Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Irrational Fears


#1. Clowns

JULIA: (running inside from playing on her swing in the backyard) I had to come inside because I was afraid there's a clown in the shed and it was gonna come out and get me!

#2. Clowns, again

JULIA: Auntie Shannon came into my room to say good-night and I thought she was a clown and I *freaked out.*

#3. Madeleine's Halloween fairy costume

MADELEINE: (as we lay snuggling in her bed at bedtime) Mommy?  Sometimes when I see the shadow of my costume hanging, I get scared that it's Earl.
ME: That's silly.
MADELEINE: I know.  (silence) Mommy?  Can you please turn on my light and put my costume somewhere I can't see it?
ME: Why?
MADELEINE: Because I'm afraid it's Earl.
ME:  Honey, you know it's your costume.  It can't turn into Earl.
MADELEINE: Please Mommy?  I'm really scared.
ME: You don't need to be scared.
MADELEINE: But I am!  I'm afraid it's Earl and it's gonna come to life and start moving.

#4. A Flashing Light

JULIA: (coming into our bedroom with bedhead at 10:30 pm) There's a FLASHING LIGHT in my room and I don't know what it is!
ME: Maybe it's your watch.
JULIA: No, my watch isn't even in there!  Is it lightning?!?
JULIA: But I saw a flash and I'm scared.
ME: Honey, whatever flashed can't hurt you.  Just go back to bed.  It was probably a car driving by and its headlights flashed.
JULIA: But I saw it TWICE!
ME: I think you might have dreamed it.
JULIA: No, I saw it!
ME: Just go back to sleep, honey.  There's nothing to worry about.
JULIA: But I'm SCARED of it!

An hour later Julia re-emerged from the bedroom, looking even more disheveled, and began trying to go downstairs to the basement.  When Ethan asked her what she was doing, she told him she can't find her exercise bike and she was going to look for it.  He gently steered her back to bed.

Forget clowns, costumes, and flashing lights.  The thing I'm most scared of is what unpredictable thing Julia the Sleepwalker is going to do next!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Church Talk

Discussion on the way to church this morning:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  I think that in families with THREE children, it's best to be the MIDDLE, because then you know what it's like to be...
ME: To be older AND younger?
ME: Yeah, I've never known what it's like to be a little sister, because I'm the oldest.
MADELEINE: Oh.  I can teach you!
ME: Okay.
MADELEINE: (after a thoughtful silence) Uh, Mommy, it would probably be better to do it when we get home from church.

Darn it.  I was hoping she was going to teach me while I was driving through Harvard Square.

Madeleine was certainly not acting very little in church today; in fact, she paid way more attention than usual.  I had the girls with me in the choir, and Madeleine spent the beginning of the service happily drawing pictures of witches on the pieces of blank paper I'd brought for her.  Then suddenly her conscience must have kicked in because she put the papers away and began standing up, looking at me with baleful eyes every few minutes.

ME: (leaning down to whisper) Honey, you can keep drawing if you want.
MADELEINE: (whispering vehemently) No, I can't!  I have to stand!
ME: (whispering back) It's okay if you want to sit down.
MADELEINE: (whispering vehemently) No it's NOT!
ME: (whispering back) It's okay with me.
MADELEINE: (whispering with fierce vitriol) I'll get KICKED OUT into the PARKING LOT!

Yeah.  That's the punishment for sitting.  Banishment to the parking lot!  Maybe God will smite you, too.

Meanwhile, Julia, who complained of being tired from the moment we set foot in church, happily sat her butt on the pew next to me without reservation.  I think my children have swapped bodies.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Home Response Journal

I think I'm in love with this Home Response Journal letter from Madeleine to me:

It's simply EQUSQUISIC, do'nt you think?  Here.  I'll make it esier.  Some things I think about this letter: Madeleine is adorable and her letter is STUPENDIOUS!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Traffic Light Magic

Driving Julia to swim practice tonight, starting to push on the gas as the traffic light turns green.

JULIA: (with awe) How do you and Daddy always KNOW when the light is about to turn green??
ME: Uh...because I saw it turn red on the lights on the other side of the intersection?
JULIA: (with wonder) Oh!!  I never thought of that!  Daddy did it yesterday and now you just did it and I was like...
ME: You were like "Gasp!  My parents are amazing!"
JULIA: I thought you had some power to, like, predict the lights changing, or, like, you could see the light turn a special kind of shade of red before it turned green!

I should've gone with special powers instead of giving her the real answer.  That would be way more exciting.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Foot to the Face

Julia has had her fair share of accidental swim collisions while at practices, the worst of which was at a swim clinic at Harvard.  The lane coach hadn't realized that Julia was still swimming back to the wall and let the next swimmer dive in; that swimmer subsequently dove right into Julia's face and broke her goggles in two.  Madeleine, unfortunately, had her turn tonight at swim practice, getting kicked in the cheek right where a very loose tooth is.  The tooth didn't come out, but it started to bleed, and Madeleine approached the wall in tears.  I went out onto the pool deck after her coach beckoned to me, and I gave her a little TLC and cleaned up the tooth.  She was able to get back in and finish the practice, but her little brush with danger brought a lot of concerned swimmers over to check if she was okay.

