Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another Trip to the Car Dealership

Madeleine was full of ALL KINDS of sage comments during our car rides today.  As we drove home from dropping Julia at school, Madeleine lamented the fact that it was pouring rain.

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Why does it have to be raining ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY?
ME: I don't know, honey, but I don't like the rain either.
MADELEINE: Mom?  Sometimes, we call it...a RAIN BLIZZARD.
ME: A rain blizzard, huh?
MADELEINE: Yes.  And...on the days of the week, we call it a RAIN STORM.  For...for...for a FRENCH WORD.

I didn't minor in French for nothing.  Let me tell you, there's no more French sounding word than rainstorm.
I think Madeleine might be a genius.

Later in the morning, we hopped back into the car to drive to Framingham for a car inspection and oil change at the car dealership.  In a very happy contrast to my last adventure driving to the dealership, I drove on the correct road this time and found the place without a problem.  As we headed along down the highway, I popped in the CD of "Jesus Christ, Superstar," for which Madeleine had been asking on our earlier morning drive.

ME: Yes!  It is.  I remembered you were asking to listen to it earlier, so I put it on for you!
MADELEINE: (pensive) Mom?  Sometimes me and Daddy call "Jesus Christes Superstar" just "JESUS."  For...for...for a NICKNAME.

So, we listened to "Jesus" (allow me to make use of the nickname as well) during our commute to Framingham, although the enjoyment was temporarily ruined for Madeleine because of my foolish assumption that it was okay to join in the singing.

MADELEINE: (exasperated) Mom?  Can you STOP trying to sing along?

After that, I shut my trap and just respectfully listened to the singers on the CD.

When we got to the car dealership and handed over the keys, we had about an hour to kill in the waiting area.  Luckily, I had come prepared with snack for Madeleine, as well as a bunch of markers and some blank paper.  After Madeleine colored a picture of a dog named Deandra for me, she came and climbed up into my lap so I could admire her artwork.  I then flipped the paper over and asked if she could write her name on the back for me.

Madeleine decided to take a more clever approach:

ME: Oh, my gosh, look at how smart you are!  Here, let me take a picture of this.
MADELEINE: (trying to shove a marker into my hand) No!  Mom!  Say "L!"
ME: Okay, just hang on, let me take a picture...
MADELEINE: No!  No!  MOM!  You have to say "L!!!"
ME: I will...okay..."L..." let me take a picture-
MADELEINE: (ripping the marker out of my hand to just write the gosh-darn "L" herself)  No!  No Mommy!  You have to MAKE AN "L!"
ME: I will!  I just want to-
MADELEINE: (pushing my cell phone camera away) YOU HAVE TO MAKE-
ME: Just hang on!  (shoving the camera back over the paper)
ME: Hang on!
MADELEINE: Don't take a picture!  I have to make "L!!!!!"

So, I did what any loving, responsible parent would do.  I grabbed the marker out of her hand so that she couldn't fill in the missing letter until I had taken my picture.

(And now you may understand why the picture came out a bit blurry.)

At any rate, we were back to happy and agreeable coloring before long, although Madeleine felt the need to occasionally look around and loudly observe upon something else in the waiting room or out the window.

For example,



Or, in regards to a man in the waiting room a table or two away from us,
MADELEINE: Mom?  There's a man with a PONYTAIL over there.  And...I think it's a GIRL.

MADELEINE: Mom!  Kia SOUL!  Mom?  Do we have a Kia Soul?
ME: Yes, we do!
MADELEINE: No, we don't.  Mom.  No we don't.  We don't, Mom.

As I said above, I think she's a G E N I _ S.
(What's missing?)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bedtime Singing

Last night at bedtime, Madeleine chose an oldie but a goody for her lullaby.

MADELEINE: Mom?  Can you sing "Joseph's face was as black as the NIGHT?"
ME: Sure.
MADELEINE: Mom?  "Joseph's face was as black as the night" is really "Under African Skies" but sometimes I call it "Joseph's face was as black as the night" to be SILLY.

I have not heard her refer to the song this way before.  I have heard her, on many occasions, refer to it as "Bunder Bafrican Byes," which she finds HILARIOUS; however, given that "Joseph's face was as black as the night" is the first line of the song, I was able to understand what song she had chosen even WITHOUT her subsequent explanation.

