Monday, December 31, 2012

Suddenly I See

Early this evening, Chris and I saw the movie, Les Misérables. It a show that Chris and I have seen on Broadway at least a half-dozen times (whenever people would come to visit NYC, it would be the one show they'd want to see). We own every version of cast recordings, and even sat through Uma Thurman's version of Fantine (in which we were excited to see her die in). Tonight, in the theater, I cried at a moment that I have never cried at before. Well it could be at a moment that was never seen before because it was added for this adaptation. It's the moment that Jean Valjean realizes that he is now a father with an adopted daughter.  

Suddenly I see. Suddenly it starts. When two anxious hearts, beat as one.
Yesterday I was alone. Today you walk beside me. Something still unclear, something not yet here; Has begun.

Suddenly the world seems a different place. Somehow full of Grace and delight.

How was I to know that so much love was held inside me? Something fresh and young, something still unsung fills the night.

How was I to know at last that happiness can come so fast? Trusting me the way you do I’m so afraid of failing you. Just a child who cannot know that danger follows where I go. There are shadows everywhere
and memories I cannot share.

Nevermore alone. Nevermore apart. You have warmed my heart like the sun.You have brought the gift of life and love so long denied me.

Suddenly I see; What I could not see. Something suddenly has begun.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

God rest you merry, Kensington...

let nothing you dismay. Remember you're our angel that was born on Christmas day.

Today, Kensington celebrated Christmas and her “official” fourth birthday. For weeks now, ever since her Disney Spectacular Birthday Celebration, she’s believed she already turned four, and “no longer a baby”.

This morning started of a little rocky for our princess. You see, all she wanted from Santa was her pink bike with a pink baby baskets on the front (and later it turned into a bike that also had a pink baby seat in the back – yes, we loved how specific she got. She also added to her list another pair of her white princess slippers, the same ones she wore in her cousin Jordan’s wedding, but two sizes bigger so they would actually fit. Oh, and a last minute request of, yes, you guessed it – pink earrings for her [pierced] ears. Under the tree was a scooter and a miniature version of the bike that she wanted, but she couldn’t see her big-girl bike. You can tell that this upset her by the crackle in her voice. Once I heard that, I gave in and only allowed her to think she didn’t get it for another thirty seconds. When I was a kid, Mazha and Fazha would have let the game continue for hours.

After the presents were opened, we all headed to church for the Festal Mass of the Nativity. There was a part of The Collect that hit home on this very special day for us; “Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and Grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit.”

Our little angel has definitely has renewed our faith and our spirit.

I blog and tweet many of the great one liners that come out of the mouth of our babe… some of the great ones either get censored, or I get the dismissal nod from Chris that tells me that I can never share it, or if I can, it’s only to a select few individuals. Today, Kensi said one of those gems – the best of the year – that once it came out of her mouth, he looked at me and said, “No. You will not be blogging about this.” Too bad I overruled him on this one! :)

Chris and I went up to the alter to receive the Sacrament; we took Kensington with us so she could receive a blessing. As we were leaving our footsteps echoed through the church, Kensi let out the very loud and disappointing statement, “Hey! Why can’t I eat the body of Christ?” Our echoed footsteps were replaced with laughs and gasps. I tried to quite her down (she’s actually very good in church, either sitting in on of our lap flipping through the hymn book, or playing a game on her iPad with the volume turned completely off). “Papa, why did you get to eat something and I didn’t? I want a body of Christ!”

As this was our first Christmas in New York, we decided that we needed to do something iconic, something that screamed NYC - so we went to Radio City Music Hall to watch the Rockettes in their Christmas Spectacular. Kensi loved watching the ‘dancing princesses’ and the nativity scene that they did at the end was just breathtaking. She informed us that one day she will be dancing with them. That was just the confirmation I needed in order to enroll her in dance class. Until I can find one that does classes in the evening, she will have to enjoy the cooking classes I got her and her daddy for her birthday. While I do enjoy them cooking at home (it really is one of her favorite things to do), I thought it would be easier to have them cook in someone else’s kitchen… one that I don’t have to clean up when they’re done. So those classes were also a gift to me!

Daddy and Kensi sharing chocolate
milk after the show

Kensi happy with what Santa brought her.

Our favorite gift from our little K-Grace

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Darn you Carly Rae Jepsen!

When Kensi gets a song in her head, it can stay in there for days, or in this scenario weeks. Two weeks ago on our walk back from school, we were playing “line leader”, which is just like it sounds – the leader of the line. It gets her to stay ahead of me instead of dragging behind me or riding my shoulders. The only drawback in this game is the 300 yards from her school to our place, there are a couple turns that if she is pretending to be Jackie Joyner-Kersee, she’s out of my eyesight for a brief period of time. This is when the game ‘red light – green light’ comes into play. So on this particular day, she was round the corner and not wanting her to get to far ahead of me, I yelled, “Red Light!”

She turned and with a scowling look on her face, pointed her finger at me and shouted for everyone to hear, “Hey, I just met you (something a father doesn’t like to hear. I'm glad no one took this as a possible Amber Alert) and this is crazy… [so] here's my number, call me maybe.”

Then with a flip of her hair, she took off like a bolt of lightning. I stood there stunned. Shocked at what she said, and then trying to name that tune and complete the lyrics, I swung my backpack over my shoulder and went after her. So does anyone want to take a guess at what she decided to scream as I chased her? Yep, you got it, “And all the other boys, Try to chase me, here's my number, So call me, maybe” My first thought was to find out where Katy Perry is performing next so I could strangle her. Then I realized I’m old and out of touch with these teenie bopper songstresses and should really look up who sings the song. Now I despise Miss Carly Rae Jepsen!

