Archive for March, 2010

Olivia sings the classics

I think Liv learned a bit about showmanship in the past week. Bryan has always said she’s a comedian, and she does seem to love to make people laugh, especially through silly voices, song and dance.

Here, she attempts the ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle, and Rock-a-bye Baby (now with choreography thanks to a very wobbly changing table). When I ask her to go back to the ABCs, you catch a glimpse of her comedic timing. As you’ll see by my response, I think she’s one funny girl.

Happy birthday, happily ever after

When we arrived at our hotel in Disneyland, Ava received a “happy birthday” button. Over the course of the day, every single Disney employee we encountered stopped to wish her a happy birthday. It must have happened at least a hundred times, although as Ava asserted, it was closer to a zillion (and then, a zillion and one). Even the participants in the parades would stop to greet her. She was speechless, and Bryan has a hard time recalling this part of the trip without tearing up.

We planned a dinner with the Disney Princesses for Wednesday night at Ariel’s Grotto. Ava was slightly disappointed when she found out it wasn’t a private dinner, but it was still pretty exciting.

One by one, the princesses stopped by our table to wish Ava a happy birthday and teach her a few new poses (which as you’ll soon see, she employed more than once during the trip).

Olivia loves Sleeping Beauty, and she was happy to give her a big hug, too. (Never once did I see any of the princesses recoil upon being accosted by a toddler with extremely messy hands. Impressive.)

We had ordered a birthday cake for Ava, which was a big surprise to her. The big surprise for us? Our server made an announcement about her birthday to the entire restaurant, and nearly 200 people sang to her in unison. She seemed in awe of the entire experience…

…but recovered in time to make a wish and blow out her candle.

I imagine it will be hard to top this next year!


As we walked into Disneyland, I was amazed at all there was to see. I didn’t know where to focus—it was truly disorienting. As I adjusted to this new level of intensity, Ava and Olivia jumped right in. From 100 feet away, Ava spied Mary Poppins, and thus began our first of many queues over the course of the week.

Olivia was full of trepidation, but Ava showed her the way.

Speaking of Olivia, the first thing she noticed in the chaos of the park was an airplane. As I scanned the shops, statues and characters around us, she pointed to the sky. Somehow, despite everything around her, she had noticed a jet at 35,000 and was THRILLED. Bryan said for her fifth birthday, we’ll take her to an airport.

Happy 5th!

We celebrated Ava’s fifth birthday at Disneyland this week. We kicked things off by joining the Little Mermaid for a special dinner Wednesday night. More photos to come in the following days!

The great debate

We’re having a bit of a debate about Olivia—care to weigh in? We can’t decide if she’s just exceptionally naughty, or if we’ve simply forgotten what it’s like to have a two year old.

Either way, I think we’ll keep her.

Happy birthday!

I’ve encountered many surprising facts as a parent over the last five years. Most notably, though, is the startling discovery that my children aren’t little versions of me. I just assumed Ava would have my personality, and we’d be on the same wavelength from the start. The blond hair should have tipped me off.

Ava continues to amaze me everyday. She is entirely her own person–completely unique and individual. I have no idea how this has happened, even having seen it firsthand, but this transformation over the past few years is nothing short of awesome. I often feel guilty that I’m not one of the moms who sobs through Kindergarten Roundup, but honestly, I think it’s because I simply can’t wait to see what she will do next.

Spring break

Ava and Olivia spent spring break with Mom and Dave at the lake, allowing Bryan and I to act like we’re 22 again (we’re not). While the girls spent their days coloring and playing outside, we eschewed plans to organize the basement and plan our summer trips in order to watch basketball and spend St. Patrick’s Day downtown.

I’m sure the girls would have happily stayed at Mom’s another few days, we were very relieved to have them—and our normal routine—back.

Although it was only a week, Olivia’s vocabulary seems to have exploded, and Ava’s adding and subtracting numbers that I have to think twice about. They both look like they’ve grown at least a couple of inches. We kept in close touch via the phone a few times a day, but it’s just not the same as having them here.

There’s adorable little reminders about the good time they had—when I put Olivia to bed on Friday night, she said, “Sweet dreams,” which I knew she had heard from my mom.

I recall quite fondly the time I spent at my grandparents’ houses growing up (and still today), so I’m grateful we have parents so willing to take them in for a few days at a time. The Smiths get their turn later this summer—Bryan and I will have outgrown this irresponsible phase by then, and perhaps we’ll use that time to clean the basement. Or go to a concert. We’ll see.

Welcome, spring?

Ava keeps reminding me that spring is here. I’m not so sure.

Olivia Fix

Found objects

I have been saving wine corks for years, tossing them into a pretty crystal bowl in our dining room. Mom and Dave recently made me a set of trivet bases, which I filled with a few of my favorites.

The cork on the bottom was from the bottle of wine we shared on a recent anniversary.

I snagged this one following a fabulous dinner with my Madison girlfriends a couple of years ago.

This set also reminds of them…

Some don’t have sentimental meaning—I just find them interesting. I love the red stains on the ends.

Corks could be completely utilitarian. They are concealed from sight until a bottle is opened, then likely tossed aside without notice. I admire the attention to detail and effort devoted to something that could be so plain.

My collection, though, isn’t growing like it used to. Now, many great wines have screw tops, and I often skip over a bottle in favor of a box, because it’s . . . um . . . better for the environment. Sure, that works.

In case you’re wondering if all this wine—and my tendency to attach meaning to seemingly useless items—will land me on the next episode of “Hoarders: Buried Alive,” rest assured I’m not saving the boxes. You have to draw the line somewhere.