Friday, November 29, 2013

Tooth Fairy Time!

Exciting news in the Rowe household: Madeleine has lost her first tooth!

Apparently both my daughters were in a race to see who could lose their first tooth at a younger age.  They're at a near tie, with Madeleine crossing the finish line slightly ahead, being about four years and two months old, as opposed to Julia's four years and three months when she lost the very same tooth years ago.

At any rate, we put Madeleine's tooth in an envelope and put it under her pillow so that she can await her Tooth Fairy money.  In fact, Madeleine even decided to get REALLY ambitious in tooth fairy demands.

ME: So Madeleine, remember you have to check under your pillow in the morning to see if the Tooth Fairy left you a dollar!
MADELEINE: Yeah!  Because...I need to keep working on my PIGGY BANK money!  (thoughtful silence) Or...maybe the Tooth Fairy will leave me a TOY!

Nope.  Our tooth fairy isn't that extravagant.  Sorry.  Wait for Santa Claus for the toys.

After we had put the tooth envelope safely under Madeleine's pillow, we settled in for some snuggles and a bedtime song.  Since we're ALL ABOUT Christmas now that Thanksgiving is over (and Madeleine was all about Christmas even before Thanksgiving even came), I decided to sing her "Away in a Manger" for her lullaby.  The song prompted some important questions.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Why wasn't I there to see when Jesus died?
ME: Oh, well, because that all happened a long, long, long, long, long, long time ago, way before ANY of us were even alive.
MADELEINE: And Mama?  Was it even before DINOSUARS were on earth?
ME: No, dinosaurs were on earth even LONGER ago than Jesus.  Jesus was born after the dinosaurs were all extinct.
MADELEINE: And Mama?  Was he digging and digging?  For bones?

Yup.  That's what Jesus spent his time doing.  Digging for dinosaur bones.  Don't we all know the story of Jesus the famous Archaeologist?

After the lullaby had finished, Madeleine seemed to lull into a near sleep, but - NOPE - there were still more urgent discussions to be had.

MADELEINE: Mama?  I don't want to watch the FIRST Care Bears movie ever again, was kind of really SPOOKY, like, when that TREE was trying to eat a little girl.  It really SPOOKED me out.  Like, I almost felt like I was a HORSE.  And Mama?  The mummy cat really spooked Julia out, and it kind of spooked me out a LITTLE BIT, but...I didn't feel like I was a HORSE.

I see.  I guess we have a new way to rate just HOW spooked out we are in this household.

-SPOOKED OUT BUT NOT FEELING LIKE A HORSE: Feeling a little thrill of fear but still in an enjoyable way.
-SPOOKED OUT AND FEELING LIKE A HORSE: Totally, way over your head terrified.  Not good.

At any rate, Madeleine hasn't watched the first Care Bears movie in ages, so she was definitely not too spooked out and horsey to fall asleep tonight, and I look forward to getting even further into the holiday spirit tomorrow.  To all those of you preparing for the Christmas season, I hope you all get to, in the words of my daughters, "deck your halls with bells of folly" and enjoy a nice old "partridge a jingle bell tree!"

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Madeleine has been firmly on a Thanksgiving strike ever since Halloween.  In her mind, there are only two holidays between September and January: Halloween and Christmas.  In fact, when other people, including her preschool teachers, swim instructor, and cashiers in the store, have wished her a happy Thanksgiving, Madeleine did not fail to stubbornly respond, "Happy CHRISTMAS!"

However, this morning, Madeleine was finally allowing herself to feel the Thanksgiving spirit a little bit.  And by feeling the Thanksgiving spirit, what I mean is feeling the need to have Mommy wake up and join the family because it's Thanksgiving. 

ETHAN: Remember, honey, we're going to let Mom sleep?
MADELEINE: (worriedly) she going to sleep the WHOLE Thanksgiving??

Don't worry, Madeleine.  Julia had ALREADY woken me up to come in to the bedroom and say, "Mommy!  It's THANKSGIVING!"  So, no, I definitely am not sleeping the whole Thanksgiving.

Anyway, I can see why Madeleine wanted me to wake up so badly, because she had some really important news to pass along to me.

MADELEINE: So Mama?  I still got that WIGGLY tooth.

Really??  Now, I have to say, we were all quite surprised last night when we discovered Madeleine is following her sister's freakishly early teeth-loss timeline, and has her first loose tooth.  But MAN.  Did I expect the loose tooth to STILL be wiggly in the morning?  What a surprise!  I thought it would have gone back to normal overnight.  I mean, loose teeth don't just stay loose until they fall out, do they??

At any rate, Madeleine's energy then focused on a really fun game, in which she attempted to jump from our step-stool onto my body (which I was trying to rest) on the couch.  Each jump was performed differently, and my watchful gaze and subsequent praise was a necessity. 

Then things got REALLY wild and crazy.

MADELEINE: Okay, Mama, now I'm gonna do a REALLY tricky jump.  It's called a TONGUE jump.  And, I guess you have to, like...BALANCE on your tongue!  Can you help me do it?

I did not help her do it.  In fact, I discouraged her from doing it at all.

Julia was less into jumping and more into making little Thanksgiving arts and crafts all morning.  We Rowes are the lucky recipients of some really sweet "thankful" poems, written by Julia.

"Evin though you like to danc you also like to prans.  To Daddy."

Aw, yeah, Daddy's not afraid to be known for his love of prancing.  Or his love of dancing.  I mean, that's one thing that REALLY sticks out about Ethan; how much he loves to boogie down.  He's like a dancing fool, I tell you!

"Seeing kindis in your eyes makes my fill with priyd.  To Mommy."
Aww.  You fill MY with priyd, Jules!

"Evin though you like Emily Binx your still my littel Madeleine.  To Madeleine."
I sure am thankful we have our little Madeleine.  And I'm EXTRA thankful that she's not Emily Binx, because I would MUCH rather have my weird little goofball of a daughter than a ghost from the 17th century whose life was sucked out of her by three witches. 

So, despite all the sleep deprivation and the constant duties of parenthood, I could not be more thankful for my two darling daughters and my most wonderful husband!  Happy Turkey Day, all!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Madeleine has been busy adding her own magical touch to some of our existing artwork.  To begin with, she thoroughly enjoyed coloring the Tinkerbell and friends picture that Yiayia sent.  In fact, Madeleine had so much fun coloring the fairies that she decided to draw her OWN little figurine.  (Or soul-sucking ghoul; interpret as you like):

I mean, can you even tell which fairy Madeleine drew?  That pink little spiky-tailed ghoul-creature fits right in, don't you think??

