What's on my iPod?  Ha!  I laugh in the face of this question for day 14 of the March Challenge.  I laugh because ...

Uh, just a second.

I interrupt today's regularly scheduled March Challenge post to tell you about something quite fun and wonderful that has been happening around our house the past four days.  On the evening of March 10th, I sat in my favorite ugly upholstered rocking chair reading random blog posts while the girls played happily together on the living room floor and daddy dozed on the couch.  I clicked a link here and a link there, and somehow I ended up reading this post on a blog I'd never visited before.

Now, you should know that we enjoy silly fun and lots of mischief at our house, and only a few short hours before stumbling onto Michele's blog, I had googled phrases like St. Patrick's Day fun for preschoolers.  I was looking specifically for stories about leprechauns that I could read to them, but did you know that most leprechaun stories on the internet are not interesting enough for kids or are not at the preschool/kindergarten age level?  I learned that.  I especially learned, do not go to YouTube and type in the word leprechaun.  At least, don't do it when your children are looking over your shoulder.

So, I sat in my favorite ugly upholstered rocking chair reading this post, and my six-year-old, Liberty Grace, happened to walk past my chair.  She glanced at the pictures on the computer screen, and she exclaimed, "MOMMY!  WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?  WILL YOU READ IT TO ME?!"  "Sure," I complied, and four-year-old Mercy Jane jumped up from the floor to join us at the computer.  I scrolled back to the beginning and read the post to them.  They laughed and giggled the entire way through, then they asked me to read it again.  I backed up and read it again.  And again.  And again.  After the fourth time, I told them no more.  It was time for them to go back to playing. 

They happily jumped down from the arms of the rocking chair where they had been perched and immediately began gathering leprechaun-catching supplies:  a plastic fork, a few bowls, some legos, assorted lengths of yarn, bait, etc.  I listened in amusement while they brainstormed the best ways to set up a leprechaun trap, and I silently acknowledged my own approval of the influence Michele's blog post had had on their creativity and logic.

Here is what they came up with.

The notes say, "Use the rope to pull yourselves to the bowls," and "Use this rope.  There is a surprise inside the bowls for you."  (Or something like that.) 

The first bowl contained a few fun objects for the leprechauns to enjoy, then a tight rope led the leprechauns to a second bowl where a Dove milk chocolate piece enticed them.  The chocolate had been a reward for some good work Liberty had done earlier that day, but she wanted to put it in the bowl as bait.

It was all fun and games until time for bed.  That's when Liberty informed Mercy of what would happen in the morning.  "The traps will catch the leprechauns, and they will leave a present behind so they can escape," she whispered in her sister's ear so the leprechauns would not hear that there were traps about. 

Uh-oh!  I thought to myself.  I don't have ANYTHING that can be used as a leprechaun treat!

The next morning, both girls woke up early and ran to the trap.  Nothing had changed.  What had gone wrong?  I told them maybe the leprechauns weren't here yet, or maybe they hadn't noticed the traps.  But Liberty knew that could not be possible.  She searched the house looking for leprechaun mischief.  And she found it: a small pile of paper scraps left on the kitchen counter that had not been there the night before.  It must be the work of those tricky leprechauns!

Then she and Mercy discussed in whispers how they could possibly trick the leprechauns into falling for their trap.  They decided to add a third sticky note with a smiley face on it from Mercy.  That should show that there was nothing nefarious about these innocent-looking legos, strings, and bowls!

Liberty then begged me to read leprechaun stories to them from the computer, so I turned to trusty old Google and searched.  This time I found a couple suitable stories.  The girls enjoyed them, but Liberty insisted, "No, Mommy!  Read the one about the kids and the traps!  Please, read the one about the kids and the traps!  You know, the REAL story!"  So I headed back to Michele's blog post and read it to them again.  This time, I discovered that Michele had written three ebooks designed for the iPad about the adventures their family has had with their leprechaun encounters.

Any of you who know me will realize that I never - no, not ever - pay one single cent for ebooks or apps on my PC or iPhone.  There are so many to be had for free.  But this was different.  These stories were special, both to me and to my children.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for a good mischief story.  Besides, I loved how engaged my children had become in building traps and looking for mischief.  I headed straight for iTunes on my computer and downloaded those three ebooks.  After all, they were only $0.99 each.  It was $3.00 well spent I decided.

Liberty and Mercy hovered expectantly over the computer while the books downloaded.  "Is it almost finished, Mom?"  I had trouble updating my account information because it had been a long time since I'd used iTunes, and we'd changed our computer operating system in the meantime.  I even had to call Apple's helpdesk to figure out how to make some of the necessary adjustments.  Mercy lost interest in the process, but Liberty couldn't take her eyes off the screen.  "Now, Mommy?  Are the leprechaun stories almost ready now?" 

"Pretty soon, honey."

