Wednesday, April 30, 2014

More Drawings, More Books

Yesterday, at a play-date, Julia drew the following picture:

Despite the helpful illustration, I could not for the life of me figure out what the caption was supposed to mean, and neither could the mother of Julia's friend.

FRIEND'S MOM: "D and N are friends?"
JULIA: No, P and N are friends!
ME: But what does "P and N" mean?
JULIA: Pilgrim and Native American!!

Ohh.  I kind of can't believe I couldn't figure that out.  It shows how un-PC my brain is regarding the pairing of pilgrims and Native Americans.  I am so used to the coupling of "Pilgrims and Indians" that my mind didn't even GO there.  Here I was, thinking in Sesame Street-like terms, imagining a cartoon letter P and letter N walking around holding hands, singing some cute alphabet song. 

Madeleine did a bunch of drawing on her own as well, though she didn't draw happy smiling friends of different races.  Instead, to borrow and alter a phrase from "The Sixth Sense," Madeleine's motto is: "I draw dead people."

I'm going to assume that the above pictures are both renditions of Elsa shedding tears over Anna; however, instead of Anna being frozen into an ice version of herself, she's floating upside down like a dead fish.  (Maybe Madeleine should have written "Deed Fish" instead of Julia...)

And then there's this picture:

What.  The.  Heck. 

I asked Madeleine to tell me about this picture, and she gave me this very informative response: "So, there's, like, an ANGEL, and there's, like, these things saying 'HI' to them."

And apparently the things saying "Hi" would include unhappy men in space ships, a camera, a skeleton whose head, arms and legs have become detached from his body, a totem pole with a pineapple on his head, and a slide.

Now, moving on from drawing to books, Julia has started work on what is SURE to be the masterpiece to top all masterpieces:

Why Do Boy's Not Go in the Girl's Bathroom?
by Julia Rowe

Well, the title just says it all, dear readers.  This is gonna be a BEST-SELLER.

"Hi I'm Annie.  And girls go in the girl's bathroom but boy's go in the boy's bathroom."

Hi Annie!  Nice to meet you!  Thanks for the stunning new information on girls and boys.  By the way, it looks like you might need to use the bathroom yourself.  Either that, or change your diaper.

"I just went to the bathroom.  How come there's know boy's' I ask't.  'Well this is a girl's bathroom' said a girl.  She look't anoyd."

Don't worry, Annie, I make that mistake all the time.  I am constantly turning to a random woman in the ladies' room and saying, "I just went to the bathroom.  How come there's know men?"  The women I ask usually look anoyd at me as well.  I feel your pain.

"Boy oh boy,' said Annie.  'Is this a no boy's allowed school?'  Annie wonderd allowed.  The next day."

It took me a LONG time to realize that the words in Annie's thought bubble say "Cafitiria," not "Caxixiria."  Here I was, trying to understand whether Annie just thinks jibberish words in her head and THAT'S why she's too dim to understand about the boys' and girls' bathrooms, or whether she was going to cast a Harry Potter-esque spell to uncover the secret knowledge that she seeks. 

And all along, it turns out that she was just thinking in caveman terms about where she was at the moment.  CAFITIRIA!  I guess the words she wonders allowed are more sophisticated than the thoughts in her head.  

"WHAT IS GOING ON!?' yelled Annie.  'I gess I'll just draw,' said Annie."

Wow.  Annie is getting REALLY bent out of shape about this girls' bathroom thing.  But she had an excellent coping strategy.  I know that whenever I am confused as to why there are no boys in the girls' bathroom, it helps to sit down and draw pictures of hearts and sunshine.

 "Fransisca,' said Annie.  'Why do boy's go in the boy bathroom?'  'Well,' said Fransica.  'Well becuse there boy's,' said Fransisca."

Man, Annie sure is lucky to have a big sister like Fransisca to explain the obvious.  Boys go in the boys bathroom becuse there boys.  Of COURSE!  (Also, do you think that when Annie is going to the bathroom, she has a thought bubble above her head that says "BATHROOM!"?)

"I understand,' said Annie.  'I gess I do,' said she."

Julia then began work on the back of this page, about how Annie DOESN'T really understand, but doesn't dare tell Fransisca.  Then it was time for school so the book remains, at the moment, incomplete.  How will this thrilling story wrap up?  Will Annie finally figure out why there are no boy's in the girl's bathroom?  Or will she remain forever in a foggy cloud of confusion? 