When practice was over, I got more details from Madeleine about what had happened.

ME: Did the person who kicked you say sorry?
MADELEINE: I don't think he even knew he kicked me.  I don't even really know who did it!
ME: Well, he probably didn't realize what happened either.  I saw a lot of kids asking if you were okay, though.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  One boy asked if I was okay when I got back into the pool, and another boy asked if I was okay after I did my "Underwater SOB," which is what happens if I have to cry when I'm at swim team.

On our way out of the locker room, a swarm of girls came over to ask Madeleine if she was okay, and as we left the Y, Madeleine proclaimed cheerily, "They're so NICE!"

In the car on our way home, Madeleine asked me if I was going to write about this on the blog, then deduced, "Probably NOT, because it's more SAD than funny, and I get the feeling that your blog is about FUNNY things."  I told her that I do usually try to write about funny things that happened, but that I could write about her foot-to-the-face incident if she wanted.  Madeleine then had another thought about what absolutely MUST be included on the blog.

MADELEINE: Wait, did you put "Refrigerated Veggies" on the blog??
ME: Uh...what?  No...what?
MADELEINE: You *have* to put it on!  It's so funny!
ME: What is it?
MADELEINE: Julia  sings it!

So, for your viewing pleasure, I now have a recording of Julia singing the world's most beautiful, not-at-all-likely-to-get-annoyingly-stuck-in-your-head jingle:

Yeah.  You're welcome.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Visit from the Grandparents

Auntie Shannon and Clara are away for the weekend, but we Rowes were joined by Nana and Gramps, aka the Vermont Rowes, for a weekend visit.  The girls had a blast with their grandparents, with Julia lending a beloved book she read to Nana and Madeleine setting up her "Museum" of puzzles.  This involves Madeleine doing every puzzle she owns and displaying them on the play basement rug, then donning a faux fur vest because that's just part of her Museum costume.

MADELEINE: (shouting up from the basement Friday afternoon) When are the grandparents coming?
ME: Tonight.
MADELEINE: Okay, good.  I *really* love this game, and we play it every time they come!

Nana and Gramps, we thank you for being such good sports and enthusiastic Museum visitors! ;)

Julia split her time between hanging with her grandparents and, alternately, galloping.  Gramps even commented to us, "Do you think one day in the future, Julia will be in a serious relationship, and when her boyfriend proposes, she'll say, 'There's one thing you should know about me.  Every day I have to stop what I'm doing and gallop for fifteen minutes or so?"  I mean, I'm guessing her boyfriend will already know about her galloping habit; if he spends any time with her, how can he not be aware of it??

Our guests just recently left, and they had not been out the door more than thirty seconds before Madeleine lamented their leaving.

MADELEINE: Don't ya just miss Nana and Gramps already?  And NOW I'm missing Auntie Shannon!
ME: You always get sad when people leave.  Remember you were sad when Yiayia left this summer too?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  YOU know what happened there.  TEARS.

I get it, Madeleine.  It's hard to live states away from your loved ones.  It's never easy saying good-bye!

While our guests were here, The Rowe household had an ongoing game of Hearts with Madeleine, Julia, Ethan, Gramps and I all vying for the win.  Julia ultimately ended up losing the game by going over 100 points, with Gramps and Madeleine neck and neck for the win.  I guess Madeleine just isn't ready for the Hearts fun to be over with, because she set up a four person game and dragged Ethan into it.

MADELEINE: Okay, Daddy, you're passing to Massager, and I'm passing to Mirror.
ETHAN: Wait.  How many people are playing this game?

Take a look: it's Ethan, Madeleine, a Bath & Body Works Happy Massager, and a Princess Mirror, all going at each other in a cut-throat game of Hearts:

I'm overhearing various game moves as it goes on.

ETHAN: Okay, well, Mirror took it.
MADELEINE: Wait!  It's Massage-it's massage- (changing to an affected speaking voice that I guess is supposed to be Massager's voice) It's my turn, right!
ETHAN: Mirror's like, "I'm gonna play a three."
JULIA: (galloping by) Is this game actually fun?
MADELEINE: (giggling) Not really!