Madeleine also chose to defile helpfully add to Julia's drawing from "A Christmas Chill and a Sleepover with Lil."  The picture of Mandy turning on her heel and walking out of the room, of which Julia was SO proud ("Mom!  I didn't even KNOW I can draw this well!  It really looks like she's WALKING in this direction!  I can't believe I did such a good drawing!"), now bears a few artistic embellishments, thanks to Madeleine.

MADELEINE: (cheerfully) Look, Mama!  I drew a FACE, because Julia FORGOT to draw one!

I hid the whole book in one of the drawers of our dining room cupboard.  I'm hoping that Julia will turn her sights to a brand new book and blissfully forget that she was working on this one.  Fat chance.  I know.

Further artwork by both girls includes Thanksgiving projects from school.  Julia came home yesterday with a laminated "thankful" picture:

I am digging my cute little pink dress.  I look totally stylish!  Thanks, Jules!
To all those family members not drawn in this picture, don't you worry.  Julia worriedly assured Auntie Caitlyn, who was baby-sitting last night, that, "Uh, even though I didn't DRAW you, I did SAY you because I said I'm thankful for my FAMILY."  So, even though you may not be QUITE as special as Julia's teachers and warrant your own picture, you are still included in her all-enveloping familial thankfulness.

Here is what Madeleine is thankful for:

See?  Just like Julia's.  All-encompassing.  Nobody needs to worry about being left out, because Madeleine is thankful for EVERYTHING!  I mean, sure, the toy store gets its own special mention, but, hey, it's kind of hard to one-up the toy store in terms of total awesomeness, right??

At any rate, as we are in the final count-down to Thanksgiving, I expect the volume of Christmas-themed artwork will increase exponentially.  I'll keep you all posted on the great new books and pictures that have yet to be created as we enter the holiday season!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Book in the Works!

Julia has begun work on a new book, which is currently unfinished, but off to a VERY promising start.  From its catchy title to its detailed illustrations, this book is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser:

A Christmas Chill and a Sleepover with Lil
by Julia Rowe

Pg. 1:
"Lil olways wontid a Barbie doll for Christmas."
Wow.  You can actually SEE how badly Lil wonts a Barbie doll.  Look at the electrical current in the air around her shooting like sparks out of her body; she must be literally burning with desire for a doll!

Pg. 2:
"But she love'd what Santo brot for her."
Well, I'm glad that Lil has such a good attitude about Christmas.  Even though she olways wontid a Barbie, she seems open to the idea of NOT getting a Barbie, because she knows she'll still love wahtever Santo brings her.  I know that when I was a child, *I* always loved what Santo brot me.  He olways seemed to find the perfect gifts.  What a guy, that Santo Claus.

Pg. 3:
"Lil ask't her friend Mulisa if she had a Christmas list yet."
Oh boy!  I can't wait to hear what Mulisa ask't Santo for.  What sorts of toys has SHE olways wontid??

Pg. 4:
"But insted she ask't Mulisa for a sleepover."
Oh.  Wait.  So we DON'T get to find out what Mulisa ask't Santo for?  Wow, way to lead me down a false path, Julia!  Here I was, thinking Lil and Mulisa were going to discuss their Christmas lists, and then - BAM! - Julia hits me with this whole sleepover thing.  NOW where is the plot going to take us??

Pg. 5:
"Mandy, Lil's sister, said that they whear spending Christmas with thar cosans."
Ooh.  Cool.  Christmas with the cosans!  I always LOVED spending time with my cosans over Christmas vacation.  But will Lil feel the same way?

Pg. 6:
"I'm having a sleepover,' said Lil.  'Fine,' said Mandy.  She turnd on her heel and whent off."
WOAH.  Now things are gettin' REAL.  So, wait, what's the issue?  Did Lil want to have her sleepover with Mulisa on Christmas?  Wouldn't Mulisa's parents kind of want to have Mulisa at home for Christmas?  And WHAT is with the crabby sister, turning on her heel and storming off just because Lil is having a sleepover?  Wow - emotions have suddenly hit the ROOF!  What will happen next???

Unfortunately, Julia leaves us hanging on a cliff here, as this is the last page she has written so far. 

What will happen with Lil and her cosins for Christmas?  Will Mulisa get to come over for a sleepover??  And, most importantly, will Santo bring Lil what she olways wantid?  Stay tuned for the conclusion of this AMAZING new holiday book, "A Christmas Chill and a Sleepover With Lil!" 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday, Julia!

I can hardly believe Julia is 7!!  And she herself could hardly believe that the long-awaited birthday was finally here!  She woke up FULL of excitement and energy about her birthday, and made sure to share it with ALL of us.  And, hey, who DOESN'T like to start the morning off with a 50-lb 7-year-old climbing into bed and on top of our bodies, bouncing up and down and joyfully shouting, "It's my BIRTHDAY!  It's my BIRTHDAY!"

The birthday started off with a breakfast out at 3 Squares, where Julia got to order Oreo pancakes!:

Afterwards, we headed home to open presents from family members, and Julia was delighted with her loot:

Madeleine, for her part, managed to remain both intensely interested in Julia's gifts, yet completely not jealous of the fact that Julia was receiving presents.  She was truly thrilled for her sister, handing the next present over and exclaiming, "Now Julia!  See what THIS one is!"  Madeleine was also excited to give her sister a present that she and I had wrapped together, and signed Madeleine's name to.  This gift was the book "Holly the Christmas Fairy," one of the Rainbow Magic books, which has been on Julia's wish list for months.

JULIA: Oh, THANK you, Madeleine!  It's the book I've always WANTED!
MADELEINE: (beaming) You're WELCOME.
JULIA: (turning to me clandestinely) Mom, did you know this really IS one of the books I always wanted?

No, Julia, I had no idea.  I had nothing AT ALL to do with the gift.  I mean, I didn't pick it out and buy it and give it to Madeleine to help me wrap or anything.  What incredible luck!