"Will we ever find out how this story ends?" I wondered allowed.  The next day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Retirement Gifts

The director of Madeleine's preschool is retiring at the end of this school year, and parents past and present are feeling very sentimental about it.  As part of a special good-bye gift from the entire school, the Parent Committee is putting together a book of memories from the mouths of babes.  Today I sat down with Madeleine to give her the prompt question: "What I love most about Mrs. G..."

ME: Madeleine, what do you love most about Mrs. G?
MADELEINE: Well Mama?  Did you know that we got to have POPCORN for snack today?
ME: Wow!  But can you tell me what you love most about Mrs. G?
MADELEINE: Ummm...she gives out really good SNACKS.
ME: Uh, okay.  And what else?
MADELEINE: Umm...she gives out good JUICE.
ME: Okay.  And what does she do that's NOT about snack time?
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) Uh...makes up the RULES?
ME: Okaaay...but what else does she do that's really special that you love?
MADELEINE: Um, she gets out paper for pictures.  Because I love to draw hearts!
ME: Okay.  So what else is great about Mrs. G?
MADELEINE: Uh, she tells Finn not to call me LAME.
ME: What?
MADELEINE: Finn called me "lame" today, and she said not to SAY that.

Great.  That's a perfect memory for the school gift.  "The thing I love most about Mrs. G is that she tells Finn not to call me lame."

Anyway, I was finally able to piece together enough of what Madeleine said to come up with this:

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MRS. G: "She gives out really good snacks, and she gets me paper for drawing pictures.  I love to draw hearts!"

To top it all off, this is the picture that Madeleine drew to accompany her kind words:

Enjoy your retirement, Mrs. G!  Don't let that black shadow of impending death dampen your retirement-age pleasure!

Monday, April 28, 2014

More on Marriage

Madeleine has made yet another amendment to her marriage plans, so now I will no longer be housing her as a married adult.

ME: Madeleine, why do you feel like you want to live with Mommy when you grow up?
MADELEINE: Uh, well, Mama.  Now I'm just gonna live REGULAR, because...I want to marry SIBLINGS.

Oh.  That's so much better than her old plan.  Now not only will she be marrying Julia, but apparently some other brother or sister unknown to Ethan and I.  It's going to be like sister-wives, without the husband!

Julia is still not keen on Madeleine's plan to get married.  She's pretty content to have her independence from her little sister, especially when it comes to bedrooms.  While Julia is happy to share a room with Auntie Shannon, she definitely takes pride in her bedroom being her OWN, apart from Madeleine.  

You can see how much she loves her special bedroom in the following project she made at school; her class is learning about keys and maps, and Julia designed the following map of her bedroom:

Thank goodness we now have a map of Julia's closet-sized bedroom.  I'm not sure anyone would have known how to get from one end of the room to the other without a guide!

Madeleine did not draw her own bedroom, but she did make the following completely disturbing pictures as a gift to Julia:

Crazy woman with broken neck, surrounded by gleaming golden bladed knives

(Or, as Madeleine explained, "it's ELSA from Frozen!")

LSD trip to the land of magical rainbows

Dead floating corpse

Way to woo your intended, Madeleine!  Now there's NO WAY Julia will turn down your marriage proposal!  I think you're gonna get to marry siblings after all!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Madeleine's Marriage Plans

Madeleine is holding fast to her resolution to live with me when she's an adult; however, her plan to have a husband seems to have changed.  Julia and Madeleine discussed this issue on the car ride home from church.

MADELEINE: I'm gonna live with MAMA when I grow up!
JULIA: Madeleine, you're gonna live at home when you're MARRIED?
MADELEINE: Yes.  And I'm gonna marry YOU!
JULIA: (scathingly) Maaadeleine.  You can't marry me.  People aren't ALLOWED to marry their siblings.
MADELEINE: Well Julia, why not?
JULIA: First of all, Madeleine, if you marry me, you won't get to CHANGE your last name, because we already HAVE the same last name.

Yes.  That *is* the important issue at hand.  I mean, that's the main reason why I married Ethan and not one of my cousins with the same last name as me.

After a moment of reflection, Madeleine was still resolved in her desire to marry Julia, and tried to entice her sister.

MADELEINE: Julia, c'mon, it will be like dancing in the MEADOW!

Yeah, Julia.  Come on.  Take a risk.  Embrace the opportunity to partake in this incestuous wedding.  It will be like dancing in the meadow!

