Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cute Liam

Liam is just the cutest. I just want to hug him all day long. He is so much fun. Here are some pics.

My Little Pony

Kate is very into "My Little Pony". She has been for ages (see early post about her Pony "tableaux") and I think they are great little toys. And VERY affordable! When I heard that "My Little Pony LIVE!" was coming to town right around Kate's birthday, I just had to get tickets. After a summer of me being less than mobile with the surgery recovery, and all my recent work at the U of MN, I knew that Kate and I would need some one-on-one special time.

So last weekend, I told Kate we were having a special Mommy-Daughter day with NO BOYS ALLOWED. I did not tell her what we were doing, though. First we went to lunch. As we were on our way, we passed a poster for the show! Kate saw it and got very excited. I asked her "do you think that is what your surprise is?" and her answer was "No, I don't think so. I think that show is coming in a long time and that is so people can know about it." (Impressive). I nodded in agreement and said she must be right. While at our big girl lunch, we chatted and laughed and had such a great time! Then I revealed the surprise to her and she was VERY excited. See picture below for a visual! :)

The show was really cute. The theme was "Pony Tea Party" and it was very pink and girly and adorable. Kate had a great time. I would also like to complement Hasbro - the creators of My Little Pony. The merchandise for sale was very affordable! UNLIKE the Disney Princess show where they may as well pass a collection plate around and ask you to place your wallet in it, never to be seen again. While at Disney Princess the "magic wands" were $25, at My Little Pony they were $5! So Kate actually got some goods without us having to take out a Home Equity Loan.

It was a great day. Everything went beautifully and we had such fun. Until we were leaving. As we were making our way through the skyways to the Parking Lot, a very, Very, VERY large woman - so large that she could not see small people or objects in her immediate radius - came barrelling by and literally body-checked poor Kate clear across the room with her stomach. People actually gasped. I had her hand in mind and all of a sudden this women ka-boomed into Kate and magic wands and ponies and kate went flying as her little hand was ripped out of my grasp. Poor sweet Kate. She got a nasty rug burn on her knee and had crocodile tears rolling down her face. The woman did not even stop or apologize. Kate was really upset and I was trying not to show that I was furious at the rudeness and really irritated that such a lovely day had a silly scar on it, but both Kate and I quickly recovered and spent the ride home singing along to "High School Musical". It really was such a fun day.

Kate enjoying her lunch.

Excited Kate - I just told her that we were going to the show.

The Ponies "Live". Kind of creepy, I know! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Here are some pictures of Kate at her very first REAL dance class. Kate takes lessons at the Alesso Dance Studio and she LOVES LOVES LOVES it. The class consists of tap and ballet, and is taught by an absolutely wonderful woman, Miss Pat. One of the things I love is the discipline. She is the child-whisperer. All the children are in awe of Miss Pat and sit up straight and tall and listen to every word she says. Watching them all dance fills me with great joy --- you can tell that each of the girls absolutely loves being there.

By the way, Kate posed for these pics all on her own, I just told her to smile and these are the poses she struck. Where does she get it? ;P

Friday, September 21, 2007

Soccer Blocker

A quick added note. Poor Kate had to miss soccer AGAIN tonight. This time because of Tornado Warnings. Not really weather for preschool soccer! :) She was so sad. She kept sayiing "is the Twister over now? Can I have soccer?". A Twister? I think someone has been watching a little too much "Wizard of Oz".

I had the news on during dinner because the weather was nasty and we were expecting the Tornado sirens any minute. I was trying to get Kate to eat brocolli with cheese sauce and I wanted her to finish her dinner before we all would have to head to the basement. I said "C'mon, Kate, eat your brocolli! The Tornado Siren is going to go off any minute and I need you to finish this!" Perhaps not my best approach. Kate's eyes got VERY wide and she exclaimed, "You mean if I DON'T eat my brocolli then a TORNADO will come in my HOUSE?"

As tempting as it was to say "yes, brocolli eating can prevent tornadic destruction so hop to it", I did the right thing and focused on nutrition of brocolli, and also at easing her mind about any inclement weather. Sigh.

And PS - no tornados in our part of town, though the weather was very VERY wild!!!!

