Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

In the spirit of Halloween, Madeleine wrote -- and read aloud -- her own spooky story, "The Bone-Faced Girl":

I don't know about you, but that story TOTALLY gets me in the holiday spirit!

Happy Halloween from Draculaura and Lagoona!:

(And also from Madeleine and Julia!)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day Before Halloween

Happy Day Before Halloween!

Yesterday morning, Madeleine was prancing around the house, upon awakening, singing, "Tomorrow's Halloweeeeen!  Tomorrow's Halloweeeen!"

ME: Tomorrow's the day before Halloween.
MADELEINE: (singing) Tomorrow's the day before Halloweeeeen!  (speaking) MAMA?  By accident, I was saying "Tomorrow's Halloween," and I *shouted* it.  I'm SO embarrassed.

Today, had she sang the same song, there would have been no need to feel embarrassed, because it is finally the day before Halloween.  I think the reason why Madeleine was so excited yesterday was her anticipation for the big day-before-Halloween at school.  Both girls got to dress up today!  Julia went to school not in her Halloween costume, but dressed as a Vocabulary Word from her vocab list. 

The word Julia chose was "Egghead", and behold her lovely costume:

Auntie Caitlyn BLEW IT big time when she saw Julia's all-white ensemble laid out on her bedroom floor last night.

AUNTIE CAITLYN: Oh, are you being a ghost tomorrow?
JULIA: (in alarmed offense) Noo-wah!  I'm being an EGG!

Sheesh, Auntie Caitlyn, get it together.  Isn't it obvious??  All white = egg, NOT ghost.

Madeleine got to wear her Halloween costume to kindergarten, and here she is rockin' it as Draculaura from "Monster High":

Before Madeleine went into school today, she had her 6-year-old check-up, so she actually arrived an hour and a half late to class.  Her check-up showed that all is well, except for Madeleine's lack of a filter.

DOCTOR: And everything is all right with her bowel movements?  Does she go regularly?
ME: Yes, she generally poops every day.
MADELEINE: (turning to the doctor and speaking at top volume) And I always go poop, SURPRISINGLY, when I think I'm just going PEE.  Every time I just try to push PEE out, POOP comes out too!

and this:

DOCTOR: Does she want the flu shot or the flu mist?
ME: Probably the mist would be better, since she gets nervous for the shot.
MADELEINE: What's the mist?
ME: It's a little spray up your nose.
MADELEINE: (turning to the doctor and speaking at top volume) Well, I'll have the mist if it's good at getting rid of a STUFFY NOSE that's ALL STUFFED UP with TONS of MUCUS!

At any rate, Madeleine got the thumbs-up on her health, and she arrived at school just in time for a group costume photo, so she didn't miss out on too much Halloween fun.  She had a blast at the class party, playing with orange play-dough, coloring Halloween pictures, making her own construction paper jack-o-lantern, playing Pin-the-Nose on the pumpkin, and cutting it up on the dance floor during Freeze Dance.  As she told her teacher, "I'm not even TRYING to do these dance moves, they're just what's coming OUT OF ME when I start moving to the music!"

Bust a move, Madeleine!:

Thursday, October 29, 2015


One of the Halloween decorations to make its way into our house this year is Auntie Shannon's Grim Reaper.  He's a real friendly-looking guy.  Madeleine decided to call him by the completely benign name of Earl.

All of us in the Rowe household have had some fun with Earl, moving him into unexpected places as a surprise for other household members.  In fact, Earl hardly stays in one place for very long.  One place he CAN'T be is Madeleine's room, however.  Although she is very fond of Earl, he's simply too scary to be a bedtime companion.

Today Madeleine announced, "Hey, Mama!  Earl is kind of like Elf on the Shelf.  He's Earl of the World!  Get it, Mama?  Earl of the World, just like Elf on the Shelf!"

Here are some of the places Earl of the World has been found lately:

Where will he be next?!?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Madeleine has used her Free Choice time at school the past two days making creatures out of fusable beads, and she has delightedly presented them to us upon returning home.

Yesterday she introduced us to Dolphine the Dolphin.  I guess she must have used up all of her creative energy coming up with that very clever name, because today she brought home a dog with the completely literal name of Dog-Dog.

From left to right: Dog-Dog and Dolphine

Julia has been exercising her own creative juices.  She and Madeleine spent most of their afternoon yesterday decorating cardboard people-cutouts and giving names to each character.  In fact, the cardboard people were such a huge hit that the girls continued to "speak" them to each other throughout dinner.  Julia was voicing the country grand maw "Grandma Cait," telling Madeleine's "Lilly" about her shy childhood.