At any rate, while Madeleine has been wishing to live at home even when she's a grown-up, she had other desires on her mind when she said her prayer at church today.  She shared her inner thoughts with me upon our return home:

MADELEINE: Mama?  Today I said a SPECIAL PRAYER that goes like this: "God, please make it be Easter tomorrow.  AMEN."

I think she's gonna be pretty disappointed when she wakes up tomorrow and God hasn't made it be Easter.  Maybe she needs to have less lofty requests for God to deliver to her.

Or maybe He'll pull through for her.  In that case, I will post again tomorrow, on Easter!

Friday, April 25, 2014

VT Trip

We Rowes have been up in Vermont visiting Nana and Gramps for the past few days, and the girls are having a blast.  Not only have they got to do some of their favorite Vermont traditional activities, like skipping stones on Lake Champlain and swinging on the tree swing Gramps built, but we also got to attend the Vermont Maple Festival in St. Albans.

The festival started out right up Julia's alley: with maple cream donuts!

Afterwards, we visited St. Albans Historical Museum and it was Julia's dream come true.  There were rooms that were re-creations of, as Julia would write, the "aldin" days, including a school house, a medical office, and a boutique.  There were 18th century nightgowns and hats and dolls and cradles and all sorts of artifacts.

There were also all sorts of mannequins throughout the museum, like these:

MADELEINE: Wait, Mama, are they all, like, PETRIFIED or something??

You can see that Madeleine is with the program as always.  Yes, these mannequins are real people, who, like in "Harry Potter," have been hit with the Petrificus Totalus Spell.

After the museum, we enjoyed the kiddie section of the festival.  First up were pony rides:

Madeleine remained rather stoic while on the pony, but Julia spent the whole time beaming with radiant delight.  I mean, if one of the highlights of an average day is galloping through the living and dining rooms so she can think about things, just IMAGINE all the fantastical thoughts going through Julia's head when she was on a REAL galloping animal!

Next up were carnival rides, which the kids LOVED:

 Only one ride was for kids taller than Madeleine, so I rode with Julia:

Madeleine, of course, sobbed her little heart out over being left behind.  Meanwhile, I struggled to control my motion sickness.

JULIA: Mom?  Are you feeling cautious?
ME: (sarcastically) Yup, I'm cautious.
JULIA: (nervously) Okay, but try not to barf on me.

Okay, honey, I will be CAUTIOUS in my attempt not to let NAUSEOUS stomach unload on you.

On our drive back to Nana and Gramps' house, Madeleine sought to once again reassure me (or, really, herself) that she won't be moving out once she's an adult.  This came after a similar conversation last night:

MADELEINE: Mama?  When I grow up, I'm gonna have a husband, but...I'm still gonna live with you.
ME: You are welcome to live with me. But you'll probably want your own house.
MADELEINE: Well Mama?  How about I live NEXT to you.
ME: Okay.
MADELEINE: (face crumpling) But Maaamaaa!  Can Daddy make the houses that are next to us SMALLER, so we can fit my house?
ME: Well, maybe we can build another house for you in our backyard.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Okay!

Anyway, tomorrow we head back to our house and the back yard that will someday hold Madeleine's house, with her husband and babies.  Wish us good driving weather, light traffic, and minimal back seat whinings of boredom!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Scary Show

The girls picked a random show from Kids Netflix to watch this evening while I cooked dinner, and man, did it scare the bejeebers out of them.  Julia was actually so scared that she left the room and refused to watch any of the rest of it.  Madeleine soldiered on through, only to become intensely terrified of pretty much EVERYTHING for the rest of the evening.  She spent the next few hours with a blanket wrapped around her head like a shroud, and she needed a companion to go into another room, even if the room was adjacent to the one we were in and we could LITERALLY SEE EACH OTHER while in separate rooms. 

The show obviously pumped up her adrenaline and got her mind whirling, because she had a SERIOUS case of verbal diarrhea while I tried to put her to bed tonight.  Add that to the fact that she was too afraid to let me leave her room, and it turned into a marathon bedtime session.  Even after I suggested she try to settle down and get sleepy, Madeleine just kept jabbering on.  About once per second I was barraged by: "But Mama" or "Well Mama."  Or "But Mama, just ONE MORE QUESTION.  How come...uh...just TWO MORE QUESTIONS.  How come...blah blah blah blah blah..."

