Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Laurel's lunch is paid for from her account. She gives the lunch lady her number and it gets deducted from her balance. When the balance is low, it is automatically reloaded from Mom's credit card. Laurel buys her lunch no more than twice a week and it costs $2.25. So why did the account get reloaded twice in one month? Mom and Dad thought maybe someone else was using her number. Maybe Laurel was buying lunch on days when she had a sack lunch and left it in her backpack.

Finally, she came home with a long stripe of chocolate down her sweater and onto her shorts. "Laurel, what happened to your shirt?"
"Oh, I spilled my ice cream."
"Where did you get ice cream?"
"From the case in the lunch line...the lunch lady said I can take one and give her my number."

AH HA! This is where the money is disappearing to! Without telling the parents, the lunch personnel allow the kids to buy treats with their lunch. Surely, this has been going on for years (maybe even decades), but how is a Mom to know, especially if her child is not accident-prone. Laurel is clear now on what she is and is not to spend money on, but this is one case in which Jamie Oliver may be on point. Do 1st graders really have a right to buy treats at lunch, in addition to their planned meal? And out of curiosity, what about free and reduced lunch kids? Do they get to spend their personal extra funds on treats? Seems a little wrong.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


They got lots of love and kisses on their visit, but only a couple pictures. Laurel loved taking Gigi to violin, and Brant had time for all sorts of punching on Papa. Laney gives Gigi big smiles now!


The day was black...with dirt. Nothing like being a kid, going to the ranch and getting completely filthy. Thanks to Aunt Joan and Uncle Bill for inviting us out for some wholesome, natural fun. The kids slept in the tent with Brad. Mom and Laney had plush sleeping arrangements in the house.

Brant LOVES tractors.

This Jeep has been around since Maren's childhood.

This boy knows how to chill.

The tent went up without any expletives.

This is a horrible photo, but shows the pure exhaustion the morning after...time to go home!

The only way to prevent the meltdowns as the family was leaving.


The kids were so excited to go ice skating until they put the skates on. They spent the entire 15 minutes clutched onto the sidewall and begging to be done. Maren did a few laps alone and had plenty of fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Do you remember being sad because the cool kid wouldn't trade you your cookie for his cake? Maybe you didn't get to sit on the playground tires with the popular girl.

Well, time doesn't change much.

Yesterday afternoon, Laurel got off the bus, climbed into the car, and within about 30 seconds her bottom lip started quivering. Within the minute, she was can't-understand-a-word-she's-saying sobbing. Mom figured out something happened on the bus. Turns out, a girl in her class that she rides the bus with said she wasn't going to be Laurel's friend. Who knows what prompted the girl to make the declaration... Laurel adamantly defended herself. "I didn't do anything!"

Fast forward to this morning. Laurel and Mom got ready fast enough to walk to the bus stop instead of the usual drive. On our way there, the mom of Laurel's non-friend pulled up next to the walkers, rolled down her window, and beckoned them over. She just wanted to invite Laurel over for cake and ice cream on Sunday night to celebrate the non-friend's birthday. (Just Laurel by the way; this was not a big party.) Mom agreed happily.

This afternoon, Laurel got off the bus practically hand-in-hand with her non-friend. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010


The great experiment has begun. Brad is now working at Chronicle headquarters. In order to cut overhead, his employer will not be renewing the lease on his floor. Brad will stay in this new physical location indefinitely unless a client wants him on sight. So far, the experiment is going well. Brad's able to see Laney a little bit throughout the day, the family is saving on gas and tolls, and he doesn't lose an hour a day in commute time.

There is a side experiment running concurrently in the household. Laney has been adjusting to the "Child Development Center" at the YMCA. In fact, as of today, she is officially adjusted. This is a HUGE accomplishment. Prior to this week, she would scream as soon as Mom was out of sight. So under the advice of the Y staff, Laney and family have come every single weekday at the same time to help her adjust. Sometimes, Maren would do nothing but come and sit in the room and let her play. After five consecutive days of practice, Laney can now make almost a full hour of play time without Mama! It's a glorious day! The next step is to try a different Y, and see if she can handle the transition.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The Cupits have been at it. October is the month to try to squeeze in as much as possible and still come out with enough energy to survive the "real" holidays. Here's a few of the recent goings-on. Pictures to follow of Brant's special day at the petting farm.