GRANDMA CAIT: (in a heavy country twang) Ya know, I was really shy when I was a kid.  I was as shy as a freckled pittin' pear! 
JULIA: (bursting into giggles and returning to her normal voice) I have NO IDEA what that means!

I wish I could improv something as amazing as that.  Julia explained, "I didn't even KNOW what I was gonna say!" as she wondered on the nonsense that had just exploded from her mouth.

I think we have a new Rowe household colloquialism.  I know, for sure, that when I was a child (and even sometimes as an adult), I was a shy as a freckled pittin' pear!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Stories!

The girls have been busy writing Halloween stories and poems over the past few days. 

Here is one of Julia's poems:

I was digging the whole rhyme scheme of this poem...until she totally abandoned it at the end.

The witches are out, the goblins begin prancing,
and all about, the skeletons are dancing,
phantoms and ghosts, flying through the air,
they really give us a scare!
Frankenstein follows the bats and rats.
And everywhere in town, there's bad luck 'cause of black cats!
Mummys are moaning, monsters are groaning,
Jack-o-lanterns and spiders, they have mean faces,
everything is haunted, on Halloween night,
I hide inmy room, but still I here noise,
'cause there's a party, BOO!

Madeleine wrote this fascinating mystery:

The Mistury of the Mising Stor

"It wus night but then wun of the...sevin stors wus mising we dusiydid we wood mack a mistury ip.sept hoow ckood of taykcin the stor ye haw ckood sumwun tayck it"

I especially like Madeleine's randomly appearing punctuation, such as the ellipsis in the middle of the first sentence and the period in between the syllables of "except."

that is way way up ckood it be a rokcit ship we dithdint no but it ckood be wr not shr hmmm wut if it ckan be but wr not shr but it just mit be we fawoond a ckloo the fith stor poitdid to sbas so we went up ther it wus so ckoowl then we so mor peepl taycing stors we shawtid stop plees s.t.o.p. plees thows or grat stors so wiy or you taycing them thay sed ther ded but we sed haw ckood thay be ded then they ol caym bac in the noit."

What a wonderful Deux Ex Machina ending to the mistury!  Now I ask you: which is more difficut to wade through: "The Mistury if the Mising Stor" or "Finnegan's Wake?"

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Eek! Mice!

Well, the Rowe household has some very unwanted visitors staying with us: mice.  Over the past few days we have come to the unhappy conclusion that there have been mice camping out in a hole in our garage wall, and today one of our rodent guests made his or her way into the house.

Madeleine was the one to spot the mouse, alerting us that she had seen it scurry under the basement door.  Ethan inspected the basement, to no avail.  Several minutes later, Madeleine announced that the mouse had left the basement and squeezed itself under the downstairs bathroom door.  Ethan was then able to locate the mouse, but before he could do anything beyond whack it with a plunger, it snuck behind the washing machine.  We have now barricaded the bathroom door so that it can't squeeze its way out, to bide us some time before we can get to the store and buy mouse traps.

The kids are totally freaked out.  Julia is terrified that she's going to get rabies if she so much as steps on the ground upon which a mouse has trod.  (Regardless of the fact that mice are not common carriers of rabies.)  Madeleine needs an adult with her to go downstairs after her traumatic ordeal of seeing the mouse twice.  Julia is afraid that the mouse will come into her bed while she's sleeping and cuddle up on her pillow next to her.  I have to admit, I'm acting like a a bit of a freak myself.  I feel something tickling my skin under my shirt.  OH MY GOD IT'S A MOUSE!!!!  Oh.  Nope.  Just a piece of hair that got tucked into the neck hole.

So now Ethan and I are preparing to try and rid our house of these mice.  The kids, who are apparently experts in mouse extermination, have boisterously offered all sorts of great strategies.  Julia suggested making a house out of our recycled cardboard boxes to offer an alternative home for the mice.  Madeleine plans to barricade her bedroom door to keep the mouse out, but is fretting over the possibility that she may not be able to get out of her room in the mornings.  Both girls have offered up the animal traps used on the tv show Wild Kratts, despite the fact that the Kratt brothers never caught mice. 

However, I think Madeleine has nailed it with this solution to our mouse problem.  Behold the sign hanging on the downstairs bathroom door:

I'm sure the mice will obediently heed this instruction.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Haunted Pictures

A few weeks ago, the girls took a trip to CVS with their aunties and returned home with their very own Halloween decorative items.  Julia had a plastic framed photograph of what looked like a prim little girl at one angle, and a demon spawn at another angle.  Madeleine had a junky plastic glowing light in the shape of a pumpkin, which promptly broke.

