ShaneHalbach.com

Evie Update

Someone’s got a new look

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The kids’ dentist is downtown in a high-rise. Last time we were there, we were looking out the window at the smaller buildings.

Me: “Look, there’s a pool on top of that building.”
Evie: “Where?”
Me: “Right there.”
Evie: “I don’t see it.”
Me: “Look where I’m pointing. It’s right there.”
Evie, following the line of my finger: “I don’t see it.”
Me: “…what do those big letters say on that building?”
Evie: “I don’t see any letters.”

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On Friday we were walking to school and I said, “You know, after you get your glasses you’ll be able to see all of the branches of that tree, instead of a big brown blob.” Evelyn laughed and said, “I don’t think that’s a thing, daddy.”


Evelyn’s Typewriter

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Evelyn wanted only one thing for Christmas: a typewriter. Now mostly this was due to the fact that her parents are the worst: she wanted to type stories but was tired of having to earn computer time with chores. A typewriter is not a computer, ergo, no need to ask permission.

Now as a writer, I felt this this was a TREMENDOUSLY AMAZING idea that I wanted wholeheartedly to encourage (and honestly, felt bad to realize I was restricting her writing time so thoroughly)(and also write all my first drafts longhand, so cry me a river, sister)

“How hard can it be to find a typewriter?” I foolishly wondered.

It seems like there are two choices: pay ~$150 for a new typewriter (seriously? More than a tv?) or else go on the Internet and pay for an “antique” that may or may not work and you will probably never be able to buy ink for.

Needless to say, neither I nor Santa were able to come up with one.

Evelyn was pretty bummed out, and I was pretty bummed out, but I promised her that I would take her around to thrift shops to look for typewriters. Armed with advice from some writer friends who collect typewriters, we set out.

It actually worked out perfectly; I think it actually worked better than if I had given her one for her for Christmas. It took us 4 stops to find one, so we had to work for it, but it wasn’t impossible. I kept telling her, “Now honey, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to find one…” so by the time we found it she had already accepted that she wasn’t getting one. And then we found one, and it was only $8, and she reverently paid for it with her own money, and everything was magical.

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We stopped at another store on the way home and Evelyn was so nervous that someone was going to break into the car to steal the typewriter. After all, what could be more amazing and precious?

I was expecting more of an old dinosaur, manual typewriter, not a sleek, modern electric, but I have to tell you, I was feeling a little of the Christmas magic myself when we found it. I guess Evelyn wasn’t the only one trying to keep her hopes in check. And not only that, but I’ve been searching for the perfect alarm clock and found it for only $6. (I didn’t know I had such strong opinions about alarm clocks until I started looking and found they are all THE. WORST.)

Hooray for typewriters! Hooray for thrift stores! Hooray for the magic of Christmas!


Billy Elliot Wrap Up

Speaking of Billy Elliot, I meant to do a Billy Elliot wrap up post, but I never quite got around to it. Suffice it to say it was a fantastic show, with a fantastic cast, and Evelyn had the time of her life. Thank you to everybody who came to see the show. It was a tremendous amount of work driving out there all the time, but totally worth it.

In case you missed the show, please enjoy these pictures of Evelyn (Photos by Sally Norlie).

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Evelyn to appear on stage in Billy Elliot!

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As some of you have noticed here or there, Evelyn is currently in the middle of rehearsals for her upcoming role in Billy Elliot!

For those of you not familiar with Billy Elliot:

Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dreams come true. The story follows Billy’s journey as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.

Featuring a timeless score by Elton John, sensational dance and a powerful story that has captivated audiences around the world, Billy Elliot the Musical is a funny, uplifting and spectacular theatrical experience that will stay with you forever.

This role is quite a bit different than anything she’s done before, and is by far the most physically demanding (dance, dance, dance!), but she is having the time of her life, and the show is going to be really, really good.

The show runs the last two weekends in October and the first weekend in November, and tickets are on sale now ($22 if you buy before October 1st).

Two things I do want to mention, for all of Evelyn’s loyal supporters:

  1. The show is aaaaall the way up at Northbrook Theatre, just to forewarn you, and
  2. Those of you with small kids, I just want to make sure you notice this warning:

Note: Billy Elliot contains material that may be unsuitable for younger or more sensitive audience members, but please note that we have made every effort to remove the most offensive language, as permitted.

