Monday, October 31, 2016


Happy Halloween!

Madeleine decided that she was not, in fact, dressed as Aly Raisman, but was instead the US Olympic Gymnast named Madeleine Emilia Rowe.  She even put on a performance for us, much to Greek Goddess Athena's amusement:

Hope you and yours all enjoyed your Halloween, however you spent it!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cardboard Houses Take Over the Basement

I think the girls have gotten out of control with their cardboard box houses.  They've got an entire neighborhood:

The highlight of this neighborhood is Julia's "Aplunda-Plunda Manor-unda" (pronounced "aploonda aploonda manoroonda).  Because the family figurines that the girls own already have their own cardboard houses, this mansion belongs to an imaginary family of of Asian-Americans who have extremely Westernized names like Malcolm, Cathy and James.  As you can see, the house is full of rooms inside:

Not only does the Manor-unda have 6 bedrooms and two guest rooms, but it also sports a play basement, a gym, a game room, and a movie theater.  The fun continues outside the house, with a swing set, a hot tub, a pool, and a trampoline:

Wow.  What a place.  This gives a whole new meaning to the notion of living in a cardboard box!!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

In Which Madeleine Fails to Explain Why Halloween is so Exciting

Madeleine was raving about how excited she is for Halloween the entire time we played a family game of Hearts, but when I put her on the spot and asked her about what's so exciting, she seemed to talk herself out of it:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Inside "Hadley the Harry Potter Fairy"

Madeleine's book, "Hadley the Harry Potter Fairy," is off to a slow but promising start.  Although she has only written one page of text thus far, she has also created this ultra cool drawing of a faceless wizard and a pair of dark blue pants with nobody inside them:

Whatever spell Hadley the Harry Potter Fairy is casting seems to be simultaneously levitating her broom, erasing her facial features, and severing the head and torso from an anonymous lower body.  This is definitely NOT your average Rainbow Magic Fairy book, that's for sure!

Unfortunately, the text on page one of Madeleine's new book doesn't give us much of a sense of what's going on.  Unless the dialogue is intentionally as mixed up and confusing as a severed pair of legs and a Wizard Who Shall Remain Faceless.  Here is what is written so far:

Chapter 1. Help fairy land!

"2 4 6 8!"
"Percy Jackson!"
"Rainbow Magic!"
"Worst Wich!"
"Ivy & Bean!"
"Littel house on the prary!"
"Magic tree house!"
"We love book's!  We are the-"

Totally clear what's going, right?  We hardly even *need* a picture to give us an idea of what's happening.

Monday, October 24, 2016

When Worlds Collide

What happens when the Rainbow Magic Fairy world and the Harry Potter universe collide??  You get:

Hadley the Harry Potter Fairy

Special edition!
More fairy friend's then ever!

Wow.  This fairy's signature pose might be Madeleine's finest contortion ever.

Cannot.  Wait.  To read this one!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New American Girls

Julia is creating an American Girl "catalog" featuring dolls with challenges, whether physical or mental.  Despite their uphill battles, however, these dolls have an upbeat attitude and an optimistic character!

Nellie McDoogle
Salem, OR
Age 11

I can't walk well.  I have cerebral palsy.  In my free time, I like to draw and play the flute.  I always manage to walk, even in hard times.

Emeryn Avi-Ava
Helena, Montana
Age 12

I was born with diabitees.  Everyone thinks I eat super unhealthy; I don't.  I enjoy ice skating and reading.  I never let anything drag me down.

Rosa Miles
Phoenix, AZ
Age 11

I've always had trouble sitting still.  That's because I have ADHD.  I like to sew and swim.  Even though I have trouble sitting still, I'm always able to find the way through.

October Goodman
Needham, MA
Age 10

Having asthma means I have trouble doing certain things. I enjoy track and ballet.  Though I have trouble breathing, it doesn't bother me.

Eliza Sweet
Austin, TX
Age 12

Uveitis is hard to handle.  I have to wear an eyepatch sometimes.  I like to horseback ride and write.  Even though I have uveitis, I'm always able to see the good.

Ava Strinetski
Orlando, FL
Age 12

As a kid growing up with dyslexia, I've always thought I've been behind in school.  I like to do gymnastics and knit.  Although I have trouble in school, everything ends up being okay.

Lucy Awaki
Honolulu, Hawaii
Age 10

Having anxiety is hard, because I'm afraid of so much. I like to surf and snorkel in my free time.  Although I'm afraid of lots, I'm not afraid of finding out who I am.

