A Birthday and No Friends?

We celebrated another family birthday this past weekend. It was held at a cute little place called “My Gym,” which reminded me of your days of gymnastics lessons at the YMCA.

As we all know, little children and the elderly do not have filters on their mouths, so Bryce made the comment that “Lily does not have any friends.” While that is true compared to the amount of friends that a child who has attended school for three years now has, it was not particularly complimentary.

I decided to check out your baby books to see if you all had friends at the tender young age of two. As the oldest child, Kelly was the only one who truly had friends that were not related. They were the three little girls from the playgroup which she attended beginning shortly after her first birthday. That particular year she had three parties. The first was with her neighborhood friends, the second was with her aunts, uncles, and the only cousin she had at the time, and the third was with her playgroup friends.

Jamie had two parties. The first was with her playdate friends, all of whom were the children of my cousins. We had lunch and cupcakes. Like Lily, Jamie was a fan of Minnie Mouse, which was exemplified by some of the gifts—a Minnie Mouse bank, Minnie Mouse Colorforms and a Minnie Mouse train.

Casey, sorry to say, you had only one party, which was with your sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I suspect that as the youngest of three girls, you primarily played with your older sisters. I made a Dalmatian cake, and you received a Dalmatian puppy, a desk from Dad and me, a Ninja Turtle mug,  a Magic Nursery doll, and an Ariel outfit, doll and puzzle. The Little Mermaid gifts should not be surprising since you have reminded me on numerous occasions that the movie was released on the day you were born.

So Lily, when you grow up and read the account of your second birthday and hear what your brother said about having no friends, Aunt Casey and you can commiserate over a glass of wine.


The End of Innocence

At what age do children begin to lose their sweet innocence? As a grandmother, I have more time to observe than when I was a frazzled young mother of three, and I have concluded that it happens at some point during the fourth year.

Over the past few months, while enjoying many spirited afternoons sitting around the kitchen table playing Candy Land, I observed Bryce clearly cheating. One time the little trickster claimed ignorance when skipping ahead a few extra squares. “I didn’t know I skipped one yellow square.” Another time, I caught him not-so-slyly peaking at the cards while attempting to find the ice cream cone, which would put him near the finish line.

He knew what he was doing was wrong and was even familiar with the word “cheating.” I wanted to throw the book at him and vowed not to let to him win. This was war!

After returning him home today after his latest sleepover, Kelly showed us a broken ornament. Lily was the culprit, but at not yet two, I think she broke poor Cocky’s leg while trying to admire him. It was not intentional. Kelly told Dad and me that she had told Bryce that Bampa could fix it. Bryce had another solution.  “We should hide it from Daddy!”

Gone is the age of innocence.

Under Repair

The Entertainers

You come from a long line of entertainers. There was my grandmother’s great uncle Jack Blue, who was quite a famous dance instructor during the 30’s. He taught celebrities such as Katharine Hepburn, Bing Crosby, and Buddy Ebsen. Although I know those are probably unfamiliar names to all of you, trust me, those three were all very famous.

Several other members of our family entertained locally—including Grandma and Aunt Marian who loved to dance in church shows and at the local VA hospital.

So when the three of you were young, it was not surprising to watch you follow in their footsteps as you sang and danced to the tunes of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

Now we have a new generation to follow, and today Bryce gave his first performance at his “My Gym” camp. I have seen him perform his routine at home, but I was quite impressed to hear that he volunteered to do so for his new friends on the first day with them.

Apparently he is a fan of the movie Sing, and he absolutely loves to sing and play his little piano to the Elton John song “I’m Still Standing.” He especially likes to do a glissando.  That’s when you slide your fingers from the bottom to the to on the piano.

I am sorry I was not a fly on the wall of that gym because I hear that the instructor found the song and flashed the lights while he performed. I can’t wait for Lily to join his dance troupe.


The Catalog is Dead

Years ago, there were three things which announced the onset of the Christmas season: Decorations in stores, holiday music on the radio and television, and the arrival of the JC Penney Christmas catalog. Before the visit to Santa, each of you had assembled your list so you knew just what to tell the jolly old elf to bring you on Christmas Eve.

