Dec 29, 2008

a photo story


on the 28th of december, lulu got a hold of her mom's camera

and proceeded to take pictures of herself,


lying down, surprised,

"sleeping", being silly,

and her foot.

she took pictures of her sister at the computer,
doing a slinky smile, and pretending the slinky was a lasso.
then she gave her sister the camera so she could get some mid-air shots jumping off the couch
and the dining room table bench. then she stopped to think for a moment;
and she said, "enough" - we will do this again tomorrow. and the next morning, she started all over again.
this is her mom making the morning rounds at her laptop, this is lulu waiting to get on mom's computer,
and this is her dad, pouring the coffee that starts another day at the webster house.

the end.

Dec 20, 2008

nutcrackers and blackberry fairies

nut7we continued a family tradition of going to the nutcracker last night. truth be told, it's only been a tradition for two years - ever since our daughter had a part in the children's cast.

we always try to just be very matter of fact about it all, but its my blog so i can gush for a moment. this isn't your run of the mill recital sort of thing. it's the real deal; with the city ballet at the big theater downtown.

she had her opening night three weeks ago, but we went to officially see it last night. i say "officially" because i had already seen her perform twice while watching from the wings when my chaperoning duties included 'stage escort'. i mean, being hair and make up mom to a bunch of flower fairies in the dressing room was nice, but being stage escort was way cooler.


we'd listen for our cue - as soon as we heard the first russian dancer hit the stage once he landed from his leap down the flight of stairs, it was time for the flower fairies to line up and head down the hallway to wait to get onstage. as soon as those russians came bursting out the door into the hallway breathing as if they had just sprinted for a finish line; the fairies went back stage and lined up in the wings, tightly packed together, in between their own wings. a little line of fairy sardines. when the girl with the big hoop skirt and all the children that were hiding under it came off the stage, they went onstage.

it is an amazing, fascinating little world back there. and when i wasn't catching a glimpse of annabel as she flitted by my tiny line of sight in the wings, i was distractedly watching all the stretchy, twirly, jumpy warmups.

the equivalent of racers on their trainers i guess, only its way prettier with all those fancy tutus and sparkly tiaras.  actually, i suppose 'cross has its share of tutus and tiaras in some circles. just not here. yet.

it's exciting to see how it all comes together backstage, but its all business and listening and watching carefully for a cue. these little girls knew the precise moment and note at which to step out on stage, and annabel knew that the moment the woman came down from her partners' shoulders and her toes touched the stage, she was to lead everyone off.

but sitting in the audience, just listening to the orchestra, knowing what is to come, and remembering her nutcracker debut last year  - i start to get all teary before the curtain even goes up. the waltz of the flowers fairies was not until the second act, and when annabel stepped out onto the stage, my eyes welled up and it was hard to see; and henry lulunutlet out a little gasp, and moments later as he watched her flit about the stage with the other fairies, he whispered "annabel is awesome'.

later, he denied it of course. and i suppose, what self respecting 12 year old wouldn't retract such a statement. i imagine there must be some sort of 12 year old boy code that he had violated. but still. his dad and i heard it. sweet little proof that despite all the torture, he really does love his little sister.

annabel was indeed awesome. equally awesome was watching lulu's face at the end of act 1 when she realized it was snowing in the audience and then seeing her light up when annabel came onstage - all the while she was clutching the little nutcracker that i had purchased for her during intermission - after she brought home a letter, a poem and a picture of the nutcracker with a speech bubble that said: i want to be lulu's. what can i say, i'm a sucker. she's been carrying the thing around all day.

and nuttykidsthen of course, there was the post performance trip to see the tree downtown and the requisite pleading with the kids to please try to give me one good shot for a Christmas card which is too late to send now anyway - and the evening was complete.

on the drive home, we kept asking annabel if she had seen us in the audience from up on stage, cause as her dad said right after the show - he really thought she was looking right at him, he felt a connection - and she got all giggly and said she couldn't see anyone. but lulu and henry were convinced that she saw them too - they thought she was looking right at all of us.


all i know is that during the waltz of the flower fairies, she was the only one we all saw.