I never quite understand what is going on in Madeleine's brain...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Walking into the house at 4:45pm after I picked up Julia from Honors Chorus

JULIA: I'm SOOOOOO hungry.
ME: I'm gonna feed you girls in 15 minutes because you need to eat early before swim.
JULIA: (sighing in bitter disappointment about having to wait 15 minutes)
MADELEINE: Wait!  Mommy, I never had snack! (scampering off to the kitchen and emerging eating a granola bar)
JULIA: Can I have some cinnamon bread?
ME: No, not right now.
JULIA: Then can I have some chips?  I'm so hungry!
ME: Honey, I'm going to feed you in nine minutes.
JULIA: I can't wait that long!
ME: Fine, I'll heat up dinner for you right now.
JULIA: How come Madeleine got to have a granola bar???
ME: She never had snack.  You had Goldfish for snack before chorus, remember?
JULIA: (sighing again in frustration)
ME: (heating up leftovers for both girls)
JULIA: Can I eat downstairs while I watch a show?
ME: If you're careful.
JULIA: I will be! (taking her plate downstairs and turning on "Full House.")
ME: Madeleine, there's dinner on the table for you.
MADELEINE: Uh...okay...(not moving an inch from her American Girls and their gymnastics set)
ME: Your dinner is ready, honey.
MADELEINE: Okay. (still not moving)
JULIA: (from downstairs) UGH!  Mommy!  I spilled my dinner!
ME: Pick it up!
JULIA: I'm trying to!  Clara.  Clara!  No!
ME: How much spilled?
JULIA: Uh...a LOT!

I ran downstairs to find Julia's dinner in her lap and Clara gobbling it up.  Meanwhile, Madeleine had finally clued in to dinner and was bringing her own plate downstairs.  Julia ate the little bit she'd been able to salvage and put back on her plate.

JULIA: Mommy?  Should I have a cupcake or ice cream??

Sigh.  At least Clara got a nutritious dinner.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Eight Years Old!

Can't believe this kiddo is eight years old!:

Even though she has been so excited about her birthday, Madeleine was so exhausted after her sleepover party that she slept in this morning.  In fact, I had to wake her up so she'd have time to get ready for school.

Things were off to a slow start, and Madeleine proved that age is just a number as she sat on her bed with one pajama leg off, methodically picking her nose.

ME: Come on, honey, get dressed!

A few moments later, I guess she had a change of heart, because before I knew it, Madeleine appeared buck naked in the dining room with an urgent announcement.

MADELEINE: Mommy.  For being eight, one thing feels different.
ME: Mmm-hmm?  What?
ME: Okay.  What?
MADELEINE: (bristling with anticipation of her impending astonishing announcement) I don't feel like picking my nose!
ME: Great.  Can you go get dressed?

After she was finally dressed, Madeleine got to open a bunch of birthday presents, including an outfit from Auntie Shannon, Lego Friends from Auntie Caitlyn and Uncle Chad, a puzzle from Nana and Gramps, "Faerie Tale Theater" DVDs from Yiayia, an American Girl gymnastics from me, and some Ever After High dolls from her sister.  Julia also included another gift, a special set of stories to whet the thirst Madeleine has had for scary tales ever since reading "The Tell-Tale Heart."

Wow!  Julia managed to dig up the writing of Edgar Allen Poe's descendant, Julia Poe!  This is sure to be a totally twisted set of tales!  Can't wait to dig into them myself!


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Birthday Sleepover

Tonight is Madeleine's long awaited birthday sleepover, with her two best friends from school.  Julia is feeling a bit too mature for this crowd so has opted out of hanging out with them and watching a movie, although she did make a brief appearance to eat some pizza.

I made it clear to Julia that she was absolutely welcome to watch the movie with Madeleine and her friends, but I guess that would be too much of a disturbance to Gallop Time.

JULIA: I better not, because before too long I'll start feeling like I need to, like, MOVE AROUND, because that's what always happens when I watch movies.

Madeleine and her friends are perfectly absorbed in the movie; Madeleine opted to show them her old favorite, "Song of the Sea."  Although Madeleine hasn't seen this movie in awhile, she still remembers every detail of the plot, so she's able to fill her friends in when they have questions or concerns.  We just recently got to the scene wherein it's revealed that Ben and half-selkie Saorise's mom was, in fact, a selkie.

FRIEND 1: Oh, I think that Saorise is a selkie because she was born in the water.
ME: Well, you can see that she has her mom's genes, and that's how she's a selkie.

Thoughtful silence and attentive movie-watching for a few moments.

FRIEND 2: Uh...I never LOOK at her pants, so I didn't notice.

Another moment of silent thought at watching.

MADELEINE: Wait.  Why are you talking about pants?!?
FRIEND 2: Because jeans.
FRIEND 1: Oh!  Biological genes are different from pants jeans.

Back to movie watching.

There is more to come in this exciting evening, including cake, ice cream, and a pinata, so I'm sure the rapt attention and focus they're displaying right now will soon lead to some raucous partying later in the evening. For the moment, I will enjoy the relative quiet!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Escape the Room. Or not.

