Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Gifts and School!

In celebration of my birthday, I was treated to all kinds of home-made gifts this morning. 

Julia wrote me a poem:

A School Playground in the summer

You do not see
kids playing 4 square
or hopscotch.
You do not see them swinging on a wing,
or sliding down a slide.
You do not see kids on the spinny
monkey bars or sitting
atop the regular ones.
You do not see this
once school is done.
You don't see children
playing sports, or slimbing
what they climbe.
An empty school playground
in the summer
can feel lonely inside.

That's a real uplifting sort of poem.

Julia also drew me a book of lovely pastel pictures and wrote the following message on the back:

I love you, Mommy! Happy Halloween Birthday!

I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm with you My mommy you'll be.

I think this is the second year in a row that Julia accidentally wished me a happy Halloween instead of birthday.  I can tell what holiday she's getting excited for...

Finally, Julia made me this handy-dandy hair clip, because we all want to attach things to our head with a paper clip, right?:

Madeleine cried because she only had one gift for me and she FORGOT to make me anything else.  Luckily it was a SUPER AWESOME gift because it's a picture of a unicorn and a "cool connector":

The Unicorn's tail spells "Mommy."

ME: Thank you, honey!
MADELEINE: Do ya love it?
ME: I do love it.
MADELEINE: Do ya lyve it?
ME: I love it.
MADELEINE: But do ya LYVE it?
ME: Uh...I think I love it.
MADELEINE: Mommy.  "Lyve" is when you love it but you LIKE it too.
ME: Oh.  Okay.  Yes.  I lyve it.

Thank you, my sweet girls.

Now, today is not only my birthday, but it's the first day of school!  4th and 1st grades: hard to believe!

I walked the girls to school and dropped Julia on the playground, where the 4th graders were to gather.  Then I brought Madeleine in to the performance center to find her 1st grade class and teachers.  All went smoothly until the class lined up to walk to their classroom, and Madeleine suddenly decided it was a tragedy that she was carrying her bag of media books to return and didn't know what she was supposed to do with them.  Holding the bag towards me and looking at me with watery eyes and a quivering lip, she slowly followed the line out the performance center door.

ME: Ask your teacher when you get to your classroom.
MADELEINE: (imploringly holding the bag towards me, eyes filling)
ME: Ask your teacher.
MADELEINE: (lip quivering, holding the bag out)

I'm glad she cried on the first day.  Things are off to a good start.  Luckily, I flagged down her teacher and alerted her to the problem, and the teacher was able to reassure Madeleine that they would return the books to the media center once they had settled into class.

I then headed back outside to say good-bye to Julia, just in time to see her 4th grade teacher tell the line of kids it was time to go in.  I then watched the line of 4th graders start walking off in the opposite direction, towards the nearest door, despite the teacher calling out, "This way, guys.  Face me.  This way."  Did anybody turn around?  Nope.  Like sheep, they all continued doddering along in the direction that the line leader was going.  I had to run over and wrangle kids back in the correct direction and the teacher jokingly asked me, "You'll be here all day, right?" 

Speaking of a good start.  Sheesh.  Let's hope the kids' brains turn back on once they shake off the rust from the summer months!  

Monday, August 29, 2016


Who on earth would have ever thought that little plastic figurines of things like laundry detergent, a coffee maker, a high heeled shoe or a turnip would entertain children for hours on end?  I mean, clearly the inventor of Shopkins did, but I would never have predicted these toys to be anything more than a waste of money.  While I still think they are utterly ridiculous, I am completely blown away by how much time the girls spend actually playing with them. 

Today, Madeleine decided to organize her Shopkins alphabetically by either their given names, or the names with which Madeleine replaced their given names (yes, Shopkins all do really come with names, like "Bonnie Beret," for example.)

Not only did this occupy her, but she was literally learning about phonics while doing it.  "Uh, Julia, what letter does 'Oily Oil' begin with?"

I guess doing something as boring as putting things in alphabetical order can be fun when you have little plastic blenders and bulbs of garlic involved.

