Saturday, January 30, 2010

Royal Imaginations

What? You mean you didn't recognize these construction paper ensembles as crowns, and the badminton racket and toy dagger as scepters? Hmmm. Sounds like you need to work on your imagination a bit. These two have plenty to spare.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


On this very rainy, dreary Sunday, I noticed that it had become very (dare I say suspiciously?) quiet. I stepped out of the office and found Clare and Danny on the couch, reading away. Of course, because what better way to pass such an afternoon?

It brought to mind this picture, taken in April of 2007. Old habits die hard, and sometimes that's a really good thing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Is This the Sign of a Dungeons & Dragons Dork in Training?

Ever since Christmas, Danny has been really into his Playmobil knights. We have gotten hours of independent play out of these worthwhile investments! Clare has played with them a fair amount, too, but lately Danny has shown a laser-like focus when playing with them. It's terrific. And since he has maintained this interest over several weeks, I opted to pick up a steal of a set at TJ Maxx today. He was delighted when I gave him his "surprise" this afternoon, after his nap, and proceeded to get busy. By himself. Tim thought they looked pretty cool (we're talking working catapult with a rubber ball of fire - so fun, right?), so he sat down to play with Danny. Who quickly looked at him, asked what Tim was doing, and then asked, "Can I be alone?" HA-HA, I laughed. Until, 15 minutes later, he did the same thing to me, as I was harmlessly asking him questions and snapping a photo or two. Apparently these are serious toys, and he doesn't need us hovering around.

Should we be worried?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Skating Through Life

Clare was recently invited to her first roller-skating party. Since she has never roller skated, it seemed unwise to send her off to the party without at least giving it a whirl. So I looked up the local rink and discovered that they offer free lessons on Saturdays from 12-1. I tried to pair this with a friend to make it a more fun outing, but unfortunately that didn't work out. Undaunted, Clare still wanted to go, so off we went.

We lucked out in that two sisters were also taking the lesson, one in kindergarten and the other in second grade. Clare was very happy to have partners in crime. I helped her get her fluorescent orange skates on, and then the three of them went off with Jarvis for their lesson. The first thing he taught them? How to fall. Brilliant! Especially since she proceeded to spend more time on her rear than on her feet. As I watched from the sidelines, I could see that she was focused and determined, and she would occasionally look my way and wave, but it seemed that she probably wasn't enjoying it too much. I mean, she took a lot of spills. But she never paused and immediately worked to get back up and try, try again.

At the end of the lesson she came over and shocked me by saying she thought it was so fun and she can't wait for the party next weekend. This, when I had mentally prepared to change her RSVP to a "no" after her exhausting experience today. I think this is a sign of what great character she has, and I'm using it as inspiration for my own attempts at new things in life.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Anatomy of a Snow Day

I was supposed to get a facial today. Instead, I got two kids at home all day because of snow and ice. (For those Northerners snickering that our one inch of snow shut down the city, you should know that the roads are excruciatingly icy, and Atlanta is also surprisingly hilly. But you can still laugh a little.) So, since the kids aren't the only ones bound to be bored by the end of the day, I thought I would document our Snow Day.

6:35 a.m.: Hey, I got an extra 20 minutes! Go to let Danny out (he's chatty, but at least he stays in his room until released), after telling Clare she has the day off. She is wide awake, but opts to lounge in bed simply because she can. She really is maturing. Meanwhile, Danny makes his first request to go outside to throw snowballs and make a snowman.

6:45 a.m.: I vow to myself to not let the kids know just how bummed I am to be stuck at home today, not getting my facial.

7:10 a.m.: While Danny watches "Charlie and Lola" in front of the fire and Clare does something with pencils in her room, I opt to take advantage of our leisurely morning and make pancakes and bacon. This will later prompt me to say, "I just make you pancakes - leave me alone for a while!" Less than an hour and my vow is shattered. Oh well.

7:40 a.m.: The kids ask again about playing in the snow. At this time, the temperature is 16 degrees, with a wind chill of 2.

8:01 a.m.: Clare defines imagination for Danny: "It's what helps you think." Yeah, like think up ways to annoy your sibling.

8:17 a.m.: Tim comes downstairs dressed for work, prompting Clare to plead with him, "Aw, please stay home from work?!" He doesn't, but he obviously appreciates the request.

8:21 a.m.: Fortunately the kids keep themselves busy for a while, with conversation like this: Danny: "How do you play it?" Clare: "Well, you need dinosaurs tied to balloons. And the fireplace on." Hey, whatever works.

9 a.m.: In a proactive move to preserve my sanity, I head to the basement for exercise. The kids follow and spend time, and energy, in the jumpy house. More gratitude flows the Schneiders' way for that gift that keeps on giving.

10:30 a.m.: Baking is an inevitable diversion. Today's offering: brownie cookies. After being excellent helpers, and licking the bowl clean, they once again go off to amuse themselves for a while...until I overhear Clare utter for the umpteenth time, "Danny, for heaven's sakes!"

11:48 a.m.: Folding laundry. What is so funny about the word "underwear," anyway? Sock fight ensues between Danny and Mommy. Possible highlight of his day.

12:20 p.m.: Soup! Soup is lunch!

12:40 p.m.: Hi, Ho! Cherry-O proves to be an excellent board game for the three of us. I notice that Danny is much more adept at recognizing printed numbers as well as counting. Sweet!

1:15 p.m.: Danny naps, Clare cleans out her art cart (finally). Liz cleans out her closet. Exciting!

3:30 p.m.: We finally venture into the snow, which proves to be disappointing in its inability to pack into snowballs or snowmen. We manage to sprinkle snow at each other and cobble together the world's tiniest snowman, then succumb to chilly fingers and head indoors.

4 p.m.: Time for hot cocoa and a warm bath, at which time the kids simply change into clean pajamas. Today was not a day for "real" clothes.

4:45 p.m.: After three more rounds of Hi, Ho! Cherry-O, the kids go off to play "Nutcracker" while they wait for Tim to come home and pizza/movie night to commence. This is not your mother's Nutcracker, but it keeps them busy.

The verdict: A surprisingly fun day that reminded me what great kids I have. And while I didn't get my facial, I'd still say my life is pretty relaxing, and definitely luxurious.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Growing up, it used to be easy to convince my mom to leave the nativity set up until January 6, which is the Feast of the Epiphany (when the Magi visited the infant Jesus). All of the other Christmas decorations were put away, but I could hold on to this one, last visual reminder of the holidays. Our nativity set was a white, ceramic one that my maternal grandmother made for my parents before I was born.

After I graduated from college, my paternal grandmother made me an almost identical set, which I have carted on multiple moves around the country. A couple of angel wings had to get re-glued here and there, along with one of the wise men's gifts, but overall it has survived intact.

For the past five Christmases, I've placed the set on the black demilune table in our entry. This makes it very accessible to little fingers, but the kids have been very respectful of it. Sadly, that doesn't make it impervious, and I'm sorry to report that I lost a camel this year. So before I lose any more pieces, I wanted to document this treasure. Thank you, Grandma Eddie!