Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Julia Explains Metaphors

For those of you not on facebook (or for those of you who just want to read this twice), Julia shows off her poetical prowess:

MADELEINE: Daddy, Katy Perry is really bad at roaring. You know how she roars? She just goes, "ROAR." She doesn't even try to sound like an animal.
ETHAN: Well, I think she means it more in a metaphorical way.
MADELEINE: What's "metaphorical?"
JULIA: Wait, did Madeleine just ask what a metaphor is?
ETHAN: Yes. She-
JULIA: (barely containing her eagerness) Wait, can I answer???
ETHAN: Go ahead
JULIA: A metaphor is when you say that SOMETHING is SOMETHING.


ETHAN: Does that clear it up for you, Madeleine?

I think it's safe to say Madeleine totally understands what a metaphor is now.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Wedding photos

One of the kids decided to cooperate with the professional photographer for Auntie Caitlyn's wedding, and one of them decided to be a pain in the butt.  Can you guess which is which?:

Way to go, Madeleine.  Sorry, Auntie Caitlyn.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day Assembly

The kids commemorated Memorial Day at school with an assembly.

JULIA: Mommy?  At the assembly, they had these Veterans there, who were, like, family and friends of kids at the school, and they each got a Certificate of Appreciation, and when the Veterans smiled, I felt happy for them, because they must have seen a lot of horrible things.

Quite a perceptive and empathetic thought, Julia!

Madeleine shows her similar astute understanding of Memorial Day with this picture she made at school:

Stay Up so paople won't dye

Monday, May 23, 2016

Madeleine Sings Some More

When Madeleine is not singing "Five in a Bed," she is busy practicing for her upcoming Kindergarten Assembly:

Well, I have to say, she NAILED it.  She sounds just like Anna Kendrick, don't you think?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Five In a Bed, In Two Parts

When the girls decide to make a round out of a song that isn't intended as a round, and then sing at inconsistent tempos so they wind up more or less back in sync:

Thursday, May 19, 2016


The girls are both having play-dates at our house this afternoon, and while Madeleine has only one friend over, Julia has two.  One of the two is a very close friend who has been over countless times.  The other friend is coming over for the first time, and she was apparently shocked by the difference between At-School Julia and At-Home Julia.

NEW FRIEND: Julia, why do you act so different at your house than you do at school?
ME: Wait, Julia doesn't act like this at school?
ME: What does Julia act like at school?

I guess that means Julia doesn't loudly sing the Macarena with accompanying body motions despite Madeleine's shrieks of "STOP!  YOU'RE TOO LOUD!" like she did today with her friends.  She probably doesn't talk in an obnoxious faux Southern accent and berate her pupils as she did when she was playing Headmistress of her bedroom school today either.  And she definitely doesn't loudly talk over her authority figures when they're trying to talk to another adult like she did while I was having a conversation with her friend's mom this evening.  I'm glad I can send her places, even if she's Mr. Hyde sometimes at home.  And it makes for a fun reveal for new friends who come over and only know her as Dr. Jekyll at school.

Unlike with Madeleine, who openly picks her nose whether at school or home and thinks it's fine to breathe like a zombie from The Walking Dead in the middle of kindergarten just because she has post-nasal drip.  Madeleine is all about keepin' it real!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Julia's Latest Book Idea

After we went on "The Haunted Mansion" ride at Disney World, Julia was full of inspiration for a new writing endeavor.

JULIA: Mommy?  You know how at the end of the ride they say "A ghost will follow you home?"  Well, that gave me a great idea for a story I wanna write, where there's this family and the ghost actually follows them home and their house becomes haunted!

True to her word, Julia has plunged into the writing of this book, and although she's only into the second chapter, allow me to share with you what she's written so far.

Chapter 1
An Odd Something

My name is Marie Claire.  My full name is Marie Claire Glory Mafia.  My mother is Gloria and my father is Ferdinand.  I am 12 years of age.  I've got 4 sisters, 3 older, 1 younger.  There's Roselina, who's 18, Genivieve, who's 15, Sally, who's 13, and then there is Pattie, and she is 7.  I live in the big black house in Western Massachusetts that folks call Mafia Manor.  They say it's haunted.  I'm known by a lot of names.  Most people call me Marie Claire.  My mom calls me Claire, and my dad, Marie.  You, dear reader, may call me whatever you'd like.  But not exactly everything.