The show is pretty foul-mouthed, so if that’s not something you want to subject your little ones to, feel free to sit this one out and catch the next one (or make it a date night!)

However, if you do decide to make the trek up north, this is one Ballet Girl that is excited to see you!

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Evie’s Fish

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After the whole rabbit debacle, Evelyn has set her sights a little lower. Meet the new family pet, Perry the betta fish:

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Evelyn paid for everything in the picture, from Perry himself, to the tank, heater, and little blue stones at the bottom. She feeds him twice a day, and she already has plans on how to improve his cage.

I have to say, that Perry does seem pretty happy. I’m used to seeing betta fish just kind of listlessly lying about on the bottom of teeny tiny, empty glass bowls. Perry swims around like crazy in his big tank, and honestly seems as happy as a betta fish could ever be.

We had a fish tank when I was little, and I do feel a sense of nostalgia about the whole thing. I remember going to 33 Aquarium and rifling through all the little aquarium accouterments, saving up to buy silk plants and treasure chests that opened and closed. We had a little house with a wheel that would spin around from air. I remember the way 33 Aquarium sounded, and the way it smelled. I remember cleaning the fish tank, and various fish that we bought over the years.

Anyway, hopefully Perry will bring Evelyn as many memories as our fish tank brought me (and also hopefully kill any desire for any more new pets!)

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1st day of school, 2016

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Portrait of a 3rd grader and a 1st grader

Yesterday was the first day of school, and the kids were pretty excited. For Ollie, it was not just starting 1st grade, but having a new teacher and new classmates (he’s been in a looping class for the last 3 years). For Evelyn it was moving to an entirely new set of buildings, and adding new kinds of classes (particularly French).

Neither kid has ever had any particular issues with separation anxiety (now THAT’S an understatement!) so there weren’t any first day jitters. In fact, all Evelyn wanted to know is when she could start walking to school by herself, now that she’s in a different building.

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Just to make sure the day wasn’t entirely pedestrian, Oliver went ahead and lost his FIRST tooth on the FIRST day of FIRST grade!

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By the time they got home today, everything was old hat and they hardly had anything to say about the day. In other words, after a long summer, things are back to normal.


Happy Birthday Evelyn!

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(Photo credit Lauryn Marinho)

You know, it is getting pretty difficult to live up to Mrs. Evelyn’s birthday plans. As readers of this blog well know, she has always been a “big idea” kind of gal, and as you can imagine her birthday is no exception. Luckily for us, she finds ways to spread it out as much as possible. (“We can do that on my actual birthday, and then for my party we can do X, and then we’ll have my birthday with the family…”)

Oliver certainly did his part, working on present after present for her in his room for weeks. His gifts ranged from meticulously copied chapters from Harry Potter into custom made “books”, to all of his legos, to a caterpillar made out of pipe cleaners and an egg carton, to stuffed animals he rescued from the “give away” pile, all buried under a metric ton of tissue paper.

So far today I have only gotten one, “It’s my birthday, you have to do what I say!” which, to be honest, seems kind of low.

It’s so easy to jump on kids when they’re bad, but ignore them when they’re good. Evelyn is so good so often, and I don’t say it enough. She is:

  • So responsible. You almost never need to tell her something twice; when you tell her to do something, she does it.
  • So helpful. She’s always willing to jump up and help you (maybe not in the way you wanted, but help you nonetheless!)
  • So empathic. She absolutely cannot stand for Alex to cry. It physically pains her.
  • So independent. She has strong opinions (especially when it comes to clothing). She makes her own lunches. She practices the piano every day. She keeps track of her brothers. She’s basically like a little adult.

In the past year Evelyn has learned 1) she really enjoys baking, especially inventing her own recipes (she can make her own scrambled eggs!), 2) she never wants to be caught ANYWHERE without a book to read, and 3) she does not want a rabbit. I know she is looking forward to 3rd grade and going to the “old” school BY HERSELF.

My favorite things to with Evelyn are read her a story at night and listen to her play piano. I love how excited she gets about theater, both as an actress and just watching other people perform.

I can’t wait to see how she grows in the next year!