Saturday, April 30, 2016

Holy Saturday Service

This morning, Auntie Caitlyn, the girls and I went to church for the Holy Saturday service.  I spent nearly the entire service trying to get the knots out of Madeleine's cross necklace, thanks to her impulsive decision to whirl the necklace around in rapid fire circles as she brought it to me to put on her.  Julia followed along dutifully to the Liturgy, crossing herself when appropriate, reciting the prayers, and all-around being a quiet and faithful parishoner.  Madeleine was quiet as well, although she spent her time kneeling on the ground using the pew as her artwork area.  Spread out along the pew were pieces of paper, upon which she was drawing.  Next to the paper was her stuffed dog, Aroof, to whom Madeleine was teaching drawing. 

Among the things Madeleine taught Aroof how to draw was:

How to build Jeasis

Good thing that Aroof learned this valuable lesson.  After all, what point is there in a dog going to church if (s)he doesn't learn how to build Jeasis?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Madeleine's Take

Madeleine was clearly inspired by Julia's recent anti-Justice-clothing manifesto. More particularly, she was inspired by Julia's friend's addition to the manifesto, which happened to be a drawing of a bunch of girls with speech bubbles promoting the idea of being yourself.  Madeleine decided to make her own such drawing:

"How about this"
"You girl's shouldn't care about how you look.  Care about how you feel."

That's a great message, Madeleine!  And, for the record, the girl with the thought bubble image of another girl should just be comfortable with her own self, don't you think?  So what if she has empty eye sockets and a laboratory-stapled Frankenstein mouth, right?  As long as she FEELS like she can see and talk, does it really matter if her eyes are vacant and her mouth is a frightening forest of spiky blackness?  No, it does not.  BE YOURSELF.  Kudos to the be-skirted girl on the right for pointing that out.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Angel's Flight

Madeleine started writing a new book, and although she has only finished the cover and first page, I can tell it has a LOT of promise:

The angel's flight

Illustrated and ritin by Madeleine Rowe

"Once Anabela lived.  her home was hevin.  she was an angel."

I seriously can't wait until more of this story is ritin.  What is Anabela going to get up to when she goes on her flight?  Why does she need to read a book about flight if she's an angel?  Doesn't she inherently know how to fly?

At least I have a little preview of what is to come, because the whole riting of this book was inspired by a drawing Madeleine made yesterday.  According to Madeleine, "the angel I made was SOOO pretty, I wanted to add her to a book!":

Here, Anabela is saying, "animel's go away the storm!"

I had a Q&A with the illustrator about this drawing.

ME: So why is the angel telling the animals to go away?
ME: Because of the storm?  Is she warning them away so they don't get caught in the storm?
MADELEINE: Yes.  Because.  Look. (pointing to the left upper corner.)
ME: Oh, I see, that's the storm.  And what's all this? (pointing to the colors at the bottom of the page.)
MADELEINE: Oh.  The Aurora Borealis.

(Interesting.  The Northern Lights are at the bottom of the page.  I guess because even though they're "northern," they're not nearly as high up as Heaven?)

ME: And is the angel wearing glasses?
ME: Why does she need glasses?
MADELEINE: I just WANTED her to have them.

I guess even though you're an angel, you can't expect to have perfect sight.  I wonder if there are also angels with braces or retainers.

I can't wait to see what happens next with Anabela, her flight, and the animel's, and what prompts her to leave her home in Hevin to go on this flight.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Be True To Yourself!

Some of you have seen the first page on facebook, but you blog readers are lucky enough to get the FULL manifesto by Julia, on the subject of individuality, especially in terms of fashion.  Of course, Julia has acquired several articles of clothing from Justice as hand-me-downs, and she wears them indiscriminately, but I think the main point of her opinion piece is that she doesn't wear those clothes in order to SEEM COOL.  I'm proud of my little individualist. I have a feeling that if she had been born a century or so earlier, she would have totally been a suffragette:

Boys and men reading the above, take note: you do NOT need to try to do something athletic to seem manly.  You may get hurt trying to show off your athletic prowess.  Just sit on the couch and eat potato chips and drink beer and BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. 

Girls and women, don't shop at Justice unless you truly like the clothes.  But be careful of the glitter and sparkles, because they might not be comfortable.  Or be like me, and wear the same clothes you've had in your closet for a decade because you have no time for and interest in going to the mall.  That works too.  BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. 

Well done, Julia, reminding us that we all need to love ourselves just as we are.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Music in the Car

On our drive to and from a family friend's birthday party today, we Rowes listened to one of the "Music Together" CDs that we own.  The kids always love singing along to the songs and frequently request repeats of a certain track.