Julia organized her Shopkins by category, as well, although not by letter.  Instead, she organized them by color, and to top it all off, she created a whole song about it:

Look at all of this!  Shopkins are not only teaching Madeleine phonetic awareness, but they're inspiring Julia to compose and sing music.  Is there anything Shopkins *can't* motivate children to do??

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Morning Board Game

Because there's no better place to play a game of "Guess Who?" than in a cardboard box:

Friday, August 26, 2016

More Excuses

Well, Julia has outdone herself in her excuses for coming into our bedroom this evening.  Among the new reasons were:

-She heard a sound that didn't really sound like a mouse but she's scared it might be a mouse.

-She wanted a hug.

-She proclaimed she was going to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's room.

-Her arms were TOO hot under her blanket.

Those are serious problems.  I can understand why she needs to update us.

Meanwhile, Madeleine spilled her cup of water all over her own side of the bed, and had to sleep on the opposite side of the bed, and announced, through sobs, that "this is the WORST NIGHT EVER."

Yeah.  Our kids have it tough.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

More Decorations

Even though she scared her *own* self with her play room Haunted House decorations, Madeleine decided to face her fears and add more creepy drawings to the walls.

Among the newest additions:

This is labeled "My grandma."  What do you think, Yiayia and Nana?  Does it resemble either of you?  The vacant eyes, the blue lips and the Medusa hair are especially flattering, don't  you agree?? 

"Welcome!  Welcome all monsters you are free to eat anyone!  P.S. You are so yummy!"

Well, that's a cheery greeting if there ever was one!  But I'm confused.  If this is addressed to the monsters, is Madeleine telling them that they're yummy?  Or did the monsters add the post-script to tell us humans that we're yummy?  Either way, I don't know how I feel about Madeleine just openly sacrificing her human family members to the monsters she's inviting over.

And then we have this friendly demon.  Who looks as if he has a checkered phallus growing out of the side of his face.

As if this artwork weren't enough, Madeleine *also* designed the cover page for a new book she intends to write.  It looks like a good one:

Harry Potter and the seacritly realatid childe

Oh, boy!  I cannot WAIT to find out who Harry Potter is seacritly realatid to!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Watching TV, Getting Cozy

Just hangin' out, watching "Littlest Pet Shop," holding a broom.

I totally get it.  There's nothing quite so soft, cozy, and comforting as a long-handled broom, right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Swim Banquet

Last night's swim team banquet was a blast for the girls.  Not only did they have cake and ice cream, but they got to watch a slide show with photos and videos from the past season.

While Madeleine was smiling politely in at least one or two photos, most of the many shots of her were variations of goofball:

This kid knows how to represent her team with utmost dignity, for sure.

Each swimmer on the team received a unique award, and Julia's was a showcase of all the hard work she put in over the season: the 9-10 Girls' Coaches Award.  Madeleine's award was a whole different level of unique: the "Swim Like a Cheetah" Award.  Apparently, thanks to Madeleine, "Swim Like a Cheetah" had become the official motto for the 8-and-under kids on the team.  On the first day of practice, each age group was asked to come up with a team motto.  The 8-and-unders were struggling to come up with something until Madeleine hit it out of the park with her idea. 

Now, how, exactly, does a cheetah swim, and why should kids be emulating a land animal while in the water?  Madeleine clarified, as her coach pointed out last night: "Like, swim as FAST as a cheetah can RUN."  Got it?  Swim like a cheetah!  Team motto search solved!

Here are the girls displaying their awards:

You'll see they also received, as a team gift, swim team tank tops.  In addition, the top 6 finishers in each age group event at championships received a medal, and the top 12 finishers received ribbons.  Madeleine is SUPER excited about her 3rd place medal in backstroke, especially since she felt it wholly unfair that Julia received 3 medals last summer, despite the fact that Madeleine wasn't even on the team at that point and was, therefore, ineligible for any medals.  Julia received ribbons for her 7th place finish in breast stroke and in her freestyle relay, and a 9th place ribbon for butterfly.  Despite not getting a medal, Julia is (grudgingly) proud of her placings, seeing as she was one of the few 9-year-olds to place in the top 12 of the girls' 9-10 age group. (Plus, she still has 3 medals to Madeleine's 1, so the sibling rivalry is kept at bay.)