Adara Roseank
Juneau, Alaska
Age 11

I have trouble learning in a classroom with lots of people, so I'm in a 4 student classroom.  I like to go sledding and skiing.  Even though I'm in a 4 student classroom, I always find a way through.

I love this catalog!  What a sweet sentiment in showing how kids rise above various challenges.  Even if Julia did seem to be grasping at straws when she gave one of her dolls uveitis (which just happens to be the very issue for which Auntie Shannon went to the doctor yesterday.  No coincidence there at all.)  If these dolls were real, I would totally be buying them for my girls!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Items for the Wash

This morning, the first thing Madeleine said to me had to do with her bed linens.

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Today can you wash my blanket and my sheets, because for some reason, my blanket smells like a YUCKY kind of popcorn.
ME: Uh...okay.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And can you wash my sheets too, because it MIGHT be my sheets, or it MIGHT be my blanket making my sheets smell like a yucky kind of popcorn.
ME: Sure.  I can wash them today.
MADELEINE: Okay.  And Mommy?  How do you even GET the...the...the...
ME: The comforter?
MADELEINE: No.  The MATTRESS into the machine.  Do you, like, FOLD it up and stuff it in?
ME: You don't wash the mattress, honey.
MADELEINE: Yes you do.
ME: No, honey.  The mattress is the thing you sleep the cushiony part of the bed.
MADELEINE: I know!  But you take that part off and wash it.
ME: No, you don't wash the mattress in the washing machine.
MADELEINE: Well, Auntie Shannon does.
ME: No she doesn't.  That part doesn't go in the machine.
MADELEINE: But you take the mattress off the bed when you wash the blankets!
ME: If we took the mattress off the bed, you'd be able to see below right into your bedside drawers with your toys in them.
MADELEINE: I know!  That's what you do!

I have *no* idea what she's talking about.  I never take the mattress off the bed when I wash her sheets.  And I didn't this time, either.  She now has clean sheets and a clean blanket, so let's hope it's not her mattress that smells like a yucky kind of popcorn, because I didn't fold it up and stuff it in the machine despite her insistence!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

And Yet Another Book

A new book by Madeleine is in the works!

Contrary to what it may look like, this is not a book about two zombies staggering into each other.  It is a book about two human friend's!

So far, this is all I've seen:

Chapter 1.  Who's the new girl? 
"Bye bye sweaty."

Madeleine got really mad at me because she asked me to read this aloud.   Apparently it was supposed to say "Bye bye, sweetie."

She has since corrected the spelling, and is in the midst of writing something that sounds really exciting, based on this exchange:

MADELEINE: Mommy??  Uh, how do you spell "Equalizer??"

I can't wait to find out more about what Sweaty is up to!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Kids Design Things

Julia has been into graphic novels lately, having recently finished several by the author Raina Telgemeier.  Clearly, this inspired her to do some comics writing of her own:

Meanwhile, Madeleine drew this:

I won't lie.  I'm a little bit sad that the loveing egale is all into Ethan but couldn't care less about me.  I could use a little loveing egale love over here, too, ya know!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Shopkin Play

This is how my kids play Shopkins together:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Julia's Show

Julia was really proud after school today: she had done such an exemplary job writing her "show" that her teacher had read it aloud to the class.

I was trying to figure out what "show" Julia had written - a tv script?  A play? - but when I looked through her folder I understood.  The assignment read:

"Rewrite this 'tell' so that it is a 'show' (feel free to make up and add extra details):

Tony met his new teacher, Mr. Harold on the first day of school.  They greeted each other and Tony knew his teacher was going to be mean."

Here is Julia's "show":

"Tony stepped gingerly into his new classroom.  Life in Michigan was going to be different than in California.  'Hello, I'm Mr. Harold.  You must be Tony.'  Mr. Harold's cold, dark eyes flashed.  'This school is wonderful, Tony.  I'm not lying!'  Mr. Harold promised.  Tony picked at his reddish-brown hair.  He wanted to say: 'Then why did I just see a mouse?'  But he didn't.  Mr. Harold was a man of lies.  The floorboards creaked as Tony took his seat.  'Now class.'  Mr. Harold began.  'If you get an answer wrong, detention!'  Tony was not going to like this year."

She sure did fee free to make up and add extra details!  We even know where Tony just moved from, and what color his hair is, and that there's a mouse in the classroom. 

As I sat discussing this with Julia this evening, Madeleine decided to butt in and ask TOTALLY relevant questions.