I gaze out the window.  Fields and oceans of big fluffy clouds stretch out before me, just miles and miles of white.  My family had gone to Disney World.  My favorite ride is The Haunted Mansion.  I know Pattie liked Thunder Mountain, and Sally liked Splash Mountain, Genivieve liked Space Mountain, and Roselina liked the 7 Dwarves Mine Train.  I must admit, all the "mountains" were pretty fun.  Our vacation is over now.  So we are taking a plane back home.  "Roselina?" Pattie asked.  "Yes, Pattie?" Roselina replied.  "Where are  we?"  Roselina played around with the TV on the back of her seat until a map popped up.  She answered, "We're flying over New York."  Pattie nodded.  5 minutes later Pattie asked Roselina the same question.  Should I have sat with Roselina and Genivieve instead?  Because Sally would talk about her cell phone, and Pattie always asks the same question every 2 minutes.  I opened my cookies that the flight attendants gave me and slurped up my apple juice.  "Marie Claire, will you play Crazy 8's with me?" Pattie asked. I guzzled the rest of my apple juice before saying, "Why not?"  "I'll play, too," offered Roselina.  Pattie pulled down her tray table and got out her Crazy 8 cards from her backpack.  I put down the first card.  Suddenly the plane started jerking around.  "Probably just rough air," Roselina told us.  But there wasn't any.  "Attention everyone," the pilot said through the intercom.  "Something or someone else seems to be driving the plane.  There are these gray hands moving the stearing yoke.  Now they switched it to Autopilot!"  Sally glanced over at us and Genivieve shreaked.  Pattie looked at me to Roselina and back again.  And as for me, I started playing Jaun's Magic Lab.

*****Okay, HOLD UP.  Let's break from the story a moment to discuss a few things.  First of all, don't you think it was kinda unprofessional of the pilot to announce the phantom takeover to the whole plane?  Why not try to regain control from "these gray hands" before alarming all the passengers?  (Or alarming ALMOST all of the passengers.  Marie Claire just rolled with it and started playing Jaun's Magic Lab, which I can only imagine is the "Juan's Magic Lab" touch-screen game that the Rowe family had as a complimentary "computer" game on the little personal airplane tv screens.)  Okay, back to the story.******

I plopped down on my bed.  We had returned home.  Sally came in and plopped down on her bed.  "Abbie, something really strange happaned on the plane.  But never mind that.  What do you think of Bruce Tug-"  "STOP IT, SALLY!" I screamed.  "Nobody cares about Bruce Tugwell!  This is my room, too, not just yours!  I was here first!  God talk in the living room!"  Sally looked surprised.  So did I.  I was even more surprised when Sally got up and left the room.  She never listens to anyone!  I could hear Genivieve crying through the wall.  She doesn't like it when people yell.  I don't blame her.  Right now, I just felt like curling up in bed and going to sleep.

******Another quick interjection: apparently all "these gray hands" did was fly the plane to the correct airport anyway, seeings as Marie Claire is back home as expected?  That's a bit anti-climactic, especially after the pilot went and SCARED (almost) everybody.******

Genivieve's MAKEOVER

I was sitting outside with my best friend, Talia.  Talia is tall with long, dark hair.  She reminds me of a vampire sometimes.  "Do you think a ghost was on the plane, Marie Claire?" Talia asked me when I told her about the plane ride.  "Tal, do you really still believe in ghosts?" I asked.  "The pilot was probably just joking around."  Talia nodded but looked doubtful.  "Maybe you were right."  Talia's blue eyes sparkled when I said this.  "Has anything strange been happening at your house?" Talia questioned me.  "Well, Sally actually listened, for once, but, that was a good strange, not a bad strange," I told her.  Talia looked thoughtful for a few moments, then said excitedly, "Jason's hair turned the color of cinnamon the other day!"  Jason is Talia's twin brother who has hair even darker than Talia's.  Now that was odd.  "He just woke up one morning, and then - poof!  His hair's a different color," continued Talia.  I said, "Sometimes people's hair just changes."  "From the sun," Talia reminded me.  I shrugged and Talia and I walked inside.  Genivieve came in 10 minutes after us.  She was wearing green fish-net legings, a black leather mini skirt, and a croc top with nothing underneath.  "Uh, Genivieve, have you looked in the mirror lately?" Roselina asked.  "Did your friend Trisha bribe you into this?" I said.  "Or did you decide on a new look?" asked Pattie.  Sally came downstairs.  "What are you wearing?" she said.  Genivieve looked confused.  She went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror.  Then she screamed.