Croupy Loopy

It is 1:30ish in the morning. I just got back from the ER with Liam. Poor little guy woke up after only about an hour of sleep tonight and he was barking like a seal. A hot steam did nothing to help and he just kept getting more agitated and was crying non-stop gasping/honking for breath, so I took him to the ER. As suspected, he has a bad case of "the croup". They actually gave him some medication to open his airways up. So now I am sitting here on the couch at home in the middle of the night listening to him breath in his crib. Poor sweet LIam. On top of it all - he was so distraught in the ER that he threw himself out of my arms while we were sitting down and split his chin open on the corner of an open door. Awesome. least we were already at the Emergency Room! But I felt like a total idiot! The mom who cannot even prevent her son from injury in an enclosed space in a hospital of all places! sheesh. Everyone was so nice, though. If an ER experience can be called great, it was great.

A thought....all due respect to my daughter's preschool. But her CMV illness last year, a bout of fever last week that made her miss soccer and a day of school and now Liam's croup have led me to believe that maybe there is not enough hand-washing going on with the 3 and 4 year olds. I actually asked Kate's teacher this week to please help keep an extra eye on Kate's hand washing to make sure she is doing a good job because I feel like she is always catching some bug. This summer she was so healthy! But as soon as we started back to school....germ central.

Anyway, to further cement my belief in the need for more soap at school, when I was checking Liam in at the ER, I glanced over to my right and there was a really nice Mom from the Preschool! She had HER baby boy with her and HE had Croup, too! AND she told me that her son had been out sick last week, too. BLAH! It was nice to see a familiar face at midnight in the ER, though!

Any suggestions to avoid the school sickies, please let me know! I think Kate is still too young for "airborne"! :)

Off to bed as my little seal slumbers.......

Thursday, September 20, 2007


As Kate gets closer to her 4th Birthday, the Sass Factor has increased dramatically! God help us when she is actually a teenager because right now she is 3 going on 16! She is full of humor and wit, and I have to give her credit for being a sharp little person. However, sometimes the cheek is challenging! :)

Sometimes, though, the cheek is just funny. Yesterday when I dropped Kate off at school, she ran over to the Craft Table in the classroom and began coloring away. She was all business, sitting up straight and tall in her brown dress, furiously focusing on staying in the lines. I was on the other side of the classroom, talking to Kate's teacher, Mrs. Rogers. All of a sudden, Kate called from clear across the room, "Excuse me Mrs. Rogers, but you and I BOTH have BROWN on today!!!!!" (Insert look of amazement from Kate). Mrs. Rogers warmly reinforced her observation with a kind "We sure do, Kate! How about that?!" Kate, with a knowing look on her face, sort of nodded at Mrs. Rogers and, in a sing-song voice, called across the room "Brown IS the new Black, you know!!!!!!!"

Are you kidding me? Where does she get this stuff? Mrs. Rogers and I almost lost it.

So that is an example of sweet sass. Last night, I was subjected to some serious sass. And it went a little something like this:

Scene: Kate's Bedroom. Jammies are on, and the bedtime ritual has begun. As I went to clear out some of the menagerie of stuffed animals from the bed, I grabbed her "softie blankie" and realized it was wet!

Maggie: (with blanket in hand) Kate! Why is your blankie all wet? Did you have an accident and not tell me?

Kate: (with full, open, honest eyes) No, Mom! I spitted on it!

Maggie: (puzzled) You SPIT on it? Did you spit up or throw up? What do you mean you spit on it?

Kate: (very matter of fact) No, I SPPPIIITTTEEED on it. With water from my sippy. I spitted on it.

Maggie: What?! You SPIT on your blankie? Kate! Why would you do that? Spitting is very naughty and gross.

Kate: For my pretend turtle! Turtles loooooove water. So turtle needed a lake! So I made a lake by when I spitted the water.

(Um, ok - so now we have a lengthy talk about the inappropriateness of spitting at all times - well, not all times, because as Kate points out, we spit out toothpaste when we brush our teeth. The bedtime ritual continues, with brief interruptions of whining because she cannot have her blankie. She does not grasp that it is her consequence from spitting. Frustrating. Lots of trying to be rational with a three year old ensues)

Skip to final straw....

