Ninth Birthday


I had a great time with Rose last night.  It was her actual birthday, so we had a special date.  First, I told her the family would go out to eat anywhere she wanted, so of course she chose Qdoba.  My daughter is a girl of simple tastes.  Charles met us there after Dillon’s tap class, and the kids got their plain jane burritos with just black beans, rice, and cheese.  Dillon has been experimenting by adding a little pico de gallo, but even though Rose likes spicy stuff she will not consider trying any salsas on her burritos.

The next thing on our agenda was for Rose and I to go see the Sound of Music.  This is a new family favorite in our house, and the Skylight Music Theatre was putting it on, Charles and I have season tickets but our regular weekend matinee was preempted by Dillon’s lego robotics tournament two weeks ago, and I basically waited until the last possible minute to change the tickets, and couldn’t really get them on the weekend anymore, so I changed them to Rose’s birthday even though the show started at 7:30pm, her regular bedtime.

Unfortunately, we finished our dinner at 6:20, so we basically had an hour and change to kill before the show.  We drove around downtown a bit looking at the Christmas lights, and then I decided we’d park in my paid space and just take a leisurely six-block walk (by way of my office) to the theater.  First, we stopped at the Milwaukee Public Market to get a snack for intermission – Rose was extremely disappointed that the Breadsmith has mostly left the market, but we found a pumpkin muffin at the fancy bakery place that was plain enough for her.  I swear, she is the only kid ever who consistently will pick a piece of bread or a plain muffin over elaborately decorated cupcakes, frosted cookies, cake pops, and beautiful tarts.  But I adore that about her.

Then, we walked to my office, where I took a couple of ibuprofen (the ulterior motive for the stop) and Rose was amazed that we didn’t see anyone in the building.  It was almost 7pm, though, and I told her that the people I work with were all home with their families.  But it is funny to be in the building late at night and not see another soul.  Usually I run into someone in the elevator or lobby or whatever.

So we walked over to the Skylight, and found our seats.  At first, the usher sat us in the wrong place, the worst seats in the house, and I stewed about that for a bit, wondering if all of the seats were sold out and if we could move during intermission.  Because we usually sit up in the balcony but not in the super cheap, obstructed seats…  We are in the second cheapest seats, but man, is there a difference, Rose couldn’t see any part of the stage without leaning over the railing.  But later on (but before the show started) there was a big kerfuffle involving like, three separate groups of people who thought they were all supposed to be sitting in one place, and it turned out that one of the ushers didn’t know how the boxes were numbered, and the main usher asked to see our tickets too and realized we were in the wrong place, so we went back to the center of the balcony where we usually sit and Rose was like, “This is GREAT!!”  No more wishing we were in the orchestra section.

She had a case of the giggles just before the show started, so I was wondering if she was just way too tired to stay out so late, but she settled in right away, and aside from having to remind her that we don’t sing along, even if we really like the songs, there were no regrets about going.  She ate her pumpkin muffin during intermission, I gave her the option of going home at that point but she said, “I want to stay until the end, and then fall asleep in the car on the way home.”   This is a girl who always has a plan.

We really enjoyed the show, and on the long walk back to the car afterward, sang the songs she wanted to sing along with during the show: My Favorite Things and So Long, Farewell.  She managed to stay awake until we got home, but was completely wrecked, she just couldn’t come up with an answer when her dad asked about the show.  Overall, I think it was a pretty great night.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was awesome.  The costumes turned out great – I wound up repurposing an old graduation gown to make Dillon’s black robe.  The kids wore their costumes the whole time we were in WWHP, and I think the people who worked there appreciated it, everyone spoke with them (which made Rose slightly uncomfortable – she was cooler with the Disney characters, who just hugged her but didn’t come up and talk with her. At one point she may have felt a little stranger danger when a bookseller totally tried to engage her in a conversation about how she’d be starting Hogwarts, and what position did she play in Quiddich, etc., and she just looked at me like, “Mom, this weird guy is talking to me… is that ok?”)

The kids rode the Flight of the Hippogriff three times, and every time got the front cars of the rollercoaster, which I attribute to the fact that they were basically the only costumed kids at the park (there were maybe four or five others).  We all rode the Forbidden Journey and all the adults thought it was the best ride we have ever been on in life.  You ride three to a car, and I rode with the kids, while Charles, Anna, and Kate rode together.  I am not going to spoil the ride but let me just say that in the picture they snap while you are on the ride, I look like I am having the time of my life, and the kids look pretty freaked out.  It is a really great ride, and we were all disappointed that it broke down before we got to ride it again.  Though incredibly happy that it didn’t break down while we were on it, which happened on several rides at Epcot…

For what it is worth, the rest of Universal Studios was pretty fun too, though they definitely do not do lines and waiting as well as Disney does.  WWHP is small, but fun, and we read some online tips and went there right away when the park opened, did all the stuff we wanted to do, left when it got super busy, came back for a late lunch at the Three Broomsticks, and then again later on when the park started clearing out to ride the rides again.  So we maximized our enjoyment!

Finished Woody and Jessie!


Just realized I hadn’t posted the final Woody and Jessie costumes.  So here are two pictures from our trip to Disney World – one where the kids got to meet Woody and Jessie, another of them in their costumes with one of their buddies, who went as the Prospector (a.k.a.  Stinky Pete).  I can’t take credit for his costume, though, his grandma put that one together.


There was a lot of good stuff that happened when kids met characters at Disney.  The interactions were way less cheesy and way more interesting and meaningful for the kids than I would have thought.  For example, this picture happened AFTER Woody realized that Dillon had a Star Wars shirt on and then proceeded to have a lightsaber battle with D.


One of the best memories of Disney is going to be the kids in their Woody and Jessie costumes, dancing with the characters at Woody’s Roundup during the big Halloween party.  It was SO much fun.  The DJ was surprisingly awesome.  And I swear, at one point, the dude in the Woody costume was trying to copy Dillon’s sweet dance moves.  Rose serenaded everyone with a rendition of “Call Me Maybe.”  And the kids left the Trick or Treat with pounds of candy after we found the secret path with all of the castmembers unloading all the candy at 11:15pm when we were leaving the park…

We had so much fun on the trip.  I think we are all going to look back fondly on it for pretty much ever.

Home Alone


Hanging out with my kiddos.  Last night we tried an experiment – leaving them home alone for an hour after dark.  After dark being the key part here, at 11 and (almost) 9, they have stayed home for an hour or two before while I have run errands or whatever.  But I vaguely remember the first time I was in the house alone after dark, and being pretty freaked out at how different everything seemed.

But I had to go to a 7pm meeting, and Charles hadn’t come home from work yet, so we talked about it, and the kids felt like they could handle it.  I told them not to worry about putting themselves to bed, just get ready for bed and their dad could put them to bed when he got home.  It turned out Charles was later than he thought he’d be, and he found them snuggled up and reading together at 8:45 in Dillon’s bed.  Apparently they had discussed putting themselves to bed at 8, but Rose said, “When you weren’t home I got creeped out, and it was like there were ghosts and zombies in my room, so I wanted to be by Dillon.”

I said, “That’s fine, and I understand being creeped out, but you know ghosts and zombies aren’t real, right?  They are just made up.”

Dillon interjects, “But Mom, that is the lizard brain.  And it is really hard to fight those feelings.  Like, the light in my closet (where we have the wireless router and server for the house) is really disconcerting, even though I know what it is.”

That kid really cracks me up sometimes!