Monday, June 30, 2014

The Things They Say and Do...

The various ways in which my children have proven their genius to me today:

#1: This morning, the phone began ringing while I was in the shower.  Madeleine helpfully climbed up on top of the piano to grab the phone and run it in to me.  Literally INTO THE SHOWER.  All of a sudden I saw this little hand, holding a cordless phone, reaching in around the shower curtain and into the midst of my shower.

#2: The kids learned how to play "Marco Polo" at the pool during Free Swim this afternoon.  Madeleine played every turn as "Marco" with her eyes open.  (And even so, she had a hard time actually catching anybody.)

#3: Julia was so desperate to escape from the current "Marco" that she scrambled up the ladder to the diving board dock, losing the seat of her tankini in the process.  She decided to pull it back up from around her thighs AFTER she had fully climbed the ladder, mooning the rest of the pool-goers, and had set both feet safely on the dock.  Let's face it.  Showing a little bare bottom is worth it if it means you get yourself safely out of the clutches of "Marco."

#4: This conversation with Julia:

ME: I just love summer.
JULIA: Me too!  Summer and fall are my two favorite seasons!
ME: Mine too.
JULIA: Wait!  Mom!  That's ANOTHER thing that I must have gotten from your genes.  I have the same two favorite SEASONS as you!

#5: This conversation with Madeleine, after her expected peeing on the potty turned into an unexpected diarrhea squirt:

ME: Okay, here you go honey, touch your toes and I'll wipe you.
MADELEINE: (leaning forward and whacking her head on the corner of the vanity) OW! (sobbing)
ME: Oh, honey!  Are you okay?? (attempting to both kiss her head and wipe her runny butt at the same time.)
MADELEINE: (sobbing angrily) Mama.  I want to THROW THIS BATHROOM COUNTER AWAY.
ME: We're going to, honey.
MADELEINE: I just want to THROW it AWAY and get a NEW one!
ME: We're going to.
MADELEINE: (eyeing me suspiciously, still crying) Wait.  Mama.  Did you ARDERY decide that?
ME: Yes.
MADELEINE: Before I hit my head did you ARDERY decide you were gonna do that?
ME: Yes, we did.
MADELEINE: (upon hearing that I wasn't disposing of the vanity solely because it offended her, sobbing afresh.)

What can I say, folks?  My kids are gonna be rocket scientists.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Family Picture

Madeleine drew a picture of various people in our family going to sleep at night:

On the far right lay Julia and Madeleine with eyes closed, sleeping peacefully, with Clara the dog at their feet.  A faceless Auntie Shannon lies below Clara.  On the floor in the center are Mommy, First Daddy, Second Daddy, and then we've got regular old Daddy standing on his head at the left.  Above Mommy is faceless Auntie Caitlyn.

I'm not sure why Madeleine decided not to give her aunties faces, but Auntie Caitlyn decided to retaliate and drew a picture of our family members, including a faceless Madeleine.

The joke didn't go over so well with Madeleine, however.  She got mad and broke her crayon.

The crayon-breaking clearly was not enough to satisfy Madeleine's anger, so she decided to REALLY get even.

Take THAT Auntie Caitlyn!  Stuck with a frowny face forever immortalized on this page.  Now THAT is revenge.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Madeleine the Artist

This morning, while Julia sat down to write yet ANOTHER new book, Madeleine decided to do some drawing of her own.  In a flurry of wasted paper, Madeleine chose to draw a picture of various  items that were strewn about the table.  One picture per piece of paper. 

Some of the items which she drew, posed next to the drawing, are as follows:

The ginormous pencil she got at the Freedom Trail in Boston
(Perhaps the most phallic drawing either kid has ever done.)

Bleach spray cleaner (or as Madeleine called it, "chemicals.")

Her crab pen, also purchased in Boston

Scissors, which she then cut out, creating a conundrum, as pair of scissors can't cut itself out.

Her stuffed animal fish

Julia's quill pen, with which she was writing her new book

There were several other drawings, including my cup of coffee, so rest assured the entire pile of blank paper I had given the girls was gone in about ten minutes.  It's not as if Julia uses enough of our paper with her countless books, anyway.  Why not let Madeleine experiment with still art on a whole stack of paper herself??

Madeleine also illustrated a new book last night, loosely based on the movie "Hocus Pocus."  She even drew the three evil witches on the front cover:

In this picture, the witches are sucking the life out of Emily Binx, which occurs at the beginning of the movie.  Not a bad artistic representation of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker, I must say.

