Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yogurt on the Floor

I have had my lovely new Macbook for 6 months now, and my fabu little Flip-type camera for just as long. Yet we've been ridiculously neglectful about capturing video, until lately, and it took me until today to figure out how to transfer the video clips into a usable form, say, on this blog. Of course, today I figured out that it's embarrassingly easy, and iMovie is my friend. So, my shameful technological pokiness notwithstanding, I'm pretty psyched about my newfound cinematic abilities.

Molly turned three on Monday, and of course she just keeps getting funnier and cuter, and more bossy, too. Mostly, her hilarity is self-explanatory, but this video probably needs a little backgrounder.

About a month ago, I was on the phone with my mom when I noticed a big glob of yogurt on the living room floor. This might be shocking to some of you "hygienic" folks, but here at the Cibula house, it's pretty much par for the course. So I looked down and mentioned it, and soon, Molly was yelling "There's yogret on the floi! There's yogret on the floi!"

Mom told my stepdad, Dennis, and the rest is the stuff of song legend. Because Dennis decided to compose a little musical number, to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Lyrics to the song go something like this:

In the kitchen and the bathroom there is yogret on the floor
In the living room and dining room, there's yogret on the floor
In the hallway and the basement, I think there's even more
There's yogret on the floor.

Who is cleaning up the yogret?
Who is cleaning up the yogret?
Who is cleaning up the yogret?
There's yogret on the floor!

Quickly, as you might imagine, this became Molly's favorite song. When she is upset, crying in the car, whatever, a jolly burst of "Yogret on the Floor" can perk her right up. Here she is, singing it herself, although as you can see, she's way too Mariah or Beyoncé to totally perform for the camera:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Today's Tidbit

Molly: "When you go poop on the floor, you say, 'Mama! I have to go potty!'"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pity Potty

I don't want to offend the potty gods by jinxing this, but on Day 6 of the Great Underwear Experiment, things are going better than expected. A week ago, we visited Molly's new preschool and talked to her old preschool teacher, who said "Just put her in underwear." We'd tried underwear a couple of weeks ago, but after one accident, Molly asked for a diaper again and I thought, OK, too soon. But Molly's teacher said, no, if Molly's asking for diapers she's ready for underwear. She also said that two of the little girls in her class were already in underwear. So, you know, she shamed us into it.

But damn if it didn't work. At least so far. The first day was kind of... challenging. We went through 7 pairs of underwear by late afternoon. It was messy. But it got better and better. Yesterday we were down to 3 pairs. Today, she stayed in one pair ALL DAY LONG. It was magical. She stayed dry through her nap. She was a potty rock star.

So, we'll see if this keeps up, but I have to give big ups to Molly's teacher. Maybe it's too easy, I don't know. If it does work, we'll have done it without the help of the "It's Potty Time" video, a time-honored classic that caused Emma (and Matt and me) nightmares for years. A bonus, for sure.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Props to Andrea McArdle

Last weekend, it was all "Annie!" all the time. And this week, we're having a hard time letting go. So we're pretty much all still belting out "It's the Hard-Knock Life" and "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," on a moment's notice. Sam and Em were, respectively, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Miss Hannigan in the Children's Theater of Madison Summer Drama School production of "Annie!" And they were knock-em-out fabulous. I'm not even kidding. And yes, sure, I'm biased. They're my beautiful, talented children. But all of that aside, as my beautiful, talented children can tell you, I can also be unreasonably harsh and critical, even when things are pretty good. So I would tell you lovely folks, all of you who may actually at some point be reading my blog (and thank you, btw), the honest unvarnished truth. If they were cute, and ok, but really, it's just a kids' summer drama production and, well, it was fun and fine, but whatever--I'd tell you.

Honest to god, it was amazing. Not just Sam and Em, either. Everyone was amazing. The sets were great. The costumes were gorgeous. The staging and choreography was truly fantastic (even the numbers--and there were lots--that my kids WEREN'T in :-) ) Honestly, it was incredible. Even more incredible when you realize that the kids were assigned their parts exactly TWO WEEKS before opening night, so they had 10 working days to get the whole production together. I wish you all could have seen them. And I wish I had a video--but no one was allowed to tape it, so no record exists. You'll have to take my word.