The Rowe family next took a trip to the Museum of Science as a special birthday outing with Julia.  The most exciting part of the trip was getting to explore an old schoolhouse, which is decorated inside with true artifacts from a school that closed in the early 1970s.  Julia was fascinated with the entire place, and especially loved getting to launch into full-out pretend play as the teacher:

The last part of the day was the absolute MOST exciting for Julia, however: her birthday party!  It was a chaos-filled wild romp of a time at the YMCA pool with 26 of her friends, all screaming and splashing and swimming together:

Followed by pizza, cupcakes, and a dance party in the upper level of the Y building:

And, you know, sure, there were a few mishaps, like Madeleine pooping in her pants during cupcake time and then pulling down her pants to check her underwear in the middle of the party room, but all in all, it was a successful 7th birthday party, and Julia was one happy birthday girl.  Happy, happy birthday, my big 7-year-old daughter!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Walk-to-School and Birthday Baking

Today was another school-wide Walk-to-School Day for Julia; however, given that it was raining, we were among maybe two or three other families who actually did walk.  I mean, we walk EVERY day, regardless of the weather, so it wasn't like we only walked because of the special day.  But I had figured that the walking field wouldn't be QUITE so thin today.  As we walked along, I applauded the girls for their tough stamina.

ME: You girls are tough cookies, all right!

Madeleine latched right onto one key word.

MADELEINE: Uh, Mama?  WHY did you say "cookies?"
ME: I said you're tough cookies.  Do you know what that means?  It means you're super strong and not afraid to get your exercise even when it's not great weather.
JULIA: But why is it called "tough cookies?"
ME: It's just a saying.  It means you're tough, and you're not all like, "Oh, no, I'm getting all WET in this ICKY rain!" 
JULIA: Well, it's not even raining that much.
ME: Exactly.  The rain is not even bothering you.  You know, since I've been a runner for so long, I've just gotten used to being out exercising in all kinds of weather.  Like, running in the rain doesn't seem like a big deal.  I just get wet, but it doesn't mean I can't handle it.  And if it's super cold, I just wear lots of layers to keep warm.

Julia then decided to challenge my statement by posing all sorts of weather emergencies that would prevent me from running outdoors.

JULIA: So, Mom.  Do you run in a HURRICANE?
ME: Well, no.  That would be dumb.  If it's not safe to go outside, then I don't run outside.
JULIA: Well, what about a BLIZZARD?
ME: Well, I definitely run in the snow.
ME: Dad and I *did* go running in a blizzard once, but it stunk, so we turned around and went home.
JULIA: Why?  What happened?
ME: Well, the snow was coming down so fast that we were slipping and sliding all over the place, and it was such an effort to move because the snow was up to our knees before long.
JULIA: Well Mom.  Would you run in a WHITE-OUT?
ME: Well, I guess you couldn't see very well in a white-out, so probably not.
JULIA: What about-
ME: So Julia.  If it's SAFE to be outdoors, then I will run in any kind of weather.

I guess I shouldn't make absolute statements anymore to Julia, unless I want to be subjected to the third degree.

At any rate, after we dropped Julia off at school, Madeleine and I returned home to begin baking cupcakes for Julia's birthday tomorrow.  Since there are close to 30 kids coming, and since last year I learned the hard way that not every kid likes chocolate cake, I wound up making several dozen chocolate as well as several dozen vanilla.  I whipped the chocolate batter up while Madeleine was watching "Little Bear," only to have her wander into the kitchen as I was pouring batter into muffin tins and exclaim, crestfallen: "Oh, NO!  I missed ALL the cupcake fun!"

Little did she know there was waaaaaaaaaaaaay more cupcake fun to be had.  I mean, I was only on the very FIRST batch of cupcakes.  I wound up making more than 60 cupcakes all together.  Missing the first 12 was hardly anything. 

So from that point on, I had my little helper up at the breakfast bar with me, pouring in ingredients with my guidance, and, more importantly, licking ANY stray batter off of anything it plopped onto. 

MADELEINE: (sticking a chocolate-batter-covered finger in her mouth) Mmmmm!  I really LOVE this chocolate!  Mmmmmm!  Oh!  Uh, Mama, guess what?  I forgot ALL ABOUT drinking my milk, because I was SO BUSY eating all the CHOCOLATE!

After making 3 dozen chocolate cupcakes, I moved onto making the vanilla batter.  Madeleine made sure to give that plenty of tasting as well, exclaiming over its deliciousness.  It turns out she was not QUITE as big a fan of the vanilla as she was of the chocolate, however.

MADELEINE: Mmmm!  Mama, the vanilla is really DELICIOUS!'s just a LITTLE bit disgusting.  Only a LITTLE bit.

So, should I forewarn the guests who choose vanilla at tomorrow's party that the cupcakes will taste just a LITTLE bit disgusting??

At any rate, I have finally finished Julia's requested cupcakes with pink frosting and Harry Potter decorations:

Now all I have to do is hold Madeleine at bay for another 36 hours until she can finally have one...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Little Bit of Melodrama

Last night, as I was getting into my pajamas before heading into Madeleine's room to read her some bedtime stories, I heard her pulling books from her bookshelves in a frantic search for a particular story.  A few moments later, she burst into my bedroom, hanging her head forlornly.

MADELEINE: Mama.  It's NO USE!  I just CAN'T find the book I'm looking for.
ME: What book were you looking for?
MADELEINE: (turning to the back cover of "Where is Baby's Pumpkin?") Uh, THIS one here.  (pointing to a picture of the toddler flap book "Toes, Ears and Nose.")  I know that we HAVE it, but I just can't find it ANYWHERE!

Oh, gosh DARN it.  Madeleine was totally right.  We DID have that book.  And then I did a recent book purge to get rid of any of the toddler, lift-the-flap books that we have outgrown.  The sole exception was "Where is Baby's Pumpkin," because, being a Halloween book, we were still regularly reading it.  So much for out of sight, out of mind.  Of COURSE Madeleine would suddenly recall this book and desperately want it. 

She was finally able to settle on a different book, though she informed me that "Toes, Ears and Nose" is on her wish list.  Just what we need!  A brand new copy of a toddler lift-the-flap book, for our 4-year-old!

This morning, Madeleine was in better spirits when I went into her bedroom to say good morning.

MADELEINE: Mama!  (throwing her arms around me)  I was WANTING Mama!  And Mama?  When you WEREN'T in here with me, my mouth was pointing DOWN.  But...NOW it's tipping UP!
ME: Should we go see if Julia's awake?

Madeleine's happy mood didn't last the whole morning, however.  As soon as it was time to leave for school, Madeleine decided she absolutely needed to wear her pink hoodie sweatshirt over her regular shirt.  Unfortunately, this same sweatshirt was in the wash, having been worn for finger-painting yesterday afternoon.  Madeleine simply couldn't handle the fact that the sweatshirt was unavailable.  MAN, was her mouth pointing down over it.  Sobbing and tears galore.  Life's hard, folks.  Doesn't matter how much you've got going for you; if you have to wait a few hours to wear the pink sweatshirt you want, it's enough to just break your spirit.