This evening, the Rowes plus Auntie Shannon went to try out "Escape the Room" in Boston.  Madeleine was really excited to go, even though she couldn't manage to escape the bathroom without help.  For whatever reason, Madeleine decided to revert backwards in time to the days when she needed me to wipe her butt for her, repeatedly exclaiming in anguish, "I can't FINISH!" at me as I sat trying to write an email to her teacher about Madeleine bringing in a white shirt for her class to sign on her birthday.  Because every mommy should be able to wipe her nearly eight-year-old's butt AND email the teacher at the same time, right??

I guess Madeleine's inability to finish in the bathroom was a harbinger for us, because, alas, we did not escape the room.  I am gung-ho to try this out again, though, because we were awfully close and I want another chance!  Julia was able to take our failure in stride; however, Madeleine went into the experience certain that even if we didn't succeed, we would be given a little leeway.

MADELEINE: So, Mommy, if we don't escape the room, do you think we can just ask for, like, five more minutes?
ME: No.

To prove our complete and utter inability to solve anything this evening, we had two further failures.  We grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant next door to the Escape the Room site, and Julia decided to challenge Ethan to a game of Hangman.  Ethan came up with a Hangman for Julia, reminiscing back to the good old days of Butt Crocodile.  Julia was completely stumped, so I helped her figure out what letters to guess until she had almost completed the puzzle.

JULIA: (looking helplessly at "B U T T  C R O C O _ I L E)  Uhhh...."H"???

Then, to rub salt in our wounds of failure, NONE OF US could figure out how to get out of the parking garage with our parking ticket.  Ethan, Shannon and I repeatedly inserted our ticket into the wrong slot instead of realizing we were supposed to hold it under the scanner, and it took a call to the MBTA and an employee coming out to help us before we could get things working.

All in all, a totally productive day!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

It's a good thing Madeleine had a 2+ hour swim practice this afternoon, because I think she had a LOOOOT of energy to burn.  Here she is, moments before we left the house for the Y:

The music-making continued throughout the car ride.  Here's a highlight from when we were stopped/crawling while stuck in a long line of traffic at a stoplight:

I think this kid might be a musical genius.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust

To be a figure in a drawing by Madeleine usually means suffering a cruel fate.  While this is not quite as bad as being attacked by a shadow demon or being the subject of medieval torture, it still doesn't look particularly fun getting concussed by a falling coconut:

(Not to mention the faceless severed head that also appears to be suffering a coconut blow to the noggin.)

ME: Hey Madeleine, why is this girl getting hit on the head with a coconut?
MADELEINE: Oh!  I'm writing an "American Girl: Get-Together" book!

Okay.  That totally answers my question.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Classwork of All Sorts

Madeleine's latest math classwork was TOTALLY up her artistic alley:

I honestly don't think I could have completed this as well as she did.

In other schoolwork matters, Madeleine's American Girls are learning an important cultural lesson:

In addition to this white board sign, Madeleine's lesson plan includes a paper that says: "Cival war may NOT come back!!  CARE ABOUT PEAPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BLACK LIVES MATTER!!!!!!!!!!  Sighn created by Madeleine Rowe."

On the other side of this paper is her new marketing plan, guaranteed to ensure that only the 1% can own guns:

So,  yeah, we may need to work on that strategy a little, but all in all, I'm pretty positive that the American Girls appreciate their Headmistress having such a great social conscience!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Strict Parenting

In the car today, Madeleine opined on the advantageous situation her two best friends have at home.

MADELEINE: Well, their parents aren't as STRICT about their kids telling them things, so, like, their moms don't even know about playing "June and Jementa."
ME: Wait.  Do you really consider me strict?
MADELEINE: Well, like, you say that we should ALWAYS tell you everything.
ME: Well, do you think that I'm honest with you about things?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  You tell us the truth about everything.
ME: So, I just want to encourage you and Julia to be able to talk to me honestly and not feel like you have to hide anything from me.  I'm not making it a rule, I just want you to be able to talk to me.

Several minutes of silence.

MADELEINE: Okay, Mommy, since we're having this CONVERSATION, I guess I'll tell you something.  It happened in first grade, but I never told you because I was afraid you were gonna be mad at me.
ME: Okay.  What is it?
MADELEINE: Well, we were starting to play this game but it was time to come to the rug, and we just kept playing, and...the teacher had me take a break.
ME: You mean you had to sit in the "Take a Break" chair?
ME: Honey, I would never be mad at you for that.  Sometimes at home you have to take a break or a time out in your room.  Kids can't be perfect all the time.

Julia was covetous of her sister's enviable experience.

JULIA: The only time I ever got to sit in the "Take a Break" chair was when the teacher had us all take a turn to see what it was like, and she called us one by one from the rug to try it.  And, like, for some reason, I was SO excited to sit in it!

I guess you gotta live a little more dangerously, Jules.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

And More Madeleine Quotes

More of Madeleine's input.

On how she felt exiting the YMCA with wet hair in her pajamas last night:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  I'm the kind of "a little" that's on the verge of FALLING DOWN into the MIDDLE.  That's the level of chilliness I was at outside.

