Friday, August 12, 2011

Bowling with Barbara Manatee

We're wrapping up our week at home in which we had no company, no camps, no summer school, no R--no-thing!

We ran some short errands, to keep RJ2 venturing out into new places and to take care of things that needed to be taken care of--like back-to-school supply shopping and spending CJ's birthday gift cards. Oh, and Sweet Frog (frozen yogurt)! There was one more thing on my list--take the girls bowling.

RJ2 had such a wonderfully successful moment when she went bowling with the day camp group. CJ and I had a nice morning outing bowling, too. (Except for the Josh Grobin that they were playing that day--a whole album! Really... bowling to Josh Grobin?!) Could we all go bowling together and could this be something we could do as a family? And with cousins on our upcoming "Cousin Tour" road trip?

We are fortunate to have AMF based here in Mechanicsville, and our bowling lanes are top-notch. The company has done a lot of work to make the bowling experience family-friendly and nice. We bowl in a prototype center, really, and a corporate support center adjoins the lanes. Overall, pretty cool!

On a Friday morning, there's no league play, so things are not too busy. They assign every other lane to customers, so you don't feel like you're playing in a narrow closet. We were fitted for balls and shoes, then off to lane #26!

RJ2 was reliving her camp experience and doing a great job until we were actually ready to start bowling. She lost it for about five frames of bowling, but then recovered as if nothing had happened. I think the issue was that she needed to bowl with her new best friend....

Barbara Manatee!

Who is Barbara Manatee? Well, she's a complex character, all right. See if you can follow these threads. (It's like playing the Kevin Bacon game!):

Barbara Manatee originates with a VeggieTales' "Silly Songs with Larry" called "Endangered Love." Larry the Cucumber, watching a soap opera, sings back to his television to the lead character female in distress--singing a tango--Barbara Manatee.

For some reason, RJ2 decided to name the turquoise bear Beanie Baby Barbara Manatee. Mind you, this particular Beanie Baby bear is a special edition bear named Ariel. This Ariel was Ariel Glaser, daughter of Paul Michael Glaser [of the Starsky and Hutch TV series, circa 1975] and Elizabeth Glaser, who passed away from HIV, and the bear was named in her honor and with her artwork. CJ first received Ariel bear at her second Christmas, so the bear has been around for awhile. The Barbara Manatee name just happened a few weeks ago and led to lively discussions with RJ2 about the difference between manatees, dolphins and bears (Oh, my!). So, that's the story!

Once Barbara Manatee started bowling, things were great. AMF has ramps for the kids to use,
the computer keeps the score. We flew through two games!

The three of us are getting ready to bowl. That's actually my hand holding the ball underneath, while the other hand is driving the ramp into position. You can see Barbara Manatee's ear just over the ball.

Set.... GO!

CJ is developing a very stylish approach! (Thank you, bumpers!)

Looks like an 8--All right!

Even though the computer kept score, we weren't keeping score. With Barbara Manatee bowling, and Barbara Manatee and RJ2 bowling in my spot, and CJ bowling when RJ2 didn't want to bowl a frame, it made actually scoring kind of pointless. (HA!) And, really, who cares!


And was it excellent?

Everybody did excellent!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Camping it up with the JGirls

It was a mixed-weather Sunday. We did have sprinkles, even though had the timing all wrong. We did have thunder. Lots of thunder. More thunder than rain, perhaps, though it did manage to pour a little bit. Every little bit helps!

What are the JGirls to do to cap off the weekend--with no summer school or any obligations on Monday?....

Camp-out in the Family Room!

No, that's not a television evangelist on the screen. That's Bobby Flay from Food Network. One of CJ's favorite shows is "Food Network Star," and Sunday night's show was the "Final 4" episode, leading up to the finale next weekend. Camping, Food Network AND staying up late to watch the whole show?!

She could hardly wait.

Even though she spent her earliest days in front of "Emeril Live," RJ2 is not a big fan of Food Network, nor of most television in general. She prefers to watch kid programs on her computer, "rewinding" as often as necessary to her favorite parts. So, she opted to have "Crazy Hair Day" with her Play-Doh friends...

...who then have to take the bus to school.

We started turning off the lights at 8:30, with the last ones out at 10...

(--after they let Mary Beth Albright go--Boo hoo! But the food writer just couldn't cook well enough to hang in there for the finale. Oh well. I think Food Network General Manager Bob Tuschman should use her as a companion commentator with Kevin Brauch for "Iron Chef America." Yeah, yeah, it's one more star/idol competition show that I wasn't supposed to be watching....)

Shortly after 6:20 a.m.

RJ2 was up first, very quietly whispering to her beanie baby bear, Barbara Manatee. Then came the click of the flashlight and CJ opening the pages of a book. This was followed by my turning on the light and grabbing the....

...which lasted for about five minutes, until RJ2 emerged from the tent with a mission to create pillow structures. The first was a pillow stack at my feet. Then, it was "Fort Mom."

After being pressed by pillows, it was time to press some coffee!

A good night was had by all. (And a dry tent indoors is much more fun to put away than a wet tent outdoors.) Nice job, JGirls!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

So, when I left my last post--after the Water Country USA experience--I thought for sure the girls were on their way to bed. "Ha-ha-no-no-no," I thought, in my best Tim Taylor head voice.

No. About the time I was wrapping up my last words, CJ decided it would be a great time to launch her own hair salon.

She's tough to say "no" to when she comes with all her products.

But, it was all about RJ2 agreeing to have her hair played with, and that's not something that comes easily all the time. Most days, you have 15 seconds to get through tangles! Her sister has the right touch, apparently, and RJ2 received a full treatment.

Hair clip bonanza AND glitter nails?! Too bad this was all right before bedtime. No sooner had I snapped these shots than we were taking the clips out of her hair and brushing teeth.

The creative play rolled right into the next day--when Mom and Dad were definitely not up for doing anything.

CJ has had a thing for blanket tents for a very long time. One year for Christmas, I decided to assemble a "kit" for making blanket tents. I had seen one in a catalog and thought I could put one together for a bit less with no shipping costs. She got two shower curtains with extension hooks (which I sewed out of leftover bias tape), nylon rope and clothespins.

Most of the designs she tries out in her bedroom. The last one involved her sleeping in her closet with curtains overhead, fastened to her dresser. She hasn't had an elaborate one downstairs until this weekend.

"Yes, peek-a-boo back at you. And, no, you can't sleep here tonight!"

We have been moving bedroom pillows, stuffed animals and blankets up and down the stairs for three days, now. But, "girls don't seem to care...." to quote a Steely Dan song, and we find them here regularly--talking, reading, singing, arguing, playing with toys, watching videos off the computer....

"Please, Mom...don't make us take it down...."

(Sigh....So cute!)