However, you can see that Madeleine is not rubbing in her medal AT ALL.  Here's her outfit today:

Congrats, Rowe girls, on a great (and goofy) season!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A List

A list of some of the possible reasons Julia might need to get out of bed at night and come into our room.

1.) To tell us her air conditioner is making a weird noise.
2.) To tell us her air conditioner is still making a weird noise.
3.) To tell us her air conditioner WAS making a weird noise, but now it stopped.
4.) To tell us she thought she heard something, but she's not sure what.
5.) To tell us she needs to pee.
6.) To tell us she just went to the bathroom to go pee.
7.) To tell us she can't fall asleep.
8.) To tell us she's afraid she won't ever fall asleep.
9.) To ask us when the pool closes for the summer.
10.) To tell us she can't decide if she'd rather go to the aquarium or to the pool on the last weekend that the pool is open for the summer..
11.) To ask us what if there's a thunderstorm and lightning strikes our house.
12.) To ask us what if there's a thunderstorm and lightning strikes our solar panels.
13.) To ask us what if there's a thunderstorm and lightning strikes her air conditioner.
14.) To ask us what if there's a thunderstorm and lightning hits a tree and the forest catches on fire.
15.) To ask us what if there's a thunderstorm and lightning hits a tree and the tree falls on our house.
16.) To tell us what page she's on in the book she was reading before bed.
17.) To tell us she WAS feeling sleepy, but then she STOPPED feeling sleepy.
18.) To tell us she WAS asleep, but then she woke up.

This is just a sampling.  I'm sure Julia will continue to come up with ever more creative reasons for needing to stop by during the night.  I mean, there's always the chance that she WAS feeling sleepy and her air conditioner WAS making a weird noise, but then it STOPPED making the noise and she STOPPED feeling sleepy, right?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Bunnies

We were sitting out on our back deck having dinner this evening when one of the bunnies who frequent our yard came hopping out of the woods.  As you may have read in previous posts, the girls are very attached to our bunny visitors and have even given them names. 

JULIA: Look!  It's Lily!
ME: Lily??
JULIA: Yeah!  Right there!
MADELEINE: Oh, yeah!  See!
ME: No, I know, but there's a Lily now?  I thought the bunnies were Leila and Lola.
JULIA: They are!  We have Leila, Lola, Lily, and April!

I mean, I remember April, because Julia and Madeleine fought over whether the newest bunny should be named April or Fluff-Fluff.  But I didn't realize we have a Lily as well.  Also, with names Like Leila, Lola, and Lily, why on earth were the girls arguing between April and Fluff-Fluff for Bunny #4?  Shouldn't they have gone with Lulu??

And on another note, how the heck can they tell which bunny is which?  They all look exactly the same to me.

Anyway, I am apparently less tolerant of the bunny in the yard than the girls are.

ME: Oh, great, it's eating our plants.
JULIA: (looking at me reproachfully) Mommy, would you want it to STARVE?
ME: I'm not saying it has to starve, but it doesn't need to eat our plants.
JULIA: But it needs dinner.
ME: Fine, it can eat any weeds it wants, I don't care, but it's eating from our garden.
MADELEINE: Come ON, Mommy. those are just the plants by the WOODS.  It's not going in the front garden.
JULIA: Well, sometimes I see the bunnies go into the front garden.
ME: Yeah, I know they go in there, because I see bite marks on our plants.  And I'm not happy about it.  Maybe we have to make our yard a bunny-free zone.
MADELEINE: (looking at me in alarm, face falling)
JULIA: (lowering her gaze) That's MEAN.
MADELEINE: (face brightening) Maybe we can make them their OWN area!

