January 26, 2015

Three, three, three

Three is many things. Three is the ABCs sung on repeat. You love the ABCs so much you asked us to sing it instead of "Happy Birthday" and when we did you were delighted.

Three is Thomas the Tank Engine and friends lined up on every surface in the living room. Three is always, always, always coloring at the easel.

Three is planning your own birthday party. I want kids to come to my house and play toys and make a sticker craft and eat cake, you said. And that's what we did.

Three is trekking to the farmer's market in the rain to get your favorite "egg sam-a-wich" from your favorite food truck before going to see a movie.

Three is also, unfortunately, ear-splitting shrieks in the house. And spitting, which only you think is funny. And a lot of I'm going to do it myself no wait I actually need help but I don't WANT help. Three is also dropping your nap, and that makes everything a little harder these days.

Three is so many things...and there's one thing it isn't: a baby. You are very clear that you are not a baby, and every time I slip up and call you my baby you correct me. I'm not a baby! I'm a peanut. 

Happy birthday, big boy. We're so lucky you're ours.

January 25, 2015

Don't forget your parachute

Like many people, we didn't have the holiday we'd hoped for. Instead of spending time away from school doing fun things, we spent most of the kids' winter break taking turns being sick. And like many kids, A got a "what I did on my winter break" assignment when she went back to school.

Unlike many parents, however, I got an email from A's teacher...wondering if we really had been skydiving.

We are writing about our winter break and A has a  very detailed story that is hard to believe.  She has so many details that I tend to believe her.  Did A jump out of an airplane with her father?  If so we would love to see a photo!  Of course A said “no cameras allowed” which would be true.  I said “Didn’t Mom stand on the ground and take a picture?”  She said no because you were helping her brother jump.  I’m letting her go with this writing idea because she has so many details, but can you confirm if A really had that adventure last week?  That girl makes me laugh!

Sadly, I had to reply that we did not go skydiving, and even if we had planned such a trip we would have had to cancel it what with all the being sick. 
I asked A about her assignment when she got off the bus. Yes, she told her teacher we went skydiving (excuse me, parachuting) - and she had to because we didn't do anything interesting.

We'll have to make sure spring break is fantastic.

January 6, 2015

Make the Music of The Little Mermaid Part of Your World with Disney's Legacy Collection

Note: I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network.  No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  This post does not contain affiliate links.

When I was in sixth grade, The Little Mermaid came out, and it quickly became one of my favorites. 25 (!!!) years later, I can still sing the words to every song in the movie because they're some of my very favorite Disney songs. I thought very briefly about making a video to demonstrate my impressive song lyric memory, and then I remembered that people I know read this blog so...no. Feel free to imagine me singing "Les Poissons" instead. 

One of the most fun parts of parenting is sharing my childhood favorites with my kids, and I was very excited to bring The Little Mermaid home to show my princess loving A. Unfortunately, Ursula the Sea Witch has thwarted our efforts to watch the full movie. Twice we have tried, and twice we have had to stop once she is onscreen...which means my daughter has missed some of the very best songs in the movie (little brother doesn't share her fear of Ursula and watched the movie with me one day when sister was at school). 

Thanks to the beautiful new Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection, my daughter can enjoy some of my childhood favorites without fear of an Ursula sighting. To celebrate The Little Mermaid's 25th anniversary, Disney has released a two disc Legacy Collection edition soundtrack. 

Disc One features the songs and score of the film, while Disc Two has 12 work tapes and song demos performed by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. 

A 20 page booklet includes liner notes, lyrics, and beautiful artwork - including some new art created by Disney visual development artist Lorelay Bove.

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid is available at the Disney Music Emporium...and one lucky reader can win a copy right here! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Open to all readers in the US and Canada. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please note: if it comes to my attention that the winner of this giveaway has won this same prize on another blog, I reserve the right to choose another winner. The winner will receive their CD direct from Disney in 4-6 weeks.

December 31, 2014

2014: Year in Review

As the year draws to a close, it's hard not to take a minute or two to reflect. This has been a year of new adventures, of graduations, new habits. It's also been a year of revisiting favorite places.
2014 was the year A graduated from preschool. I didn't cry at the sweet little ceremony, but I teared up when I picked her up from preschool for the very last time. D had a graduation this year too - from physical therapy

I spent a lot of time knitting this year...a scarf for my mother. a blanket for my husband, and so many hats

We escaped what felt like the longest, snowiest, least amount of school-iest winter ever for a few days in the sunshine with grandma and grandpa

2014 was also the year I discovered Pure Barre, and it was love from first bend stretch. My two most viewed posts of the year were Pure Barre related: Five things you should know about Pure Barre and The sisterhood of the sticky socks. I joined the 100 club, have muscles I've never had before in my life, and more importantly, I've made some wonderful new friends.  In other fitness news, A and I ran what she deemed a running race. A loved it  but was disappointed there was no medal, so she ran a second race later in the year to bring one home

A started kindergarten in the fall, and D started big boy preschool. A and I took on a joint venture not long after the school year began: we're Girl Scouts now.

