Happy Valentine’s Day

There have been many signs that something special is going on around here today. Special foods, special messages, bedside surprises, a delightful bowl of berries from a neighbor when we’d only asked to borrow vegetable oil, and the pitter-patter of little feet on secret errands — “Don’t look, Mommy! Don’t look!

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is also turning out very special.


rehearsals and sugar plum dreams

My daughter is in the local Hyde Park School of Dance’s Annual Nutcracker production. Catherine is a party girl in the magical scene in which Herr Drosselmeyer presents Clara with the Nutcracker. Which has meant many rehearsals and much hard work.

What’s been unusual for us this year is that, I, too, have rehearsals, and much hard work. I’m dancing in the Nutcracker, as one of the parents in the party scene! (I’ll pause here…. so you can gasp or faint or bust out laughing and then collect yourself). Ever since I was a little girl, reading the book A Very Young Dancer about a young girl’s chance to be Clara in the George Balanchine Nutcracker in New York City, I’ve wanted to be in this ballet. And now, against all the odds, as a grown woman, I’ve got my chance.

You can imagine the excitement around here.

We had our first dress rehearsal last Friday and we have just one more to go before the first performance this Friday.

It’s been amazing going off to dance with my daughter. To be in a production with her. I’ve been so proud of her — and so delighted for me at my good fortune to be included in this show, which is really a Hyde Park tradition and a show that brings the whole community together. So lovely. And so much in keeping with the spirit of the holidays.

All that to say, wish us luck this weekend — or maybe, better yet, break a leg. And if you don’t see much of me here for the next few days, I might just be dancing. Stop by again next week for many updates celebrating the season.

pumpkin girl

May I introduce…Pumpkin Girl!

And the reveal? It’s you-know-who!

Lizzy’s been drawing and crafting furiously to get ready for Halloween. We have paper pumpkin girls, pumpkin kids, pumpkin cats and pumpkin puppets all over the house. Not to mention real pumpkins in every stage of decoration.

I’m feeling a bit like Pumpkin Girl myself, as I try to get us ready for Halloween (and I’m always last in line at Ye Olde Costume Shop, otherwise known as the upstairs craft room). I’ve made the costume for one girl and the other one — the labor-intensive, hand-stitched one — is well underway. Here is the sneak preview:

Can’t wait to show you! Good, really good.

By the way, does anyone happen to have costume suggestions for this last-minute Mommy? What are you planning to be for Halloween?

knitting for Easter

I don’t know if there’s anything more satisfying for a knitting mama than to see her little ones wearing something she’s made. And if this “something” happens to be matching, swingy, sweet, bright little shrugs, well, all the better. The pattern comes from the Interweave magazine Weekend Knits that came out last fall. I knitted the blue one for Catherine a while back and had it stashed and ready, but the pink one came out a bit too small. I was scaling up from the baby and toddler sizes given. I ripped it out and started over on Thursday. Um, yes. A little bit of last-minute knitting there. Indeed.

Cath and Lizzy enjoyed wearing them so much and kept them on nearly all day — for egg hunts and brunch and dancing in daffodils and playing in the rain. Made my handmaking heart sing. I do think some more tinkering is in order — Catherine’s and Lizzy’s had to be held on with a pin; the edging on Lizzy’s is a bit loosey goosey and probably needs to be redone, but for now, for Easter, they were wonderful.

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Bunny Party

We love birthday parties! We like to plan them a little last minute — throw together a homemade cake, kids, family, friends, a game or an art activity or two and have at it. Things tend to be spontaneous and simple We let the kids take the lead on many ideas and decorations. The girls usually help bake their own cakes and decorate them.

This year, Lizzy wanted a bunny theme and Mommy did a larger share of work on the bunny cake than usual. It turned out so well, with a pink raspberry eye and butter cream frosting on top of homemade chocolate cake. Yum. The girls looked at the leftover cake scraps and icing and said, “Let’s make a carrot!” So we did. Every bunny loves carrots.

As a craft activity, we decorated blown eggs with watercolor paints and hung them on an egg tree — one of my family traditions this time of year.

And there was an impromptu puppet show:

starring Lizzy’s new birthday bunny from Imagine Childhood:

It was such a mellow, low-key party, with so many parts of it made by us and the kids. I really love that. I feel like it makes the day so much more memorable, with everyone making and enjoying together. Happy Birthday, Lizzy!

Birthday girl

It’s been an amazing four years that’s seen this:

{in Grandma’s arms}

turn into this:

and now into this amazing creature ::

I tend to have a hard time wrapping my mind around changes and this transformation has left me a little speechless. I’m going to gather my thoughts a bit and write about her delightful fourth birthday party in tomorrow’s post. But I can say this, Happy Birthday, sweet Lizzy, we love what a big girl you are now!

the first sunbeam of Spring…

Our old apartment used to have glorious light all year round, and pretty lovely views of the lake, too. In our new place, as cozy as it is, there are months of the year when we don’t get any direct sunlight at all. Oh, sigh. I used to live for those winter sunbeams streaking across the floor.

But the deprivation does make the return of the light so welcome, so treasured! So we’ve been celebrating the Return of the Sunbeam this week.

And there’ve been some other signs of spring too, like slushy outings to the Point, and of course fat robin redbreasts, singing their songs.