Yesterday, the girls discovered that there was a second picture stuck to the back of Julia's demon girl.  They immediately began fighting over who got to have it.

JULIA: Mommyyyyy!  There was another picture on the back of my picture and Madeleine thinks SHE should have it!
MADELEINE: Mama!  Julia won't let me have it, and it's not faaaair, because she already has one, and my decoration BROKE!
ME: What is the picture?  Is it a part of the original photo or is it a separate picture?

They were absolutely right.  Somehow a second plastic-framed photo had been wedged into the plastic backing of Julia's picture.  The newly-found photo was of a grandmotherly-figure who, at a different angle, turned into some sort of ghoulish skeleton face.

I ordered Julia to relinquish this picture to Madeleine, so that they could each have one.

JULIA: But Mommy!  I wanted to KEEP it because I like WRITING about the characters!

She speaks the truth.  She wrote up a whole name and back story for her demon girl:

Keira led a hard life.  At age 5, whenever she was mad, she went crazy.  This happened to her paernts, too.  But not her 10 brothers and sister.  She was the 10th born, with 1 younger sister.

P.S. Happy Halloween!"

Huh.  What a coincidence that someone with the last name Evilson actually *was* evil.

At any rate, Madeleine became the rightful owner of the grandma-skeleton, and apparently having that face in her room gave her nightmares.  After being woken repeatedly throughout the night by Julia, who was having trouble falling back to sleep after waking up to pee, I then had a visit from my buddy Madeleine.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Can you come snuggle me?
ME: (desperately wanting to sleep) Mmmph...why?
MADELEINE: Nightmare.

So I went into Madeleine's bed for a few minutes and cuddled her until she felt safe once again.  As I prepared to leave and head back to my own bed, Madeleine wanted to make certain that her nightmare wouldn't actually come true.

MADELEINE: Wait.  Mama.  Are you SURE there won't be any crab or lobster standing on two legs dancing around on the floor by my bed??
ME: I'm sure, honey.  Good night.

This morning, when I asked Madeleine to go get dressed for school, she was still scared.

MADELEINE: Uh, Mama?  Can you come with me?
ME: Why?  Are you still scared of the crab and lobster?
MADELEINE: Well Mama?  I just don't know if that thing is CALLED a crab or a lobster. 
ME: Oh, so there was only one thing dancing around, and you just aren't sure if it was a crab or a lobster?
ME: And you're still scared of it?
MADELEINE: No, I'm not scared of that anymore.  I'm just scared of my PICTURE.

Turns out giving Grandma Skeleton to Madeleine wasn't such a great idea, after all. 

MADELEINE: It's just that when you turn your head, she starts looking REALLY CREEPY.  Like Mama.  Look at her!  She looks like a SKELETON with NO EYES and no TEETH!
ME: Should we just give it back to Julia then?
MADELEINE: Uh-huh.  (grabbing the picture) Delivery!  (running to Julia's room to get rid of it.)

So Julia got her way, after all.  And she wasted no time getting right to work on the old lady:

"Nora Raveing was Keira's great aunt.  She was a school teacher.  She started teaching at the age of 16.  She was very strict.  Like Keira, but in a different way.  When someone misbehaved, she turned into a skeleton."

Well, I'm glad that Nora Raveing will no longer be haunting Madeleine's dreams any more, though I sure hope the lobster-crab doesn't make any further appearances either.  Mama sure needs a good night's sleep!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mornings With Kids

Life With Kids:

6:30am: Time to get up and get the kids ready for school and myself ready for work.  Ethan, who didn't get much sleep last night, opts to sleep a little longer.

I hop into the shower and within thirty seconds there is a kid talking to me from outside the shower curtain.  I can't hear a word she's saying.  Wow.  She's still talking.  Whatever she's saying is going on and on.

ME: (pulling the curtain open to see Julia holding her media book open for me)
JULIA: (pointing to a loose page) So should I tape it or-
ME: You can tape it if you want.
JULIA: Maybe I should just leave it.
ME: Okay.

I finish my shower and I'm towelling off when I have my friendly bathroom visitor back. 

JULIA: (holding up a shirt for me to see)
ME: Mmm-hmm.  Great.
JULIA: This shirt just HAS to go with jeggings.
ME: Okay.
JULIA: It just LOOKS like the kind of shirt that has to go with jeggings.
ME: Okay.
JULIA: Because it kind of POOFS out.
ME: Mmm-hmm.
JULIA: Can you imagine if I wore this with my STRIPED leggings?
ME: That would look funny.
JULIA: Or my GREEN polka dot leggings?
ME: That would be funny too.
JULIA: Or my regular jeans?
ME: Okay, I gotta go get dressed now.  You get dressed too.