Oh, boy.  The bunnies already have names and eat our plants.  We're getting closer by the day to adopting them as true Rowe household pets, if the kids have anything to say about it!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Spooky Playroom

Yesterday afternoon, Julia had a play-date at a friend's house, so Madeleine was home without her play-mate.  Naturally, she decided to turn the play room into a haunted house of sorts to scare Julia when she came home.

How did she go about this spook fest?  Well, by hanging menacing signs, of course:

"Stop!  Before you use this T.V. at all I have to tell you that Julia is fufu!  P.S. I'm gona eat you!"

I don't know what's scarier: the drawing of the Medusa head or the disclosure that Julia is fufu.

"Your family is ded!!!!!!!!!!"

Yikes.  We are??

"You are ded to the core."

Eek.  Complete with a bloody bone oozing out a shadow demon.

"The evel house."

I wonder if the evel house, formerly known as the Barbie house, is the site for a re-enactment of 1987's horror film "Dolls."

At any rate, while Julia merely scoffed at Madeleine's spooky play-room makeover, Madeleine somehow managed to scare *herself* with her prophetic signage.  No longer able to stay in the play-room by herself, she came scampering upstairs to seek my company, and was too nervous to even sit at the dining room table to drink a juice box.

MADELEINE: Mommy, can you come sit with me at the table?
ME: I'm right here on the couch, honey.  You don't need to worry.
MADELEINE: But...I can't see you from here.
ME: That's okay.  I'm still nearby.
MADELEINE: But I'm scared.
ME: What are you scared of?
MADELEINE: The signs.
ME: What signs?  You wrote them.  What are you scared of?
MADELEINE: "Your family is ded."
ME: So, what, you're afraid that if you can't see me it means I'm dead?
MADELEINE: I'm afraid that when I come back to the couch, you'll be gone, and there will just be a BONE.

Thankfully, I didn't disappear from the couch and turn into a bone, nor did anybody else from our family.  However, I think it's safe to say Madeleine's plan to scare Julia backfired on her pretty spectacularly.  Lesson learned: don't dish it out if you can't take it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Few New Madeleine Drawings

Madeleine is back at it, drawing pictures of Olympic events.  Here's a stunning beam routine in effect:

Now, I'm afraid this gymnast may be accused of performance-enhancing powers.  Not that she's doping or anything, but that basket of wands to the left of the page might give her an unfair advantage.  I don't think you're allowed to use magic in your Olympic events, no matter how much it may help you out.

Speaking of magic, Madeleine also drew this picture of a bunch of fairies and a hulking giant.  For those of you worried she's gotten too soft of late with her Olympic champion pictures, I can assure you this drawing is full of peril, impending doom, and creepy facial expressions:

I think these poor fairies need an extra basket full of wands more than the balance beam performer does.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

MORE Gymnastics

The girls discovered that the floor makes a much safer balance beam than the edge of Mommy and Daddy's bed.  While watching Olympic Gymnastics this afternoon, both girls put on a remarkable beam routine.

Julia was up first, putting in a solid performance for Team Rowe Household:

Next was Madeleine.  First of all, I think all gymnastics teams should adopt Madeleine's uniform.  Forget the sparkly, skin-tight leotards.  A flowing red skirt with loose pink tie-dyed shirt is the new rage.  Secondly, you gotta commend Madeleine's full-energy flailing as she goes about her beam routine.  GO BIG OR GO HOME!:

While Madeleine waited her turn for the event, she did what every gymnast does to warm up: got out her trusty broom.  Here she is in the background as Julia finishes her routine:

And here she is, stretching her gymnast's arms out as she sweeps the ceiling:

Really, who needs a coach when you have a good, old-fashioned, handy-dandy broom by your side?  Team Rowe Household for the win!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Watching the Olympics

This is what watching the Olympics with Madeleine is like:

Plus a lot of thudding around as she repeatedly dismounts off my bed onto the bedroom floor.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Olympics in Art Form

Madeleine has been so inspired by the Olympics that she started drawing pictures of her favorite events. 