****This is where the story leaves off, so we'll have to wait to see whether THE GHOST was responsible for Genivieve's new trampy look. 

A few comments...

-Probably the only thing MORE unprofessional than alerting the passengers to the phantom takeover would be a pilot who was just JOKING AROUND with his passengers and telling them there were these gray hands taking over the yoke.  Either way, Marie Claire is equally dismissive, I guess.
-Why would the ghost have anything to do with Talia's brother?  It hasn't moved into HER house, so why would it turn Jason's hair cinnamon?
-What is a "croc" top?  Is it made out of the same material as Crocs?  Or is it made from crocodile skin?  Maybe a crocodile skin top to go with the leather mini skirt?  Or does Julia not realize that a belly shirt is called a "CROP" top??

Well, the ghostly adventures of Marie Claire and the Mafia family are just beginning, but already I can't wait to find out what happens next!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Another wholesome, heart-warming book by Madeleine is in production.  Here are the first few illustrations:

ME: Madeleine, what's the shark drinking over there? (pointing to the soon-to-be-inebriated shark on the right.)
MADELEINE: Oh.  Mermaid juice!
ME: Uh-oh!

It doesn't sound like things are going to to turn out so well for Marigold.  Especially considering this comment:

MADELEINE: (pointing to the above picture) This one is called "Marigold the mermaid is going to become shark food."

Oh boy.  Let's see if page two gives us a glimpse of hope for Marigold:

Nope.  I think Marigold is on the fast track to being turned into mermaid juice.  Madeleine remains true to her gory spirit.  Good luck, Marigold.  I think you're gonna need it.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mother's Day picture

Madeleine made this picture for me as one of my Mother's Day gifts:

our family will never end!

Not even when we're a bunch of bodiless floating heads.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bubble Day and Extra Fun!

Madeleine's Kindergarten Alphabet Countdown continued yesterday, with B(ubble) Day:

Madeleine was thrilled to receive a brand new bottle of bubbles from her kindergarten teacher.  But that's not all she was thrilled about.  Sounds like it was a school day FULL of fun.

MADELEINE: (upon being dismissed from school) Mama!  Can I tell you ALL the exciting things?
ME: Sure!
MADELEINE: Okay.  So.  We watched "The Lion King," it was Bubble Day, it was PIZZA day at lunch, we had P.E., AND we had a guest teacher at P.E. because our usual teacher had her BABY!!
ME: Woah!  That sounds super fun!  Do you want to tell Julia about all the exciting things?
MADELEINE: Mmm, Mama, YOU tell her, because there were just SO many exciting things, I don't feel like saying them all again.

After watching "The Lion King," Madeleine's class filled out a worksheet about predators, as they have been learning about the animals of the African savannah.

Madeleine got to draw a picture of her favorite predator from Africa and fill in some blanks:

Write the three predators that we learned about below.

1.cheetah  2.loin  3.hiyena

Apparently Madeleine's favorite predator is the hiyeana, at least according to her drawing.  I'm surprised it's not the loin, especially seeing as she LOVES the movie "The Loin King," and was delighted about sleeping in her Simba bed in our Loin King suite last week. I wonder how much MORE excited she would have been to sleep in a hiyeana bed?!?

Today we are on to C(razy Hair Day) and Madeleine got to wear a bunch of pigtails to school:

It's kind of an extra crazy spin on her favorite hairstyle, which she calls "bunny ears" (two high pigtails at the top of her head.)  Maybe in honor of her new favorite animal, she can call this four-pigtailed hairstyle "hiyeana ears."

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Stuffed Animal Day

Cutie-Wootie made a special appearance in Madeleine's kindergarten class today!  Now begins the A-Z countdown until the end of school, with each day of school revolving around a theme based on a letter of the alphabet.

Today was A(nimal) Day and the kids got to bring in a stuffed animal from home.  Madeleine's animal was, of course, her new Pygmy Puff!

Madeleine and Cutie-Wootie

She even got to fill out a worksheet all about Cutie-Wootie:

My stuffed animal's name is cuouty-wouty

I like to play Hary-poter with my stuffed animal.

My stuffed animal is special because she is from the spcil Hary world.

So not only did Madeleine get the attention of the whole store at Universal Studios as she adopted Cutie-Wootie, but she got to introduce Cutie-Wootie to her whole kindergarten class.  This Pygmy Puff is going to be world-famous!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Florida, Day 4

Today is our last full day of vacation, and we spent our time at Universal Studios, where we got to explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It was a dream come true for the girls!

