Wednesday, April 7, 2010

dragon days.

Listening To: Through Any Window by Wisely
Line Obsession: At the name of Aslan, each of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got that feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer. - From The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

My niece and nephew came up for Easter weekend, which was fun times a billion. Erin, my niece, is 12 and gorgeous and hilarious. She makes me laugh so much. On Friday night, while I was trying to go to sleep, I kept thinking about this story she told me. I got a serious case of the giggles all over again. Erin is easygoing and pretty much game for whatever. She's very chill. However. Andy, age 5, is a force. He wakes up at like 6am ready to go 100mph. He likes everyone's full attention on him, at all times. He is hyper, intense, and loud (and super fun). Whenever he leaves, it's like all my energy has magically poofed away. So for those of you who are moms of little kids (or for those of you who nanny little kids ... or take care of all your little brothers and sisters), please accept my virtual hugs and confetti. You deserve countries named in your honor. I stand in awe.

I asked Andy what I should blog about today and he said Buzz Lightyear. That works! We went to see "How to Train Your Dragon" over the weekend and I saw snippets of the new Toy Story preview while I was tripping up the dark stairs (those 3-D glasses do nothing to illuminate dark theaters) (Maybe you aren't supposed to put them on until you get in your seat?). TS3 looks so good. Usually I don't think movie sequels are very snazzy but Toy Story never seems to lose it's magic. I saw an article with all the "Easter eggs" for the part 3. I think it was the license plate that had the number of the classroom where some of the animators met in college? Too fun.

As for "How to Train Your Dragon" ... it was fantastic. It was sweet, magical, and full of some seriously beautiful scenery. There's this one scene where the gigantic bad dragon is silhouetted in the fog. I must have backed into my seat (or cowered ... or squealed) because Andy leaned over and said (very loudly): "This is make-believe." Even aside from the special effects, the story was so sweet. I will always be smitten with unlikely heroes, like Hiccup. The way he befriended the dragons instead of killing them kind of had a cool message to it, without too much moralizing or flashing a sign that said "Learn this, kids!". I'm also partial to tough girls who like to fight with swords (I can't remember the name of the Viking girl in the flick - but she's great. And has the cutest outfit.). Also, I wanted to cuddle the dragon.

I highly recommend the film. (And I recommend going when little kids go - hearing them scream and clap and all that stuff is so funny. Plus, it masks the fact that I'm doing all those things too ...)

Anybody else seen it? What did you think?

Erin suggested I blog about my dog's secret life as a doggie-agent. Warning: When I told Erin this story, we were sitting outside in the blazing heat eating Luna bars. The sun was baking my brain and so this story won't be as funny to you as it was for us.

Episode One: The Case of the Golden Kumkwat

On a very-ordinary street, in a very-ordinary neighborhood, there sits a not-so-ordinary blue house. Sure, the house might seem normal at first. The house is surrounded by yellow flowers, puffy trees, and prickly rose bushes. But do not let the cute exterior fool you. Inside this house lives a freaking awesome dog named Biscuit. Biscuit might seem like any ordinary fuzzball - she likes to cuddle, loves treats, and loves to chase butterflies. But the cute doggy activities are merely a disguise for Biscuit's real job: she's a super-secret doggie-agent.

On this particular spring day, Biscuit's person, Natalie, has started writing early. This is good because Biscuit has a job to do. Biscuit waits patiently, watching out the window until she sees someone who appears to be a sweet old lady, wearing a pink velour track suit, hobbling down the street.

Biscuit stands up very casually. She stretches, then she sneaks out of the house, and out of the yard, via a secret door in the ivy that wraps around the fence. Once outside, Biscuit glances around, then prances across the lawn (tail wagging) to rendezvous with the lady in pink. This woman is actually Agent Monterrey Casablancas: a kick-boxing granny with an affinity for grape bubblegum, celebrity gossip magazines, and the prevention of K-9 crime.

"Morning Agent Biscuit," Agent C. says. She opens a beige folder (with a black paw print on the front) and lays it open on the grass for Biscuit to read.

(Pause: Did you watch Friends? Agent Casablancas talks like Joey's agent, Estelle.)

"We gotta big problem," Agent C. says, propping her hands on her hips. "Boots is at it again. And this time, he's stolen the golden kumquat, a souvenir the couple down the street bought on their honeymoon to Gatlinburg. The kumquat means everything to them. It is their very source of inspiration and hope and Boots stole it right out from under their noses."

