Sunday, December 28, 2008

Guest Blog: Review of Tale of Despereaux

Hi everyone. This is my first blog ever... That's right, this is Trent, not Megan. Quick, ladies, go get your husbands and brag about how supportive that Trent is to his lovely, beautiful, near Saintly wife Megan. No, really it is me, Trent. Megan has asked me to do a guest blog spot for her on tonight's fun family activity. I certainly hope that I can make her proud. Here it goes.

Tonight we took little K out to her first bar. Okay that's a lie. We actually took her to the movies tonight. We piled into the family truckster about 5:45 for a 6:00 show of Despereaux. Arriving 14 minutes prior to showtime thanks to some magnificant driving by Daddy, we pealed little K off the back windshield and raced inside.

If you have been to the movies recently you will understand that as usual we spent nearly $2000.00 on popcorn, candy and drinks. We then raced into the theater where our timing could not have been better. Front row seats! Just kidding, because I drive like an absolute maniac we were able to sit in the center about half way up. After the obligatory spilling of "popgold" that some used to call "popcorn," (before the price went higher than crude in the summer of 2008) we settled in for the show.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I love the movies. But you have to be in the right mindset to go see a kids show. For me the preparation starts hours beforehand with a lot of booze and some greasy food. Then a quick nap and a couple of vicaden later, I'm ready for showtime! But, today I was not allowed to take my usual liberty with preparation so I had to go...sober. I know this is scary, especially if any husbands were really hassled into reading this by their wives. How did I pull this off? Easy actually. Don't watch so much of the movie. Take a look at your kid watching the movie. That is where the real entertainment is.

Our seats allowed little K some "wiggle room" that gave her the freedom to rush the screen as Despereaux made a courageous charge. And come screaming back to us as the evil rats chased him around. Little K had some of those big, deep in the belly, laughs, that make the entire outside world seem insignificant in comparison. She always has a good time but tonight was a better than usual time. And truly the movie did put forth several great lessons that we will continue to reinforce.

All in all, is the movie something that I would have taken my most beautiful, smart, nearly saintly wife to go see when we were dating? No. But, it is a great movie for parents to take their kids to. You bet, the world is short on honorable heros. If the movie studios can only bring back honor, chivalry, and otherwise gentlemenly behavior by using a mouse, I'm cool with it. I would love to see a thousand Despereauxs next year for Halloween, but, that is wishful thinking. After all the Watchmen will be out in 2009.

Dads, take your boys to this movie. Teach them well. For your safety as well as theirs.

Until the next naptime...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our Christmas Project: Day Two

So we haven't been as diligent about our project as I had hoped but it continues to be interesting and humorous.

Yesterday, Little K & I met my sister at a local Palais Royal to do some last-minute shopping. When we went to check out, we couldn't help but to notice the man in front of us who was pouting. (I'm pretty sure he's on the naughty list.) He shouted that he was late for a party (it was 5 pm) and had been waiting for an hour to return one item. (Actually, he had several items in his hands so I'm not sure if he could count.)

Little K looked at him, confused. I bent down and told her that he was having a very tough day and that maybe she could wish him a Merry Christma to make him feel better. As the salesperson walked off to get some help, Little K looked up at the brooding man & said: "Sir, Merry Christmas." He didn't respond but she said it in a normal voice. I told her to try it again. My sister looked at me as if I was daring my daughter to run across Loop 610. Okay, the guy was visibly angry but who better to receive a little Christmas spirit?

"Excuse me, sir. Merry Christmas!" Little K announced. Still, no response.

Next, Little K held my hand and stepped closer to the man, who was now pacing. "Sir, Merry Christmas!" Still, no response.

My sister & I laughed and Little K just couldn't understand his problem. Finally, another salesperson returned to help the man and a third salesperson offered to help us at another register.

The man turned toward us and said, "I'm sorry but I've been waiting for a long time here."

"It's okay," I responded with a giggle. "Merry Christmas!" Still, no response!

I'm picking up Little K early from nursery school today. With school out for the holidays, we should have plenty of opportunities to determine if folks can enjoy our Christmas sentiments or if we should tell them "Bah Humbug!" I'll try to capture & share some fun photos, too.

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our Christmas Project: Day One

Yesterday, Little K and I went to Target (at I-10 & Taylor) for a few items. It was the typical trip until the end. Little K loves to climb on the large red balls that grace the entrance. They are really intended to block cars from barrelling through the front doors. Still, I let Little K climb on one at the end of our trip. That's where Our Christmas Project developed.

As harried people walked in and out of Target, Little K wished them a "Merry Christmas" in a normal voice. No one noticed. It was AMAZING to watch. It's kind of hard to miss a child sitting on the blockade but whatever. As minutes ticked by, Little K got braver. She stood on the ball with Mommy holding her carefully while minding the loaded shopping cart. She now shouted "Merry Christmas!" to each passerby. One man finally stopped and asked me if the little girl was talking to him. When I nodded, he was shocked. "Well, Merry Christmas to you," he studdered.

Little K beamed. With her new found confidence, she began to call out to specific people. "Hey lady with the green shirt. Merry Christmas!" Little K burst. (PaPa Don would be so proud!)

Usually, Little K got a smile in return but some people didn't even notice. Amazing.