Highlights of the day:

-JULIA: Being here makes me want to watch Harry Potter again.  And think about how GREAT it is.

-Madeleine bought a Pygmy Puff, and the entire store was brought to a hush during her naming ceremony.  It was then announced to the entire store that Madeleine had adopted a Pygmy Puff, and named it Cutie- Wootie.

-After we rode the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade, Madeleine exclaimed, "I've never been to Hogsmeade before!!"

-After riding the upside-down roller coaster, Julia was all excited to ride the Dr. Seuss carousel in Seuss Landing.  I guess a ride is a rude, no matter how simple.

-Madeleine, after using one of Universal's automated flush toilets, cried, "Mama!  Even the toilets are magical!!"

It has been a blast, readers!  We are all milking our last night of vacation fun before we head back to reality!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Florida, Day 3

Today we kept things low-key and hung out at our hotel.  We visited the arcade to start:

Afterwards, we strolled along the lakeside path around the hotel grounds.  We got to see Pumbaa and Timon up close and personal:

On previous days, we had seen them only through the window of our hotel halls.  Or, if you're Madeleine, you didn't actually see them.

ME: Girls, look out the window!

JULIA: (gasping in delight)
MADELEINE: What?  The palm tree??

We spent a few hours this afternoon at the hotel pool:

After our swimming adventures, we had some down time back in our hotel room before heading back to the pool area for dinner.  While we sat eating, Madeleine opined on a wonderful day.

MADELEINE: I wish every day could be like today.
ME: What do you mean?  Because it was so relaxing?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Today was the most relaxing day of my LIFE.

Madeleine also took the time, during dinner, to inform her family of her favorite words.

MADELEINE: Julia is one of my favorite words!  My favorite words are "Julia," "Yay," "Ethan," and "Courtney."

I wonder what "yay" did to rank up there with the names of Madeleine's beloved Rowe household members.

As bedtime draws near, the girls are busy putting on a fashion show for Ethan, which is exactly the right way to cap off a relaxing day.  Good night from Florida!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Florida, Day 2

Day 2 in Orlando!  Here are some highlights:

-As we stood in line to board the cars on The Haunted Mansion ride, the attendant repeatedly sang, Gregorian Chant Requiem-style: "Watch your step.  Please want your step".
MADELEINE: Mmm.  Some nice Greek music!

-When we were in the boat at the start of the It's A Small World ride, I pointed and gestured repeatedly at what I thought was a mechanically operated puppet man:
ME: Girls, girls, look!  That guy is wiping his nose!  Look!  Look up there!   Wait.  (Watching him switch to waving.). Is he real?
ETHAN: Yeah, he's real.  That's the attendant.

-During the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Madeleine shouted out to the Johnny Depp puppet, "Hi, Captain Jack Sparrow!  You're my favorite!!"

-During lunch in Fronteirland, Julia became sentimental over the Western fiddle music playing over the loudspeakers.
JULIA: Mommy?  This music is making me feel sad that we have to leave Monday, like I wish we could just STAY here in Florida!

-Upon leaving the Magic Kingdom this evening, Madeleine announced that so far, the first day was her favorite, but not all the plane parts, just the part where she discovered her Lion King bed.  Yes, that's right, despite the long, boring hours of traveling, day 1 is her face, because the bed trumps 2 days at Magic Kingdom.

Pictures of our day:

Thursday, May 5, 2016


The Rowe family is down south in Orlando, Florida for a family vacation!

Some highlights from our trip so far:

-Upon hearing an announcement in Spanish at the Orlando airport, Madeleine asked, "Mama?  What language do they speak in Florida?"

-Last night, while eating her gelato dessert, Madeleine dribbled some on the table, then started licking it up off the table.  Yes.  She seriously committed that act of grossness.

-Julia was freaking out about trying to drink her kids' milk from the carton without a straw this morning at breakfast, so while she went inside to search for a straw, a bird flew over to our outdoor dining table and ate Julia's scrambled eggs.

-Madeleine realized, after breakfast, that she had forgotten to brush her teeth this morning, because she was too busy "being excited."

-During our ride on Thunder Mountain, Madeleine gleefully exclaimed, "This is AWESOME!  They made this ride SO AWESOME!!

