Friday, July 30, 2010

Apple Crisp

The highlight of Julia's day today was helping me bake apple crisp, which we made for a get-together we're going to. While I peeled the apples, she sat next to me happily crunching away on apple peels. She initially saw me pop a bite of peel into my mouth, then asked if she could have one. After eating it she asked, "Mama? Can I have JUST TWO more?" After eating just two more, she said, "But Mama? Can I have JUST THREE more?" Once she realized the apple peels were a highly approved snack option, she proceeded to grab handfuls of peel to hoard over on her side of the table, apparently afraid I was going to eat them all on her. But of course I can't complain about her being so into something as healthy as apples. Apparently she was impressed with my apple cutting skills, or feeling euphoric that I was letting her have as many apple peels as she wanted, because out of the blue she exclaimed, "You're a GREAT mom!" Well, she made my day! Anyway, she would occasionally hop up out of her chair and pick up one of the unpeeled apples, handing it to me after I had finished cutting up the one I was working on. I didn't realize kudos were in order there, but she set me straight: "Uh, Mama, can you tell me thank you for being my big helper?" She also justified her mostly observational presence while I chopped: "Mama? Do you know what part I want to help you with? The CRISP part. Because, I remembered that yesterday I was watching you peel apples and I just thought, THAT'S OK if I just watch you peel these apples!" I assured her that it was absolutely A-OK for her to watch me while I used the knife, since knives aren't for kids.

When the crisp part was ready to be made, she poured the ingredients into the bowl for me and felt very important. She also wanted to extend the fun of the apple peel snacking to other ingredients of the crisp. "Mama, can I just try come of the fake sugar? Mama, can I just try a little bit of the cinnamon? Mama, can I have one little bite of the butter?" All of which got a resounding no from Mama. She satisfied herself by eating apple chunks out of the baking pan until I told her we actually needed those for the apple crisp. After we had created the topping and sprinkled it over the apples, Julia was nearly giddy with the exciting baking adventure we had been on, and declared delightedly, "Mama, I LOVE this!" Since I love baking myself, I am so thrilled that my daughter gets such enjoyment out of it and that I can pass on the tradition. However, I do wonder if Julia's own baked goods will come out half eaten...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Julia and Madeleine engaged in a low-speed crawling chase:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Dark Crystal and other movies

Despite the fact that she's scared of the Skekses, Julia has been referencing The Dark Crystal these past few days, as evidenced by the conversation below:

JULIA: Mmmmmmmm!
ME: Are you a Skekse?
JULIA: Mmm-hmm. But Mama, are there any nice Skekses?
ME: I don't think so.
JULIA: But Mama, I mean, are any Skekses nice?
ME: No, I think all the Skekses are mean.
JULIA: Oh. But Mama, I know a movie where there are nice Skekses, but it's a DIFFERENT movie.
ME: Oh, you do?
JULIA: Yeah. Mama, it's a different movie. It's actually called The LIGHT Crystal. And Mama, there are no Gelflings in it, because everybody is nice, but it's all people. There are no other kinds of creatures in it. And Mama, I just got this thing stuck in my head. Do you know what it is that got stuck in my head? Does The Sword and the Stone have anybody mean in it?
ME: Yeah, I think there's one mean lady in it, but I can't remember her name.
JULIA: Um, I think her name is ALLERINA!
ME: Allerina? That's a pretty name.
JULIA: Yeah, I made it up. Because I discovered you would think that's a GREAT name.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Julia has begun incorporating some of the adverbs that she hears Ethan and I use into her speech; for example, "That would be perfectly okay," or "It's simply time to eat snack." Her newest adverb has been "entirely," although I'm not sure she entirely understands how the word is supposed to be used:

"Mama, anything on my plate is entirely not hot!"
"Daddy, Madeleine is, like, ENTIRELY goofing around with her cup!"

And speaking of, here are two videos of Madeleine ENTIRELY goofing around in her high chair at dinner last night:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Julia counts to twenty

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, sixteen, sixteen, nineteen, eighteen, eleventeen, TWENTY!"