The song, for those of you unfamiliar with it, can be heard here:

At any rate, I sang through the entire song for Madeleine last night, at the end of which she threw her arms around my neck, yawned, and seemed ready to drift off.  To enhance her drowsiness, I told her I would sing her one more song. 

Then this happened:
ME: (singing) White coral bells, upon a splendid star...
MADELEINE: (singing quietly) Joesph's face was as black as the night...
ME: Lily of the valley deck my garden wall...
MADELEINE: (singing louder) The pale yellow moon shone in his eyes...
ME: Oh, don't you wish...
MADELEINE: (bellowing) Joesph's faaaaace was as blaaaack as the niiiight...

I finally conceded to Madeleine in our game of dueling voices, and allowed her to sing "Under African Skies" to herself.

It went something like this:
MADELEINE: Joseph's face was as black as the night, the pale yellow moon shone in his eyes...his path was marked Mom what comes next?
ME: By the stars in the southern hemishpere...
MADELEINE: And he walked his days under African Skies.  Oops!  I forgot!  I don't know ALL the words to "Under African Skies."  Mom?  What comes next?

I then spent the next few minutes singing the song, one line at a time, in order for her to copy after me.  When we got to the end of the song, she ABSOLUTELY refused to believe me that the final stanza repeats the lyrics that open the song.  In righteous anger towards me for supplying her with what she believed to be the wrong words, she insisted, louder and louder, that I tell her WHAT COMES NEXT!

ME: Honey, I'm telling you, it's the exact same words as at the beginning.  Isn't that neat?  The song ends exactly the way it started!
MADELEINE: (sighing in exasperation) Mom, you better just sing me "Under African Skies" AGAIN.

So I sang it a third time.  After which she kicked me out of her bed because I was making her too hot, even when I promised not to snuggle up to her and just lay beside her because I was comfy.  Way to show Mama the love.

Below, you can see Madeleine perform the song (with my help):

And THEN, she pleaded with me in desperation to turn my video recorder back on, so she could re-sing the middle section, which, according to her, I messed up her and her song the first time:

Phew!  Glad she ran through that one again after I messed up her.  It was so different the second time around!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pee-Pees and Plans

This is the conversation I had with Madeleine this morning after she got off the potty:

MADELEINE: Mom!  My pee-pees were YELLOW!
ME: I see!
MADELEINE: Mom?  Are pee-pees SUPPOSED to be yellow?
ME: Yes.  They are.  That's what color pee is.
MADELEINE: Yeah!  And Mom?  Are pee-pees supposed to be orange and brown and green and BLUE?
ME: No.  Pee is yellow.  But sometimes it can look white.
MADELEINE: Yeah!  And sometimes it can look orange and brown and green and BLUE!

Glad I cleared that up for her.

I'm not surprised she's confused on the color of pee, given her fascination with my "red pee-pees" when it's that time of the month.  In fact, she is willing to attribute anything red in the toilet to me even when it ISN'T that time of the month.  As was the case the other day, when Julia was freaking out about a miniscule red fleck in the toilet that she was afraid to flush down.

JULIA: Daddy?  Can you come and look in the toilet?  I feel like I see a RED thing!
ETHAN: Julia.  It's fine.  There's nothing to worry about.  Just go potty.
JULIA: Well, it just looks like there's a little red thing.
MADELEINE: Julia!  The red thing is just MOMMY'S BLOOD.

Meanwhile, Julia, in typical fashion, is on a SERIOUS roll with her birthday party plans.  She decided to add items to her goody bags after all, despite the fulfillment of every wish found in the stapled paper necklaces.   Now the lucky party guests are recipients of various shapes, cut out of paper and decorated, which Julia has dubbed "Silly Blocks."  Not only that, but the goody bags also include a paper guitar for each guest.  No.  Way!

Furthermore, Julia has decided to enhance her printer-paper napkins EVEN MORE by writing a joke on the back of each one.  These hilarious works of comedic genius include:
Q: How do you give a bull food?
A: By hiding

Q: How can you be born?
A: By your one true love

Q: How can you get what you want?
A: By love

This is *seriously* looking to be the poshest party that ever was.  Julia can hardly wait the 9 months until the big day.

ME: Julia, are you excited to go back to school and see all your friends again?
JULIA: Well, Mommy, I might just be excited mostly about my BIRTHDAY PARTY.

