The Mouse Beckons…

I came in from walking the dog. Paco’s red coat was dotted with snowflakes. Every inch of my skin was covered; just my eyes peered through my full-body suit of Gore-Tex.

Nora stood in the middle of the kitchen.

“Hey, Dad!” she shouted.

“Mmmfphh,” I replied.

“Is it cold outside?”

“Yes, hon, it is very very cold outside.”

“Huh. You know what?” she smirked, eyebrows raised high.


“It isn’t very cold in Floor-i-daaaahhhhh!” and she raced up to her room, giggling to herself.

I began my winter-walking-the-dog-unwrapping-procedure and smiled to myself. Nora was invited a few months ago to accompany our very close friends on a special trip to visit the Mouse in Disney World.

Since Nora is the kind of girl who needs to mull, we weren’t surprised when her immediate response to the idea was, “No. Uh-uh.” Many people were involved in a carefully coordinated campaign to warm her up to the idea. Disney World brochures were left in strategic places around the house, every Disney flick since 1979 made it to the top of our Netflix queue and we scheduled a weekend away with our friends as a trial run sans the rest of the Kinney Collective.

Slowly, but surely, she began to turn a corner. And since she has fully embraced the idea, she’s moved from scowling with her arms crossed to cheerily rubbing it in at every chance that she is going to Florida and WE are not.

Just this week, I found a Georga O’Keefe calendar posted to the fridge, the dates in January being meticulously crossed out one by one.

And then, a list appeared, Nora is keeping a tally of items to bring on her quest to visit the Mouse. My personal favorite, “camra.”

I hope the Mouse knows what he’s in for; Nora is coming.

See the full gallery on posterous


Dragon Tears


I read Puff the Magic Dragon to the kids tonight. The edition we have is full of beautiful and sentimental paintings by Eric Puybaret.

In reading it, I was struck by the fact that it really is a poignant story about the loss of innocence and a child-like fascination with the world around us.

As I finished the book, I turned to Henry (he’s five). He was rubbing quiet tears from his cheeks. He hugged his Piggy close and said, “Man, that’s a really sad story.”

“It sure is buddy,” I replied as I kissed him on the head.”G’night pal.”

Before leaving, I leaned over and switched on his night light..even though he didn’t ask me to.

Under the Covers

Hands down, one of the best things about the holidays is couch time. Every morning, I wake up (without an alarm clock, mind you) and put on the coffee. The three kid-lets are on the couch buried in covers.

This morning I found a fourth "kid" under the covers. Hen was practically lying on top of our dog Paco. When I asked the extra lump under the covers to identify himself, he poked his furry head out and squinted at me, snorted, and dove back under.

I stirred my coffee and sighed: one moment of peace before the chaos of the day.

Sweater of Doom

We were getting presentable for the family Christmas party.

I was ironing a shirt and some pants for five year-old Henry as he hopped on the bed in his Buzz Lightyear underoos.

After I wrangled him into his outfit, I reached for the thick, white woolen Irish sweater.

“Ack!” he screeched and raced into the hallway. His eyes peered around the doorjamb: “Dad! No! Please!”

“What’s the matter, bud?”

“I will not wear it! I will not wear the sweater of doom!”


(Hen pictured above not wearing the sweater – we compromised on the sweatshirt.)

The Worst Day Before Christmas Ever!

My six year old daughter Nora jumped up to the breakfast table. I clipped open her Go-Gurt with scissors (the peel tabs never work) and sliced up an apple for her.

Three seconds later, there’s live active yogurt culture on the floor.

“Oh, darn,” she mutters as she stomps over to the paper towel holder on the other side of the kitchen. With her hair hanging down in her face, she tugs at the towel and the whole cast iron holder topples to the floor, missing her bare toes by an inch.

“Darn, darn, darn!” she exclaims. “Why did this have to happen?”

“Honey, it’s no big deal, just pick it up and move on.” I offer, as consolation, “Your Dad drops stuff all the time, just forget it.”

“No! No! Why, why did this have to happen today, why?!”

She grabs Blankie and storms over to the couch. Popping her thumb in her mouth she whispers, “This is the worst day before Christmas ever.”


Putting Nora to bed, she directs: “dad, sit down. I have some questions.”

“Dad, I’m going to be a Gumba for Halloween”

Check out the latest post on my wife's blog OINK Tales – No kidding…my son wants to be a "Gumba" for Halloween. It took me a minute to register that he wasn't going to be dressing up as Joe Pesci from Good Fellas.