Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dreams Come True

Last week marked Leah's first trip to Walt Disney World! After talking about and planning our trip for well over a year, it was so exciting to finally have it realized. Leah met so many of her favorite characters, rode several rides, trick-or-treated in the Magic Kingdom, watched an amazing firework display, enjoyed a few nighttime swims in the resort pool, and generally had the time of her life!

The day prior to our trip, we picked up a rental car... what was supposed to be a SUV turned into a minivan, since the rental place didn't have a vehicle to give us. It worked in our favor because there was SO MUCH ROOM! The seats collapsed into the floor, which worked out perfectly since we wanted plenty of space for Dodge to move around and lay down. Yes, he came to Disney World too! Amazingly, pet care & boarding was right across the street from our resort. It's like it was meant to be. Dan & I so appreciated being able to visit him each day, as I know Dodge did too.

We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside in their new royal rooms. Beautiful, picturesque resort! The rooms were super fun with lots of cute details: characters in the wallpaper border, Aladdin's magic carpet woven right into the rug, faucets that looked like the magic lamp, a "note" from Princess Tiana on the table, etc. One of the highlights for Leah was the firework display that lit up over the beds!

Our first evening was spent in Downtown Disney for dinner and a little shopping. Both Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter have special ferryboat rides to Downtown Disney, as opposed to taking one of the Disney buses. We all loved that and it was such a relaxing way to travel back and forth.

Magic Kingdom was on the agenda for our first full day. The look on Leah's face when she first laid eyes on Cinderella's Castle was priceless! That day was magical for her. More than anything, Leah has talked about meeting and hugging different characters. So, I made that my goal: to find as many as I could! Throughout the day, Leah met Tiana, Ariel, Pluto, Marie (from Aristocats), and Merida. We had dinner reservations at the castle, where Leah met her beloved Cinderella as well as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel. By the time dinner was over, Leah was on top of the world!

Leah's jaw dropped when she first saw Cinderella, Snow White, & Sleeping Beauty during a show in front of the castle. :)

Getting ready to ride Dumbo with Popel!

The main reason we planned this trip for October was to attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This occurred on our third evening at Disney. We had a blast! Leah dressed as Tinkerbell and we trick-or-treated around the Magic Kingdom. Everyone is given a treat bag as you enter the event, so by the end of the night, Leah's big bucket of candy was FULL, since we adults dumped our collections into hers. Between that, the parade, the incredible fireworks, and meeting a few more characters, it was a success. Dan's goal was to give Leah a good Halloween and that goal was certainly met. We're all ready to go back and do it again next year!

Tinkerbell & Tinkerbell :)

During our stay, we visited all of the major parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot). Unfortunately, our Animal Kingdom day was cut short due to the Halloween party that night, so we've already discussed spending a full day there next time we visit. The safari was awesome, we found a great character meetup spot, and it was a beautiful park to walk around. Hollywood Studios seems like it may be a better fit when Leah is older and more interested in rides or movie-related shows. She loved the Beauty & the Beast stage show there, the Pixar parade, and meeting a few more characters, though I do think we can skip those next time in favor of exploring more at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.  Epcot was a favorite of Dan & I, thanks to the Food & Wine Festival. We had so much fun sampling goodies from different countries. It was there, too, that Leah met her final two princesses and even caught a glimpse of Bolt, her first favorite character! 

It was a wonderful vacation, full of awesome memories and magical moments for the most special little girl in our lives. I am so glad that so many of her dreams came true. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Life Lessons

As we began homeschooling last month, I never thought Leah would end up learning a serious life lesson only a couple weeks in: how to understand and cope with death. As most of our followers know, we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog and family member, Hud.

We made the decision to end his suffering less than one week after being diagnosed with kidney failure, only six weeks away from his sixth birthday. Hud hadn't been himself for awhile, though we attributed much of that to anxiety over going outside after a nasty run-in with a yellow jacket nest in early July. Little did we know. I brought him to the vet in mid-late August, after a week-long bout of vomiting, where it was believed he had a case of acid reflux or an ulcer. Less than a week after that appointment, he was barely eating and became extremely weak when he walked or got up and down. Something still wasn't right. I brought him back to the vet, where blood was taken and it was determined that he was in kidney failure.

His decline was rapid after that. He spent a couple days on fluids at the animal hospital and was returned home to us for Labor Day weekend. He didn't eat a bite of food, barely drank any water, and was clearly in pain. We returned to the vet that Tuesday morning where they ran a few more tests, administered additional fluids, and referred us to an ultrasound at another veterinary clinic. The news there was what we had feared: it was a chronic condition and he had, at best, a 20% chance of survival with additional treatment. We knew what we had to do. We brought Hud home for one final night with us before our vet made a house call the following morning.