Emma was scary as the drunken orphanage-runner Miss Hannigan. I can't tell you how many people came up to me and said "I didn't think she could do it. Sweet little Emma, she's always so quiet... I had no idea she could be so mean--or so LOUD!" And all I could say to that is, you haven't talked to Sam, have you? He could tell you just how mean and loud his sister can be...

Miss Hannigan a.k.a. Carol Burnett

Miss Hannigan a.k.a. Emma

For his part, Sam had his heart set on being FDR, even over bigger parts. And I have to say it was the perfect role for him. He spent the past 3 weeks watching Fireside Chats on YouTube and telling the folks at Whole Foods "You have nothing to feah but feah itself."

Sadly, Emma is smiling in all the pictures I took after the show. She didn't smile during the show. Believe me.

Sam also wrote a monologue in the character of FDR in the year 1933. He performed during the show just before the start of Act Two (one of several monologues and skits). I wanted to preserve the performance in some form, and since I don't have a recording of the show, I am reprinting Sam's monologue here, in its entirety:

Hello, my name is Franklin D. Roosevelt, known to most of you as FDR, and I am dead. However, I have come back to life for just two days. But I will not take this time for granted, no. What I will do is I will tell you things that you possibly didn’t know about me. Such as did you know that I am the only president to appear in a musical? I didn’t think so. Another fact is that I join JFK and LBJ as the only presidents known mainly by their initials. And not just the only one not to half to deal with the Vietnam War, and not just the only one that doesn’t have a J somewhere in their initials, but also the only one born in the 1800s. Did you know that in no other year than 1933, I survived an assassination attempt that missed me but unfortunately hit and killed Chicago mayor Anton Cermcurk (small shrug)? Did you know that when I was a boy, my family and me went to visit at that time President Grover Cleveland, who personally told me never to become president. Grover, God love yah, but you coulda chosen anyone else in my family, you had to choose me. Did you know that in order of Presidents, such as George Washington 1 John Addams 2, I am thirty two. Joining James Madison, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Regan as presidents who’s number orders are factors of 4. (Bodyguard whispers into my ear) Barack Obama? Who’s he? Whatever, and Barack Obama. And lastly did you know that I am the first president who could have his mother vote for him. Thanks Mom, and thank you.

I was incredibly proud of both of 'em. Lemme tell ya.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Most of the pictures on this blog end up being pics of Molly. But these are some pictures we took of Emma outside our house last weekend. I needed to share a couple.

Emma starts high school in the fall. I know, right?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Second Famiversary: July 7, 2009

Not sure when this happened, when this tiny little baby turned into this big grown up funny young person. But on July 7th we marked the second anniversary of our trip to Ethiopia to pick up Molly Fanaye. She likes to tell the story: "Nannies pourin'." "We saw you first minute." And finally, "Handprint on the wall."

Here are the pictures that complete the story she tells:

Courtyard of the CHSFS Care Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 7, 2007. Fanaye age 7 months

Madison, Wisconsin, July 10, 2009. Molly Fanaye age 2 years, 7 months.

Every day I ask how I got so lucky. We love you so much baby girl.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Summer is really a glorious time. Although 4 + weeks in, I'm still getting used to not getting up to go to work in the morning. Actually, that's not really it. After the first three days or so, my brain had totally adjusted to not getting up and going in to work in the morning. I went in the Tuesday after school let out to clean out my room, and that was that. I'm pretty sure that I left something big and important under a table, but can't think what it might be, so whatevs. Next year, I'm moving to a new school, a new grade, a new part-time schedule. It's all really good: the I'll be at my "home" school so I'll be close to home, and I'm hoping that there will continue to be a spot for me there so that I'll still be there in three years when Molly starts school. But even though it's exciting, it's also really weird. Especially the not-teaching-kindergarten part. I think I'm in denial right now. After I left, I think my brain shut off, because it's been very hard to remember that I ever WAS a teacher, much less what I might've actually taught anyone.

