Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dad Involvement

So I'll admit I've gone missing from the posting world lately, not for lack of interest or things to discuss, but sheerly from lack of time. In the last month, I think I have actually been in the office for 5 time out commandeered by having been selected for jury duty (argh).

Anyway, I'm now in Chicago for the Marketing 2 Moms conference, where I was invited to be a guest speaker on how the new dad is actually influenicng the way marketers talk to mom. It's been an interesting 2 days, being mostly immersed into the mommy mindset and motivators.

But I'm not a mommy. And I won't ever be a mommy. So I guess I won't ever truly relate. But I think it's important to note that mommies won't ever be daddies either. For as much as women say men don't get what it's like to be a mom, it's just as true that they don't understand what it's like to be a dad. And that's okay.

What if we spent less time seeking validation for what it's like to be who we are and more time actually focusing on who we should be? Does it matter that she's a mom, I'm a dad, he's a sports fanatic, she's a fashionista? Aren't we all just trying to get by, and be successful -- and I daresay happy -- in this thing called life, with kids in tow?

I'm still mulling it all over, so if anyone has any thoughts for starters, chime in, please!

Labels: ,

Monday, September 03, 2007

Summer Reflections

This past weekend was our last "beach" weekend for the season. Tomorrow is the first day of school. Skylar will start second grade, and my baby, Fiona, starts kindergarten. They are overjoyed tonight, antsy, anxious, nervous, excited, giddy and curious to know who will be in their classes that we haven't already figured out. But tonight brings a bittersweet feeling for me. I'm excited for both of them and the wonder of what this school year will bring. But I'm feeling a little sad, and a little sentimental. After all, my babies aren't babies anymore.

There are several things I've noticed this summer, so I think I should post them here for good measure and long memory.

Skylar Kelsey, age 6 and three quarters...
Skylar is still my sweet baby. Her eyes can sear right through me. Her smile -- although now a mish mash of baby and grown up teeth, some fully showing, others just making their way through -- lights up a room. Her giggle is infectious. Like her mother, she's a sensitive girl, very attuned to how we're feeling, and she's my best snuggle bunny. This summer more than ever I've noticed she shows affection often and oddly. She shows her emotions in a physical way. A poke in the side, a gentle whack on the arm, a little shake of the arm, a driveby smack on the rear. In making new friends, she's much more passive, tending to be more the follower than the leader.

Skylar is incredibly smart, but she has a very short attention span. As she gets older, it becomes more obvious that she needs both a lot of one on one attention, but also a lot of help staying focused and motivated. She does not like to sit down and do anything -- summer workbooks, practice math, telling time exercises, counting money. She sporadically reads books. She's a whirling dirvish. Yet, somehow, she is incredibly observant...she misses nothing -- be it a verbal uttering or a visual cue -- she's right there to notice. She's cautious, and tends to worry about a lot. She wants to help with everything.

As a budding gymnast and thanks to two weeks of gymnastics camp, she spends the majority of her time on her head, doing flips, cartwheels, splits, kickovers, backwards bridges and handstands. And by God, I think the girl has bigger, more toned muscles than I do -- all over her body.

Skylar is becoming a young lady. She'll be 7 in December, and she's definitely easing into the age -- but more like I eased into braces with rubberbands and headgear. She rolls her eyes at us. She's trying desperately to make her own way, make her own decisions and assert her will more than ever. Her hearing is becoming more and more selective. And she now stands with her arms folded across her chest, as if to say, "I'm so over the both of you." Her latest buzz phrase is "I don't always have to do what you say." She's desperate to get her ears pierced. She begs for high heeled shoes. She's totally over wearing cute little girl outfits. She's totally into pre-teen privacy. Check out the sign she has made for her bedroom door.