My husband and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, a milestone I'm not sure either of us is old enough for.  To celebrate, we took our kids to one of our very favorite places (and the place we went on our honeymoon): Charleston, SC

2014 was also the year I struggled with what to write here. I started but did not finish a 365 photography challenge because as A and D get older I've begun to realize that not all of their stories are mine to tell. Months later I'm still trying to sort this out, and I'm hoping 2015 will be the year I figure out what I'm doing here. Or in general, if we're really being honest. 

Here's to a healthy, happy 2015, and to at least a little clarity. Goodbye, 2014 - here are some of my favorite pictures from this wild and wonderful year. 

December 23, 2014

Very merry

Today marks the official start of Christmas vacation chez Home and Never Alone. Roles were reversed today, and big sister was delighted to drop little brother off at preschool and collect him at the end of the morning. Instead of waving goodbye to my girl at the bus stop we drove off alone together after she visited her old preschool teacher for a big hug.

I've been quiet here, but in between what feels like a month of sickness for all four of us we've made time for merriment whenever we could. We've been to The Nutcracker, decorated the house inside and out, made a gingerbread train, been to a gingerbread house party, baked cookies, bought and donated toys for Toys for Tots, and visited Santa.

The best part about this Christmas isn't on that list though. The best part? They get it this year, both of them. They know Christmas is coming and they are so, so excited. How excited?

This excited. Full body blurry because they're dancing with joy excited.

Doing a synchronized dance of their own invention at a Christmas party excited, with a side of glow sticks. They're so excited I haven't gotten an in focus picture of them in weeks, and I love it.

Merry Christmas, friends...may it always be this exciting.

December 11, 2014

Marvin, the unlikely lovey

When A was a newborn, my mom bought what she hoped would become A's lovey: a little blanket, fuzzy on one side, satiny on the other side with tags all around. She was so sure it would be the one that she bought two of them, because you need two of your child's beloved lovey in case one should get lost. And while my mom was right that it is very wise to have a backup lovey, she was wrong about what A would fall for.

Instead of the blanket we already had two of, A set her sights on a small cream colored bunny that once upon a time we thought she had named Buddy. She grew a little older and her speech got a bit clearer and it turned out A wasn't saying Buddy but Bunny. She's almost halfway though kindergarten and Bunny is still in her arms as she falls asleep (and occasionally in her backpack as a very small stowaway).

For a long time, it seemed like D had no lovey other than his pacifier. Then he decided he needed his monkey blanket always, a rather bulky and heavy lovey. And then one day, D met Marvin.

Marvin, as you may notice, is technically our 34th president. General Eisenhower came to us from the National Archives' gift shop, and now he and D go everywhere together. They sleep together, they play together, they check the mail together, they walk big sister to the bus together. They've even been to the ER together.

How did D wind up calling him Marvin? We're not sure, but A claims he got it from an episode of Doc McStuffins. However he settled upon the name, it's stuck, and Marvin has recently begun speaking, in a very small version of a very deep voice.

Welcome to the family, Marvin - we're glad you're here.

December 6, 2014

You can't sit with us

This afternoon, A and I saw The Nutcracker together for the third time, continuing one of my favorite childhood traditions. This year, though, our tradition took on a new twist. This was the first year she didn't watch at least part of it perched in my lap - in fact, she didn't sit with me at all.

Instead, A sat one row ahead of me with four of her Girl Scout buddies. They were giddy at the idea of sitting on their own, and we moms settled into our own row behind them.

The house lights went down, and the big purple curtain opened, and I alternated between watching the show and watching my girl and her friends. Five little heads leaned forward in the darkness, sometimes bent close together and whispering, sometimes with little arms raised to conduct along with the music. More than once, a little voice wondered aloud if the show might be over soon. As the second act came to a close, those little heads sunk low in their seats, tired after nearly two hours. As the dancers bowed, those little hands clapped and clapped.

We stayed after the show ended for a special Girl Scout question and answer session, and the girls earned their first special patch...a lavender circle embroidered with Clara and her nutcracker. It's a good new addition to our Christmas tradition.