Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve Pageant

Here is Felicity dressed as Mary for the Christmas Eve pageant. She did a great job traveling to Bethlehem and laying baby Jesus in the manger.

Here is Kwamai suited up as Fr. Alexander. He claimed to be blushing significantly as he walked up the aisle.

Here is the video of the pageant, minus the first minute or so when Mary and Joseph made their entrance. It is hard to make out the narration, but the idea was that after talking about the Christmas story, it talked about the gift of the priesthood and the priests who have been pastors of our parish. Kwamai played the role of a priest who is currently visiting us as a graduate student from Kenya. He was not available to play himself, but our current pastor was. You can tell which one he is because he is a bit bigger than the others.

Monday, December 7, 2009

St. Nicholas Day Photos 2009

A day late again this year, but who's counting?

It is getting rougher and rougher to persuade these guys into serious pictures, so we go for the slightly silly look in most of these. Felicity's first fashion pic was a summer dress, which would be right up her alley, but at the last she settled on her last year's Christmas dress with no tights. Close enough. Kwam the recalcitrant did not want to dress whole hog fancy, but a white shirt and black jeans is a fairly good concession.

A very sweet shot of The Girl, which unfortunately is just a tad fuzzy.

My favorite shot of Kwamai, with a glimpse of sad Felicity whose turn it wasn't to be in the picture.

The official twosome shot.

Kwamai's silly sequence

Can't figure out how to get that third picture to line up, but oh well...

Felicity's candids: true to form she is crafting, then shopping.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Felicity Poses with Alien Friends

"Post it on the Kwamai and Felicity Show, Mama," she said.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Merry Thanksgiving!

Felicity has the decorating and holiday celebration bug. She's been asking for a while to be able to put up the Christmas tree, or at least our outside lights. When I told her it wasn't quite time yet, she asked if she could at least decorate for Thanksgiving. I did a quick online search for craft ideas, and she selected a coloring page of a pilgrim couple. She promptly added a manger with a baby and a star, colored the man brown and the woman blue and dubbed them Mary and Joseph.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kwamai the Cub Scout

Kwamai started Cub Scouts tonight, and has been so incredibly excited about it it's not funny. There is a pack that meets at our parish, and for some reason Erol was under the impression that Kwamai's membership required Erol to attend with him every week. But this Sunday I happened to be chatting with one of the men who works with the pack and this misconception was dispelled. So Kwamai is completely psyched about participating and doing lots of fun things with them. The first thing on the schedule is to help build a float for the Steubenville Christmas parade on December 12.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Felicity Say to Me, She Says...

"Mama, I'm a whole hand."

"A whole hand?"

"Yes, because a thumb is not a finger."

She holds up the visual aid so that I finally get it. She's 4 years old.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cat Diaries

And speaking of cats, Kwamai today decided to begin creating "The Cat Diaries." This is a series of camera-made videos chronicling the adventures of our cat Blacky. He had great fun realizing that he could talk to the camera, and it had to listen to him! Here is his very first video.


Felicity has taken to meowing a lot lately. I think because she became so verbal so early and quickly, she has now decided she can go somewhere else with her communication and simply make animal sounds for awhile instead. When she isn't meowing, I still often need her to repeat things multiple times until I understand what she is saying. Part of it is her tiny little voice. But I guess it is just her phase.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kwamai, the ESTP

I had Kwamai take the Myers-Briggs test on line today, and his result is ESTP. Here is a portrait of what the ESTP type is like. Amazingly, it really seems to describe him to a "tee".

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Look at the Butterfly we caught Today!

Felicity had her face painted at the Lebanese festival today (in Wheeling).

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Kwamai is quite the composer. Just now he is developing a song with the refrain "I still feel stinky like an artichoke." At least he has progressed from bathroom issues.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Swimming, Redux

We're back at the swimming lessons, but at a different pool this time. Felicity not only was very excited and comfortable, but asked to be moved from level one to level two, as she didn't want to start over again from the very beginning. I think it helps that this pool is both outdoor and heated, so it is a more fun environment. However in the level one group there are about 25 kids! It's amazing. A friend who did the last session said there were only 5 kids then. These lessons run for four days a week for two weeks. Kwamai is in level 3 and has already been taught some new skills. The pool is in a city park with a playground, and they have three shifts of lessons each day between 9-12. So it is quite a production, and there are lots of families participating that we know. So it's a nice little social outing. Starting the day significantly earlier than usual will be interesting for these weeks, but I think it is worth the effort!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kwam the Ninja

These are pictures which Kwamai took of himself recently as he posed with one of his lightsabers. Probably the fact that he didn't know when the picture would flash accounts a bit for the pensive looks on his face! He asked me to post them to the blog, so here they are.

Sequential Learner

Felicity is definitely a sequential learner. She adores videos that show you step-by-step how to make something or bake something or perform an experiment. We have gotten some of these from the library which come in a series called "My First (subject matter) Video."

So today I had one of those secret Mom smiles as I listened to Felicity in the bathroom as she narrated the brushing of her teeth, and then: "That concludes 'My First Toothbrushing Video.' Other titles in this series which you might like to explore include My First Cooking Video, My First Science Video, and my First Activity Video."

