Friday, February 28, 2014

Photos from February

Dr. Anna
 For a few weeks this is how the girls would be in the crib when I'd get them out in the morning. Macy would be yelling, "mommy! moooommmmmeeee!" When Anna learned how she started yelling mommy too.

Anna feeding her little baby doll a bottle. She would hold the baby, pat her back, and bounce her too. 

Anna loves picking noses so much. Or at least tries to pick noses.

Macy was very excited to brush the snow off the car.

Macy and Anna having a breakfast picnic. Macy puts her blanket over the table. In case you're wondering, the red on her forehead is a scab. She decided to rub a nail file back and forth across her forehead. I saw her out of the corner of my eye but dismissed it thinking there's no way she would be rubbing a nail file on her forehead. Oops. Kids are curious little things.

I was able to wrestle Anna between my legs and get two pigtails in her cute hair. I wanted to take a picture of them and she ran into the corner.

This was the best picture I could get. Aren't they so cute?!

Anna loves playing with water!

Macy had a great time tramping around in the snow. Her boots, socks, and feet were drenched and freezing by the end but she had a wonderful time. It would be fun running around in snow that goes up to your knees. We got too much snow this winter!

Macy started a soccer class at the McLean Community Center. The coach is from Scotland so his accent made the class seem more legit.

It was freezing cold this day but Macy really wanted to ride her bike. We only lasted a few minutes.

Claire came over to play. Macy told her we had the Little Mermaid movie so we had to watch it because Claire had never seen it. I love they are wearing princess dresses and Anna picking her nose is classic.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A new activity

Ja was tired of playing horsey (This involves him crawling around on his hands and knees while Macy rides him). He wanted to do something that was a little more relaxing and not so hard on his knees. He gave the girls some washable markers and told them to have fun coloring on his back! They loved it! Macy did a dot-to-dot with all of Ja's freckles and moles.

I'm surprised they didn't ask for it again the next night. The marker took a couple of showers to wash completely off so luckily it wasn't swimming season.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Our little Olympian

The McLean Munchkin preschool Macy is  in has an Olympic day each year. This year it happened to be the same month as the Winter Olympics, February 20th.

The parents attend and cheer on their team. Macy was team yellow along with Sean, James, and Savannah. The four teams walked around the gym holding their flags in the Opening Cermony style. It was so cute to see the little kids wearing the big shirts. 

Then they switched off performing the four different events. Macy was very obedient and very skilled. She told me about some of the scooters and toys they play with during normal gym time so I was glad I could see them in person.


Bean bag toss

Macy and Savannah

Ready, set...


Balance Beam

There was a fire drill at the high school right as Macy finished her final event. Everyone, parents included, had to walk to the football field.

We then went inside for closing ceremonies. Each Olympian held their torch high!

 Getting her trophy, certificate

And gold medal

Macy with her best friend Claire

It was such a fun day! I'm so glad I could go watch my cute little Olympian!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How I became the Amazing Jaybird

Written by Jonathan

How I became the Amazing Jaybird
I had not really performed any magic tricks for about 8 years. Every once in a while I would make a quarter disappear for the nephews, or do a card trick for a friend, but it was few and far between. 

But then I had a daughter, and I found myself performing magic tricks more often for her and her friends. I also began making balloon animals, juggling, and playing the guitar because it entertained Macy and her friends when they were at our house, and Laura usually needed a break. I discovered which magic tricks work well for 3 year olds, and realized that I enjoyed performing for children - they actually believe the magic is real!

One day at church, I found myself substituting a Primary class with my friend, Jeff Wood, without any notice. After about 10 minutes, my partner and I had finished the ad hoc activity of coloring pictures, and we had about 25 minutes to kill with a dozen 4 year olds. So I borrowed a coin, and entertained the children by making the coin vanish and reappear from their ears, their shoes, and their elbows. I had a lot of fun.

Later that year, the Ward had an auction to raise money for the summer youth events. Sister Corey had always done auctions to raise money back in La Canada, so she wanted to bring that to Northern Virginia. Not many people in the area were familiar with how a Ward auction worked, so I was recruited to help explain the details and recruit people to donate items or services for bidding. While I was in front of the Elders Quorum, I was sharing examples of what could be donated, and randomly threw out the idea that I would be donating a magic show. It wasn't planned - it was a spur of the moment idea that I threw out there to show people I was committed to the idea of an auction.

When the auction was over, I learned that my magic show was bought by Mary Carol Stevens. She said that instead of performing a magic show for her family, she would love to have me do a show for her 4 year old's preschool class - Perfect! I prepared a routine the night before the show, and headed off to the preschool.

Fortunately, a few months before, I purchased some more kid friendly magic tricks from a magic shop in Busch Gardens. So I brought those along and performed for about 30 minutes. I had a great time and the children really seemed to enjoy it.