Fiona Ireland, age 4 and eleven twelfths...
Fiona is my cheeky baby. She speaks with facial expressions. Her eyes reveal a very deep and pensive girl. Her sweet lips guard a cherubic smile and often curl into a feigned scowl, just for effect. Her laugh is from the gut, bold and deep, quick and eternal. Her sense of humor is quick, sharp and yes, a bit sarcastic. She loves to tease anyone. She is extremely well-mannered, with a "please" and "thank you" on the tip of her tongue at all times. Her personality is magnetic, and it seems everyone wants to be around her. She quickly makes friends. She wears her emotions on her sleeve, quick to lash out when she's unhappy, but incredibly warm and caring...quick to offer a hug, pat you on the back or just hold your hand if she senses you're sad. She's incredibly curious. She asks questions about everything. She notices a lot. She draws her own conclusions, and offers her own thoughts on things she sees. Just as any budding kindergartener does, she's drawing distinctions, making connections and trying desperately to determine why things are the way they are. She's a definite leader -- quick to take over a playground, for example, the minute she sets foot on it. Everyone follows her around, yet, ironically, she rarely looks behind to see who's there. She's confident, secure and sure of who she is...and she perfectly content to be her own person on her own terms.

Fiona is I guess what you call seriously smart. Her vocabulary is sophisticated and sharp. Her imagination is incredibly vivid and active. One minute she's a mermaid, swimming the oceans and solving problems...then she's a fairy, whisking through the air visiting friends and animals...until she becomes a princess, singing love songs and waiting for her prince to come. She is incredibly content to be on her own, lost in her worlds, nary a care of who is watching. She can sit for an hour and entertain herself. And we she does, we hear her talking non-stop with imaginary friends, to her animals at the tea party, to her dolls in the carriage. She sings little songs, whispers secrets and makes sweet little sound effects for every adventure. And what strikes me is how deeply engaged she gets with her fantasies, with how intensely she's living every moment. You can tell that everything she experiences and does she experiences and does with intensity. She has very few fears. She crafted a sign for her door this summer, too.

A right young but accomplished rider, she's incredibly at ease around horses. One horse in particular, even on his fussiest days, seems to find comfort when Fiona's around. This summer she has, at just 4 years old, been tacking, steering and trotting on her own. We imagine this is one sport that will cost us dearly.

Fiona struggles with being the baby. She's only 21 months younger than Skylar, and sometimes, she fancies there no difference at all. She wants to wear make-up, jewelry and high heeled shoes (like her sister desperately wants to do, too). She doesn't understand what it means to be younger, because she's always desperately trying to be just like her sister. She likes to test boundaries and our patience. She likes to police her sister's every move. But she still cares how Mom and Dad feel about what she's doing, and always comes back to apologize and steal a hug -- like reassurance that everything's copacetic.

- Both Skylar and Fiona learned to ride their bikes this summer without training wheels. Skylar admittedly a little late; Fiona, no surprise, a little early.

- Skylar lost 3 teeth this summer. Fiona desperately wished to lose just one.

- Both have become quite good swimmers. Skylar a doggie paddler; Fiona a little back floater. Aimee and I have become those parents at the beach who can sit and read a book and not constantly be following children around.

And so we let another summer pass. But this time, I feel like it's really been different. For all of us. We all have changed this summer. And we're all, I think, still trying to get used to our new "us"es. For anyone who's reading, cherish every moment with your children, and notice every detail. Because if you don't, they might end up a little unfamiliar to you.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 27, 2007

What's the world going to do with all these little divas?

This story pretty much sums up what I've been living through lately as we prepare two girls for going back to school.

My wife and I tend to think we're a bit more on the progressive side as it comes to most things, parenting included. However, in recent shopping excursions to clothe the girls this fall, I've come to realize that maybe we're not so forward thinking. Or, perhaps society has become too forward in the way it views "little girls" and what's appropriate.

Nary an item has been selected, begged for or purchased that isn't somehow bedazzled with glitter, rhinstones, gems, shine or some other form of sparkle. And that's fine. They're girly girls. But some of the stuff that is being offered for little girls who are size 4 and up are just simply unacceptable.

