Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a very merry unbirthday!

Oliver is Six Months Old Today! That means he's sitting on his own, grabbing objects, and of course very interested in eating real food!

It reminds me of Cookie Monster - a lot of show, but I don't know how much actually gets digested...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Studies have Proven...

10 1/2 years ago, we were given the "Baby Mozart" video as a baby gift to Lizzie. Well. As many of the mothers of young children will confirm with me, this 30-minute video is a Life Saver. When nothing else would calm little Baby Lizzie, I would pop that VHS in and she'd be zoned out in a matter of seconds! With no adverse side affects!

I happen to believe it has more to do with the hypnotic toys they feature than with Mozart's genius music: pendulums and perpetual motion type games, alternated with lava lamps and puppets bouncing by: The true genius is that it is GUILT-FREE TV for mothers, because the video says that your baby will be smarter for watching it. Not surprisingly, the Baby Einstein company founder is now a millionaire.

The good mother that I am, I made sure Baby Lizzie, as well as all subsequent Stewart babies watched, or do currently watch, the Baby Mozart video at least once a day.

As you know, last week we took 10-year-old Lizzie to Mozart's The Magic Flute. Imagine my pride when we got home and told me - Mom! I've heard "Papageno's Wish" {a.k.a "Ein M├Ądchen oder Weibchen"} before - it's on Baby Mozart!" And as Oliver was taking his daily dose of Mozart, Lizzie and Eli started singing to the synthesized music, " Papageno's wish!" and she was right! There it was, right there, waiting all those years to be recognized.

See. There you go. Ten years of prepping, and we receive our reward!
Keep watching, Oliver, you'll be singing Mozart in no time!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Eli's Dragon Training Party

Turning 8 is a Big Deal. So big, you need to invite a Dragon. So we did. We named him Smaug. Gwahaha! Ingredients to build your own dragon: 1 Giant Blue, Scaly-looking pool cover, 1 trampoline, 2 kid tents, lots of tunnels, tables and chairs. 3 pool noodles. Foil, cardboard and markers for the eyes. Mats and blankets to make an easy-on the knees pathway clearly marked for the kids to follow inside. Spraypaint and paper to make the dragon feet.
The idea was that the kids would get "swallowed" by the dragon, follow the tunnels through its insides,

. . .eventually getting spit out into the pool through the end of the dragon's tail. :) :) :) The night before the party, we brought Smaug to life and made him sleep outside till morning. His lunch the next day would be Eli and his birthday party friends. Moohaha!

Here they are! The unsuspecting victims! First up, we gave them a false sense of security by having them build their own shields. These will be no match for Smaug's ferocious bite!
Then we gave them foam swords and had battle practice. Beware, ye Dragons!

To defend against pinpoint precision dragon fire spewing, we practiced with Silly String.

Not pictured is the Horrendous battle between the Dragon Pinata and the army of viking kids. Let's just say that the Pinata lost. Big time. It's entrails went everywhere and the kids just ate them, just like that. They are seriously ferocious!

Ready or not, it's time to face the TERRIBLE BEAST!! The Monstrous Nightmare! The Hideous, Scaly-back, Flame-throwing Dragonzilla! Who dares to enter? Who will come out Conqueror?!

Eli! Dragon- Warrior! He passed his training!

So did all his friends!
BUT!! Alas and alack, there is still one more beast to conquer!

Just look at him staring at us with his wee beady eyes! And that smug look on his face! "Oh, you wanna eat my birthday cake!"
Can he exhaust the dragon's flames?
Hooray! A victor! Now, let's cut him up and divvie up the spoils!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Sparkly Fourth in Santa Fe

In the morning, we got to attend a super-schmantzy 'brunch' at an Art Gallery for all the Opera singers and their Patrons. And their moochable sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews. We're always up for crashing a schmantzy party!

We almost bought this fine sculpture for Oliver. Seems that human babies aren't the only ones that like to nibble on their toes:

The gardens were sublime, the food was even better. We met lots of interesting people, and eventually the crowds subsided and Erin was able to enjoy her brunch. It was quite the event. Luckily, there were other children there, and Lizzie quickly made a new friend, Effie, who's dad is in a different opera this summer. They're now fast friends and email buddies.

In fact, all the kids ended up making new friends. There were children from Toronto, Italy, and other places, some didn't even speak English. But they all spoke the language of "freeze tag" - tag knows no boundaries.
Later that night, we did some fireworks at Erin's pad. We decided to invite Mom, Dad, and Whitney:
I had fun with some camera tricks:

Then somehow, Ivy managed to stick her sparkler right in Erin's rear end. It burned right through, and from henceforth and forever, Erin will now be known hereafter in this blog as "Sparklebutt."
Eli, Lizzie, and Sparklebutt.
Lizzie, Sparklebutt, and Ivy.

Oliver and Sparklebutt enjoy the lights! ;>
Happy Fourth, and thanks to Sparklebutt for a WONDERFUL AWESOME trip to SANTA FE!!!! We love you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Santa Fe, Part Dos

We woke up in this magazine-worthy setting: But we had places to go, people to see!

Our schedule is just packed.
First up, horse riding!

Stick 'em up.

On our way to get the tire fixed, we saw this beautiful median, adopted by Cassidy's Landscaping, Inc. Let's keep Santa Fe beautiful! I love the way they used the Yield Sign. So artistic.

Next we went to the Plaza - the bustling center of Santa Fe!Gorgeous, cool, clear weather!

Love the hat.Lizzie made a few new friends as well:
At Gabriel's we ordered in Spanish and watched our guacamole prepared right in front of us!
Now it's opera time: Mozart's The Magic Flute.

The Santa Fe Opera has no walls. You watch the sun set during the show.
Erin was the Queen of the Night - literally, as well as her role title. She's the one in white, center stage - kind of hard to miss...
Here's a close-up of her costume. Bald cap + wig + outrageous Elizabethan dress = a terrifying queen. You better listen to her! Oh, what's that you say? You think this looks familiar somehow? Well, only if you've seen the new Alice in Wonderland...

Here's the Erin we know and love!

And I daresay, we love Santa Fe, too.