Boooots. Biscuit can't talk, not with words, but she narrows her eyes and stifles a little growl. Boots has been Biscuit's arch-nemesis since the day he escaped from his electric fence and came sniffing around the yard. (Worth noting: This part of the story is true. Boots belongs to a fam down the street. He has the face of a bull dog, the body of a cat, and the tail of a rooster. Whenever storms come and knock the power, Boots escapes from his electric fence and comes to say hey. Also, he's very old and very sweet. But for the sake of this story, he's a villain.)

Biscuit scratches her ear in frustration. Does she have time for a wild Boots chase? What if Natalie stops writing while Biscuit is gone? And then Natalie freaks out and worries ... or worse, discovers Biscuit is actually a doggie-agent?! But what if Boots is left to his own devices and comes back to steal more stuff? Like Natalie's yellow notebooks? Or the little ceramic gnome out in the flower garden? Or Biscuit's treats?!

Biscuit sighs. Looks up at Agent C. And nods.

"Good dog," Agent C. says. "There's lots of treats in it for you, ya know."

Treats! Biscuit nuzzles against Agent C.'s leg and runs back for the house (tail wagging), eager to plan her method of attack.

"Good luck Biscuit," Agent Casablancas says, as she taps out a fresh perfectly-square-piece of Bubbleyum Grape Gum into her hand. "You're gonna need it"

Biscuit comes back through her secret door in the ivy, then sneaks into the house, then looks around the corner into the kitchen. Natalie is still typing. So Biscuit sneaks to the bookshelf in the living room. She touches her paw to a copy of Mary Lou Retton's autobiography [a book Natalie has actually read ... because she always thought it was cool that she and Mary Lou are the same height]. The bookshelf pulls far enough from the wall to reveal a secret passageway to Biscuit's spy lair.

Most people think the fake dormer on top of the little blue house is merely there for aesthetics. This, of course, is a ruse. This is Biscuit's office; her super-secret-spy-lair. In this room is everything a doggie-agent needs: a GPS unit, a helmet, goggles, lots of spy gear, a box of treats, a picture of Biscuit and Natalie together, and a yellow tennis ball. Once Biscuit gets into her spy-lair, she works quickly. She pulls out her gear, plots her destination on Nigel (which Natalie thinks she's misplaced ... if only she knew) and ponders her opponent.

On sunny days, Boots loves the surf and the smell of dead fish. This means he's probably somewhere around the lake. So Biscuit straps on her helicopter attachment (an idea she came up with after watching the old "Wizard of Oz" movie with Natalie ... I'm gonna fly like a monkey...) and her eye-goggles. Then she pushes a paw shaped button on the floor and the roof of the fake dormer splits. Biscuit sails into the sky and toward the crystalline waters of the bay.

Boots is easy to spot. He's in a miniature speedboat (his doggie-pirate flag fluttering in the breeze) speeding down the causeway. He is chewing on a doggie-treat shaped like a cigar. The golden kumquat is sparking in the back of the boat. Biscuit swoops down lower and almost touches the golden kumquat with her paws, but Boots sees her, and punches the gas. Biscuit flies faster, reaching for the kumquat and almost, almost, FINALLY!

Biscuit snatches the kumquat, and flies away. Boots pumps his little paw at the sky and barks. This won't be the last you see of me Agent Biscuit ...

Biscuit drops the kumquat off with Agent Casablancas, who is waiting for Biscuit at a bench near the duck pond. (The ducks aren't double agents, btw. Ducks are mostly dumb.)

Agent C. says, "You're one of a kind, Agent Biscuit. I don't know what we'd do without ya."

Biscuit takes her well-earned treats, then runs back to the little blue house. She sneaks in through the secret door in the ivy. She gets back inside, runs to the living room, and then curls up in a ball in front of her favorite sunny window.

Just as Biscuit closes her eyes, Natalie walks in and says, "Hey cutie! You've been super quiet out here." She sits down beside Biscuit on the floor and scratches Biscuit's nose. "Are you having a good dream?"

Biscuit rolls over on her back so Natalie will scratch her tummy. Then Biscuit stretches against the warm sunlight. And grins.

"Weird," Natalie says, sniffing as she leans down closer. "You smell like grape bubblegum ..."

And that's the end! I hope you (and your little dog, too!) have a big adventure today. ;) How's your week going?


  1. that's too cute :)
    i babysit 12 hours a day during summer and school breaks, so i know what you mean as far as the energy thing goes. ha.

  2. I can't wait for Episode 2! =)

    Out of the "education" I've had so far in the early childhood development program, these are the two major things I've learned about kids: 1) They can turn anything into an awesome mess (but that's okay, it's how they learn. It's just me, the perfectionist, who has to learn to let go), and 2) They have a endless supply of energy (and one chocolate-covered peanut butter ball can double that energy supply).