We've seen slutty tops with halter necks and strappy things all over. Shirts with plunging necklines and gathering at the cleavage that you would expect to find for women, yet made for little girls. Fishnet stockings for a 5 year old. Shoes with massive platform heels and strappy buckles that go around the ankle for a 7 year old. Ripped jeans. Low rider pants...for a little girl.
I think I most object to the message tees. What parent in their right mind allows their child to choose and wear a shirt that says "Spoiled and Proud of it?" or any iteration of a message that otherwise indicates that the child is a brat, sarcastic or at all in touch with themselves as sex objects. We opted for a few at Gap Kids that say nice things like "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Smart Girls Rule." I was especially drawn to one at Children's Place that said "Be Different." These are the messages I want my girls to understand and to send to everyone around them.

What is society doing to children? We wonder why girls are getting pregnant at younger and younger ages, snatched or abused by predators in plain daylight, facing crises in body image and confidence as they grow up. Turning them from little girls into mini 20-somethings through fashion isn't doing anything to help the cause. Having a five year-old walk around with a shirt that communicates she's something other than a sweet little girl spreads the message that it's okay.

My wife and I like to think we're not doing anything to contribuute to that with our own kids, but there are times when we're reminded we can only do so much and that we don't control everything. My almost 5 year old daughter recently announced what she wants to be for Halloween: "a diva" and she said it with diva 'tude. We're dumbfounded. How does she even know what a diva is? Or that a diva has attitude? And she pointed to the costume in all of its diva form.

Am I overreacting?

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What I'm Listening To Right Now

From the time I take for myself after the kids go to bed, another playlist that keeps me going:

>Born Losers - Matthew Good
>Perfect Company - A Cursive Memory
>Come on Get Higher - Matt Nathanson
>Coming Around Again - Simon Webbe
>Easy - Barenaked Ladies
>All I Can See - Brendan James
>Magic - Colbie Caillat
>5:19 - Matt Wertz
>Vegas - Sara Bareilles
>When to Quit - Ari Hest
>No Worries - Simon Webbe
>Turning Circles - Chris Bryan
>Found - James Kinne
>Ain't No Reason - Brett Dennen
>Someday - Pete Schmidt
>Sideways - Let's Go Sailing
>1973 - James Blunt
>The Way I Feel - Matt Wertz
>4 in the Morning - Gewn Stefani
>#41 Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City
>Gravity - Shawn McDonald
>Pictures of You - The Last Goodnight
>Her Eyes - Pat Monahan
>Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
>I Don't Want to be Right - Chris Bryan

And now on the nightstand is "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers.

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cape Cod Memories

The in Progress family finally took a vacation and it was a terrific week. We're probably the only family in Connecticut that hasn't packed it all in at some point and headed to Cape Cod, so we bit the bullet and rented a house in Chatham and it was well worth it!

It's really so great to take time off, spend time with the whole family together and undistracted and enjoy the things that make life awesome. We spent the entire week doing things we rarely take the time to do, including:
-going to the beach every day
-digging for sandcrabs
-riding bikes (6.5 miles in one ride for this out-of-shape dad!)
-twirling sparklers on a night other than the 4th of July
-toasting marshmallows on the gas stove to make S'mores on a rainy night
-playing board games (Blokus), card games (Phase 10) and lawn games (badminton)
-playing mini golf and real golf

Layered in with some things we often enjoy, like:
-good wine
-reading (I devoured and recommend "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

Some highlights of the trip:

Packing the car and bikes!

Wave bathers!

Building! (of course, we're a LEGO family)

My personal favorite way to relax: the beach nap with wet child wrapped in a towel and snuggling.

Gas stove S'mores

And just had to share the sisterly love (check those faces) after one week of togetherness!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Clocking Back In

I'll admit it, I've been a bad blogger. And maybe not such a great dad lately. And by great, I guess I mean present.

I've been crushed with work lately, and we finally launched a program we've been working feverishly to pull together, so I have a little bit more breathing room. Between my and my wife's travel, we've been a veritable volleyball of surviving -- Did we pay the bills? Who's watching the kids? Did we miss some special dress-up day at the camp? Did we feed the cat? Did you water the flowers, because they're almost dead.

