Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter Dance Recital 2014

We just got back from Harper's Winter Dance Recital. She was a Snowflake Fairy, which was a relief because she was not happy with the Jack O' Lantern-themed ensemble she had to wear for the fall recital. 

Dress rehearsal (our costume wasn't quite completed, but close enough).

Posing for a class picture. 

At the end of class the girls were told they had a special guest.

Harper was tickled when she saw who it was.

Santa Claus! 

Zoe's mom was unable to get off work tonight so I made the girls take some photos in costume before the performance. Harper was too excited to stand still for them.

The Snowflake Dance was wonderful (although I ask that you please excuse the first 15 seconds of filming; I was sprinting to the front of the auditorium to get a better vantage point). Harper starts out fourth from the right. As you can see, she was very enthusiastic and emotive. It was adorable.

After curtain call it was a zoo.

Each girl got a medal for their participation.

One more pose before the evening's end.

Happy Feet

So this has been going on for the past ten minutes. I guess Harper has enlisted Will in helping her warm up for tonight's Winter Dance Recital. 

You're welcome.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Will's been singing up a storm today. On repeat? Happy Birthday To You ("Bjayuk gleekaw TO YOU! Gyeruk nearsal TO YOU!").

Also on the Toddler Jukebox: "Na, na, na, na! Na, na, na, na! Hey, hey, hey! Good BYE!" (I believe this is a favorite as he can pronounce all the words in the chorus.)

And then there was his nearly 10 minute "phone conversation" this morning. It went something like this: 

Will (on his Fisher Price Jungle Animal I-Can-Talk Phone): "Daddy?... Daddy! I know, I know." (laughs heartily). 

Sixteen months is THE BEST. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Homeless Care Packages

I have a habit of listening to NPR in the car. It's the only truly adult, non-kid-related conversation I get exposed to most days. 

A couple of weeks ago one of the programs was doing a story about the homeless. When they started talking about the homeless having a particular problem with dental abscesses, Harper piped up and said, "Someone should get them a toothbrush."

"Yes," I answered offhandedly. 

"We should get them a toothbrush. And some toothpaste," she added. "Can we mommy? We should give them to the people who don't have a place to live for Christmas. Can we get them some toothbrushes and toothpaste?" She was dead set on it, too.

I was reminded me of the Homeless Care Packages I'd seen links to in my Facebook feed. I had to admit, they were a really good idea and seemed simple enough, and I'd been looking for a holiday service project for Harper to get involved in. So I said yes.

There are a lot of great ideas out there in cyberspace, so I started Googling. Some packages included home-baked goods (not for me, I'm no Martha Stewart), handwritten notes for inspiration (too touchy-feely), or gift cards for coffee (one word: impractical). I wanted to concentrate on practical items that would help chronically homeless people stay healthy on the streets. 

One of the packages I'd seen boasted a price tag as low as $6 a bag. After crunching some numbers I saw no possible way to make that happen. The goal was to start with 10 bags but, on a $100 budget, I needed help. I wound up reaching out to some friends whom I thought would want to see this project come to fruition. My new friend and kindred spirit, Sabrina, (who lets me recruit her for everything) and our dearest Tampa friends, the MacWherters, stepped up to the plate. Yay for awesome friends with big hearts!

In the end the bags were really fun to put together. Harper helped count out all the items as we shopped and helped put the bags together. Next week we are meeting with the Homeless Liaison from the local police force who will help us distribute them. Harper is too excited for words! 

Double checking the bags to make sure we didn't skip something.

The items in each bag are identical (more or less). The NPR program talked a lot about dental disease and diabetes are disproportionate problems the homeless face. This influenced our bags quite a bit. 

After much debate we settled on these final items: roll of toilet paper, jar of peanut butter (easy source of protein that doesn't have to be refrigerated), shampoo, deodorant (I don't know if we'll do deodorant again next year), small first aid kit, sunscreen, sanitary napkins, bar of soap, comb, antibiotic ointment, chapstick with SPF, socks, rain poncho, water-resistant tote (we bought them all second hand for less than a buck each), and, of course, toothbrush with cover and toothpaste. (Not pictured but will be added before distribution: toe nail clippers and wet wipes.)

Ready to go! These were so much fun to put together we'll definitely be doing them again next year. Maybe we'll try to do twenty.

Things we wanted to buy but ended up being cost-prohibitive included lice shampoo, chemical ice packs and other food items. I did purchase hand sanitizer but ended up returning it later upon learning that some people with alcohol-abuse issues have been known to drink it on occasion.   

Have any of you done these before? I'd be really interested to hear what you included and why. And if anyone out there would like help us out next year, no matter how, please let us know! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

True Story

... there was a Royal family: King Daddy, Queen Mommy, Princess Doodles and Prince Toddles. One day, while King Daddy was hard at work doing Kingly Things (during a four-day Holiday Weekend), Queen Mommy decided to take Princess Doodles and Prince Toddles with her in The Royal Carriage (which had recently been paid off in full) to do the shopping.

After all their parcels had been paid for, Queen Mommy and Princess Doodles returned to The Carriage merry, while Prince Toddles was overly tired and complained so that his cries were heard throughout the entire land.