Weird, how quickly we readjust. Four weeks really isn't that long, yet it seems like forever since school ended. And at the same time, summer feels like it's flying. It's mid-July. So I keep reminding myself, "it's only July..." The upside of having a state government that's controlled by the bozos in the Wisconsin Dells, and who set the start of the school year for Sept. 1, meaning that the school year seems to last FOREVER (and those last few weeks really did seem to go on and on and on) is that we have ALL of August off, which is a psychological bonus right about now.

But the summer was accounted for before it started, and I have tons to do: About a million cleaning projects around the house, more every day as our cats have decided that every place EXCEPT the litter box is an appropriate place to pee. Work for KU. And now that all three kids are home all day, we have to organize excursions or we get a repeat of today: by noon, we were all home, done with errands and Sam's morning enrichment class, watching Demi Lovato on "Sonny with a Chance." I think my brain turned to pudding.

Oh, and I think I'm launching a new website for highschoolers. I'll keep you posted.

So in the meantime, we marked the second anniversary of bringing Molly home, which really deserves its own post, so I won't belabor it here. Emma's already been to DC with her eighth grade class. Sam's already finished his little league season. And Sammy and Em have already rehearsed and performed in their summer drama school production of "Annie!" which was honest-to-god-absolutely-phenomenal-and-I'm-not-just-saying-that-because-I'm-their-mother. I'm thrilled that the kids take after me with their affinity for drama and total lack of interest in team sports.

But that deserves its own post, too. So more later.

Molly and I have been hanging for the last month or so, and that's been really cool. She's exhausting, my little girl, but so smart and sweet, and especially when her brother and sister weren't around and she had me to herself, very fun and very dear. Molly has had no trouble adjusting to summer. Here's Molly, getting ready to head out to drop off Sam and Em and head to Whole Foods on a hazy, humid summer day in Madison:

Like Navin Johnson in The Jerk: "All I need is this lamp, and my thermos, and this pumpkin, and my dog..."

Ready for a summer outing in Wisconsin.

Molly loves the splash park and she rides her trike like Danica Patrick. We've also been watching "Cinderella" on an endless loop, along with many many episodes of "The Muppet Show" on DVD. And I say it again: the 70s were a very strange time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Catching Up... Maybe Not

Oh, my poor blog. I have neglected you so. Not for any good reason. Honest. I don't have any good excuses. Just crazy busy, crazy tired. Teaching, and toddlers, and sinus infections. But nothing too exciting or meaningful. I've missed my little blog and the catharsis it brings. Facebook status updates are a quick fix, but they're just not the same.

I feel like there's so much to say that to try to cover it all would just be stupid, so I'm not going to try. No recaps here. Can't post any pictures, because my computer is dead. Good news: I get a new computer. Bad new: my dead computer is sitting at our lovely IT friend's house until I figure out whether it is worth putting on life support for Sam and Emma. How much life is left in my 5 year old machine? It's been rebuilt so many times (new hard drive, new motherboard, new keyboard, new battery, new superdrive...) but now it needs a new display. Worth another 120 bucks to pass on to Sam and Em? They're chomping at the bit to get their hands on a laptop, so maybe. Me, I'm psyched because my new MacBook will come with a new iPod touch, giving me the capability to Facebook and blog on the go. So I'll never be off-line. :-0

Meanwhile, Molly is setting some kind of record for 2-year-old time outs. At preschool, she's fond of saying "I love poopies!" So they put her in time-out in the bathroom. It's not working. She comes home and says "I say 'I love poopies' at school!" And when we ask, "are you going to say it again?" she says, "yeahhhhh...."

Went to a retirement party last night for my principal and another teacher in my school. It was lovely, a nice tribute, both are very deserving. But as I'm leaving, my principal says to me, "You're going to be a marvelous teacher. But you need to put in more time. At least five years." Hm. Quite a ringing endorsement, wouldn't you say? I'll tell you: It made me feel super-good about my career choices and the work I've done. So thanks for that.

So whatever. Nine more days of school. And then I can spend the summer pondering all the ways in which I'm not "marvelous" and trying to figure out how to fix them so I can be marvelous by next year.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Sailor's Promise

Would you trust this man to keep his word?

