Thursday, March 29, 2012


Spring has sprung and we're (Hallie is) singing about it!

It is March, it is March
Windy days, kites at play
Leprechauns and shamrocks, leprechauns and shamrocks
Spring is here, spring is here

It's December
It's November
It's October
It's September

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

She's Electric

Can you say static?  
There was literally no wind blowing when these pictures were taken.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cowboy Day

Will looks more like a park ranger than a cowboy,
and Hallie was kind of annoyed that morning
because I made her wear a bandana and hair bows that
matched her red cowboy boots.
Will was lucky enough to experience Cowboy Day (at his and Hallie's preschool) last year, but this year's event was the first for both me and Hallie. I volunteered for the second and third shifts so I could watch both Will and Hallie's classes come through, but took advantage of short lulls at my stations (Snakes in Boots and Fishing) to snap a few pictures of the festivities.

Andy Armadillo was a hit with the older kids,
but not so much the younger ones.
Lassoing steers with hula hoops.
Singing songs and "roasting" marshmallows over the "camp fire".
Hallie rode this horse, and yelled "WHEEEEEE!",
for 90% of her time at Cowboy Day.
Hallie's friend Caroline fishing at my station.
Will's class of cowboys and cowgirls.
Cowboy Day reminded us that we've yet to stock our closets with cowboy/cowgirl hats...perhaps those are next on the gift list!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Identical Cousins

Remember the Patty Duke Show?  Patty Duke played both Patty Lane and Cathy Lane, identical cousins (whose identical looks were attributed to their identical twin fathers) who while similar in appearance, were completely different in all other respects.

"Where Cathy adores a minuet, the Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette,
Our Patty loves to rock and roll, a hot dog makes her lose control -
What a wild duet!"

When Sara and I were little, we used to pretend we were identical twins.  Never mind the two and half year age, significant height, hair color, and eye color differences; we thought that if we dressed identically, no one - including our dad - could tell us apart.  (Wish I had a picture of us in our matching black stirrup pants, Mickey Mouse sweatshirts, and pink flowered Keds to show you...)

We no longer believe we could pass for twins - we actually don't think we look very much alike at all anymore - but there must be at least a few similarities in our facial features and expressions because when we're out and about together strangers often remark that we must be sisters.

Do you see the similarities?
We are now trying to turn our daughters into twins, or at least identical cousins, despite the 20-month age, significant height, hair color, and eye color differences.

It was difficult to see many similarities...

...until, of course, we dressed them in matching outfits.  I bet you can't tell them apart anymore.

They're even wearing matching "I'm so sick of
having my picture taken" expressions.
Now that they're getting a little older, Sara takes pictures of Lily in outfits that Hallie (and even Will) wore 18 months earlier and we compare the pictures to see if there really are any similarities in the girls' appearances.  Here all three kids are in a Winnie the Pooh costume; as you can see, only two of the three enjoyed the experience.  You'll also notice that both girls felt the need to add an accessory to their ensemble.

Sara, Jeff, and Lily are coming to visit in about a week, and I'm planning to dress Hallie and Lily in matching outfits every single day.  Maybe with some smooth talking (Hallie's a pretty smooth talker) they'll be able to convince a very gullible someone that they're twins.

And even if they can't, Sara and I hope that dressing them alike is/will be one way for us to create a special bond between the girls, so that one day the lyrics of the Patty Duke Show theme song will ring true when Hallie and Lily are together.

"What a crazy pair...
You can lose your mind, when cousins are two of a kind!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Basketball...It's a Wrap!

Basketball season has come to a close, and while Will never developed into a shooting superstar or a dribbling dynamo, I feel confident he would have earned the most-improved award if such a thing existed in 4-6 year old city basketball.

As a reminder, Will didn't touch the ball AT ALL during the first three games. And aside from Will's very first soccer game, his third basketball game was the worst athletic hour of his (and maybe my) life. There was ice dancing. On the basketball court.

But then we had "the talk" and Will started to turn things around. In games four, five, and six Will threw the ball inbounds to his teammates, guarded his assigned opponent with his hands in the air, dribbled twice, and tied up one jump ball. Progress.

And then in games seven and eight Will really hit his stride. Along with inbound passing, guarding, dribbling, and tying up jump balls, Will actually stole the ball from his opponent TWICE, and in the last game he actually won the tip off against a boy who was a full head taller than he was. How, you ask? The taller boy had no idea when to jump and didn't understand that during a tip off the jumping players must move the ball to one of their teammates instead of catching it themselves. Will, however, knew when to jump and was able to pass the ball to another Bulls player - turns out he was listening to his coaches after all.

Speaking of, Will's coaches were fantastic.  They understood how to teach the game of basketball to kids who'd never played before while also helping kids who were more experienced further develop their skills.  They were knowledgeable, patient, and encouraging, even at times when I'm certain being patient and encouraging would have been terribly difficult.

We're on to spring soccer and t-ball now, but here are the last remaining pics from the basketball season.

Backpedaling on defense.

Guarding his opponent.

Being consoled by Coach Lee and Coach Clint 
after getting hit in the face with the ball.

At the ready.  For what, I'm not sure.

Inbounding the ball.

Will's best defensive moment of the season came just two 
seconds after this picture was taken - #3 on the Knicks 
didn't stand a chance against Will's defense.

An end of the season "Goooooo Bulls!"

End of the season trophy presentation.

Go Bulls!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Angelina Ballerina

This series of photos, which I took in order to experiment with a couple of different features on my camera and a couple of different lighting options, capture Hallie perfectly.  She can dish out indifference, excitement, boredom, annoyance, happiness, and joy, all in matter of seconds.  I'd call her a drama queen, but she'd most certainly correct me and insist I call her Angelina Ballerina.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Grandma Brenda!

