Category Archives: This and that

Random Animal Cuteness

Some days you just need a little extra cuteness.

Miss Fiona woke me at 5 this morning in a bit of a funk.  She’s not feeling well and is being rather hard to please.

I finally went searching on you-tube for cute animal videos, since those can brighten just about any day.

This one was a hit with both of us.  It was also very good for playing “learn that animal name.”  🙂

I’ll be back soon with some proper posts.

Happy Friday!


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On Hiatus

Sorry for my absence lately.  I’m in Florence Nightingale mode for a bit.

My sweetie got a new hip last Friday at the Mayo.

He’s had arthritis since he was two years old, and as a child he was told that he’d be in a wheelchair by the time he was 18.  He lasted a lot longer, but the time came when his hip was too demolished to hold up any longer.

So last week we had a family vacation of sorts in Rochester while the doctors worked their magic. 

Surgery was tricky.  His femur splintered when they inserted the artificial hip so they had to wrap it with cable, and then his pelvis was so disintegrated that they had to put part of his femur behind the new hip to build up the space.

Leave it to my hubby to keep the Mayo on their toes.  😉

He came through great, though, and as soon as he was back in his room he asked for a phone so he could call and wish his dad a happy birthday.

We’re home now and we’re all helping out while he recovers.  He is doing wonderfully, but because of the complications it will be a little longer recovery. 

Lucky for us, winter is a little slow around here anyway.

Oh yeah, and we have sick kids now, too.  Never a dull moment.

I might be a little quiet for a while.  I’ll be back soon. 

Go make some magic and come back in the comments and tell me all about it! 

See you soon!


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Happy 2013!


I have written an awful lot of New Year posts on this blog and for the Magical Childhood newsletters over the years.  I started A Magical Childhood when my Annalee was just a baby in my arms as I typed, and next month she is turning 13! 

I am so glad that life kept throwing us unexpected blessings and right now I get to make some magic with just about every age group (my “babies” are now 1, 5, 9, 12 and 14), and that I can still yap at you all in the middle of the night with a little person asleep in my lap.  Thanks for understanding when there are weeks between those yappings, too!  🙂

I, for one, am kind of happy to see 2012 on its way out the door.  This was a rather intense year for our family, especially with Victoria’s cancer diagnosis, sepsis, surgeries and some continuing immune issues.  At the end of it all, though, we’re so blessed and we know it.

I wrote this for New Year’s Eve in 2003, with my baby Jack in my arms.  It seemed appropriate to post again.

I wish you and your families all the best for the new year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the mayhem and the clutter and the lists of what we ought to be doing.  Don’t forget what the biggest things on your to-do lists should be– having fun, loving the heck out of your children & relishing life.

Slow down.  Give things up.  Laugh it off.  Make each day count, with at least one thing that is magical or truly matters.  And give yourself a break!

And when life gets crazy this year, take the advice of those wisest of people (aerobics instructors) and don’t forget to breathe.  ;)

Happy New Year!!
Alicia   (December 29, 2003)

PS  Click here if you want 10 awesome ways to ring in the new year with kids.  Again, it’s stuff I’ve recycled from various Magical Childhood posts in years past.  I do that a lot!

Happy 2013!!!!! 

Here’s wishing us all a truly magical, happy, healthy new year.


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You’re (Still) a Fabulous Mother

Photo by Victoria Bayer

(One of the nice things about having written A Magical Childhood for so many years is that I have lots of archives to dig up and share again every once in a while!  Here’s a favorite of mine from May 2010 that I thought deserved to be said again.)

I’ve been hearing lately from mothers who say how stressed they are and what terrible mothers they think they are.

What?  Oh pah.

If you’re thinking along the same lines, I’m  here to tell you to stop it.

You rock.  You’re a fabulous mother.

How do I know this?  Well, first off because you’re beating yourself up and only people who care feel guilt, which means you’re a caring mother.  So that right there tells me a lot about you.

Second of all, you’re the sort of mother who reads books about making lives magical for her children.  That sort of says a lot about you too!

Third of all, most mothers are more fabulous than they give themselves credit for.  It’s a mother thing.  We also tend to think other mothers are exponentially better than we are at absolutely everything.

And fourth of all, no matter what sort of beastly mother you think you are, I’m willing to bet that your child still thinks you’re the best mom in the world.  Even if said child won’t admit it.

You’re a fabulous mother.  You’re loving.  You care.  You  have things you rock at.  Many of them.

Do you sometimes screw up?  Yep.  So do I.  Do you sometimes yell or throw shoes at the wall?  Maybe.  I have.  Do you have times when you lose it a lot and feel like a troll? It happens.  But it gets better.  And you’re still a fabulous mother.

Here’s the wonderful thing about being a mother.  Every second is a fresh start.  If you screw up you can not screw up the next minute and it goes an awfully long way.

