Posted by: Elizabeth | April 22, 2013

Piano Music

I took piano lessons for 13 years.  From age 4 to 17, every week I had a lesson.  Every week I practiced, some weeks more than others.  And I got pretty good.  I memorized dozens of pieces.  I played at church.  I played in recitals.  I played for guild auditions and competitions.  I loved playing the piano.  I still do love it.  There are times in my life that I’ve been so stressed out, upset, frustrated, angry, etc., and I’ve been able to sit down at the piano and transport myself to another world, coming back to reality much calmer and more content than I was before.  I’m absolutely convinced that learning the piano helped me succeed in school.  Learning to read music so early in life helped me pick up other instruments, as well.  Playing the piano is a skill I never want to lose.

But I haven’t played too much since I left high school.  At SMU (during undergrad), I would occasionally go down to the arts school and find a practice room that was unoccupied and play for a half hour or so, but in the 10 years since I left college, my “practice” has gotten even less frequent than it was then.  I don’t even have much music any more – much of it stayed at my parents’ house when I moved out, so I just have a few 3-ring-binders with photocopies of some of my favorite songs inside.

Then last Christmas, Steven bought me an electric piano (it’s not a keyboard…), and I started playing now and then.  It’s still difficult to find time, but the biggest struggle is that I’ve been uninspired by my music pages of photocopied music.  So for 2013, I set a goal of learning two new pieces – just two – and last week I bought new piano music for the first time since high school.

Tonight when I sat down to practice some of that new music, I realized that there’s a big difference in learning a piece now than learning one when I was in high school: namely that when I want to know how something is supposed to sound, all I have to do now is type in the title and composer on YouTube and I get a concert performance.  It’s incredible.  No wondering just how fast this might go, or struggling to figure out the rhythm in this section – just look it up, and in seconds you have a near-professional performance to inspire you, a well-played performance to get the music in your head.  All for free, and all in an instant.

YouTube is SUPER-helpful in this regard.

But it’s also SUPER-hard on the ole’ ego.  Because when you type in the title and composer on youtube, the concert you get is often played – just perfectly – by a 9-year-old.


Posted by: Elizabeth | January 20, 2013

One Year

From this:


to this:


in just 365 days.


And I’m so grateful.  I never knew I could be so in love with a little boy, or that this tiny guy could bring so much joy into our lives.  He is brave, energetic, happy, mischievous, curious, and absolutely full of life and light.  He’s a great little brother, a cuddly son, and the perfect littlest one for our family.

Happy birthday, Carter James – may there be many many more!

Posted by: Elizabeth | January 17, 2013

O Christmas Tree


Our sweet C decorating our Christmas Tree (note that the ornaments are largely grouped in one area at a certain 3-year-old height…).

Since Epiphany (January 6), I’ve been looking into all the windows in our neighborhood as I drive through every evening, trying to see who still has their Christmas tree up.  I feel like it’s okay to still have ours up as long as we’re not the last ones – and as of right now, we’re not!  There are still people with their Christmas trees lit in their front windows just down the street from us.

love the Christmas tree.  The kids love it.  I love the soft glow of light it adds to our living room (with its safe and energy-efficient LED bulbs).  I love that it adds interest in a room where we have put exactly zero art on the walls in the almost-three-years we have lived here.  I love the feelings the Christmas tree evokes, feelings of my favorite season.  We have plenty of room for this particular tree, and it’s made of plastic, so it won’t dry out and shed.  I’ve felt no hurry in taking it down.

Then this morning (January 17), as we were coming down the stairs to start our day, Caroline said bluntly, “Mommy, do you think tonight, after school, we ought to take down our Christmas tree?  Because Christmas is over.”

[sad face]

Posted by: Elizabeth | January 13, 2013

Looking More Like His GrandDaddy Every Day…

ImageThanks, Auntie Emily for the mustache paci!