I think my favorite conversation we had was this one:

MADELEINE: So Mama.  When I grow up...I'm gonna live with YOU.
ME: You are?  But you might want to live in a house of your own.
MADELEINE: No, I'm just gonna live with you.
ME: How come?
MADELEINE: Because.  I'm just gonna have babies here and live with YOU. and Julia are NOT gonna watch tv.
ME: Oh.  Okay.
MADELEINE: And Mama?  I bet that I won't be scared of the dark when I'm a grown-up.  Because...I think that I will just...fall asleep REALLY quickly.  And I will be BIG and STRONG and I won't be scared when I'm a grown-up.  But...maybe I'll have to work and YOU won't.
ME: Oh, really?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And maybe when it's night-time, Daddy will go to bed and *I'll* stay up and do the dishes.  (laughing to herself) That would be RIDICULOUS!

I'll tell you what's ridiculous.  This kid here:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Poems

Julia's poetry skills have come a LONG way since her "Love is Heart" poem.  Today she wrote several poems that I thought were quite lovely. 

"I here rain it is raining.  It is falling down from the shinggel's.  It is decorating the outside.  I am relaxst as I fall isleep.  It is raining."

I love this poetic description of being cozy indoors while the pitter patter of rain outdoors lulls you to sleep.  And it takes an extra-special effort for Julia to write from this point of view, so unlike her own.  Because if it really WERE raining while Julia was trying to fall isleep it would be more like this:

JULIA: (getting out of bed in a panic) MOM?  Is the rain gonna cause a FLOOD?
ME: No.  Go back to bed.
JULIA: (getting back out of bed in a panic) MOM?  Should I turn off my night-light in case lightning strikes our house and it causes a FIRE?
ME: No honey.  Go back to bed.
JULIA: (sprinting back out of her bed) MOM?  But how do you KNOW it's not gonna cause a flood?  Mom?  Can you just CHECK the weather and see if it says there might be a flood?  MOM?  Is it supposed to be a THUNDERSTORM?  But will lightning strike our house?  But how do you KNOW that it's not going to thunderstorm?  MOM?  I just CAN'T FALL ASLEEP with the sound of RAIN outside my window!

But anyway.  Julia's poem version is much more...well...poetic.
And speaking of Julia trying to fall asleep, let's look at her next poem:

 Fall Asleep
"As I fall asleep I grow and grow.  Thing's happen when I fall asleep.  Thing's I don't know of.  As I fall asleep.  I fall asleep to chiljren singing.  I fall asleep to grow-ups laghing.  I fall asleep to every sound I here in my ear.  I fall asleep to the silance in the dark stormie night.  Something jumps as morn aproche's.  Someone wisporing in my ear.  Someone happy.  Someone jolly.  As I wake up."

This might be my favorite poem ever.  I wonder WHO she imagines is wisporing in her ear in the morning.  I mean, obviously it's someone happy and someone jolly.  But as far as I know, in reality, it's the kids waking up the rest of the household in the morning, rather than vice versa.  But then again, this is not necessarily meant as an autobiographical poem.  If you know Julia, you know that she could NEVER fall asleep to the sounds of chiljren singing, grow-ups laghing, OR the silance of a stormie night.  In fact, Julia can't fall asleep to the noise of ANYTHING going on in the house.  So much so that she will often come chastise Ethan and I for making TOO MUCH NOISE as we clean up the kitchen and do the dishes after putting her to bed. 

And, speaking of noises, we have THIS poem:

"I here voises.  Voises of the chilgren in the world.  Voises of all the adolt's in the world.  But I know that it is a voise of love."

Awww!  What a beautiful message!  Although I don't know if she wants to go around actively stating: "I here voises."  I mean, I know there have been a LOT of mentally unstable poets who are ranked as among the greatest literary masters.  So maybe writing about hering voises is actually establishing a kinship with the likes of Sylvia Plath.  And anyway, when the voises you're hearing are those of love, why NOT advertise it?  I wonder if the voises of chilgren were singing, and if the voises of the adolt's were laghing. Either way, nice reference to the previous poem, Jules!  It's like the circle of life!

Madeleine didn't write any poems today.  Instead, she drew this:

Spiky-headed demon-eyed skeleton of death.  Shiver.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Madeleine Writes a Book

Julia is not the only author in our house!  Madeleine completed her very own book today, with the help of her aunties, who printed out the author's spoken text.  Madeleine, of course, provided the illustrations all by herself, in classic Madeleine style.

I don't know what became of the cover of this book, or if there ever was one, because Madeleine wound up scattering the pages in a fit of artistic rage, but I at least was able to put the pages back in order.