But we're back in business now. And I've been having fun with a few of my new toys that are helping us all have more family time together.

Mii Got the Wii
My most wonderfully awesome wife got me the much anticipated Wii that has been so elusive since December for Father's Day, and I have to say, it is everything I imagined and more. AND, it REALLY IS a good workout if you play the right game. I have especially enjoyed Wii Boxing -- you know, pummeling the crap out of someone just because you feel like it. We all have been loving Wii Bowling, and last night I must have spent almost 2 hours playing Mario Party 8, which is mindlessly juvenile but intoxicating just the same. I am especially pleased with how quickly the kids have picked it up, and have to say my little Fiona is a whiz at almost every game she plays...much to her sister's consternation. What's awesome is that we ALL are able to play together, blow off some steam and have fun!

I'm a Grilling Fool
I guess I never really believed that a good grill made a difference, but we kicked off the summer with a luxury purchase of a new Weber grill. We have NEVER had a nice grill before. And YES, there is a difference. We opted for the Weber Genesis, a pristine combination of form, function and beauty that makes its presence on our deck almost heavenly. It has the gas burner on the side for a pot of corn -- or, if we're lucky some weekend -- a pot of crabs. And I think we've grilled next to everything under the sun in the last month. AND, we've increased the amount of family dinners, which is a nice and welcomed change.

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Last night we took the girls to their first baseball game -- a Minor League team not far from here. My older daughter's school had a special family night, and we got 4 tickets behind home plate for $20 -- cheaper than a trip to McDonald's or to the movies.

A couple of things I noticed last night that made me go hmmm:

My baby is a big girl now.
Skylar's best friend's family ended up in our row right next to us, and she got to sit next to her and she had a blast. She kept spying other friends, pointing and waving. I watched her singing and dancing, whispering secrets and hugging her little friends from school. She'll always be my baby girl, but my how she is changing.

Little sisters sometimes get a raw deal.
A four year-old's idea of a good time isn't sitting in one seat for several hours. My youngest was, you guessed it, b-o-r-e-d and so over the ballgame in such a short amount of time. But I think she endured for our sake, because she could tell we were having a good time, and for that, I love her even more. What's more, she DESPERATELY wanted her big sister and her friends to accept her into their little circle of fun, and she kept getting turned away. One of the friends actually did include her in a group hug at one point, and you could tell Fiona was overjoyed. We had a little chat about it on the way home, and explained that her sister loves her, but sometimes she needs to have her own time, too.

Rituals are some of the most powerful things in the world.
Perhaps one of the best and most memorable things you can do for a child is provide family rituals, or instill a sense of tradition. Last night, stepping into that park, I was moved. I remembered all of the times I went to a game with my dad or with my cousins. I made a beeline for the counter to order a hot dog, a bag of peanuts and a beer. We got the girls cotton candy and M&Ms and I did it without even thinking. Skylar and I sat side by side shelling peanuts and it almost moved me to tears. In 30 years, will she take her kids to the game and grab a bag of peanuts and think of me?

Will I have a legacy?
My daughter's principal, Mr. Nolan, is retiring this year. He is an amazing man. He knows every single child's name, without hesitation, who goes to his school. Last year, when my girl started kndergarten half days, I remember we went in for a special open house night just two weeks into school, and as we were heading down the hallway, he waved and smiled from ear to ear and said "Hey, Skylar! How are you?" and shook her hand. I was amazed. There was a tribute party for Mr. Nolan at school the other day, and my daughter came home, clearly upset, and she buried her head in the pillow, sobbing heavily, and she said she was sad beause she was going to miss Mr. Nolan. I was fascinated. Last night, when Mr. Noland arrived, four sections of a baseball park erupted in claps, squeals and children, reaching their hands out, waving, pointing and purely overcome with joy at the sight of Mr. Nolan. And he beamed, and smiled and waved, and shook as many hands as he could. I was left wondering: who cares when I walk into a room? Do I need to work harder to find the kind of joy that comes, from, for example, hundreds of children getting excited just to see me? Or is it easier than I think?