ME: Did the class think your "show" was good?
JULIA: Yeah...some people laughed at the "detention" part!
MADELEINE: But MOMMY!  What about "B math??"
ME: Well, I'm proud of you, Julia!  You did a really good job.
MADELEINE: But Moooommy!  What about "B math?"
ME: What?
MADELEINE: What about - Oh!  I mean...but Julia!  What about "B math?"  I mean!  Wait.  Julia.  What about "A math?"

I have know idea about "A math," nor about "B math," and I certainly don't understand what that has to do with Julia's "show," but since it turned out the question wasn't actually supposed to be addressed to me, I guess I'm off the hook!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Children Entertain Themselves

While Julia is in her bedroom singing Christmas carols, Madeleine is entertaining her own self.  She just walked into the living room, talking to herself, carrying Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, two snow globes, and a bottle of blue dye that came from her American Girl Science workshop last winter.  She plopped herself down on the couch and began paging through the Harry Potter book.

ME: What are you looking for, honey?
MADELEINE: Oh.  I'm just playin' a game.
ME: Oh.  Okay.

Several minutes later...

ME: (going over to give Madeleine a kiss)
MADELEINE: I'm playing, like, a FREINDSHIP game.
ME: Oh, that sounds fun.
MADELEINE: I'm, like, looking through my book to see how my friends are doing. I make it all, like, they did TERRIBLE, to make it more exciting.
ME: Oh, no, they're doing terribly?
MADELEINE: I make it, like, they're in DANGER.  Isn't that exciting?  I love making danger in games.

Yes, I've noticed.  Her artwork alone speaks volumes about her love of making danger in her imaginary world.

Now she is sitting, mostly in silence, holding her bottle of blue dye, only to periodically exclaim things likes: "Symmetrica Ementia!" and then make action noises like this: "Chooo!  Shooo!  Chooo!" and wave the bottle around at an imaginary foe. 

You know what?  Instead of trying to explain this action-packed extravaganza, I'mma just video record it:

Meanwhile, Julia has moved on from Christmas carols and is now singing patriotic tunes like "America the Beautiful" in her bedroom. 

MADELEINE: (striking out at her foe) All the times of darkness way, make them all go away, and make them all friendship and friends.  ALL THE TIMES OF DARKNESS, GO AWAAAAAY!
JULIA: (from her room) Hoooot crooooss buuuuuns, hooooot crooooos buuuuns...

My kids aren't weird.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A New Pseudonym

Well, apparently Madeleine has gotten too famous as an author and has decided to publish under a pen name.

Betty the Birthday Fairy
by October Winter

I know that "October Winter" is a TOTALLY legit, not-made-up sounding name at all, but I would recognize Madeleine's artistic hand anywhere.  You're not fooling me, October.  Nuh-uh.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


While Ethan was off singing at church choir this morning, Madeleine decided to come up with an alternative way to play a four-person Hearts game:

Jesus, Saoirse, and Puff-Puff gathered around the table to play with Madeleine.  Because it was their first time ever playing Hearts, Madeleine wrote out some instructions for them: 

"Whoever has the hihist card of the riht sout suit take's thow's card's and make's a pile with them near them.  If you don't have the riht suit, then you pick a difrint card to sh  To shoot the moon you have to get all the pount's.  Otherwise youd just get a lot of pount's."

I think that all made perfect sense to Jesus, Saiorse and Puff-Puff, because the game began, with Madeleine playing each card for each inanimate object.  I imagine that was pretty tedious, which explains why the score card currently reads:


Luckily, Daddy is now home from singing, so a 4-person game with actual humans has taken over the stuffed animal posse.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Madeleine's Vote

I asked Madeleine who she would vote for if she were allowed to.

MADELEINE: Hillary.  Because I think she is good and Mommy and Daddy are going to vote for her. 
ME: And what do you think of Donald Trump?
MADELEINE: I think...I don't really like him, because he's going to build Mexico and the United States.  A wall. 
ME: And why don't you like that idea?
MADELEINE: Because...I don't...well...because, um...THEN THEY HAVE TO CLIMB THE WALL!
ME: And why is it not good to climb the wall?
MADELEINE: They could fall off and kill themselves.
ME: Who would climb it?  The Mexicans or the Americans?
MADELEINE: The Americans!
ME: Is there anything else you don't like about Trump?
MADELEINE: Then they'll HAVE...he'll MAKE them...the Mexicans to pay their charges to not have to climb a wall but um, um, NOT climb the wall.  And that's REALLY MEAN!
ME: And what could Hillary Clinton do to make this country better?
MADELEINE: STOP global warming!
ME: Yeah?  How could she do that?
MADELEINE: By asking the builders if they could make covered wagons!  It would stop pollution by less people using cars.
ME: Is there anything else she should do for this country?
MADELEINE: Yeah...stop the war, maybe?
ME: And how should she do that?  What would you do to stop a war?
MADELEINE: If I were the President?  I would call a meeting with everyone that does the war, and "There shouldn't be a thousand people being killed from the war, so I think, as the President, we should STOP the war."

