Saturday, July 19, 2014

Zoomie Hops Aboard!

Well . . . "hops" might be an overstatement. After we had talked all week about "riding Thomas," I don't think the Amtrak that came whistling and roaring into our local station on July 4 was quite what Zoomie had envisioned in his little two-year-old head.

Yeah, scratch "hops." When Zoomie, Bootsie, and I climbed aboard the Missouri River Runner at 12:46 p.m., he pretty well had a death grip on my neck and was trying to climb me like a tree.

But all was well once we were aboard and seated and got out the Fruit Loops. The thirty-four-minute train ride would take us thirty miles down the road--er, track--toward the kids' home. The plan was that Pa-pa would meet us at the next station in the van, we would grab a quick lunch, and it would be nap time all the way to Topeka.

For a little boy who loves trains, I hoped that this train ride, a slightly-late second-birthday present, would be a dream come true. Here, you can see he was feeling no pain. (The protruding tongue is what happens when, prior to picture-snapping, I say, "Where's your happy face?")

I am happy to report that our plans stayed pretty well on track with only one major derailment that involved a major diaper "event" after lunch at McDonald's. I won't go into detail, except to say that during the course of diapering two children and six grandkids, I have never had an experience quite so--well, let's just say--comprehensive, and leave it at that. (I apologize for the fact that I was preoccupied and therefore unable to document with a photo here.)

Just how memorable this event was is evident even today when Zoomie himself recalls our train ride. Inevitably, when asked about the train, he will also mention the "beed poop."

I may be able to talk about it myself some day after the therapy sessions have ended and the McDonalds' lawsuit has been settled. Meanwhile, I will take comfort in the certainty that Zoomie's birthday train ride will have a permanent place in the Annals of Googiedom.    

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bootsie's All-Holiday Cookies

It was July 3, and Bootsie had been staying here at Googie's for almost a week. In that time we had more than done justice to Pla-Doh, bubbles, storybooks, and the swimming pool. She was going home the next day. What, I asked her, was the one thing she wanted to do that we hadn't had time for?

"Bake cookies!" she said, and that set me to wondering.  What kind of cookies do you make to celebrate the Fourth of July? My cookie cutter collection offered something for just about every other holiday, but there was nothing shaped like a firecracker or a watermelon slice. Whatever to do?

As it turns out, this was not a problem for Bootsie. She surveyed the collection and selected an array of cutters based on how pretty the colors were: that gave us, among other things, a blue gingerbread man, a red heart, a green clover, a red heart, a purple Easter egg, and an orange leaf.

Add a roll of ready-made gingerbread cookie dough bought for a buck at the after-Christmas clearance and a couple leftover jack o' lantern plates, and we were ready to go. If we couldn't find a cookie cutter to celebrate the holiday at hand, well then, we would just celebrate all of them.

The enterprise was teamwork at its best. Googie did the rolling; Bootsie did the cutting (usually, I might add, from right smack in the middle). Googie transferred the shaped dough to the cookie sheet . . .

. . . and Bootsie added the sprinkles. Googie popped the cookies in and out of the oven . . .

 . . . and Bootsie performed the milk test for quality control. Happily, she was glad to report no rejects. When we were finished, we had a plate of cookies for Googie's house . . . 

. . . and one for Bootsie to take home on July 4.

With only a slight stretch of the imagination, Bootsie and I rationalized that the Fourth of July should be a celebration of all things American, including the holidays we celebrate as a family throughout the year. The fireworks and burgers at her house the next night were fun, but Bootsie and I couldn't think of a better way than our cookies to top off the holiday meal as well as her week-long stay at Googie's.