Laney playing at a local park after a picnic lunch with Cissy.

Laurel and Lia at the Maze (see below.) Lia's holding a flag that you wave if you get lost. They didn't have to use it.

The Corn Maze. Six acres of fun...or not exactly if you're pushing a stroller through the dirt.

Hannah Montana dress rehearsal.

Kitty Kuteness.

Daddy's Pirate Masterpiece that didn't survive the Florida heat and humidity for more than 2 days.

Hannah and Billy Ray

The whole family at a Halloween Party.

Friday, October 22, 2010


The promised extra photos...

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Easiest family night ever.


In anticipation of her upcoming teacher workday holiday, Laurel brainstormed a list of possible activities. Manicure, haircut, ice cream, movie, YMCA, and more.

Time didn't allow for all of it, but she got to watch a Tinkerbell movie that she picked out at the grocery store, had lunch at Steak 'n Shake, and went swimming at the YMCA. In the evening, she picked the family night treat- italian ice from the little shop close to the house. She had a good day!


Brant's parent/teacher conference took place Wednesday night. Brad had to watch the kids so that Maren could attend without interruption. The kids were trying to agree on a tv show; Laurel and Brad suggested Hannah Montana. Brant, trying to find the most effective argument in objection said solemnly, "I don't think Laurel should watch that show because that's where she gets her sassiness from." Ohhhh, he is oh-so-right!

Another secret was exposed at the conference. Brant has mentioned a special reward he gets at school for various good behavior. He puts his hand on his head, and the teacher comes around and gives the kids a "smelly". What is a smelly, you ask? Scented chapstick! The teacher keeps a drawer full of different flavors. One child's job each week is to be the smelly-picker! They get to pick the smell for the whole class. Brilliant!


The family is taking advantage of every beautiful October Saturday in Florida. Brad has not taken up a new side job as a swimsuit model (despite heaps of fan mail suggesting he take up the hobby). It just so happens that here in Florida, October is a perfectly good time to be in the water, and Maren is usually the one holding the camera!

So last weekend, the adventure took the Cupits to DeLeon Springs and the Old Sugar Mill. Cissy and Lance joined the fun. This was a nostalgic visit for best friends who came to this state park together almost 20 years ago. The waitress brought out pitchers of batter to be cooked on the in-layed griddles. Following breakfast, the kids were brave enough to hop in the 72 degree spring fed water. Brant, Laurel, Brad and Lance also went paddle-boating. Look for more photos to come later.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


It's undecided whether or not this trait will stick around, but the family is definitely trying to keep it. Brant has become a neat-lover (freak is such a harsh term.)

The first evidence came one morning this weekend. Maren was ready to go out the door and called for Brant to come. He stalled a little bit, but not for the usual no good reasons. He responded that he had "to finish cleaning the playroom." Say what??? The parents hadn't even hinted that this needed to be done. The only plausible explanation is that there are now extra toy storage shelves and bins in the room, and most toys have a home. Maybe Brant's year in Montessori has molded him to appreciate a little bit of order. HIP, HIP, HOORAY!

The story continues...

This morning, Mother heard Son huff in frustration. "What's wrong, Brant?" With a little coaxing, he explained, "I just cleaned this place up and now there's a big mess." He pointed to the pile of clean clothes waiting to be folded on the carpet next to the drier. To ease his mind, Mother promised to have the mess put away before he got home from school. Hmmm, role reversal??? (And you can bet she was scurrying around before it was time to go get him!)

This evening, Mother helped older daughter do her homework until Father came home for dinner. At one point, she leaned back to sneak a peak and check on Brant in the living room. "Whatcha doin'?" "Cleaning up the living room, but Laney keeps messing things up!"

Oh please oh please oh please let this new side of Brant stay!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Laney's party was free of contention. She shared the celebration with lots of friends, food, and fun.

Enjoy a few shots of the special day...

Check out Laney's divided shirt~half gator, half tiger cheerleader!