I talk about this here, on Leah's blog, because, well, he's always been a part of her life. Hud was slow to warm up to our new baby girl, this loud little creature who "stole" our attention. He was never mean to her, never nipped at her or stole her toys. He oftentimes simply left the room to nap in a quieter place, especially if she did throw a tantrum or have a crying outburst. Yet as the years went on, he gave in. He sat patiently while she pet him and hugged him, he began giving her "kisses", and of course, he benefited from her excitement to give her buddies some treats. :)  If we were playing outside and Leah took his soccer ball to play with, he let her have it. He was always gentle, always a gentleman. This past spring and summer, Leah showed off what a good arm she had in throwing tennis balls, which Hud loved to catch as Leah bounced them off the side of the garage.

When we received the initial diagnosis of kidney failure, Dan & I tried our best to prepare Leah for what was coming. We explained that Hud was very sick, that his body was hurting, and that the doctors may not be able to make him better. We used the words death and dying, as opposed to him "going to sleep" because I read that kids can get confused, thinking that if they go to sleep, they won't return either. Leah listened to what we were saying, repeated things back to us, and seemed to have an understanding. Still, she didn't truly grasp the emotional weight of what was happening until that day. Dan explained to her, "After today, we won't see Hud anymore."  Then, it clicked. Once our vet arrived and events got in motion, Leah ran to her playroom bawling. I ran after her and she sadly exclaimed, "I don't want to say goodbye to Hud! I don't want to lose him!" My sweetie. I hugged her and held her in my arms, telling her to let it out, that it was OK to be sad and to cry. Dan was with Hud during his final moments while I consoled Leah. What an awful day, what a heavy lesson I hadn't wanted her to learn and to experience so young.  Still, she has handled it remarkably well and I am proud of her.

Not surprisingly, she's grown much more lovey and attached to Dodge. She's always loved both dogs but for the longest time, she seemed to favor Hud, the "bad boy" who paid no attention to her. Ha. Dodge has always been an easygoing, loving soul and I think she always knew she could have his attention if she wanted it. Hud was the challenge. Well, now, Dodge is making up for lost time. Leah is always hugging and petting him, talking about how much she loves him. We took Dodge to bath day at the vet last week; when we arrived to pick him up, Leah said, "I just want my boy back." So sweet! Dodge is helping us all through this, I think, and we're trying to aid him with the loss of his friend as well.

It's been exactly two weeks to the day that we said our final goodbyes to Hud. We miss him terribly, though we appreciate every moment we had with him. I, for one, will be eternally grateful that he showed me how to love unconditionally and how to be a parent. He was the first living creature I ever cared for, one who depended on me, and who allowed me to make many mistakes. Though Dan & I became a family the moment we said, "I Do", Hud really solidified that and showed us what that meant. He was our first friend here in Georgia and he will always be a founding member of our little family. Hud Buddy, we love you and we thank you.

Oct 20, 2006 - Sept 5, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of Homeschool

Leah began Pre-K yesterday! We decided to start earlier than Labor Day since we were both ready to go. After the curriculum was delivered and some of the supplies were stocked on shelves in her playroom, Leah was ready to start and see what homeschool was all about. I spent last week putting together a bulletin board and got myself mostly organized and prepped.

When I reviewed the first lesson, the manual suggested having some type of introduction each day, to signal the start of school. The suggestions included a poem, a pledge to the flag, a prayer, or a song. None of those really appealed to me, so after thinking back on my Kindergarten teaching assistant days and scouring a few homeschool blogs, I decided to begin our day with Calendar Time. Talking about what day and season it is, as well as the weather outside, seemed like a natural way to start our day. Though it may be awhile until Leah truly understands the passage of time, the months of the year, and how to tell the date, being exposed to it will only aid her comprehension. There is also a section to label "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" so that she begins to understand those terms as well. Leah certainly grasps the concepts of whether an event has happened in the past or will in the future, but she'll sometimes refer to something that happened a few weeks ago as happening "last night". So, this will hopefully introduce her to some proper terms.  Leah very much enjoyed Calendar Time both yesterday and today!

