Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Lately Will and Hallie have been playing a lot of hide-and-seek. The game doesn't work very well when just the two of them play however, because they both get so excited about hiding and then being found that they usually stay hidden for less 20 seconds. Add to that the fact that Hallie just hides wherever Will hid the turn before and, well, it's not much of a game.

They sure are cute while they count though.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Valentine's Day

As is usually the case with holidays, Valentine's Day was fun but crazy busy. The festivities started on February 13th, when Will's class celebrated with an ice cream social and by exchanging Valentines with one another.

Hallie's class celebrated on Valentine's Day with heart-shaped brownies and by exchanging Valentines with one another.

Tom worked really late on Valentine's Day Eve, but when he arrived home that night he set out Valentine's Day gifts and cards for all three of us. I'm not sure I've ever witnessed this kind of behavior - thinking about and preparing for a "small" holiday ahead of time - from Tom, which made the lovely card and FABULOUS watch (which I'd been wanting for a while) he bought for me a true surprise.

Tom also worked really late on Valentine's Day, so he missed the kids' annual Valentine's treasure hunt. Will thought my clues were WAY too easy, and Hallie struggled to keep up with him as he tore through the house trying to get to his prize as quickly as possible.

I bought the ice cream for Will's ice cream social, so I ended up with all of the extra ice cream. I made the heart-shaped brownies for Hallie's party, so I ended up with the brownie "outsides" (the brownies left in the pan after the hearts had been cut out). I bought a cookie cake from a friend of mine who runs her own cookie cake business, so we had an entire chocolate chip cookie cake on our hands. Add to that all of the candy the kids brought home from their classroom parties and, well, my kitchen looked like the game board from Candyland. I made anyone who came over eat something sweet before they left, but that was only after I ate quite a bit of it myself while watching Water for Elephants on Valentine's Day night.

At school, Hallie's teachers helped each child make Valentines for their parents.  The fronts of the cards read, "I love my mom/dad because..." and then Ms. Mary filled in each child's answers inside the cards.  It will come as no surprise that Hallie's card to me read, "I love my mom because...she does whatever I tell her to do."  For the record, for the remainder of the day I didn't NOTHING that Hallie asked me to do in protest.  Because I'm also three years old apparently.

Next up on the kids' holiday radar (which they most definitely have), St. Patrick's Day - bring on the green!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jam Session

For as long as I can remember, my dad and his best friend Chuck have been getting together to "play guitars" on a regular basis. (They've been playing together longer than I've been alive, which is why I can't remember a time when their music wasn't a part of my life.) They play and sing songs from all genres and going back decades, from Jamaican Farewell to Sloop John B to One Fine Day to Baby, Baby (learning Baby, Baby was a gift they gave to Will and Hallie; Justin Bieber isn't one of their favorite artists). At times they settle in and comfortably run through songs they know by heart and that showcase their "dueling guitars" and vocal harmonies, and at other times they buckle down to learn and practice new music.  (They take requests too, which is fantastic.)

When Sara and I learned to sing they'd occasionally let us sing along with them, but we weren't really full participants until we'd reached high school and actually understood melodies, harmonies, and musical improvisation. It was an honor - and I really mean that - to be welcomed into their "club", and I still today feel grateful whenever I'm lucky enough to be in the same room as these two best friends who make amazing music together.

When Tom and I got married and my dad and Chuck learned of Tom's musical talent, he too was allowed to join the band. (Perhaps someday we'll all bail on our jobs and responsibilities and take our show on the road.)  I absolutely love listening to the three of them play, and on a rare occasion I'm able to enjoy their music accompanied by Will and Hallie on vocals.  There's nothing better than music bringing together, in one room, my past, my present, and my future.

Over Christmas vacation the four of us (my dad, Chuck, Tom, and I) held an impromptu jam session.  My dad and Chuck grabbed their guitars, Tom sat down at the piano, and I warmed up my vocal chords and we picked up exactly where they left off. I wish that evening could have gone on for a lot longer than it did.

Here's a little glimpse of the three of them, rocking out to Rocky Top. (I can't sing and film at the same time, so my vocal part is missing - sorry. Also, my apologies that the video isn't longer and better. That's what you get with phone videos.)

Music rules.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Work It

Just before the holidays Tom discovered a new way to efficiently combine spending time with his kids and working out. He's started off with "light" weights (26 lbs. of Hallie), but hopes to soon graduate to "medium" weights (44 lbs. of Will).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I didn't see the similarities at first (though all newborn babies kind of look the same: like sacks of potatoes with prunes for faces), but ever since Lily grew out of the newborn stage it has been impossible to deny that she is her mother's daughter.

I vaguely remember Sara as a baby, but my memories of Sara as a toddler and a preschooler are much clearer. I am struck, nearly every time I look at Lily, by how much she looks like Sara as a little girl. Their personalities are as different as night and day (Lily, to me, seems a pretty typical oldest child, while Sara was a much more easy-going second child), but beyond that they could be twins.  Here are a couple of fun comparisons between the two of them.  Please try your best to ignore Sara's terrible bowl haircut.
Lily, 2012
Sara, 1983/4
Lily, 2012
Sara, 1983/4
Sara, 1983/4
(you have to look past the fact that Sara's sitting
on the potty and focus on the face she's making)
I've never had a "mini-me" - both Will and Hallie have looked like Tom since the day they were born and are still today clearly his children (I've been asked more than once if I'm their nanny) - so it's kind of fun for me to see a child in our family look so much like the person from whom she came.

And don't worry, Jeff, I'm sure the next one will look just like you.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Part of Your World

Her accompaniment needs a little work, and she may not have all of the lyrics right, but Hallie nails the longing mood of the song just perfectly.

I could listen to her sing all day long. Oh wait, I do.

When I was 11 years old I used to put on my bikini, stand in front of the playroom mirror, and belt this song out at the top of my lungs.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Live, From Madison, It's Will Ferris!"

Both Grandpa Paul and camping uncle Jody volunteer for WORT 89.9 FM, Madison's premiere* listener-sponsor community radio station. Grandpa Paul answers the telephone during fundraising phonathons, and while his responsibilities seem interesting and are no doubt important, they're not nearly as cool as spinning discs and talking to the people like Jody does as an on-air personality. (I have no idea if radio people use the phrase "spinning discs". I just liked how it sounded.)

While we were in Madison for Christmas, Grandpa Paul took Tom and Will down to the station to hang out with Jody while he was broadcasting live.  Turns out camping cousin Colin was down there as well - he took the first two photos below, which is why they're considerably better than the last three which were taken with Tom's dying phone's camera.
The grown-ups tried really hard to get Will to talk on the radio, but he was a little too freaked out by the whole set-up and worried he'd make a mistake to actually give it a try.  I was considerably bummed out by this, because I sat in front of the radio for an hour listening to Jody's program (an hour during which I really needed to be drying my hair, making lunch for Hallie, doing a load of laundry, and watching my new Twilight DVDs) waiting to hear Will's little voice broadcast throughout the Madison Metropolitan Area.  Maybe next year!

*I have no idea if WORT is a premiere radio station or not.  I just assumed that my dad and Jody would only volunteer for Madison's premiere radio station, and/or if WORT wasn't premiere to begin with, it would be once my dad and Jody joined its volunteer ranks.