Friday, July 23, 2010


Madeleine's latest favorite thing to experiment with is blowing raspberries in the air, which, because of the excessive drool that currently accompanies her teething, usually results in spit flying through the air at us. It's even more fun when she decides to do it after having just been fed a bite of pureed food. Last night's dinner went something like this:

ETHAN: putting a spoonful of pureed carrots in Madeleine's mouth.
MADELEINE: loud farting sound as she blows a raspberry in the air. Orange slime spatters her high chair tray.
ETHAN: No. No. No spitting, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: Gazing at Ethan with a smile at the corners of her mouth. Another loud farting sound. More orange slime sputters explosively out of her mouth.
ETHAN: No! No! Madeleine. No spitting. No spitting or you don't get any more carrots.
MADELEINE: Gazes at him solemnly.
ETHAN: Prepares the next bite and brings it towards Madeleine's mouth.
MADELEINE: eats spoonful then blows another raspberry. More orange goo sprays out of her mouth.
ETHAN: Okay. That's enough. You don't get any more if you're going to do that.
MADELEINE: Gazes at Ethan, unperturbed.
ETHAN: Puts carrots and spoon down, begins eating his own dinner.
MADELEINE: Continues to gaze at Ethan. Suddenly bursts into indignant, wailing sobs.
ETHAN: Sorry, honey, but you don't get any more if you're just going to spit it out all over me.
MADELEINE: tears rolling down her cheeks, continues wailing.
ETHAN: Are you going to stop spitting?
ETHAN: lifts up spoon, resumes feeding Madeleine, who stops crying and accepts her spoonfuls without blowing any more raspberries.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hard workers

Every night before bed, Julia is responsible for picking up all her toys in the living room. She generally does a pretty good job, although her book shelving skills leave a little to be desired. I don't think she'll be getting a job at the library anytime soon; here is what her bookshelf looked like last night after she put her books away:

At least all of the books are off the floor and back on the bookshelf; I do appreciate her diligence in leaving no book lying around the room. And speaking of diligence, she had some encouraging words of advice for me today as we sat side by side coloring in her Dora the Explorer coloring book. "Mama, can you color the whole page all the way like I'm doing? Mama, I know it's tough, but I think you can do it! You just have to work REALLY hard. Do you see me how I'm coloring? I'm working really hard and that's just how you have to do it." Thanks to her inspiring words, I was able to complete the task.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cheerios, cheerios everywhere

Madeleine the monkey managed to knock over the box of Cheerios today and spill them all over the dining room floor. I didn't feel like picking them up, so I used my personal vacuum cleaner:

(Don't worry, there was still plenty for me to vacuum up after she'd had her fill.)

And on a different topic, Julia had a great time at her swim lesson this morning. Such a great time, in fact, that she felt the need to tell me that "I love swimming lessons so much, I would EVEN go swimming with a WOLF!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Clap your hands

Madeleine has shown us that she's beginning to understand certain words and phrases lately, which is exciting. While it seems she has recognized her name and the word "no" (albeit with short-term memory loss on the latter; she generally resumes the forbidden activity after a 30 second pause), she is now also able to clap her hands if we verbally prompt her. I took a short video of her responding to my request, although for some reason she looks a little distressed about it (my guess is she was much more interested in pursuing the shiny video camera than being stuck clapping on command...)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Losagna and Lousagna get new names

JULIA: (from the bathtub) Mommy, Louisa doesn't usually have a pillow in her bed.
ME: Oh, she isn't Losagna anymore?
JULIA: No. Losagna is Louisa now, and, um, Lousagna got changed to Max.
ME: Oh, I see.
JULIA: Yeah, their mommy and daddy knew that they liked water, so they changed their names.
ME: Okay, Louisa and Max.
JULIA: Yeah. Okay Mommy, I'll tell you the whole story. It was raining in their house, and Louisa CHASED the thunder and the lightning up to her room. Then they had a flood in their house!
ME: But wait, why did the mommy and daddy change their names?
JULIA: Because Louisa chased the thunder and lightning up her room.
ME: Oh. Okay.
JULIA: Louisa isn't, really, like, a good girl, because she cooks the meals, serves the breakfast, and, like, eats in bed! She wasn't really listening to her mommy and daddy, and she ran out the door, and she let the thunder and lightning in her house! So she chased it up to her room, and her mommy said, "Louisa and Max! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?" And then Louisa explains what happened. She said that it was raining in the house and that it was going into the corner and instead she chased it up her room. That's not a very good thing to do if Louisa isn't listening to her mommy and daddy. That would just be silly if she let the thunder and lightning come into her house! So they said "We'll just change your name!"
ME: Hmm. Okay.
JULIA: Her mommy was like, "Louisa, clean up your room!" and Louisa did, and she said, "Mommy, I'll never do that again."