Thankfully, the melt-down was over by the time we started walking Julia to school, and once we got into the car to take Madeleine to preschool, the incident was more or less forgotten.  I had turned the car on to warm it up, and as we walked around by the exhaust pipe to get Madeleine into her car seat, she was back to her usual self.

MADELEINE: (talking to the air) Don't worry, Thackery, that's just smoke coming from the CAR.

Thackery Binx is invisible.  Madeleine talks to him a lot.  He's the older brother of Madeleine's beloved Emily Binx from the movie "Hocus Pocus."  Because he's invisible, I sometimes have trouble understanding whether Madeleine is talking to me or to Thackery.  Therefore, we often have these kinds of conversations:

MADELEINE: So, guess what?
ME: What?
MADELEINE: No!  Mama!  I'm not TALKING to you!

At any rate, Madeleine and Thackery rode happily to school, and it seemed the sweatshirt crisis had passed.

Now, you may remember that a few days ago, when I picked Madeleine up from school before Lunch Bunch, she was in tears over not being able to stay.  You may also remember that she informed me that my decision to just sign her up for lunch every time made her mouth tip up. 

Well, guess what?  Not so today.  She was once again in tears when I picked her up from Lunch Bunch today.

ME: Madeleine, what are you crying about?
MADELEINE: 'Bout you.
ME: What about me?
MADELEINE: I wanted Mama.

So, apparently staying for Lunch Bunch did NOT make her mouth tip up this time.

Julia will hopefully have something to be happy about at school today; that is, if her teacher has returned from a few days of absence.  Julia can totally handle having a substitute, but it's just not the same wonderful school experience for her when her beloved teacher is not there.

JULIA: Mama?  When, like, my teacher is there, it's so much fun, and the day, like, FLIES by, but whenever we have a substitute, the day just kind of, like, CREEPS along.

We all have our fingers crossed that Julia's teacher is well enough to return today.  After all, it would be nice if at least ONE of my kids has her mouth tipped up when I pick her up from school today!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More of Madeleine's Artwork

As if Madeleine's artwork isn't morbid enough, she took to drawing a bloody dinosaur today.  The dinosaur in and of itself was not bloody.  It's a pre-drawn dinosaur inside one of Madeleine's coloring books.  It was her own decision to decorate him with blood.  There was even a whole back story to go along with the picture:

MADELEINE: So, he and his brother and his sister and his family and his cousins and his uncles and his friends were all picking some nuts and some fruit and some apples, and then Baby Dinosaur...and then the baby sister and the baby brother dinosaur BOTH fell over ONE HUNDRED TIMES!  But...but...the baby sister fell even MORE times, because, she, like, fell one hundred thirty-three pounds of TWO and TEN and ZERO.  So this dinosaur is bleeding, and so was the baby sister.  The mommy put the blue medicine on both of the dinosaurs that fell DOWN. 

Bloody Baby Dinosaur, receiving his medicine

As she colored in the blue medicine, Madeleine had a sudden reflection.

MADELEINE: Mama, I think it's like SPIDER blood, because when Daddy reads the book "Spiders" he always says that spiders have pale blue blood!

I foolishly mistook this to mean that the blue medicine was made of spider blood.

ME: Oh, so the medicine that makes him better is spider blood?
MADELEINE: (dumbfounded) What?  No!  It's not spider blood!
ME: Oh.  I thought it was spider blood.
MADELEINE: Uh, no, Mama, it's MEDICINE.
ME: But I thought you told me it was spider blood because it's blue like spider blood.
MADELEINE: Yeah, but EPSEPT, this medicine is not the same.  Mama, I'm even CURIOUS than you!
ME: You're even more curious about what?

Well, of course Madeleine is even curious than me about blood.  She's into all things gory and creepy.

Madeleine also took some time to color in another of her Thanksgiving pictures sent by Auntie Shannon.  This time, both the Pilgrim and the Native American are orange-haired (and orange-clad), and Madeleine added a few other freestyle drawings around them.  (No rocket ships this time, though):

ME: So, Madeleine, what is this a picture of?
MADELEINE: Oh, it's a picture of two little girls.
ME: And what are they doing?
MADELEINE: Uh, they're buying a bunch of toys for some people and for THEM.  Because they don't really have enough TOYS.  Because the only toys they have is just ONE toy.  ONE SINGLE TOY.  I mean, they only have ZERO toys!  And that means NONE.  So, if I say "ZERO babies," that means "NO babies."
ME: And what's this thing you drew in between the two girls?
MADELEINE: Oh, that's just a little SPELL, because...she's kind of FUNNY, and she wanted to show her sister a cool new SPELL.
ME: Okay.  (pointing to bird-like creature drawn on the right) And is that a turkey?
ME: Okay.  (pointing to the tiny house drawn on the left) And what's that?
MADELEINE: Oh.  That's just a little HOUSE!  Because I thought it would be neat to draw all these COOL little things.

Well, one thing is for sure.  What the Native Americans needed most of all during European colonization was a bunch of new toys.  That captures the spirit of Thanksgiving, now, doesn't it??

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Birthday Cards Gone Awry

Today I went present-shopping for our family friends, Nate and Anja, who are celebrating their birthdays soon.  I thought it might be nice to have Julia and Madeleine split the responsibility of making cards for their friends, and since Anja is turning four, I decided to let our own four-year-old do the honors.

Except that I forgot how nit-picky and fastidious Madeleine is about her art work.  Her whole idea was to draw a picture of herself giving Anja a birthday balloon on the front of the card.  What wound up happening was a series of brown heads that Madeleine deemed unacceptable and consequently colored in all brown, only to start over once again.  No matter how many times she tried, Madeleine was absolutely dissatisfied.  So, instead of Anja receiving a likeness of herself on her birthday card, she gets to be the lucky recipient of a bunch of flying turds, covering front, inside, and back of the card:

As well as a failed Anja attempt that came out more like Kenny from "South Park":

Once Madeleine gave up on drawing Anja, she began making birthday balloons, also brown, until I suggested she try some other colors.  She made a red, placenta-like balloon next (even she acknowledged it: "Uh, Mama, this one kinda looks like streaks of BLOOD.")  Ditching the red marker, Madeleine was then asking for help finding the yellow marker, only to order me out of the room as soon as I handed it to her.