Here we go!:

I guess Clara not only woke up to discover lots and lots of hats, but lots and lots of PEOPLE trying on these hats.  I think my favorite hat is the one that sort of looks like an 18th-century powdered wig, on the person all the way on the left.  But I think my favorite PERSON is the freaky looking girl reaching her hand upwards towards an apple.  Because, as Madeleine informed us, this is ACTUALLY a picture of the people all going apple-picking.

 At long last, Madeleine gets to live out her fantasy in which the LITTLE sister is allowed to touch things that the big sister can't.  It's not like that is some sort of subconscious desire or anything.  Julia ALWAYS shares with Madeleine and doesn't EVER totally freak out because Madeleine is touching her things.

I'm not even sure this picture is meant to reflect anything that's going on in the text.  It kind of looks like Jesus is holding up an ridiculously long lizard or something.  I mean, the lizard is wearing a hat, so there's a connection to the text, but...that's about it.

Oh my God.  I can't even summon words to react to this picture.

Wow.  Well, that was DEFINITELY the best ending I could have ever imagined for this story.  18 lyels, huh?  Do I even dare ask Madeleine what that's supposed to mean?

And niiiiice illustration on this page.  Totally sums up the whole idea of Clara waking up to all sorts of different hats.

I guess her illustrative style is a direct reflection of her own eclectic personal style.  As the adults in the house worked on sorting through the various items in our basement in order to clear it out, Madeleine made sure to pick up random articles of clothing and other completely useless objects and then spent hours playing outside like this:

Not THAT'S some serous fashion sense.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Easter Day is here at last!  Not without drama, of course.  It all started last night, when Julia, much too excited to sleep, wound up coming out of her bedroom at least ten times to lament, "But what if I *never* fall asleep?"  Madeleine conked right out, but not before shedding her own tears over the band-aid that had fallen off of her finger for the umpteenth time. 

Auntie Shannon tried to give Madeleine some advice on preventive health care, but Madeleine wasn't buying it.

AUNTIE SHANNON: Madeleine, you really need to stop picking your nails.  The reason why your finger keeps bleeding is because you're picking at your hangnails.
MADELEINE: Well, Auntie Shannon, I wasn't picking at my nails.  It's just that somehow, MYSTERIOUSLY, my hangnail started BLEEDING.

She's a big fat liar.  She picks at her nails constantly.  There's no "mysteriously" about how her fingers keep bleeding.

At any rate, when the girls awoke this morning, they were BEYOND ready to start searching for their Easter baskets.  Julia found hers easily, while Madeleine, even with heavy guidance from me, wound up turning around in circles looking up towards the sky instead of in the direction of her hidden basket.  Thankfully, Julia was willing to find Madeleine's basket for her, and the girls got ready to pore over their loot:

They were absolutely delighted with the contents of their baskets.  Madeleine received what she referred to as "my FAVORITE little pink DOLPHIN!", aka the dolphin she spotted at CVS about a month ago and had an on-the-floor sobbing melt-down about when I refused to buy it for her.  The girls got Elsa and Anna dolls so that they can continue acting out their "Frozen" obsession, and both girls got a slew of new books, as well as LOADS of candy.  They were SO excited over their goodies that when I snuck upstairs to try and take a nap before church, the sounds of their overly loud, ecstatic and rambunctious voices carried all the way from downstairs and prevented me from dozing off.

Yiayia, the aunties, the kids and I headed to our 11am church service, which was followed by an Easter egg hunt for all the kids.  Last year, Madeleine graced the formal post-hunt photo of the children with her trembling lip and crumpling face, distraught over not having found the Golden Egg.  This year, Madeleine had high hopes for that egg, announcing exuberantly on the car ride to church, "And THIS TIME, *I'm* gonna find the golden egg!"

Except that, once again, it was another kid who found the Golden egg.  Madeleine handled it really well:

Yep.  In fact, this year, Madeleine wasn't even IN the formal group picture.  She was way too hysterical over the egg to even consider standing quietly with the other kids for a moment.

But on the ride home from church, Madeleine had a GREAT solution to the Golden egg problem.

MADELEINE: Hey Mama.  When we get home, I'll lay out ALL my eggs on the table, and you can take my TWO sparkly eggs that have LifeSavers in them, and go out to the driveway and HIDE them, and then I can go and FIND them and say "I found the Golden egg!"

GREAT plan.  Good thing she spent all that time wailing over the lost opportunity to find the Golden egg when the remedy to the problem was so simple after all.

