Archive for July, 2006

a dog named…

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

We went for Chinese food tonight, but when we got to the restaurant it was all booked up for a big wedding. The staff tried to tell us that we could have a table in the back, but we decided that we felt a bit out of place in our casual clothes, so we got takeout.

At home while we were eating, Toby got a bit wistful-looking. Here’s approximately the conversation:

Emma: Toby, are you all right?
Toby: But… I think I would like to have a dog
E: But you already have two cats
T: Yes, but I would like two cats and a dog.
Andrew: Oh, what kind of dog would you like?
T: A one .. one which is green and white. With green spots, just like a cow
E: And what would you call your dog?
T: Maisie. Maisie the dog.
A: Well that sounds pretty cool.
T: Yes, he will be a good dog for me to have
A: A he? Well you can’t call a boy dog Maisie
E: So what would you call him?
T: I would call him … Tree
E: So would you get up every morning to take him for a walk?
T: Of course. Every morning.
A: I think you have it all planned out.
E: Where would he sleep?
T: We would make .. in a dog cage. A special dog cage that we would make
E: Where would we put the dog cage?
T: In my room. So that he can’t get out.
A: Don’t you think the cats would mind?
T: Yes they would but Tree wouldn’t be scary, he would just say “ruh”
E: What would Tree eat?
T: He would eat shoots of trees. He would use his teeth and his claws to open up the trees and then he would catch a bug which lives in the tree. And he would snap it with his teeth and it would be dead so that then he could eat it.
E: And what kinds of games would he play?
T: He would run and chase me up the stairs. And then he would put his butt in my face and I would say eugh because his butt is all smelly with poo. And the cats wouldn’t like that either because of the poo.
E: Well he sounds like quite an unusual sort of dog. Is he interesting?
T: No, not very interesting. He’s just my dog. Tree.

At this point we thought that we should ask Toby to draw a picture of Tree so that if we ever saw a green and white dog we could buy it. Toby said that no you wouldn’t buy a dog called Tree, so we said that we would just get him and bring him home, which apparently was a good plan. Here’s the picture – guess what the brown is behind Tree’s tail (click on the picture for a larger view):

i’m lightning mcqueen

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

We just took Toby to see the new Pixar movie, Cars. He’s been kind of obsessed by it for a few months on account of the copious merchandise in Target and other stores – he has branded sandals, bubble bath, stickers and underpants (must-have for the under-5 set). And he had seen the trailers on the computer. He had decided that he is the main character, Lightning McQueen, and every time he saw McQueen in the trailer he would shout “Look! There’s me! Lightning McQueen!”.

This was only his second time at a cinema, but he seemed quite confident and a lot less nervous about the place than first time, and was really into the whole experience. Several times he pointed out that he was indeed Lightning McQueen but on the whole he was quiet and engrossed. For some reason the fact that there was a talking truck was a very big deal for him, something of a surprise to us considering that all the cars and other vehicles also talk. The movie itself, by the way, was pretty good – not the best ever in that the story and some of the characters I thought were kind of flat, but the animation was wonderful so it was certainly worth seeing.

bonus toby photo

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

Paul found a photo of Toby from late 2005. I think there’s some craft work going on – it looks like Toby’s working on opening a glue pen or something. I like the concentration. Click on the photo for a larger view.

weekend at the lake

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

Got back yesterday from an excellent few days away. We went to stay with some friends at their parents’ house on Big Lake in Western Minnesota – the lake is part of the border with South Dakota. It was very nice indeed to get out of the city and get some quiet and fresh air. Actually the quiet was relative – it was actually quite noisy with the chirping insects and noisy birds, but it was definitely a good change.

Toby did really well with the travelling, it took about 3.5 hours to get there, but having his friend Silje (the J is pronounced like a Y) ride with us meant that there was lots of fun and goofing around which kept them occupied pretty much the whole way. He was suffering with a bit of a cough which woke him up the first night, but nothing some medication couldn’t fix. He also did well keeping up with Silje, who is a year and a half older than he is. There were a couple of moments where he showed his age, mostly around sharing, but on the whole I think they had a lot of fun together. He particularly worked on keeping up with the speech and generally held his own. Two funny things came out – one was that he was carrying around a toy croquet mallet, and when we asked him what it was he said it was his baby. We asked him its name and he said “um… Shere Khan”. The second one was related to the fact that Silje burned her mouth a little bit on a grilled cheese sandwich. Toby waited very carefully before biting into his sandwich, then announced that he “didn’t get an owie because my tongue is .. helpful, and strong!”

We did a lot of lounging around while the kids zoomed about, but also got the chance to do some active things – I went kayaking on the lake two mornings in a row which was excellent. It’s good exercise but also very peaceful and I loved it. I didn’t realize that there were pelicans living on the lake, and we got really close to a small flock of them who were sitting on some rocks. I wouldn’t want to get too close – their beaks are really long. We also got to ride on Silje’s grandpa’s speedboat. I persuaded Toby that it would be fun so he sat in the back with me in his little lifejacket. As soon as we left the dock he got unhappy and said that he wanted to go back, but once we got going at moderate speed he relaxed a bit. However when the throttle was opened wide there was a fair bit of terror, but mixed with hilarity as he got spray on his face. I think he really enjoyed it despite his worries.

We also spent a fair bit of time just paddling in the lake – the water was warm and very comfortable. Toby was very interested in the tiny minnows which came close to the shore, but wasn’t happy about going any deeper than the water being up to his knees. I’m sure he’ll get more used to it in time, and we should really join a gym so that we can take him swimming more.

The kids totally wore themselves out each day, which was a good thing on Monday night with all the racked of fireworks from the neighbors and other houses around the lake. Once Toby was in bed I went out to watch the displays, but much cooler for me was seeing a bunch of fireflies meandering around the house.

All in all an excellent time, and I think we’re feeling well rested and that we had a very good break.