Then I realized I had to update my entire computer system in order to for iTunes to process my order.  Three hours, the computer told me it would take.  So I nudged Liberty off my lap, and we started working on other tasks around the house while the computer updated.  Later that afternoon, we met back at the screen to read the stories.  That is when I realized, the ebooks had only been designed for the iPad.  Not for my computer.  Not even for my iPhone.  And we don't own an iPad.  My heart sank as I turned to Liberty's eager face and tried to explain to her that the stories weren't working. 

In the meantime, Michele had sent me an email reply to one of the complimentary comments I had left on her blog.  I had told her how her stories had so engaged Liberty and Mercy, and that I had decided to purchase them.  (The stories, that is, I had not decided to purchase my daughters.)  Michele had written back to thank me for my purchase.  When I read her emailed response, I decided to take a long shot, and I told her what had happened to us.  It was totally my fault.  I had read the part that said the ebooks were for the iPad, but I hadn't believed they would really be only for the iPad.  I wondered if maybe she had another format that she could email me?  Or a link that I could download for my computer or iPhone? 

This wonderful mom wrote back to me that she couldn't stand to hear of a disappointed child, and so she would snail mail me hard copies of the stories.  Really?  I couldn't believe it!  I sent her my address and thanked her, but later I wondered would she really do it?  How much would it cost her to mail those books?  I started feeling badly, wondering if I ought to offer to pay shipping costs.

During my lunch break on Monday, I made a quick stop at the Dollar Store to pick up leprechaun gifts, and I hid the bag of fun under the driver's seat when I picked the girls up from school.  The two of them were so excited, they talked of nothing but leprechauns all the way home, and that afternoon, I had to stop them from building fifty more traps around the house.  I hadn't bought THAT many gifts!

Tuesday morning, the girls raced to the trap to see what had been caught.  The legos had been used; the ropes had been pulled; the bait items had disappeared from the bowls, and two shamrock beaded necklaces sat in their place!  Oh the squealing!  Oh the delight!  Liberty and Mercy hugged each other and jumped up and down.  The leprechauns had really come!!!

I had to stop them from starting new traps right away, and I promised them they could work on them after school that day.  Wednesday morning's traps caught a green, squishy, light-up, bunny rabbit type thing.  The girls thought those might be leprechaun pets, and they proudly took them to school to show their classmates.  Thursday morning, Liberty and Mercy discovered crazily-shaped, green-glittery sunglasses in the new traps they had built on Wednesday.

But Thursday afternoon brought the best surprise of all.  Around six p.m., our doorbell rang.  Our neighbor from down the street handed me a package and told me that it had my address on it, but it had been delivered to her mailbox by mistake.  I took the package in puzzlement and checked the return address.



"GIRLS!"  I shouted, "IT'S HERE!!!"  Jeremy and the girls came running.  "What's here?"  They wanted to know.


I still could not believe the generosity of this lady I have never met.  And she must have paid extra to have it shipped so quickly.

Of course, I had not told the girls about the possibility of any books being sent to us.  I didn't want to disappoint them if it never happened.  And let me tell you, if *I* had been the one responsible for sending something in the mail...well, we all know my mailing reputation.  (Which reminds me, I still need to mail our Christmas letters out.  Oops.)

I ripped the package open and showed them the cover of one of the books. 

Both girls squealed as they recognized their new friends, Isabella and Luca.  Jeremy stood there puzzled.  Then the four of us cuddled together on the couch to read our new favorite stories.

Michele, if you are reading this post (and I think you are because I plan to send you a link when I'm finished typing it), THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!  You made two little girls extremely happy today, and I know these books will get read at our house over and over and over and over.  I hope this post causes everybody to purchase your wonderful stories and start new St. Patrick's Day traditions like we have.

And everybody else, if you are even the slightest bit intrigued AND you have an iPad, please go to iTunes and search for the author name Aucello to find the three ebooks and all the fun stories.  If you do that, I'd love to hear what your kids thought of the leprechauns and the traps.

But a word of advice: go to the Dollar Store BEFORE you read these books to your children!

(And, Michele, did I mention thank you?  Because seriously, THANK YOU!)
3 Responses
  1. AWESOME! Can't wait to share this news with my kids- and tell them they have new friends on the mainland. Seriously, thanks for sharing this, and helping to get the word out. So glad it all worked out - and that you got the books in time for St. Patrick's Day.

  2. Toma Walker Says:

    This is pretty funny! I have been dealing with this ALL last week. My middle child is dead-set on capturing a leprechaun. We have set up homemade traps all this week and there is no leprechaun. I'm not sure what to do about it. Maybe I will read them some of this post.

  3. Suanna Says:

    I'll be checking out Michelle's site. I enjoyed reading about your family's traps. One year I hid a paper leprechaun and told the kids about it. I told them that whoever finds it needs to hide it again for someone else to find. They played with it for months. Then when we were packing to move a couple years later I found it hidden in the living room. I guess it was hidden so well they couldn't find it. They were asking me again this year if we could do that, but I forgot.

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