The girls are now deeply invested in a dance party in the living room while Ethan and I prepare an Easter dinner, which will hopefully ensure that they're both able to easily fall asleep by the time bedtime rolls around tonight.  Happy Easter to all who are celebrating!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

This morning, Aunties Shannon and Caitlyn accompanied the girls and I to the Holy Saturday service at our church.  Because of the special services throughout Holy Week, the church bore the symbolic decorative items associated with the various Vespers of the previous nights. 

Madeleine apparently felt as if she had fallen down the rabbit hole and into an alt-universe church.

MADELEINE: Mama?  It just doesn't feel like the right church.
ME: It doesn't?  Why not?
MADELEINE: 'Cause they put different STUFF up.

Despite her confusion as to what church we were at, Madeleine was clearly still confident enough to instruct her aunties as to typical church protocol.  Staring up at Auntie Caitlyn standing in our pew, Madeleine felt the need to inform her rookie aunt that standing is not ALL we do.

MADELEINE: Auntie Caitlyn?  Did you know we don't JUST stand at church?  We SIT DOWN, too.

I'm certain that Madeleine's instruction helped bring Auntie Caitlyn's understanding of a Greek Orthodox church service to fruition.  Especially considering that Caitlyn has been a member of the Orthodox church since birth.

Julia wasn't confused by the differences in altar decorations, but she WAS a bit thrown off by the changes to the typical Liturgy.  Because of it being Holy Saturday, the chants and hymns are slower, allowing the priest more time to complete the longer prayers that are part of Holy Saturday service.  During the "Se imnoumen" hymn, through which the congregation kneels in prayer, Julia apparently ran out of things for which to pray.  Turning to Auntie Shannon in the middle of the hymn, Julia whispered, "I can't think of anything else to say!"  I, on the other hand, didn't even get a chance to complete my prayer, because I was so distracted by the fact that Madeleine was crawling around underneath the pew instead of kneeling, but, hey, I'm glad for Julia that she got the chance to finish hers - and THEN some!

Back at home after the service, we got down to the parts of Easter that the kids REALLY like.  Ethan and I dyed eggs with the girls, which basically amounted to each kid putting an egg in a particular color dye and then asking for the next ten minutes: "It it ready yet?  Can I see if my egg is done?  How much longer do I have to keep my egg in there?"  But the wait was worth it in the end, as the girls were thrilled with the rainbow of colors we had in our egg carton:

Next up was an egg hunt in the backyard, organized by me.  This is one of our Rowe household traditions, and the kids are always SO excited about it, even though they manage to find all the eggs in about a minute and a half.  The sight of them sprinting with joy through the yard, shouting out, "I FOUND ONE!" makes the whole experience a delight for me as well:

In the late afternoon, Yiayia arrived with Clara, Auntie Shannon's pet chihuahua, who is currently under Yiayia's care.  The girls, who used to be terrified of Clara, were now delighted to see her.  Madeleine seems to think that she can speak to Clara as if Clara understands complete sentences in English.  As Clara stood whining at the door for Yiayia, who went back outside to unload her baggage from her car, Madeleine wandered over to console her doggie friend.

MADELEINE: Where's Yiayia, Clara?  Yeah, I don't know either!

Equally excited to see her Yiayia, Madeleine exclaimed, shortly after Yiayia's arrival, "You haven't been here for, like, a HUNDRED YEARS!"

Reunited after a hundred years, we all enjoyed a nice meat-filled dinner together, now that our 40-day Lenten fast is over, and the girls were dismayed when it was time to go to bed.  Rest assured, however, Julia plans to make sure nobody gets to sleep in tomorrow.

JULIA: I can't wait to wake EVERYBODY up early in the morning so we can search for my EASTER BASKET!

Every year, I hide the girls' baskets in a different spot, and part of the fun of receiving the baskets is the hunt for them.  Madeleine, unfortunately, is not looking forward to the search.  As we lay in her bed this evening after her lullaby, Madeleine lamented her assumed pre-ordained fate.

