Monday, August 31, 2015

Bridal Gown Appointments

This weekend, the girls and I went with Auntie Caitlyn to her bridal dress appointment at Anthropologie. 

I should have known, from the start, that the trip was not fated to go well for Madeleine.  For one, she had absolutely NO IDEA what was going on as we got in the car to drive to Anthropologie.

MADELEINE: Wait.  Mama.  Where are we going?  To the wedding?

With that expectation in mind, it's no wonder that watching Auntie Caitlyn model one dress after another was a huge let-down to Madeleine.  While both kids held together well enough, I had to continually remind the girls that they needed to act like civilized human beings and not splay themselves across the dressing room couch like this:

Julia was eager to try on dresses herself, as she feels confident that she will have a say in the various decisions concerning Auntie Caitlyn's wedding.  When the wedding dresses had all been tried on and examined, it was finally time for the bridal party to try on some dresses.  Julia immediately collected an armful of gowns and made a beeline for the dressing rooms.

Here's the problem, though: the dresses were all adult sizes.  Not only were they way too big on Julia, but they were clearly not made for someone pre-pubescent.  I mean, Julia can rock a LOT of different fashion styles, but there's really no way to make built-in bra cups work on an 8-year-old:

Seeing as there was nothing suitable for Julia, we didn't even bother fitting Madeleine into anything, which, of course, led to bitter tears of disappointment.  After all, she had waited through the wedding dress try-on with constant reminders to sit up straight and stop showing flashes of underwear to the store (thank goodness she was wearing a skort rather than a skirt, at least) only to discover that there was nothing for her to try wearing.  However, the verge of tears was my cue to get the kids out of the store, with promises that they could look at some dresses online when we got home.

The next day, Auntie Caitlyn had a dress appointment at David's Bridal, and she offered to take the kids along and let Ethan and I stay at home to relax a bit.  Turns out this was especially appealing to Madeleine, who apparently announced, upon arrival at the store: "Good thing MAMA'S not here to make it boring and HARD."


At any rate, it appears the girls had the time of their lives modeling various junior-bridal-party dresses:

Clearly, the fact that the girls had a blast had NOTHING to do with the actuality that there were actually dresses in their size, and was instead because I wasn't there to make things boring and hard.  Right??

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Julia and Madeleine recently decided to have a "pose-off," each displaying their best model pose and asking me to photograph them.  While one child posed, the other decided to draw a portrait of the model, so that we had both photographic and artistic representation of the high-fashion poses.

Below are the models in pose:

Julia, modeling sporty-chic couture

Madeleine, modeling fun-in-the-sun beachwear

And here are the artistic representations; Julia is drawn by Madeleine, and vice versa:

The girls brought this drawing collaboration over to me, asking, "Mom?  Which one of us looks BETTER?"

This was a very loaded question.  Choose one child and insult the other model.  Or choose one child and insult that very child because I did not choose the one she drew.  Hmmm.

What do you think, blog viewers?  Who is the Rowe family's NEXT TOP MODEL? 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Happy Family

Well, we have reached a new stage in the little sister wanting to be just like her bigger sister world.

Madeleine had the gall to ask Julia to bring the Mintz family (the imaginary family about which Julia thinks while she gallops through the house) to MADELEINE'S own imaginary My Little Pony Party.

JULIA: I can't bring the Mintz, Madeleine, because the Mintz only exist in my HEAD.
MADELEINE: Please, Julia?
JULIA: No, Madeleine.  They're in my IMAGINATION.
MADELEINE: Well, then I'll imagine about them too.

Oh.  No.  She.  Didn't.

JULIA: Maaaadeleine!  You CAN'T think about the Mintz!  They're MY imaginary family!
MADELEINE: Well Julia-
JULIA: No!  Madeleine!  They're MY-
ME: Julia, calm down.  What difference does it make?  If Madeleine is thinking about the Mintz, you won't even know about it, because it will only happen inside Madeleine's head.
JULIA: No.  Mommy!  I don't want Madeleine CHANGING things about the Mintz.  They're MY family!
ME: Julia, if Madeleine changes things in her own head, that doesn't affect what you imagine about.
JULIA: No!  MADELEINE!  They're MY family and I DON'T want you thinking about them!