How will she contain her excitement over these 9 months?  Hopefully, between her library plans and her movie shooting schedule, she'll be able to focus her creative energies on other tasks and keep herself preoccupied.  I can already tell it's going to be a long 9 months, however, as Julia announced to me this morning, "Mom, isn't it kind of funny, that, like, I'm DESPERATE for it to be my birthday, and you're DESPERATE for it to NOT be your birthday?"

It's true that the further I get into my 30s, the less excited I feel to turn just another year older.  But perhaps if I sat down and colored some napkins, guitars, Silly Blocks, and paper bracelets, I would be a lot more invested in my next one.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Party Prep!

It's *never* too early to start planning a party!
Even though it's only February, and Julia's next birthday isn't until November, she has been hard at work putting together all the deets for her 7th b-day party. 

First, she constructed her guest list:
JULIA: Mom, this is just a SCHOOL FRIENDS party.  Mom.  Did you NOTICE that about this list, that, like, there's
ME: People like Nate and Anja?
JULIA: Yeah.  Like, it's just SCHOOL FRIENDS, and, also...did you notice it's ALL GIRLS?  Well, Mom?  I don't think I even noticed I was doing all girls, I guess I just realized that it's only girls JUST NOW.
ME: Well, I guess your closest school friends must all be girls, huh?
JULIA: Yeah.  Like, whenever Sydni and I look at each other, we, like, SMILE at each other.

Well.  If that is not criterion for who to invite to your birthday party, then I don't know what is.

Next, Julia created napkins by decorating small squares of paper with marker and stickers:

JULIA: Mom?  If I want these to be the NAPKINS that kids use at my party, is it okay if I use MARKER on them?
ME: Well, maybe you shouldn't, because we don't want people getting marker in their mouths.
JULIA: (thoughtful) Well...remember that time that Madeleine ATE a bite out of a marker?  Well, remember how you said that it's a good thing the markers aren't POISONOUS because she ate it?
ME: Yeah.
JULIA: So, like, wouldn't it be OKAY if the kids get marker in their mouth?

Wow.  Now THAT is a convincing point.  A little marker won't hurt anyone, right?

After making her napkins, Julia designed her dessert menu:
JULIA: So, here, Mom, here are the ingredients for the cupcakes, so, why don't you put this on up in your room until it's closer to my birthday?
ME: Uhh...why don't you keep it in YOUR room?
JULIA: Okay.  Maaaaaadeleeeeeine!  Do you want to come to my BIRTHDAY PARTY?  We're going to have vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting with M&Ms and maaaarshmallows!
MADELEINE: Um, no, I don't want to.
JULIA: But Madeleine, you're inviiiiiiited!
MADELEINE: No I'm not.
JULIA: Yes you are!  Here, look at this napkin!  It says your naaaaame!
MADELEINE: No it doesn't.
JULIA: Yes!  It says M-A-D-E-L-E-I-N-E.  That spells Madeleine!
MADELEINE: Well Julia.  No it DOESN'T.

Glad to know Madeleine is being cooperative as usual.

After the cupcake details, Julia got to work making goody bags for all her guests-to-be:

I supplied the paper bags, after her initial frustration with trying to construct a goody bag entirely from sheets of printer paper.  Hence, her first goody bag wound up being a compromise: she glued the paper decorations onto a brown bag:

Despite the ample room inside a brown paper bag, Julia is only supplying one special item as each person's goody.  And that item is...hold your breath...

A paper necklace held together by staples!  And it even has the word "necklace" printed on it just in case you're not sure what it is.

I'm pretty sure this is going to be a HUGE hit; who wants stickers, tattoos, candy, and all the other sorts of usual goody bag gifts when you can get strips of paper stapled together?!?

I have to applaud Julia's can-do-it attitude here, as well as her ambitious initiative.  As she pointed out to me, "Mom, I'm also doing a good thing, so we're not, like, BUYING things and WASTING MONEY."

So.  Once she's all finished with all of the party prep, we will just sit tight for the next nine months until the big party day finally arrives!

And in the meantime, February vacation is coming to a close and school starts back up tomorrow, which is a good thing, because at the rate she's going with her vacation-day crafts, Julia is ready to suck our printer paper, staple, and paper plate supplies dry...

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Craft time has reached an all-time high in the Rowe household, with Julia constructing, all on her own, her next autumn's Halloween costume.  Thanks to all her hard work, she is now well-prepared to be a kitty cat:

Furthermore, the girls got busy constructing their own puppets today, inspired by the marionette performance of "Hansel and Gretel" we saw at the library this afternoon.