Posted by: Elizabeth | January 11, 2013

Growing Pains

We haven’t been sleeping too well at our house lately.  They say that some babies get new teeth without much of a fuss – one day they are all gums, the next day teeth, and there’s no drama.  Other babies, not so much.  Ours seems to be in that latter category.  He’s a little slow getting teeth, and when they start coming in, they take their time.  He got two teeth several months ago, and another one last month, but has had three trying to break through this week.  Three.  At the same time.

If the fact that vulnerable humans are born with soft little gums and then have to experience the feeling of sharp bony pieces piercing through them one at a time is not evidence of the brokenness of humanity, I don’t know what is.

But I digress.  Anyway, so Carter’s getting three teeth this week (please, Lord, may they all come in this week), and as a result, he doesn’t want to eat or sleep – he just wants to be held.  And to cry.  Or, as his sister so aptly told me this morning, “He’s not really crying, Mommy, he’s just whining.”

At the same time, Caroline is experiencing growing pains.  Now I didn’t think this was a real phenomenon until I had this little girl, but every few months she wakes up several nights with very real pain in her legs, and all we can figure is that she is growing very quickly and it’s hard on her little body.  Sure enough, she’s been waking up this week, so last night I had her stand next to the growth chart in her room, and she was a full 2 inches taller than when she stood there a few months ago.

So almost every night this week, she’s woken up during the night with pain in her knees or shins, and all we can do to get her back to sleep is ice her little legs and rub them down, lying with her in her bed until she falls asleep again.

Last night, growing pains had us up at 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., and teething had us up at 4:00 – then the kids were up for the day at 7:00.  It’s almost like having a newborn, except that a newborn still smells delicious and stays put when you put it down, unlike our children, who can create chaos in a split second whether they’re feeling good or not.  And when you have a newborn, you’re likely on leave from your job, so you can catch a nap during the day.  Not the case here.

So we’re tired.  I apologize in advance if one of us snaps at you in the next few days, or if we aren’t at the top of our game.  It’s all part of the drill, and should be better in a week or two.

In the meantime, we’ve got this:


which is not bad at all.  In fact, it’s worth it, sleepless nights and all. :)


Posted by: Elizabeth | December 24, 2012

Why It’s Important to Record the Rehearsal

Yes!  We’re still alive!  And still here!  We have a blog!  And I’m actually updating it! Last night, C had a “winter concert” at her preschool (well, it’s CJ’s preschool, too, but his class didn’t perform).  We heard about this concert for WEEKS beforehand, and we were on the receiving end of SEVERAL rehearsals of her two songs: Bringing Home a Baby Dinosaur and Feliz Navidad.  She practiced and practiced, and was SO EXCITED.  But I knew, from experience, that the concert itself might not go as she was planning.  As C will tell you herself, she’s “a little shy,” so all those strangers/parents watching her would likely make her clam up.  So here’s a kitchen table rehearsal:

And here’s the concert:

[Please ignore the too-small Christmas t-shirt from last year.]  It’s actually a huge improvement from last year, when she cried the whole time.  So we’re on our way to a career in show business! Actually, her brother kind of hammed it up in the audience, dancing and doing the motions to “The Wheels on the Bus” with the toddler class.  So next year’s concert should be quite entertaining.

Oh, and this is what else we have going on at our house:

It’s a little nuts, to say the least.  Tiny Guy has no fear.  None.  This morning, I turned my back for one second, then heard him calling out for me from the top of the stairs.  At least he had the wisdom to call for me to come get him… we have also decided that our son’s nickname should be Hurricane (reference here).  In part because he is strong, rough, and tough.  And in part because everywhere he goes, he leaves a wake of mess/chaos worthy of a hurricane…

Posted by: Elizabeth | September 14, 2012

Kids Are Funny

Kids are funny.  Maybe it’s primarily the age/stage, or maybe I think my kid’s funny because I’m related to her (something about the genetic connection?), but Caroline makes me laugh out loud pretty much every day.  Here are a few examples:

The Dryer (as seen on Steven’s facebook page):

(Caroline and Daddy are eating dinner, and the clothes dryer beeps to notify us the cycle is done.)
C: What’s that beeping, Daddy?
D: The dryer.
C: The dryer? Dryer. Dryer starts with ‘j.’
D: No, it sounds a little like ‘j,’ but dryer starts with ‘d.’
…C: Oh. Dryer starts with ‘d.’
D: Yes. Do you know what the dryer does?
C: Yes.
D: What does the dryer do?
C: It beeps.