A moment later, Julia was mildly sorry for her outburst.  Not sorry enough to allow Madeleine to breach the intellectual property rights of the Mintz family, though.

JULIA: (sullenly) Sorry, Madeleine.  (brightening) Madeleine, you can make up your OWN family to think about!
MADELEINE: (cheerfully) Okay!

So Madeleine dreamed up the Happy family.  She made a point to gallop today and think about them.  However, Madeleine tends to defy the general rule of Gallop Time, as she feels the need to update Julia on everything that's currently happening with the Happys.  Now, you may be thinking, Julia is constantly filling me in on the details of the Mintz, but here's the thing: she NEVER tells me about the Mintz while she's galloping.  That is her SACRED thinking time.  I hear all about the Mintz at other times of the day, but when Julia is galloping, she is deeply in her own head and does NOT welcome interruptions from the real world.  The closest she has ever come to divulging what she was imagining was in this instance:

JULIA: (galloping through the room)
ETHAN: (on Julia's return gallop) What are the Mintz up to today?
JULIA: (smiling sheepishly) STUFF.  (resuming her gallop)

Madeleine, however, made sure to tell Julia ALL ABOUT the Happys as she galloped.

MADELEINE: (thumpily galloping through the room, then stopping) So Julia.  There are THREE kids.  Well, there are kind of FOUR kids, but the fourth one is in his mommy's tummy still.  (galloping again, then stopping) And Julia?  They're gonna go to the hospital soon to get the baby out of the mommy's tummy, and ABBY is gonna go too.  (galloping again, then stopping) And Julia?  The baby is named TEDDY.

And so forth.

Madeleine even drew a picture of one of the Happy family members:

I don't know which Happy this is.  Madeleine doesn't keep me abreast of her imaginings, only Julia.

So anyway.  Great.  We now have both kids with imaginary families that they like to think about while galloping back and forth through the house.  As I said, Madeleine has taken her desire to imitate her big sister to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The History of Dumbledore

Madeleine decided to make a grand artistic project today entitled "The History of Dumbledore." 

Not even the chance to play Crazy 8's with her sister could distract her for long.

JULIA: Okay, you won, Madeleine.  Do you want to play again?
MADELEINE: Uh, no thanks.  I better get back to Dumbledore.  I'm making "The History of Dumbledore" club for people to join!

It turns out that joining the History of Dumbledore Club means buying one of the pictures of Dumbledore that Madeleine drew.

MADELEINE: Okay Mama.  I made my pictures.  So Mama.  How are we gonna get people to BUY these?  Maybe we can set up a STAND outside.  Mama?  Can you think of a way to SELL these?  I know, Mama!  We can...we can...we can go to the houses of people we know that like "Harry Potter," and see if they want to BUY "The History of Dumbledore."

Any takers?  Here's what we have to offer so far.

We've got:
This lovely head shot of Dumbledore.

This very similar head shot of Dumbledore

Dumbledore Big-Head

Join The History of Dumbledore Club, folks!  Buy a Dumbledore head!  Your exciting club membership awaits!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Swim Banquet

Tonight was Julia's banquet for her summer swim team, and we Rowes all attended. 

Julia received several awards, including the medals for the three events in which she placed at Regional Championships:

As well as a special team-made award for being "Sneaky Fast" at swimming:

Madeleine cried because Julia wasn't willing to share one of her medals.  According to Madeleine, it's not FAIR for Julia not to share, because she has THREE of them.  However, Madeleine did not seem jealous of Julia's paper plate award and didn't seem to mind the fact that Julia did not offer to share that one, despite it being a much bigger circle than any of the medals.

While parents and swimmers watched a slide show of photos from the season, Madeleine was content to draw on the paper tablecloths, adding her own words of encouragement to the "Go Sharks!" that had already been drawn there.  She included some inspiring messages like:




Not that Madeleine even needed any introduction for EVERYONE to notice her.  After all, she set the fashion bar high this evening by pairing a tank top and capri leggings with her winter boots:

New York Fashion Week, here we come!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Girls Do Maine

Summer vacation is almost over, but we Rowes took one last weekend trip before we are facing reality.  We joined together with our dear friend Mark and his kids to spend a weekend in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. 