We're very lucky that we get to celebrate with the birthday girl - Grandma Brenda - on her special day.  She's visiting us this week since it's spring break for the kids, Tom's out of town, she didn't have to work, and Grandpa Paul is on his way to China...and we're having a blast.  I'll post more pictures of her "party" next week, but in the meantime, here are a couple of her having fun with the kids.  Happy birthday, Mom/Grandma!

I just realized that she's wearing the same jacket in both pictures, 
but they were taken on different days, almost a year apart. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


After Tom works until 2am (AM) on Monday, 7:30pm on Tuesday, 2am (AM) on Wednesday, 7:30pm on Thursday, and 6:30pm on Friday, all four of us are ready for the weekend when it finally arrives. Unfortunately though, Tom doesn't get a full weekend to relax...he usually works during nap time on Saturday afternoon and puts in a full seven or eight hours on Sunday as well. Sometimes on Sunday afternoons - after a long week and a not-long-enough Saturday and when I think about the week ahead of me - I start to feel a little nutty and have a tough time not losing my cool with the kids.

So to keep myself sane and to save the kids from their soon-to-be-crazy mother, I've started coming up with Sunday afternoon adventures. Here are our first two simple, free, and amazing popular Sunday ____

First up, a neighborhood scavenger hunt.  I found this four-to-a-page scavenger hunt form online, printed off a couple of copies, and dragged the kids outside.  Will was pretty excited once he realized what we were about to do, and Hallie was pretty excited once she realized she got to carry a pink marker with her on our walk.

Heading off down the street.

Stopping to cross off "leaf".

A close-up of the scavenger hunt list.

Hallie realized that she wasn't very good at writing while standing so 
she parked herself on the sidewalk every single time she crossed an item 
off the list.  Will found this extraordinarily frustrating.

It also took her a LONG time to actually cross items 
off the list once she was sitting down.  I see from this picture that 
need to work with Hallie on her writing utensil grip.

After the scavenger hunt (we found everything except a ladybug 
and a cat) Will gave Hallie a wild ride in her stroller.

The following week we went to the mall, not to shop for anything, but to cuddle the puppies at the puppy store.  (The store isn't actually called The Puppy Store, but I'm not sure how else to refer to it.  It's a store front, and they have puppies there, so we've chosen to call it the puppy store.)  Will is usually afraid of dogs, but this one particular puppy was so mellow (I was actually worried that there was something wrong with her because she didn't wake up when I transferred her from my arms to Will to Hallie to Will to Hallie and than back to the employee) that even Will found her delightful.

The puppy is completely asleep while draped across Will's lap.

And now the puppy is completely asleep while falling off of Hallie's lap.

I'm not sure a cuter animal ever existed.  That afternoon I came 
closer to adopting a dog than I ever have in my entire life.  
We may go back to the mall tomorrow just to visit her again.

We've also played on the McDonald's indoor playscape, walked to and played on multiple neighborhood playgrounds, and browsed the children's section at Barnes & Nobel.  I have a few more ideas for Sunday afternoon activities in the works (thanks to Pinterest), and I'll be sure to share them here once we've given them a try!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ninja Warrior

Will likes to "borrow" my phone and take photos and videos of himself. He started off with self-portraits and action figure battles, but has since stepped it up and moved on to ninja work.

I can't understand everything coming out of his mouth, but I'm pretty sure he's quietly (so that I won't hear him) singing the theme song for Kung Fu Panda.

On a related note, we'd like to wish Grandpa Mike - who taught Will much of what he knows about ninja and sword fighting - a very happy birthday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I love these pictures...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kids Say...

Will had been in his room, reading a book, when he discovered an issue with one of the words in his book.
Will: (Directing my attention to his book) Mom, there’s something wrong here.
Erin: What do you mean?
Will: (Pointing to a word in his book) What’s this word?
Erin: Pea. As in pea soup.
Will: EEEWWWW!!! I thought I was reading it wrong, but I was right. Why would anyone want pee soup?

Hallie: (SCREAMING) I want to put on my underwear! – 117 times
Erin: So then put them on.
Hallie: (SCREAMING) I can’t do it!
Erin: So then let me help you.

Hallie: What “together” mean?
Erin: You know the answer to that question, silly girl. Can you tell me what “together” means?
Hallie: Captain America?

Will: (doing push-ups) What are these called?
Erin: Push-ups.
Will: I’m really good at push-ups, since I’m so, so strong.
Erin: (doesn’t answer because she’s doing sit-ups)
Will: They sure do hurt my penis though.

Will: (laughing to himself in the backseat) I can’t wait until I get a real sword.
Erin: I don’t think you need a real sword – they’re pretty dangerous.
Will: Well, when I’m 18 I can buy a real sword if I want to.
Erin: I’d really rather you didn’t. I don’t want you to get hurt.
Will: Oh, all right then. But if there’s a battle, I’m going to run right out to the store and buy me a sword.
Erin: Deal. If there’s a battle, you can get a real sword.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shower Dance

Lately all the kids do when they're in the bathtub together is fight. Even in our (mine and Tom's) large bathtub there was never enough space, and they both always wanted to play with the same toys and dump water on the head of the other one when the other one didn't want that to happen.

After a particularly long day and before what I knew would be a long evening with Tom still at work, I decided I couldn't take another bathtub brawl and sent Will to the shower. He'd never showered all by himself before, but he took this new responsibility seriously and washed himself very thoroughly from head to toe.

And then he celebrated.