Afterward, we moved onto our first lesson. We spent some time talking about school (some kids go to a specific school with other kids while some stay home with their parents), talking about our new supplies, where they're located, and the importance of putting things away when school is complete. We read a story together, discussed the concepts of "in" and "out", and listened to a short song that tied into our lesson. Interestingly, I thought the in & out lesson would be too easy for Leah and we'd be through it in no time. But I got to witness firsthand how you can understand a concept one way but need help when it's translated to another context. For example, we began by placing various objects "in" and "out" of a basket or small box. Leah whizzed through that, knowing what that meant, saying things like, "The crayons are IN the basket" when she placed them there. After this exercise, I presented her with an activity sheet of different animals that were either in an object (a bird in a cage) or out of one (a dog standing beside his doghouse). I asked her to point out a picture that showed "in". She pointed to the dog by his house and said something about how he goes in there. I understood what she meant, though she was skipping over the fact that right then, in that particular picture, he was not in there currently. So interesting how her mind worked. After some explanation, she quickly picked up what we were looking for and completed highlighting the various pictures, underlining the "in" pictures with one color crayon and the "out" pictures with another. She then colored the pictures however she wanted. When she was done, I asked her again to show me the picture where the dog was "in" or the cat was "out", etc and she completed it with no problem. Awesome. She learned!

There are certain objectives in this curriculum she does know. For instance, today we were supposed to introduce the color red. Leah already knows her colors, so I modified the lesson somewhat. Instead of presenting her with red objects to illustrate what color they are, I asked her to look around the room and find red objects herself. Then, I gave her a couple old magazines and asked her to cut out red pictures that she would then glue on a separate sheet of paper. She's still a scissor newbie, so this helped her work on those motor skills instead, while still sticking to the red theme.

One thing that I'm not quite sure of is how to modify our storytime. The curriculum provides a storybook in order to promote good listening and comprehension skills, that we read from at least once a day. Leah is used to picture storybooks while these stories I'm reading contain only a couple tiny illustrations in order to condense the curriculum material. She's claiming the stories are "boring" and I think it's because she doesn't have that visual to follow. Not quite sure how to remedy that one, or maybe it will just come with more maturity.

Otherwise, things are going well thus far. I am already enjoying the new routine and the extra quality time we're experiencing. I think this will be a really interesting adventure. :)

Leah created this red clay guy with no prompting from me. I love it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Yup. We are that family.

As many children Leah's age prepare to start Pre-Kindergarten or to attend preschool, we have chosen to homeschool. Dan & I made the decision a year ago, and as we draw closer to the beginning of our journey, it seemed like the right time to post about it.

When we first began discussing school options, public schools here did not thrill us. We considered private school, though the tuition of the one secular private school in our area is astronomical. That was out. All the affordable options were Christian-based private schools, and while we entertained that notion for a short time, ultimately, that felt very disingenuous to me. Dan and I are not religious; the most you could call us is agnostic. To be fair to our family and to the school, we felt it was better that we not pretend to be people we are not.

So, on a whim, I mentioned homeschooling as an option. Since joining a mommy message board years ago as well as following a few money-saving blogs, I found that homeschooling was more popular than I ever realized. In the following days, as I did some research and Dan & I discussed the pros and cons, we discovered that homeschooling was the only thing that got us both excited.

What we're looking forward to:

  • Discovering Leah's learning style and teaching her in a way that suits her best
  • Choosing our curriculum and following Leah's interests and curiosities
  • Being able to take breaks or vacations whenever we want, working at Leah's most alert time of day, and having free time during the day for lessons, sports, or whatever she wants to explore
  • Providing her with a safe, supportive environment to begin learning and building her self-esteem
I know the biggest hangup regarding homeschooling is the socialization issue. That was our first concern as well. But after talking to other homeschooling moms and reading various articles and blog posts on the topic, it's really not an issue unless you live in a cave. There are local homeschool groups to join. Leah will meet other kids in whatever activities she gets involved in (dance, gymnastics, etc). Not to mention the other interactions she has in a typical week - meeting and talking to people at the grocery store, the pet store, the bank, etc. We hope to involve her in volunteer projects down the line as well. "Socialization" is not just about making friends with a bunch of other kids who are the exact same age; it's about learning to interact with others in a productive manner.

The three of us attended our first Homeschool Expo in Atlanta during the last weekend of July. It was so helpful, as I was able to see the various curriculum options right in front of me and learned about several programs that I wouldn't have previously thought of. After deliberation and research, I chose our Pre-K curriculum last week (Calvert) and it arrived in the mail on Tuesday. I am super excited to begin!  There are a lot of homeschooling folks who say that you don't really need to shell out the money for a boxed curriculum for Pre-K or K... but being as this is our first year doing something we never thought we would do, I want the advantage of guidance and structure. Maybe in a year or two, I'll have more confidence to pull from different resources and put something together myself. But for now, I love that everything is laid out for me.