Inside the book, Madeleine drew pictures of key events that occur throughout the movie.

The first two pages depict the three witches, the cat Binx (formerly Emily's older brother Thackery, who was turned into a cat by the witches), and Eddie, the graveyard mummy:

The faceless witches definitely add to the creepiness of this whole illustration.  And don't even get me started on Eddie.  Shudder.

We then see Emily Binx being hypnotised into trusting the witches and willingly heading to the chair upon which she will sit as they suck the life and youth out of her.

Then, in a completely unexpected crossover, a My Little Pony appears on the next page of Madeleine's "Hocus Pocus" book.  Not sure what she's doing there, but it's a fun little cameo from one of our pony pals.

Aaaaand we've turned our focus back to "Hocus Pocus" again on the next page.  Good-bye pony.  Hello Emily and Thackery Binx, reunited once again in the afterlife, or, as it appears in this picture, reunited in what is either a jail cell or a big human-sized box wrapped as a present.

And to finish the book off, we get another inspiring heart on the back cover of the book.  This one doesn't have stegosaurus spiky plates on it though.  It's just a regular old heart:

And everyone lived happily ever after!

There's no question that Madeleine loves to draw.  Maybe that's why she's feeling such Freudian love for her super-sized pencil.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today is Ethan's birthday, and the girls were prepared with gifts galore!  In typical fashion, they insisted upon hovering over Daddy while he opened his presents:

Madeleine presented Ethan with a hand-made card, inside which Julia had written the words Madeleine dictated about loving Daddy:

The picture Madeleine drew is my favorite part of all.  Ethan with his scruff, and what appears to either be a crown or spiky hair, and Madeleine with her bouquet of flowers.  Of course, neither person has any arms, but they seem pretty happy anyway.

Madeleine also decorated the back of the card:
No card is complete without a spiky armadillo heart.

Madeleine also drew Daddy another picture as an extra gift:

It's a piano, next to which is a light and a "pink fairy thing to hold up the light."  And also: "A thinking, working Dad...that I have no idea why I drawed that."  (According to the artist.)

Julia's card to Ethan went back to her old-school obsession:

Is the cake going to be green and made of witches' brew?  Yikes!

And then the pi├Ęce de resistance: Julia wrote a new book as a gift for Ethan.

written and illistrated by Julia Rowe

Inside cover:

"To my Dad, who loves music."

"Tanya and Dean loved lisening to there parents sing."

Okay.  First of all, I love the fact that Julia draws nostrils on the side of peoples' cheeks instead of under their noses.  Secondly, it's too bad Dean is a boy, because he's got some of the best child-bearing hips Julia has ever drawn!

"Mother, some day, me and Dean are going to be just like you and Father,' said Tanya.  'Be like you big time!' said Dean.  'Well, that's very good.  Becuse I sined you and Dean up for music lessons!' said Mother.  'Will we learn how to sing?' they ask't."

How exciting!  They're sined up for music lessons!!

"Wi'rr going to music lessons!; said Tanya.  'Music lessons big time.'  Tanya look't confused.  'What?  I like saying big time,' said Dean.  The next day, it was time for music class.  I LOVE MUSIC!  DO YOU?"

I *do* love music, BIG TIME! 
What?  I like saying big time.

"And off the went.  Every day, Tanya got better at singing."

What happened to Dean?  Did he not get better every day?  Maybe he quit music lessons BIG TIME.

"And so did Dean.  And they loved going to music lesson."

Okay, phew.  Dean DIDN'T quit music lesson.  I'm so glad they both got better and loved it so much!  What an encouraging story!

I had some gifts for Ethan as well, but none as inspiring as the girls' home-made ones.  And speaking of home-made, this morning Madeleine and I got to work making Ethan a chocolate cake from scratch.  My little baking helper got a little TOO eager to taste the batter, however.  As I searched through the kitchen cabinets to find my next ingredient, Madeleine decided to try a taste of what we had put in the bowl so far.

I came back to find her lips covered in brown goo and a look of displeasure on her face.  Probably because the only ingredient we had put in the bowl so far was Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder.  Smart choice trying a taste of that, Madeleine.

I explained to her that she needed to wait until all the ingredients were in the bowl to try anything, because otherwise it would taste gross.

Clearly she didn't learn her lesson from eating dry cocoa powder, because the next time I returned to the bowl with an ingredient, Madeleine was gagging on a mouthful of flour.