I then crept into the bedroom and began stumbling around in the dark to get some clothes, trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to wake Ethan.

Next thing I knew, my little buddy was at the bedroom door.  Julia decided that the best way to use her time was to blindfold herself with the arm of her shirt and stagger her way into the dark bedroom.

ME: (whispering) Okay, go get dressed.
JULIA: (continuing to stagger around blindfolded)
ME: We don't wanna wake Daddy up.  Go get dressed.

Just as I was getting rid of one little friend, I heard a clanging and banging of bathroom drawers from my other little friend. 

ME: (rushing out into the hallway, still not dressed) Shhhh!  Madeleine, what are you doing?
MADELEINE: (full volume) MAMA?  I was TRYING to find the toenail clippers!
ME: I have some in my room.  Hang on.

I then further stumbled around in the dark to find the clippers and brought them to Madeleine, who decided to sit directly outside my bedroom door to clip her toenail.  Because the bedroom was dark, I had to leave the door a crack open to get enough light to find my clothes.  One would think this would signal the girls to use quiet voices outside the open door, but one would be wrong.  Madeleine and Julia proceeded to have a full-volume conversation, both perched directly outside the door.

MADELEINE: So, JULIA?  I told my friends about our Halloween party, and they asked if they're INVITED.
JULIA: Well Madeleine-
ME: Shhhhh!  Julia, get dressed!

I frantically upped my speed to try and retrieve all of my clothes before the next loud outburst, but I was too slow. 

MADELEINE: (shrilly) Mamaaaa!
ME: Shhhh!  Hang on!
MADELEINE: I need help clipping my toe!
ME: Shhhh.  (whispering) I'll be right there.
MADELEINE: (full-volume) Oh, NEVER MIND, I got it!

It would be a miracle if Ethan actually slept through all of that.

And now, as I take a few quiet moments to drink my coffee, I gaze around the house to see the state of utter chaos in which it lies.  There are two packs of construction paper on the couch.  There is a fuzzy pen and a sheet of paper on the floor next to the couch.  There are two plastic ducks, a cell-phone eraser, and a play purse on the coffee table.  There is a box of make-your-own bead bracelets on the dining room floor, three board games, magnetic Barbies, a play cell phone, Shopkins, and a ghost cup on the dining room table.

Kids sure know how to make their presence known even when they're not in the room.  It's a good thing I wouldn't want life to be any other way!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

All About States

Take a look at the latest lists and drawings Julia has made, just for fun, at home over the past few days.  Can you guess what her current obsession is??:

It all started with a placemat I bought years and years ago, when Julia was a little girl, with a map of the United States on it.  She hasn't paid this placemat the slightest bit of attention in all these years, until recently, when she resurrected it from a bin of old stuff and began seriously studying it at every meal.  Next thing I knew, it was a full-blown hobby of hers.  She is frequently found flipping the states map over to the back side, upon which is an unlabeled map of the states.  Julia will then point to various states at random and name them.  She has even asked us to quiz her on the states and she definitely knows them all. 

Julia is also prone to throwing random facts about the states at us at any given time.

"Mommy?  New Jersey is the fourth smallest state."


"Mommy?  Did you know that in Georgia there's an Augusta and an Albany?"


"Mommy?  Austin is the capital of Texas, but there's ALSO an Austin in Minnesota."

Julia is not the only one dropping random facts about states, however.

Walking home from school today:

JULIA: (pointing at pumpkin lanterns in a neighbor's yard) Mommy?  I really like those pumpkins.
MADELEINE: (counting them) One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  Hey!  That's how many MAIN ISLANDS there are in Hawaii!

My kids are probably destined to be nerds.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Race Day

This morning, I ran the Baystate Half Marathon in Lowell, and I had the greatest cheering section in the world join me!  Madeleine even brought her plastic clappy hands and promised that she would be flapping them as loud as she could when I passed by her.

I had my lovely cheering squad shout for me as I made my way along the first mile, then they were waiting for me at the finishing chute.  When we all convened at the Family Meeting area, I told the girls how proud I was to have run my fastest half marathon time ever. 

JULIA: What place did you get?
ME: Oh, I don't know. I was caring more about my time than about my place.
MADELEINE: Well Mama? *I* cared about your place, because you always seem to be in, like, a really LOSING place, and it makes me feel sad.

