Tag Archives: anna

Exciting News

I have happy news for our family.  Rhiannon Lee (Annalee or Anna to old time readers, Rhia nowadays) and I have published a children’s poetry book!

Poems from Under a Toadstool

It all started when Rhia showed me her mushroom doodles in her journal last year.  I fell in love with them and told her they should be in a children’s book.  She suggested that I could write poems for a book and they could be the illustrations (many, many years ago I was a poet) and we decided to collaborate.

So she gave me her drawings to scan, and every so often I would sit and work on mushroom poems (and nature poems, and related poems…).

Poems From Under a Toadstool (If Ever)

Poems from Under a Toadstool

I added a glossary to the back, since some of the poems had bigger words like biome and mycology, and space for kids to add their own poems, drawings and spore prints at the end.

Poems from Under a Toadstool (Mycology)

We were in no hurry.  It was just a fun joint project.  Then she got the opportunity to move to West Virginia for three months, and she started working extra hard to earn extra money for all of her expenses.  That lit a fire under me to get the book finished and out into the world to help her out.

The book was published last week and is available on Amazon (affiliate link) if you’d like to take a peek .  If you’re interested, you can order it through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  It would also help us out enormously if you asked your local library to carry it!

Half of the profits will go to Rhia as she embarks on this new adventure.  My half will go to support my nonprofit children’s nature magazine, Wild Kids Magazine, which costs a fair bit to host since it sees so much monthly traffic that we regularly get overage charges to our web hosting.  I offer the magazine for free to do good in the world (just like Magical Childhood), but it would be great if it didn’t cost so much to do good some months!  😉

I’m also working on putting up a free print of one of the illustrated poems for folks to print out.  Look for that soon.

Wish us luck, and wish us extra luck as Rhia heads off next week on this exciting new chapter in her life.






Filed under happy stuff

You’re What Makes It a Magical Childhood

Some of you may be aware that WordPress inexplicably suspended this blog last night.

I logged in to approve a comment and was met with an angry red statement that said my blog had violated the terms of service and I was not wanted!  (Really, it said something to the effect of “we don’t want your kind” or something!)

I was more than a bit shocked, worried, stressed, you name it.

A little while later, Annalee brought me this paper she’d made up for me…

And at bedtime, she brought me this…

Bless her heart, she made me smile.

(Prepare for deep, corny thoughts)

A Magical Childhood isn’t this blog or the main web site or anything that can be suspended, deleted or destroyed.

It’s all of you who join me in looking for ways to make some memories with our kiddos (even on the days we want to throw shoes at the wall).

It’s those of you who told me you wrote WordPress angry letters protesting what they’d done.

It’s little girls who dream up ways to make the day magical in magic marker.

Thanks for being on this journey with me, wherever it’s hosted.

And thank you, Annalee, for making my day a little more magical.  🙂

Oh, and this morning I woke up to this form letter in my inbox:


A mistake was made in the system which we have corrected. The blog is back just as you left it.

We are really sorry for that happening and the inconvenience it caused you.

So there you have it.  All’s back to normal.

I’ve been writing A Magical Childhood since Anna was a baby in my arms.

Back then I had two little girls.  Now I have two boys and two girls, one of whom is nearly a teenager.

I’ve yapped at you all from Themestream, the Magical Childhood web site, newsletters, Live Journal and WordPress.  I may move this blog to the Magical Childhood site just to keep it safe from this sort of thing ever happening again.  Of course, then I need to commit some time to updating the poor thing!

It’s not that easy to get rid of me.  😉


Filed under This and that

Opening Night


Some of you may know that we live near Walnut Grove.  Yep, that Walnut Grove.  Some of you may also know that my husband and daughters have been acting in Walnut Grove’s Wilder Pageant for 6 years now.

Every summer, June evenings are consumed with rehearsals for Anna, Victoria and Daryl.  Then July comes and weekends are consumed with the performances.