And that seems to be the end of the story... at least for today.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Naptime yoga

Madeleine got re-acquainted with her pack n play this weekend, since we took a trip up to Vermont to see Nana and Gramps. While she did quite well in it once she had fallen asleep, she was very aware that she was in a different environment and kept popping up to sitting as soon as we'd laid her down and headed for the door. Yesterday afternoon she seems to have actually fallen asleep in a sitting position, then sort of flopped her upper body over in her unconscious state; this is how I found her when I went in to check on her:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Much better today

We seem to have cleared a few of the hurdles set up in the past few weeks and days; not necessarily permanently, but I'll happily take what I can get! Julia not only stayed in her bedroom all night, but she also got right in the pool with no fuss this morning. Then, after we grocery shopped, I was attempting to put both the flour and molasses up in the cabinet above the stove, which is a little too high for a shrimp like me to reach. The end result was the bag of flour knocking the molasses out of the cabinet, where it hit the sugar bowl on its way crashing down to the counter, and suddenly there was sugar EVERYWHERE. So I had to abandon my putting away of the groceries to start vacuuming up sugar, and consequently, Julia took over putting the groceries away. Complete with comments like, "Mama, do you know why I'm putting the groceries away? Because... you're busy, and so I'm being busy, because you're cleaning up the mess, and so I'm being your helper. Mama, can you believe I know where this goes?" And, with the exception of the raspberries I discovered in the pantry this evening, she really did know where to put everything. To finish off the day, we went for a family jog with Ethan pushing the kids in the jogging stroller and me feeling exhausted and rotten for the majority of the run. When we got home, I was pooped out, sitting on our door stoop, while Ethan got the kids out of the stroller. Julia traipsed over and plopped down next to me, saying, "Mama, I KNOW it will make your life better to have me sitting here with you." Well put!

Madeleine, for her part, has played quite independently today rather than fussing to be held, although her method of playing basically consisted of stuffing Cartacarizza (and various other Little People figurines) halfway down her throat:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cooperation. And lack thereof.

My threat of no dessert seems to have done the trick - at least for the time being. For the past two nights, Julia has not come down out of her room repeatedly after we put her to bed. She listened to Ethan's suggestion that she flip through some books if she can't fall asleep, and both nights when I went in to check on her I found her like this:

She was not, however, quite so cooperative at the pool today when we went for swim lessons. It had rained earlier in the morning, and even though the rain had stopped by the time of her lesson, she was in abject terror of going in the water in case it started to thunderstorm. I got to be the mom trying to coax the screaming, sobbing child into the water, with absolutely no luck. Instead we sat on the bench through the duration of the lesson; I insisted on staying despite her refusal to go into the water, so she could at least watch the lesson. I'm sure she was really able to take in what the instructor was teaching amid her wailing demands to go home. All in all, a very successful experience.

And finally, an example of the fact that you never know quite what is about to come out of that kid's mouth:

JULIA: Mommy, I thought you were going to help me put this puzzle together.
ME: I'll come over in a minute. Why don't you start collecting the pieces?
JULIA: But I don't know how.
ME: Sure you do. Just start looking for the pieces to the puzzle you want to do.
JULIA: No, that's not how you do it. How about you just make a bowl of chili?

Yeah... okay. I'll get right on that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Last night, Julia was proudly showing Ethan and I the page she had colored in one of her workbooks. When I exclaimed that I couldn't believe she had colored the whole page by herself, she responded, "Yeah, I resisted that I could color the whole thing by myself, without even having a grown-up helping!"

Today she played a very elaborate bath game, in which she was Losagna, a girl who always wants to be in the water. Her bed is even in the water, and she wears her blanket (played by a washcloth) on her head. She has a brother named Lousagna, and they want to get married, because their names both have a "sagna" in them. I resisted on taking a picture of Julia as Losagna with her blanket on her head:

Monday, July 12, 2010


While we tend to be a bit more relaxed about Julia's bedtime in the summer, her recent trend of staying up until 9:30 or 10 is really starting to get old. There are those nights, few and far between, when she is out like a light within five minutes of us leaving her room. But more commonly, she is up and out of bed several times each night, with some sort of half-hearted excuse. It usually always begins with her coming to find us, either in our bedroom as we're watching tv, or in the kitchen as we're cleaning up after dinner. Here's a general synopsis of how the conversation usually goes:

JULIA: (clomping up the stairs to our bedroom)
ME: What is it, Julia?
JULIA: (opening the bedroom door and coming in.) Mommy? I have to go pee.
ME: Okay, then go.