Here's her depiction of a swimming final:

Who is this swimmer with the superhuman sized arm, about to break the World Record?  Why, it's Katie Ledecky, of course, but I'm sure you were able to tell simply by looking at this drawing. 

Madeleine explains a bit more of the goings-on that we can't see in this picture, because Katie Ledecky is just TOO DARN FAR AHEAD of the other swimmers for them to even appear in the frame:

Another picture Madeleine drew is of the men's gymnastics high bar routine:

WOWSERS!  Who is this man who is so ginormous that he PRACTICALLY TOUCHES THE GROUND WHILE HANGING FROM THE HIGH BAR???  From what I remember, male gymnasts are usually pretty short.  This one is a Goliath!  I can't wait to find out who this superstar is!

Uh...turns out, Madeleine isn't so sure who he is either:

Man, would I like to be in that crowd of pastel-haired audience members watching this gargantuan gymnast execute his high bar routine.  That would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, for sure.  I guess seeing the picture is the next best thing, so I appreciate Madeleine's artistic depiction!

Monday, August 8, 2016


Madeleine wrote a book of poem's and I am totally digging her Dr. Seussian nonsense rhymes:

Poem's by Madeleine Rowe

A Song of a Tale

A song of a tale but she miht fail.  Go on a sled said her mother.  Remember to bail sugestid her father.  No she said.  I will sing a song of a tale.  A bing a bong a bing.  A bing a bong a bing.  He said her father was geting a ring.  bong! went the chinis gong.

Waht a butifull rose

Oh just look at that rose said the lady.  Waht a butifull rose, the man cumfurd.  But look at my tose! said the girl with the flip flop's.  Huh!  Ther are thousids of show's said the boy.  Waht do you think is they best sky. They all said together...well, the tose the show's and the rose they there just all of them the best sky said evreawon.  Gasp.  Waht a butifull rose.

Yummy ice cream

sky had a bludy nose.  It made her vois sound weird.

Ice cream pleas.  Slice cream pleas.  Mm nice cream twice cream pleas.  Wow!  Twice cream!  Oh, and ice cream.

BRAVO, Madeleine.  I particularly like how the middle poem continues into the final poem.  Here we are, about to read about ice cream, and BAM! the poem tricks us by starting off with the final rhyme of the rose poem.  How very "Finnegan's Wake" of Madeleine to use this literary structure.  Secondly, I applaud this book of poems for addressing the hot-button issue of what kind of sky is the best kind of sky.  It's a question no one seems to pose, and it's such an important thing to think about.  I am so in agreement that the tose, the show's and the rose are the best kind of sky.  What about you?  What do you think is the best kind of sky?  Definitely NOT the kind with the bludy nose, whose voice sounds weird, right?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Madeleine Shoots for the Stars

After watching men's Olympic gymnastics today, Madeleine couldn't control her inner gymnast and had to enact her own Olympic show on Yiayia's mini trampoline:

Not surprising, seeing as this is the kid who needs to don a dress-up leotard and copy every move she sees on "McKenna Shoots for the Stars!: An American Girl Movie."

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Monster Mask!

Madeleine made this super scary monster mask.  Can you even tell it's her underneath??:

I don't know what's scarier: the mask itself, or the fact that my klutzo daughter is walking around the house wearing a mask with no eye-holes.  Either way, I think it's time for her to make her own Halloween costume for this upcoming year!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Chapter 1 from Julia's newest book, Cassia

(Dedication: For my cousins)

Chapter 1: "Disaster At the Dinner Party"

"My name is Cassia L'Quin.  I am 12 years old, and live in a little cottage in the heart of the woods.  I have an older sister named Hazel, who is 15.  I am a small, scrawny girl who looks about 10.  I have caramel colored hair, freckles, violet eyes, and long lashes.  When people come to visit, they stare at Hazel, while only merely glance at me.  Although, Hazel is not the smartest.  Ask her a question and she'll just stare at you blankly.  Although we were home schooled, Hazel never took her studies seriously, as I did.  What a shame.

