Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas in pictures

Christmas Eve morning

Legos by the Tannenbaum

Foucault Pendulum at Sci Works in Winston-Salem

The Disc golf course on Christmas Day

Halfway through 18 holes of disc golf...
The flight home.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

well it's one way to spend your time

Several months ago my friend Dr. Julia announced she was getting married to the man of her dreams. When she informed me the wedding would be in December – when the days in Wisconsin and short and dark and streaked with long, cold shadows – and that the nuptials would take place in sunny Florida, I didn’t think twice about replying “yes” on the RSVP. We figured we would extend the trip by a day to make a mini-vacation out of it…and then came the issue of deciding where to go.

When one goes to Orlando, Florida for any reason with one’s offspring, one is obligated to spend at least some time in a certain theme park. According to everyone I talk to, this is some kind of unwritten law. It’s so magical, they say. Your kids will never forgive you if you go to Orlando and don’t go to that place. Even Stuart said we should do it. I was resistant for a while, trying to convince him that a day at the gulf coast would be way better (and cost a whole lot less) but he was adamant.

So we did it. We spent six whole hours at Islands of Adventure, and believe me, that was plenty. Neither Daniel nor Anya had been on a roller coaster before, so we picked the tamest ride we could find, waited 45 minutes in line to ride it, and then they both hated it. Daniel had a headache afterwards (he is prone to motion sickness so I wasn’t too surprised) and Anya just found the whole thing way too scary (she sat next to me and screamed “I DON’T LIKE THIS RIDE!!” the. entire. time.) Once you take roller coasters out of the equation, there’s not all that much left to do, other than eat and shop. We watched a live Sinbad-themed stunt show, which I’ll admit was an entertaining way to spend a half hour, and ate an overpriced but tasty lunch, and did a lot of walking.

In short, I didn’t feel the magic and I don’t expect I ever will. It’s blasphemy, I know. How can anyone not love it? I bet some of you reading this think I should give it another shot, maybe try a different theme park, like Epcott or the one with Mickey Mouse but unless those places are somehow less expensive, less contrived or less crowded – not bloody likely -  I seriously doubt I’ll change my mind.  

There’s more to say about this trip – travel drama! Wedding fun! – but it’s getting late and the wi-fi in our hotel is intolerably slow, so I think I’ll save those posts for another time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Today is Anya's seventh birthday. Sometimes I think it's hard to believe it's really been seven whole years since she was born - time flies and all that - but at the same time, we've all grown and matured so much it makes perfect sense after all.

At seven, Anya is so much more confident and self-assured than when she turned six. She takes things in stride that would have crushed her before. She is not outgoing and never will be, but she knows herself and I think other people (like kids in her class) can see and respect her for who she is. She loves learning and soaks up new information like a sponge, especially math. (She is all about math these days.) She loves music. She is exceptionally kind. And she can run with persistence and endurance. I look into her big bright eyes and though I don't know what the future holds for her, I know there are great things in store.

Monday, December 08, 2014

a holiday lullaby

I got a last minute request to play a couple of Brahms songs on a recital this week. Despite my crazy schedule, I had to say yes because the singer is wonderful and besides, how can I resist the opportunity to play something so sublimely beautiful?

Saturday, December 06, 2014

has it really been a month since my last post?

I feel like any number of posts lately could have that title. I'm suffering from a little bit of bloggy writers' block here on MadtownMama - partly because I'm busier these days, partly because I'm not so sure I have that much that's interesting to say, and also in part because as my kids get older I have to be more careful about their privacy. Long gone are the days when I could bitch about them never napping and would they ever use the toilet. Now the focus of parenting has shifted to school work and helping them navigate their social lives and most of that just seems too private to write about here. I'm also working more, and as much as I'd love to share some stories and anecdotes about that, it would be unprofessional.

I'll figure it out, though, because I know a few people are still reading and want to keep up with my life! I'll do my best to post a little more often with interesting tidbits from my daily life.

Here's one thing coming up: we're going to a wedding in a few weeks. One of my very close friends from school is getting married in a warm, sunny location in the southern U.S., and we're all flying down for it. I'm playing in the wedding and we're making the rest of the weekend a mini-vacation for our family of four before heading to see Stuart's family for Christmas. I'm really looking forward to this trip, in part because the temperature should be above freezing most of the time! I also realized a few days ago that I'm quite sure the kids don't have anything to wear to this wedding, nothing remotely resembling appropriate dress for a fancy event in a tropical climate. (I know my friend would say, "Susan, don't worry about it! Your kids will be just fine in whatever they wear!!" but honey, sweatpants and a t-shirt with the school mascot just ain't gonna cut it.) So on top of all the holiday shopping and travel prep and end-of-the-semester craziness I have to find acceptable warm-weather dress clothes for my two very opinionated children. Anya will absolutely refuse to wear a dress, which is fine by me (I don't much like wearing dresses, either) but that doesn't leave many options.