On the return trip, the song "My Ball" came on.  This song is in a mixed meter, which can basically be described as 123 12 12, 123 12 12 (3+2+2).  The lyrics to this song include: My ball is big and round, I'm rolling it on the ground and My ball is big and blue, I'm rolling it right to you. 

Near the end of the song, during the rhythmic 3+2+2 drum beats, Ethan decided to make up his own lyrics, but he BLEW IT big time.

ETHAN: My ball is big and - ARRRGHHH!  SHOOOT!

Luckily, he had the chance to try again during the next drum cycle.

ETHAN: My ball is red and square, I can't roll it anywhere.

This led to all sorts of new lyrics by the kids.

JULIA: My ball is small and orange, I'm rolling it on the florange!

MADELEINE: (completely out of time with the drum beats) My ball is small and...mmm...My ball is medium and yeh-eh-eh-low, I'm...I'm...I'm...

Julia had enough of her sister's indecisiveness and decided to fill in for her:

JULIA: My ball is medium and yellow, I rolled it into a cello, and into a bowl of jello, and it made my mom feel so mellow!

I still think, despite his initial screw-up, that Ethan won the impromptu lyric-off.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Boston Fun

Today, we Rowe girls had a fun day with some friends in the city.  We visited Fanueil Hall to get ice cream and watch a performance by what I can only think to call a "Yo-Yo Acrobat," rode the Greenway Carousel, and visited the New England Aquarium:

 The Yo-Yo Acrobat

 Aquarium Touch Tank

 The girls and their friends petting some rays

Riding the carousel

The most exciting part of the Aquarium for all the kids was the touch tank of rays and sharks.  Both Madeleine and Julia petted the backs of multiple rays, and Julia even braved a shark petting.  We missed out on one exhibit, however, due to a combination of time running out and a mis-labeling of a sea creature.  It turns out that Julia cannot differentiate between the highly intelligent octopus and another, completely brainless creature that also has multiple dangling "legs."

JULIA: Mom?  Before we go, can we see the octopus?
ME: Sure.  Here.  Let's follow the signs to the octopus.
JULIA: But I thought the octopus was downstairs!
ME: No, this sign says to go this way.  Look!  Here's the octopus!

MADELEINE: Awwww!  The cutie OCTOPUS!
JULIA: No, that's not what I meant!  I meant those octopus that are in that downstairs room that glow in the dark.
ME: Do you mean the jellyfish?
JULIA: Oh.  Yeah.  I mean the jellyfish.

So, unfortunately, we didn't get to see the octopus jellyfish, due to the fact that Julia, Madeleine and I had to depart from the city earlier than our friends in order to get Julia to her swim team practice.  While I managed to score a gourmet dinner of grilled cheese from Dunkin' Donuts for Julia, I still had to cook something up for Madeleine and I once we were home. I finished cooking with just a few minutes to spare before needing to shuttle Julia off to the pool, and I was literally shovelling heaping forkfuls of linguini into my mouth to try and get myself quickly fed, when Madeleine came up with the urgent question of the hour.

MADELEINE: Mama.  Which one do you want to WIN?  The pen or the pencil?
ME: Mmmmahmmmm. (stuffing a twisted fork full of pasta into my mouth)
MADELEINE: Mama.  Which one?
ME: Mmmmmahmmm.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  Which on do you want to WIN?
ME: Uh, I don't know.
MADELEINE: Look Mama. (holding out her hand, in which she was holding a mechanical pencil and a golden pen.)
ME: Uh...the pen.
ME: Mmmmmahmmm (resuming my inhalation of dinner)
MADELEINE: I want the PENCIL to win.
ME: Okay.
MADELEINE: Pencils are WAY better, because if you make a mistake, you can ERASE it!

Good thing Madeleine set me straight.  What good was getting out the door on time with food in my belly if I didn't know that pencils are better than pens?  I was rooting for the wrong writing instrument all this time.  Next Pencil vs Pen election cycle, I'll cast my vote for the pencil, instead.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Jesus Christ, Superstar

Greek Orthodox Easter is approaching, so Julia has been begging to listen to our CD of Jesus Christ Superstar.  I put it on during our car ride to church this morning, and Madeleine made an important realization.

JESUS: (singing) Why should you want to know?
MADELEINE: Mama?  I know this is not the real, actual Jesus, because the real Jesus would never act MEAN like that.