As the trio approached The Carriage, the Princess spied a Wicked Screw near the rear wheel of The Royal Carriage. The Princess was very clever, and remembered a time not long before, when such a screw had pierced the wheel of The Carriage and Queen Mommy had been forced to pull The Carriage over to the side of the road in Little Havana ask kind strangers for assistance in a dialect that was strange to her ear (because King Daddy had been at work in a far off land on a Saturday). 

So when Princess Doodles showed Queen Mommy The Screw, Queen Mommy was proud of her clever daughter, and asked The Princess to keep the Wicked Screw in her hand until the time it could be properly destroyed (as she was distracted with Prince Toddles, who was now throwing a convulsion-like fit and head butting so that nary a soul within neck-swinging distance was safe from his fury). And so the clever Princess did.

After Queen Mommy had finished binding the possessed Prince to The Carriage seat, she set about arranging the parcels in the rear of the coach, when Princess Doodles exclaimed, “Look, Queen Mommy! I am practicing my letters!”

And so the clever Princes was, using the Wicked Screw (which had been sent directly from the Depths of Hell), on the virgin rear panel of the Royal Carriage.
And the letters etched deep into the side of The Royal Carriage by that most foul and Wicked Screw can still be seen today, and will be there, forever more.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


I wanted to take the kids out for an end-of-the-year photo shoot today. It was going well until we actually started taking pictures and suddenly the kids wouldn't sit still long enough to stay in frame and Harper decided she was starving to death and then Will walked through an ant hill which resulted in about two dozen or so ant bites and brought the whole thing to a screeching halt. 

We will definitely have to reschedule for a less eventful day. If there is such a thing. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Maybe six weeks ago Harper and Will had their first real conversation. It was quite a touching milestone. 

I was so busy I never had a chance to write it down for posterity but pretty much every conversation since then has followed the same general outline. Here’s how it usually goes:

Harper (screeching like a Banshee on fire): “Aaaahhhhhhhhhh! Will is in my room! Get him out! Get him out!”

Will (shaking his head): “No, no, no.”

Me (washing dishes in the kitchen): “Harper, play nicely with your brother.” 

Harper: ”Aaahhhhh! No baby! No!”

Will (talking to himself as he picks up a fire engine): “No, no, no, no, no.”

Harper: “Now he has my toy! Out, baby! OUT!”

Will (pointing to the door): “Ow! Ow!”

Me: “Harper, chill it!”

Harper: “Go out! GOOO OOOOUT!”

Will (standing up and leaving with the fire engine): “Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!”


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Spa Package

Will opted for both the organic spaghetti dinner and accompanying post-dinner full-body detoxifying organic spaghetti spa treatment this evening. We were just happy to oblige him.

Said Brad after the pasta had had time to fully cure: "I don't know why you think he needs a bath."

This is a prime example of exactly why I make the final decisions regarding child-related hygiene around here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

I'll make a confession: I'm typically not a big Halloween person. In theory, I like the holiday fine, but its application is typically too laborious for me to fully embrace. This year, however, was a delightful change. Harper decided on her costume early and, in a surprising turn of events, stuck to it, so all I had to do was figure out how to do costumes. I love to carve a Jack O' Lantern and toast pumpkin seeds but found myself running too short on time Halloween day so I just went with the flow and decided to forgo them this year, which made for a much more relaxing evening. 

Just before getting dressed Harper asked, "How about we go Trick-or-Treating in the morning so we can have all day for candy?" Although a 24 hour all-candy orgy sounded (and still sounds) intriguing, we opted to stick with our plans and meet up with friends for Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood instead.  

Snake Ballerina!

Our adorable little mouse.

The Snake Ballerina slithers stealthily to "hug up" the mouse. 

Sparkle Cat joined us for the festivities.

I don't know how anyone get a good photo of three kids at the same time.

Mom... let's GOOOO already!

BFF's. Ready to conquer the neighborhood! 

Brad decided to stay home and pass out candy while Scott, Narelle and I supervised the kids on their candy sojourn, interrupting our conversation with the occasional, "Did you remember to say 'Thank You'?". Will lasted exactly one house before retiring to the stroller for the night while Harper and Zoe acquired enough confectionary loot to cover the entire surface of the sun. It was an enjoyable evening for all.

P.S. This morning I let Harper pick out a piece of candy after breakfast (I know, I'm a terrible parent). After trying her first Whopper she asked hopefully, "Can I have a bowl of those?"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Birthday Reunion

Brad's parents try to come out to Florida every year for a visit. This year, not only were Brad's brother and niece able to come along as well, but their visit serendipitously coincided with Harper's birthday. We had a great time catching up and Harper especially enjoyed getting to know her cousin Zoe (whom she hadn't seen in three and a half years).  

Nana bought her granddaughters matching western shirts for a little photo shoot.  

Will was not in the mood to sit still for pictures.


Beautiful Zoe.

Getting the three of them to pose simultaneously was a
Herculean task that ultimately proved fruitless.

Uncle Ed played photographer (oh, how I envy that camera!).

Our kids adore their uncle!

Will was only content to stay put after being distracted with building materials. 

He's the only one of us who took a good picture all day.

I mean, come on already! Who's the most photogenic kid ever?

Ed and Zoe took a few nice pictures, too.

I think this one is too sweet!

By the time Nana and Pa sat down for a picture with the grandkids
everyone was ready to be finished with the whole thing.

Brad snuck into the last frame.

Thank you, Bookers, for flying all the way across the country to spend the week with us. We can hardly wait for next year!