ANYWAY, we managed to get the cake baked, so hopefully Madeleine will enjoy her slice tonight better than she enjoyed its individual ingredients.

Happy birthday, Ethan!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fun at the Pool

This afternoon at the pool, Julia spent the majority of her time jumping off the diving board.  After a few rounds of jumps, she would then swim over to the shallow lane to hug Madeleine and ask us what kind of jump she should do next.

Madeleine was thrilled with the ability to have some sort of say in Julia's jumping.  And you can see she took her job very seriously.

JULIA: Okay, Madeleine, what sort of jump should I do next?
MADELEINE: (earnestly) TURTLE jump.
JULIA: (laughing) Uhh...turtle jump?  What's a turtle jump?
MADELEINE: Like this: (contorting her body around at weird angles as she tried to figure out, herself, what a turtle jump is.)
JULIA: Well, Madeleine, do you want me to do a pencil jump, a straddle jump, a-
MADELEINE: (adamantly) Turtle jump.

I then decided to offer MY suggestion: a standing dive.  Julia has done them from the diving blocks at the Y, but has not attempted the feat from the much higher diving board at our town pool. 

I didn't think she'd even take me up on my suggestion.

JULIA: Oooookay, I'll tryyyy...but Mom?  If I feel too scared, is it okay if I just jump instead?
ME: Of course.

So off she swam, and guess what she did?  Not a turtle jump.  Not a pencil jump.  Not a straddle jump.  She took the plunge (literally) and did a standing dive!  Maybe not perfect form, but she totally did it:

I managed to get a few seconds of Madeleine flailing around in the water as well to show that she's swimming without touching the ground for support, but she's so spastic and splashy that she started spraying my cell phone as she got closer and I had to divert it out of her aim:

All in all, I'd say it was a successful afternoon at the pool!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Rushed Bedtime Gone Right

Because Ethan and I were hard at work stripping wallpaper from our kitchen walls this evening, the girls got an abbreviated version of their bedtime routine.  Julia opted to start off by reading "Kirsten's Runaway Mystery" aloud, in full volume, from up in her bedroom so that we adults could hear from downstairs.  Madeleine got two quick books read to her, followed by a short song.  I guess she was thrown by the fast pace, however, because she attempted to repeat the prayer she had already said.

ME: (starting to sing Madeleine's lullaby)
MADELEINE: Wait Mama!  I didn't say my prayer.
ME: Yes you did, remember?  You said it while I was turning off your light.
MADELEINE: Well Mama?  Is it okay if I say it TWO times?
ME: Sure.
MADELEINE: But...not a HUNDRED times.  That would be TOO many times.  That would be like I would grow up to be CRAZY.  Like, I would eat cake at ONCE.

I think her daddy might agree that if she said her prayer a hundred times she would grow up to be crazy.  I'm not sure if he would agree that she might eat cake at once, though.

Luckily, even though the routine was rushed, Madeleine made sure to babble at me as I gave her a very brief snuggle.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Do you remember the time in the car when Julia was whimpering and I kept trying to cheer her up and she said, "Only a little LOVE will cheer me up," so I kept giving her lots and lots of love and when we got home I was, like, FILLED with love and so was Julia?

I didn't remember that incident, but it sure does warm my heart hearing about it.

By 7:30, Ethan and I were back to wallpaper stripping, and when I peeked in on the girls, they were both reading in bed.  I suspected they were both going to be awake for awhile without our strict surveillance.

I guess I was wrong;  8:11 pm and behold!:

Madeleine, cozied up with "The Little Prince"

Julia and Jesus, snuggling under the covers

Hooray for sleepy girls!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sleepy-Time Chatter

And tonight's "What-Goes-Through-Madeleine's-Head" bedtime conversation is:

MADELEINE: Mama?  How come when you're laying down your head has to be like this?
ME: Like what?
MADELEINE: Like this.
ME: But what do you mean?  Like what?
MADELEINE: Like this.

I should point out that during this conversation Madeleine was not doing anything at all with her head to demonstrate what she meant.

ME: But what are you talking about? What is your head like?
MADELEINE: Like this.

She was literally just laying on her back with her head in a completely normal position.  I was at a loss.

ME: Do you mean when you're laying on your tummy and you have to turn your head to the side?
MADELEINE: No.  When you're laying on your back.
ME: And what is your head like when you're laying on your back?
MADELEINE: Like this.
ME: Like how it is now?
MADELEINE: How come when you're laying on your back your head is just STUCK staring straight up at the ceiling?
ME: Uh...well, you can close your eyes.  Then you don't have to stare at the ceiling.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  I just like to keep my head like this and my eyes staring at the WALL.  Because I like to look at my name.