I sure am sorry to have let Madeleine down.  I guess finishing in 131th place out of many thousands was too much of a losing position to suit her.  And she certainly wasn't going to take any bull from me about how proud I was anyway.

ME: Well, I'm just proud because I ran my fastest time that I've ever done for this distance.
MADELEINE: Well Mama?  Then why did you look so slow?

Madeleine was not impressed.

Additionally, the girls were skeptical of the thermal blanket I had received at the finish line:

JULIA: Mommy?  Why do you have a GARBAGE BAG wrapped around you?
ME: It's a blanket, honey.
MADELEINE: (looking at me in disgust) No it's not.  It's a GARBAGE bag Mama.  Ewwww!

On our drive home from the race, Ethan told the girls they could each have a few Dunkin' Donuts munchkins that he had bought as they waited for me to finish my run.  The bag contained a bunch of chocolate donut holes and two pumpkin ones.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I LOOOOOOVE me some pumpkin ANYTHING.

ME: Oooh!  Pumpkin!  I wanna try one!
JULIA: Can we have two each?
ME: Sure.  What kinds do you want?
JULIA: Um, one chocolate and one pumpkin.
ME: Okay.  Madeleine, do you want two chocolate?
MADELEINE: No, I want the same as Julia.
ME: Oh.  Bummer.  I wanted to try a pumpkin one.
JULIA: (guiltily, having chowed down on 3/4 of her pumpkin munchkin) Uh, do you want my last bite?
ME: No, thanks, it's okay.
MADELEINE: (oblivious to my plight) MMMMM!  This pumpkin one is SUUUUPER delicious!

What can I say?  These kids know how to treat their runner mama like royalty!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Madeleine's Baby

Madeleine has been playing with her American Girl Bitty Baby doll this evening, taking Baby Lily through all sorts of mother-daughter routines and rituals.  I have to say, after witnessing this interaction, I'm not really sure Madeleine is fit to be a mother yet.

MADELEINE: Mama!  I'm feeding Baby Lily her baby milk! we have any cups in the shape of bottles?
ME: We used to have pretend bottles, but I think we got rid of them all since you girls don't really play much with baby dolls anymore.
MADELEINE: I know!  I'll use my WATER BOTTLE!  (picking up a half-drunk Poland Spring bottle that is at least two weeks old and has been sitting on her bedroom floor all this time.)

A few minutes later, Madeleine was ready for her next motherhood activity.

MADELEINE: Okay, Mama.  Now I'm gonna do BABY time.  But how do I do baby time?
ME: Uh, I don't know.
MADELEINE: No, Mama.  You know that thing you do with your baby for baby time?
ME: Umm...breastfeeding?
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  You know how you do baby time?
ME: Do you mean tummy time?
MADELEINE: Oh.  Yeah!  Tummy time.  So Mama.  How do you do it?
ME: You lay the baby on her tummy on the floor so she can practice lifting her head and working her neck muscles.
MADELEINE: (placing Baby Lily facedown on a bundle of blankets on the bed)
ME: You have to do it on the floor.  You don't ever put a baby's face on soft things, because if she can't lift her head enough, she won't be able to breathe.
MADELEINE: (looking at me like I'm an idiot) But does it even MATTER if it's just a DOLL?
ME: Well, no.  I'm just telling you so you'll know what you would do with a real baby.

Seriously, what's my problem?  Who cares if Madeleine knows how to do it with a real baby.  It's not like she might have baby nieces and nephews that she helps take care of when she's older, or anything.  Whatever.  It's a doll, so go ahead and shove her face down in a pile of blankets.  It's not like she can actually lift her head up anyway.

Next up was Snuggle Time.

MADELEINE: Okay, Mama, now it's Snuggle Time with Baby Lily.
ME: Oh, okay.
MADELEINE: So, for Snuggle time, you wrap a blanket around your baby, and...and...
ME: Snuggle her?
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  That's not what you do in Snuggle Time.  You wrap her in a blanket, and then sit on the couch and wait until she WARMS UP.
ME: Oh, I see.
MADELEINE: (taking Baby Lily to the couch) One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nineteneleventwelvethirteenfourteenfifteen.  MAMA?  It takes FIFTEEN seconds to warm up, but if you do it longer than that, well Mama?  Her face was starting to get really red and hot, so I had to count really quickly.

I guess she needed to warm up because she was blue from her near suffocation during Tummy Time. 

The next activity was not anything I have ever tried with my own children.