Kate: (very frustrated by now after getting in trouble for spitting and throwing a tantrum about the temporary loss of her beloved blankie and then losing another stuffed animal as punishment for throwing a tantrum) Mommy, can I please have a glass of Fresh Cold Water? (She always asks for it this way)

Maggie: Well, now, Kate, I don't know about that! The last time you got a sippy of water at naptime, you spit it all out all over your room!

Kate: But MOoooooommmmyyyy, I am very thiiiiiirrrrssstyyyyyy.

Maggie: Well, do you think I should get some for you? I mean, I expected you to drink your water like a big girl the last time and instead of doing what I expected, you spit it everywhere!

Kate: (very huffy and totally sassafull - and I am not even kidding that she said this) WELL. I expected YOU to fix my doctor kit toy when you said you would FIVE TIMES and you STILL have not done it like I expected!!!!!!!

(OH. Ouch. Direct Hit. I literally had to turn around and leave the room because of the combination of trying to catch my patience and also so I did not totally crack up and laugh my butt off in front of her. Needless to say, more discussion occurred and things were all resolved, with no blankie, down one stuffed animal, a sip of water before bed as a compromise instead of a full cup and Kate fell asleep - exhausted by her attitude.)

I sort of melted down the stairs in exhaustion, fell into the arm chair and immediately dialed my parents:

Mom: Hello?

Maggie: Mom? I just want you and Dad to know that I am so sorry for being such a sass when I was a kid. Remember when I would talk back and you would say "May God give you one just like you!"? Well, He listened. I love you and I am really sorry for all the grief I caused! :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

That's how it rolls....

Today was to be Kate's FIRST DAY OF SOCCER. She really was looking forward to it! She had the outfit, the energy and she has some pretty great soccer skills! She has been a little out of sorts today, and I thought it was maybe because she was so anxious for tonight. And she was! She got all dressed, posed for the obligatory pictures and then all of a sudden had a melt down of tears and sobbing?!!! As she wrapped her arms around my neck and I (very bewildered) asked her what was wrong, I felt HOT tears on an even MORE HOT cheek against my own face. Poor thing was burning up! So - with Kate having a Fever of 102, I made the executive decision to not have her run around in the damp 50 degree weather. Even if it IS her first day. She was furious. But after about 30 minutes, some peanut butter crackers and milk, and some snuggles on the couch - she knows she is the right place right now.

Regardless, here are her adorable ALMOST-first-day-of-soccer pictures. And YES I KNOW the shin guards are more like armour from a knight. It is the smallest they had! And she is supposed to have them. Plus they are pink! :P She needs bigger socks, though......


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Getting the Band Back Together

Nick is back from what I call his "mancation" in the UK! :) Every year, he and his good friends from Yale (which, en masse, are known as "The Lads") try to get together for a guys weekend. Since the majority of the Lads live in Europe, this year they all met and spent the weekend in London and Cambridge. It sounds like they had a blast. They went punting on the River Cam, had some port and some pints, spent time in a pub or two, watched some football, went to the British Museum, toured one of the colleges at Cambridge and much more I am sure! Most importantly, he got to spend time with such great people. Those guys - and their wonderful wives and children - are lifelong friends. I am so glad that he had the chance to go! He works so hard and deserves a break!

Here is a pic of the guys in Cambridge. I think it looks like an album cover. "The Lads" on their "Cambridge" album.

First Day of School

Kate loves going to school! Here are some pics of her on her first day!

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Best Laid Plans......

Remember when you were a kid and the years were measured by the school year calendar as opposed to a January-December timeline? I always thought of September as a "new year" back then. Now that I am back on a school-time calendar with the kids, I find myself again thinking of the beginning of school as a sort of "New Year". So, Happy New Year to you all!

With the "new year" comes new schedules and activities and - yes - resolutions! On the top of my list...more patience and continuous improvement of my time management skills. Both were put to the test at the same time this week. I decided to use one of the days when Kate was at school in the morning to head to the gym! They have a great daycare and I can leave Liam there, playing with other kids while I get a quick workout in. What a great way to maximize my resolutions! I am using my time well, affording myself some patience since I will blow off steam at the gym, and Liam still gets some playtime in! SUPER!

