just too cute.

Eventually, we got the kids settled in and unwound on our respective computers. We were tired, but we had managed a well balanced weekend with just the right amount of entertainment and accomplishment.