(I must interject the fact that to get to our bedroom, Julia has to come out of her room, go down the stairwell into the kitchen, walk past the bathroom into the hallway, and go up the hallway stairs to our bedroom in order to avoid walking straight through Madeleine's bedroom, which is in between her room and ours. So, again, she walks PAST the bathroom to come tell us she needs to pee.)

After I give her the okay to use the potty, she clomps downstairs, and then clomps back up anywhere between 2 and 15 minutes later to explain to me some problem she discovered downstairs that is preventing her from being able to just go back to her bedroom. The reasons have been getting more and more ridiculous. Here is a smattering of excuses she has given us over the past few weeks:

-"Mommy? But I didn't clean up my toys before bed."
-"Mommy? But I need to put all my manger people back in the freezer to sleep." (yes, her manger people sleep in the freezer of her play kitchen.)
-"Mommy? You didn't put the top on my space puzzle after you put Madeleine to bed."
-"Mommy? Um, there's still water and a fish in a cup in the bath."
-"Mommy? But I only have one tissue left in my room." (Then when Ethan tried to give her a tissue, she responded, "No, I don't have a stuffy nose.")

So, I think it's time to start cracking down a bit more and having consequences for getting out of bed for any reason other than a genuine need to use the potty. And hopefully before too long she will stop coming down out of her room, and then we can have, as she would say, NO consequences today!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pool plans gone awry

Our town pool has been closed this week due to higher-than-allowed bacteria levels, so when we found out it had finally re-opened today, we decided to take a family trip over to swim - complete with my sister Caitlyn, who was visiting for the weekend. The experience started off well, with Julia and Madeleine both squealing with delight and splashing around, and the water was wonderfully warm (how do you like that alliteration?) after a week of such high temperatures. However, about ten minutes into the swim, it started to rain, lightly at first, then an actual torrential downpour, such hard pellets of rain pelting the water that we actually couldn't see. While swimming in the pouring rain felt like a fun adventure to the adults, and even to Madeleine, Julia completely fell apart, thanks to her utter, absolute terror of being caught outside during a thunderstorm. Above the sound of the rain and the noises of kids happily playing in the water, I'm pretty sure *everyone* at the pool could hear Julia wailing, "I WANT TO GO HOME!!! GET ME OUT OF THE POOL!!!" When no amount of soothing could allay her terror, Ethan picked her up and started carrying her to the car, while Caitlyn and I rounded up our stuff - and Madeleine - and met them there. By the time we had gotten to the car, the rain had just about stopped, so I convinced Caitlyn and Ethan (both of whom wanted to swim for longer) to take Madeleine back down to the water while I coaxed Julia out of the car. I was convinced I could manage to get her to come along, despite Ethan's doubtful looks. It was definitely not as easy as I had hoped, but finally, upon hearing that Daddy had the keys, she grudgingly accepted the idea that we walk back down to the pool to get the keys from him so we could go home. Thankfully, to help out my plan, Ethan was a ways into the pool, up by the rope to the deep end, so I explained to Julia that we had to actually get into the pool to go walk out to Daddy and ask him for the keys. Once in the water, I was able to gently sink down to my bottom with Julia in my lap. She was slightly panicked about being in the water, but I managed to distract her by pointing out the people jumping off the diving board, and even had her smiling within a few minutes after playing her favorite water game, "Motorboat." Unfortunately, the fates must have been against me. Just as I was patting myself on the back for my success in getting her back into the water - and smiling about it, at that - an enormous clap of thunder was heard, and everyone had to be evacuated from the pool. And I thought she was on the verge of hysteria BEFORE, when it was just raining... "MOOOOMMY!!! GET ME TO THE CAR!!! I CAN'T BE IN THIS WEATHER!! MOOOOMMY! MOOOOMMY! WE NEED TO GO HOME!!" (Madeleine, meanwhile, remained happy as a clam, flapping her arms around and smiling with delight as the rain fell.) Once we were home, Julia repeatedly asked us, "Isn't it good news that we got safe to our house from the thunderstorm?"