MADELEINE: Okay, the SECOND to last thing is tricky.  You have to put the baby on the table with her HEAD hanging off.  Liking,  hanging really far down.  To exercise her head.  And then the grown-up has to LOOK at her.

That looks really safe.  Madeleine is gonna be a great baby-sitter.  Anyone wanna hire her in a few years?  She's guaranteed to practice some great baby acrobatics with your kid!

And the final baby activity:

MADELEINE: Now the last thing is kind of hard.  You have to THROW the baby up in the air TWICE.  And catch her.  (tossing Baby Lily) Woah!  She did a FLIP.  I made her do a flip because of the way I tossed her.  It was an ACCIDENT.

That was the end of the world's most terrifying Baby Activity Time.  Madeleine put Baby Lily to bed and proceeded to put on a fashion show for the family, complete with a soundtrack that is completely appropriate for haute couture. 

MADELEINE: Mama?  Can you put on some music?  Like, some really CHURCHY music?

So she traipsed along her living-room-floor runway to the sountrack of Byzantine Chant, because...that's how she DO.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Madeleine's Bag of Art

Madeleine came home from school with a BAGFUL of art projects from her extended day program, as they are about to embark upon a new unit.  I had planned to take a look through the bag of Farm-themed artwork, but before I could get to it, Madeleine displayed her entire tableau of works across the living room floor:

It turns out she has some pretty grandiose plans about where we're going to put all this artwork.

MADELEINE: So, Mama, where you gonna hang all this?
ME: Uh, how about on the fridge.

I then proceeded to hang one piece of artwork on the side of the refrigerator, to Madeleine's disapproval.

MADELEINE: No, I think you should hang it from the ceiling, so it looks like it's hangin' from a BRANCH!

As I attempted to explain the impracticalities of such an endeavor, Madeleine explained how easy it would be to execute.

MADELEINE: You could have a string, and...maybe Daddy could do it with a chair, or you...and you can tape the string, and you can have a clip on it, and you can put the goose on the clip.

She wants this in the kitchen.  That would not be a fire hazard at all.

Something tells me she's not going to acquiesce to me recycling any of this.  She has already started giving names to the various animals.  After all, Goosy is hanging on the fridge and even that's not a good enough VIP spot.  Where on earth will Rainbow, Fluffy, Piggie, Barno, and Chickadee go??

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sisterly Notes

Now that Madeleine is somewhat literate, the girls can write notes to each other.

I just found this one buried under various other writings and pieces of artwork on the dining room table:

I wonder why Julia didn't want to join the ckyyit kclub, though.  At least she answered politely, despite her refusal.  And she even gave Madeleine a heart!  A heart with a black outlining.  And it is purple.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Smarts All Around

When Julia schools me on her math homework:

JULIA: (holding up her math homework) Does this look confusing?
ME: (half-paying attention as I was reading an article online) Uh, yup.
JULIA: (with barely contained pride) I can do it, though!
ME: You can?
JULIA: Yes.  I'll show you.  What's four plus fourteen?
ME: (distracted) Uh-huh.  Yup.  Ten.
JULIA: (silent disbelief) Four plus fourteen is NOT ten.
ME: Oh.  Uh, eighteen.
JULIA: (resuming her track) Right. And what's ten plus eight?
ME: Eighteen.
JULIA: Right.  So they all have to add up to the same NUMBER.

Math has never been my strongest subject.  Apparently I simply cannot try and do any kind of mathematical equation when distracted.

When I school Madeleine on basic vocabulary:

MADELEINE: Mama?  So.  On this new show we've been watching, called "Pixies," you wanna know how they pronounce "HEALTHY?"
ME: How?
ME: Honey, "wealthy" is a different word.  It means very rich.
MADELEINE: Oh!  I just thought that they didn't know how to pronounce "healthy."

Madeleine has always sort of lived with her own unique rules of logic.

And with that, I'll end this blog ghost.
By blog "ghost," I mean blog "post."  I just don't know how to pronounce "post."

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Favorite Songs

This evening at bedtime, Madeleine and I discussed her favorite song.

