The Saturday Post: Get outside and play edition

Unbelievably, this weekend (already!) serves as the official kick-off to summer. Time to fire up the grill and enjoy some fun in the sun.

If your options for outdoor fun are lacking, especially when it comes to things to do with the kids—grand or otherwise—check out these cool and creative ideas from the Toy Industry Association:

My favorite has to be the 3-D sidewalk chalk. I'll be picking up some of that, for sure, before Bubby and Baby Mac visit Gramma's in a couple weeks. Maybe the mega bubble blower, too.

For more toy ideas—including prices on the items mentioned in the video—visit ToyInfo.org.

May your Memorial Day Weekend be loads of fun—and warmer than it appears to have been for the women in that video!

Today's question:

What's your favorite way to have fun in the sun, with or without kids?

Boys and girl's toys

Yes, the apostrophe use—and non use—in the title above is correct, for today's post is about two boys and their discovery of one girl's toys.

You see, Megan has agreed to babysit a 16-month-old little girl a couple of days a week. Her first day on the job was Monday, while I was still visiting.

Daisy* arrived with all the basic supplies plus a big bundle of her favorite toys. A smart inclusion, those playthings, considering Megan's house is inhabited by little boys, with nary a girl toy in sight.

Bubby and Baby Mac are used to cars, trucks, trains and noisy toys of all sorts, all in big, bold, primary—and boy-like—colors. They had never seen such pink and feminine fanciness before. 

Pink cell phone, pink makeup case, pink purse and more. The boys were completely enthralled by the mysterious selection of girlee goodies.

Funny thing is, Daisy seemed to be just as enthralled by the boy toys. The very first toy she chose to play with? A fake sword.

Like I told Megan and Preston: I now have a better idea of what to get the boys for their birthdays in June.

*Daisy is not her real name, as her mother has no idea the boys have a blogging grandma who shares things online. No biggie, as the names I use here for the boys aren't their real names either. Unlike the boys, though, the cute little girl's face was obviously blurred in the photo above because, again, her mother has no idea there was a blogger in the midst and granted no permission.

Today's question:

What are your thoughts on gender-specific toys? For example, should little boys get to play with dolls and little girls with pirate playthings?

Photo replay: Keep on truckin'

Remember that big orange dump truck Bubby reviewed nearly two years ago? The one he loved to drive really fast around the house?

Well look who gets a turn at it now:

I hope your Sunday's as much fun as a big orange dump truck!

(In the interest of full disclosure—and because Megan will call me out on it in the most embarrassing of manners if I don't admit it first—YES, Baby Mac's shirt is on backwards. And YES, I was babysitting that day and am the one who dressed him. And YES, I thought it was weird the word NIKE would be emblazoned on the back of a baby's shirt, but it seemed logical the buttons would go in the front. That logic got this grandma nowhere but with hundreds of photos of her grandson looking rather silly with his NIKE shirt on backwards. Go ahead...you guys have all the fun you want with that one.)

Rock Dog

Several years ago, my sister gave Jim and me a singing stuffed dog for Christmas. It was a "Sports Fan" dog, which was fitting because at the time, Jim and I were spending many a weekend driving seven hours—each way—to cheer on Andrea as she played "keeper" for her college soccer team.

The dog was a funky gag gift that brought smiles, but it didn't get much play. Until Bubby came along.

Despite my removal of the flag that could stab one's eye out, Bubby loves the singing canine. He named it Rock Dog because this is what it does:

Every time Bubby visits Gramma's, he plays with Rock Dog. Over and over and over and over.

I've actually hidden Rock Dog a time or two, when the rockin' gets to be gratin' on Gramma's nerves. I always pull him back out again, though, as Bubby so enjoys it.

One day during Bubby's recent visit—as he played Rock Dog for the 60 billionth time that morning—PawDad decided to play for Bubby the real song that was his beloved Rock Dog's claim to fame. PawDad pulled out our Queen collection and rocked Bubby and the rest of us with the better, longer, louder version of We Will Rock You.

After several repetitions—the last few featuring PawDad on air guitar and Bubby on air drums—PawDad played another Queen song of his choosing. Then Megan made a request for Somebody to Love. Next, I requested Bicycle Race. Then, of course, we moved on to Fat Bottom Girls followed by Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bubby patiently waited for his turn to make a request. When he saw an opening, he boldly went for it. Standing in front of his music-playing PawDad, Bubby earnestly called out: "Do you have Itsy Bitsy Spider?"

Which, of course, brought the house down. In giggles. And which, of course, brought Bubby down. Not because of the giggles but because PawDad didn't have his requested song.

Slightly disappointed in PawDad's sorry music collection, Bubby left the boring old folk to rock the stereo without him and took Rock Dog by the hand. He plopped down on the living room floor, pressed "Start" on the plaything's paw, and returned to clapping and stomping along with his beloved Rock Dog. Over and over and over.

Today's question:

What song(s) do you remember playing over and over and over?

Noise, toys, and the boys who love them

I like to give Bubby a gift each time I see him. As a long-distance grandma who visits with her grandson only a handful of times a year, I don't consider this spoiling him. Plus, the gifts are usually something small, like a book or Hot Wheels car to add to his collections.

Last time I saw Bubby, I also saw Mac for the first time. Which meant bearing gifts for two grandsons for the first time. In light of the occasion, I went a wee bit larger on the gifts.

Bubby's "big-brother gift" was a few hats: a fireman hat, a policeman hat, and a Woody from Toy Story cowboy hat (part of a review costume you can read about HERE, with awesome pics of Cowboy Bubby).

The fireman hat was Bubby's favorite. Not only because firetrucks and the folks who drive them are his favorite people in the world, but because with the flip of a button it made noise. Lots of noise.

Mac's "baby-brother gift" was a more quiet affair: a tummy time mat. It was the only item Megan requested for her newborn as she still had all things baby boy remaining from Bubby.

Yes, Baby Mac is using his tummy-time mat inappropriately here, not on his tummy at all. But we let it slide this time, considering he's just a baby and all.

Both boys seemed content with the toys I gave them. As I went through the 700-plus photos I took during my visit, I came across this video that underscores that. It was meant to be just of Mac making the most of tummy time but inadvertently shows Bubby making the most of his gift from Gramma, too:

I'll be visiting my grandsons again next month (woo-hoo!) and am already considering what gifts I'll bring them. I have one in mind that I think both boys will like, one they can share.

One that is silent.

For Baby Mac's sake.

And for Megan's and Preston's ... to make up for the fireman hat.

Today's question:

How do you feel about toys that make noise?

Conflicting wishes

Bubby visited Santa over the weekend. Last year, he clung to Daddy and refused to enjoy his time with Mr. Magical himself. This year, though, he did much better:

Despite being nervous about the visit -- hence the hand in the mouth -- Bubby did okay. He even managed to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas.

And what may that be?

A big orange truck!

Which comes as a surprise considering Bubby, as some of you may recall, already has a big orange truck:

I suppose at two-and-a-half-years-old, when you love something dearly, you have no qualms requesting more of the same.

Hopefully Bubby will forget all about having asked for a big orange truck once he sees all the other loot from Santa because I'm betting he won't find one under his tree come Christmas morning. One big orange truck is more than enough for one little boy.

Plus, I'm pretty sure poor Roxy -- who's often the unintentional hit-and-run doggy victim of the big orange truck -- has been fervently asking Santy Paws to make all her Christmas dreams come true ... by getting rid of Bubby's big orange truck and never again allowing such tools of terror to be added to Bubby's toy collection.

Holiday question of the day:

What's one thing you're hoping to find under the tree for yourself on Christmas morning?