A few hours later, I was getting ready to go out for a run, since the thunderstorm had passed. Julia sagely advised me, "Mommy? When you go for your run, just make sure you don't go too far, because some OTHER towns might still be having thunderstorms." Good thing I've got her to look out for me!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Julia off the wall

Uh... did someone lace Julia's ice cream with caffeine tonight?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Julia has been talking about diabetes a lot lately, ever since my diagnosis as a pre-diabetic. I have tried to explain the basics to her; the idea that the sugar in my blood is high, so I need to eat low sugar foods to stay healthy. However, in typical Julia fashion, she has become obsessed with the topic of diabetes and has lots of different questions and comments about the subject. Here is an excerpt from last night's conversation:

JULIA: Mama? Kids don't get diabetes!
ME: Actually, kids can get diabetes. Mrs. Welsh's son has diabetes. You know her little boy, Tommy?
JULIA: Oh. But I didn't get diabetes. I'm perfectly fine!
ME: Yes, you are fine. You know who else has diabetes? Remember my friend Ginny?
JULIA: Uh-huh.
ME: Well, she has diabetes. She was born with it.
JULIA: Oh. And Mama? Were you her mommy?
ME: No. I've only ever been a mommy to Madeleine and you.
JULIA: Oh. Mama? Is Ginny a friend of yours?
ME: Yes, she is.
JULIA: Oh. And Mama? Well, who ELSE got diabetes?
ME: Well, my grandfather, Popu, had it.
JULIA: Oh. And who ELSE got diabetes?
ME: I don't know anyone else who has it.
JULIA: Oh. So nobody else has diabetes?
ME: Well, no, lots of people in the world have diabetes.
JULIA: Oh. And Mama? Do you know their names?

And so forth.

In Madeleine news, still no tooth:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chair gymnastics

Madeleine decided to get out from under the table by squeezing herself between the chair seat and rungs:


Meanwhile, Julia had been doing "gallop time," and twice she was on track to gallop right in front of the camera as I was snapping pictures, but she came to a halting stop and waited until I'd taken the picture to gallop on by. I was amazed at her awareness of other things besides herself, which led to this conversation:

ME: Julia! You are so aware! You were galloping by and you saw I was taking a picture and you stopped and waited until I was done. Most kids wouldn't even notice that. You paid attention! I'm proud of you.
JULIA: (beaming and lifting up her shirt bashfully.) Yeah, because I'm a good big sister!

That must have whet her appetite for more praise, because the conversation continued as such:

JULIA: Mama? Do you think that I haven't thrown a fit today?
ME: No, you haven't thrown any fits.
JULIA: Then I think that there should be NO consequences today!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Julia's wedding

Yesterday afternoon, we celebrated Julia's wedding. She married Daddy. I was the flower girl, and Madeleine was "the baby." Here's a picture of the beautiful bride:

Julia picked out special hats for the groom and flower girl:

Here are some photos from the wedding reception:

Julia even served the food and poured the water by herself, remarking, "Oh boy, Daddy, this is a great wedding responsibility!" as she took his cup to fill with pretend water from her play kitchen.

Madeleine took some time to practice her drumming skills yesterday, so perhaps she can provide the musical entertainment at the next family wedding:

Monday, July 5, 2010


Poor Madeleine has hit the apex of teething pain; she has two enormous lumps on her bottom gum, and we can actually see the teeth underneath her gum, just aching to burst on through. Aside from giving her tylenol and plenty of things to stuff in her mouth, there's not much we can do to help her through the process. She has come up with a coping skill of her own, however, and has taken to pressing the tip of her tongue down on her sore gums, resulting in this (pretty much continuous) facial expression:

At least she's being resourceful!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Growing up

Madeleine is 9 months old today, and it appears she is now old enough to go to work:

She also seems to think she's old enough to start drinking coffee:

Julia has demonstrated that she is old enough to dispense some very wise advice. At a doctor visit yesterday, I found out I have to change my diet and eliminate most starches (unfortunately for me, my favorite type of food!) Julia noticed me feeling a little glum about it last night, and asked me what was wrong. I told her I was just feeling a little sad, and she said very gently and sweetly, "Why, Mama? Because ya can't have bread?" I told her yes, and she reached out to put her hand on my cheek and reassured me, "It's okay, Mama. You're okay. Your girls are still here!"

Very well-put. Leave it to Julia to help me get my priorities in line. True, a lot of what comes out of her mouth is about as out there as it can get, but when it really counts, she seems to know just what to say.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Walking through the woods on a cloudy day

Mama? I was just singing a song, "Walking through the woods on a cloudy day," but I didn't say thunder. Instead of thunder I said nunder. Actually, I said under, because the dinosaur bones are UNDER the earth, that's why I said under.

Cloudy through the skyyyyy, cloudy through the sky, when you go on a good day, when your dog is moving you can air conditioner... Cloudy in the sky, when I think you're aiding through the shy.

It says SHY in the song. Because it SHIES off the rain.

And allllll on a day, alllll on a day, allllll on a daaaaaay......

Mama, that was the end of the song. And do you know why? Because, it was.