And the Winner Is...Winona Lou Grossman!!!!!

Ok, it was just a coloring contest. Not even a free-hand art contest, but a "fill in the pre-determined lines on the page" contest. Not really the stuff that parents dare gush about. The stuff that, frankly, I would gape in concerned wonder if any parents I knew gushed about... so I do so here trusting that this is read by grandmas and aunts almost exclusively, and hope the rest of you will still be my friend after this post. Your kids are cute and smart and creative, too. Really.

Because I am oddly thrilled by this news. Context: It was field trip day at Y Camp. Her group headed to the Rodeo--without Winnie due to a slight tummy issue and a larger "parents don't approve of rodeos" issue. But, they had colored in some bucking broncos and horse pictures ahead of time to take with them for the Coloring Contest. Winona's counselor turned in her campers' pictures and at the end of day, in front of HUNDREDS of kids, mind you, the announcer congratulates "Winona from the Y"--- who was not there, but whose counselor went down to receive the prize--a TIARA!--in her honor. 

Now, I played it cool upon hearing the news; was actually only mildly amused by the whole thing when Counselor Dawn handed me the tiara. But as the day went on, I got to thinking about winning... and how good it feels. We love to say "Everybody Plays! Everyone Wins!" at the Y--which I think sets the stage for important lessons and values-- but that doesn't stop MOST people at those games from silently keeping score, and quietly congratulating the winners on the way out of the gym, 'cause let's face it: it feels GREAT! And I was so excited for Winona to feel GREAT about this. 

And she does. She is really proud and said, "Mom, I was at that coloring table longer than anyone else" and later, "Mom, have you seen my good crayons? The ones we hide from Jezzie? I think I want to use those for my art tonight" and at bedtime, "I can't believe I won a tiara!" The especially nice thing about this win is that none of the other kids are thinking "I didn't win the coloring contest"-- at least I would highly doubt it. It matters to one kid only. One kid and her parents, that is. (I'd post the picture, but it's being shipped to MOMA. Actually, I  just never saw it). 

I promise you that the accolades and prizes of Winona's future will not be in direct proportion to the precedent I've hereby set for the Coloring Contest Tiara. Really. I promise. 


The Wee Manipulator: Act I, Scene I

Scene opens with Young Two Year Old sitting in a rocking chair with a tin full of crayons in her lap. A mischievous look appears on her face and suddenly, the crayons are scattered about the living room floor.

Papa: Jezebel, please pick those up and put them back in the tin.
Jezebel: No.
Papa (singing): "Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Everywhere...."
Jezebel: No.
Jezebel continues: Sleeping. Crayons SLEEEEEEEPING Daddy.  (Finger goes to mouth and she leans in to Dad) SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! (Marches off to pantry where she hunkers down with a book behind a closed door... apparently to give the crayons the peace and quiet they need to stay right where they are. Asleep). 

Papa and Mama look at each other with "Lord Help Us" looks.


We celebrated by heading to a farm to pick some strawberries. 

What bucket? I don't need no stinkin' bucket.

Oh, THIS bucket? The one with all the strawberries Nona picked? 
You're right, this does make it a lot easier. 

Mom! Found another bucket! I'm getting GOOD at this!

I put one in the bucket. I swear.
(Can I eat it now?)

(But this one is eating my dress at the moment).


 I can't decide if I like this or not, but it does make me giggle. 

I love the goats. I squeezed this one really hard. 
Then tried to climb the fence. 
Bye, Goat. I promise I'll return to you one day.

CSA veggies on the grill...
(and brats. You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but...)

Homemade strawberry shortcake...

And a bonfire to welcome celebrate the longest day of the year...
 Happy Summer!


 Summer came to pass... for a brief and glorious day or so. So we did this:

And then, the rains came in again; so I made a bed for my princess castle. 
All by myself!
(She hand-stitched three of the sides,  stuffed it, then worked the pedal on the machine while I guided it through... She spent a lot of time with this and was quite proud). 

And that was such fun, that I decided I needed a carriage, too. 
Much to mom's relief, I stopped short of needing to make my own horse. 

We discovered a lot of mom's art and sewing supplies today. 
The winner? Stuffing.

While Winnie made beds and carriages, I was content to sport a sweet apron
and an elfin beanie and do some drawing. 


When one has nearly run out of distractions from the laundry, weeding, grocery shopping and dust bunny herding, 

one has only to look as far as the birthday boxes in the recycling bin for adequate reason to delay any sort of productivity....

And build a castle.

 And when that is done, then there's really only 
time enough left in the day to sit poolside. 
Happy Summer... at long, long last. 


Happy Birthday to Me! I'm TWO!!!