We drove up Friday night and got stuck in enough traffic that Madeleine couldn't last the drive to go to sleep.  As we arrived at the house we were staying in, I carried a sleeping Madeleine inside and up to the bedroom.  Unfortunately, the change of surroundings awoke and stimulated her, so she was fully alert when I laid down in bed to try and snuggle her to sleep.

MADELEINE: (laying silently beside me, her breathing slowing and deepening)
ME: (thinking my escape may be only moments away)
ME: Shh. Yes, honey?
MADELEINE: Why do toots mean a person has to POOP?
ME: Why?  Do you need to poop?
MADELEINE: No.  I was just wondering.  And Mama?...

Yeah, so, I wasn't able to escape just yet.  But luckily, both girls did get themselves to sleep without much effort on the parents' parts.

The next day was a blast for the kids!  We spent much of the day exploring the various rides of Palace Playplace:

Julia even braved a wild and crazy upside-down ride with her 11-year-old friend, and as I sat watching them ride, I saw Julia's face looking deathly white and completely freaked out.  After the ride was over, Julia ran to me and exclaimed happily, "Mommy?  That was kind of TERRIFYING."  Not so terrifying to preclude her from riding it one more time before day's end, however! 

In addition to the amusement park, we also spent time on the beach, and the kids were happy little fish splashing in the tidal waves of the ocean.  In fact, Madeleine was so eager to do so that I wound up in the water with her, holding her hand, because let's face it: this is the kid who has now fallen off the diving board twice at our town pool.  If she can't even walk a straight line without slipping, what chance does she have when a wave crashes into her face and knocks her off balance?  I can't complain, though, since the ocean was just as fun for me as it was for the kids:

The only problem with weekend trips is that they're awfully short, and the kids were dismayed to learn that we had to leave this morning. Julia has already started planning next summer's WEEK-LONG trip to Maine, while Madeleine took a less proactive approach and has spent most of the day spontaneously bursting into tears.  She cried on and off throughout the drive home, and has broken down in tears back at our house as well. 

MADELEINE: (face crumpling, bursting into sobs)
ME: What's the matter, honey?
MADELEINE: I wanna staaaaaaay!
ME: Well, maybe we'll go back to Maine another time!
MADELEINE: But I miss our friiiieeeeeends!
ME: Honey.  You know they live in Massachusetts just like us, right? 
MADELEINE: (looking up at me with hope awakening in her tear-filled eyes) They DO?
JULIA: (scathingly) Madeleine, you've been to their HOUSE.

The idea that we can actually see our friends outside of Maine temporarily soothed Madeleine, but she has since melted down over and over again about missing the things we did there. 

MADELEINE: I just MISS being in Maine.  All those fun things we did there.  I miss waking UP in the bed there, and I miss going on the rides there, and I miss being in the HOUSE there...(tears brimming in her eyes)

Sigh.  It's never easy to come back to reality after the weekend, that's for certain.  At least we still have one last week of summer vacation before the whirlwind of school and work and activities begins anew!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Halloween Stories

Because it's NEVER too early to get into the Halloween spirit, Julia and Madeleine have been busy writing spook-tacular books.

Here is Julia's so far:


Book #1


Because it is a chapter book WITHOUT pictures, I will just relay the text from here on out, exactly as the author wrote it:

Chapter one

It was late October.
A crisp breeze blew.
I, Jenifire Runner, am with my best friends,  Lilly Walker and Lila Whale.  Lilly lay down on the grass and sighed happily.
"Is'nt it a great day?  I could stay outside forever!"
"Me, too!" I agreed.
Lila stayed silent.  "I would like the day alot better if it was'nt so cold out!" she said, putting a coat on over her sweatshirt.
Lilly got up from the ground.
"I better get going.  Mom will start to worry if I'm not home at dinner!"
We walked down the hill, chatting.
"Ya know, I think we're the only Freshmans that have to be home by dinner," I said.  Everyone agreed with me.  Lila turned onto Wright St.
We kept walking straight.
"Uh, we live over here, guys!" she called.  "Unless you two moved to Jennifer Rd!"
We turned around.
"Oh, thanks, Lila," Lilly said to her.
"We were so busy talking, we forgot where we were going!"


