Introducing “Candy”

SONY DSCBack when Sam was an infant, Dave and I picked up a book called Plush-O-Rama at a local craft shop.  It is a book full of fun, quirky stuffed animal designs.  Dave made one for Sam (it was a crazy-looking chicken), but we haven’t done much with it since.  Sam found the book about 9 months ago and has really enjoyed looking at all of the pictures.  I promised him that we would make one together this summer.

Sam picked out  a bug design called onimushi.  The one in the book is made of several shades of green felt.  It has a really cute grumpy expression on its face.

We headed to the craft store and picked out many colors of felt.  Sam really liked the animal prints and ended up choosing several of them for the project.  We went home, eager to get started.



I have to admit, we had a number of meltdowns.  Sam and I had very different visions of how he would be contributing to the project.  I thought he would pick the design and fabric and maybe help stuff the animal when it was done.  He thought he would choose the design and fabric, cut out the pattern, cut out the felt, put on the iron-on adhesive, sew, and stuff the animal. So we had some problems.  Sam has been working hard on his scissor skills lately, so I decided to let him try cutting the pattern.  He decided it was too hard.  Then he wanted to cut the felt, and his kid scissors couldn’t handle the task.  I let him try my scissors under some strict supervision, but that also turned out to be a bad idea (don’t worry!  No one was hurt).  In the end, I waited for him to go to bed and finished cutting everything while he was sleeping.  I also put the iron-on adhesive on some of the pieces so that they were ready for him when he got up.  Sam turned out to be very good at peeling off the paper from the adhesive and sticking the pieces together.  He put all of the pieces onto the face himself, which he was very proud of.  We worked at this together for awhile–me ironing while he stuck pieces together.  Once everything was assembled, he helped me with some embroidery, which he says is just like lacing.  He learned about needle safety (“kids can’t touch space needles because space needles are very sharp”).  When we went to bed for the night, I finished sewing up the doll but left it unstuffed so that he could help with that in the morning.  This morning we stuffed it and I finished sewing it up.

Sam is really proud of his stuffed animal, which he has named Candy.  I liked his creative use of animal prints and colors.  As soon as we finished the project, Sam asked to make another one–the deranged dog, which is a stuffed dog with crazy eyes and foam coming out of its mouth.




Swimming Lessons

imageSummer is just about done for most people, but I feel like we’re just getting start here (mostly because I finally finished classes last Thursday).  Sam and I are both out of school for the next month, and we have big plans.  The first item on our agenda is swimming lessons!  Sam has been really excited about this for about a week.  Sam’s class meets 4 times a week for 2 weeks.  It’s a beginning level class, which means that he will learn how to blow bubbles in the water, kick, and put his head underwater (they call this a “bob”).  I thought it would be a parent-child class, but it isn’t.  The 4 kids in the class sit on the stairs while the teacher works with each of them individually.  The other moms sit on chairs outside of the pool, but I get in the water with them.  Sam wants me in the pool, and it gives me a chance to practice the skills with him while the teacher is working with the other kids.

So how does the boy like swimming lessons?  Well, I’d say he’s feeling conflicted about it.  As I wrote earlier, he’s been really excited about it.  He wasn’t scared to start the lessons at all yesterday.  He even let the teacher take him all around the pool without me. He started crying when she tried to get him to float on his back.  He cried even more when she tried to get him to do a bob.  He calmed down, had fun jumping into the water from the side of the pool, and the lesson ended.  As we walked away, he started crying because he wanted to “keep doing swimming lessons”.  I asked him what his favorite part was, and he said “kicking and doing the bob”.  Nevermind that he refused to do the bob.  Later in the day, Sam told us that he was excited to go back to swimming lessons but that he wanted “a better class that doesn’t do the bob”.

There was a lot less crying in day 2.  Sam wore some goggles because I convinced him that the bob would be better with them.  He still refused to do a bob at first, but did a great job kicking around the pool.  Later, as the teacher was working with another student, Sam jumped off the bottom step.  His head went underwater briefly before I pulled him up.  I said “Hey!  You did a bob all by yourself!”  He felt pretty good about it and let his teacher do a bob with him afterwards.  At the end of class today, he again said that doing the bob was the best part of class.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow!

Sam spends a lot of swimming lesson time shouting things like “NO!  I DON’T WANT TO DO THE BOB!” and “I DON’T WANT TO BLOW BUBBLES!”  and “IT HURTS TO DO THE BOB WHEN SHE’S (the teacher) HOLDING ME!”  He’s easily the loudest kid in that pool, and that’s how I know he’s enjoying himself.  He spends the whole time jumping around on the steps and making happy shouting noises. I’m sure his poor teacher thinks he hates swimming (and her).

Kinkerconkrendin turner


The device in Sam’s tight hand is a kinkerconkrendin Turner. It first appeared last week in our home, but we’ve also spotted a few on lake Washington. they are similar to boats, but they can also go underwater like submarines.

Yes, the pronunciation of this machine is difficult. I’ve been corrected many times.