MADELEINE: I can't really choose one favorite song, because Mama?  I really love songs.
ME: What are SOME of your favorite songs?
MADELEINE: Mmmm...well, "Pinball Wizard," and "Little Miss S."
ME: Anything else?  Any songs by the Beatles?
MADELEINE: I thought "Little Miss S" is by the Beatles.
ME: Nope, it's not.
MADELEINE: Well, then what songs are by the Beatles?
ME: Oh, lots!  "Hide Your Love Away," "I'm Looking Through You," "Let it Be," "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"....
MADELEINE: Oh yeah, I really love those songs.
ME: (listing other Beatles songs)
MADELEINE: And I also like that song that gets louder and louder at the end until it sounds like SCREAMING.
ME: What song?  Do you remember what words they're screaming?
MADELEINE: I can't remember, but Mama?  How I picture it is like little WORM FINGERS getting BIGGER and BIGGER, and the worm fingers are PINK, like really light pink that they're almost PEACH, and they have FACES, but no nose, and no hair.  And there's one really LITTLE worm finger, and one really BIG worm finger, and a medium worm finger. 

Oh.  Okay.  That's a totally normal image to have when listening to a song.

ME: Can you hum some of it for me?
MADELEINE: I can't really remember how it goes.
ME: Is it girls singing or boys?
MADELEINE: I think it's a boy.
ME: And you picture worm fingers?
ME: Lots of worm fingers?
MADELEINE: Maybe, like, fourteen or thirteen.  Maybe, like, eleven or twelve.  I think maybe twelve.

Believe it or not, I was able to correctly identify the song.  Anyone want to take a guess before I give the answer away?

Friday, October 9, 2015

At the Top of the Earth

Some light background dinner music:

Totally calming and soothing as we wind down at the end of a school week, right?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

School News

Today I got to go to an Open House in Madeleine's extended day classroom and see some of her classwork.  Among the things I perused was her writing journal, where I found this excerpt:

"My Sisters snuggles or squeezes and when ever my mom asks me to walk on her hamstrings I get bored.  Julia and Emily once said their game was private."

I am SO glad that Madeleine decided to share the fact that I occasionally ask her to massage my sore hamstrings by standing on them and walking her feet around.  I'm sure that doesn't sound weird at all to her teacher.  Also, it makes me look like a super-great mother, boring my child enough that she WRITES ABOUT IT because I make her walk on my hamstrings.

Anyway, Madeleine also had an entry on her four favorite farm animals, one of which is the most ginormous pig I have ever seen in my life:

I guess Madeleine loves pig flesh so much that she decided to give this piggie EXTRA flesh.

In other school news, Julia has quite the demanding schedule for the school she runs in her bedroom for her American Girl dolls:

That's a lot to expect from a bunch of dolls, don't you think??

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Madeleine's New Book

Madeleine has started writing a new story that sounds like a recounting of Freshmen Rush Week at a sorority.  As it is all written in kindergarten spelling, I will simply provide you the Standard English translation:

Lilly and Gabee
by Madeleine Rowe

"Gabee liked to drink.  Lilly was impressed.  She gave Gabee a sticker.  Gabee liked the sticker.  She called it Stickee because Stickee was sticky."

First of all.  Lilly is impressed that Gabee likes to drink.  Are we not recruiting a new sorority member here?  Be like me!  Drink the cheap college ale!  Secondly, in kindergarten spelling, it looked like Madeleine wrote "Gabee licked the sticker."  Then I was all like WHOAH, not only is Gabee drinking, but she's taking LSD as well?!?

Pg. 2:
"Gabee was spoiled.  Whenver Gabee drank, she got a sticker.  Gabee wanted more stickers so she said 'Let me have more stickers,' she said.  Lilly was scared.  She said to Gabee, 'Well, drink some more," Lilly said so Gabee did."

Gabee, I fear this road you're on is the fast track to alcoholism.

Pg. 3:
"Gabee drank so much she drank apple juice, she drank lemonade.  'Gabee, I didn't mean this much!"

Gabee, you have a PROBLEM.  You need to admit it.  The stickers aren't worth it. 

Pg. 4
"But Gabee ignored her.  She even drank pickle juice.  She said to leave.  But Gabee said "Why leave?  I'll get my own stickers."

OMG.  Gabee has just been kicked out by Lilly.  She has literally isolated herself from the one friend she even had at the start of this book.  I mean, this Drinking Queen is chasing the stickers so hard that she even drank pickle juice.  And now she's leaving Lilly to get her own stickers.  God only knows what she'll do to acquire those stickers. 

That's where the book leaves off, but things are looking pretty bleak for our friend Gabee here.  I'm hoping there will be a miracle cure and a nice uplifting ending!  But knowing Madeleine and her proclivity towards dark art, probably not.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Madeleine Posts a Video

Apparently, at some time in the past, Madeleine made a surprise secret selfie-video on Auntie Shannon's computer.  Auntie Shannon just discovered it this evening:

I think she's a YouTube star in the making, no??