After dinner, I got my pajamas on and climbed into bed.  I was to tired to stay up 'till one-thirty, so I fell asleep quickly.  Then, at about 10:45, I heard a sound.  It was very faint, so I knew it was comeing from outside.  I got out of bed, and dashed to the door, putting on my slippers.  I did'nt even care how cold out it was.  I sprinnted to the front door, and ran outside.  I stood there for a moment, looking around.  Then I heard the noise again.  It sounded like: ooo-ooohh!
Then,I ran to the backyard so wildly that I fell, hard.  Very hard.  All I could see was stars.  But I heard the strange voice again, saying Jenn-ii-fire!
But this time, it seemed as if my head was saying it to me.
Suddenly, I felt cold, very cold, as if a ghost had just flown through me.
Then I fell asleep.  But, the last thing I remeber, was seeing a misty, silvery shape glided softly toward me.

Chapter 2

"And that, my friends, is the whole intire story."
I was telling Lilly and Lila all about what had happend the night before.  We were all at Lilly's house.  We were in the backyard.
Lila and I were perched on the ground, while Lilly sat staring at us from the trampoline.
"That's odd.  Because I heard strange noises coming from you're house, too!" Lilly exclaimed.
"Persinaly, I did'nt hear any strange noises.  But, Lilly, is there anything else?" said Lila.
"I'll tell you the whole story!" she said.  "It began last night.  At 10:45.  I was washing dishes.  I heard a strange noise.  It was rather ghostly, actully.  I ran outside to investigate.  I ran across the street.  But when I got to your house, Jenifire, the noise had stopped.  I had been standin gthere for about five minute's, waiting.  But then, suddenly, a misty sivery thing swooped toward your backyard, Jenifire.  I heard moaning your name.  5 seconds before that, there was a loud thump.  After the moan, I screamed.  I dropped the plate and ran back to my house and went to bed.  It was a good thing the plate I dropped was not my mothers best china.  I did'nt even realize I was still holding it!  And also that's the whole story!"
"Lilly, I know you are a shy girl, but I did'nt know you would even tell this much to your friends!" Lila cried.
Lilly blushed.  "Well, I had to tell you guys what I heard, and saw.  Plus, well, I'm more open around you guys than most other people."  Lilly smiled shyly.  Lilly got of the trampoline, and looked around, her hand on her hip.  She was wereing her down with two braids in it, a blue music T-shirt, ripped jean shorts, tights that were wight that had pink and yellow hearts all over them, black lowtops.  "We need to investigate," she said.
"But what can we do  What if the ghost thingy hides from us?" Lila asked.
"We'lle have a sleepover at my house!" I cried.  II love sleepovers.
Lilly kicked at her untied shoe lace.  "Don't you think it's odd how the ghost only haunts Jenifire's house?  What if it takes turn's in which house it haunts?  Maybe whoever hears it, their house will be haunted next!" Lilly exclaimed.
She had a brilliant plan, but I would hate to go to the wrong house, so finally I told her that I did'nt think that was going to happen.
We walked into Lilly's house, all lost in thought.
"Maybe we could-" Lila exclaimed.  "Oh.  That would'nt really work."
"What was your idea, Lila?" I asked.
"Well, I thought that maybe we could sleep in your attick, Jenifire.  I thought the ghost might be living there."

And this is where the story leaves off!  What will happen next?  Will Lila Whale's idea pay off?  Will the freshmans ever get to stay out past dinner?  Will they stay up until one-thirty waiting for the ghost, or will they be woken at 10:45 yet again??  I can't wait to hear more!!

Here is Madeleine's Halloween book.  Its title and first bit of dialogue are not at all nearly identical to Julia's book:

(The strange thing on Taylor Street)


Why, yes it IS a byoutufl day awt, if I do say so myself!


1 Lila
2 I saw something. 

As I said, nothing like Julia's book.  It's not straight-out using the same character name or anything.  And there aren't three girls in this book, just like in Julia's.  At least it's a witch and not a ghost.  And by the way, that is a FREAKY looking witch if I ever saw one.  What's up with the warty nose growing out of the side of her head in place of an ear?!?


3 Suddenly
4 Wicked

This is where Madeleine leaves off, although I'm itching to see what happens next with  Liylu and the wigith wich!  Especially seeing as the wigith wich now appears headless in the above picture.  What spooky adventures will Liylu and the wich embark on next???

I hope these stories served to get you all in the Halloween spirit!  After all, we only have a little over two months before the big night is finally here! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Incident at the Pool

This afternoon, the girls and I went to the town pool to cool off, but before too long, Madeleine had an announcement.