I am aiming to start after Labor Day, though it could potentially be earlier if I feel we're ready to go. I want to go through the curriculum a little more closely and I am also in the process of getting myself organized in various aspects of home management as well. Really trying to streamline my days and weeks, so I can truly devote the time necessary to educating my daughter.

This is an exciting time! It's funny, Dan and I have joked that we are that "crazy", no-cable-TV-let's-bake-our-own-bread-homeschooling-family. Couple of hippies. *wink*  If you asked me 5 years ago if we would be doing these things, I would've told you that was ridiculous. Ha. Life can take you places you never imagined and oftentimes, those are the best journeys. One of my favorite quotes is: "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." Yup. Here's to a new challenge, a new journey!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm not Leah, I'm Dorothy!

Most of you who read the blog already know this, but I still wanted to write about it so that it's in the record books.

Sometime in June, I believe, I introduced Leah to "The Wizard of Oz". Dan had recently shown her "E.T." to which she responded favorably and without anything really scaring her. So, I figured I'd give Oz a try. Needless to say, she loved it. I should have known; the main character is a female who wears sparkly shoes and has a cute little dog. That spoke to her!

Leah soon began acting out scenes from the movie. Naturally, she was Dorothy and she assigned roles to Dan (Scarecrow) and I (sometimes the Tin Man, sometimes the Cowardly Lion) and she had us skipping around the yard while she sang, "We're off to the see the wizard..."  We have one of those crabapple trees in the backyard and she even pretended to pick apples off while the tree got upset. It was very dramatic.

Do you ever see pieces of yourself and your childhood in your own children? Um, yeah, this one's a whole chunk of mine. I also used to watch "The Wizard of Oz" constantly and assigned roles to my family members. I never suggested anything to Leah about acting out scenes or making each of us a particular character or what-have-you, but boy, it is uncanny how Leah is doing the exact same things I used to. Is that kind of stuff passed along in your genetic makeup? She does seem a bit more forceful in reminding family members that she is Dorothy, not Leah. I don't quite remember carrying that out to such an extent but hey, who knows. Maybe I needed the shoes to truly feel the part. And unfortunately, when I was a kid, Target wasn't around to make super cute ruby slipper lookalikes. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't the least bit jealous. ;)

Yesterday, when Leah received those awesome red shoes in the mail from Grammy, she was talking about how we don't have the Dorothy dress but that we could look for it around Halloween. I agreed, then glanced in her closet and realized we could put together a Dorothy outfit that was a close enough match. She has been ecstatic ever since. She wore it for the rest of the day and is wearing it again today. She took Toto and her basket to the pet supply store today and yesterday, she even told the Trader Joe's cashier that her daddy is the Scarecrow. Ha!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Steps to Learning

On Saturday night, Leah very proudly wrote her name all by herself! YAY!!!  She had been writing each of the letters just moments earlier, so I grabbed some chalk and wrote them in order to spell "Leah", talking about which one came next. She said, "I can do it, I can do it!" and promptly wrote what you see here. I am so proud! Yesterday, I saw her playing with the alphabet magnets on the fridge and she correctly spelled out her name again. This is a great step! Mostly, I'm so glad she has an interest in trying to write her letters and figure this stuff out.

Leah has also developed a love of books, which really makes me happy! We used to read books together sporadically, and at random times of day. So, a few months ago, I decided we really needed to incorporate a story before bedtime. Leah caught on after one night and was asking to read a book! Partly, I think she loved the excuse to delay bedtime a few more minutes but hey, it worked. ;)  She is now familiar with lots of books, loves a few certain characters that we read over & over, quotes lines from some of the stories, and gets excited about bringing different books home from the library. I am so thrilled!

Monday, May 21, 2012

4th Birthday

Once again, the blog has escaped me. Whoops. I wanted to provide a summary on Leah's 4th birthday... but now it's over a month later. Seems like old news, eh? Oh well, let me just get a little recap out of the way so we have something to look back on in twenty years. ;)

Other than the day she was born, this was the first year Leah's birthday did not fall on a weekend... so it was the first time we got to celebrate with Leah on her big day just the three of us. Began the morning with cake batter pancakes for breakfast, followed by a visit to one of Leah's favorite parks where she played for nearly two hours. Even Dan was able to stop by for a few minutes on his lunch break - yay! Afterward, we picked up a dozen cupcakes from our favorite cupcake shop. Leah spent the rest of the afternoon playing at home, while I prepared a favorite dinner - homemade chicken nuggets, homemade mac & cheese, and carrot sticks.

