Merry Christmas, Internet! Did Santa leave you a letter
this morning? He left us one but,
well, I don’t know. It seemed a little odd. Maybe it’s just me.
What do you think?

Ho ho ho! Did you know that
Santa spelled backwards is Atnas? Don’t tell anyone that, I’ve
submitted a trademark for it but it hasn’t been approved yet. Wait,
where was I? Oh, yes. How are you, sweet little
Been good all year? What? Oh, that? The Elves switched to a
web-based database this year. There’s been some problems retrieving
certain fields so all I have access to is your URL, little girl.
But don’t worry, I still know exactly what you want! According to
this you want season 2 of The Wire on DVD. Oh,
wait. No…that’s the bestseller list. I think I clicked the wrong
link. I just need to…uhm…wait… I TOLD them there was nothing
wrong with the magic list! I said “what’s wrong with magic?” and
they said “trust us” and I said “no” but they said… Wait. Here we
go! I finally got it. System update? What does that mean? Oh, frack
me, it’s rebooting! :sigh: Ok. Forget it. Santa’s going on
‘Shuffle’ mode. You get the first thing I grab and that’ll be that.
Whatever, you’ll like it because I’m Santa and Santa is always
right. Ciao! -S. Claus

So that’s the note he
left. I guess it explains why Samantha got a waffle iron that makes
waffles in the shape of Texas.

It’s not really a problem. She likes
waffles a lot and as far as I know she’s pretty fond of Texas. I
mean, I’m just assuming. That’s what this expression means, right?
She’s looked like that for the last 2 hours so I think that’s a
good sign.

Another satisfied


Samantha had her 3rd birthday last week.


This meant a fun party. Cake. Toys. Excitement! It also means it’s time for the annual doctor’s visit!

Wait. What?

Luckily, this trip didn’t include any shots. It did include the traditional yearly pamphlet that I love so much:

Milestones: Your Child’s 3rd Year

During the 3rd year, your child:

  • is eager and energetic
  • completes simple puzzles
  • can cut a piece of paper into a silhouette of Walter Cronkite
  • can draw a square
  • begins to appreciate Adam West’s Batman on a more ironic level
  • starts to memorize numbers, particularly those on credit cards
  • can pour liquid from a pitcher directly onto the floor
  • begins to swing arms like an adult when she walks *
  • starts doing your taxes, but inevitably forgets deductions, costing you thousands of dollars

~  ~  ~

That’s not the entire list, but those are the highlights. The rest is mostly filler.

* I swear to you, this one is real.

I don’t know if you heard, but it snowed this weekend.

Just a little bit

It’s been 2 days and the roads are still unusable. This means we’re soon entering day 3 stuck at home with an almost-3-year-old. Hey, how bad can it be? She’s just one kid.

Heh heh heh

This was something I learned from Samantha’s preschool this week. Food-coloring mixed with water in a spray bottle makes for some very pretty ‘snow paint.’ For some reason this really amuses toddlers. I can’t explain why, but I’m glad it works!

That only lasts so long, however. Luckily, Lori planned ahead and bought all sorts of craft-supplies last week so we had lots of projects to do.


The crazy flower people were one such project. Once again, I can’t explain why this makes toddlers laugh, but it does. (Not pictured: Cotton snowmen on a stick.)

On day 2 the snow actually stopped falling so we spent a bit more time outside.

What? Like you don’t wear Minnie Mouse ears everywhere?

Needs more green!

Uhm…could someone carry me?


Wheeeeee, again!

Serious business

I had found 2 boxes of JELL-O on the top shelf, so we made some thin pans and got out the-cookie cutters. Samantha was very meticulous to make sure everything went perfectly with this critical project.


Send your compliments to this chef

So it’s been going pretty well so far but it looks like we won’t be getting out Monday at all either. Who can say what will happen? All I know is, I have one last secret weapon left. When all else fails:

Dinosaur Tattoo!!!

