At Evelyn’s school there is a yearly talent showcase. This isn’t one of those “everybody gets a participation trophy” kind of things; this talent showcase is no joke, man. There are more kids than slots, so you’ve got to try out, and it is cut throat.

So naturally, Evelyn needs to be on that stage like a man needs to breathe.

She knew she wouldn’t cut it with piano, after all this show is already chock full of kids playing Tchaikovsky on the violin from memory, so she was forced to come up with a different plan. Evelyn being Evelyn, she started calculating: what was most likely to get her a spot on the stage? Music? Covered. Dancing? Yawners.

Evelyn’s answer? Magic.

Now, long time readers of the blog know that I tend to…collect hobbies. But what you might not realize is that, one of the very first hobbies I ever really got into, was magic. Don’t get me wrong, I was never tremendously *good* at it, but I did attack it with my usual penchant for intense research: buying various tricks, reading magic histories, practicing sleight of hand in front of a mirror. That sort of thing.

Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled with her choice!

Despite the fact that she hasn’t embraced magic the way I had all those years ago, I’d like to think I sent her down this road to begin with. I was so happy to practice with her and give her some tips. And, as with everything else Evelyn does, she took to it like a fish to water, practicing repeatedly until she had it down just perfect.

The main thing I tried to stress to her was that she needed to get good at “patter“.
Me: “Have you ever seen the other kids do magic tricks? What do they do when they’re doing the trick.”
Evelyn: “They just stand there, quietly.”

Nuh uh, not for my girl. I told her she had to tell a story. I told her she was performing, and was there to entertain. I told her any fool could do a trick, but the difference between a good magician and a bad magician was stage presence.

Well, you can judge for yourself how she did:


Evelyn’s First Piano Recital

Evelyn had her first piano recital over the weekend, and she did great. She has been taking piano for a couple of years now, but we have been pretty low key about the whole thing and this is the first time she has performed.

I was really surprised at how nervous she was! She typically has absolutely NO stage fright, and has performed on stage for audiences many, many times this size (including singing and dancing!) without being nervous at all. So I was really surprised at how nervous she was! She said later that it was hard not to make mistakes due to how hard her hands were shaking (just in case you’re not a piano player, I can let you in on a little secret: it’s really hard to play the piano without the use of your hands).

When she sat down afterwards she just gave me the BIGGEST smile.

I have to tell you that there is almost nothing the kids can do that makes me as happy as to hear them playing piano. Evelyn has long ago eclipsed my own musical ability, and Oliver is pretty close. When I see them playing it’s just like magic. Absolute magic. I often just laugh out loud when they’re practicing because it seems so crazy that their fingers are doing these things. How are their fingers doing these things!

I love it. I want them to never stop taking piano.

Boogie Shoes

Evelyn had her first tap recital over the weekend, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed! They go before I get home, so I had only seen a practice once when they first started learning the routine (and Jesse wasn’t even there that day!)

Not too shabby for only 6 months of lessons!

(Apologies for stupidly taking a picture in the middle of the video!)

Hero Update

As expected, Evelyn’s “Hero Reward” showed up last night with a vengeance. Even counting the 3 times Alex threw up on Sunday night, Evelyn’s total last night alone has far surpassed everyone else combined.

However, after about the 5th time she threw up, she just started cleaning it up herself.

Hero status: maintained.

Evelyn, the hero

Yesterday around dinner time, Sara started feeling pretty sick. Like, sick to her stomach, confined-to-the-couch sick.

“Evelyn,” she said, “I can’t make dinner. You have to make dinner tonight.”

So Evelyn started making nachos, like you do when you’re a little kid and suddenly have to care for a family, and then of course Alex was crying, so she picked him up and was making dinner while holding him, and then, of course, while she was holding him, Alex started puking.

Now, holding a puking baby while making dinner is almost the stereotype of life as a mom, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the typical day-to-day for a 3rd grader.

I wasn’t home, so Sara started texting me things like, “You need to get home before I start throwing up”, “I am going to throw up, you need to get home before that happens”, “hurry”, and “too late”. She then proceeded to text me coordinates in the house where Alex had thrown up, and whether or not they had been cleaned up yet.

Basically, by the time I got home the vomit situation in our house was roughly equivalent to one of those fountains they have in Vegas.

“Evelyn is a superhero,” Sara whispered to me. Evelyn had not only taken care of Alex while Sara couldn’t, she had also fed Oliver, gotten the two of them ready for bed, and cleaned up some of Alex’s throw up locations.

That is one amazing little girl, ya’ll. I recommend her as a babysitter as soon as she is old enough (I recommend her now, but I understand if you want to wait until she’s at least double digits).

And now, I assume she shall be rewarded with the finest award a superhero could ask for: the stomach flu. As of my writing this, the three of us are unaffected, but I can’t imagine that will hold.

I’ll be over here, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Someone’s got a new look


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.”


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

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.


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!