Our route from home to school goes past an apartment complex that always has a big sandwich-board sign outside advertising leasing opportunities.  And most of the time, that big sign has helium balloons tied on it.

C: Looks at those balloons, Mommy.
M: Oh, those are nice, aren’t they?
C: Who do you think put those balloons there?
M: I don’t know, SweetPea.
C: [Thinking]   …Maybe Jesus.
M: Maybe Jesus.  More likely the person who works in the leasing office of those apartments, but maybe Jesus.

Princess in the Pants:

Though we have tried to steer her away from the princess phenomenon for as long as possible, Caroline’s a huge fan of the Disney princesses.  She hasn’t seen any of the movies, and she doens’t know which one’s which, but she is certainly drawn toward the characters.  She’s gotten two little princess figurines as rewards for good behavior lately, and she negotiated getting to take one of them to school this morning, though we agreed she would put it in her cubby and leave it there all day.

When I walked into the classroom this afternoon, this is the conversation that met me:

C: Mommy, Margaret* put my princess in her underwear.
M: Excuse me?
C: She took my princess and put it in her underwear.
M: Why did she put your princess in her underwear?
C: Because she wanted to steal it.
M: Why was your princess not in your cubby?
C: Because I took it out. [Obviously.]
M: Where is your princess now?
C: Mr. Joe is giving her a bath.
Mr. Joe: …in bleach.

Thanks, Mr. Joe.

*Name changed.  It is this blog’s policy not to publish names of accused minors.


The kids got a package in the mail today, addressed to both of them.  Since Carter’s not exceptionally coordinated yet, I handed it to Caroline and so she could open it.  Before she opened it, I asked her, “Who do you think sent you that package?”  Without hesitating, and very matter-of-factly, she answered, “Barack Obama.”










It wasn’t from Barack Obama.  It was from Mamaw.  Just in case you were wondering… :)

Posted by: Elizabeth | September 6, 2012

Army Crawl

I’m gonna go ahead and call that an army crawl.

And one of the two cutest faces I’ve ever seen (though perhaps I’m a tiny bit biased).

Posted by: Elizabeth | August 23, 2012


I’m thinking about recording my children’s voices for payback playback in the wee hours of the morning when they’re teenagers.


Posted by: Elizabeth | August 22, 2012


As you may have gathered, I really love football.  So imagine my delight when I walked into Caroline’s preschool this morning and it was Football Day in their “sports and games” unit!  When I dropped her off, the children were all in a circle, brainstorming with their teacher everything they could think of about football.  I imagined they would try on a football uniform today, learn a few plays, make up their own touchdown dances… you know, spend the day celebrating football.

So this afternoon, I was excited to ask my little girl about her day.  She got into her carseat, we headed off toward home, and I asked excitedly, “What did you learn about football today, Sweetpea?!”


Try #2: “What do you do with a football, Love?”


Examples: “You know, you throw the ball, you catch the ball…”

Caroline: “You kick the ball…”

Success!  Maybe…

Caroline: “You share the ball…”

Me: “You share the ball?”

Caroline: “If you hit somebody with the ball you say you’re sorry…”

Me (silently): “Are we talking about the same sport?”

Caroline: “You don’t take the ball from your friends…”

Then it dawned on me that Caroline was referring not to the wonderful sport of football, but to the one physical football that they played with in their classroom today.  And indeed, those are the things she learned: share it, don’t take it from your friends, if you hit someone with it say you’re sorry, etc.

I guess we’ll have to work on the touchdown dance at home.

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