Thursday, June 29, 2017

Music Appreciation

Daddy Steve:  Anthony and Robin had been checking the mail very regularly lately.  They ordered a new music CD* and were eager for it to arrive.

*While Daddy John is technologically up-to-date, Daddy Steve is a bit of a Luddite.  He knows nothing of MP3s, streaming, or downloads.  CDs are as advanced as he is willing to get and, consequently, his boys take after him.

Robin: Maybe it will come today.

Yesterday the CD finally arrived.  However, as is often the case, our letter carrier did not give it a good enough push, and the package was stuck in the mail slot; half in, half out.

Anthony: Phooey and drat!

The boys were ultimately able to extricate the parcel (with a little help from Daddy Steve), and wasted no time opening it!

Anthony: I do hope they've sent the right one.

They were pleased to find the CD was indeed what had been ordered: Beethoven's String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Opus 130.  It's a real favorite of theirs (and Daddy Steve's).

Anthony suggested listening to it right away.

Robin: Give me a minute to change my shirt first.
Anthony: Alright, I'll put the kettle on.

Robin soon returned, wearing his 'music appreciation' shirt.

Robin: It's important to be suitably attired.

So, the boys sat down with their tea and let the music transport them to another place.  Music has the power to do this.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Partners in Crime

Daddy Steve:  I've alluded previously to the fact that Mikko and Tyler can be a handful.  It's not really that they're naughty; it's just that they're so full of ideas and it's some of those ideas that get them into trouble.

Mikko: 'Naughty' is such a strong word.

Mikko is usually the instigator.  He sees himself as an architect of absolutely brilliant plans.  That is, until they go awry.  Tyler is basically a sensible, level-headed boy.  However, he's always beguiled by Mikko's schemes.  They all sound awesome to him.

Mikko: If we dump all the clothes out of this bin, we can fill it with water and use it as a swimming pool.
Tyler: Awesome!  Let's do it!

Some of their more infamous exploits have included taking the clock apart to "see what makes it work."

Giving each other CAT scans.

Seeing who can slide down the banister faster.

Inevitably, their shenanigans lead to a scolding from Anthony although, honestly, he's rather a half-hearted disciplinarian.

Anthony:  Blah, blah..had me worried sick!  Blah, blah, blah...going to be the death of me yet!  
Blah, blah, splutter, splutter...>sigh<

Good boy Robin is outwardly appalled as well, though secretly intrigued by the daring duo's misbehavior.  Something Mikko is well aware of...

Mikko: You know, if we can talk Robin into going along with us, we won't get into trouble.
Tyler: Awesome!  Let's do it!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Children & Summertime

Daddy Steve: Today's post is not strictly about dolls, but also children and summertime.

Our kitchen wall calendar this year features historic photos of Minneapolis; it's fun to look at pictures of our city from times past.

Kaveh: Look at all the carriages!
Giancarlo: I guess that's why they call them the 'horse & buggy' days.

The photo for June is our favorite.  It features Minnehaha Falls in 1915, looking almost exactly as it does today.  What we find particularly charming are the three young ladies who have waded out into the creek below the falls, probably on a hot summer's day.

Kaveh: That looks like fun!
Giancarlo: It makes me want to take off my shoes and wade in water.

Like Sasha dolls, this picture seems to perfectly capture the essence of childhood in its purest form. Summer begins today in the Northern Hemisphere; we would like to wish everyone a Happy Solstice!

We don't have a creek nearby, so the boys decided to improvise!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Puzzling Mail Call

Daddy John: It's a quiet morning in Gregoropolis, until...

Pete Dakota: Hey guys, we got some mail!  It's from Peggy Sue and Henry!
Stephen Orange: Who are Peggy Sue and Henry?
Benjamin Roy: They're our friends in England; we sent them those postcards and agate from vacation.

BR: It's our turn for postcards!
Stephen: "Appledore."  Is this where they live?
BR: This is a castle in Rochester.  Henry's invited us to come to England sometime and explore castles with him.
Stephen: That would be a grand adventure.  Castles have been around since the 9th century.