Tonight is opening night.  It is just past dark, so the show just began.  The grassy hillside near Plum Creek will be crowded with hundreds, sometimes well over a thousand people, some in reserved seats and others in folding chairs and on blankets.  Children will laugh and chase each other on the hills until the music starts and they excitedly catch sight of a horse drawn wagon off in the distance behind the trees.

Then “Older Laura” will come out and start to tell her story, about how it is that the Ingalls Family arrived in this little town.  And for nearly two hours, families will go back in time as they watch dances, schoolroom lessons, a grasshopper plague, a raging fire, a church’s construction, a girl’s blindness, comedy, tragedy and more.

The boys and I went Wednesday for dress rehearsal and got to see this year’s show.  I always choke up at certain scenes, and some just make me smile.  I took a billion pictures, too.

Here’s a few images from the banks of Plum Creek…


Almost time…

And it begins…

Break a leg, my sweeties.


Filed under happy stuff

Limited Time Only

I am running out of little girls.  I am so aware lately of how little time I have left for dress-up and potions and imaginary things.  Victoria is nearly twelve and my baby Annalee is ten.

Ten-to-eleven can be a crazy age.  Kids get moody, clumsy, sensitive, confused, irritable.  They want to be big, then they want to be little.  Mothers can become the enemy, even when they were faultless up till now.

I know it’s coming.  I’ve been through it once and have seen many other beloved ten-to-eleven year-olds start on that roller coaster.

Annalee has never been a boring child.  She has been emotional, dramatic, sensitive, energetic, talkative and exuberant since birth.

She has also always been childlike.  Where Victoria was born with an old soul, Annalee was born with a brand new one.

She relished being babied when she was a baby.  Where Victoria had no time for rocking and fussed if I tried a lullaby, Annalee delighted in being snuggled, dressed up, sang to and otherwise mothered.

She was the quintessential little girl when she was little.  She loved princesses, dress-up and make believe.  Everything was pink.  Everything was frilly or feathered.  There were ponies and dolls and sparkles (though not one to be typecast there were also soccer balls, jeans and a perplexing love for math).

And now, at ten, Annalee is still my little girl.  She spent much of yesterday hanging upside down from a tree so Victoria could try out her new camera accessory.  She made up a circus show in the back yard, complete with posters advertising free admission.  She is still crazy about all things Harry Potter.  She still calls me “Mama.”  She still asks me if we can do a craft, please, just the two of us.

I don’t want to misrepresent her — this child can drive me to the brink like none of my others.  She can push buttons, throw fits, take on attitudes and make me nuts.  She is no superchild.  But she is a super child.

Today, Annalee brought me a gourmet egg dish she invented herself (“fresh, local eggs,” she told me, “with chives I snipped fresh from the garden”), watched her little brother, washed walls, scooped the cat box, drew me several pictures, organized her father’s sockets, carried branches, posed for her sister, comforted Alex and ran errands — and most of it she volunteered for without even being asked.

She is a sweet little girl.

Little.  For not much longer.

I am so aware of the ticking of the clock.  I know how little time there is left of this particular girl before she is replaced with an older, wiser, more grown up girl.  She will be just as fabulous, but she will not be this child.

She can only be little for a little while more.

Someday soon, Annalee will outgrow Harry Potter.  Before I know it, it will be time for training bras… dating… college classes… In ten short years, her childhood will be a distant memory.

Tomorrow, Anna says she’s going to wake at 6:45 so she can make Daddy a special egg for when he wakes up.  I think I’ll wake up early too, and maybe do that craft.

“The days are long but the years are short.”


Filed under the big stuff

A Visit to Antarctica

Okay, it wasn’t really Antarctica, but it sure seemed like it!

Sometimes you need a little sunshine, a change of scenery and a delightful child or two to put your insides right again.

I was feeling pretty horrible the other day because of the recent child abuse tragedy. I wrote articles and researched more than I felt I could bear and then I hist post for the last time of the afternoon and asked the kids who wanted to go on a walk with me.

Two fabulous girls said yes and off we went.

Anna brought a walking stick that she collected at Lake Superior last fall. During the whole trip, she kept a running dialog about its magical properties and an imaginary world she made up as we went.