I'm pretty impressed that Madeleine figured out that it's not literally Jesus singing.  If she hadn't noticed the mean tone Ian Gillian was singing with, she might have continued on believing that Jesus and His Disciples themselves put out this album, 2016+ years ago.

So, to be clear:

Not Jesus, because he was singing something mean to His Disciples.

Jesus, who would never act mean.

Does that clear it up for the rest of you who thought you were listening to the Original Disciples Recording instead of the Original Cast Recording?  Yes?  Good.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Different Personalities, Explained By Pictures

A study of the wildly different personalities of my two daughters, as demonstrated by two recent drawings.

Julia's drawing:

The sun is shining, there is a happy, smiling blonde girl working the lemonade stand in her tank top and beach shoes, the table itself has a happy smiling sun on it.  Everything about this picture is bright and sunny and sweet.  You can get lemonade!  Normal lemonade, if you like, or pink!  You can even get ice cream, fro yo, a snow cone, or Italian Ice.  This is the kind of picture that just makes you feel happy about all the innocent pleasures in life.  Summer.  Sunshine.  The ocean.  Cool lemonade.  Smiling faces.

Madeleine's drawing:
A dragon attacking a buld eagl.

I think this picture speaks for itself.

Monday, April 11, 2016


On Saturday night, we Rowes went to a combo birthday/retirement party for a long-time member of the chorus we sing with, held at the church at which Ethan and I perform once a month as part of a vocal quartet.  Never mind that Madeleine has been to several of the aforementioned performances.  As we reached the entryway, she asked, "Daddy?  Have we ever BEEN here before?"

The kids had been on the fence about coming to this party.  We'd suggested going just for the last hour, so they could enjoy some cake and meet some of the members of our chorus, but could still spend most of the earlier part of their day playing at home.  Julia was suspicious of even this plan: "But is it going to be one of those BORING kinds of parties, or a fun one?"

Lucky for the girls, the party turned out to be a fun one.  Not only were there three different flavors of cake, but there was a DJ playing all sorts of music, and Madeleine was quick to start busting a move:

Julia was more self-conscious about dancing, but she finally came out of her shell when the song "YMCA" came on.  You see, Julia is kind of an expert at the moves to that song, having practiced them with her swim team-mates in order to dance along to the song at Districts.  In fact, Julia's dancing was so impressive that a random party-guest attempted to capture it on camera.

JULIA: Mom!  Some lady was trying to take a picture of me doing "YMCA," and she said, "Julia, I'm trying to take your picture because you're so AWESOME at the moves to this song, but the pictures keep coming out blurry!" And Mommy? How do you think she knew my name is Julia???

It's because you are SO amazing at the YMCA movements that you're famous.  Or because you're wearing a name tag.

At any rate, both girls were full of delight as we left the party.  

JULIA: Well, that was a real HOOTENANY!

Indeed it was.  I can't wait to watch my girls break out their moves next month at Auntie Caitlyn's wedding!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Julia's Poems

JULIA: Mommy, wanna read this book of poems I'm making??

When You Kissed ME Goodbye
By Julia Rowe

Oh, boy.

When You Kissed Me Goodbye
"When you kissed me goodbye, I felt a lot of things.  Sometimes I love you, and sometimes I hate you.  And sometimes, I'd really like to date you.  Sometimes I'm dreamy and sometimes I'm cleany.  Sometimes I'd like to move to Nebraska.  It was not love at first sight so I'll move to Nebraska if first I don't ask ya."

I can relate with the narrator of this poem.  Sometimes I'm cleany, too.

"Staple, staple, Morgan Maple.  Stapler, you are my friend.  I'll love you 'till the end.  Because you are so great.  Stapler, you are something no one can hate, HEY!  You hurt me!  A cut, can't you see!  Okay, Okay, I'll let it be."

Author's note: Morgan Maple is the name of a girl in the boy narrator's class, upon whom he has a crush.  Because that's relevant to the poem, right?  "Morgan Maple" is definitely not just thrown in there to rhyme with "staple."

Clemintine Asked ME OUT!

"Clemintine asked me out today.  Nancy McLay told me so, and I told her to tell Clemintine that I would go.  I ran to Nancy's house where Clemintine would be, but then I could plainly see, that Clemintine was a clemintine."

It kind of serves the narrator right, if he/she was willing to go out with Clemintine without, presumably, even knowing who Clemintine is.  I mean, if you're surprised that your blind date is a piece of fruit, perhaps you should have asked to see a picture of said date before agreeing to go out in the first place.  Or maybe that would seem like you're only in it for her looks, rather than just the assertion that she is, in fact, human, and not an orange.