In our family, television = love. It's how we communicate and connect and understand the world. Some might think that's sad, but, frankly, I have enough to feel guilty about and this one doesn't really bother me. It works for us and it gives us a lot of cultural capital, which we can share with the world. Sam can ride to Sunday School carpool and reenact the opening skit from Saturday Night Live for all his buddies, and Emma and I can have meaningful discussions about the pitfalls of meeting your future mate on a reality television show; or the reasons that it's not necessarily advisable to put your toddler in a beauty pageant; or the dangers that ensue when you're Tori Spelling and you have a secretly psychotic boyfriend, or your dad is Tony Danza and he secretly has multiple personality disorder. It's all part of the joy and wonder we call "parenting."

So it's no surprise that, like the rest of us, Molly loves her TV. Since our old DVR died, we lost all of our old Teletubbies episodes, which was a little sad, but Sesame Street still comes on every day, and at last count, we had 29 archived episodes taking up TiVO space. Her favorite episode changes weekly. Lately it's been all about the Curly Bear. She has her favorite episodes memorized, word for word, so that she sounds like the annoying guy you know who insists on quoting lines from Caddyshack all day long. Or like my late grandmother who, when for some hard-to-fathom reason we took her to see National Lampoon's Vacation, proceeded to loudly sing along with "La Marseillaise," much to our dismay. But I digress.

Molly has "Curly Bear" memorized, and "Mine-itis," and many other classic episodes. But as I've mentioned here before, she also loves the opening themes for all television shows. When we watch a grown-up show, she wants to see the opening credits again and again: "Again Teeth?" she asks at the beginning of Ugly Betty or "Again Gone?" at the start of Top Chef. It's kind of cute, but then it quickly gets annoying because we want to watch the actual show instead of watching the credits roll again and again and again.

So one night, Emma, being an expert in child psychology and a highly motivated television watcher, came up with a plan. She told Molly that she would make her a "Sailor's Promise" that we could watch the "song" at the beginning of the show we were watching as soon as the show was over. She and Molly shook on it and sealed it with the immortal words, "It's a deal."

I feel a little bad about this. A "Sailor's Promise"????? It's not as if sailors are particularly trustworthy. It seems to me that a "Sailor's Promise" is what Fletcher Christian gave to Captain Bligh, and look how it turned out for him. But now, Molly thinks it's a thing. And so, whenever Molly wants something and we don't want to or can't do it right away, we shake hands and solemnly pledge a "Sailor's Promise." Molly pledges right along with us. I know this will come back to bite us all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So Much Drama

Molly has really been an incredibly healthy child, especially considering the amount of time she spends in daycare. So we've had very little cause for complaint, health-wise. In fact, Matt took her to the doc on Monday for her (overdue) well check and I was shocked to learn that my little peanut is in the 70th percentile height and weight. When the flip did that happen? (She's still 15th percentile head size, which also makes no sense because her head doesn't look especially small to me for the rest of her.)

At any rate, wouldn't you know, 2 days after her checkup and Molly woke up and her right eye was a little goopy. We were a bit concerned about burgeoning pink-eye, but, hey, it wasn't really pink eye, and her eye wasn't really pink, so we sent her off to daycare with a warning that her eye was a little goopy. We didn't get a call all day long, so figured we were out of the woods. Then, happily late in the afternoon, my phone rings and sure, enough, Mol woke up from her nap with super-goopy swollen eyes, and a charge to leave immediately.

Today, I got to stay home w/her, which was really fine and kinda nice. Since I started teaching Matt gets most of the kid sick days, because it's a pain to write sub plans and because he has a lot more sick time than I've got. But he was at a meeting yesterday and since he does most of these, it made sense for me to stay home on this one. Molly woke up with her eyes glued shut w/eye goop. Really gross. Although after being initially disturbed that she couldn't open her eyes, Molly decided it was really funny and went around squinting and waving her arms around like she was in a really weird game of Marco Polo. Sorry to say that I don't have a picture of that to post here.

So since it was pink eye and nothing more serious, Molly felt pretty good all day long and we had a fun time. We watched India.Arie sing the ABC song on Sesame Street with Elmo an estimated 58,932 times. Seriously. For a while I thought I would keep replaying it over and over as many times as she asked to see if she would EVER STOP ASKING for it independently. But then I gave up. She won. Plus, by the second series of viewings Molly was incredibly tired but watching the ABC song woke her up and made her wired, so I had to put on something boring just to get her to sleep. (Hint: No one can stay awake for "Guiding Light.") I made Valentines cards for my students, which was good because otherwise I'd be doing that instead of blogging now. And I took care of all those stupid appointment phone calls I never have time to make during the day. Read: My cats will finally go to the vet and Emma and I will finally get our hair cut. Good news all around.