We continued for about 20 minutes and laughed at people's responses. We couldn't believe that with only 8 days until Christmas, so few people were not in the Christmas spirit. Why would you be surprised about a child wishing you "Merry Christmas" at this time of year??? And why would you avoid eye contact with a child? It was as if the customers were afraid that Little K was going to ask for something in return. I was awestruck.

We've decided to continue the experiment through Christmas in the name of research... and fun. Check back here for updates. I encourage you to do the same experiment, too. It feels wonderful. Your kids will love it. Who knows? Maybe people will catch the Christmas spirit after all and remember the real reason for the season has nothing to do with crossing off the shopping list. It has everything to do with spreading deep-hearted joy and anticipation.

Merry Christmas to you! Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NBC special A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa

Despite the hum-drum reviews that it is getting, we can't wait for the Muppet's Christmas special that is showing tonight. Let's watch and see how the kids like it.

• When: 7 tonight
• Where: NBC

Until the next nap time...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let it snow, Let it snow.

Let it snow... in Houston. What a wonderful memory the snow will provide for so many Houstonians -- young & old. Here's a photo of Little K, Daddy & our reindeer as the snow falls Wednesday night. It was too cool.
Happy holidays!
Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Blast at Dickens on the Strand

Last Saturday, we had a ball at Dickens on the Strand. I was a bit worried about navigating the crowd (especially since my husband had to work that Saturday unexpectedly) but I was pleasantly surprised. We arrived just after 10 am when they opened the gates and walked the Strand. There was a constant line of sight seeing for sure. My favorite was the Princess Baby in the gorgeous coach. In the photo here, you can see Little K and her Cici peeking inside at a real child. Oh, how I would have LOVED to have a stroller like that when I was younger.
We also saw a quick magic trick by a goose, who couldn't lay a golden egg, but could find a candy cane for my daughter. That goose seemed to know my daughter's preferences.
There was just so much to see... from the costumes and St. Nicholas' appearance to the Alpaca named Cici. (That's what Little K calls her paternal grandmother --also pictured -- so it was quite coincidental.) Interestingly, alpacas hum. Who knew? Their fur is super soft and great for blankets.
Next, we ate corn dogs and fresh lemonade. Little K even tried her first Funnel Cake with Cici. At last, we found a kind of cake that my daughter likes. She scarfed it right up.
We enjoyed the real wedding Dickens-style at noon and then decided just to sit for awhile, listening to gorgeous singing. The carolers were the good dose of Christmas that I needed.
Finally, a magician/trickster appeared on stage and performed various juggling acts and tricks. Our favorite was twirling the rope around 5 people and then watching each person slowly sneak out from beneath the rope without touching it or messing up the roper. Of course, we liked that trick mostly because Little K was one of the stars. (See photo below. She's the tiniest one.)
Any ways, if you didn't make it to Dickens on the Strand this year, mark the first weekend of December on your list for 2009. It was a wonderful, calm day that supported Galveston's Historic District. It was hard hit by Hurricane Ike but is coming back, thanks to people like you.
I also took photos of the west end of Galveston... the devastation from Hurricane Ike remains. I'll post those later this week. I'm still in awe.
Until the next nap time...

Friday, December 05, 2008

I know we're past Thanksgiving, but Little K keeps bringing home drawings of turkeys in the shape of her hand. Funny. I remember doing that as a kid, too. Since Thanksgiving seems to be still on our mind, I thought I'd share a photo of Little K playing with her home-made tom-tom. We actually made it on Thanksgiving while the feast was baking at my parents' home. She is still playing with the oatmeal container turned Indian music instrument. I thought my father was going to toss us out of the house if we played the tom-tom any more.
Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Don't forget Dickens on the Strand is this weekend in Galveston. Pack up the kids on Saturday or Sunday and head down for a day of Christmas spirit. Hope to see you there!
Another fun event if you want to stay close to home is the ADVENT FESTIVAL at Faith Lutheran Church, located at
4600 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, TX 77401. It's this Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 am - 1 pm. Prepare for Jesus’ Birth! Bethlehem Bazaar and Food, Advent Crafts and Ornaments, Games, Carols, Storytelling, Bake Sale and Silent Auction. Fun for all ages!
Admission is a canned good or unwrapped toy for Christian Community Service Center’s “Jingle Bell Express”. (What a great idea!)
To close out for the week, I want to share these real comments from moms in Houston. Share your comments to this blog to keep the laughter rolling.
You know you're the mother of a preschooler when you ...
  • double-knot your own shoes.
  • find a half eaten molded sandwich under your driver's side seat!
  • discover going to the grocery store is a twice weekly event.
Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fun Holiday Activities in Houston

If you're looking for some fun holiday activities in Houston, be sure to check out my December article "Seasonal Sensations" in The Buzz Magazines, page 9.

I also highlight 10 Seasonal Celebrations in my monthly e-newsletter called the Houston Family Fun Newsletter. Check out the December newsletter and then subscribe to this free email newsletter. (I never sell your contact information so no worries.) Each month, you'll receive one email showcasing fun things to do with your family.

As always, your feedback is welcome so send me your ideas for upcoming newsletters and let me know your family-oriented interests. You can also post your ideas & comments to this blog. Thanks.

Until the next nap time...