My sister and her husband moved to Brooklyn last year and we finally got around to visiting. They live in Park Slope, which looks like this.

We were excited to learn that this is the exact neighborhood that Mo Willems used for the photos in his book Knuffle Bunny. The book features color drawings on top of black and white photos. It looks like this.

Bunny hijinks ensue

So we gathered up our own Knuffle Bunny and, thanks to the internet, found the actual laundromat from the book!

Living the dream

There it is…machine ‘M.’ This is like the Graceland of 2 year olds. She was a bit surprised to learn that we could actually visit Knuffle Bunny’s home since none of her other books have come to life yet. This is when she started to think that last night’s 5 hour drive was worth it.

Next up, a subway ride.

Are we there yet?

A quick subway ride brings us to…

Times Square!

A typical tourist pose. I know, I know. Give me a break. I’ve got a killer candid in a pizza shop coming up soon that totally makes up for this.

But for now we decided to go to the huge Toys R Us in Times Square which is where we met the…

…uhm, T-Rex?

So there’s a life-sized T-Rex in Toys R Us. Good to know. There’s also a 3-story tall ferris wheel, so this place is pretty cool. There was also a Spider-Man, a Candy Land, and (just when we thought things were as good as they’d get) an actual Barbie house!


Naturally, my brother-in-law was thrilled with this development. Samantha was off playing with trains at this point, I think.

Now it’s time to go to the zoo. Penguins! They feed them in an hour! We’ve gotta get there to see the penguins!

Remember to stick together!

Hey, does anyone know where Waldo is? These guys are looking for him.

Not Penguins

So then the first tragedy of the day struck. The zoo’s penguin house was closed. So sad! It’s what we wanted to see more than anything!

I got to see the Apple store cube on the way out of the park, so that kind of made things better. But still, I have an Apple store at home. I do NOT have penguins at home!



What’s the only way to dull the pain of missing penguins? Some good old NYC pizza.

A long day makes for a tired Samantha. So back to the apartment for nap time!

What’d’ja bring me?

Lorikeets: A Practical Guide

A lorikeet is a small parrot native to the Pacific region. Like all birds, they are cute and you will want to play with them.

Like all birds, this will prove to be a costly mistake. This guide will aid you in your foolish endeavor.

Part I: Finding Lorikeets

The best way to attract a Lorikeet is to bring along someone named Lori. I did this and it worked very well for me.

If you don’t know anyone named Lori, consider legally changing your name. Lorikeets are fairly stupid and will usually fall for this ruse.

Please note that the names Laura, Laurie, or Lara are NOT suitable substitutes. Attemping to pass a ‘Laurie’ off as a ‘Lori’ will only enrage the Lorikeets. You do not want to know what that means.

Part II: Identifying the Lorikeet

Lorikeets are easily recognized by their bright colors, screechy calls, and ‘crazy eyes’ that stare right through your soul.

As noted above, you should avoid any parrot you see if you value your fingers. Having gone this far, however, I don’t suppose you’re going to stop now. So we’ll move on to part 3.

Part III: The Initial Attack

Once it spots you, the keet will quickly take the high ground. At this point there’s little to do but enjoy the feel of tiny claws all over your head.

See video below.

Part IV: Your Escape

At this point you have only one recourse left at your disposal:

Sugar water.

You can use it to distract the bird long enough for you to run like hell. If you time it right you stand a good chance of getting away.

Hopefully you brought some with you. I probably should have mentioned that upfront. Good luck!

We took Samantha to the “Ice!” show at the National Harbor. It features hundreds of ice sculptures in a 9-degree freezer that you wander around in.

The photos can explain it far better than I can.

Samantha cried when we left which is (ironically) the sign of a successful trip. We really enjoyed it and I suggest you check it out if it comes to your city next year. It was great!

Oh, well, except for the ice-slide. That didn’t actually work out too well.