Has this kid got a total understanding of the way this election, and politics in general, works or what?  Madeleine for President, 2046!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Adeleine the A Fairy

Madeleine has progressed beyond the cover of her latest book, "Adeleine the A Fairy."  The first chapter is in the works, and for the first time ever, a Rainbow Magic Fairy book appears to take place through the eyes of the fairies, rather than the eyes of their heroic human friends, Kirsty and Rachel.

Chapter 1. To sick.

"Adeleine.  Adeleine!  Wake up!'" said Shannon the Ocean fairy.  "Huh.  Waht?" I said just waking up.  "You need to do your chors," Shannon anserd.  I cofd.  Then I sneezd.  "I don't no Shannon.  I feel sick."  "Oh you por thing!  You miht be to sick," said Shannon.  And to sick I was.  We found that out after we took my tempeter."

UH-OH.  What happens in Fairy Land when a fairy is to sick to complete her chors?  Where are Kirsty and Rachel when we need them?  What will happen to all the letter As in the world if Adeleine has a tempeter and can't fulfill her duties??  Will she become "_deleine" the nothing firy?  Will Shannon become "Shnnon the Ocen Firy?"  Yikes.  I sure hope her tempeter goes down and she is back to work in the important world of the letter A soon!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

This or That?

Out of nowhere, as Madeleine was eating her dessert, she decided to pose an existential question:

MADELEINE: Mommy, which one do you like?  Pens or no pens?
ME: Uh...pens...?
MADELEINE: Pens or pencils?
ME: Uh...pens...?
MADELEINE: (looking disappointed) Pencils, I guess.
ME: Okay.
MADELEINE: Julia, ice cream, or YOU?  You, I guess.
MADELEINE: I knew it.
JULIA: Madeleine, ice cream or s'mores?
MADELEINE: Both.  Okay, Mommy, now you do one!
ME: Umm...pumpkin pie or chocolate tofu pie?
MADELEINE AND JULIA: Chocolate tofu pie!!!

Sigh.  They both emphatically chose the ONLY kind of pie I don't make but Ethan does.

JULIA: Mommy.  Pumpkin pie or pumpkin BUTTER?
ME: Pumpkin pie.
MADELEINE: Mommy: pumpkin pie or pumpkin pie?
ME: Uh, pumpkin pie.
MADELEINE: Mommy.  Which one do you like better?  Your mouth, or your MOUTH?
ME: What??
MADELEINE: Okay, your mouth, or pumpkin pie?  Let me guess. Pumpkin pie.
ME: Well, I couldn't really live without my mouth, so I guess I'd have to choose that.

And now it's starting to get raucous.

JULIA: Madeleine, your mouth or your BUM?
JULIA: Me too. would be better not to TALK, than not to be able to sit, or go to the bathroom...
MADELEINE: (delighted) Or TOOT!

And now they are choosing between toots and burps.  Madeleine chooses toots, and Julia chooses burps, because "they don't smell as bad."  I think it's time to shut this game down and get these kids to bed.  Ethan's on it.

ETHAN: Brush.  Your.  Teeth.  Brushing or your teeth.  Are you gonna choose to brush, or you gonna choose to give up your teeth?

Luckily, the girls chose to brush, so they not have to sacrifice their teeth, AND Ethan and I can get the bedtime routine rolling.  Or at least we hope.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Another Rainbow Magic Fairy book

Madeleine's interest in writing her own Rainbow Magic Fairy books continues.  She has apparently decided to move on from animal fairies and into the realm of letter-of-the-alphabet fairies.

Adeleine the A fairy!
speshel aditine

Adeleine looks PSYCHED about this book.  And about existence in general.  Also, apparently she goes to Hogwarts.  And shoots searing red lightning out of her fairy wand.  I mean, seeing as she's the "A" fairy, I'd expect her to be on more of a romp throughout Sesame Street in her quest for letters, rather than in a battle with Voldemort, but clearly the nuances of searching for the premiere of the alphabet will take her along a darker, more dangerous path. In a nutshell: this speshel aditine looks like it's gonna be a goooood one.