MADELEINE: (swimming over to me) Mama?  There's POOP at the bottom of the pool!
ME: Oh, I doubt it's poop.  It's probably just dirt or something.
MADELEINE: But it LOOKS like poop.  And Mama?  I touched it!
ME: No, it can't really be poop.  If it was poop, they would have closed the pool.

So off she swam, on her merry way.

About fifteen minutes later, I saw a lifeguard entering the pool holding a big shovel and a plastic bag.

I started to have a sinking feeling in my stomach.

After some effort, he managed to get whatever he was looking for onto his shovel, and tossed it in the plastic bag.

ME: (to another, nearby lifeguard) What was that?

Yup.  So Madeleine had been right all along.  I immediately pulled the kids out of the pool so we could all go wash our hands.

But here's the real thing.  Besides wondering how the poop got into the deep end of the pool, what I really want to know is this: if Madeleine suspected there was a turd on the bottom of the pool, why in the name of God did she decide to touch it?!? 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Birthday Song

Happy Birthday, Yiayia!!

In honor of the big day, Madeleine composed a song for you.  She not only made up the melody, but she wrote the lyrics herself, in kindergarten spelling!:

Get ready to hear this smash hit of a piece, as the composer herself performs it for the camera:


Monday, August 17, 2015

New Book

When the girls were younger, they really enjoyed the books in the "Good Night" series, and we made a point of collecting the books about places we had visited.  Among those in our collection are "Good Night, Boston," "Good Night, Atlanta," and "Good Night, Vermont."  While both girls have long outgrown board books, I decided to buy a new book this past week, just for the sake of reminiscince.  We are now the owners of:

Good Night, Montreal

The books basically all start out the same way, with the only exception being the name of the city or state we're exploring:

"Good morning _______.  Good morning, __________.  Are we ready to share a wonderful day?"

Julia, who has been under the impression for some time that our little 12-and-a-half square mile suburb could actually attract vacationing visitors, decided to make her own book about the fantastic things our hometown has to offer:

The cover.  Doesn't it make you want to visit??

"Good morning, Cafe Fresh Bagel, where people come and eat you're delisius bagels.  Are you ready to share a great bagel?"

JULIA: Well, I did "are you ready to share a great bagel" instead of "are you ready to share a wonderful day" because I wanted my book to be, like, a little bit DIFFERENT.

"Good morning, Rosemary Pool.  Are we ready to win the swim meet, Sharks?"

Our town pool, which is about to reach its expiration date, requiring a complete renovation/re-build, is one of the things Julia repeatedly insists would attract out-of-state visitors to the town.

"Good morning, DeFazio Park. Are you ready to run hard, track club?"

I especially like the captions in this one.  They make so much sense.  "That was me.  Sorry!"  "Huh!?"  Because runners normally accidentally reach out their hands and grab the head of the runner in front of them, right?

"Keep going, runners at the Jog Your Memory 5K at Michelle school."

Oh, we've got more runners here.  It looks like this guy is trying to reach out and grab the head of the floppy-legged woman in front of him, too.  Maybe this really is a thing and I have just never experienced it in my 20+ years of racing??

"Hello, Baseball field at DeFazio Park.  This is gonna be a long afternoon."

Oh, we're back at DeFazio again?  Have we already run out of area attractions so quickly?

"Good evening, Charles River YMCA Tsunami Swim team.  You're swimming is looking great!"

Well, now, this is a new place.  I know, I know, we did a swim team already, but this is a DIFFERENT swim team.  At a different pool.  Also, I should have never tried to teach Julia the difference between "your" and "you're," because now I've got her ALL mixed up.

"Good evening, fishermen at Rosemary Lake.  Hope you catch some big fish!"

Back at Rosemary again.  At least this time it's the lake, from which the pool gets its water.  Although this water shown above looks more like mud.  Or liquid chocolate.  Maybe a chocolate lake would convince the masses to vacation here!

And finally, the classic ending page, saying good-night to the town, and showing our gratitude by saying:

"Thank you for sharing a great day!"

It sure WAS a great day!  We hit all the town hot spots!  We started off with a bang, getting a delisius bagel, and finished up by waving to the friendly local fisherman.  Whew.  I'm exhausted from all that fun!