MADELEINE: I don't want you to see, Mama, because it's a SURPRISE.  It's your FAVORITE thing.  So don't look.'s NOT a Madeleine balloon.  So Mama.  Don't look.  And DON'T think about PUMPKINS.

So I didn't think about pumpkins, and BOY was I shocked when she unveiled her "pumpkin balloon" for me!:

To me, it looks like a cartoon representation of a Y and X sperm side by side.  Fits along nicely with the placenta and the turds.

At any rate, we never did get the drawing that Madeleine had aspired to make.  But that's okay; we got some ooey-gooey bodily function pictures instead, and what's funnier to kids than that?!?

In other, unrelated news: I am sad to report that unfortunately, Witcha became and amputee today:

Hopefully she can figure out how to ride one-legged on her broom.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Lately, Madeleine has been into explaining her emotional state by describing the physical shape her mouth makes.  For instance, she recently told Auntie Caitlyn, in response to something exciting Caitlyn had divulged, "My mouth was making a big grin that was getting WIDER and WIDER!"

Apparently Madeleine is noticing facial expressions on other people as well, including hand-drawn stick figures.  I arrived a few minutes early to pick the girls up from Sunday school yesterday, so I went and sat quietly in the back of the classroom while the kids finished up their lesson.  The lesson was about the icon of The Presentation of the Virgin Mary, and an explanation of the upcoming Feast Day that the icon represents.  Madeleine sat quietly, listening, but with her hand raised high in the air, waiting to be called upon.

TEACHER: Yes, Madeleine?  Do you have a question?
MADELEINE: Um...can I show you something?
TEACHER: Sure.  What is it?
MADELEINE: (hopping out of her chair and trotting over to the back wall, whereupon a cut-out person shape with a sad face was glued to a piece of paper entitled "The Good Samaritan") does this guy have a MOUTH that's pointing DOWN?

It's just like Madeleine to stay RIGHT on topic with her musings. 

Today, when I arrived to preschool to pick up Madeleine, I found her sobbing in the lap of one of her teachers.  It turns out she was crying over the fact that she had wanted to stay longer, despite the fact that when I asked her, this morning, if she wanted to stay for Lunch Bunch, she said no.  As I hugged and consoled her, I suggested we do Lunch Bunch tomorrow. 

MADELEINE: (with a huge, shuddering breath) Ohhhhkaaaay.

When we got in the car, I had an even better idea.

ME: Honey, you always seem to get sad that you can't stay longer, even when you say you don't want to do Lunch Bunch.  I think from now on, I'll just bring your lunch every time. 
MADELEINE: Mama?  That made my MOUTH tip up!

Now, let's take a moment to appreciate the ensemble Madeleine put together for her school day:

So, we've got the paradoxical combination of rolled-up sleeves with gloves.  I should point out that it's 65 degrees today and gloves aren't at all necessary, but these days, Madeleine wouldn't think of venturing out of the house without them.  (The rolled-up sleeves are also a constant.  I challenge you to find a single recent picture in which her sleeves are down.)  Then we have her extraneous headband over her already styled hair; the headband is one of mine, and something that Madeleine grabbed as we were headed out the door, then couldn't live without once we got to school.  And finally, let's take note of the fact that she is holding a dress-up ballet slipper.  The slipper actually happens to derive from Julia's Barbie dollhouse/hotel/dormitory game, as it is the "sleeping bag" for Barbie child Minnie.  But, hey, why not hang onto it as an accessory to complete Madeleine's outfit?  It looks totally posh to me.

If any part of this blog post made any of your mouths tip up, I'll consider it a successful post.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Max the Needham Bear

This is a very exciting weekend for Julia, because we have Max the Needham Bear! 

And who is Max the Needham Bear?  Well, he's the stuffed animal resident of the first grade classroom, and each weekend, he goes home with a different student and gets taken along everywhere the student goes.  On Monday that student brings a "Max Journal" to school, with photographs of Max in various places, and a description of the adventures Max went on. 

Good thing Julia got Max on a weekend during which we were doing NOTHING exciting.  So we had to get creative.  Max got to go to swim lessons at the Y with Julia.  Not super amazing, I know, but we dressed him up in a baby doll bikini to add some extra fun to the whole event:

The bathing suit thing was my idea.  Julia wasn't into it.  "Mom!  But  I don't think you're SUPPOSED to take his CLOTHES off!  But MOM!  I don't know if I'm ALLOWED to bring him into the POOL!"

I tried explaining to Julia that Max was not actually going to go into water.  But she was freaking out over what imaginary rules we were breaking nonetheless.

Max also got to go to the Potluck Supper at Madeleine's preschool.  Oh, boy!  Fun times! 

Even though he was back in his regular clothes, Julia was still apprehensive about carrying Max around the preschool. 

VARIOUS KIDS: Hey, what's that teddy bear?
ME: This is Max the Needham Bear!  Every kid in Julia's class gets a chance to have Max for the weekend, and you have to bring Max wherever you go and take photos.
JULIA: Mom!  You're EMBARRASSING meeeee!

And here I thought she'd appreciate my explanation, rather than letting the other kids think she was a nearly 7-year-old girl who felt the need to cling to a teddy bear all night long.  Sheesh.

Max also got to spend the night in Julia's room, not in her bed, but in this smooth ride:

Max in the Barbie car

And speaking of Barbies:

Julia has gotten WAY into a pretend-play game with the Barbie dollhouse.  It's not actually a house.  It's more like a hotel.  But it's not REALLY a hotel, because it's a kind of place that parents can send their kids to live for however many years they want, and they learn all kinds of things. 

Julia explained it all to me: "It's like a place that girls can go when they're four.  And, like, if their mom and dad are sick, they can go HERE.  It has three dormatories: the sports dormatory, technology dormatory, and cafe dormatory.  Minnie, Edaline, Jasmine, Barbara, Ariel and Silver Mist are in the sports dormatory.  Wanna know who hangs out in the cafe?  Blair.  Only Blair.  Technology: Grace, Merliah, and Witcha."

Julia uses a British accent to "talk" all of these dolls.  Big surprise. 

This morning, things in the hotel/dormatory got REALLY heated.

JULIA:  Mom, they're fighting.  So, like, I'm pretending that Ariel only cares about BALLET, and it's December third, and every year she invites ALL these people on December third to the CLASS she teaches, and she's pretending that she's TWENTY-ONE, but she's really only SIXTEEN, and Edaline is getting annoyed because, well, first of all you kind of have to TELL people when you're going to invite lots of people over, because this room is only up to TEN people,'s probably going to be MORE than ten people, and also, Edaline thinks it's not really very NICE to pretend you're twenty-one if you're really only sixteen.