Among these hand-made puppets are a mommy and daddy seal,:

A mermaid,:

A killer wall,:

A daddy penguin and his daughter,:

and a mother and child hippopotamus polar bear pair:

Ethan and I were fortunate enough to be audience members in the official puppet show performance, which, naturally, went as flawlessly as one could imagine.  You can tell how much effort they put into a formal script and how much prep work and rehearsals they did before hitting the big stage:

I would offer to take a virtual bow myself, as author of this post, but I can't, because NO IT'S NOT THE END!

Friday, February 22, 2013

More Library Books

Per Auntie Shannon's request, here is a look at another of Julia's library books, "I Still Sit On This Egg."  And be sure to stay alert, for Julia has an added element in this story: "Mom, so, I'm making this book have, like, a HIDDEN PATTERN in it."  See if you can figure it out!

pgs. 1-2:
"Well a new mathr brae would like me to sit on hr egg.  So I sat thar all day and nigt."
It's hard to tell, from both the spelling and the drawing, what *exactly* a brae is, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it's a bird.

pgs. 3-4:
"Wall [not to be confused with "whale"] I sat on the same tree and as the days got dorcr it began to get coldr."

pgs. 5-6:
"As I sit on this same old tree.  And the snow is now her."

pgs. 7-8:
"As I sat and I sat on the same old tree.  And I was so bord."
Man, this poor girl.  No wonder she's bord.  It's kind of obnoxious of that mothr brae to leave for so long and expect someone else to just hang out on the same old tree.
By the way - has anyone discovered the "hidden pattern" yet???

pgs. 9-10:
"As in the tree.  O when will I have fun?"
Yeah!  O when will this poor girl get to go down a slide again?  Hurry up, mothr brae!

pgs. 11-12:
"As I sat on the tree.  Then the brae came back."
O, hallelujah!  The brae is FINALLY back.  The girl is free!  But...

pg. 13:
"And a grl came out."
Ha!  Take THAT, mothr brae!  If you're going to abandon your egg for that long, and presumptuously expect a girl to sit on the egg as the nights grow dorcr and coldr, then your baby is going to be a girl-brae hybrid!  Huzzah!

In case you haven't picked this up yet from previous posts, Julia is taking her library idea *very* seriously.  She has even gone to the effort of creating library cards for all those near and dear to her.  My job is to distribute the cards to the crowds pouring in on the day of her grand opening (date: TBD.)  For now, I have the library cards in a sealed envelope for safe-keeping:

Still on the fence over whether or not to visit this upcoming library?  Here is another incentive: Julia has expanded her library to include foreign texts, with her brand new book "Untu Omakkya," or "My Hero," written in the language of "Rina":

Julia gave me an extensive pronunciation lesson on this new language, correcting my attempts at the various foreign words until I could speak without a hint of an American accent.  And if you're daunted by the foreign nature of this book, don't worry: Julia will be there to coach you, as well, if you choose to select this book from her library.

JULIA: So, Mom, on the day of my LIBRARY, do you think I should, like, TEACH people how to say these words before they check it out?  Because, like, do you think people would really want to check this out if they don't KNOW how to say the words?

As soon as the library is open for business, I will let you all know.

And in the meantime, all I have left to say is this: "As I sat on that same old tree."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More About Walls

It turns out that Julia isn't the only one who loves walls.  Madeleine got so involved in her pretend play with wall figurines during last night's dinner that she couldn't even focus on eating. 

Below, you can view the exciting adventures of the beluga and killer walls as they cruise along the dining room table:

After a brief pause, in which I had to hold the walls until Madeleine had finished her dinner, the undersea adventure resumed.  Watch as the mommy killer wall comes to her beluga daughter's rescue against some wall bullies:

Meanwhile, in the household of never-ending disgusting germs, Julia spent yesterday suffering from stomach pains and recurrent diarrhea.  While Madeleine was eating eggs and playing walls, Julia, whose tummy was too upset to eat dinner, decided the optimal place to lay down and rest was the dining room floor.  Since Madeleine can't ever bear to be left out, it wasn't long before they had both set up camp there:

Now, don't be mistaken.  Julia was no invalid down there.  NO WAY would she let a mere stomachache get in the way of her made up songs:

As I have said before, and will undoubtedly say again: Never a dull moment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Books, Books and More Books

This week is February vacation, and the kids are off from school.