On the ideal chin positioning:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Would you rather have a DOWNY chin, or a...a...a...very UPPY and LUMPY chin?
ME: A downy chin.
MADELEINE: Me too!  I don't like uppy, lumpy chins.  That's the kind of chin on the "cha-cha-chin" card at school.
ME: Oh, like on a phonics card?
ME: What is the chin like?  Can you describe it to me?
MADELEINE: Well, he's a guy, he's facing to the side, he's tilting his head UP, he's smiling, he looks like a NICE GUY, and his chin is long and LUMPY.

Well, at least he seems like a nice guy, despite his chin being a huge turn-off.

On why she kept spilling her milk every time she took a sip:

ME: What happened?  Why does your milk keep spilling?
MADELEINE: It just keeps FLOWING down my cheek.  When I feel it on my cheek, I stop drinking IMMEDIATELY.
ME: But why is it spilling in the first place?
MADELEINE: I dunno.  Maybe the shape of the cup?

I mean, the cup is a little bit warped, but it's still basically the normal shape of a cup.  How the milk is winding up on her cheek is beyond me, but I guess, despite her stopping drinking IMMEDIATELY, it just keeps flowing down.

Maybe the guy with the uppy lumpy chin doesn't like flowy, milky cheeks.  Then he and Madeleine can be even.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Curriculum Night

Last week was Curriculum Night at the girls' elementary school, so I got to explore their classrooms and meet their teachers.  I have come to the conclusion that Julia has come out of her shell more, but is still a bit reserved, while Madeleine is brimming with confidence as a 2nd grader.

Some of their work:

Julia's "me-mobile," full of pictures of swimming, band/chorus, and our Utah Vacation

Julia's 5th grade goals

Madeleine's letter for her parents.

Madeleine shares her expertise

Madeleine's self-portrait, complete with adjectives to describe herself

Madeleine is an important person

I loved getting to see their classrooms and their class work, as always.  And I totally made sure to remember that school rocks!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Conversations and Observations by Madeleine

A few of Madeleine's observations and conversations this week.

#1: On Wanting Bedtime Snuggles
MADELEINE: (coming out of her bedroom after reading for a bit last night) Good-night, Mommy!
ME: Good-night, honey.  I love you.
MADELEINE:  Love you too!  (pause) Well.  You KNOW what I'm gonna ask for.
ME: What?
ME: Sa-na-noogles?
ME: Snoogles?
MADELEINE: S-N-U-G....uh...
ME: Two G's.
ME: Sure, I'll give you snuggles.
MADELEINE: (visibly relieved) Oh, phew.  Okay.

Yeah, I let her off easy on that one.  I coulda been all: "spell snuggles wrong?  FAIL.  No snuggles for you tonight!"

#2: On Starbucks "You Are Here" mugs
Noticing the Starbucks "Copenhagen" mug Ethan had brought home from his trip to Denmark.

MADELEINE: (reading) Copenhagen.  (reflecting for a moment) Looks preeeeeetty different there!

I see what she means.  The Starbucks "You Are Here" mugs are absolutely accurate representations of the differences you'll see in the places you travel.  In fact, why even travel at all, when you can just look at the mug?  I'm glad Madeleine was able to recognize how foreign a place Copenhagen is by seeing a mug with some buildings on it:

You can clearly see how different Copenhagen is from cities in different countries that also have buildings, like Chicago:

or Montreal:

Am I right??

#3: On a good, but not GREAT, day:
ME: How was your day?
ME: Good, not great?
ME: What made it not great?

It turns out that Madeleine and her two best friends couldn't quite agree on the way their pretend play game was going to progress, and one of the friends got frustrated.  They made up over lunch afterwards, so all is well again, but I sympathized with Madeleine.

ME: I'm sorry, honey. I know it can be tough when friends are getting frustrated or grumpy.
MADELEINE: Yeah.'s OKAY with Julia, because she has HORMONES, but it's not fun when it happens with my friends.

Maybe once her friends have hormones Madeleine will be able to let it slide a little more easily.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Creative Language

Madeleine has recently invented a new language, called "Creative Language," and she spends a lot of time singing songs in this language and trying to teach me words.  The main problem with the vocabulary of Creative Language is that Madeleine often forgets the gibberish she came up with and can't replicate it later on.  For instance, yesterday I was informed of how to say a bevy of words, including "house," and "tree" in Creative Language, but neither Madeleine nor I could possibly recall how to say any of it.

You may be wondering what exactly Creative Language is.  Madeleine offers an illuminating, clear-cut explanation:

MADELEINE: Creative Language is a language that *I* made up, and...everybody can make up their own names,'s CREATIVE!  And NO ONE can change any words, like from "urine" to "pee."

