On Wednesday, Steve,who was home with a vacation day, went into town for bagels and nova, and to the ever classy Bottle King for a bottle of champagne for the mimosas. I baked a nice ham and mushroom quiche. My friend, Melissa, and her family stopped in for a visit on her drive up from DC to her dad's place in Rockland County. We chatted and ate, and we parked the kids in front of the TV. Very fun.
The cooking continued on Thursday morning, of course. A pumpkin pie and two sweet potato pies. The first sweet potato pie flipped over when I burned my hand on the edge of the oven. It became a massive sweet potato snow ball. After a small temper tantrum, Steve helped me make another one. My brother, Chris, made stuffing with sausage, and mom might have made the best turkey ever. Not always a fan of the turkey, but this one was good.
Friday afternoon, Jonah had a couple of friends over for a playdate. We invited the boys' parents over at 5 for appetizers and a glass of wine. This event didn't really involve proper cooking. A cocktail party is really about arranging small, yummy things on nice plates, and I'm better at arranging than cooking. I'm a fan of Cher in Mermaids, the mother who only serves finger foods. I'm very good with a toothpick. The one hour cocktail party went much later than expected. The guests staggered out at around 10:30.
Steve and I had to move slowly on Saturday morning. We made Jonah clean up the destruction left by the boys after the six hour playdate. After the clean up, we stretched out on the basement floor and played with Lego and erector sets. There was also lots of drawing by Ian.
Ian has become obsessed with drawing. He spends hours every day drawing pictures of Spongebob and friends, the characters from the Captain Underpants books, and the Wimpy Kid kids. I have stacks of his drawings. He draws on the edges of his homework sheets. It's slightly spooky, but it's also pretty cool. If you spend three or four hours a day doing something, you get very good at it. Three months ago, he was making stick figures. Now, he does a perfectly proportional body. He constructs his own mazes and word searches.
That night, we went to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It's Wes Anderson best work since The Royal Tenenbaums. I'm a huge fan of Anderson. I like his moody, smart-assed characters. I like the way he arranges the interiors of his scenes. I how he titles the various acts of his stories. I found The Darjeeling Limited unwatchable, and was losing interest in him. He brought me back with this movie. Anderson wrote, directed and produced the movie. He wrote a few of the songs. He did some crazy stuff with puppets. This guy and his buddies are unbelievably creative. My kids loved the movie, too, so it worked on their level as well.
This morning, we took the kids to church. Ian used the pew as a desk and drew the entire time. Jonah joined in. Jonah should be paying attention in church and not drawing, but we let it go. After church, we drove in the city to go to the Met. The drive into the city wasn't pleasant. Jonah was pouting about having to go to an art museum and about getting math problems passed to him in the backseat of the car.
Previous experiences with art museums have not been positive. There was the phase when they would race from room to room or scream loudly to hear their echo. After that, came the swooning on the benches in the center of the room. But Steve and I like going to art museums, so they have to suck it up every once in a while and just deal. Jonah was anticipating being tortured, so he was a pain in the ass on the drive into the city.
Surprisingly, everyone did great in the museum. We did the Greek and Roman statues and the Temple of Dendur. Mummies and statues are always great for kids.
Feeling brave after those first successes, we went to the American Stories exhibit, a collection of paintings of ordinary life in America — Victorian era girls playing a ring toss and boys dancing on a raft going down the Mississippi. It was just perfect for little boys. I heard Ian mumble to himself, "I need to draw."
As a reward for good behavior, we went down to the museum and got both boys some drawing pads and pencils. They both drew all the way home. Instead of asking to play computer games when we got home, they kept drawing at the dinner table. I got out of my drawing pads and special pencils and joined them. I made a simple pasta sauce for everybody, and we watched Pawn Stars on the History Channel.
We made a lot of stuff over this long weekend. We made food, took pictures, drew pictures of Spongebob, constructed airplanes out of erector sets. We may not be at Wes Anderson levels of creativity, but we sure did have a lot of fun.
Steve grills Jonah on his knowledge of Roman mythology, and then pontificates for a while.
After you go to a museum, it very important to play in the excellent playground in Central Park.