Julia hasn't gone overboard with her book-writing or anything:

In addition to creating all of these books, she insisted on reading each and every one to each and every member of the family.  Once we heard all of the books, we were required to choose our favorite.  Furthermore, no family member was allowed to prefer the same book as any other family member, since we all got our very own commemorative label:

Now, this wouldn't be a Julia endeavor if it only involved writing books and having us choose our favorites.  No, it most certainly doesn't stop there.  Julia has taken it upon herself to create an entire library.  This library will be open to the general public, and Julia is already worried that the demand will exceed her supply.

JULIA: But...Mom?  Do we even HAVE enough books for lots of people to check out?

She has also gone to the trouble of cataloguing her books, labeling each with a letter, as she has seen in the town public library, as well as her own school's media center.  The idea behind the letters seems to elude her, however; instead of labeling each with an "R," as in the first letter of her last name, she has instead assigned random letters willy-nilly to the books, proudly displaying them to me: "So, Mom, this book is 'X,' and this one is 'H!"

Julia is hardly able to contain her excitement over these new books.  Since Ethan was at work yesterday, during which she wrote these new works, he missed out on the mass reading until this morning.

JULIA: So!  Dad!  Can I read you all of these books?
ETHAN: (groggily) can if you come in the kitchen and read them while I get the coffee going.
JULIA: I guess I'm, like, DESPERATE to read these books to you!

Among her newest books is this anthropomorphic tale about a boy and his talking backpack:
"But the Backpack Cips on Bablaling"
(translation: "But the Backpack Keeps on Babbling.")

This creative tale is the story of a boy named Max who purchases a brand new backpack.  But little does he know that his backpack is not just a means to store his school supplies.  This backpack is a chatterbox, and can't stop babbling at Max, day and night.  He even babbles at sckoole:

Max quickly becomes fed up with his babbling backpack, although it's a big hit with his little sister:

I'm not sure why Max doesn't decide to just give the babbling backpack to his sister, but maybe he has just been pushed to his limit, because, instead, he loses his cool and says he doesn't like the backpack.  And then...
"Now he does not babla but."

"I miss my frend."

Oh no!  This is getting serious!  Poor Max is sad.  Poor Babbling Backpack is sad.  Will they ever reconcile?!?

"So I nuw what to do and now he is happy."
Oh!  Hooray!  Max is going to let the backpack babble again!

"So we made a dilye."  And what a deal they made!  Look at how happy they both are; Max lounging contentedly in his bed while his backpack babbles away.

While this touchy-feely resolution feels like the perfect ending, Julia decided to go out on a cliff-hanger:
"O What will happin next?"
Oh man.  What WILL happen next?  Is Max about to get a singing clock?  Is there going to be a sequel so we find out Max's fate??!?

To check out this book in full, and to read through more new works, come check out  Julia's library, open every day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Seals and A New Scene

It turns out that it's not only walls that are the current object of Julia's obsession.  Today has been all about seals.  In fact, she nearly fell apart at the seams over the fact that she could not find any outfits that would make her look like a seal.

JULIA: (pointing to her clothing-strewn floor)  Mommy, if you look at how many shirts I pulled out, you'll see how much trouble I'm having finding my PLAIN BLACK shirt.
ME: You know what honey?  You outgrew that shirt awhile ago.  It's down in the bins in the basement.
JULIA: (frantically) But then what CAN I wear that looks like a SEAL?
ME: (gesturing towards a gray shirt with red polka dots) How about this one?  A lot of seals are gray, and some have spots.  That would be perfect.
JULIA: (urgently) No, Mama, they don't have RED spots!  I can't wear that!  I won't look like a REAL SEAL!
ME: Well, I think it's fine if the spots are red.  I'm sure you'll still look like a seal.
JULIA: No!  Mom!  There aren't ANY SEALS with red spots!  (growing frustrated) AGGH!  Mama!  Why don't I have any, like, PLAIN BROWN shirts?
ME: (holding up a brown shirt with the words "Hug Me" on it) How about this brown shirt?
JULIA: No, Mama!  It can't have WORDS on it!  That's not like a real seal!
ME: Okay.  (holding up a plain brown shirt with tiny blue flowers embroidered on the shoulder) Here you go!  How about this?
JULIA: (on the verge of tears) But Mom!  Seals don't have flowers on them!
ME: (holding up a plain white shirt) How about this?  There are definitely seals that are white.
JULIA: (relieved) Okay.  (growing panicked again)  But wait!  I don't have any plain white pants!
ME: Well, wear a different color.  Why don't you wear black pants, and be black and white seal?
JULIA: (grumpily skeptical) But Mama.  Are there really seals that are, like, white but have a black tail?
ME: Uh...yeah...probably.