Dec 15, 2008


part of the writing requirements at my kids' schools include completing a writing portfolio each year. they have to write a certain number of pieces that usually consist of a personal narrative, maybe a fact based article of some sort and a persuasive letter.

one year, my son wrote a persuasive letter to his grandfather persuading him to quit smoking. it was a great letter, but perhaps it wasn't worded strongly enough. my dad still smokes.

he wrote another piece - the personal narrative piece; about the time we went away for a little vacation with friends, and after a really fun dinner, the two families went to the little playground across the street -and while we parents were swinging on the swingsset and playing on the teeter totter, the kids ran around the trails on the periphery of the playground. the blood curdling scream that came soon after was when my son tripped over a tree root and broke his arm. only we didn't know it was broken and thought he was being dramatic.  which, if you know him - is not out of the realm of possibility. but the next day when they showed us the xray, we knew it was the real deal.

that kind of adventure, where you've come to some real bodily harm and your parents don't believe you always makes for the perfect sort of personal narrative.

on a similar note, my daughter wrote her personal narrative about the time (two months ago) when she went to the doctor to have the honkin' piece of glass removed from her foot. the same piece i told her wasn't there. (i can see that you can see there is a pattern here, but this time, the er doc who lives next door also told us there was nothing in her foot).
she complained about her foot for two weeks and started to compensate for the pain by walking on the edge of her foot, which then hurt her shins. but because the er doc didn't feel anything in her foot and there were no signs of anything - i told her she was fine and she needed to just suck it up. i told her if she was going to audition for the nutcracker, she'd have to stop walking all crazy like that. she went and auditioned for the nutcracker with that piece of glass in the ball of her foot. afterwards, she got in the car and told me how much she had to be up on her tippy toes and how much it hurt. still. she got the part. but the next day, i saw the look on the doctors face when he put on those big jewelers glasses and realized there was indeed something in there, and when he went in to dig out a centimeter-big piece of glass; i felt about as big as a centimeter. still, though. makes for a good personal narrative.

i'm just glad i can provide my kids with writing material.

my youngest, claudia has not yet had an experience that warrants such a personal narrative. considering our track record, she's lucky. give it time. she did however have the perfect subject for the persuasive letter requirement. she's been saving her meager allowance money for about a year - always with an eye on a new american girl doll. thanks to the generosity of grandparents, we have more than one of these dolls - the girls love them, as do i. i think they're sweet and mostly i love that they are still loved and consistently played with after all these years. but still. i just didn't think we needed more.

claudia came home with a persuasive letter a few weeks ago. in it, she persuaded me to let her buy a doll with her own money. it was a full three pages of how she would love it and care for it and clean her room. how she would pay for it with her own money. she even put in a little infomercial-style: but wait! there's more in it for you if you just read on. she would walk on my back (which, by the way is the best massage ever) whenever i wanted.

had this been a whim, and she hadn't actually been saving for a year, and talking about a doll for months, and pouring over the catalog every month and counting how much money she had; i wouldn't have given in. but she had done all those things, and written the letter. so we called and ordered the doll. she came home from school one day to find her new doll waiting for her - she opened the package all proud and happy and proceeded to take alice on a tour of the house and introduce her to every.single.thing.

this is when the lightbulb must have lit up.

because now, as she said to her sister "persuasive letters totally work" - she comes home from school everyday with a new letter. they are long and shameless and full of "keep reading, cause there is something in here for you". today it was for a cat game to play on her nintendo ds. cause she wants a cat for a pet, but since mommy and daddy are alergec to cats, the game should suffice. last friday's letter was for some other sort of stuffed toy she saw at target. she just pulls the letters out of her folder, all dated & signed - a new one each day, persuading me to let her get this or that.

sorry babe. the jig is up. that, and you only have 13 cents left now.