So things were perfectly fine. Early illness averted. The rest of us will probably get pink eye, but not for a few days at least, so all is well. Life is calm and happy. And then Sammy comes home.

Being a 5th grader, Sammy is a safety patroller this year. One of the things that patrols get to do is vie for a trip to Washington D.C. as part of this Patrol Thing. I'm not even sure who's in charge, or how many kids go, or if it's a Wisconsin thing or a Madison district thing or a national thing or what. But Sammy had to give a speech to all his peers and all the 4th and 5th graders voted, and then the teachers voted and they chose a winner. Sam has been talking about this all week. We read his speech over his shoulder, but he wasn't really looking for our input, which was fine, because, well, whatever. I figured that whatever input we gave he would take it, or not, and the odds of him, or any single kid, getting the trip were pretty small. Sammy had some jokes in there about Elmo and telling kids to slow down in the halls, and I figured--hey, whatever happens.

Well, it appears that Sam was a little more invested in it than I thought he was. Which in hindsight I should have known. It's Sam, after all, and the kid is wonderful, but he's also the one who's going to go around in high school with the guitar and the black t-shirt, sighing. Life is always hard. Always. Even when it's not. So today he comes home and announces that another kid got the trip. And I'm trying to tell him that it's ok, that the odds were small, that the teachers had half the votes, etc. I even point out that as he's a kid who mostly just wants to sit on the couch, he may not even WANT to go jaunting off for 5 days to another time zone with a bunch of people he's never met before. And he says no, he really would RATHER go with people he's never met before. And he's crying and inconsolable and telling me how he was dying to go to D.C., it's all he's ever wanted, and he had all his hopes and dreams pinned on this trip. Oh, god. You'd think Obama himself was going to be playing b-ball with him. Then he tells me that the kid who won gave such a good speech that even he, Sam, who is dying to go on this trip, voted for her. Oh, boy. Now, in retrospect, he realizes that he probably should have voted for himself. Why oh why did he vote for her? He doesn't know. Now he's beating himself up about it. Was that the deciding vote. I'm sure it wasn't. Was it a good strategic move? Decidedly not.

So Sam's a mess. And he shouldn't be. Because in the middle of all this angst and misery about this trip, all this good stuff is happening to him. A couple of weeks ago, he spearheaded an effort and organized a bunch of his classmates to make notecards and other stuff to sell at a school event to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. The entire impetus for this came from Sam and he got a whole bunch of kids on board. It was fantastic and they raised more than $100. Which is really super-cool. It was quite inspiring, actually. And he got an invitation to audition for a role in a new play that's coming up, which you'd think would be enough to take the sting out of any trip. But apparently not.

He'd rebounded by the end of the night, but not before he had another mini-meltdown over finishing his (many) Valentines, which he'd only just started tonight, and finishing his homework. And not before Emma had her own meltdown on learning that her school is going to have school on a teacher inservice day to make up for our many many snow days this year. Although Em was consoled when she learned that Sam and I will have school that day, too. It's really all about parity for Emma.

So my little day with Molly got amped up in a hurry. Back to my kinders tomorrow. I don't think I can handle any more days off.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sometimes It's Enough to Make You Wonder About Yourself

As a kindergarten teacher, I spend way too much of my day trying to get young folks to sit still and pay attention. Often, this is a losing battle. Today, one of my students had spent much of the morning avoiding following directions, so he was missing part of his free choice time as a consequence. I'm very mean. So I go to sit down and talk to him about the situation. We talk about the need to listen and follow directions, and mostly this means I say things like "did you make a good choice" and he says "no," and I say "will you make a better choice tomorrow?" and he says "yes." So a lot of "yes" and "no" on my student's part. And this is what transpires:

Me: Do you think that you would get more points from your friends for doing the right thing and listening and following directions?

Student (chastened): No.

Me: No?

Student (looking at me, seriously): I don't understand what you are saying.