For the past two weeks, she walks around the house, and every other phrase out of her mouth is, “Hey, I just met you.” And now, because of her Auntie Cathy and Uncle Kyle giving her a guitar for her birthday, she feels like she needs an audience every 5 minutes in order for her to strum a few strings and sing a few cords.

Yes, it looks like guitar lessons are in the very near future.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas with The Christies

Last week we had the opportunity to share a holiday moment at Drumthwacket; the official residence of the governor of New Jersey. The Drumthwacket Foundation, who is responsible for preserving, restoring, and curating the house and grounds, invited all of the garden clubs in New Jersey to decorate the mansion for the holidays, and then Chris and Mary Pat invited some of their closest friends over for dinner.

Mary Pat Christie and I met a couple years ago at a charity cocktail reception, and quickly bonded over a witty conversation on how we both successfully combined our roles as ‘trophy-wives and parents’ with a business career that is deeply rooted in community service. With conflicting schedules, we rarely get time to see each other, and when CC (what we call Chris and Chris) get in a room together, all they can do is banter back-and-forth about opposing political views. Actually, the views are pretty much the same, determining which party line they belong to is where the jovial conversation comes into play. Anyway, the times we do get together, it normally at their private residence in Mendham, and not Drumthwacket in Princeton. Mary Pat and I both agree that they don’t frequent the Governor’s mansion enough, but they have strong ties in their community and the kiddos are happy at their school. So this trip to Princeton was a treat.

The last time I was in Drumthwacket was when Jim was the governor. While I enjoyed my time there, Dina (Jim’s Ex), didn’t like how close Jim and I were getting as friends so we quickly parted ways. We see Jim every once in a while as Kensi has been taking dance lessons with Jacqueline, his youngest daughter.

Back to the original topic. Kensi enjoyed our Songs of the Season outing in Princeton. Chris (the Gov, not her daddy) kept giving her chocolates and candy canes. We would keep declining on her behalf; he would keep wielding his power by letting us know he ruled the state and there were troopers outside the door and could detain us at the drop of a hat. We asked Chris (Gov) to dress up like Santa for Kensington. He declined, but allowed her to sit behind is desk for a quick pic.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

All I Want For Christmas Is...

I recently sat down with HRH to conduct a holiday interview. The Royal Office of Protocol informed me that some questions where off the table, some for security reasons, others were to protect her privacy, and others because she is under contract with Watch! Magazine and certain questions will be released in her follow-up interview next month (see December’s Issue, page 125, for her first article).

What’s your name? Kensington Irwin-Dudek, Princess Grace

Princess Grace, huh? Who is your favorite Princess? The Pink One. [Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty]

How old are you? 4. Right now? Yes, right now [okay… her birthday celebration that started the week after Thanksgiving kind of threw her off]

What’s your favorite color? Pink. Any particular shade? Light Pink. Next question, please. [I've been trying to get her to say "Blush and Bashful", one of my favorite lines Shelby says in Steel Magnolias. It's not working. One day. I can just feel it. One day she will surprise me with this.]

What’s your favorite food? Honey Smacks cereal. [and we can attest to that. She would eat this three times a day if we would let her. Actually, one day when I was sick and Chris was on a business trip, I did let her eat this all day. By dinner time, I felt so ill, I told her she could make it herself. That was a big mistake.]

What is your favorite toy? Legos.

What is your favorite movie? ParaNorman. Remember, we saw it three times. [Yes, but we saw Brave 4 times in the theater and too many times to count at home. Please let this be a sign she’s starting to grow out of the Princess phase.]

What do you want to be when you grow up? ParaNorman.
Kensi, pay attention. What do you want to be when you grow up? What did you say?
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to work.
What kind of work? I take it back. I don’t want to work. You and Daddy can work for me. Can I watch ParaNorman now?

Have you been Naughty or Nice this year? {evil smile} Nice… but I have been a little naughty at school. Don’t tell the Elf! [Elfie is our Elf on the Shelf. We need him to stay around throughout the year. He puts the fear of God into her.He's better than the "Time Out" chair]

What did you tell Santa you wanted for Christmas? A pink bicycle with a pink basket for my baby doll and a pink baby seat in the back. Oh, and white Princess slippers.

Telling Santa that she has been good,
and then holding a 3 minute
conversation with him where
he just listened to her.
Side Story**** When we were at Disney one day, I was walking her through the park on my shoulders. She leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I want pissed."  I quickly took her off my shoulders, shocked at her choice of words and worried that she was going to go to the bathroom on herslef, I found the closest bathroom. She sat on the toilet and told me she didn’t have to go. I made her try her darnest because she just told me she needed to go. To no avail, we left and started walking again. She looked up at me and said, “Papa, I want to piss.” Asking her if she’s serious or playing she said she was serious. I took her the bathroom again. She told me she didn’t need to go, and I started to get frustrated. “Kensi, you just told me you needed to Pee. I need you to go, now!”

“Papa, I didn’t say I needed to go pee.”

“Yes, Kensi. You did. You actually said it in a way that Papa would prefer you not to say it.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Kensi, you said you needed to go piss. Now go, please.”

“Papa. I want my ears pissed. So I can have pretty pink earrings like the princess."

Needless to say, we covered ourselves by letting her know she never told Santa that when they talked. We took additional measures to let the Elfie know one time when she was acting up that he needed to let Santa know. She, of course, cried. We told her she needed to be good all year next year and then maybe, just maybe, Santa will bring her a pair. Now we just need to hope she forgets this conversation. That, or she learned how to say 'pierced'.