You must be dying to hear this language uttered.  Never fear; I have video footage of Madeleine performing a lovely Creative Language song.  If you want to know what it's about, Madeleine informs me that it's mainly about "Hocus Pocus."  (The movie, not the Kurt Vonnegut book.)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Guest Blogger

Today's blog post is brought to you by Julia:

Swim team started on Tuesday. I went to night practice instead of morning practice. I think I swam the New Englands time for the 50 butterfly at the Wednesday night practice. I have swim team tonight. I really love competitive swimming. My goal for this year is to make New Englands. I probably can’t, though. The times are really fast.
I want to audition for Honors Band. I really hope I’ll get in. I’ve already perfected “Sawmill Creek” and “Morning Mood.” Me and the other flutes are going to perform “Au Claire de la Lune” for the 4 graders. It’ll be fun. We have to be taken out of school to do it, though. It’s during the 4 grade chorus and part of the 5 grade chorus.
To: From: PEACH: OMG Mario there’s a like new like sweater at like the mall it’s like so like cute. MARIO: Let’sa goa. We cana geta spegghetti and meataballas! Those are Mario and Princess Peach’s email address.

Clara’s sitting on me. She’s in an extra me mood this morning. She’s also been extra cute this morning. One time she conked out on me. It was really adorable She also keeps doing very loud pleasure noises. And she was really leaning into the pets I was giving her.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Madeleine's Accomplishments

When Auntie Shannon got home from work today, Madeleine was full of exciting news updates.

MADELEINE: Guess what?  You'll NEVER believe what I did!
ME: (to Shannon) She has been waiting to tell you about her accomplishments.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  I think I had the MOST ACCOMPLISHED DAY I've EVER had in my life!
AUNTIE SHANNON: What did you do?
MADELEINE: First of all, I swam with the Navy group and I *totally* kicked butt!  I was the FASTEST in my lane and I was even faster than a FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD!
AUNTIE SHANNON: You got moved up into the Navy group??
MADELEINE: Yes!  Okay.  SECOND of all, when we got home, I hung my swim bag up.
AUNTIE SHANNON: You could reach the hook??
MADELEINE: Yes!  I hung it up all by myself for the FIRST TIME EVER!  (thoughtful) Well.  The first time ever without having to JUMP.
AUNTIE SHANNON: Great, honey!
MADELEINE: And.  Third of all.  This is the one you'll be MOST excited about.  (pointing at Auntie Shannon's chihuahua Clara) It has to do with CLARA.
MADELEINE: (pausing for suspense) I picked up Clara!

Auntie Shannon showered praise on Madeleine for overcoming her fear of picking up the dog, and Madeleine beamed with pride.  And then Madeleine had more to say.

MADELEINE: Oh, AND - we had my FAVORITE kind of P.E. today!
AUNTIE SHANNON: What kind of P.E.?
MADELEINE: A hard work kind of P.E.!  The kind where you are like, working really hard, and you're really tired when you're done.  That's my favorite kind!

Ahh.  To be a kid.  If only adults could find a way to feel like bouncing off the walls with giddy excitement over things as simple as hanging up a bag on a high hook or having your favorite kind of hard work gym class.  I'm so glad that Madeleine found such delight in her most accomplished day of her life!  Hoping there are many more to come!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Somnambulator

Last night, as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I suddenly heard footsteps in the hallway. Julia came bursting through my bedroom door and flicked on the lights, looked around in confusion, then turned the lights off and left, closing the door.  I hopped out of bed to see if she was okay.

ME: (coming out into the hallway) Julia.  What's up?
JULIA: (not answering, continuing to look around blindly)
ME: Julia.  Julia.  Are you okay?
JULIA: (groggily) Yeah.
ME: What did you come in for?  Do you need something?
JULIA: I was looking for the trash can.
ME: The trash can?  I don't have one in my room.
JULIA: (continuing to look around in confusion)
ME: What do you need the trash can for?
JULIA: To *pee* in.

With mild panic, I steered Julia into the bathroom, turned on the light, and pointed at the toilet.

ME: Here.  Sit down on the toilet.  That's where you pee.
JULIA: (standing and looking at me in confusion)
ME: The toilet, honey.  You pee on the toilet.  Here.  Get yourself on the toilet.
JULIA: (pulling down her pants and sitting on the toilet, letting out a flood of pee)
ME: There you go.  Honey, I think you're sleepwalking.
ME: You are, sweetie.  You said you were looking for the trash can to pee in.
JULIA: I'm awake.
ME: You're sleepwalking.  You wanted to pee in the trash can.
JULIA: (irritably) No, I meant the BIG trash can!
ME: What big trash can?  Why would you pee in a trash can?
JULIA: (blinking, looking startled, then focusing on me) I don't know.  (bursting into confused laughter.)
ME:  Yeah.  You were sleepwalking.  But it's okay, you're in the right place now.

