Four.3

At 4 and a quarter, Clementine Jane is officially growing up way too fast. She is the same old feisty, charming, stubborn, adorable, insightful little girl she always has been, but it’s pretty incredible to watch all of those personality traits grow with age!

P1350165

Recently I’ve been especially loving the way she’s been talking about her brain. As she remembers things, gets songs stuck in her head, or thinks about people, places, or ideas, she makes this crazy bewildered look and says, “My brain keeps telling me the Hakuna Matata song! I’m not even telling it to, it’s just doing it!” Her brain is definitely growing rapidly as she works hard to keep up with her sister (they now play together ALL THE TIME), and she has so many interesting things to say (about animals, about countries around the world, about the way kids act at school)… and then in the same breath can’t remember the difference between breakfast, lunch and dinner and has no clue what’s a day of the week and what’s a month of the year. Is she going to be more “street smart” than “school smart?” or are we just unused to the rate at which kids understand this stuff, since Annabelle was such an outlier? Hopefully school will help her get it all down, so we don’t have to interrupt her crazy imaginative after-school play with boring lessons!

P1350175If there’s one area (aside from insight, street smarts, humor/comedic timing, and adorableness) where Clem excels, it’s the arts. She loves to sing (she sings her way through her day like it’s an opera), is constantly engaging in interpretive dance (so much that we have to yell at her to sit at the table), and draws the coolest designs any chance she gets! In fact, you may see many of them highlighted (minus Annabelle’s black & white art) on our fridge in the pilot of a new ABC show called “The Catch” (see previous post):

P1350182She could sing and dance and draw for hours, and recently walked up to Annabelle’s piano teacher telling him, “I’m almost ready to start taking lessons, just so you know.” So it will be interesting to see if she becomes our more artsy daughter of the two (Annabelle is incredibly creative, but more cautious and practical). And we’re curious to see if she takes to acting! She went on her first audition this week (so we hear – Diane took her), but seems to have been a bit too shy (mainly, didn’t know what to do or say) to clinch the part in a commercial about a new Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. The good news is that she said she had fun and enjoyed the audition, so I guess we’ll keep letting her go to them till she tells us otherwise. It’s hard to believe somebody won’t want to scoop up this face!

P1350131

In the meantime, she is charming all of us, even when she’s driving us nuts with her stubbornness and occasional crabby behavior (she won’t eat the foods we want her to, she won’t stop coloring to go to school, she won’t stop talking because someone else is trying to say something, etc.). In the end, she’s a very four-year-old four-year-old, so we’re not letting it get to us – after all, sticking to her guns and doing what she wants to do will serve her well in adulthood, won’t it? That – and this charm:

P1350147Happy Monthday Clem (you’ll learn your months soon enough) – we love you to pieces!

Our House, Only Different

About a month ago, people knocked on our house asking if we’d be interested in them using it for a new ABC TV pilot by Shonda Rhimes called “The Catch.” They took some photos and considered our place along with dozens of others, and eventually called to say it was the perfect spot for a scene in the show. Score! They said they especially loved the front arch, and wanted to film over the weekend. Double Score! It meant a little weekend getaway for us. What followed was a fascinating look into the TV world. For example – the weekend turned into 4 days during the week, our house went from the home of a lawyer to the home of an LA Cop, they decided not to show the outside, and (due to the character change) completely refurnished the inside of our house:

P1350185

Needless to say, they turned it into the place we worked hard to avoid – cluttered, busy and bland… and with different photos on display!

P1350181

Even crazier was what they had to do to the outside of the house to make this happen. The tarped every window (including draping giant tarps from our roof!), blocked off huge expanses of street for many, many trucks (equipment, food, wardrobe, bathrooms, etc.):

P1350188

 

And took over our front yard with probably more than 100 people, including all of the actors, their stand-ins, the set people, the lighting people, the filming people, the security people, and loads and loads of others. They were all incredibly nice and accommodating, and the whole experience was really fun to be a part of. I hear they were nice to the neighbors too, although when they suggested we should put our house on a location list, I imagined how our wonderful neighbors would feel if we did this regularly….

P1350187

But for once in a while, we couldn’t complain. They paid us a pretty penny to use our digs, and even put us all up in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom giant suite at the Omni downtown! The girls were thrilled with the rooftop pool and room service breakfast every morning before school!