(By which she would mean this):

ME: Oh, I see.
MADELEINE: And Mama.  I even REMEMBER it.  Even from when I was a baby and I wasn't BORN yet, that you made me a letter "M."
ME: That's right.  I didn't have all the letters yet, but I painted a letter "M" to hang on your wall.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  Why didn't you have all the letters?
ME: Well, because I hadn't bought the rest of them yet.  But I thought I would hang a letter "M" for "Madeleine."
MADELEINE: But Mama.  What were the OTHER names that came BEFORE?
ME: What do you mean?
MADELEINE: The other names that came BEFORE Madeleine.
ME: There was only one name that came before Madeleine, and that was Julia.
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  What were the other names that WEREN'T Madeleine or Julia?
ME: You mean what were some of our other favorite names?
ME: Well, we really liked the name Emilia, which is why we gave it to you as your middle name.
MADELEINE: But Mama?  Then my head would be like THIS: (putting her thumbs on either side of her chin and her pointer fingers on her temples.)
ME: What do you mean?
MADELEINE: My head would be like THIS. (repeating the gesture.)
ME: Do you mean...?  like...?  what do you...?
MADELEINE: (rolling over in bed to face the icon on her wall.) But Mama?  Why does Owen have a head like that?
ME: Owen has a head like Saint Mary Magdalene?
MADELEINE: NOOO.  He has a head like THIS. (once again putting her thumbs on her chin and pointer fingers on her temples.)
ME: What do you mean?  Like what?
MADELEINE: Like THIS. (again repeating the gesture.)
ME: you mean he has a wide, round head?
MADELEINE: Yes.  REEEEALLY wide.  He has a big, wide head.  He has a LITTLE head but it's a really wide and really ROUND head.

I am not even totally sure who Owen is, so I really couldn't quite answer that question.  There have been several Owens we have casually known over the past years, and I guess some of them had round heads, but as to why they do, all I can guess is that one of their parents must also have a round head.  That's about as well as I can do on that one, Madeleine.

Within a few minutes she had conked out.  Maybe she just free-associates aloud before falling asleep because she's literally having a waking dream.  I have no other explanation for the completely random and bizarre things that come out of that kid's mouth before bed every night.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Vacay Begins

Today is the first day of summer vacation!  And to add a cherry on top, our town pool officially opened for the summer season this afternoon.

The girls were thrilled.  Julia immediately took the Deep Water Test and passed, which allowed her to spend time jumping off the diving board, and Madeleine joyfully splashed around and gracelessly flung herself under the water in the shallow end:

As we were leaving the pool, Madeleine decided to wax romantic on the fact that the pool was finally open.  Unfortunately, after having spent the school year swimming at the Y, she apparently forgot the name of our town pool, which made her romantic proclamation a bit lackluster.

MADELEINE: (sighing heavily) Aren't you just SO happy that...


MADELEINE: (trying again) Aren't you just SO HAPPY that...


MADELEINE: Aren't you just so happy that...


ME: That Rosemary Pool...?
MADELEINE: (jumping back in with gusto) Aren't you just SO happy that Rosemary Pool is finally OPEN??

I am.  I really am.  I'm also so happy that you finally completed your sentence.

And to make their exciting first day of vacation EVEN MORE EXCITING, the girls are having a sleepover tonight at Auntie Caitlyn's.  They apparently decided to arrive in true fashionista style:

Work it, girls!

(And by "work it," I mean wear fake glasses and let your hair fall all over your face, Madeleine.  Haute couture at its finest!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Conversing At Bedtime

Tonight at bedtime:

MADELEINE: Mama?  Did you know that I'm very ATTACHED to you?
ME: I'm very attached to YOU, honey.
MADELEINE: (wrapping her legs tightly around my arm) See Mama?  Do you see how-
ME: (rescuing my arm)
MADELEINE: Hey!  Mama!  I was being ATTACHED to you.
ME: Well, being "attached" to someone means that you like to be with that person all the time.  And you don't like to be apart.
MADELEINE: (scoffing) Well MAMA.  "Attached" means like you're STUCK TOGETHER.
ME: Right, but when you say someone is attached to her mommy, that means she doesn't like to be apart from her mommy, and she likes to have her mommy around all the time, because that's what makes her feel happiest and safest.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  That's why I'm never ever gonna move away from you.
ME: Oh yeah?
MADELEINE: But Mama.  What moved to CALIFORNIA?
ME: Then I would miss you!
MADELEINE: Wait.  What if you and Daddy BOTH moved to California.
ME: Well, then who would be here taking care of you and Julia?
MADELEINE: (forlornly) NObody.
ME: Well, that wouldn't be allowed.  Kids NEED a grown-up to take care of them.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  There's NO grown-up.  It's just me and Julia all ALONE.  So Mama.  Would you move back?