Papa sat in the arm chair, reading the daily news, while Hazel gazed in the mirror at her new silk frock.  I sat on the couch, accompanying Mama with her sewing.  I gazed out the window, looking at the wintry twilight, snow softly falling outside.  'I don't find I look rather appealing in this dress,'  Now, Hazel had been yammering on about her new dress all day, so I was rather annoyed at this point.  'No, you don't  And you never will.'  I retorted.  Hazel glared at me.  I glared back.  For no reason.  Then I gathered my things and went upstairs to my room.  My room is very cozy.  It has a cozy bed and fireplace, with a bureau and a book shelf, and a closet for my frocks.  Just then, Mama rapped on the door.  'Cassia, get ready for Cousin Ava and Cousin Avianna's dinner party.'  I had forgotten all about it.  'Okay!' I called.  I took my best calico dress out of the closet and put it on.  Papa couldn't afford a silk dress for me, too.  Hazel always gets everything.  Have enough for a new sun hat or bonnet, Hazel gets it.  I went downstairs and fixed my hair until I looked presentable.  Hazel did the same.  She looked beautiful.  Her strawberry blonde hair tumbled down her back.  'The wagon's in the front.  Is everyone ready?' Papa asked.  'Yes!  I guess we are as ready as we could ever be,' Hazel told Papa reluctantly.  We walked outside and climbed into the wagon, Papa driving, Hazel and I inside, Mama at the rear.  'Do you think I look good enough?' Hazel inquired as we started the long drive into town.  'If you didn't look good,' I began, 'then someone would have told you that you look dreadful.'  Hazel looked pleased with that remark.  Finally, we arrived.  Our cousins Ava and Avianna are beautiful creatures with shiny black hair, big, round, blue eyes and pale skin, their hair, like every girl in our family, is curly and tumbled down their backs.  Ava and Avianna are twins of 13, and, frankly, are quite rich.  'Cassia!  Hazel!' Ava cried.  'Hi Ava!  Hi Avianna!' I said.  'Come in!  Come in!  There's food and drinks and everything,' Avianna told us.  We stepped inside.  Mama went off to go find Auntie Amina.  I went over to the food table when someone tapped me on the shoulder.  I turned around to see 7-year-old cousin Amanda and 5-year-old cousin Alisyn.  They are Ava and Avianna's younger sisters.  'I like your dress, Cassia.  It's more lovely than mine,' Alisyn complimented me.  'Thanks, Alley!  I love your dress,' I replied.  Amanda and Alisyn smiled and walked away. I decided to go say hello to Auntie Amina.  My search was easy enough. I walked right into her.  'Cassia!  Darling! How good to see you!' she exclaimed.  'It is so good to see you too, Auntie dear,' I replied with grace, just as my aunt.  Auntie Amina, Amanda, and Alisyn all have fiery red hair that simply sparkles in the sun.  'What a beautiful dress, Auntie!' I remarked.  'Why thank you, Cassia dear,' Auntie Amina said.  'Now, I've got to find your Uncle Andrew.  He went to the outhouse ages ago and never came back!'  As I walked away, one of the Newman's (my uncle's last name) servants came in, carrying a large tray of an assortment of appetizers.  I could not look, as Alisyn ran straight into the servent girl, in attempt to get away from Avianna.  The tray flew up into the air and all of the appetizers with it.  Avianna, Uncle Andrew (finally found), Amanda, Alisyn, Hazel, Mama and Papa, the other guests, and I all slipped under tables.  Ava and Auntie Amina weren't so lucky.  Food landed all over them.  I heard Ava cry out, 'Oh, what a disaster!'

If you're intrigued, readers, contact the author for a sneak peek at chapter two!
Also, if I'd had twins instead of just Julia, I definitely would have named them Julia and Julianna.