All was going well. I was "ellipticating" to some very fun tunes and I was sweating through my shirt and my face was as red as a tomato. Some of you may know that it only takes me about 5 minutes of exercising to look like I have run a marathon. This has been the case my whole life and my current level of fitness (or lack thereof) has no bearing on it. Once, when I was living in Japan, I was taking an aerobics class and the Japanese instructor caught a glance of me in the mirror and freaked out and turned off the music and all 4 feet 9 inches of her came running over to me, with her little rock-n-roll aerobicizer microphone headset still amplifying her voice saying "Breeze! Breeze! iiinnn,, owwwwww, iiiiiin, owwwwwww! Oh you are velly velly Led! So Led! BREEZE!" I was totally fine. But totally embarrassed.

ANYWAY - as usual I digress. Back to the scene. I am at the gym working out and managing time well. I am very red and sweaty but I feel GREAT! I have 40 more minutes at the gym - including a shower without kids pounding on the bathroom door!!! Heaven!!! And then I can go get Liam and then we can pick up Kate from school on the way home from the gym. And it is not even 10am yet! Productivity! Woo hooo!

Wait - what was that announcement? "Attention Lifetime Fitness Members, will Maggie Harris please report to the Child Care center? Maggie Harris PLEASE come to the Child Care center. Please."

Oh boy.

When I walked into the center, Liam was as red as I was and VERY loudly crying as if his heart was broken. He held his arms up to me and giant crocodile tears rolled down his cheeks. "M-M-m-m-mooooommmmyyy". Awwwww. There went my shower. Liam would not let me put him down. They said he had been crying inconsolably the whole time. My poor little man. We were basically booted from the gym - two red, sweaty buddies. Me in my oversize college t-shirt and ancient yoga pants with a gym bag, a diaper bag and and an ipod trailing behind me while I lugged a sobbing, gasping, limp, very heavy toddler past adorable fit and perky pony-tailed moms who were speedily bouncing along on the stairmasters with their six pack abs bared in nothing but a sports bra and teeny tiny shorts. How did these women ever give birth? It is not possible.

Poor guy. I had not thought about it being a new year for HIM, too, and how he had a summer of being inseparable from his sister.....that was his first time ever being in a day care situation without her. He was lonely and missed his "Keht" as he calls her. My sweet Liam. Guess we have to work on his resolutions, too. Being a big boy at the gym without his sister. So today we tried again - and he did just great and I got to have a shower! :) What a super kid.

I will post "first day of school pics" of Kate soon. Nick is in England right now and has the camera with him, and the memory card has Kate's pics on it. This weekend he is spending time with his Yale lads. They are all going to meet up and head to Cambridge, UK as I think they put a nice dent in London on their last visit. I cannot wait to hear about it and see pics! I've never been to Cambridge! If I remember correctly, I think Yale was supposedly modeled architecturally and such after Cambridge, so it should be an interesting comparison. Plus I am sure they will more than keep the pubs in business this weekend. Hopefully he honors my request and has a Pint and some chips with vinegar for me. Yum. I'm guessing the super fit gym moms stay away from such delights....sigh.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Gotta Daaaanncce

Kate is very excited to be starting dance classes at a wonderful dance studio this fall. Last week, we attended the Open House and she got fitted for her ballet and tap shoes! She will be in a Creative Movement class where they explore ballet, tap and theatrical dance. She is sooo excited (as, of course, am I). Her class runs for a year and finishes out with a recital! You can be sure there will be blog entries galore with that! :)

Nick and I agreed long ago that we would encourage well-rounded activities until our kids figure out what they enjoy the most and what their talents are. In the meantime, we have Kate doing music, dance and a sport. Kate starts soccer this fall as well and I cannot wait to see what is sure to be a huddle of little people all chasing after the ball at the same time - I think zones don't really sink in at this age! But Kate loves kicking the soccer ball around in the back yard and Liam has the "goal" announcement down pat. He yells "Gooooooaaaaaaaal! Goalgoalgoalgoalgoalgoal Goaaaaaaaaallllll". It is too darn funny.

Anyway - I am straying from the topic. Kate is thrilled to be starting dance class. I am pleased that it is truly an interest of hers and not just something that I am trying to get her involved in because it happens to be one of my personal passions! :) It does warm my heart that Kate regularly dances around the house and leaps and twirls through the kitchen. I am excited that she will get some structure in it and am interested to see if she loves it as much in a class envirnoment as she does in our family room! This IS a girl who loves watching "Singing in the Rain".