Pete: What's this?  It has a picture on one side and writing on the other.

BR: It's a piece of a jigsaw puzzle!  We can put it together by reading the writing.  I'll bet it's a letter from Henry and Peggy Sue.
Stephen: Why don't we try to put it together picture side up, first?  it will be more challenging that way.
Pete: Yeah!  It's a nice day; we can go outside and put it together on the patio.

BR: Where should we start?
Stephen: I always like to start a puzzle by sorting out the border pieces.

Pete: Only a few pieces left!

BR: It's a postcard of a place called "North Devon."  We should ask Daddy John to show us where that is on his map of England.
Stephen: The letter on the back says this is where they went on their vacation.  How interesting!
Pete: This was fun!  I like getting mail like this.

Thank you to Henry and Peggy Sue of Rose Cottage for the cards!

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Daddy Steve: What happened to our chilly spring days?  This weekend the temperature at Gregoropolis hit 92°F (33°C)!  It was definitely time to get the boys into their summer clothes.  I started with Sasha and Miguel.  Earlier this spring I ordered two striped shirts from Ginny--identical patterns in complimentary colorways.


That last part was very important--Sasha can get some charmingly bizarre ideas.  When Miguel came to live with us, he was Sasha's first brother who was roughly his same age-1968.  I think Miguel is probably from earlier in that year, while Sasha is later.

Miguel's arrival; looking a bit grubby and wearing quite possibly the ugliest homemade cardigan ever.

Anyway, Sasha immediately came to the conclusion that they were long-lost twin brothers!  The fact that they don't look too much alike did not deter him.

Miguel is a shy little boy.  He's more than happy to let Sasha take the lead in everything, so he was completely on board with Sasha's twin theory.  Because Miguel is so bashful he doesn't appear in the blog often, which is a shame because he's very handsome and unique.  His eyes have radiating lines in the irises; a style that appeared for only a short time in 1968, and only on Gregors.  His nearly black (and non-falling) hair has a very neat and defined rooted part at the crown; more like the girls have.

¡Ojos hermosos!

Un peinado limpio

Although Sasha and Miguel are definitely fraternal twins, they share the same close bond that twins are noted for having.

Sasha: Hello, twin brother!
Miguel: ¡Hola, mi hermano gemelo!

June is the month of Gemini, The Twins, so Gregoropolis salutes twins everywhere; both actual and honorific.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

All About Lighthouses

Daddy Steve:  Ever since our Lake Superior/North Shore trip last month, the boys have been obsessed with lighthouses.  Children have such strong curiosities, which lead to very deep and intense interests--at least until something new comes along!

Right now, lighthouses are the big thing and they can't read enough about them!

Patrick: The Cape Hatteras light in North Carolina is the tallest lighthouse in the U.S.; 210 feet (64m) high.
Frank: It looks like a giant candy cane.
Sebastian: Look up German lighthouses now.

All of this lighthouse talk made me think of a book I had as a child; one that I remember being quite fond of.  It was part of a whole series of books on a wide variety of subjects.  After a quick online search, I was able to track down the book.  I found a very inexpensive copy on eBay and ordered it. 

(The Internet is a wonderful thing; you can basically buy back your entire childhood--for a price!)

I have a feeling that many of our U.K. readers will recognize this series.  It's quite an informative little book, with charming illustrations.  It has quickly become a favorite here in Gregoropolis.  The boys have practically memorized the whole thing!

Robin: The Pharos of Alexandria was an ancient lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Emile: Eet ees where 'phare,' ze French word for lighthouse, comes from.
Giancarlo: And the Italian word 'faro,' too.

Blake: The first Eddystone lighthouse off the coast of Devon was built in 1698.
Bowie: That's older than Daddy Steve and Daddy John combined!

Predictably, Mikko and Tyler are drawn to the adventure stories of 'Wreckers' who deliberately lured ships aground to plunder them.

Mikko: Wow, they were just like real pirates!

They also admire the courageous rescue efforts of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Tyler: That sea is really rough! What a brave bunch of lads.