And what the heck is with Julia and her sudden interest in kissing and dating? Yikes!!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Geography Discussion

Walking the girls to school this morning:

MADELEINE: Mama.  Okay.  What is on the other side of the Earth from us?
ME: You mean, like what countries?
JULIA: Like, Asia, and Australia...what about Africa?
ME: Africa is closer to where we live than Australia and Eastern Asia.
MADELEINE: Okay.  And Mama.  What is, like, RIGHT next to Massachusetts?
JULIA: Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut...
MADELEINE: No, but...I mean...what would you get to if you just went RIGHT next to Massachusetts?
ME: Well, if you went directly north, you'd get to either New Hampshire or Vermont.  If you went south, you'd get to Connecticut.  And if you went directly west, you'd get to New York.
JULIA: Yeah, but when we go to Connecticut, we go to the Western part, so we have to drive in a diagonal.  So if you went directly south, would you be in Rhode Island?
ME: Well, from here, yeah.  But from other parts of Massachusetts, you'd be in Eastern Connecticut.
MADELEINE: But I thought Yiayia always comes to OUR house for Easter!

Oh, boy.  Madeleine, with it, as always.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The United States Map, Again

In school today, Julia and her classmates were given U.S. posters on which they could label the 50 states and answer questions about the United States.  Even though they didn't get to finish their work at school, Julia made sure to complete her poster at home.  Not because it's due back at school or anything, because it isn't.  Just because it's the 50 states and the 50 states are Julia's THANG.

Now, doesn't this look grand?:

(Note: there were no colors on the map when Julia brought this home from school.  She took the initiative to color in each state to match the colors of the states on her beloved U.S. placemat, from which she memorized all 50 states and their capitals.  Just for fun.)

I think Julia put a stellar effort into this poster, although I'm a bit concerned about the state of the bald eagle.  He's looking a little encephalitic and limp:

And, finally, Julia got yet another chance to choose Arkansas as her top priority state, because doing a report about it for the State Fair just wasn't enough:

Choose a state you would like to visit, draw and color its shape, research what you could see or do there, and write about it.

"I would like to go to Arkansas.  Arkansas has lots of landforms.  Bill Clinton was born in Arkansas.  I would like to see his house."

Yes, that's right.  More than the Ozark Mountains or the Blanchard Springs Caverns or any number of other points of natural beauty in Arkansas, what Julia most wants to see there is Bill Clinton's childhood house.  Forget the White House!  Julia would rather travel to see THIS white house:

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sleepover Fun

Last night, Julia had a friend sleep over here at our house, complete with a pizza dinner, ice cream, and a viewing of "Ever After High." Madeleine was thrilled to be a part of the gang, even though she had to go to bed a good hour or so before the big kids.

Julia was less thrilled with Madeleine's joining in, although she did her best to tolerate things like Madeleine deciding to be a dragon instead of a Hogwart's student during a pretend-play game of "Harry Potter."

Julia's advice to her sister pretty much sums up what was tough about Madeleine's inclusion in the sleepover activities:

JULIA: I'll give you a tip.  If you want to play with people at a sleepover, then you shouldn't be going in their face, and, like, putting your FEET in their face when they're trying to watch something they've never seen before.  AND you shouldn't be pulling peoples' PANTS down.

Julia made it through most of the sleepover before "kicking" Madeleine out of the game around 9am today.

JULIA: Madeleine, now can we have a little time to play by ourselves?
MADELEINE: (bursting into hysterical tears and running to my embrace)

Despite the tears, Madeleine had a blast at Julia's sleepover.  In fact, the fun that Madeleine had experienced prompted yet more tears later in the day.  Ethan and I were sitting down to have some brunch and coffee when we heard sobbing coming from the play-room.  Madeleine, who had gone down to watch a show, was suddenly in full melt-down mode.  Ethan went and retrieved her and brought her upstairs to tell us about her problem.

ME: What's wrong, honey?
MADELEINE: (through tears) I wish we were still having the sleeeeep-oveeeeer!
ME: You had so much fun, huh?
MADELEINE: Yeeeeeeeah!  And...I can't even watch a shooooooow 'cause I'm toooo saaaaaaaaaaad!

Man.  Those are some really tough first-world problems.

Julia was sad about the fun ending as well, although she was able to entertain herself by galloping, doing her math homework, and reading about Greek gods.  Madeleine was finally able to move past her tears and got started on a brand new book.  I guess her sorrow helped fuel her artistic creativity more than ever, because this book looks like it's going to be her best yet:

I truly can't wait to find out what happens with May and the Atlantic orca!!  Stay tuned!