After dinner, Leah opened her gifts from us: a Jane doll (from Disney's Tarzan - thank you, Ebay!), a Lady & the Tramp nightgown, and... what she's been waiting for... Cinderella's dress and accessories!

The following weekend, the grandparents arrived for Leah's annual party! This year, Leah chose a ballerina bear cake, so we went with an overall pink, ballet theme. Again, we went with Leah's favorite for our meal - Peppino's pizza. :)  She's got good taste! Leah had a great time showing off her new playroom to her grandparents, getting pushed on her swings, opening her gifts, and leading everyone down a favorite trail at the Botanical Gardens the following day. As always, a very fun weekend.

The first year Leah could blow out her candle without help!

I already have a few ideas for upcoming blog posts, so let's hope I can get them up this week. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Leah's new playroom is, for the most part, complete! Dan finished the painting and installation of the new ceiling fans a couple weeks ago. We spent a couple days moving most of her toys upstairs and organizing/setting them up. Then, this past weekend, we flip-flopped the layout of the room again! Seems to flow better now.

We still have a few items to add: a kid-size table & chairs for coloring/crafts, some additional posters or decor for the walls, a small TV stand, and a large chair for the far corner (underneath the Pooh poster) for an adult to sit. Maybe one of those nets you can string up in a corner to hold stuffed animals. I also bought a corkboard for displaying Leah's "masterpieces" that still needs to be hung on the wall.

Still, it is pretty much good to go! Leah loves playing up there, sometimes wanting one or both of us with her and other times telling us, "I'm going upstairs. Please don't check me."  Yes, ma'am! Enjoy! I think it's one of the best rooms in the house!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dress Up

Leah has a new obsession: dresses. She wants to wear a dress or a skirt everyday (unless they're all in the laundry basket and I tell her she has to choose something else) and often wears multiple dresses a day, thanks to all her costumes and tutus. We recently sold a bunch of baby items in a local consignment sale and at the preview sale, I bought her three dresses, one of which is pictured to the left. She calls this one her Minnie Mouse dress because of the red with white polka dots! I love how happy and proud she looks. :)

Leah is also obsessed with shoes. (She is so my child. Ha.) Or, maybe I should say, she's obsessed with ONE pair of shoes. We picked out some new shoes and sandals last week. Her favorite pair are pink & sparkly with little bows on the front - similar to the ruby slippers, only pink and flat - and Leah has worn them constantly since we got home. She puts them on with her dresses, wears them on errands, wears them outside, even wears them with her pajamas on occasion. The only time we can get her to wear sneakers is when we've gone to the Botanical Gardens or when it's wet/muddy outside after it's rained. And the new sandals I bought? They're sitting in her room, untouched. Oh boy.

Playing dress-up and role-playing her favorite Disney characters is currently her favorite thing to do, as you can probably guess. She impressed me recently with her creativity. She has the store-bought costumes for Snow White, Rapunzel, and Belle so, naturally, it's clear who she is when those outfits are on. But one day, while wearing a new yellow dress that we picked up at the consignment sale, she also added her white mittens and told me she was Jane.
Jane from Tarzan.

Awesome! We've watched that movie quite a bit recently (totally underrated Disney movie, by the way. Music by Phil Collins is amazing!) and Dan & I were rather excited that Leah chose to emulate such a cool, intelligent female character like Jane and that she put the outfit together herself. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Up to Speed

I've been a blog slacker. Oops. Let's update!

We're in the process of creating a playroom upstairs for Leah. Up until now, our upstairs rooms have mostly been used for storage. It was great to have a place to put things that was out of sight, out of mind... but it became a disaster. So, within the last month, we finally started going through everything, sorting it into categories of keep/donate/sell/trash. After pulling items I wanted to save for memory's sake, we now have a huge pile of Leah's old toys, clothes, and baby equipment that will either be sold in a consignment sale next month or will be donated. We even made $65 last week by bringing some needed items to a local baby consignment shop! Feels really good to get all this clutter out of our home and, in some cases, give them to someone else who can use them.

Dan has been working on scraping, sanding, and spackling the popcorn ceiling (ugh) and then he'll repaint the room white. We wanted to keep the walls basic while adding color with posters, new ceiling fans, curtains, fabric storage bins, and of course, Leah's toys. It's going to be exciting to see the finished product!

