The Pirates of the Captain’s Backyard

It’s after Memorial Day. It’s the first day of June. College students are home. Teachers are done. So it doesn’t matter that the calendar insists on a June 21 starting date  — around here we know that summer already is underway. Luckily, I’ve got the best thing for summer: A 3-year-old grandson with a knows-no-limits imagination. And a big backyard. Here we’re playing pirates. His ship is the slide/treehouse on the left and mine is the slide I’m (uncomfortably) sitting on, on the right. First we had to run around the yard looking for treasure, with a lot of “arrrr, matey” and other piratey phrases. Then we got on our ships to sail toward Treasure Island, since the whole running-around-the-yard thing didn’t yield much, gold-wise. We did find a silver and red pinwheel, which pleased me much more than it did Capt. (Hook) Adorable. Since I was having trouble finding Treasure Island — didn’t pirates have GPS? — the good Captain literally jumped ship and came over to help me. Good thing, too. No telling where I might have ended up. But perhaps Treasure Island is there over that fence? Naw — it’s just the neighbors’ driveway.

And in more “welcome, summer” news, click here for some great Southern recipes for the best of hot-weather eating, from the blender to the grill to the dip bowl. No oven required.

It’s A Conductor. No, Really, It Is.

There’s a super-long fence bordering the backyard of Older Daughter’s house, so of course you know we can’t leave a blank space empty for very long. Even in a non-creative person like me, the urge to Do Art cannot be ignored. (Although maybe in my case it should be.) And I know it’s not a competition or anything, but once again my son-in-law, the artist and art teacher, whipped out a chalk masterpiece with very little effort. “Look, Kacky,” 2 1/2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable said, laughing. “Daddy’s triceratops is eating conductor!” Three guesses as to who drew the conductor.

Art

Our 2-year-old grandson, Capt. Adorable, is a huge fan of trains and so the family has all gone a little train crazy. By now, most of us can create a train with whatever materials we have on hand in two minutes flat. The winner for Best Train Creation, of course, goes to the Captain’s daddy and here’s why. Exhibit A, on the left: My son-in-law’s sidewalk chalk drawing of a train. Exhibit B, on the right: My sidewalk chalk drawing of a train, helpfully identified as such in case anybody has trouble recognizing it. Now, can you guess which of us is a trained, money-making artist and high-school art teacher and which one of us is not?

Spring

I am not a fan of Spring-Forward Sunday. For one thing, I’m pretty much a lazy person and when we’re off Daylight Saving Time and it starts to get dark at 5 or 6 at night, it’s quite easy to put the ol’ pajamas on and call it a day — literally — by 8 p.m. But in Daylight Saving Time, you’re sort of compelled to keep going until 10 p.m. or so. I mean, isn’t that why Daylight Saving Time was invented — so we’d have more time to do work? Whose bright idea was that???!!! And when I was a young mom, I dreaded the spring-forward time change that wreaked havoc with those lovely early bedtimes. However, now that I’m Grandma Ka-kee and treasure every moment I can spend with my almost-2-year-old grandson, Capt. Adorable, I say the more daylight, the better. That just gives me more playtime to hang out with the Captain in his backyard and his ultra-cool new playground equipment his mom and dad got him for an early birthday present. It’s got slides and a climbing wall and a fun underneath space for hiding. Plus, it offers the chance for scientific exploration, such as “Why has rainwater gathered in this little hole and I wonder what would happen if I put my finger in it?” And when it’s spring and nice weather, you can also have your  snack of yogurt-covered blueberries outside — definitely worth giving up an hour or two of sleep!