Tag Archives: Knufflebunny

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Big

It must be in our nature to like “big”. Early on in life, little kids grab the big toys, ask for the bigger piece of cake and the big balloon, and they want to be bigger themselves. It doesn’t seem to get any better as we move into adulthood. We like big TVs, big trucks, big homes, big boobs…When I visited the U.S. for the first time as a teenager, I was shocked to see how much bigger everything was compared to France. Bigger buildings, bigger roads, bigger cars, bigger food portions, bigger people… I admit it was a culture shock. Even today, I can still get surprised.

Here are a few examples of “big” in my life, sorted by size. Do you like bigger or smaller things?

BIG – kid-size Knufflebunny, when we went to see Mo Willems and listen to him read his books. That was a lot of fun.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: big - big Knufflebunny

WordPress weekly photo challenge: big – big Knufflebunny

BIGGER – this pelican at the San Diego Safari Park. A little spooky… I can only imagine how huge pterodactyls looked.

Wordpress photo challenge: big pelican at the San Diego Safari Park

WordPress photo challenge: big pelican at the San Diego Safari Park

BIGGEST – the Eiffel Tower, of course!

Wordpress photo challenge: big - the Eiffel Tower in Paris

WordPress photo challenge: big – the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Wait, is that a double rainbow, in San Diego?

Double Rainbow in San Diego on September 30, 2010

Double Rainbow in San Diego on September 30, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, more specifically on September 30, 2010 (you can see how behind I am on writing my posts!), the San Diego area was hit by a major thunderstorm that lasted from morning to evening. You may think, what’s the big deal? So let me explain a few things about life in Southern California:

1) This was our first rain in about six months, so it always makes us feel a little giddy the first time it happens.
2) San Diego’s usual rain is medium to large-size rain drops, with no thunder.
3) Thunder and lightning are very rare and occur once or twice a year, tops.
4) Rainbows almost never happen. Yep, somehow you can see a rainbow every day in Ireland, but here, you’re lucky if you see one every other year.

That’s why September 30 is a day that will go down in history for most San Diego residents. Oh yeah, and I again managed not to have a camera on me to document it… Fortunately for me, there’s YouTube, where the people that are better equipped than me can capture these events!

That evening, I decided to take my youngest out while his brother and his dad attended a Padres game at Petco Park. That’s the day I took him to Barnes & Noble to read the latest and greatest Knuffle Bunny Free, followed by dinner for two at Panda Express (yummy chicken and green beans!).

As we were finishing dinner, I glanced at the mix of bright light and darkness coming from outside and told my son we’d have to look out for a rainbow. Not a second after I finished saying that, I saw it through the restaurant’s wide window. Oh my gosh, the largest rainbow I’d ever seen! We packed up our stuff and went outside. Standing in a light rain with our raincoat hoods on, we stared at not only the largest rainbow I’ve ever seen, but the largest DOUBLE rainbow I have seen in my whole life!!!

Here’s someone else’s video to prove that I’m not making this up!

Pretty cool, huh? Alright, let me go on. By walking a few more steps, we managed to see the double rainbow from one very end to the other. We literally saw each end rising from the ground to create the brightest full double rainbow ever recorded on this planet (seriously, it had to be!). It was so bright that I felt the urge to jump in my car and drive to the end of the rainbow as I could almost see where the giant pots of gold were shining from!

Now, the only words that came out of my mouth during this whole experience were “oh my gosh!”, “this never happens!”, this is so special!”, “a full double rainbow!”. How do I know? Because that’s what my son kept repeating the rest of the evening after we got home… Kids are quite perceptive, even at an early age!

That night, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I saw and the reason why this full double rainbow appeared in front of us. Some pretty big changes have occurred recently in my professional life (I’ll share at a later date) and the rain and the silver lining really looked as a sign that life is good and bright, and a gentle reminder that we must live every moment that we have in this world to the fullest.

I guess I’m not the only one who gets to question my life’s purpose when I see a full double rainbow. Remember the double rainbow guy on YouTube? Here’s Hungry Bear for you to enjoy if you missed it:


“Oh my god, a double rainbow all the way across the sky! What does this mean?” You go, Hungry Bear! I really understand how you felt on that day. I may even have cried like you if I had been by myself. After all, I had just read the ending of Knuffle Bunny Free less than an hour before that, so my tears were ready to come out anytime!

Hungry Bear is a normal guy with a great sense of humor who managed to gain his 15 minutes of fame by “remaking” his rainbow video for a Microsoft commercial. Take a look, this is really funny if you haven’t seen it!

As I said in a previous post (Happy birthday, little man!), “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” THAT was a breathless moment. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite rainbow songs, sung by our own San Diego neighbor, Jason Mraz.

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Our up-close-and-personal encounter with Mo Willems – the “Knuffle Bunny Free” book tour

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

As I was counting the days until the release of Mo Willems’ new “Knuffle Bunny Free” book last week, I had made plans to visit our local bookstore this week and read it with my kids. So I visited Barnes & Noble this past Thursday with my two-and-a-half year old son, whose patience didn’t last beyond the moment where Trixie realizes something… How the heck can he walk away from the book right now? I wondered, as I frantically devoured the rest of the book while my son rushed to play with the Thomas train table. Gosh, I knew this was going to be the last of the Knuffle Bunny series, but I didn’t anticipate Mo Willems to finish it so well, including his personal note to the “real Trixie”. I cannot and do not want to imagine my boys growing up yet, so kudos to Willems for daring to do so in such a perfect way!

