Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kaleia at 1.5 years!

Face pressed to the glass of the door at the Dancing for Joy studio, Kaleia is focused. Jamming her finger against the glass she shouts, "Mayno!"
Two things make our very active toddler stop in her tracks: 1) her big sister (Mayno) and 2) Dancing.  
Kaleia has an undying love for her sister. While she does assert herself and takes what she wants, if Magnolia provides the slightest protest, Kaleia will stop. She initiates hugs and kisses, and while not a constant shadow, she definitely loves to copy her sister. Waiting for Magnolia to wake up is almost torture. At the slightest noise from Magnolia's room, Kaleia will turn and first whisper "Mayno?," then sprint to her closed door, cackling, and pound her little palms on the door screaming for her sister. The recently roused Magnolia is not always as excited at this wake up party, especially if her little sister's noise woke her prematurely.

As for dancing, watch for a video in the near future. Walking through my high school with the girls one day, we heard the orchestra practicing in the theatre. Kaleia stopped and bolted down the adjoining hall about 10 feet closer and just started groovin’. Any time this girl hears a beat, she can't help but move. And not in the normal toddler feet-planted single-motion "dance", but a full body celebration with arms waving, feet tapping, hips swaying and the occasional twirl, roll or crawl that may foreshadow future breakdancing skills. Her most frequent sign is for music, pointing at the cd player, insisting we turn it on. If her vocabulary was more advanced, she would not be requesting nursery lullabies, but Arcade Fire instead.
If Kaleia doesn't end up being a dancer or musician, she will probably be a dental hygentist, because this girl loves to brush her teeth. Any time in the bathroom, she signs to brush her teeth and can often be distracted, if need be, by suggesting a tooth-brushing session. The only hard part is ending it.

This week at Kaleia's well-check, Dr. Jen commented that "she has a sparkle in her eye." And it is so true. She lives life fully, throwing her whole body into everything, just like her dancing. Kaleia-leia throws, kicks, snuggles, kisses, and sings. She doesn't mind getting dirty; spoons are quickly discarded and plates invariably become hats. 
Kaleia loves to laugh, and will often ask for "Mo Tickaticka." This weekend while changing her diaper, I alternated necessary steps with Zerberts to keep her in place. After each slobbery tummy tickle, she asked for more. One time I just tickled her with my fingers, to which she scrunched her brow and told me "No. More Plbthhhh." Her longest sentence yet.
While she doesn't know many words, Kaleia knows how to sing. You can tell she is singing her favorite "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," even though only a few of the syllables may be distinguishable, usually “up above...”. She also loves to make up her own songs, often inspiring her sister to join in.
Kaleia loves delivering bones to the dogs and has started looking at books on her own. She loves her baby and to our astonishment takes really good care of it despite never seeing us with a baby like her sister did. Babies are another surefire attention grabber. If there is one in the vicinity, making noise or not, she will notice. 
She pretends more than Magnolia did at this age, feeding you or her baby, or talking on the phone. Kaleia loves hats or putting on costumes. And strangely, she is very tuned in to airplanes, just like her sister was. Go figure. She is still a string bean, weighing 21.5 pounds (15th percentile) and measuring 33 inches tall (85th percentile).

Words: Mama, Papa, Mayno, Baby, Shoosh (soother), Shoe, Bagel (food), Apple (food), Eee (eat), Moe (more), Peese (please), Mal (milk), Up, Nigh, Hi, Bye, Cah (car), Rah-rah (Rana, her stuffed frog), Buh (book), Bah (bath), No, mano (mine), ball, cheese, c(r)acker, ham, eye (always whispered), mou (mouth), Keia

Kaleia Shalom, we are blessed to share our life with you. May you never lose your sparkle!
Thanks to Josh Durias for capturing these shots of Kaleia while we were hanging out in the studio!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


This fall, Brian and I decided to start pursuing moving to an international school next year. So completing an online class, researching schools, updating our CVs, creating a web page, writing cover letters, and filling out applications on top of Brian finishing his last year of grad school and the normal things that go with parenting toddlers and working (Are we crazy?!) made it necessary to take a short hiatus from the less urgent, but enjoyable task of keeping Rushcapades up-to-date. Well, the load has eased some so we are going to do a catch up post for those of you that follow the happenings of our family through our blog. Then hopefully, we'll be more or less back to programming as usual.