Yikes.  How does one even deal with such atrocious behavior?  I'm sure that no sixteen-year-olds besides Ariel have EVER pretended to be twenty-one.  Nope.  Unheard of.

With all of this Barbie fun, poor Max the Needham Bear has been kind of forgotten today, and lies neglected up in Julia's room.  But that's okay.  After all the wild and crazy adventures he's been on, between the YMCA pool and Madeleine's school, he probably needs the peace and quiet.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving Pictures

Auntie Shannon sent the girls a pile of Thanksgiving-themed coloring pages, and Madeleine wasted no time getting right to work.  The first picture she colored was one of a Native American and a Pilgrim making fast friends, getting ready to pull on a wishbone and make all of their dreams of peace and harmony come true.  Apparently, in Madeleine's mind, this Native American community has been visited by the White Man before, given that the Native American girl is blonde and pale-skinned:

In fact, it turns out this Pilgrim and Native American are not actually in America.

MADELEINE: So Mama.  They're in AFRICA, because the grass is REALLY, REALLY dry!

They *definitely* look African, wouldn't you say?

Madeleine's second picture was one of a Native American, who apparently hails from the future and not from the 17th century:

ME: Madeleine, who's that pink person next to this girl?

Madeleine has also been busy making free art, coming home from school with this spectacular drawing yesterday:

Confused about what this might be?  Madeleine explains it all:

MADELEINE: Mama?  This is a RAKE, and a BABY is holding it.  There's a big SANDBOX, and she wants to rake all the sand, and she wants to be a FARMER in the sandbox and rake all the sand.  And you know what?  This is really SILLY.  She wants to put the sand in the POOL.
ME: So what made you decide you wanted to draw a rake?
MADELEINE: Oh!  Because I thought you might like to have a THANKSGIVING-Y picture!

Wow.  Madeleine has certainly nailed all of the Thanksgiving themes in her artwork.  Rocket ships, a sandbox and pool, babies raking sand, African grass, and little blonde-braided Native American girls.  I think it's safe to say she definitely understands the meaning of the holiday!

Happy Sandbox Season to you all!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Phonics and Face-Plantings

I am never quite sure what goes inside Madeleine's little head.  (Or should I say ginormous head??) 

This is how our morning started:

ME: Madeleine, would you like a bagel?
ME: Both what? 
ME: Both what?  You mean a bagel AND a bowl of cereal?
MADELEINE: No, Mama.  I want BOTH.
ME: Both WHAT?
MADELEINE: I want a bagel AND popcorn.
ME: Well, honey, we don't have any popcorn.  Besides, popcorn isn't a breakfast food.
MADELEINE: (lip drooping) Well, Mama.  Daddy SAID we were having popcorn for breakfast!
ME: Ethan?  Did you tell Madeleine she can have popcorn for breakfast?
ETHAN: I most definitely did not.
MADELEINE: Daddy, you DID!
ME: Madeleine, did you DREAM that?
MADELEINE: Uh...I didn't.

We never managed to solve that mystery.  Luckily, Madeleine accepted merely the one bagel as her breakfast.

I had Madeleine's preschool conference later in the day, and to my great relief, the teachers say she's a great listener and follows directions very well.  The teachers were also surprised by how well Madeleine knows her numbers and letters, which she has basically learned through osmosis from Julia.  With that in mind, I thought maybe I'd give some phonics a try with Madeleine this evening, thinking it might be worth testing her ability to sound out some simple words. 

In a nutshell: it was absolutely not worth it.  There is no such ability yet.

ME: So, Madeleine.  The word "C-A-T" spells "cat."  So what do you think "B-A-T" spells?
MADELEINE: Uh...Mama, how about you just WHISPER it to me?
ME: Well, see if you can figure it out.  if "C-A-T" spells "c-c-c-c-CAT," then what does "B-A-T" spell?  "B-b-b-b-"
ME: Uh, no.  B-b-b-BAT.  "C-A-T" is "c-c-c-CAT."  "B-A-T" is "b-b-b-BAT."  So what about "H-A-T?"  "H-h-h-h-"
ME: Nope.  "C-A-T" spells "c-c-c-CAT."  "B-A-T" spells "b-b-b-BAT."  So "H-A-T" spells "h-h-h-h-HAT."  So what about "M-A-T?  M-m-m-m-"

Yeah.  So no.  Not ready for sounding-out words yet.  (Not that I really expected she would be; it's way early.)

So, while Madeleine has proven, at school, that she has learned from Julia, so Julia proved this morning that she has learned from Madeleine.  As we were walking to school, Julia MAJORLY wiped out and face-planted on the sidewalk on our way downhill.  It was LOTS of tears, folks.  My heart was breaking for her, but I didn't really know what else to do besides urge her to continue on so we could get her to the school nurse for some band-aids.  As we walked the rest of the way in, Julia hysterically wailed "Mommyyyyyy!  Mommyyyyyyy!" as she clung to my leg (which I was trying to move in order to keep walking, and to keep pushing Madeleine's stroller), so the event of just getting us to the school was an effort for all involved.  Of course, the nurse's office wasn't opened yet, but just physically being in the school seemed to have calmed Julia's hysteria, and I was able to drop her at her classroom with her back in solid spirits.

Big sigh.  Oh, how I love the morning madness of rushing everyone off to school on time.  Never a dull moment!  Always a new adventure in store for us!  What can we look forward to for tomorrow?  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Julia has been desperate for snow lately, so when I told her, two nights ago, that the overnight forecast was for a mix of rain and snow, she was overjoyed.  I also warned her that the forecast predicted zero inches of accumulation, but she paid me no mind.

JULIA: Well, Mommy, sometimes the weather forecast can be WRONG.
ME: That's true, but in this case, I really doubt we'll get any snow on the ground.
JULIA: I just KNOW it in my heart that it's gonna stick.  I just KNOW that I'm right.

When Julia awoke the next morning, she came bursting downstairs, running to the window to check for snow.  What was initially rain did indeed wind up changing over to snow, and Julia stood glued to the window all morning before school, watching to see if the snow would stick.

Both girls were filled with joy and delight as we headed off in the flurries to walk Julia to school:

Catching snowflakes on their tongues

Super-excited Madeleine

However, the joy was short-lived for at least one of the kids.