  3. I'm hocked Natalie! I cannot wait until Episode 2, Toy Story 3, AND How To Train Your Dragon!

    It's funny your nephew told you to blog about Buzz Lightyear, because my youth pastor's kids were over yesterday and they would jump off my porch and yell "To Infinity and Beyond!" and make an action posse. LOL TO FUNNY!

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your family! =]I wish I could of heard you tell the Doggy agent story... mind if I use it to tell the little kids I babysit for? They are always wanting a new sotry and I can't think of any more =] Haha

  4. I have heard so many positive reviews for How to Train Your Dragon, I'm gonna have to go see it asap.

  5. Beautiful Dreamer, 12 hours?! I stand amazed :) I'm sure you are way, way more tired than I was!

    Haylie, you are welcome to use the story! I grinned when I read your comment. I've often thought Toy Story is one of those things that's fun for me as an adult. But man alive, if I'd seen it as a little kid ... it would have been pure magic :) Let me know what you think if you see Dragon!

    Ruth, you must go. Must. I thought it would be cute. I had no idea how much I would like it. Really, really beautifully done. I saw some review on TV that said it could rival Avatar ... and it truly does (plus it's like four hours less running time ;). Let me know what you think!

  6. I want to see How To Train Your Dragon so badly!

  7. If you ever need to keep multiple kids engaged and within eyesight, and don't mind the certain headache you'll have afterwards...a bin of hair supplies goes a long ways. Wednesdays are my babysitting day with the kids I nanny for. Yesterday's count was 14 plastic barrettes, 4 hair ties, three braids, and two ponytails.

    Also, I am DYING to see How to Train Your Dragon.

  8. Absolutely love your story about Biscuit! I am a total dog lover (I have 3 of my own), I usually don't make up doggie-agent stories. But I am amazing at impersonating them. : ) Can't wait for episode two!

  9. I keep hearing good things about How to Train Your Dragon. I haven't read the book, but I read the two are way different, so maybe I won't read the book first.

    And your dog is so cute! Dogs are the best pets and I always thought mine had secret lives.

  10. I have two brothers just like your nephew!! They get up in the morning and don't want to stop until they go to sleep!! I would honestly like to know where they get their energy from. I get worn out just watching them play!
    As far as the dog having a secret life...have you ever seen the little kid show Phineas and Ferb (I watch it, compliments of my brothers)? Their pet has a double life. LOL just thought that was funny.

  11. Trust me Natalie, seeing Toy Story when you're a kid is truly magic, as you said. I remember when the second one come out and I so BADLY wanted to be a cowgirl! For Christmas i got a Jesse doll and I always sneaked her into my backpack at school so she wouldnt think I left her like her owner did in the movie. IKR?! i also had my dad play Bullseye! Memories... Haha! Thought you might enjoy that!

    Also, I told the story of Bisquit to the kids and they LOVED it! They can't wait for part two either! LOL
    Also just realized that I spelled 'Hooked" wrong... sad seeing as i want to be a writer haha

  12. Katie, it is seriously too fun for words. Let me know what you think if you see it!

    Katie, that sounds like a super creative way to watch little kids! I wish I'd thought of that years ago when I was watching little kids en masse. I can only imagine what I would have looked like by the time the day was over ... :) I bet you're the coolest baby-sitter ever.

    Thank you Sara! I bet your dogs are so darn cute. I need to find a pic of Boots so you can see what he looks like ... you'll love his quirky face.

    GBTQ, I'm so lame ... I didn't even know it was a book! I have a feeling it totally stand on its own though. I bet it captures the essence of the book even if it doesn't hit the high parts (and sometimes I like that way better than when films try to follow a book).

    Ashley, I'm with you. I wish I could bottle energy like that and sip it all day long. I've never seen Phineas and Ferb but just the cute names make me want to watch the show ... :)

    Haylie, that's the cutest thing. I so thought my toys were real too. I don't think I took them to school, but I tucked them in and tried to open the door real quick so I could see them walking around, just talking to each other. :) I'm so glad your kids like the story! (And no worries about the spelling ... I misspell things ALL the time. I didn't even notice it.).

  13. That was the cutest story! Biscuit just looks like a super spy agent. :) You need to make that into a kid's book! Loved it. My week was full of tests, but the end of it was oddly so calm and peaceful. I had a nice break from studying and homework this weekend, which was awesome. Hope you are doing well too!

  14. I cannot wait for Toy Story 3! I will have to refresh my memory by watching the first two. Toy Story is part of a series that gets greater as it goes on. That almost never happens.

    Biscuit seems so cute! You should write it in a childrens' book.