As for Leah herself, she's still as silly and bossy as ever. ;)  Though she still prefers to be in my company, she is becoming more outgoing with other little kids. At the park recently, she went right up to a couple other little girls, said, "My name is Leah", and started playing with them! When they left and other girls arrived, she joined them as well. I was proud of her confidence and so glad to see her initiate play.

Leah is also learning how to subtract... sort of. Awhile back, in order to help her learn numbers, Dan showed her on one hand how many days he had left to work. Together, they counted down until the weekend. "Daddy has to go to work three more days" and Leah would hold up the correct number of fingers. Now, after he's completed a day, she knows to take a finger away and then she'll tell us how many days he has left. It's cute. She may not recognize numbers by sight, but she can do this! ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Project 365

I started a new blog for the New Year. A few of my friends are doing a Project 365 Challenge - where you take at least one photo everyday for a year - and I decided to join them. So, here's my shameless plug:

Amanda's Project 365

Yes, I will continue to post here on Life with Leah. :)  Still, since many of my photos will, I'm sure, feature Leah, I figured some of you may want to check out the other blog as well. I'll be updating that one more frequently.

Thanks and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chocolate: noun, adjective, verb

Sunday afternoon.
Dad: "What do you want to do tomorrow?"
Leah: "Go see choo-choo and get donut."
Dad: "Cool, we'll do that."

Monday afternoon.
Dad: "That was a great train ride. Now what?"
Leah: "Let's go get donuts."
Dad: "Oh, yeah. I forgot about that."

The display case at Publix is looking a little sparse. Leah sees a large cookie with M&M's baked into the cookie. That's the choice. So, we tell the lady at the counter that we want one chocolate chip cookie with M&M's. Then Leah eyes the donuts. Only two types: one with a white glaze and one with a dark chocolate glaze.

Hmmmm. We now have one chocolate cookie and one chocolate donut.

Leah instructs that we will sit at the cafe-style tables in the front of Publix. Chocolate (noun) can go bad very quickly if not eaten at once. Leah sits down. Daddy removes her jacket.
Dad: "Which one do you want?"
Leah: "Chocolate."
Dad: "The chocolate cookie or the chocolate donut?"
*Notice, chocolate is now an adjective.
Leah: "Choc-o-late!"
Leah (still): "Chocolate, chocolate, CHOCOLATE!"
Dad (uncharacteristically calm): "They're both chocolate [you pleasant angel]. Do you want the donut or the cookie?"
Leah: "Yeah."
Dad: "Uh, donut?"
Leah: "Yeah."

Leah proceeded to eat the (chocolate) donut. I don't know how much chocolate actually made it in her mouth. For such a small donut, she had enough chocolate on her hands, mouth, chin, cheeks, coat sleeves, and tabletop to cover a donut. This is where chocolate becomes a verb. She chocolate herself. Other people in the cafe area seemed to exit as she chocolate herself. Fortunately, Publix stationed a water fountain near what must be an endless supply of napkins. After cleanup, Leah decided that she was up for more. She sampled the cookie. The chocolate cookie, it's the size of a frisbee. She had half of it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Trains, toys, and "Everyone Poops"

A complete day for Leah includes a long ride around a shopping mall in the coal car of the kiddie-train, followed by a quick visit to the toy store. She played in the kitchen set-up towards the front of the store. She enjoyed the mini-sandboxes by the cash registers. She climbed over boxes to reach the little house for the animal figures. Then, she found the item we had to bring home.

"FINALLY! A book that says everything I find funny in life."

By Monday evening, we have read it from beginning to end three times. That may not sound like much, but it exceeds any other book Leah has been exposed to. The best part is that everything in the book is clearly making a strained face. The fish, the whale, the camels. Take a gander at those illustrations and see how you would read that to a child.

Best part:

That's right! A pipe! This book has levels! Once you get past the subject matter, and the drawings of strained animals in mid defecation, you get the absurdity of a man treating his toilet as his inner-sanctum. I guess his cup of coffee is on the other side of the porcelain throne.

Nevermind Kipling, Carroll, or Dickinson. All a three-year-old needs is a little-known author from Japan and the perverse illustrations of a freelance artist to come together in 1977. To compare this book to a mineral, it is gold. To liken it to film, it is Citizen Kane. To christen it a milestone, it is an enthusiastic trip to literature for a little girl, who finds nothing funnier than the fact that everyone poops.

(For those who may not be familiar with his sense of humor, this post was written by my fabulously witty husband. :) )