At this point, I burst out laughing, lecture over. I didn't really understand what I was saying, either.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's Winter. In Wisconsin.

So I've been really really bad about posting lately; I apologize for that. It seems like anytime I have access to a computer, I also have a little person sitting on me, making typing hard. In fact, she's sitting on me now, but she's engrossed watching Tilly and the Wall sing the ABCs on Sesame Street. You have no idea how conflicted I am about this.

So what's been up? It's been really really flippin' cold. So cold that I'm questioning why the hell we live in a place that's so cold. So cold that I'm re-considering moving someplace like North Carolina, which we considered years ago, before I started Ed. school. So cold that I bring this idea up about every 5 minutes and Emma's gets really really mad at me. But to be fair, Emma's 13. She's always in the process of getting really really mad at me.

It's always cold. It feels like it will never be warm again. But this past week it got extra super cold. And that was actually kind of a good thing. There are many times when it's not especially helpful or convenient to be a teacher. Getting sick is not really a good option when you're a teacher. Because when you're a normal person and you get sick, or your kid gets sick, you can call in and expect that your work will just be waiting for you when you get well. But you can't work from home when you're a sick teacher. And even if you're sick, those students in your class, they just show up anyway. Who knew? So you have to spend a ton of time and energy organizing and Xeroxing and planning for your sub, just so you can be sick. Not convenient.

But there are other times when it's super-convenient to be a teacher. Like this week, when the windchill was 40 below. For two straight days. That's the kind of cold, the weather folks like to tell us, where exposed skin freezes in under 10 minutes. And so, as a matter of policy, when it gets that cold, they close school. And the nice thing is, if Sam and Em are off school, and Molly's daycare is closed for weather, I'm off, too. So childcare isn't an issue and we can all hunker down together.

Of course, even with this benchmark, the school district never announces ahead of time that they will close school. And we have such crappy weather here that school closings are never a given. We still had to get up at 5:00 on Thursday and Friday to confirm that it was still JUST THAT COLD and that there would be no school. But sure enough, our 3-day MLK Day weekend magically turned into a 5-day Cold-plus-MLK Day weekend. And I can't say that I'm complaining. It was actually kind of lovely. We didn't go anywhere. We cleaned up. And watched TV and drank hot chocolate.

I can't remember anytime since the ice storm when I was in 4th grade that school has been closed for 2 days in a row because of weather. It was wild. And what's even weirder, we'd already had 2 snow days, which means that as of today--mid-January, with at least a month and a half of solid winter left--we've already had 4 snow days. It's unreal. Good thing that "climate change" thing they keep talking about is just a liberal myth, huh? Uh, ok.

Of course, they'll have to figure out a way for us to make up all this lost time. There's already speculation about where they'll add days. Last year, we only had 2 snow days and they had to add 7 minutes to each of our school days for the rest of the year, because, for some unknown reason, they apparently only build ONE snow day into our school year. In Wisconsin. So it's an open question how they'll make up 3 extra days (at least...). But honestly, and I know I'm in the minority here, I'd rather make up the days in the spring or even pre-summer, when it's muggy and hot but it doesn't physically hurt to get out of bed because it's SO COLD. So I'm fine with it.

Today, we had the birthday party we were supposed to have for Molly a month ago. Of course, Molly's really birthday was at the beginning of December, but we had to cancel her party last-minute when Em got sick. So today was birthday party make-up day. And we had a great time. I think Molly truly couldn't picture the idea of her friends being here, with her, in her house!! Super fun!! She just kept running around, bringing out her toys and showing them to her friends. I had a little craft project planned, but we never really got to it because the kids were happier just running around and climbing on Sam's slide/loft bed. You gotta love toddlers. I do. Molly was in fine form, playing and dancing and jumping around. She ate all the frosting from her piece of cake and mine too. And then as soon as everyone left, she got really cranky and crashed. A successful party, for sure.

Another reason that I haven't posted is that my camera has been broken since Halloween. Very sad. So I have a picture backlog. My mom took some pics of Molly's big day today, which I will post very soon, along with pics from Em's Bat Mitzvah, and Sam's star turn as "Spirit Child" in "A Christmas Carol" last month. I promise.