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There’s something fantastic about children’s Christmas plays. Each one usually features some variation of the Christmas story with wise men, kings, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, barnyard animals and angels. There’s always that child who doesn’t want to be there and the little animal that gets too restless for the stage. There’s also the Mary and Joseph who don’t really want to be associated with one another because of cooties or whatever, but they’ve found themselves stuck together playing the most influential couple in Biblical history. And that’s what it’s all about. Audience members aren’t looking for a Bette Midler, Oscar winning production. They’re looking to be entertained. They’re looking to see cute children in costumes that don’t fit quite right and restless toddlers in barnyard animal suits. It’s a parental photo op dream that will surely haunt these children later in life, perhaps showing up in a senior ad in their high school yearbook. So kudos to the children who are brave enough to put themselves out there. We’ve all been there and your children will be there as well. It isn’t about how well you delivered your lines or if you forgot the words to a song right in the middle of it; it’s about being a part of a tradition that came long before you and will continue long after you. It isn’t Christmas without the children’s Christmas play and each of you deserve a round of applause for being a part of it and making the effort to portray the Christmas story in a new way.

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Today is my niece’s sixth birthday! She had a few friends over for a Princess Party, which was pretty cool. “Cinderella” came and sang songs, played games, read a story and face painted. Bri loved it and all her friends loved it as well. She had a great party and I can’t believe she’s already six. Happy birthday Bri. Love you girl.

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This week, my nephew, Guy, will turn four so today he had a birthday party at Chuck-e-Cheese. The place was insane. I like games, in fact I would probably be classified as a closet gamer, but there should be some sort of limit to the amount of people that can be packed into Chuck-e-Cheese at one time. There was actually a line to get in the door and then, once inside, there were children and parents everywhere. It seems like they were all screaming at the same time as well. Oh well, at least Guy seemed to have a great time. Everyone was handed him tickets so he ended up with a ridiculous amount and I’m sure he picked something great with them, although in true child fashion, by the time you counted up the cost of the tokens to win those tickets, you probably could have drove across to Target and bought the toy for much less. But, it’s the thrill of the game that keeps people from doing that. There’s something exciting about hitting buttons and seeing little pieces of paper spit out, even for adults. Or maybe more for adults since we know those tickets are like gold in a place like Chuck-e-Cheese. The more tickets you have the more amazing you are and doesn’t that translate into all aspects of life? Isn’t that why we buy the uber over-priced shoes and the Land Rovers? Except for me, because I’m a clearance whore. If I have to pay full price, I’m not buying it no matter what it is. Yet, I fell into the Chuck-e-Cheese trap. The allure of the tickets and the little golden tokens got to me. And we were there to celebrate a birthday and what fun would the birthday boy have had if we didn’t all participate? Absolutely none, of course. Happy (almost) birthday, Guy!

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My niece, Bri, started kindergarten today and just as expected, she rocked it. She was so excited this morning she didn’t want to take her book bag off to eat breakfast. She got on the bus with her cousin MadiĀ and never looked back. Bri said she really liked it, she’s already made friends and she’s excited about going back tomorrow. I hope she always likes school that much and that everyone’s first days went just as smoothly as hers.

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I’m working on a project for my niece’s birthday. She turns five in less than a month, so I have to get cracking on this thing. I figure if I can get the ground work done, I’ll be able to work on it hurricane or not, this weekend. Coincidentally, she starts school in the morning and she’s excited about it. She’s awesome so I’m sure she’ll have no problem. I’m excited for her and I wish her all the best. I know she’ll do great!

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My niece today tells me how pretty brown she is. She said if I want to be pretty brown I have to go play outside with her. How can one argue with that logic? So here’s a shot of some of our beautiful chalk drawings. Notice the family of dragonflies?!?