Funny how you go to see a game and end up seeing so much more.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Virtual Veritas

I stumbled across a new fascination: an online confessional for dads, and an online confessional for moms. I am pathetically addicted to reading the musings, lamentations and one-liners of dads and moms who are living the challenge of marriage with children.

I've been howling at some of the funny ones, frowning at the shameful ones and feeling deeply bad for the ones that seem so...desperate. But what I can't help but feel is some sort of comfort in knowing that those small moments when things seem so great -- or so bad -- aren't just my moments.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Tales of a Preschool Graduation

My youngest daughter graduated from preschool on Friday. I can't even begin to post right now about how it seems impossible that she's off to kindergarten next year, so I'll save that for another time and instead give you a glimpse of how my 4 year-old operates.

Here she is during the processional.

Now here she is sitting between two friends. Notice dude on the right isn't at all bored.

She then decided to take her cap off and throw it on the floor. She was the only child to remove her cap. Of course, my wife was furious and gesturing and mouthing to her to put it back on, like some crazy mime. My daughter got the death eyes and the stern tight lips several times. I quietly said, "Stop it. She's not going to put it back on if she sees you reacting like that." She simply looked at my wife and smirked and shook her head no. (and I thought it was awesome but I didn't tell my wife that.)

So, after my wife gave up and they were calling names, my daughter quickly put her cap back on, then walked over to get her diploma. I suppose she was bored and figured it would throw a little cheek, again, to mom. But mom was elated.

Sorry, my dear wife, she decided to take it off again and throw it on the floor. The only child to do so.

Again, my wife was trying to tell her to put it back on, but she refused, and walked the recessional without her cap and with her head held high. She also refused to look in our direction for a picture opportunity. ;-)

When all was said and done, she was happy to pose for pictures, just not with her cap, and was thrilled to have graduated. We gave her a flower and she beamed..."No one has ever given me a flower before! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

Labels: , ,

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

We've all heard the only difference between men and boys is the size and cost of their toys. Maybe one the best parts of being a dad is the ability to buy toys -- recklessly -- and play with them yourself, all under the guise of spending time with the children.

I love to watch my kids play, because it reminds me of when I was a kid, with nary a care in the world other than who would win the battle for the castle that day, or what new structure would be added to the LEGO city by noon.

I was a LEGO kid. I had a massive collection of bricks and wheels and doors and windows and roof tiles. My cousin was into LEGO Space and LEGO Castle, but I was all about the LEGOLAND town -- the gas station, the police and fire houses. I used my bricks to make everything in the city -- houses, a school, stores, restaurants -- my LEGO city grew daily. I spent hours and hours building and re-building, tweaking and playing with my Matchbox cars in the LEGO city. And to this day, I love to build, and it's now something I like to do with my girls.

Their interest has been increasing lately, and it's amazing to watch them dig through a bucket and piece together a bridge, a gun, a bird. You can see the wheels turning in their minds as they place a piece, remove it, put in on somewhere else, maybe tweak again, and then you see the look -- the one that says "yes, that's the right spot for that what?!"

There's just something about the fun that comes from the challenge and the problem solving of building. And sometimes I wonder what kind of person I'd be today had I not spent so much time building. Would I be creative? Would I have th confidence to be outspoken? Would I be persistent, curious, open to new ideas? Would I be energzied more by the problem than the answer?

I imagine I'm not the only dad who grew up playing with LEGO. Which is why I'm anxious to hear if there are other dads out there who grew up with it, still play with it, or share it with their kids. Why? What makes it something you just can't forget...or give up? Drop me a mail or leave a comment!

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

Some favorite news pics of my girls that speak to the power of sisters, friends, love and play.

And a ballerina for the moment nailing her pose...right down to her feet.

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 12, 2007

1st Grade Musings

Thursday night was open house at my daughter's school -- one of our favorite things every year. Skylar was so excited for us to go, she couldn't stop skippng and leaping around the house before we left. The school was buzzing with people everywhere, and was bursting with artwork and projects lining the halls.