I've found that her fascination can help calm her down out of a fit of frustration rather quickly when she wants to do something but can't figure out how. I just tell her the first step, second step, third step, and generally she's ready to absorb what I'm telling her.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pigs Fly

Vacation Bible School started today, and my only role this year is to drop Kwamai and Felicity off and pick them up again.

Felicity seems to have had a wonderful time.

She made this colorful flying pig (don't ask me exactly what this has to do with learning about the Trinity) as her craft. She spent half of the afternoon playing with it and other similar creatures she had previously made at home. She recounted lots of little details from the day. It was actually an hour shorter than normal today because of a funeral at the church. Kwamai's was far more interested in staying around later on to eat food at the funeral reception. (The funeral was for a former choir member, so I sang with the choir for it while they hung out with one of the teenage helpers.) I tried to explain basic funeral etiquette, that one doesn't just crash in for the food, but he had a hard time accepting my explanation since a couple of his friends were staying. Of course, they actually knew the woman. I've only been in the choir 6 months, and I wasn't even sure who the woman was (it was a few years ago that she sang).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I would have liked to have witnessed how this arrangement came to be this morning.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Super Size Me!

Last night Kwamai and I started watching Super Size Me, a documentary about a man who decides to eat nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days. I say we started watching it; I finished it, but Kwamai decided to leave at one point. He then started feeling sick, eventually threw up, and told me that the next time he goes to McDonald's he will order a salad and a bottle of water.

He was feeling perfectly fine before the movie started, and perfectly fine afterwards, and I highly suspect this was strictly a psychosomatic reaction.

We had gotten this DVD from the library on Tuesday, and when we drove by our neighborhood McDonald's on Thursday morning he asked me "Mom, if the McDonald's people know their food is bad for people but they sell it anyway, are they just evil?" It was an interesting discussion, and I tried to talk about how people often use faulty reasoning to justify lots of things.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

So, About that Swimming

Last week I managed to put on my swimming suit and sit on the side of the pool during the swimming lesson. The (teenager, non-parent) swimming instructor thought it a bad idea for me to actually get into the pool, because he presumed Felicity would then not pay any attention at all to the swimming instructors. But as it turned out, my being poolside was all it took. Felicity got a smile on her face, got in the water, started working her kicks, and even came back beaming about how much fun she was having. She hasn't developed a whole lot in the way of swimming skills, but at least she has recovered from her long bout of water refusal. And the pool has warmed up, too. She even practiced jumping into the pool from the side and let herself go partly under water, so it seems fear is not her issue, just comfort.

Kwamai has been doing fine. The quality of the swimming instruction (since it is usually a different set of student life guards each time) has not been that great in terms of systematic progression from one skill to the next. But, it is an opportunity. It would probably simply be worth our while to go to the open swim and practice skills that way during the summer.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

10th Anniversary Picture

We had this picture taken right outside the place where we had our dance. Immediately afterwards Felicity marched off not return, so this was the only shot we got of all of us this year. It might have had something to do with Kwamai's insistence on making bunny ears behind her.

Nothing like realism and capturing the essence of our current point in history.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh, and by the way, I think I'm finally convinced that Felicity is due for a short haircut. She is developing the classic Hansen/Hosdil thick hair and hates hairbrushes. Maybe Friday.

Swimming Update

We are half-way through swimming lessons now. Kwamai can almost swim without assistance, and tied in a race across the pool with a more experienced swimmer yesterday (while they used kickboards).

Felicity, on the other hand, has left the pool twice with a huge frown on her face and tears in her eyes, and last time she wouldn't even get in at all. Sigh. The water apparently is too cold for her tastes. I can't say I blame her, as I often feel the same way about pool water. It takes work to relax and then kick hard enough to warm oneself up. She told me she would stay in the pool if I got in with her, so I may try that approach next time. The one-on-one attention from the life guards has dwindled a bit, so it is nice for those kids who want to practice more independently (like Kwamai, who keeps complaining that they are "so strict" just because they try to show him how to swim) but it is a downside for the younger kids like Felicity who end up sitting still and freezing in the water while waiting for someone to pull them around and train them in kicking, etc.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


On the Saturday before Palm Sunday, Felicity got her hair cut at the beauty parlor again. The beautician decided to curl her hair with a curling iron a bit, and so she had big swooshy curls for awhile. It was very cute, but alas Felicity did not consent to getting her picture taken.

Unfortunately her hair was cut with a part in it, which of course has not stayed parted since. Next time I think we go with bangs, until such a time as Felicity again likes having things in her hair to keep it in place (which seems to have stopped as soon as she had hair long enough to move around).

2009, 2002

Here is our family picture, taken with Bishop Conlon on the occasion of Kwamai's Confirmation/First Holy Communion on April 19.

Compare with this one, when Kwamai was 2 days away from turning one year old (on the occasion of the Bishop's ordination).

Is It Time, Yet?