MADELEINE: (face crumpling) But Maaamaaa, I think I will never FIND my Easter basket from its HIDING PLACE!
ME: Well, honey, don't worry.  You can take a look for it, and if you can't find it, we'll all help you.
MADELEINE: (lip quivering, eyes filling with tears) But Mama, I'm just SURE I will never FIND it!
ME: Well, you know what honey?  When you were little, you could never find the hiding spot, and I always helped you.
MADELEINE: (despondent) But MAAAAAMAAAA!  I will NEVER EVER be able to find my Easter basket by myself EVER AGAIN, just like when I was a BABY!
ME: Okay.  I'll tell you what.  I'll make sure to hide it in a place that's easy to find.
MADELEINE: Okay Mama.  So, just hide it under the table.  And...hide Julia's under the PIANO.
ME: Well, honey, the problem is that because Clara's here, I can't hide your baskets on the floor, because Clara might try to eat the chocolate in there.

Luckily, after a moment of thought, Madeleine had the perfect solution to this problem.

MADELEINE: Well Mama.  Maybe you better make Clara her OWN Easter basket, and you can hide THAT one on the floor.

Can't wait for tomorrow morning, when Madeleine, Julia, and Clara ALL get the chance to receive their baskets of goodies!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Excitement

Today is the first day of spring vacation, and Julia couldn't be more excited.  Not only does she have a week+ off from school, but it's Easter weekend!  She was SO extremely amped up this morning that she couldn't stop chattering away at anyone who would listen.  It was a MAJOR case of diarrhea of the mouth.  It didn't matter whether she had anything of import to say.  Julia was not afraid to blurt out inane announcements like: "I have two MOLES!"

Furthermore, she apparently expected us to divine what was in her head.

JULIA: Mom?  Should I tell you NOW, or should I tell you later?
ME: Um...

Because I had no idea of the subject matter about which she was going to tell me, I wasn't really in a great position to make a decision.  I took a gamble and went with "now."

The information was STAGGERING.

JULIA: I finished "Samantha's Surprise!"  And it had a HAPPY ending!

Wow.  How unusual for an American Girl book to have a happy ending!

Julia has been earnestly preparing for Easter in classic Julia style.  There are Easter cards, pictures, "presents" (like a necklace made out of paper), and decorations everywhere.  In fact, Julia has lost track of all the places in which she has stashed her Easter gifts.

JULIA: (cheerfully) Well, I guess I'm gonna make NEW Easter cards, because I can't remember where I put the ones I already made!

Among the Easter crafts are a bunch of little poems, and they are true gems.  Take a look at a few:

"IT'S EASTER!  So don't be lasy and pick up a daisy.  Happy Easter to all."

"IT'S EASTER DAY!  Let's go and play.  An Easter egg hunt I'd say."

"HAPPY EASTER!  Easter's so much fun. Let's have fun in the sun.  HAPPY EASTER!"

"EASTER'S ON ITS WAY!  Where should we spend the day?  Let's colect Easter eggs."

Madeleine, as well, seems to be champing at the bit to get the Easter party started.  Coming up to me with a look of urgent concern in her eyes, she announced, "Mama?  We better HURRY and set the table for EASTER!"  Even though I assured her that we still have two days until Easter, her sense of urgency remained.

MADELEINE: But Mama?  Time just GOES and GOES.  We have to get ready for Easter before it's TOO LATE!

Luckily for both girls, we DID get to get ready for Easter today, in the form of making cookies.  The girls especially loved helping me frost the cut-out cookies I had made:

Madeleine leant her own unique creative style to her cookie decorating, producing such masterpieces as an Easter egg with a smiley face:

As you can see, there was no shortage of icing drizzled all over Madeleine's plate.  In fact, she made sure to "clean" it all up after we frosted the cookies, wiping up bit by bit with her fingers and licking them off.

Or, as Madeleine put it: "Mama!  I'm cleaning the frosting up with my TUMMY!"

Needless to say, she didn't have much appetite once lunch came around.

Anyway, I've spent enough time on my computer this morning, so it's time for me to get productive.  I'd better stop being lasy and go pick up a daisy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Artwork and A New Book

Today I stumbled upon a picture drawn by Madeleine.  Curious about the various people she had drawn, I asked her to tell me about the picture.  And now, I challenge you all to a game of "I Spy":

Can you find:

1.) Me
2.) Jesus
3.) Julia
4.) Madeleine
5.) Poufy

1.) I'm the one in the striped shirt with what looks to be either a baseball bat or a large phallus coming out of my head.  (The fact that I am also the only person labelled is also a give-away.)
2.) Jesus is the guy to the right of me, splayed out upon the cross.
3.) Julia is to the left of me, sort of coming out of my body, with the somewhat disfigured head/neck.  And to add further challenge to this quiz, there is actually a second Julia: the peach faceless head and body floating through the air at the right-side of the page.
4.) Madeleine is the small horizontal bunny to the right of Jesus.
5.) Poufy is the other bunny, to the right of Madeleine and above the faceless floating Julia.