MADELEINE: Julia!  When you get home from school, we're gonna go SLEDDING!
ME: Oh, honey, there's not going to be enough snow for sledding.  It's not going to stick.

This is how Madeleine looked for the remainder of the walk to Julia's school:

"But I want to go sleeehhhhdding!"

Poor Madeleine is SO utterly confused about the seasons.  Especially considering the flurries yesterday morning, and the fact that the temps have been in the twenties the past two mornings as we walked to school.  After we had dropped Julia off today, Madeleine struggled to understand just what a heck was going on with the seasons.

ME: Oh, look, Madeleine, the wind is blowing leaves all around in the air up there!
MADELEINE: (gazing upwards) But Mama?  Is it FALL?
ME: Yup.  It's fall.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  How did it CHANGE BACK to fall?
ME: It didn't change back.  It's still fall.  It just feels a little bit like winter.
MADELEINE: But Mama?  Is winter just another word for CHRISTMAS?
ME: No, honey, winter is a season.  Christmas is a holiday that happens in the winter, but winter lasts for months.  Winter is the time of year when it gets really cold, and it might snow, and the days get dark very early, like in the afternoon.
MADELEINE: Yeah!  Like it's kind of dark out right now!
ME: Right. (Wrong.)

A few moments later, our conversation took a REALLY confusing turn.

ME: Who's taller of what people?
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  Who's TALLER?
ME: Of who?
ME: Of down where?  Of our shadows on the ground?
ME: Of who?
MADELEINE: Of me and Daddy.
ME: Oh.  Daddy.

With that cleared up, Madeleine's thoughts turned back towards seasons.

ME: Spring Christmas?  What does that mean??
MADELEINE: It means you can ICE-SKATE, and pick APPLES.

Oh, brother.  I can see she *really* gets it.

Nothing says "spring" and "Christmas" more than a good ol' time at the apple orchard!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Old McMadeleine Had a Farm...

Last night as Madeleine was getting ready for bed, she was suddenly struck by the injustice of her current living situation.

MADELEINE: Mama?  How come we never hear the rooster say "Cock-a-doodle-doooooo!" when it's time to wake up?
ME: Well, we don't have a rooster here, but we know it's morning when it's light out so we don't really need a rooster to wake us up.
MADELEINE: But are there NO roosters anymore to say "cock-a-doodle-doo?"
ME: No, there are roosters, just not around here.  There are roosters that live on farms that might wake up farmers in the morning.
MADELEINE: (face beginning to crumple in distress) But Maaamaaa!  How come WE don't have a rooster to say "cock-a-doodle-doo" at OUR house?
ME:  Well, we don't live on a farm.
MADELEINE: But Maaamaaa!  Why DON'T we have a farm?
ME: Well, because we live in a neighborhood with lots of houses, not on a big farm with lots of farmland.
MADELEINE: Mama?  But why does our house STINK?
ME: It stinks?  I don't think it stinks.

(I'm lying.  I kind of do think it stinks, but I don't want my kids growing up feeling the need to live in a mansion rather than just being grateful for the roof above their heads and the happy home and family in which they live.)

ME: What do you mean?  We have plenty of space.

(Again, I'm lying.  But again, it's all relative.  Compared to many of our neighbors, our house is cramped.  Compared to much lower income areas, our house is a palace.)

MADELEINE: No, it's SQUISHED because all the HOUSES are so SQUISHED together and there's no room for FARMS.
ME: Why do you want a farm?
MADELEINE: Because.  I want to be a farmer and have a rooster that says "Cock-a-doodle-dooooo!"
ME: Well, maybe when you grow up, you can be a farmer.
MADELEINE: Uh, no, I don't want to.  I want to be a TEACHER that teaches swim lessons when I grow up.
ME: Oh.  Well, that sounds like a fun job.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Because I love swimming SO MUCH!

And with that, she was able to get over her rooster envy.  Which is good, because the kids ALREADY wake me up too damn early every day.  I don't need a meddlesome rooster crowing the moment the sky begins to lighten.

Julia is thinking less about her own wants and more about the wants of others lately, as she begins her home-made Christmas gift extravaganza.  She has already wrapped several creations and hidden them under her bed, including a "Fashion Mix and Match" for Madeleine, to which she taped various articles of clothing that can be un-taped and switched around to go with the two female heads she drew.  Today Julia was hard at work on a "Gesing Game" for her sister, and came up with a brilliant idea in the event of being caught in the act of making a gift.

JULIA: (whispering to me) Mom.  I have a great idea.  If Madeleine comes in and asks what I'm doing, I'll say: "I'm working on a school project."  And if she says, "But why does it say 'to Madeleine?,' I'll say: 'because it's a project about Saint Madeleine!'  Isn't that a good idea?"

Instead, Madeleine wound up having an entirely different question, as I overheard Julia saying defensively to her sister: "What?  Haven't you ever heard of WRAPPING a school project in Christmas wrapping paper before?!?"

With 44 days left until Christmas, there is an abundance of opportunity for Julia to add to her gift collection.  I can't WAIT to see what she has made for me.  And maybe, if Madeleine is lucky, Julia will make her a rooster that can wake us up by saying "Cock-a-doodle-dooooo!" every morning!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fun Run

Today was an exciting one for the girls: they got to run in their first ever road race!  I had signed the three of us up for the One Mile Fun Run, one of several races run today to raise money for BIGGSteps, a foundation set up in honor of the father of Julia's best friend from preschool, who passed away last year. 

The kids were thrilled to get to do a REAL race, like the one they watched me run in last month.  We even got tee-shirts as part of our registration benefits, although the tees are definitely an adult size small.  As I carried the tee-shirts to our car, along with our race numbers, I warned the girls that the shirts would likely not fit very well.

ME: So, these tee-shirts are pretty big, so they'll probably be more like a nightgown than a shirt.
JULIA: (brightly) That's okay!
MADELEINE: But Mama?  Can you put the thing that's kind of like a NIGHTGOWN right HERE on my fleece?  (pointing at her belly)
ME: Um...well, we're not going to wear the shirts right now...oh, wait a minute.  Do you mean you want your NUMBER on your fleece?
MADELEINE: (relieved to be understood) Um...YES!
ME: Yeah, we're going to pin it on in just a second.  I'm just putting the tee-shirts in the car.  The number isn't like a nightgown.  The SHIRTS are.

Madeleine didn't care about the distinction, so long as she got to pin her number to her belly and look like an official runner.

After the numbers were pinned, I attempted to take a picture of the girls by the official race banner.  Madeleine was so excited she was literally jumping for joy.