Julia sleepwalks every so often, but man, that was a close one.  Albeit not as close as the time she dropped trou and hung her bare butt over our laundry basket, causing Ethan to leap out of bed and scoop her up and make a mad dash for the toilet.  I have mentioned before that all of her dreams seem to have something to do with swim team, but I'll now add that her sleepwalking incidents always seem to have something to do with trying to pee in a receptacle other than an actual toilet.

Crisis averted!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Last Pool Days

I took the kids to the pool today to get one last summer hurrah before it closes for the season.  I tried to get a photo of the girls by the water.  It went really well.  I couldn't even decide which photo to use, because they all came out so well:

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Laundry Lazies

The girls seem mostly recovered from jet-lag, but I'm still SO exhausted.  This evening, after dinner, I laid down on the couch and then remembered I hadn't brought the laundry up from the dryer.  Julia had come over to join me on the couch, and I lamented my position to her.

ME: Ugh, Julia, I forgot to get the laundry from the dryer.  Can you un-lazify me so I can go get it?
JULIA: (with anticipation and excitement) I'll be right back!

My thought process as I lay on the couch: Oh my gosh!  What a darling daughter I have!  She's going to go down and get the laundry for me and surprise me.  I can't believe how sweet she is.  But wait.  Will she know to empty the lint from the filter?  I guess that doesn't matter.  I can show her about that later.  The important thing is that she's actually getting the laundry.  Maybe this means I don't have to be the only one responsible for laundry in the future.  Even if I am, it's just so adorably sweet that Julia is doing this for me right now.  

JULIA: (returning, holding not the laundry basket, but her faux magic wand, which she then points at me) Un-LAZIFY YOU!

Oh.  Well, I guess I got what I asked for.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


My birthday poem from Madeleine.  With some unintentional musical background from Ethan:


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

First Day!

Woo-hoo!  Back to school for all 3 female Rowes today, with only one day to adjust back to East Coast time.  (I think it's safe to say that we just haven't adjusted yet.)  So as we dealt with first-day excitement and jet lag all at once over the breakfast table, Julia and Madeleine wound up bickering.

MADELEINE: Julia, I think this year I'm gonna try to read the Rick Riordan books you were reading!
JULIA: (scathingly) Madeleine, you DON'T read those books in second grade.  They'd be too hard for you.
MADELEINE: Come on, Julia, I read Harry Potter, AND I can read some really hard words!
JULIA: No.  Madeleine.  There's things you wouldn't UNDERSTAND.
MADELEINE: Like what?
JULIA: Madeleine.  Rick Riordan books are for a HIGHER LEVEL.
ME: Okay, Julia, just let it be.  If she wants to say she'll read those books, just don't worry about it.

Madeleine, to whom I have attempted to explain Julia's recent pubescent moodiness, then got up from the dining room table and came to me in the kitchen.  I thought she was going to give me a hug, but instead she had something to commiserate with me on.  She leaned towards me, rolling her eyes about Julia.

MADELEINE: (in a stage whisper) Hormones.

Ohhh boy.  I mean, she's right, but...maybe I got a little too scientific in my discussion of irrational moodiness with her.

The little spat was luckily short-lived, and we were out the door for the first day of school!:

On our walk, we passed a lawn sign at a house near the school, advertising for the local Cub Scouts group:

JULIA: Wait.  It's called "BEE Scouts?  I thought it was CUB scouts."

Way to put that fifth grade brain to work, Jules.

I think the first day was a success, since both kids greeted me joyfully after school, and Julia even ditched Madeleine and I to go over to a friend's house, so I guess the girls were ready to return to reality!  Now if only their mommy can feel the same way...

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Vacation, Day 6

Today is our last full day of vacation, and we decided to do a family hike to truly SEE Salt Lake City, from above.  The kids were troopers about hiking the mountain trails, with Julia exclaiming, "I *like* hiking!" and Madeleine proclaiming, "I think this hike is gonna make me EVEN MORE FIT than when I swam a one hundred butterfly!!"

In fact, both kids wanted to continue hiking higher, past the point where Ethan had planned for us to turn around.

ETHAN: Okay.  Let's start up this trail here, but we'll turn around after a few minutes.
MADELEINE: I wanna go all the way to the top!
JULIA: Me too.
ETHAN: Well, let's just go a few minutes more.
MADELEINE: All the way!
JULIA: Yeah!

Julia began leading the way up higher.

ETHAN: Keep an eye out for snakes.
JULIA AND MADELEINE: (in panicked unison) Snakes!?!?!?

So that was the end of that.  We started heading down after all.

During the steepest pitches, we all had to go slowly and carefully.  Madeleine was the first to wipe out.

MADELEINE: (slipping on to her butt) Of COURSE!

Madeleine had a second wipe-out before Julia had one, but Julia's fall left her back and butt covered in dirt.

JULIA: Oh, GREAT.  I look like I pooped in my pants!

Despite our difficulties getting down, the girls loved their hiking experience, and they were especially thrilled that we didn't encounter any snakes!