When I arrived home, I mentioned to Laura that performing for children was the best! In the past I had had bad experiences performing magic shows, and performing for adults wasn't any fun (it's kind of like dressing up as Santa Claus for adults - they know it's fake). But children weren't concerned about how the trick was performed - they just wanted to have fun. So I could be goofy and funny and perform the kind of magic tricks that I like to perform.

A few weeks later, I was encouraged by Laura and some friends to perform for children's birthday parties. They told me that they had seen the Great Zucchini perform for kids events, and that I was better than he was. I dismissed the idea at first, but several people said that I would be great at children's shows, so I started looking into it. 

I didn't actually think one could make money performing kids magic shows, but I was curious. So I did a Google search for The Great Zucchini who just goofs around for 35 minutes to see what he charged and how much he made a year. I found out that he charged about $300 for a 35 minute show (I later learned that he charges closer to $350 per show), and that he did around 10 shows a week.

Ten shows a week, about 50 weeks a year equals 500 shows a year. Five hundred shows at about $300 per show equals a pretty decent amount of money. So I started taking the magic show idea a little more seriously and began asking around to see whether parents would pay for a magician at their kids birthday parties. I learned that parents would happily pay for an entertainer (they want to one-up their neighbors), and that they would pay over $100 for one.

I asked how I could get exposure, and a mother told me about something called Certifikid - a Groupon specific to parents with young children. So I emailed Certifikid and asked how I could get promoted. The CEO, Jaime Ratner, told me the steps and before I knew it I had a website and was ready to start booking shows. Laura and I thought about a name for me, and The Amazing Jaybird is what came out of it. I'm not sure if it's the best name, but it's what we chose for now.

I did a few practice shows in the summer for friends and off of cold calling. After three shows I felt I was prepared for more business, so I had Certifikid send out the promotion and the phone started ringing. I was not prepared for the response. I was booking shows at horrible times all over Northern Virginia and Maryland - but it was a lot of fun and parents were willing to hire a magician they had never heard of or ever met for $89.

The deal got me 22 shows. Certifikid only took a percentage of sales, so it really didn't cost me anything. 

I learned so much during those shows. I performed in restaurants, in people's homes, in backyards, in front yards, at parks, in frozen yogurt shops, and on a stage. I had children who didn't like me, children who were chanting my name, audiences of 4 and audiences of 40. I showed up late to shows, early to shows, got lost going to shows. I had tricks not work properly, tricks work fantastically, and I had to stop a show in the middle because the children just weren't interested (there were two bounce houses behind me - how do I compete with that?). 

I had children run after me when I was done with a show, asking if I could perform at their birthday party. I had parents tell me that they enjoyed the show more than the children probably did. I learned that I love performing magic shows for children, and when adults view a show with children in the audience, the adults enjoy the show much more.

My show consisted of magic, juggling, and sometimes balloon animals and playing the guitar. I learned that I don't like doing balloon animals because they pop and kids come running back asking for another (or the balloon comes apart and I have to fix it). I also discovered that kids don't care about me playing the guitar when I can do magic tricks - children LOVE magic tricks. In the end, I had a show that just had magic and juggling.

I'm thinking about doing a few more shows in the Spring so we can raise money for our move out of Virginia, and I plan on doing magic shows on the side to raise money to pay for our house (wherever that might be). I don't do it for the money - I love doing it for free. But it's a great way to do what I love and get paid for it. If somebody asked me what I'd do if I had a million dollars, I would buy a house, and then do a magic show.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

When you gonna get ready?

"When you gonna get ready? And take a shower?"

That's what Macy said to me today. It snowed a foot last night so all schools and classes were cancelled today. Macy was supposed to have a valentines party at school and start a soccer class today. I was really bummed they were cancelled. We weren't going anywhere so I didn't feel the need to get dressed. I've been showering at night lately so I didn't this morning. I love that she was observant enough to realize I was still in pajammies (as Macy sometimes calls them). 

We hung out at home all day today. Ja took Macy out to play in the snow for awhile which was an awesome break for me. 

Macy changed her clothes at least five times. Pretty much any time Macy is at home she's wearing a princess dress or a ballet outfit. And she has quite a few dresses to change into. Today I found a discarded dress in every room and bathroom. 

Today Macy said something that hit me hard. She wanted to play with me so I did. She would notice if I would sneak a peek at my phone or clean a dish or put something away. She asked me a few times, "mommy can you not be busy?" I need to be better at one on one time with her. No distractions. 

On a better note Macy also said, "stop kissing me mom." She was being so cute today I couldn't stop kissing her cute face but apparently I over did it. 

Anna continues to be the cutest little love bug. If I'm ever sitting on the floor she plops herself onto my lap. She has started to reply "yeah" to some of our questions (and statements). The best was her pointing out the window saying "wow" to all the snow. She did it everytime she noticed the snow. I love her voice and can't wait to hear more if it. 

Last week she wanted me to open nail polish for her. I obviously didn't want her painting the house so I pretended like I couldn't open the bottle while scrunching up my face and grunting. Now she copies that act whenever she wants something open. The scrunched up face with a grunt is her communicating she wants it open. She is so smart. 