So at long last, her seal outfit was authenticity-approved.  Phew.  Good thing, because what would she do on this school vacation day, sitting around the house, if the world at large mistook her for something OTHER than a seal?!?

Speaking of school vacation, because we Rowe ladies all have the day off, there was plenty of time to film another scene for Julia's movie.  Am I lucky or what??  We actually filmed this scene twice, because the first time, Vylie's pet bunny (Madeleine) got a little too rambunctious with her Diego doll and started thwapping Vylie over the head with it. 

So what you are about to see is take two of the scene in which Vylie discovers her brand new pet bunny, who for some reason turns out to ACTUALLY be a talking fairy.  Starring Julia as Vylie, me as Bebe the mom, and the always cooperative Madeleine as the bunny/fairy:

Until next time, this is Bebe/Tinkerbell signing off.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Creations and Creatures

I think everyone in this household is feeling a bit sleep-deprived lately, in part due to Madeleine's late night and early morning coughing fits and crying jags.  Since we had snow the past few days, we have enjoyed spending lazy down time at home, giving the kids a chance to rest up a bit while they sit on the couch with popcorn, watching movies.  The overtired parents have had less time to rest, although not for lack of trying.

In fact, I attempted a nap in the late morning today, after I realized that the girls were happily playing Polly Pockets in Julia's room.  But because kids seem to have Idle-Mommy-Radar, no sooner had I curled up in my bed than Julia was at my bedside, chattering away about anything and everything.

She scooted out of the room eventually, and I once again settled under the blankets to try and get some rest.  Next thing I knew, Julia was on my bedroom floor, noisily cutting wrapping paper and ripping piece after piece of Scotch tape, flapping paper around as she attempted to wrap a present.

As if the noisy crinkling and rustling of wrapping paper weren't enough of a distraction, I also got to listen to Madeleine and Julia shouting back and forth to each other; Madeleine, who was still in Julia's bedroom, was desperate to regain her play-mate.

JULIA: (crinkle, crinkle)
MADELEINE: (hollering) Juuuuuliaaaaaaaa!
JULIA: (shouting) WHAT?
MADELEINE: I neeeeeeeeeed you to help me FIIIIIIIND something!
JULIA: Haaaang ON!  I'm DOOOOING something! (crinkle, crinkle, rustle, rustle)
MADELEINE: (on the verge of tears) Juuuuliaaaaaaaaa!
JULIA: (shouting) WHAT?
MADELEINE: Pleeeease, pleeeeeease, pleeeeease, can you come and HELP ME?
JULIA: HANG ON!  I'm DOOOOOING something!  (flap, flap, rustle, rustle)

While I waited for Julia to hurry up and finish doing something, I contemplated going to help Madeleine myself, but at long last Julia finished wrapping her gift and presented it to me with great delight.

JULIA: Okaaaay, Mommy, this is a PRESENT for yoooooou!

So I ripped off the wrapping paper to find my fabulous, handmade gift.  Once I saw what was inside, I could completely understand why Julia had gone to such laborious effort to wrap and present this to me:

Yes, that's right.  A blank piece of printer paper with the words "My love is?" written on top.  Does it get much better than this, folks?
JULIA: Mama!  It's a PICTURE FRAME!  So, you can, like, put a picture of a thing that you LOVE!

Needless to say, the nap didn't happen, so I joined Julia downstairs, where she decided to play with Madeleine's Arctic animal figurines.  Since Julia is learning about animals of the North and South Poles in school, she had all kinds of scientific knowledge about these various figurines, even able to identify the specific kind of whale and penguin in the set.

But perhaps her deep Arctic understanding is best exemplified by the following comment:
"Mom?  Do you think that these polar bears are two different KINDS of polar bear, since they don't LOOK the same?  Like, this one has different EARS and LEGS?"
I think she's got it EXACTLY right.  If by two different kinds of polar bears she means one polar bear and one wolf.

Julia got so into the polar animals that she decided to write a book inspired by one of the figurines.

This book is about all of Julia's favorite kinds of walls, including the beluga wall, the orca, and the humpback wall. 

And by walls, she means whales.
And by whales, she apparently means shadow-demon gingerbread men:

Now that would be an interesting wall-watch sighting...