After our hike, we stopped by the Cathedral of the Madeleine so that our Madeleine could pose by the sign:

Mass had just gotten out, so there were crowds of dressed up congregants milling about outside the church.  There was also a homeless man holding a sign, and the kids begged me for some money to give to him.  I let Madeleine give him a dollar, and as we walked back towards our car, she contemplated the situation.

MADELEINE: I don't think any of those people even NOTICED that poor man.  They all seemed like they were, like, too interested in FASHION.

Ahh, bless the bleeding hearts of my children!

We are headed to dinner for our last night, at the place where Madeleine had beans that were OUT OF THIS WORLD, so it should be a great final evening of vacation!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Vacation, Day 5

It was another road trip day for the Rowes, as we headed into Western Wyoming to see the sights.  As we gathered our things to bring in the car, I asked the girls if they wanted their backpacks.  Julia thought it was a good idea; Madeleine, however, took this logical point of view:

MADELEINE: No.  I don't need it.
ME: Are you sure? You might want to to pack some books and toys for the drive.
MADELEINE: No, I'm fine.  Besides.  Mommy.  If slaved could escape with just the clothes they were wearing, and maybe a LITTLE bit of good, then I don't need to bring anything.

We headed to Bear River State Park in Wyoming, and spent the morning seeing the wildlife and nature and walking the trails:

We headed back into Utah for the afternoon, stopping in Park City to give Julia another taste of history heaven at the Park City Museum:

Both kids loved the museum, to the point t that they both plan to write new books about coal mining.  These children seriously get inspired by EVERYTHING.

We went to dinner in Park City, and let the kids get ice cream afterwards, which obviously made them manic.  Here is a lite snippet of our car ride home.  My hand may be covering the lens, but the loud and rambunctious voices are clear enough.  It wasn't annoying at all.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Vacation, Day 4

Today we stayed in Salt Lake City and did some exploring in areas we haven't seen yet.  We spent the early part of the day in beautiful Liberty Park:

We came across an out-of-use amusement ride area:

Julia was entranced.  While the rest of us examined the flora and fauna of the park, Julia stood reading the signs at every ride.

JULIA: Mommy?  I call this s "historical" amusement park.
ME: That's a cool name for it.
JULIA: Mommy?  Even though I'm sure it's not even THAT old, I'm in history heaven!

She got even more history heaven when we explored the Museum of Utah Folk Art:

We also stopped at the park playground, where both girls spent time swinging and climbing:

The afternoon was spent at the hotel pool, because our kids don't get enough time at pools as it is:

We have some more historical explorations planned for tomorrow, so hopefully we can extend Julia's stay in paradise a little longer!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Vacation Day 3

Today, we Rowes took a road trip:

Madeleine was initially skeptical about the idea.

ME: Hey Madeleine, we're thinking about going to a water park in Idaho!
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) No, thanks.  I just wanna stay here.

We overruled her and decided to head out.  Madeleine still didn't get it.

MADELEINE:. Wait.  So...we're going on a vacation while we're ON VACATION??
ME: It's called a day trip, honey.

Even when we crossed the border into Idaho, Madeleine wasn't all in.

ME: Hey, girls, we're in Idaho!
MADELEINE: I can't believe we're in Idaho.  It just feels SO WRONG.

But once we got to our destination, Madeleine was sold.

The girls had so much fun, riding slides that literally made me scream, jumping from diving board, and even taking the plunge from the high platforms:

All in all, our day trip was a success, even though Madeleine told me at dinner, "I still feel like Utah is more SPECIAL.". Guess it's good we're back in Salt Lake now!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Vacation, Day 2

For our second day of vacation, we Rowes headed into Park City, and we got to enjoy some spectacular views along the way.

Madeleine was out of her mind over the scenery.

MADELEINE: Can you believe that people live here?? We're at the edge of these dazzling hills!  People actually live ON THE EDGE of these DAZZLING hills!

Madeleine then decided to take things to a really weird level by announcing, "I hope there's a really bad avalanche so that I can write a book about it!" Yes, Madeleine, entranced by American Girl books, is finding the current day to be unfair with it's dearth of historical crises like slavery or the Great Depression or World War 2 issues that occur in the books she's reading.

Things got even weirder after that.

MADELEINE: Julia, you would look SO GOOD sledding down that mountain with a volcano erupting behind you!!


We spent our day at the Olympic Stadium, where Julia was brave enough to soar down this zip line:

But too chicken to get down from this kiddie rock wall:

Even with Ethan trying to help her, she was simply too scared.

Meanwhile, Madeleine was all over everything:

When I went to check on Julia, I found her here:


I finally managed to guide her down, and she and Madeleine enjoyed some extreme tubing, plus a rock climbing wall arched over a pool:

The girls had so much fun, and we returned to Salt Lake City tired and happy.   I mean, Julia didn't get to sled down an erupting volcano or anything, but I think tubing down the slopes was *almost* as fun.