I guess the good old days of Jesus hanging out with Madeleine, eating chocolate, are in the past, since Easter is approaching.  Now he's stuck up on His cross, where He should be.

Julia has been making all sorts of Easter artwork, including cards with rhyming poems on them for her family members, but beyond that, she has started a new book series.  This series stars a character named Sharry, and Julia assured me: "Mom?  THIS time her name is NOT going to change to Marry partway through the book!"

Julia completed book one of her Sharry series and is hard at work on book two.  For a full look at the first book, read on!:

Sharry Wotermelan Monster!
by  Julia Rowe

Pg. 1:
"Sharry love's watermelon.  It is her favorite kind of frout."

Interestingly, watermelon is one of Julia's LEAST kinds of frout.  Maybe she's enjoying the authorial opportunity to write about a character entirely unlike herself.

Pg. 2:
"One day in disbolief Sharry relised there wasant any watermelon.  'Mom where the watermelon?' askt Sharry."

P.S. Nice quotation marks, Jules!!

Pg. 3:
"There gone becuse you ate all of them Sharry,' said her Mom.  Than Sharry notact a piece of watermelon on the tabel."

PHEW!  One last piece on the tabel!  Otherwise, Sharry would have had to face the consequences of her watermelon hoggery.  Thank goodness she notact that piece on the tabel.

Pg. 4:
"The next morning Sharry's mom got more watermelon.  'Thank you Mom!' said Sharry."

Watermelon, glorious watermelon!  I love the golden rays of magical light surrounding it like it's manna from Heaven.  Also, again: great job on the quotation marks, Jules! - and the punctuation!

Pg. 5:
"Sharry scipt all the way to school.  'MY MOM GOT MORE WATERMELON!' Sharry sang all the way there."

Julia also scips all the way to school every morning.  And I don't even need to buy watermelon to put her in a scipping mood!

Pg. 6:
"At lunch Sharry only took watermelon.  'You know that you can't only have watermelon right Sharry?' askt Sharry's best friend Crisa."

I like the banner behind their heads stating "Eat Food!"  And Crisa is right.  Watermelon alone is really not enough for lunch.  At least SOMEONE can try and talk some sense into Sharry, even if her mom is willing to indulge her watermelon habit.

Pg. 7:
"I know,' sihd Sharry.  'I...I just love watermelon so much' said she."

I'm digging the "said she" big time.  And I like Sharry's curvy nose and side-of-the-face O-mouth.

Pg. 8:
"The next day Sharry pact watermelon for lunch.  'Sharry,' said Crisa.  'You are a watermelon monster."

Yeah Sharry.  You're a TOTAL watermelon monster. night you turn into a watermelon and terrorize small children.

Pg. 9:
"A WATERMELON MONSTER!!!' yelld Sharry.  'I can't be a watermelon monster,' said she."

WOW!  Crisa's accusation turned Sharry's mouth ALL zig-zaggy!

Pg. 10:

Boy, everybody is yelling all of a sudden.  This watermelon monster thing sure is creating controversy.  But Crisa's right.  There really IS nothing rong with loveing watemelon.  Maybe Julia can learn that lesson and actually give watemelon a try.

Pg. 11:
"SHARRY!!??'  'I'm in here' said Sharry.  'Are you okay Sharry?' ask't Crisa."

No, she's not okay!  She turned into a watermelon monster.  RUN FOR YOUR LIIIIIVES!

Pg. 12:
"Sharry you will alway's be a watermelon monster' said Crisa.  Well untill Sharry became an apple monster."

I *love* how Julia returned to the picture from the first page, this time with the twist of an apple rather than a watermelon.  This kid sure is turning into a literary master!

Back cover:
Here you can see the rest of the Sharry books, including the preceding book which hasn't actually been written.

1.) Sharry Scard of the Dark
2.)  Sharry Watermelon Monster
3.) Marry Christmas Sharry! (does Sharry turn into Marry again in this one??)
4.) Sharry the New Girl
5.) Happy Halloween Sharry!
6.) Happy Birthday Sharry!

Madeleine was obviously very taken with this book of Julia's.  She made her own book today, complete with the following pictures:

Luckily for us, Madeleine managed to keep her typical macabre art style going despite her attempts to imitate Julia.  Way to put her own individual stamp on her copycat artwork!