I love open house every year because you can feel the creativity oozing from the pages hanging on the walls and the clay models resting in display cabinets and you can see that everyone around you is amazed and, yes, inspired. If only we could stay as open, free and optimistic as we were as children as we grow up. I snapped some pics of some of Skye's work, because you can't help but stop in your tracks when you see what's in a first grader's mind...and what I wish was in mine.

Here she says: I am proud of reading, writing, learning, I love school because you learn, you get to ride the bus.

Here, an anagram of her name: Sweet pumpkin pie, Kind to everyone, Yes I am cute, Likes to [play] baseball, Animals are special to me, Relly likes school.

Miss Cally made the family portrait, and fortunately, I did not get an orange, high-top ponytail.

This is my favorite, because where most of us would consider happy to be something fleeting, my first grader sees it all around her. Skylar's "Happy Poem" reads: Happy is smiling, Happy looks like family smiling, Happy sounds like my cat meowing, Happy tastes like ice cream, Happy smells like nuts (!), Happy feels like the sun warming me up, Happy is smiling.

Labels: , ,

New Music Saturday

Sometimes dads need time to be people, and you may have figured by now one of my favorite "downtime" activties is getting lost in iTunes user recommendations and "if you bought this you'll like this" suggestions to find great new music. My new playlist, "days off" may connect you with something new:

life is beautiful - vega 4
starting now - ingrid michaelson
mandolin moon - sister hazel
have a little faith in me - john hiatt
heard the world - o.a.r.
just (radio edit) - mark ronson
smile - lily allen
take your mama - scissor sisters
time is a runaway - the alternate routes
a good start - maria taylor
sideways - let's go sailing
undeniable - mat kearney
be be your love - rachel yamagata
is it any wonder? - keane
yesterday is calling - william tell
no myth - michael penn
human - jon mclaughlin
all i have - until june
words you used to say - dean & britta
all that that implies - michael penn

Labels: ,

Friday, April 20, 2007

Yes, I'm Still Alive

It's been a while since I've posted...we've had one of those periods where everything seems to happen at once. Lots of child care disruptions and maneuvering, family illness, weekends away and chaos at work. I figured I'd get around to blogging tomorrow, or the next day, and here it is over a month later.

But then I was starting to wonder what I would even blog about. Seems like we've been super busy and maxed out, but none of it is interesting or worth repeating. How can that be? Is it possible that we go through a grey time of parenting where nothing magical happens, nothing special, just day-in day-out routine? I kept thinking there had to be something, and keep coming up empty.

So, maybe the thing for me to think about is how to plug back into something other than survival. Covering child care gaps. Scrambling to finish PowerPoints just before I get to the front of the room to share them. Running errands. Filing taxes at the very last minute.

And here it is. My wife has been away at a conference since Wednesday, and my mother-in-law came and took the girls to her house that same morning, because it's spring vacation and she thought they'd like to have a change of scenery since we had no time off. So I was thinking it would be a great time to recharge -- take it easy, have a few glasses of wine, watch whatever TV I wanted, spend an hour or two browsing at Barnes & Noble (one of my favorite things to do), maybe run to the Apple Store and grab a game or (God willing) finally find a Wii in stock somewhere (I mean seriously, how can it be this hard to buy a friggin Wii?) And, instead, I got strep throat.

Fortunately, no one has been here while I've been contagious, but no one has been here to take care of me either. Just the cat, and she's useless unless I want my feet warmed. And after three days of sitting here, mindlessly waiting for my throat to open up again and stop feeling like it's full of daggers, it hit me.

Despite all the hassle and rush and frustration of life's routines, when you remove it from your day, it's disconcerting. I miss my wife. And I don't know if I can go another day without my girls. So sometimes, I suppose the most reassuring and comforting parts of being a dad aren't just in the magical moments, but in having a little princess run by and give you a wave or a sit down to read you her latest catch from the library. Or just having them be there, even if quietly.

Happy to be feeling somewhat better, and glad to be blogging again. Hope everyone has been doing well.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Case of the Irish Booby Traps

Fiona came home from nursery school last week bursting with excitement over this news: her class was going to capture some leprechauns!