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekend and After

The last few days have been busy but lots of fun for the kids!  On Saturday, we had Madeleine's birthday party, a plaster-painting party to suit our little artist.  While Madeleine painted a pair of ballet shoes to hang on her wall, Julia opted to paint a sweet-looking ice cream cone:

Don't mind the black blobs all over the scoop of ice cream.  It's just the words "Warning: Poisonous" painted across the cream, run all together because the paint was too drippy.  As I said, just a sweet old innocent ice cream cone, with nothing sinister about it at all.

On Sunday, we took a trip to the pumpkin patch at a church in town, and the girls got to pick out their soon-to-be jack-o-lanterns.  Julia picked a big, super squat, round pumpkin, while Madeleine fulfilled her pre-planned Halloween dream of snagging a white pumpkin.

MADELEINE: This year I'm gonna get a WHITE pumpkin!
ME: Why do you want a white pumpkin?  To make it be a ghost?
MADELEINE: Um, no, I want a white pumpkin and I'm gonna carve a MERMAID on it.

Oh, yeah.  That's totally what you do with a white pumpkin.  Silly me, thinking of a ghost.

At any rate, the fun and celebratory weekend had to come to an end, but the girls both had a great day at school today, so we didn't have too many Monday blues.  Julia especially enjoyed music class at school today, and was thrilled to demonstrate a Hawaiian song they learned.  Unfortunately, while she was enthusiastic for me, she was awfully shy for the camera, so this was the best I could get:

With the weather turning cold and rainy over the past few days, I think we could all use a little taste of Hawaii right about now.  Thanks for transporting me there, Jules!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Madeleine Turns 6!

Happy 6th birthday to this kid!:

She was BEYOND excited when she woke up this morning.  After all, she has only been counting down to this date since spring, right?

The morning started with a pancake breakfast and presents:

Then it was off to school, where Madeleine got to have a white pillowcase signed by all her classmates, hand out a sheet of stickers to each kid as a goody-treat, and make a birthday crown!

This afternoon, per Madeleine's request, we went to Plaster Fun Time as a fun birthday activity (the fact that Madeleine's birthday party tomorrow is a plaster-painting party notwithstanding.)

You may notice that, in the above pictures, Madeleine's hair is in a ponytail.  This is not a random occurrence.  Madeleine has had the following hand-made sign hanging in her room since summer

(Translation: "Ponytail on October Second")

It was non-negotiable, folks.  I dared to suggest a different hairstyle, having totally forgotten about this sign.  And let me tell you: it was AW HAIL'S NO from Madeleine.  Ponytail or BUST.  It had already been set in stone.

Tonight we are headed out to a birthday dinner at Bloow to complete Madeleine's special-day requests.  It has been a fun-filled, action-packed day, but what better way to ring in the 6th birthday of a member of the Rowe household??

Happy Birthday, Madeleine!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Third-Grade Curriculum Night

Last night was Curriculum Night for Julia's classroom, so back to the school went I to check out 3rd grade. 

One of the most exciting things for me to do was browse inside of Julia's Writer's Workshop notebook.  Not only did I get to see the 40+ "Special People" that she had mentioned a few weeks ago, but I got to see her list of special places as well.

Curious to see if you're on the VIP list?  Take a look. And if you don't see yourself there, don't worry; you can rest assured that Julia also had names listed on the back, and I was too lazy to take pictures of every single side of each page, so you're probably still on the list anyway!  Looks like she left no man, woman or child behind:

Her Special Places was WAY more extensive than Madeleine's answer of "Bloow" shown in yesterday's post:

Again, the list continued on the back page of this paper, so there may be other special places you don't see.  It seems as if Julia was equally comprehensive with her special places as she was with her special people.

I also got to read Julia's "Important Poem," in which she states that although she really loves her family, what she really loves best is swimming:

And finally, I got to check out the classroom family crests, upon which each child listed his or her last name and filled in boxes with activities and subjects that are of particular interest to that child.

Here is Julia's:

Top Left: "My Imaginary Family."  Ladies and gentlemen, the MINTZ FAMILY has made an appearance in Julia's classwork.  What next?!?  Is she going to start writing about their activities in her writing workshop journal?!?

Top Right: Julia's interest in reading, both fiction and non-fiction
Third Row Left: Our house, being blessed by a beautiful shining sun.
Third Row Right: Math equations.  Say what?!?  Julia likes math?? 
Bottom Left: Piano and music!
Bottom Right: Our backyard, with the benevolent sun, once again.

I was so thrilled to check out all of Julia's work, and I'm doubly thrilled that she is letting her true colors and creativity shine in school this year!