Kaleia moved to a "Big Girl" car seat. She loves looking out the window, often shouting "bird!", to which Magnolia will passionately object if the said bird is not visible.

We celebrated Thanksgiving and Grandpapa Gracey's birthday with some good food and time to Kinect, Xbox style.

We had our first (and second) snow of the winter, that was supposed to the winter of record-breaking snow levels. So far it has mostly just been day after day of rain. I still have a little hope left.

Magnolia and I ran the Jingle Bell Run together. She actually did run 1 block of the race and earned a jingle bell bracelet from a passing runner that thought she was doing such a great job.  

We went to a tree farm to get our tree where they have some animals set up with a Nativity scene. Magnolia and Zebra really liked petting the goat.

Debeardification #2 happened (click here if you want to see #1). This time, Brian went from the most hair I've ever seen him with to the least. This is the end result. We'll post more pictures when we get them.

We celebrated Christmas with the Gracey Family and

with the Rush Family.

And we rang in the new year with some good friends and the best game of Telepictionary I've every been apart of.

Lately, things have been good, full and often frantic, but much to be thankful for.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


This is my all time favorite party game.  Okay, it's actually my favorite game, period.


1) Give each person in the group a pencil and a stack of papers equal to the number of people playing.   

2) Number each sheet 1 through N.

3) On their first sheet each player writes a sentence or two about anything then passes the stack of paper to the person on their left.

4) The recipient of the stack reads the text, puts that sheet on the bottom of the stack, converts the text into an illustration on the next sheet, then passes the stack to the person on their left.

5) The new recipient looks at the picture, puts that sheet on the bottom of the stack, converts the image into text and passes the stack on.

6) Repeat steps 4-5 until the stack is returned to it's original owner.

7) When all are finished, take turns laying out and reading aloud the text-image-text-image sequence on the floor or a table.

8) Laugh really hard.


Overnight, he went from hairy hippy to shorn skinhead.

It was a clear and starry night when hobo Brian finally cut his hair.

The travel weary hobo gazed to the stars and moon as a tear gently slid down his cheek.  Raising the scissors to his hair, he thought of his Nazirite vow, what it meant, how he had failed.  His small pouch of possessions slid limply to the ground behind him.

As she left her lover's grave, she shed a tear as she sheared her long luscious locks in mourning.  But really, it was so no one recognized her from the bank robbery.

Bonnie rose from the dead to give herself one last haircut (your hair grows when you're dead, y'know) while Clyde drove the truck away with all the money.  The bastard!

Brian's Favorite Read-Aloud Kid Books

Maggie loves most of these books but this list isn't for the kids.  It's for me and you, the parent or other adult who reads to children.  A good read-aloud book makes it fun for you, which makes reading special for them.  So I guess the list kinda is for them.  Without further ado:

The Three Little Pigs.  A classic in any version so long as that big bad wolf keeps uttering his menacing refrain: I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!  Will there be enough room?  The ABCs get a little ambitious when they all try to climb the same tree.  A good one for younger kiddos and those learning the alphabet.

 Fox flusters a friend with infuriating tongue floppers.  You can't really go wrong with Dr. Seuss but this and Mr. Brown are definitely top notch.

Oh the wonderful things Mister Brown can do! Read it like an over-enthusiastic J. Peterman (Elaine's boss on Seinfeld).
A simple one that begs you to drum on the pages and sing-song your way through it.

But who is this creature with terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws?  He has knobbly knees and turned-out-toes and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose.  Probably the most advanced on this list, Donaldson's modern classic has wonderful rhythm and repetition, a clever ending and an aurally inviting cast.
Wee Wa Wee Wa Rooty Toot Too!  Every page has it's own color that, along with the listed objects, gives the mood for the reader.  Filter it through your inner Miles Davis and you've got a winner.

Boynton is another safe bet for quality read-alouds but the Pookie books, which really hinge on the caring character of Pookie's mama (who, in my imagination, is delightfully ebullient, Southern, and full-figured), are especially enjoyable.

Even without a passable Grover impression, this postmodern wonder, which is about the very act of reading this very book, is a riot.  I dare you not to have fun bringing Grover's over-the-top fear to life.

Hope you enjoyed the list and maybe even found yourself a new read-aloud.  Let me know your favorites in the comments!