Here are some pictures of the first minutes that Kate tried on her very first pair of tap shoes. She loved the sounds they made on the floor and instantly began shuffling and ball changing around the kitchen. When the camera came out, she immediately broke into "posing" mode. Too cute.

Tah daaaaah!

Jazz Hands!!!!


Camouflaged Cheese

Liam is becoming more fun every day. He is so full of personality and joy! Right now, he is very into coloring. Give the kid a box of crayons and a coloring book and he will literally sit still for an hour, scribbling away. Liam also is very into having his picture taken right now. He shouts, "Cheeeeessseeee" over and over and over if there is a camera in sight, even if it is not in use at the time. Here is a sequence of shots taken recently - he is sitting in his jammies, coloring and you can see his increasing amount of "cheesing" to the point where his face his barely recognizable. He makes me laugh!

Liam coloring.




Liam getting busted as I caught him crawling on top of the table. So funny.

So long, farewell

Our dear, DEAR friends, the Dunns, moved to Connecticut this month. Combine our sadness from truly missing spending time with them with our jealousy over the fact that they have returned to the East Coast and you have an interesting cocktail of emotion! :)

Seriously, though - we spent some nice time with them at the beginning of the month with Maggie Dunn's birthday celebration, a "Going Away" party for the Dunns, and a playdate to give the kids some time together before the Dunns trekked to CT. Here are a few snaps....

Nick and Liam at the Dunn's Farewell Party

Kate and Maggie playing dress up

More dress up fun

Kate painting a ceramic box at Maggie Dunn's birthday party at "Paint Your Plate"

We're All in This Together.....

A new cultural phenomenon has sung and danced it's way into our home. It flickers on our TV Screen and floats out of our car speakers and family room stereo. Our wooden floors are becoming more worn with the dance moves that this music inspires Kate and Liam to produce. The culprit is the Disney made-for-TV-movie, "High School Musical" --- and now also "High School Musical 2".

These sugary sweet and very bouncy musicals are all the rage with kids across the US right now - literally from age 3 to, well, 32! :) (I must confess, they are fun, cute, and catchy!) Kate is completely into "HSM" and knows all the songs and dances along. Liam gets into it too - particularly during the basketball scenes where he runs around and bounces up and down with a huge smile on his face.

I have to say, Nick and I are thrilled by the interest. First of all, it is not animated, so that is a nice change. Plus it really is just all about the exuberance and innocence of youth and has a strong message of independence and acceptance - all set to an infectiously bouncy beat that makes our kids boogie....and nothing is more fun than watching a 1-year-old and a soon-to-be-4-year-old bust a move.

Yesterday at Target (which was the most poorly planned trip to Super Target ever in that I took the kids with me on the Sunday of move-in weekend for all the colleges around here) Kate drew the smiles, laughter, and even applause of many-a-college-girl as she belted out HSM songs from the Target cart. Every college girl I know from my work at the U of M also has an unabashed affection for these movies and they know all the tunes and have super crushes on the lead guy, Zac Efron (his character is Troy Bolton). And, ok, I must admit, I TOTALLY get the crush factor! If I was 13, I FOR SURE would have had a "Troy Bolton, High School Musical" Trapper Keeper.

For a musical theatre nut like myself, I have to appreciate the "homage" that they pay to all that came before "HSM". I have fun noticing the nods to the movies of the past - the line from "Mame" that runs through the film, the dress that mimics "Maria's" from "West Side Story", the Esther Williams and Busby Berkley choreography, the Fosse, the Kevin Bacon Footloose rip-off, the "Hopelessly Devoted to You" frame and the "Time of My LIfe" mirroring. It is musical theatre fabulous! :) For anyone who cares! ha ha

But.....Nothing is more fun right now than 7 o'clock pm in the Harris household when dinner is over and baths have been had and the freshly clean, sweet smelling Kate and Liam are running around the family room singing "Get Your Head in the Game" (Liam does this by saying "getcha getcha getcha getcha" through the whole song) while they jump and giggle all over the place and Nick and I laugh and applaud from the safety of the couch.

Seriously - it is so fun.