Kwamai and Felicity started swimming lessons again on Monday. They go twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. Felicity is particularly excited about it and has asked me at least 15 times already today when we are going. She's been dressed and ready for the last hour. Only one more hour left to wait! Kwamai went off with a more advanced group halfway through the first lesson. Felicity did a really great job. The good thing about this year is that the high school swim coach has her swim team teaching the kids one-on-one, while she coaches their teaching techniques "from above". This way, no one is just sitting around in the pool, waiting for his/her chance to get out and swim.

Friday, April 24, 2009


"But Kwamai, you don't even have a driver's slicin's."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Classic Kwamai-ism

While playing with the broom pole:

"Hey mom, guess what? I got the nine ball in the corner pocket. I'm playing poker."

Blessed are the Peacemakers

... and those who forgive.

Kwamai went to a birthday party yesterday, and he brought home as a little party favor a plastic torpedo-shaped toy to use in a swimming pool. It lay on the dining room table this morning, and Felicity came upon it, and suddenly it was the most interesting thing in the house. Felicity wanted to play with it, which of course made Kwamai want to play with it. Fights ensued. No one was really playing with it, but everyone wanted to hold it and prevent the other from playing with it. After law enforcement was called in (aka Mom) to prevent physical beatings as a part of this process and some restraints were put in place, I set a timer. Felicity had five minutes to play with it, and then Kwamai had five minutes. Well, after two of Kwamai's minutes, Felicity suggested a truce and asked if she could play army man set up with Kwamai, promising not to take the torpedo. Kwamai readily forgave and agreed, and that game morphed into several others. Peace reigns.


Now for the rest of the morning.

Now Kwamai is busy composing (and singing at the top of his lungs) a song called "Stop Copying Me." Must get him signed up for youth choir.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First Reconciliation

Yesterday was Kwamai's first reconciliation in preparation for receiving his first Holy Communion and Confirmation in April. He was a bit nervous about the whole thing. All 23 kids who are receiving sacraments this year in our parish gathered for the prayer service. And when the priests announced the time to head to the confessionals, Kwamai ran to the front of the line. He returned with a broad smile on his face. When I mentioned the fact of his smile to him, he said "I'm blushing!"

We didn't get official pictures of this sacrament (of course), but a friend did take a few of him playing tag with the other boys in the church hall afterwards. I'll post some if we can make him out on any of them.

Friday, February 27, 2009

We Protest!

We did a little life learning today by attending a political protest. I was so proud of Kwamai and Felicity for being troupers, and they enjoyed the fact that we were so close to a Dunkin Donuts. This involved a drive to downtown Pittsburgh, so we had lots of time to discuss our adventure and enjoy all that we were learning about political issues, the behavior of various adults (e.g. we saw more smokers this morning than we've seen in Felicity's lifetime), life in the "big city," history, and more. Great experience.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Learner at Work, Her Way

Felicity is so not Kwamai.

This morning she insisted we go to the basement to do school, because that's where the school desk is, along with all the books and things she needs. Um, but it's freezing down there.

Compromise! We brought the school desk to the dining room. And now I'd better get to helping her with her workbook.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thanks, Kwam

I spent quite a bit of last week feeling not so good. Wednesday was by far the worst day, however. But it was Kwamai's chance to shine.

He has a truly tender heart for those in need. And since I could hardly get out of bed without feeling dizzy, he managed to check in with me regularly and bring me water and nibbles to eat. He managed to entertain Felicity and otherwise refrained from those things which tend to get her all upset. He even made or procured breakfast and lunch for himself and Felicity, and although he had some help with dinner, he played a key role there too. He read me a story and played with Felicity in the attic.

Yes, the house was completely trashed, and no, it has not proven a permanent behavioral shift. But it sure made a hard day easy to deal with.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Last night I got an inspiration to create puppets. I suggested it today, and it was a huge hit, even before we had any decent supplies to create them. Felicity created the one shown here with very little help. The idea of putting it on a paper bag, and help stapling were all that was contributed. She did all the drawing and creative stuff.

Kwamai made several sock puppets, including Batman, Robin and ghost, and a cardboard sheriff and pacman character.

This afternoon Kwamai invited a friend over to show the puppets off, and while the friend preferred to build with legos I can see that this puppet idea is one with a lot of mileage to it.

I plan to make a Patrick Henry puppet, and other generic dudes that can assist in reenacting historical scenes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Child Weather Report

Today: Partly to mostly cranky, with occasional outbursts of tears. High probability of gusty upsets following siblings touching each other, looking at each other, or looking in the same direction.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus

And Felicity, well she is bursting into song. We have this song on CD and I sang it with my impromptu choir participation last Sunday. So, we've been singing it a lot, and Felicity now knows the chorus quite well.


This morning Kwamai has decided his name is Kanuka, and I am Kanuka Mommie, and Felicity is Kanuka sister. He is a newborn who has just eaten his shell.

Um, ok. Whatever.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Medium Sized Boy

My latest term of endearment for Kwamai which seem to have struck a chord with him is "my medium sized boy."After all, he's not a little boy, and he's not exactly big. What is more, he is very aware that he is at this Mr. Betwixt age. He will often jump into my lap now and say "I'm your medium sized boy!" I, of course, have become the "large sized Mama." Hmm. Terms are all relative, right? He is still trying to settle on a fitting but kind adjective for Papa.