Madeleine did some writing and illustrating today, too:


I would *definitely* not be afraid that if I attend Madeleine's dance class, I might turn into a mournful, macabre ballerina-ghoul.  This drawing isn't creepy at all.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Celebrating Yiayia's Birthday

In celebrating Yiayia's birthday this weekend, Madeleine really pulled out all the stops in decorating her grandmother's house.  What better way to ring in a birthday than with scraps of wrapping paper "streamers" hung in random places all around your home?:

I think this just may be the start of Madeleine's career as a party planner.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Looooong Car Ride

Adventures in summer construction traffic: the normally two hour drive to Yiayia's house took four hours today.  While the girls were mostly content to sing along to Beatles albums during the long ride, they attempted, with mixed results, to play some games together as well. 

Julia had brought her magnetic "Hangman" game, but the actual success of the game was a bit hampered by the fact that Julia and Madeleine do not agree on how most words are spelled.

Madeleine, for one, was convinced that the word "hangman," which was the word she came up with for Julia to guess, is spelled "hathman."  Julia's word, "quiet," was impossible for Madeleine to figure out, even with this clue:

JULIA: Madeleine, if you're in a library, you have to be ____. 
MADELEINE: Uhhhh....
JULIA: If you're not noisy, you're ____.

On the last round, Madeleine was confident about the spelling of the word she had come up with.  Julia had correctly guessed the first two of four letters, "n" and "o."

JULIA: But Madeleine?  How do I even know if you're spelling it right?
MADELEINE: Julia, I *know* I'm spelling it right, because I sounded it out!

The word turned out to be "nowz."  Otherwise known as "nose."  After that one, the girls decided to give up on the game, as they were clearly speaking two different languages.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Take it from The Kids

Lessons my kids have taught me:

Sometimes, if you don't really know what you're talking about, or you don't have all the vital information you need, you should just plunge on ahead with complete confidence anyway.


Driving by a cement mixer today

MADELEINE: Mama?  Does a concreek truck REALLY have concreek inside it?
ME: Well, it has cement in it, mixed with other ingredients, which makes concrete.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  There's no WAY a concreek truck can really have concreek in it.  Because it's ROUND.  And concreek is POINTY.  Because concreek is hard, so it can't be round.

Yeah.  Seriously.  What do I know anyway?  I mean, just because I know how to pronounce "concrete" correctly doesn't mean I actually know what it looks like.  It's pointy!  It can't possibly fit in a cement mixer!

Another example:

This is Auntie Caitlyn and Chad's wedding invitation, as designed by Julia.  While Auntie Caitlyn is indeed planning on having her ceremony at a Greek Orthodox church, there is no such Saint George's on her list of possible area Greek "Orthidox" churches.  But that's just a minor detail.  As long as we know what kind of church to go to, and the fact that it will be in the afternoon, as well as the names of the bride and groom, what more info do we really need??  I mean, sure, there's no date listed, but that's okay.  We'll figure it out!  We don't know what town we're going to, nor what time in the afternoon the event begins, but it's all part of the fun.  It's like an adventure game wedding.  Can you use the clues to find your way to the correct venue?  Who will be there for the wedding and who will lose his or her way?? 

And a final example:

Madeleine's architectural design of the wedding room for Auntie Caitlyn and Chad.  "I just really think this should be the room.  For the wedding.  Don't ya think??"

This picture looks like a fairy tale wedding, and does not resemble a medieval torture chamber in the least. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Madeleine Writes a Chapter Book

Madeleine began writing a chapter book today about the characters of "Monster High," and she is already four chapters in!  She is sounding out the words all by herself, and most of it is pretty intelligible.

(However, if you dare misunderstand something she wrote, watch out!  Auntie Caitlyn mistakenly read the spelling "Kloth" as...well, kloth. After the third or so time of this, Madeleine had HAD it.

MADELEINE: No, it's KLAWED.  (voice suddenly elevating to the brink of screaming) It makes me SO ANGRY that you keep saying "KLOTH!")

Here's a little glimpse of the book; behold, chapter 1:


(Now, lest you think this says "Chapter 1, Go go go go," and risk making Madeleine SO ANGRY, I'll just forewarn you that the chapter title is actually "Goo goo ga ga.")