Now technology, and probably the economics of printing and mailing the catalogs, has made these highly-anticipated mailings another relic of the past. I sent a tweet to Ask JCPenney (@askjcp), where I was told, “We no longer issue the large paper catalogs.” I was then directed to their website.

How sad! No longer can our children peruse the “Big Book” and circle all the items which strike their fancy. I pointed out, in my return tweet, that “not all young children can sit at a computer and do this. Not all progress is good.”

How do the children born in an era without that infamous catalog create their Santa wish lists?

They’re Back in Style

I was taking out my Christmas decorations today when I came across an interesting family heirloom. Don’t get excited, girls. My find is nothing that will sell for lots of money. In fact, probably no one will want it except for me.

What I located in my dining room was a pair of baby shoes that Grandma had bronzed. Odd, right? Apparently, it was the thing to do at one time and has come back into fashion. People like Grandma would send in their baby’s first shoes and they would be retuned all nice and shiny after having been dipped in bronze.

So Kelly, pull out the kids baby shoes and hurry, hurry, hurry before the company goes out of business or you change your mind. Then someday, you can come to your children’s homes and maybe locate their bronze shoes tucked away somewhere.

Trust me, your kids will want this keepsake of their youth. You know how much I cherish mine, based upon how often I talk about them—Never!

I guess I am not sentimental about everything!

Our Shreks— Not So Ay-Yay-Yay

For most of the world, Shrek is just a movie, but for our family, it is a very specific adjective meaning “does not live up to the hype.” The word was added to the family dictionary in 2001, joining other family favorites such as  “Ay-Yay-Yay” and “limling room.”

You all loved Shrek and glorified it as if it was a Barry Manilow or Steely Dan song. So Dad and I watched the movie waiting for the feelings of overwhelming joy and the desire to watch it again to hit us. Sadly, although we acknowledged that it was an enjoyable film, it did not measure up to the promotion.

From then on, whenever someone in the family recommended a film, a television show, a book, or  whatever , they would first preface the suggestion by saying, “it’s not a shrek,” meaning it is definitely worthwhile.

Jamie, the avocado tuna was definitely a shrek for me—sorry to say. (I did love your hoison-glazed salmon though.)  Being a grandma has absolutely not been a shrek, and the Chinese restaurant in Silver Springthe one which provided us with dinner and an unexpected show— was not a shrek either.

Have any of you been disappointed with any shreks lately?


During a period of four years, we moved three times. Each move resulted in eliminating more clutter from our homes.

It has now been nine years since we decluttered our lives and took up residency in another state. I realize that we still have a lot of unnecessary stuff which has not been touched in years, so I recently decided to pretend to move.

I have been going from room to room, opening up drawers and closets along with boxes in the attic, trying to determine which possessions can be tossed. Yesterday, I discovered a bag of plastic Disney figurines which belonged to Jamie. Since the next generation of our family is being slowly introduced to Belle, Ariel, and their other famous friends, I decided to share my discovery with the kids.

While Lily was happily playing with Belle and Ariel, I decided that background music was needed, so I pulled out my phone and turned on “Part of Your World.” Lily clearly recognized the tune from Little Mermaid, so she immediately grabbed my phone and stared at the video, mesmerized by what she was viewing.

The power of music transported me back to our home in New Jersey, where I was watching the three of you dancing to “Little Town” from Beauty and the Beast. Jamie and Kelly were singing “there must be more than this provincial life,” and later, Casey was belting out “I can show you the world, shining, shimmering splendid…” from Aladdin.

As Lily smiled through “Part of Your World,” I was taken back to that day on the beach where the three of you, along with Carly and Chris, met Sebastian the crab. Are you surprised to learn that those songs brought happy tears to my eyes?  Those were such sweet times!

When Bryce walked into the house, he was also attracted to the new toys and went over and grabbed one of them. Well, when Lily saw Bryce holding “her” new toys, she became enraged and a battle ensued.

Our beloved Disney characters never grow old. Incidentally, Happy Birthday Princess Casey!