Back home, I felt the urge to read more about Willems, so I ended up visiting his website and then his blog. There I found out he just started a book tour for “Knuffle Bunny Free”. Secretly hoping he’d make a pit stop in San Diego, I scrolled through the tour dates and locations, and found the only California stop to occur in Mission Viejo, a 90-minute drive with traffic from our house, on this very Saturday! Well, I thought, when will an opportunity like this occur again in my kids’ life? Let’s seize the day and set off on an adventure!

So this morning, we packed our car for the day and drove North. We stopped for lunch at California Pizza Kitchen in Mission Viejo. There my four-year-old son asked me to take a look around every 10 minutes to check if Mo Willems was having lunch at a table next to us (he didn’t show up). After wolfing down our pizza and brownie sundae, we headed to the Civic Center and took a seat on the floor at the very front of the auditorium, impatiently waiting for Willems to appear. Where’s Mo Willems? kept asking my youngest. He’s coming, he’s coming… Finally, after a couple of introductions, Willems did appear, gave a short talk, and read his new Elephant and Piggy book “We are in a book”. Willems answered a few questions, then read “Knuffle Bunny Free“:

Mo Willems reading "Knuffle Bunny Free"

Mo Willems reading "Knuffle Bunny Free"

Mo Willems reading "Knuffle Bunny Free" - the dream of the Knuffle Bunnies

Mo Willems reading "Knuffle Bunny Free" - the dream of the Knuffle Bunnies

This was followed by more questions and answers. When someone asked him if everything in the Knuffle Bunny books was true, Willems answered “Everything in there is true, except for the parts that I made up“. Willems encouraged the kids in the room to stimulate their own imagination and reminded them that we’re all storytellers. Actually, I believe he said that creative writing assignments in school are the only times you’re encouraged to lie during your academic life. You go, Mo!

My kids got their Knuffle Bunny Free book dedicated and signed, and enjoyed a few minutes of free play with a larger-than-life Knuffle Bunny!

Fun times with Knuffle Bunny!

Fun times with Knuffle Bunny!

By the time we got back in the car and on the freeway, my two little guys were dreaming away, possibly of giant Knuffle bunnies, or maybe of decadent brownie sundaes, I’m not sure. We finished the day with another reading of “Knuffle Bunny Free” during story time. Ah, the perfect end to a really cool day… If my boys ever forget the day they met Mo Willems, it will be up to us, their parents, to tell them the story, again and again. Indeed, we all are storytellers.

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Mo Willems – Can I play too?

We’re big fans of Mo Willems at our house, kids and parents alike. The Knuffle Bunny series (see my previous review on Knuffle Bunny) is one of our bedtime favorites and we always enjoy reading the new adventures of Elephant and Piggie.

Can I play too? by Mo Willems

Can I play too? by Mo Willems

In the 2010 release of “Can I play too?“, Mo Willems revisits the frienship theme between Elephant and Piggie by having the two best friends play ball together. Suddenly, a snake appears and asks if he can play ball with them. What follows is a series of attempts to figure out how to play ball with an armless catcher. If the poor snake can’t catch one ball, maybe MORE BALLS will help??? My words can’t do justice to the hilarious dialogue and facial expressions assigned to the various characters throughout the book. Both children and parents will get a great laugh and want to read the story over and over until their stomach muscles ache. Hey, wait a minute! Does that count as a workout? I think it does after three repetitions! Oh, and you’ll get a kick out of Mo Willems’ updating of the “lightbulb over the head” concept with the new energy-efficient version. It’s about time we saved electricity in children’s books!

If you enjoy this book, buy or borrow others from your favorite library. The Elephant and Piggie book series is great for kids from 2 to 6. Early readers age 4 and above can start reading the large-print text on their own. In my opinion, Mo Willems’ full mastery of the art of humor is reflected in his choice of words and illustrations, making is a highly enjoyable experience for readers of all ages. Parents won’t say no when their kids ask them to read those books again and again!

Here are our favorite in the Elephant & Piggie series in order of increasing giggle intensity:
Are you ready to play outside? – how you can have fun outside, rain or shine
Watch me throw the ball – that’s before Elephant & Piggie shared their ball with a snake
I love my new toy – a story with an interesting twist… or should I say break?
I will surprise my friend – my personal favorite, and it does include quite a surprise

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

Talking about Mo Willems, the clock is ticking louder and louder as we’re impatiently getting close to the release of the latest Knuffle bunny story with “Knuffle Bunny Free – an unexpected diversion” on September 28, 2010. I think I’ll be scheduling a trip with my boys to our local bookstore next week to read the latest and last of the series. I hear this may be a tear jerker, so I’d better bring some tissues, at least for myself. It’s hard to think that some children’s books make me want to cry. Gee, it’s tough being a mom…

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