(Uh, I'd like to argue the point that I wouldn't move to California without taking you with me in the FIRST PLACE, you big doofus.)

ME: Of COURSE I would move back.  I would never move away without you.
MADELEINE: And I would never move away without you.
ME: Well, I think you *might* want to move to your own house when you're a grown-up, so you can have a family of your own.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  I'm gonna marry THREE people.  One is Julia, one is MYSELF, and one is...a husband that I'm gonna MEET when I'm a grown-up.

Well, I'm glad Madeleine has her life all sorted out ARDERY.  Aside from the loop she threw herself in which she imagined her parents moving to California without her, it seems like she's got a pretty stable plan in place.  She'll be wed to her sister, her own self, AND to a yet-unknown man.  Sounds like a perfectly sane and practical plan to me.  That even solves Julia's objection to siblings marrying, wherein Madeleine can't change her last name, because she and Julia ARDERY share a last name.  This way, Madeleine can take her husband's last name and then there's simply no problem with siblings getting married!

To prove just how with-the-program Madeleine is this evening, about fifteen minutes after I said good-night and left her bedroom, I heard her little feet padding downstairs and into the dining room.

MADELEINE: Mama?  I just wanna ask you something.  Is it night-time, or is it daytime?  So Mama.  What IS it?

I'm really not kidding.  She really does live in an alternate universe.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Julia's School Journal

With only two days left of school, Julia is coming home with piles of papers and projects from the school year.  Today I had the pleasure of reading through her school journal, in which each student wrote from September up through the past week. 

Some of Julia's entries were unintentionally amusing:

"My favorite holiday is Halloween because we get to dress up and we get dress."

That's what I love about Halloween, too.  Dressing up and getting dress.  I especially love when I get lots and lots of dress after I go trick-or-treating..

"Over the weekend my mom and dad when't somewhare and she wone a prize so I can have a party with Mrs. Rapp Mrs. Jeas and Mrs. Sworm."

And by "wone a prize," Julia would mean "paid money in a silent auction."  I like how she draws me receiving a gold medal.  Because forking over my money to the PTC is basically the same thing as standing on the podium and having a medal placed around my neck.


"Over the weekend I made a chocolate toffo pie.  I made it with my dad and my sister.  I also wache't a grown-up movie.  It was fun."

I like the fact that one slice of the chocolate toffo pie is bigger than Julia in this picture.  I also like the fact that Julia could spell the word "chocolate" but not "tofu."  But what I especially like is that she's watching "Pride and Preduds."  It's a movie about what the eligible men were like BEFORE they became total duds.

Another thing that was fun about reading Julia's journal entries was the ongoing evolution of her spelling of "aunt":


"I am happiest when my ontieys come over becuse it is fun and I like to wach Sabrina the Teenage Wich with them to."

Here we have all of the extraneous vowels added to the word "aunties."


"Some of my favorite people are my mom my dad my sister my ants my Yiayia..." (the list went on to include all of you beloved family members, friends, AND her teacher, so let's just say she's got a LOT of favorites!  I have chosen to crop out the specific names of friends to protect the innocent from internet exposure.)

Here we have whittled the word "aunt" down to just 3 letters!  No extraneous vowels.  (Just a missing one...)


"Over vacation I went to Treat.  I got a choklet cupcake.  My sister got a vunila one.  It was fun.  My anut also gave me a hair cut."

Now we have all the proper letters, just not in the right order.  Which makes the word unfortunately too close to the word "anus" for my comfort.


"Over the weekend I wach't my mom, aunt, and my aunt's boyfriend run a race.  And I ran a race.  It was tiering.  And I got a metel.  It was really fun!"