I sure love my girls! I can't wait to give them more hugs and kisses tomorrow morning. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Socks in toilets

Today I picked Macy up from preschool and I noticed she was wearing her extra set of clothes they keep at school in case of accidents. She did this last week too which is very odd. 

I asked her if she had an accident and she shyly smiled. I didn't press any further because she seemed embarrassed. 

When we got home I checked her soiled clothes to assess the damage. They were completely dry! I asked her again if she had an accident and she wouldn't answer me. I asked why she changed her clothes but again no answer. She just smiled and laughed but no answer. 

I noticed there was only one sock in the bag. I said, "Theres only one sock Macy. Where's the other one?"

"I flushed it down the toliet!"

This was such an honest response we cracked up! I'm pretty sure she's telling the truth because 1) it's such a random answer and 2) she responded very quickly. When I asked her how it happened she says, "I don't know." She won't tell me if she accidentally dropped it in or what. She did assure me she wiped with toliet paper and not her sock. 

Hopefully tomorrow I can get more information out of her. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It Won't Be Like This For Long

As I was driving with the girls today at 4:30 p.m. to Target (that's like asking for a tantrum) I heard this song on the radio. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I've been a little short tempered lately at things Macy has been doing and this song put it all into perspective. Macy and Anna will grow up all too quickly and I'll be missing my babies. As I listened to this song I looked back at the girls and started crying. It hit me hard how they won't be like this for much longer and I need to soak in and appreciate every minute. Macy was wearing flower sunglasses upside-down, holding her pink sequence purse, and wearing purple gloves. Anna looked back at me and gave me a huge smile. I love both of them in their stages right now and wish they can be like this forever.

Tonight Macy told me that she can't go to sleep without Anna in the room with her. How sweet is that?! We've been putting them to bed together and it's been working well for the past week. How could I ever complain about having to lie in bed with Macy? It was only a phase and now that it's over I miss it. Anna loves to climb into bed with Macy now while we read bed time stories. There is nothing more perfect and lovely. I love seeing them cuddled up together. It melts my heart. Here's to our babies never growing up...

                               "It Won't Be Like This For Long"- by Darius Rucker

He didnt have to wake up
He'd been up all nite
Lay'n there in bed listen'n
To his new born baby cry
He makes a pot of coffee
He splashes water on his face
His wife gives him a kiss and says
It gonna be OK

It wont be like this for long
One day soon we'll look back laugh'n
At the week we brought her home
This phase is gonna fly by
So baby just hold on
It wont be like this for long

Four years later bout four thirty
She's crawling in their bed
And when he drops her off at preschool
She's clinging to his leg
The teacher peels her off of him
He says what can I do
She says now dont you worry
This will only last a week or two

It wont be like this for long
One day soon we'll drop her off
And she wont even know your gone
This phase is gonna fly by
If you can just hold on
It wont be like this for long

One day soon she'll be a teenager
And at times you'll think she hates him
Then he'll walk her down the isle
And he'll raise her veil

But right now she up and cry'n
And the truth is that he dont mind
As he kisses her good night
And she says her prayers
He lays down there beside her
Till her eyes are finally closed
And just watch'n her it breaks his heart
Cause he already knows
It wont be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be
All grown up and gone
Yeah this phase is gonna fly by
He's try'n to hold on
It wont be like this for long
It wont be like this for long

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Macy's 4 year-old Check-up

We went to the doctor yesterday for Macy's 4 year-old check up with Dr. Jasani. The doctor was very friendly and tried very hard to get Macy to speak to her but Macy would not open up. Anna was talkative and smiled a lot however. Macy did everything the doctor asked and was very compliant when asked to jump on one foot, walk on a pretend balance beam, open her mouth wide, etc. Having to get the flu shot was not very fun for anyone! Macy screamed and did not want it so the nurse and I had to hold her down.

Macy weighs 31 1/4 pounds- 16th percentile
41 1/2 inches tall- 81st percentile

She's our skinny and tall girl! The cutest part of the visit was when the nurse had Macy doing the vision test. Instead of letters on the chart there were shapes. The nurse started at the top which was a big sailboat. Macy was able to name all the shapes and when the nurse got down to the last two lines which are pretty small Macy said "little heart, little star, little circle." I thought that was so adorable! She was right, they are very little!

This is what happens when the kitchen aid gets turned on high speed when it's full of flour. A big mess!

Macy wanted me to make her glasses with our pipe cleaners. 

Yesterday we were driving home from preschool and out-of-the-blue Macy said, "Mom, I want to be a mommy when I grow up." I asked her what mommy's do and she replied, "I don't know!" We talked about all the many things mom do. Then I asked if they talked about that at preschool and she said no. I asked where she got this idea and she said, "I just made it up!" You're so sweet Macy! I hope you always want to be a mommy!