1508573_10153180138310420_2319315176773728430_n

Aside from the one night it took getting used to them sharing a bed (at least NO sleep that night led to great sleep the next two nights!), Clementine needing to buck up and shower instead of bathe (this was a great breakthrough, actually), and one unfortunate incident where Clem hopped into an elevator before anyone knew it and got whisked away before Diane, Marco & Annabelle (and a security guard) were able to get to her a few minutes later (Clem was upset about this, but Annabelle was traumatized – now neither will enter an elevator without holding the other’s hand), it was a really great experience. I mean, this is not a bad way to spend the 45 minutes before room service comes!

IMG_5839All that said, especially given how much travel we’ve all had lately, it’ll be nice to be back at our own dining room table again this weekend. Or is it???

P1350183

Thanks ABC, but we prefer the table Marc made, our own funny centerpieces, the artwork we got from our artist friend, and everything else that makes our house “home!”

 

Back to reality… whatever that means!

I have to say, life in the Davis family has been anything but boring this year. I just did a little count and saw that by April 5, our family of 4 (and nobody else) will have slept in our house less than 40 out of 95 nights. Considering that none of this was work travel, it’s a little insane – and definitely full of ups and downs. Thankfully we are trending more toward ups than downs… like Annabelle today!

P1340878

The girls and I settled back into Austin (and Marc finished out his SXSW run) this week, which is to say we slept in our own beds and made it to swim lessons… but that’s where “normal” ended. We finished out Spring Break sleeping in, catching up on a million things, and going to the rodeo:
P1350108

 

Mostly it was nice to be a family of four again since we haven’t had a whole lot of that lately, and don’t even have a photo to prove it, so I guess two will have to do:

P1340863

P1350022Tomorrow will get us back into the school routine, but starting Tuesday we’ll be living in a downtown hotel while they shoot an ABC TV pilot at our house! I’ll be sure to snap a few pics of that, and promise to let everyone knows when it airs this fall. Until then, you’ll just have to keep up with our super-speedy-hilly-crazy-lives here 🙂

P1350090

 

Spring Break in the Big Apple

Months and months ago, knowing Marc would be doing SXSW and thinking it’d be time for a quarterly visit to my mom, I looked into booking flights to Philly and found WAY cheaper direct flights in and out of NYC. Thinking that a day on either end in the Big Apple might be a fun Spring Break treat, I booked the flights for me and the girls – and then promptly forgot about it. And then about a month ago, realizing that life had changed our plans, I decided to make lemonade – plan an absolutely unforgettable week in NYC for myself and the girls!

P1340693It’s hard to even know where to start. There were cousins and friends, sledding and subways, the Lion King, Legoland and Lady Liberty, the insanity of Times Square and the pigeons of Washington Square. There was even a private tour of FAO Schwartz before it opened! And the whole week was fueled by candy, chocolate, frozen chocolate, chocolate pizza, M&Ms, jelly beans, cronuts and maybe a piece of fruit or two, in the presence of singing waiters. In short, it was heaven. Here are just a few of my favorite snaps – I’ll be sure to load them all up on the monthly album.

P1340682

P1340528P1340636P1340822

P1340631P1340507By the end of our week, these kids were acting like native New Yorkers, and determined to move there one day (or at least visit often). And after their nonstop enthusiastic reporting when Marc picked us up from the airport, I think their Dad might want to join us next time. Of course, 30 seconds after being thrown in bed, it was obvious that a week in the “City that Never Sleeps” had worn them out completely. Until next time, Big Apple!

P1340812

 

 

Comings and Goings

It was a busy but fun week in Austin. Of course, how could it not be fun when it started with Gramma and Grampa Charlie in town?

IMG_5544

Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and poor Gramma and Grampa Charlie, who were desperate for some sun, barely got any of it. Luckily, they were perfectly happy being cooped in with two entertaining girls for the duration of their visit – and those two girls were VERY happy having them as an audience! Also as a silver lining, this “TERRIBLE” Austin weather led to a 2 hour delay one morning and an actual SNOW DAY another day this week (they use that term loosely, as there was 0 precipitation)… which the girls thought was the most awesome thing ever. They celebrated by creating “camp”

P1340369

Gramma and Grampa Charlie took off by Tuesday AM, and 48 hours later, Marc was off for San Francisco. The girls and I had plenty of the regular stuff to do to entertain ourselves, though – swim lessons, play dates, and even a sleepover birthday party for Annabelle (check out her packing checklist):

IMG_5580

This also led to a rare date night for just Clementine and me. She picked “sgapeddi” (can we bottle that up for a few more years?) at Magnolia Cafe, and we had a lovely evening together:

IMG_5594All in all, it was a nice week and weekend for all of us, and I was thankful to be reminded how easy it is to single-parent these girls these days. Which is very reassuring, since in 3 days I head off to NYC with them for a full week of adventures while Marc hangs back for SXSW!