1 Draculaura
2 Valentine
3 Also Valentine
4 Also Draculaura
5 She
6 Stayed 
7 Sleepover  
8 Candy 
9 Carved
10 Pumpkins  

I love it, Madeleine!  Your writing makes me feel like I'm right there in the room with the characters.  I wish I could have roct owt to the myozic with Jraculorru and Valintiymm and friends!  

The subsequent chapters follow Jaculorru, Kloth, and some of her other Monster High friends as they eat cocys, as they are olmost lyat to a purde, and as they scare a spooky gost awt uv Clodeen's house.  This is not to be missed, readers.  When the finished product hits the shelves, be sure to grab a copy!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dance Partay

Ethan's choice to play 80's music during dinner this evening turned things into an impromptu dance party:

I'm surprised they were able to bust moves so well.  Julia hurt her thumb over the weekend, and Madeleine cut open her toe pretty badly on Friday, and they've both been milking their gimpiness today. 

MADELEINE: Julia, wanna see how my toe cut is looking?
JULIA: What happened to your toe?
MADELEINE: Don't you REMEMBER, Julia??  I fell down at Rosemary Pool and scraped my toe on the CONCREEK!

At any rate, I think if the swimming thing doesn't work out, the girls stand a pretty good chance of success pursuing professional dancing as their main form of exercise.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bedtime Babble

Madeleine could not keep quiet during her bedtime snuggles this evening.

MADELEINE: Mama?  At the Bubble Show, was my name "Pepperoni?"
ME: I thought the Bubble Lady called you "Macaroni."
MADELEINE: I thought it was "pepperoni." *might* have been "macaroni," because that does begin with "M."
ME: Yeah, I think she always picked a silly name that began with the same letter as your real name.
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) Mama?  Is there any food that begins with "D?"
ME: Uh...hmmm...that's a tough one.  Well, "duck" is a food, because some people eat duck meat.
MADELEINE: Mama?  I really like PIG flesh.
ME: I don't.
ME: No, I don't really like pork.
MADELEINE: Come ON, Mama.  You can't tell me you don't love pig flesh.  But let me get this straight: I do NOT like killing animals, because any time an animal is hurt or killed, I feel so sad, because animals are SUPER cute, and it makes me really sad if they get hurt.
ME: Yeah, me too.
MADELEINE: Yeah, because, like, first of all: Auntie Shannon showed us pictures of an animal that got killed.
ME: Oh, was it the lion?
MADELEINE: Yes.  And wasn't that just really DOPEY of that person to kill a lion??
ME: Yes.  I don't really understand why he did it.
MADELEINE: And Mama.  Let me tell you something: I would NOT EVER go to an African Savannah.  Because.  Of lions.  A lion will eat ANY KIND of flesh that it sees.  So.  Like.  Basically that's EVERYTHING.

She is sooo not sleepy at all.  I decided to halt the snuggles and let her lay in bed thinking her wild and crazy thoughts until she falls asleep on her own.  Sweet dreams of lions and pig flesh and macaroni, my darling one!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Championship Meet

Today was an exciting day for Julia: the Regional Championships for Summer Swim League!  Our little swimmer had to be at the pool bright and early, with a 6:45am call time.  Here she is, awaiting her team call for warmups:

Julia had a great day all around, advancing to the finals in both her individual events as well as her relay.  She swam an all time best of 17.58 seconds in the 25 yard freestyle, and finished in third place in the finals.  She finished in fifth place in the breaststroke finals, and her relay came in fifth, despite being seeded sixth.  Hooray!

Lilly Mintz, by the way, can swim a 25 yard freestyle in an astonishing 10 seconds.  However, Lilly did not swim that in today's meet, because she's 12, and in the summer swim league, all 11-12 year olds (and up) must swim a 50yard freestyle.  I don't have an exact confirmation on Lilly's (imaginary) time today, but I'd say at best she swam it in 20 seconds.

Also, Julia filled me in on the Mintz's mini-van (or should I say "mintzi-van?" Man, I'm funny.)

JULIA: Mom?  The Mintz have a mini-van, but I pretend that, like, in the middle row there are THREE seats, and in the back row, there are FOUR seats.

I'm trying to picture what that would look like.  If the seats are all the same size, the mini-van must be a bit pear-shaped to accomodate the extra seat in the rear.  I guess the mintzi-van epitomizes the saying "junk in the TRUNK."