Hug your kids.  Say you’re sorry.  Be silly.  Let things go.  Try again.  It’s all part of the crazy ride of motherhood.  None of us is perfect at it.  But most of us are far more fabulous than we give ourselves credit for.

And while you’ve been reading this, another fresh start has begun.  Go do something good.  Not just for the kids, but for you too.

Now, go off and be fabulous.  You can do it.  You do it again and again.  You’re raising people who will make the world a little better, in part because of your mothering.

Thanks for that.


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This is a Home Where Children Live

This is a Home Where Children Live

You may not find things all in place,
Friend, when you enter here.
But, we’re a home where children live,
We hold them very dear.

And you may find small fingerprints
And smudges on the wall.
When the kids are gone, we’ll clean them up,
Right now we’re playing ball.

For there’s one thing of which we’re sure,
These children are on loan.
One day they’re always underfoot,
Next thing you know, they’re gone.

That’s when we’ll have a well kept house,
When they’re off on their own.
Right now, this is where children live,
A loved and lived in home.

~Judith Bond



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Victoria wearing wings made out of an old sheet, Summer 2000 (age 2)

I am alone tonight. 

I was alone last night, too. 

This is the first time I’ve been absolutely alone (without at least one of the kids) for this long in over thirteen years of parenthood!

Daryl and the kids are volunteering at a wonderful event called History Fest out of town.  We volunteer there as a family every year, but this year I am too pregnant to go along and take part.

They are staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and I was going to go with them and stay there, too, but I haven’t been feeling very good and I have so many things I wanted to get done around the house before Monday (when our baby comes!).

So at the last minute, we decided I’d stay home on my own.

I have friends nearby who can come if needed, and Daryl and the kids are not too far away.  And I never, ever, ever go into labor early. 

I’ve actually enjoyed my new-found time alone!  I’ve accomplished a ton of things around the house, got lots of extra sleep and have relished the quiet in this house this is so used to being so noisy!

Just the same, it will be nice to have my family back tomorrow.  I suppose I’m good at chaos.  🙂

This time on my own reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago when I only had two little girls.  I think about the lines of this poem often, because after all these years it still sums up how I feel about my family.

I plan on updating it soon, to reflect the changes we’ve gone through since I first wrote it.  Just the same, the meaning remains.

I thought some of you might like it….


    I know women
    who would lose their children
    like throwing off a robe,
    unbraiding a red ribbon
    and discarding it, to let
    their wild selves fly free.

    I know women
    who put aside their children
    like cheap jewelry by the side of the bed.
    I know women
    who never seem to wear them at all.

My girls, I do not want
to be free of you.
You are like my wedding rings
which I could have easily slipped out of
but wear
every day that my heart beats.

I want you near me.
My girls, my husband,
when I see a sunset
I want these two eyes
to be part of the eight who see it.
I want our laughter and stories
to be so tangled
that our memories weave into one dream.

This is my time with you.

Soon enough, you will be off
swimming your own new seas.
Soon enough, we will step back and watch you
blooming and bursting in solitary ways
in your own fresh, separate skins.

How could I waste this?

Oh my darlings, you are not my cage.
You are my wings.

~Alicia Bayer




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Dear Baby…

Photo by Victoria Bayer

Dear Baby,

You should be here in a little over two months now.  This seems like the longest pregnancy in history, but there’s still so much to be done to prepare for you.  We thought we were all done with babies, after all, and our life is so crazy and chaotic even when there aren’t babies on the way.

I am having such fun feeling you get to know the world inside my belly.  I love your hiccups, your knocks, your flips and turns and random jabs.

I wonder sometimes what you must already think of us.  We are such a noisy family!  Day and night, you must hear the shrieks, shouts, teen and tween music, arguments, laughter, children’s shows, ball games, read-alouds, tears, talks and general mayhem.

One minute it’s Mama reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the next it’s a cackling four year-old, then it’s Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga and then a tear-filled tirade about LEGOs or terrible sisters.

It’s a far cry from the classical music and baby books that your grandmother once told me to play for my belly.

Baby, you are coming into a crazy life. 

It will be noisy.  It  will be messy.  It will be chaotic. 

And it will be fun.

You will be doted on by two big brothers, two big sisters and two tired parents, not to mention friends and family.  You will get messy kisses, silly presents and the world’s most diverse lullabies.

You will be loved.

I can’t promise as much classical music as your grandmother would have liked, but I can promise loads of love and silliness and people who will always fight over who gets to hold you next. 

You are thumping around in my belly right now, poking and flipping and doing some sort of general busyness.  You seem to be a busy little girl, which will probably suit you well in our family.

I can’t believe my luck in getting to do all of this again.  I can’t wait to met you, little one.  There are so many kisses waiting for you.

Prepare for a noisy but laughter-filled life. 

We love you.



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