I have lots to tell you dear internets about my bunny, but for fear of turning my blog into a “Chanel’s bunny” blog, I will save it for later. Just know that she is probably the cutest thing, the most expensive animal ever, and a cat bully. This one though, is for all of those random visitors that come to my blog for the GI Joe house.
Dave and I instituted an only “gifts of time” allowed for Christmas for a few years. The kids all had to make everyone gifts. Dave and I only gave the kids things that we either made or consisted mostly of our time. We gave Mckayla (13 at the time) a new bedroom. We helped her paint her room, replace the bedding, I think we even painted some furniture. It was shockingly purple. We made Marshall (10 at the time) a bike ramp. Which was hilarious. As dave was building it, I kept telling him, “This ramp is a baby ramp! Make it bigger!” And being the amazing husband that he is, he did. It was huge. I think at the tallest it was 3 feet. Marshall rode it once (on Christmas Day) and biffed it so amazingly hard that he never rode it again. We moved it here, to the land of rain, but it was cannibalized for the treehouse. I can’t remember what we gave the twins, but Mike got the most awesome present ever.
For all of you who don’t personally know my Mikey, it’s important that you know how much he loves anything to do with the army and war. He has always loved G.I. Joes, little green army men, any type of gun. He has dreams of enlisting. I am trying hard to encourage the Army Corp of Engineers, “But Mom, I don’t want to be a General or build things, I want to be in the front lines!” When we moved here, the first time we went to the library, he said, “Oh mom! I love this place! They have a huge World War II section!” He knows the call numbers for every war and whenever we visit another library, he immediately bee lines it to them.
For Christmas that year, I wanted to make him a GI Joe house. Gi Joes are like barbies for boys except larger. I think Jem was made for GI Joe, if he wanted to go on tour, hang out with short mini skirts, sparkly hair and groupies while he was on leave, then definitely a perfect match! So, I was looking for an old beat up, FREE Barbie townhouse. For a few months I searched high and low. I went to garage sales, thrift stores, perused freecycle and craigslist. There was none to be had. I enlisted every one I knew to keep their eyes out for one.
My mother-in-law didn’t find the townhome, but she found something even more amazing. She found me this beauty:
Oh, but it gets better. It came with windows, curtains, wall paper and working doors. It was priced something incredibly ridiculous like $5. I needed it. Who cares about GI Joe! I have a box full of my old doll house furniture that my Grandma had diligently saved for me. I was mentally planning where I was going to put the fireplace and divan. Yes!! I now had a house for all this miniature furniture from the 1960s.
Me: (absolutely horrified): WHAT!?? We can NOT desecrate this! I have a whole box full of miniature furniture. This is too pretty for a boy. Maybe one day we will have a baby girl who will love dollies. This will be perfect.
Dave: We are not saving this for a hypothetical child. I promise, if we have for some reason have a baby girl, we can change it back.
And of course, we don’t have a baby girl. But I still have a box full of dollhouse furniture without a small home…
So we began the sad, sad, job of destroying a perfectly good dollhouse.
We went to the hobby store and bought camouflage spray paint. Incidentally, there are directions on the spray paint bottle on how to correctly camouflage something. It’s an exact science. Who knew?
I’m rather lucky to be married to a spray paint master.
Me: Maybe we shouldn’t camouflage it, If we just paint it green and he doesn’t love it, I can always take it back and paint the trim white. It won’t be the perfect yellow house, but sage green is nice.
Dave: What are you talking about? He’s gonna LOVE this! This is awesome!!!
Please notice the beautiful bay windows. Does GI Joe need bay windows?
Me: Shouldn’t we do a better job painting the trim?
Dave: Do you think that GI Joe would be spending a great deal of time on the trim while he commanders this colonial era home as their new base of operation during the apocalypse or World War 3? The bad paint job is realistic.
Dave really wanted to knock holes in the walls, splatter red paint around to mimic blood and gore, make gunshot holes in the walls. I finally drew the line. We stuck some army decals, American flag stickers and little army men on the walls. I went through all of my doll house furniture and found a few pieces I was willing to part with. We spray painted them boy colors and added them to the home. And called it done.
It was by far the best present ever. He absolutely loved it. Actually, everyone loved it. I think Mike convinced Marshall to play army with him for a few weeks. Now, three years later, Mike has outgrown playing with army men. He has moved on to staging full scale wars in the front yard with the little green men. He has built a complicated trench system among my flowers. Yet, sometimes I will find a full scale army staged in his room, complete with the home base command center but mostly the house is used as storage for the army vehicles and men that are too precious to part with. Thankfully, it still sees much playtime among the twins. Eventually, when it has been completely outgrown, I will move it into the attic to await my first grandson. The girls will just have to wait.