Ding ding ding!  We have a correct spelling!  And check out that correctly-used apostrophe!  (Well, the one in "aunt's."  There's also an unnecessary one in "wach't.")  And WOW is Julia a genius.  It really was tiering! In fact, the kids' races were tiered so that the youngest kids, running the shortest distance, ran first, then the next age group with slightly longer distance, and so on.  I can't believe she knew that, let alone how to spell it!  It's DEFINITELY not a misspelling of the word "tiring." Nope.  My kid is a ROCKET SCIENTIST.

Above all, the best thing about reading Julia's journal was the abundance of heart-warmingly sweet entries:


"Of all the things I'v been through I'v always been happy becuse my family takes good care of me so I'm veary happy."


"My favorite room in my house is my bed room becouse I get to make all the rules in my bedroom and I can relaks in my room."

I am so happy that the smallest room in the house (not counting the bathroom) is her favorite and that she feels her best in there!


"I like to play with my sister.  I like to wach movie's with my sister.  I like to sleep with my sister.  I like to be with my sister.  I love my sister."

Aww.  And also: SAM SUNG.

Speaking of sweet, Julia's First Grade Memory packet had some unexpectedly touching responses in it.  Such as:

I most remember: going on the feild trip and my mom chaperownd.

I loved chaperowning your feild trip, Julia!!


My proudest moment was: when my mom and dad and aunt came into read.

Hooray!  We make her proud!  We don't embarrass her (yet.) 

And now to switch topics entirely, here is something that Madeleine said to me yesterday:

"Mama?  I'm just reeeeally tired.  Remember, like, every night I'm trying forever and EVER to get my YAWNS out?  But I realized that I'm not very good at them anymore.  And Mama?  The other day, when we were walking up the hill, I realized that things CHANGE.  And Mama?  How come when you're a baby, the next day, you're THREE?"

I just...what??

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Day and Anniversary!

Today is an extra-special day in the Rowe household: Fathers Day AND the Rowe parents' 12th wedding anniversary!  Because of the latter, our super-duper baby-sitter Auntie Caitlyn is here so that Ethan and I can have a night out to celebrate.

Since Julia was at her sleepover, our morning Fathers Day brunch was missing a member, but she was able to enjoy some pancakes for a mid-morning snack when she got home.  As I was cooking pancakes on the griddle, Madeleine made an important announcement to her auntie.

MADELEINE: Auntie Caitlyn?  One day, when it WASN'T Fathers Day...we had pancakes.

No WAY!  We had pancakes on another day?  When it WASN'T Fathers Day?  Unheard of! 

The girls had some very special hand-made gifts to present to their daddy.

From Madeleine:

Now, let's just take a moment to analyze the quintessential Madeleine "smile."  One eye slightly squinted more than the other, an expression of discomfort (or constipation) on her face, and lips in an "eeeee" position.  CLASSIC.

Let's open this card to see exactly WHY Madeleine loves her daddy:

"I like to go to Vermont with him.  He watches us in the pool."

Those of you regular readers may notice a Vermont-obsession theme with Madeleine lately.  Nana and Gramps, I think she may be hankering for a trip up there!

Madeleine also made a picture for Ethan, complete with scruffy-faced Daddy and Madeleine holding hands:

I don't even know WHAT to say about the finger family on the right-side of the page.  But I like the fact that the middle finger is wearing headphones.

Julia had the following school project to give to Ethan:

My Dad is funny because: he says silly things.
By Dad thinks I am funny when: I say chocolate powterd donuts.
*apparently this is an inside joke because I have no idea what that's about.
His favorite thing to do is: spend time with his family.
My Dad's favorite food is: chocolate.  (He eat's them all)
He is really good at: singing
My Dad's job is: engamiring. 
*Julia used to say Daddy's job is "his computer."  I'm glad she now knows that he's a software engamire.
My Dad always says: like crabs.
*This is a long-running joke, most popular with Madeleine, dating back to the day that Ethan read the girls the non-fiction book "Spiders."  One line in the book is indeed "like crabs," but Ethan decided to tag that phrase along to the end of EVERY SENTENCE in the book.  Naturally, the girls thought it was hilarious, and to this day, Madeleine refuses to let him read the book WITHOUT saying "like crabs" after every sentence.
My favorite thing about my Dad is: that he loves me.
I love my Dad because: he's the best Dad ever!

Aw.  How sweet! 

And in the not-sweet category, Madeleine also presented Ethan with the following, completely macabre picture:

MADELEINE: Daddy, look!  Here, it's for YOU!  It's a DEAD GUY!

Happy, happy Fathers Day to my goofy, pool-watching, chocolate-eating, "crabby" Franken-husband!  We all love you so very much!