ME: Okay, girls.  Look at the camera!  Madeleine, stop hopping for a second.
JULIA: (posing perfectly still and giving me her best fake smile)
MADELEINE: (hopping up and down)
ME: Madeleine, stay still!
MADELEINE: (hopping up and down)
ME: Madeleine, honey, the picture's going to come out blurry if you don't stop hopping.
MADELEINE: (hopping up and down)
ME: Okay, stop hopping for a second.
MADELEINE: (hopping up and down)
ME: Madeleine.  Stay still.
JULIA: (finally losing it) MADELEINE!  Will you just STOP HOPPING so Mommy can take the picture?

Madeleine couldn't handle not hopping.  This is how the picture came out:

A man from the newspaper also tried to take a photo of the girls.  Madeleine was simply too broken-hearted over the no-hopping imposition that she couldn't bring herself to smile.

Luckily, a little later on, she came out of her funk so we got a couple of happy photos:

As we stood waiting for the race to officially start, I suggested to the girls that we all do some stretches.  I modeled a hamstring stretch for them, pointing my leg out to the side and bending my body over the pointed leg.  Madeleine took my example to mean she should flail her own body over her leg and conk her ginormous noggin into mine in the process.  I guess when Madeleine's around, you can get injured doing just about anything, even stretching.

As we lined up at the start, the girls began to wriggle in excitement, and at the cue, we all took off running.  And when I say "took off," I mean it literally in Julia's case.  I think I saw a glimpse of her for about ten seconds and then she was out of my sight, running near the front of the pack with a bunch of older kids. 

Madeleine and I ran together, holding hands throughout most of the race, although when we hit a huge downhill, she wanted to run ahead of me at top speed.

ME: Okay, honey, just be careful.  There's a bunch of wet leaves and I don't want you to slip on them and fall down.
MADELEINE: (shouting back to me) Don't worry, Mama, because I am an EXPERT at running and walking on WET LEAVES!

She's also an expert at wiping out, but THANKFULLY she made it down the hill without face-planting.  In fact, she seemed truly full of joy to be out running:

While she had to slow down to a shuffle at a few points, Madeleine was a real trooper, and made it through the entire race without stopping - or even walking - once.  As she crossed the finish line, I saw Julia waiting for us, having already finished well before we did.  Madeleine and I joined Julia to find out how her race had gone, and it turns out she finished in a speedy eight minutes.  Go Jules!  I guess all her Gallop Time has helped her build up some mighty endurance power!

ME: So, Jules, were you excited to see Madeleine and I approaching the finish line
ME: And did you feel so proud of Madeleine when you saw her finish?
JULIA: Well, mostly I feel proud of MYSELF!

Totally not surprised by that answer.  Although she definitely deserves to feel pride in her accomplishment!

We stopped for water over by the registration tent, and while I attempted to get one last  candid shot of the girls,:

Madeleine decided it was Fashion Shoot time.

MADELEINE: Mama!  Take a picture of just ME!
ME: Okay.  Smile!  Oh.  I see.  You're doing fierce.

Work it, Runner Girl!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Daylight Savings Time Woes

Ohhhh, Daylight Savings Time, the bane of my existence...

Not only do I dislike the fact that it gets dark before I even leave work to head home each day, but the kids just do not seem to adjust their internal clocks, despite what the physical clock says.  We've now entered the happy period during which the children wake up as soon as the sunlight peeks through their shades into their bedrooms, because their bodies are still operating on the OLD time, making things feel an hour later.  So sure, waking Mommy up at 6:20 on a weekend feels perfectly normal.  For them.  NOT for me.

Madeleine was the culprit this morning, bounding into my bedroom full of joy to be awake and ready to start her day.  Here's the hitch, though: she did not want to start it without my company.

ME: Madeleine, why don't you play in your room for awhile?
MADELEINE: Uh, no, I just want to play in here with YOU.
ME: Well, why don't you go downstairs and play?  There's not much to do in here.
MADELEINE: Well, I want you to come down WITH me!

Madeleine ultimately decided to pull her baby book down from the shelf and sit on the bed with me, flipping through the pages and remarking over the various pictures of her baby self.

MADELEINE: Hey Mama!  Look at THIS picture!  Isn't it CUTE?
ME: (laying on my side, eyes closed, trying to sleep) Mmm-hmm.
MADELEINE: And Mama!  Look at THIS!
ME: Mmm-hmm.
MADELEINE: No, Mama!  You have to LOOK!  Open your EYES, Mama!
ME: (briefly opening one eye) Oh, cute.
MADELEINE: And look at THIS one, Mama!
ME: Mmm-hmm.
MADELEINE: (exasperated) MAMA!  Don't just keep CLOSING YOUR EYES and saying "Mmm-hmm" over and OVER again!

After that, I made sure to pop open an eye anytime Madeleine exclaimed over a picture.  But she was too smart for me.  After she'd check to make sure I had my eye open, she'd turn back to admire the picture, then whip her head back around to catch me in the act of re-closing my eyes.

No rest for the weary, man.

When 7:15 rolled around, I passed Madeleine duty onto Ethan, so that I could catch a bit more sleep.  Julia also woke up around that time, and the girls headed downstairs to stomp around the house with heavy-footed thumping steps.  Eventually, they quieted down as they settled in to watch a show and make some artwork.  Julia got really ambitious and decided to do her entire class project by herself, without adult supervision.  This project is due in a few weeks, and is an "About Me" sort of poster that each child completes for his or her birthday week.  Julia and I had talked about the photos she might want on her poster, and I placed an order for said photos to be printed at CVS last night.

When I woke up, Julia proudly displayed her poster for me:

 JULIA: Mom!  So: the boxes that I drew are where I want the PICTURES to go.

It would have been really helpful if she'd made the boxes the actual size of the 4X6 photos I had ordered.

I give her an A for initiative, though!  And after a little scissor work (and we all know how poorly I cut, so I think I deserve an A for overcoming my deficiency here!), I managed to make the pictures work in a not-too-shabby way:

A few box edges sticking out from behind the photos, and I had to cover up the swirly border in one spot, but a pretty decent collaboration, no?

At any rate, we Rowes are all over-tired and not adjusted to the time change yet, despite it being a week since the clocks turned back, so we have had a low-key day at home.  Activities included a family game of Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit, as well as some holiday fun viewing "Dora: Thanksgiving" and "Muppets Christmas Carol."  Here's hoping that we will all get some much-needed sleep tonight!