-Julia was jealous that I bought Madeleine sunglasses, even though Madeleine had forgotten to pack her sunglasses for the trip.  To compensate, I bought Julia Minnie Mouse ears.  Then Madeleine left her sunglasses on Space Mountain so she yet again has no sunglasses, while Julia has sunglasses AND Minnie ears.

-Madeleine did a ginormous burp while we were in line for Splash Mountain, and spewed regurgitated chunks of food all over her arm.  As if licking the table wasn't gross enough.

All joking aside, the girls are having a ball.  Some picture highlights:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Madeleine's Latest Artwork

This picture is not creepy at all:

Neither is this one:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Little Donkey, Close Your Eyes

Last week at Media, Madeleine took out a book called "Little Donkey, Close  Your Eyes," or, as she called it, "Close Your Eyes, Donkey."  She was SO excited about this book for some reason.  From the moment she was dismissed from school she was talking about it.

MADELEINE: Mama!  Just WAIT 'til you see what book I have in my backpack from media!!
ME: (peeking into her bag) Ooooh!
MADELEINE: It's called "Close Your Eyes, Donkey."
ME: It looks great!
MADELEINE: It is.  It's SO great.

Since Media is on Thursdays, I usually get to hear Madeleine read her newest book to me at bedtime, but this past Thursday was an unusual one.  On what is normally a free evening, Ethan and I had a make-up rehearsal with our vocal quartet, so Aunties Shannon and Caitlyn were in charge of bedtime.  The girls were in bed but still awake when Ethan and I returned home, so I went in to both their rooms to say good-night. 

MADELEINE: (reaching out her arm to me and making a sad face)
ME: Good night, honey, I love you.
MADELEINE: (whimpering)
ME: What's the matter?  Were you missing me?
MADELEINE: (pathetically) "Close Your Eyyyyes, Donkey"
ME: You wanted to read it to me?
MADELEINE: (nodding with her lip curled down)
ME: How about tomorrow night?
MADELEINE: (dolorously) Oookaaay.

Tomorrow "night" turned out to be 6am the following morning.  Madeleine joined me in bed and read the book to me.  And by read, I mean sang, since she apparently decided the book's text needs to be set to melody.  I have been such a fan of her musical setting of this book that I asked her to re-sing it to me this evening so that I could capture it on video. 

Here it is, the premiere recording of "Close Your Eyes Donkey"  "Little Donkey, Close Your Eyes":

What a sweet little lullaby.  It definitely gets me ready to close MY eyes!  (Especially when sung to me at 6 in the morning...)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Greek Easter

It's Greek Orthodox Easter!

The girls were up shortly after 6am begging to begin their household search for their hidden Easter baskets.

I had taken great pains to hide Julia's basket in a sneaky spot, inside the play-room fireplace behind the piles of cardboard box houses/schools that the girls kept stacked there.  Unfortunately, Madeleine spied the basket first.

MADELEINE: (inching closer and closer to the fireplace)
ME: Madeleine.  Come here.  Madeleine.  Come here.
MADELEINE: Oh! I found Julia's!!

Way to be subtle, Madeleine.

I then directed Madeleine into the downstairs bathroom.

ME: Madeleine, you'll find yours somewhere in the bathroom here, so look around carefully.
MADELEINE: Okay! (turning back to look at me) Uh, Mama, I hope you didn't put it in the TOILET.

Rats.  She figured me out.  The toilet is exactly the kind of place I would hide an Easter basket.

Once the girls had both found their baskets, they settled in on the rug to peruse their loot:

Both kids were excited to get new books, especially since they'll be missing media at school this week while we go on a Disney vacation.

ME: See, Julia, I told you that you'd get some books for Easter that you can take on our Florida trip.
JULIA: But wait, Mom.  I don't get it.  Does one of the books take place in Florida or something?
ME: I don't think so.  Why?
JULIA: Because you told me you guaranteed that I'd get a book to bring to Florida in my Easter basket.

Apparently that means the book must be Florida-themed, right?  Not just that she would be getting some new books that she could look forward to reading?

I then explained why I had bought them new Barbie dolls, as well, despite the multitude of Barbies we already own.

ME: I also thought you could bring your Barbies on the trip to play with.
JULIA: We're gonna bring ALL our Barbies?  How are we gonna fit them?

Sheesh, kids.  For two pretty smart girls, they can certainly take awhile to clue into the program.  Good thing Madeleine found her Easter basket in the toilet, Julia got her Florida-themed book, and the girls know they need to pack the entire Barbie houseful of dolls for our upcoming trip.

Happy Easter to all Orthodox celebrants!