Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In Plain Sight

I swim before I go to work most days.  I use a waterproof lap counter on my finger, which means instead of mentally keeping track of what lap I'm on I can push a button each time I reach the shallow end of the pool and I can let my mind wander.  It's a nifty little gadget and one I'm glad I found several years ago.

The other morning while sitting on the edge of the pool and fastening the lap counter to my finger I noticed for the first time that the little wave logo on it is really made from the letters S and C (for "Sport Count").  Now I can't unsee the letters.

It reminded me of when years ago a friend pointed out the arrow hidden in plain sight on the Fed Ex logo.  He wondered how much money they spent to design that arrow that so many people probably missed.  Once you see the arrow you can't not see the arrow.

I wonder sometimes when I look at my kids what I'm seeing or not seeing.  They are not too different from one day to the next, but when you jump back in photos by months and years the changes are startling.  Quinn is simultaneously in my mind very big and very little.  I think part of the charm of raising a boy is being able to scoop up someone in your arms who one day will likely turn around and be able to do the same to you.  I look at him and see my baby, but also hints of the man he may grow to be.

I watch Mona bent over her work and recognize the look of concentration on her face from when she first put a paintbrush to paper as a toddler.  It's a look I can imagine someone falling in love with her becoming enamored with one day.

Lately we've been having Aden come to the violin store after school to do her homework.  There are fewer distractions for her there than at home.  She makes popcorn in the store machine and snacks away while doing research on her dad's computer across the room from me.

She's so grown up anymore.  Aden's 13, and she's now my height and shoe size.  She can borrow my clothes and walk herself to Target or a friend's house and she's been on two overnight field trips out of state without us.  When she hugs me she tries to make herself shorter than I am because regardless of how much she's grown or how the world sees her she still wants to be my little girl.

When I look across the room at Aden sometimes I see the little girl she used to be, and other times the woman she will become.  I struggle a bit to see who she is now.

It's amazing the things right in front of us that we can see or not see.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mold-A-Rama Update

We're still waiting for warmer weather to want to work on our own Mold-A-Rama machine (which has a leak we need to fix, and there is still the problem of the coin return that shoots money back inside the machine), but in the meantime we got an unexpected addition to our collection!

Last year I was contacted by someone in Tennessee who came across my blog and said she collected Mold-A-Ramas, and would we be willing to trade?  I told her we liked the fun of going to the places and getting them ourselves, but that if she paid us back we'd be happy to pick things up in our area of the country and send them to her.  We ended up getting her figures from our zoo here in Milwaukee, along with things from Toledo, Detroit, and Chicago.  (Someday we will get to the Como Park Zoo and we'll be sure to pick her up some more there.)

She was pleased with the box of Mold-A-Ramas we sent her, and the other day (right around my birthday no less) we got a surprise package from her!  Four retired figures from the Knoxville Zoo that we wouldn't be able to get anyway, even if we visited, including a chimp we've never seen before:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Baby Things

Aden holding Quinn, 2006
I am so far removed from babies anymore it's weird.  There was such a long stretch of baby things in my life for a while, but now my babiest baby is eight.  As I am typing this he is making a batch of crepes on his own, so no, my life no longer includes the baby things.

But I have a nephew due to arrive in the world in a couple of months, and a friend just adopted a newborn, so I've been thinking about what, if any, advice I have that may still be relevant to those with babies.

Baby things change fast, so there are many things that were important for me that are already out of date.  For instance, in the few years since I was carrying Quinn around in a Baby Bjorn those Moby baby wrap carriers have become the rage and wearing my baby the way I did is decidedly out.  Car seats are forever evolving, and I don't miss dealing with those.  Baby food doesn't even seem to come in jars now that I can see, so I'm glad I collected those when I did because they come in handy in my shop.  Is Tummy Time still a thing?  Aden hated Tummy Time and Mona always fell asleep.  I don't think I was ever in a position to set Quinn down long enough to bother with it by the time he came along.

In any case, my friend with the new baby thanked me for a couple of things I said to her before her baby arrived, and I thought while I still remember anything about living with babies I should jot them down and hope they help someone else.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Puppy Dog Eyes

So much to write, so little time....  This is just a quick post to let people know I"m not dead, just swamped.

In my world there have been rehearsals, concerts, army things, a ton of work (yesterday was 12 straight hours and I still didn't get to everything), snow, cold, one kid broke a wrist.  Blogging time has been hard to come by.

In the meantime, here is the rare non-blurry picture of my dog trying to get me to stop working.
When I'm in my shop at home working on violins Chipper gets anxious.  He does not like it when I do things, so he looks at me pleadingly and occasionally puts his paws in my lap while I'm trying to carve.