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Julia Talks Civil Rights

In the wake of Martin Luther King Day and in preparation for Presidents Day, Julia had some questions about civil rights:

JULIA:  Mom?  Did the man who shot Martin Luther King have, like, LIGHT skin?
ME: Yes.  Remember how you learned there were people who didn't want African Americans to be equal and to get the same rights as everyone else?
JULIA: Yeah.
ME: Well, someone who believed those kinds of things shot Martin Luther King.
JULIA: You mean, like, to try and STOP him from making things equal?
ME: Yes.  And there was a president named John F. Kennedy who was also in favor of what's called civil rights, meaning equality for everyone, who was shot.
JULIA: So, like, to try and STOP him?
ME: Yes.  But it didn't work.  The very next president, Lyndon Johnson, was also a believer in equality, and he helped pass the Civil Rights amendment and make sure that all people were treated equal.  Aren't you glad the man who shot John F. Kennedy wasn't able to stop equality from happening?
JULIA: Yeah.  And, also, aren't you glad we don't LIVE back in those times?
ME: Yes!  Aren't we lucky that we were born in a time when we have so much more equality?
JULIA: Yeah.  Because, like, there's a girl in my class who might have the darkest skin in class, but she's still my friend!
ME: Exactly.  It doesn't matter what color our skin or our eyes or our hair is, or whether we're a boy or a girl, we're all HUMAN BEINGS.
JULIA: Yeah.  And isn't that the way it should be?  You can be friends if, like, one person likes kittens and the other person likes butterflies!
ME: Right.  And sometimes there are people who you might not be friends with.  And that's okay, too, as long as you still act kindly towards them and you don't do anything that's hurtful or mean.
JULIA: Yeah!  But...Mom?  What if there was a CAT who wanted to play HOPSCOTCH?

I think she really gets it.

Hopscotch for all!  Whether human or feline, we all have the right to play!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Madeleine Rocks Out

Rock star Madeleine doesn't let her severe congestion or her leaky faucet of a nose keep her from a rip-roaring performance:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Another Gift and Another Book

I woke up this morning to yet ANOTHER Valentine gift; one that Julia forgot to give to me yesterday.

It came in this fancy packaging:

And while it might appear that my gift was a box of crayons, to my huge surprise, something totally different was inside the box.  I am now the lucky owner of this fortune-cookie-like slip of paper with the following indecipherable message:

Luckily, I had Julia to translate for me: "There's a sparkle in your eyes." 
Aww.  So sweet.  Am I the luckiest mommy around, or what?

Now, just in case you're worrying that Julia has been too busy making Valentines to publish any new books, let me assure you that Julia wrote not one but TWO books this very morning.

My favorite of these new books is entitled:

"Singing out lowd roce."
And by "lowd" she would mean "loud."
And by "roce" she would mean "rock."

Pg. 1:
"Hi I'm the letre H and I'm singing in a band."
What is this, Sesame Street?!?

Pg. 2:
"My frens Y and Z are singing to."
JULIA: Mom?  Y might be a boy or might be a girl, but Z is DEFINITELY a girl.

Pg. 3
"They are the same calr so they are my matse."
Translation: "They are the same color so they are my mates."
Wait a minute.  They're mates because they're the same color?  Who knew that H was such a racist?

Pg. 4
"Then we hafe to rehrse."
JULIA: Mommy?  Do you see what Y is doing?
ME: Uh...singing, right?
JULIA: (making an "O" mouth) Going like this!  Well...he MIGHT be singing. DOES say we have to REHEARSE.

I'm gathering that Y is the lead singer, since all the other two letters seem to be doing is smiling blissfully while Y yodels away.

Pg. 5
"I thingk we are almost retey."

Pg. 6
"Sade Y."
Oh, phew.  I'm glad the author cleared that up.  I was going crazy wondering which letter it was who sade we are almost retey.

Pg. 7
"Now we need to sete up the staje."
The staje looks great, guys!

Pg. 8
"Now we will strt to sing."
Yep, definitely looks like Y is the lead singer.  But now I've changed my mind about H and Z.  This time they're actually singing, too, although not as wide-mouthed as Y, so I'm guessing they're back-up singers.

Pg. 9
"Yay we did are showe."
Hooray!  Yay yay yay! 
It was an AMAZING showe.  Great job, H, Y and Z!  Bravo, matse!