It drove Victoria crazy.

Finally, we got to the end of the world. Or the end of the street, anyway, which ends in a cornfield. It also happens to be where the snowplows have pushed all the nearby snow, creating a pretty cool place!

Anna used her trusty stick to climb the side of it and triumphantly surveyed her domain.

Victoria is never one to take the easy way, so she decided to run up the side of it.

There was a lot of falling down.

She even got this close.  It’s very hard to grab onto snow!

Then finally, triumph!

Sort of.

Once the girls were finally on solid ground, they talked me into climbing up and joining them.  What another world it was!  The girls raced and ran and explored and we had a blast.

(See how the girls are standing right on top of the snow?  It is actually pretty deep but they are light on their feet and didn’t usually sink in, unlike their mama! Note to self:  eat less chocolate!)

Then we climbed back over and slid down into the real world again.  Even me.

I believe we have to do all we can to make the world a better place.  But I also believe we have to play and imagine and take time out to go explore Antarctica sometimes.

I also believe in lots of hot cocoa.


Filed under happy stuff

Quote for the Day

“You’re only given a little madness.
You mustn’t lose it.”

– Robin Williams

Happy Tuesday!


Filed under quotes

10 Years

My littlest girl turns 10 years old today.  Talk about bittersweet. 

Click here to see a picture of my Anna as a little baby (and to read 10 ways to play with your baby today).  Wasn’t she edibly adorable?

Click here to see her all grown up this month (and have her teach you how to fry an egg).  I think she’s still adorable, but she’s becoming such a young lady.

It’s a cliche for a reason, folks.  They DO grow up so fast.  It may not seem like it when you have to prop your eyelids up while holding the crying baby at 4 a.m. or when you’re dealing with a major meltdown because you’ve opened their banana and they wanted to do it themselves, but suddenly you find yourself with these great big people and you could almost swear it can’t be possible.

Enjoy your little ones.  And your big ones.

Happy Birthday, Annalee.


Filed under Uncategorized

Silver Medal Girl 2

I couldn’t just post about one daughter’s soccer results and not the other.  🙂  Annalee had her soccer tournament today and also got a silver medal!

(Anna is the third girl on the bottom)

Her team was undefeated this season but the red Walnut Grove team was just unstoppable today!  They won their first two games and then red team beat them.  They worked their way back up and faced off with the red team again in the final game and it was very close (2 to 3) but victory went to Walnut Grove yet again (they took gold in Victoria’s age group against our town last night too).

Anna’s team (the white team) sure gave us some great entertainment though!  Their second game of the day went into double overtime.  They were still tied up and they went to a shoot out, where each team had 5 players kick towards the goal and whoever scored the most points won.  The red team was ahead 2-0 and white came from behind.  At the last kick white tied THAT up too! They went to sudden death.  The red team missed their first kick.  White’s little goalie said he wanted to try and that was allowed.  He got it!  White won!  What a suspenseful game!

Anna’s soccer career has been quite an experience.  She played one year when she was very young and it was very easy and then she quit the next year because it was too rough and scary.  She was one of those kids who was afraid when the ball came at her.  Last year she didn’t want to try out at all.  This year she decided to give it a shot and she’s been getting right in the thick of things. 

She even blocked the ball with quite a blow to the stomach today!  She proudly told us afterwards about "taking one for the team."  It knocked the wind out of her!

All season I have gotten a kick out of watching her because she is such a little butterfly of a girl.  She flits all over.  She does random dance moves when she’s bored.  She chats with her teammates nearby when there’s no action (all with her eyes still on the ball).  She bounces and spins and smiles.  When there’s action she runs right up and gets in there, though, and she had some great kicks today.

I love this picture of Annalee because it sums up all the parts of her personality.  She’s wearing her children’s theater T-shirt for the drama and love of acting.  She’s got her ever-present camera in her hand for photos and movies.  She’s wearing dangly dress-up earrings because she will always be the ultimate girlie-girl.  And she’s got her beloved soccer ball, because she’s learned to love the game and that she’s pretty tough after all.


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