Apparently, while they were in the big room, some leprechauns had danced their way into their classroom and sprinkled some green glitter all over. Upon return to the classroom, the children found the glitter and Mrs. Parks and Mrs. King told them that the leprechauns must have been there.

"So...this is so exciting...we're going to use some straws and make some booby traps!" Fiona told us, overjoyed.

"Booby traps?" I said. "What kind of booby traps?"

"You know! Booby traps, where there's a box and a string and we'll put it up on its side and then pull the string so it falls down on top of them when they dance inside of there."

"But why would they go inside the box?" I pressed.

"I don't know...we'll put some little things inside of there that they like to make them want to go inside of there and then we'll catch them and take their gold!" she replied, with a devilish grin and rubbing her hands together.

"What do you think they will like that you can put in there?" I asked.

"I don't am I supposed to know?"

"I think you should put corned beef and cabbage. And maybe some beer in there."

"Ewww! Gross, Daddy! That won't work."

So, here's how it played out: apparently, they set the booby traps, but no leprechauns appeared and then it was time to go into the other room for songs on the piano, which is when the leprechauns (aka Mrs. T, the lunch lady) must have invaded the classroom. Fiona told us when they got back, the booby traps had been sprung and there were two notes. One said "Well, you made good traps, but we squeezed out," and the other said "If each child finds a clover that we hid in the room, you'll get our pot of gold." So they collected all the clovers, and the teachers handed over the pot of gold chocolate coins.

She was over the moon. Which is why I love children. She was totally immersed and enraptured by the mystery of the sneaky leprechauns.

If you ask me, those leprechauns would have stayed put in the booby traps if they had been baited with corned beef and beer.

Labels: , ,

Bless You, Curse You

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, my favorite Irish blessing for you:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

And my favorite Irish curse:

May those who love us love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Music Thursday

It's been a busy few weeks in the Progress household, so I'm opting for the lazy man's post on updates to the old iTunes roster.

Actually, I've discovered some very cool new music -- my two favorite finds being Jon McLaughlin (or visit his MySpace profile), whom I heard on Sirius 9 (The Pulse) and Low Stars, who do the opening song for What About Brian -- perhaps my new favorite show as it's the thirtysomething of the millennium. As an aside, for some inane reason, thirtysomething has yet to be released on DVD, but Amazon has had an "email me when it's available" function enabled for years.

Perhaps the best feature on iTunes (and the most time consuming) is the Listeneres Also Purchased, which links you to at least 5 or 6 other artists whose music is similar to what you're browsing. An excellent way to start in a genre and dive deep to the rarely played and undiscovereds.

Incidentally, I'm a new convert to satellite radio. I always wondered what the big deal was, but now that I have it in the new car on free trial for a year, I'm 100%hooked.

Drum roll, please, for my two new favorite playlists...

sunday comics:
industry - jon mclaughlin
not ready to make nice - dixie chicks
undiscovered - james morrison
farifax - william tell
world - five for fighting
thinking about you - norah jones
home - daughtry
gravity - john mayer
under the influence - james morrison
beautiful disaster - jon mclaughlin
shoo be doo - macy gray
maybe tonight - william tell
reality - jonathan clay
wasting my time - jackson waters
good life - andy davis
makes me happy - matt white band
praying to the wrong god - jon mclaughlin
worth taking - rob blackledge
passenger seat - stephen speaks
set me free - pat mcgee band
human - jon mclaughlin

what about me:
calling all friends - low stars
here (in your arms) - hellogoodbye
the guide - borne
the beauty in ugly - jason mraz
love, love, love - low stars
tell me 'bout it - joss stone
you give me something - james morrison
sometimes it rains - low stars
say ok - vanessa hudgens
need a friend - low stars
strangers again - ari hest
bound - christopher jak
stolen - dashboard confessional
finally made me happy - macy gray
easily - borne
the drfiter - david poe
tracks in the rain - low stars
chicago - ingram hill
unplayed piano - damien rice & lisa hannigan