Anyway, a huge congrats to both Julia AND Lilly Mintz for a swim meet well done!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Swim Success!

Julia's swim team won their meet last night, only the second victory they have had this entire season.  The long-running tradition on this team is that after a win, the kids all push the coaches into the pool.  We had to leave early on the first meet that the team won, and last night thunder was heard the moment the final racer reached the finish wall, so Julia had missed out on both opportunities to push her coach into the water.

It turns out that the kids got a chance to do a make-up throwing of coaches into the pool at practice this morning.  The coach for the 9-10 year-colds was pushed in first, then the coach for 11-15 year-olds.  The head coach was going in anyway to work with some swimmers, so she had her bathing suit on.  The 8-and-unders coach, who works with Julia's group, was last to be thrown into the water. 

Here's how Julia participated in the whole event:

1.) By being the only kid in the pool, waiting patiently in her practice lane, while a gaggle of kids, 8-and-unders AND older swimmers, swarmed around the coach, dragging him onto the pool deck.
2.) Upon my shouting, "Julia, are you gonna throw him in the pool with them?", by getting out of the water and up onto the dock.
3.) By taking a few tentative, tip-toe steps towards the throng of kids holding onto the coach.
4.) By retreating a few steps away from the throng of kids.
5.) By taking a few tentative, tip-toe steps towards the throng of kids holding onto the coach.
6.) By retreating a few steps back again.
7.) By taking a step towards, then away, looking around as if not sure what to do.
8.) By watching the kids push the coach into the pool and turning back to grin at me.

My sweet little obeyer of authority.  Even though the coaches KNOW they're going into the water, and probably fake their resistance to make it more fun for the kids, Julia just couldn't bring herself to put so much as a fingertip on the coach's body so long as he didn't give the all-clear, 100% okay on it.

I can only imagine that if Madeleine joins this team in future summers, she will be among the first to start dragging her coaches onto the deck.  After all, she has absolutely no filter around authority figures of any kind.  Julia reported to me that at camp yesterday, Madeleine not only gleefully told her counsellor "I touched your BUM!" during tag, but said something even worse.  During Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, Madeleine apparently exclaimed, after one kid took a turn, "You put the tail in the donkey's VAGINA!"


We will re-discuss appropriate things to say in public before kindergarten starts, that's for certain.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vacation Journal

This summer, Madeleine has enjoyed continuing the Weekend Journal she worked on during the preschool year.  Most Mondays, she "kindergarten-spells" a little synopsis of something fun she did over the weekend.

Because we had been on vacation last week, I suggested to Madeleine that rather than a one-page synopsis in her school journal, she could make her own vacation journal and we could staple it all together when she's finished.

I figured she might include things like going to the amusement park, visiting the Botannical Gardens, and going to the Biodome. 

Instead, it looks like Madeleine is more interested in a step-by-step narrative of every thing we did on the trip, even the most mundane of things. 

Here is what she has so far:


It is true that among the first things we did was go out to dinner.  This is a very factual account of our vacation so far.
Featured in the picture are our Kia Soul, not to be mistaken for the black widow spider which it resembles, and our dinner table with Madeleine's bowl of linguini on it.


This is an exciting account of our vacation, folks.  We ate dinner, we went to bed, we ate brekfist...stay tuned for more exciting memories! 
I'm not sure what the picture is here.  It kind of looks like some military-grade weapon.  If I had to guess I would say it's a table with Madeleine's pancake on it.  Maybe.


Finally, we're getting somewhere.  An update about an actual family activity, not about eating or sleeping.  Madeleine drew a picture of the pool water and our hotel, and also got distracted because she could see the Cat in the Hat face of the book upon which she was resting her paper.  So she also decided to trace his face in the middle of her writing space.  He kind of looks like a friendly cloud/ghost floating around up in the sky.
Anyway, I think this is where the vacation story really begins.  Let's see if she picks up the pace from here:

Nope.  It's back to eating.  But she does have good recall.  She and Julia did split a pizza on our second night there.


This is where she left off before she headed to camp.  So far we are five pages into this vacation journal and we have covered only the first full day of our trip.  This is going to be a long journal, readers.  I suspect we have many more pages about going out to breakfast, dinner, and going to bed ahead of us.  I will keep you posted when there are more super-exciting memories to read about!