 

Seven.2

Annabelle has been so good lately. Perhaps it’s what made her decide now was the time to write a letter to Santa:

IMG_5566

And while I’m doubting that by December she will have been good enough to warrant the $4000 mechanical horse she found on a website, she’s totally getting the rest.

Speaking of “the rest,” Annabelle taught me something valuable recently. She was explaining how, when you make a wish (upon a star, or when the clock says 11:11, or if it’s your birthday, for example), and you’ve already been wishing for something for a very long time, you don’t have to wish all of the details. Instead, you can just say “And all the rest.” Loving her kid logic, I asked her to give me an example (without, OF COURSE, any pressure to tell me her wishes.). She told me this:

“Say, for example, you were maybe wishing for all of your stuffed animals to come to life. Since you’ve maybe, for example, wished that a whole bunch of times before, you DON’T have to say every time, the part about ‘but they don’t need to eat meals, and they don’t ever go potty’ and all of that stuff. Because the details of your wish are already out there in space. You just have to keep wishing the main wish over and over again for it to come true.”

Oh MAN do I love this kid!  She can be so mature and wise and precocious that it’s these times when she reminds me that she’s actually 7 that my heart skips a beat. Sure, she’s reading super-advanced literature for a first grader (just finished the rats of NIMH, is halfway through A Wrinkle in Time and has The Never Ending Story at bat). Sure, she’s doing complicated 4th grade math (lots of fractions, mainly). Sure, she shakes her head in feigned exasperation at Clementine, saying, ‘Oh Clementine, you’re such a funny little thing’ like she’s 70 years old… But in the end, she believes in Santa and knows the ins and outs of wishing powers.

P1330549
She is entirely 7, and she’ll tell you that it is BUSY to be 7! Between homework and piano and her various plans and experiments (currently wants to create her own social network for her friends, that parents aren’t allowed to join. She said she’s going to buy a book on how to build social networks on Amazon), she is fully booked. Recently she got a chain letter from some friends and wrote them back promptly, stating that she appreciated the gesture but is simply too busy to become part of “Sticker Club.” Even thought most of the time she has the help of an unpaid intern!
P1330560
The one thing she DID decide she had time for, ONLY because she saw how much money could be made, is acting. So she did come to the meeting with the talent agency and proceed to put her best foot forward (mostly drowning out her little sister’s foot in the process – luckily Clem’s charm shined through). She, like Clementine, has been signed – with this as her head shot:
Davis25
Sometimes I can’t get over how much I love this kid. And the one thing I know for sure, despite how much I’d love to slow time down considerably… is that I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Four.2

Clementine knows things. About the highest mountain, and how snow turns into rivers and streams, and Spanish words, and how some people get wrinkles sooner than other people, and what a trapezoid looks like, and that there’s a kid jail that is different from a grown-up jail, and that you’re not supposed to eat paper but some kids do anyway. But even when she isn’t telling you things, you can just tell by looking at her – she knows things.

IMG_5288

 

Clem hasn’t had the healthiest of months – alternating between colds and coughs and low grade fevers and every other type of crud that has been going around her class (except for lice – knock on wood!!). It’s given her some crabby behavior and a short fuse on occasion, and general tiredness that we’ve been trying to fix with earlier bedtimes. But she’s still managed to charm her way through the way she always does. In fact, she even charmed her way into getting signed  with an agency for future commercial work! So, in fact, this headshot is now up on multiple casting websites. We are only going to pursue it very casually, only in Austin, and only as long as she’s still really interested, but with two actors as her “local grandparents” (who called their agent and asked if they’d take her on after that Kinsa video gig), we couldn’t say no. And neither could the talent agency:

clementine davisClem’s biggest interests this month are scissors, tape, interpretive dance, and rocks – for collecting, coloring, and even smashing:

P1340362She still loves books and is making progress in reading, although she isn’t interested in putting in the practice time these days (so we aren’t pushing it). And she still loves building with duplos, little legos, magnetiles, and anything else she can find. Mostly she still loves any kind of make believe you are willing to engage in with her – tea parties, animal families, etc. And hugging. Clem still loves to hug.IMG_5511

 

And let me be clear, there is still almost nothing better in this world than a Clementine hug. Crossing my fingers that we’ll still be getting plenty of them when she’s 40.2!