Monday, January 30, 2017

Concert Tour

Today, I got to chaperone Julia's Honors Chorus Field Trip, which was really a concert tour, performing at each of the 5 elementary schools in town.  Morale was high at the start of the day: "I'm SO EXCITED for the field trip!" Julia exclaimed as we walked to school, and I heard cries of "We have no school today!" from other chorus members upon arrival.  By about the third school, the energy had begun to wane, and during the last two performances, kids were looking like they might wilt off the stage, but Julia still enjoyed herself.  In her own words: "It was fun, but it was a LOT more exhausting than I thought it was gonna be!"

It truly was exhausting for all involved.  There were a LOT of kids to shuffle on and off buses and on and off stages; not only was the field trip for the Honors Chorus, but the Honors Band as well, and each group performed their entire program at every single school.  There were so many little budding musicians that I could barely fit them in one picture:

It's only natural that in giving multiple performances of the same music, the musicians will occasionally space out on things.  Something different went wrong in each performance, but the kids were able to brush off the mistakes.  Julia herself had a few zone outs.  My favorite moment was at the second school performance, when, during the applause following the chorus's first song, Julia looked proudly over at me.  I raised my hands to clap hard for her and she beamed at me, clapping back.  Apparently in returning my loving smile, she also returned the applause I was giving to her, giving the appearance of her being the lone chorus member to clap for her own ensemble.  The hardest concert of the day was the second to last.  This concert was in a stuffy cafeteria that had been converted into a performance space just for the sake of today's show, and it was the fourth performance of the day, so I can imagine Julia's attention span was shot.  I saw her off in space during the first song, missing an entrance and then joining in the clapping rhythm that the other side of the double chorus was doing.  I guess accidental clapping was her thing today, regardless of whether it was applause or a call-and-response clapping rhythm between two halves of the chorus.  After that particular song, I watched Julia intently studying a poster on the wall behind the risers, then gazing with steady focus at the recycling bin next to the risers, seemingly fascinated with the writing that appeared on its lid. Apparently a cafeteria is the kind of place that encourages one to lose his or her attention span, what with all the things like garbage cans and recycling bins to stare at.  Luckly, Julia regained her focus and energy after that song and kept her morale high through the fifth and final school they sang at.  I captured the penultimate song of the day on video, and while everybody looks pretty tired, they were champs and managed to sing their hearts out:

Bravo to the little singers and instrumentalists who got a taste of what a day on the road is really like!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Amarican Girl Cataloge

Madeleine is creating a new catalog of American Girl fashions.  Check it out!:

This looks like an AMAZING Amarican girl cataloge!  I totally want that cute little red umbrella for myself; I wonder if it only comes in Amarican girl doll size.  At any rate, any catalog that encourages us to "have some fun!" not once, but TWICE, in two different sizes, is bound to bring joy into my life!

On the next page of the catalog, we get to see the brand new "Twin's of the year!," featuring Alison and her invisible twin sister Alexandra:

Is Alison holding a wand?  Is that how Alexandra disappeared?  Or is the wand just spring and summer's new must-have fashion accessory?

After all, the creator of this Amarican girl cataloge knows what's what in the fashion world.  Just take a look at this must-copy style:

Tres chic, non??

Friday, January 27, 2017

Concert Night

Last night, we got to see a concert of the Honors Orchestra, Honors Band, and Honors Chorus of our town.  Julia is a member of the Honors Chorus, and this was her first formal concert (meaning she had to wear concert attire, rather than the Honors Chorus t-shirt and jeans that she wore for the Veteran's Day Performance.)  We had to get everything ready for the concert ahead of time, go to the Y for Swim Team (at which Julia only participated in Dryland practice, while Madeleine swam), change into concert attire, and head over the the auditorium.  A totally frazzling comedy of errors ensued, including but not limited to the following issues:

-We discovered, as we packed for swim team, that Julia does not have a pair of black tights that fit.
-We found her footless black tights, but could find only ONE black nylon sock to go with them.
-We found two different pairs of black socks as an alternative, but both had silver stripes and/or patterns on them as well, and the dress instructions were for all black on the botttom.
-We discovered that Julia's black dress skirt had fallen off her hanger and lay underneath almost everything in her very cluttered closet, leading us to begin frantically pulling things off her closet shelves and tossing them behind us, until we finally found her skirt, crumpled and badly wrinkled, underneath a pile of heavy things on the closet floor.

The fun continued once we were at the Y and both girls were in their workouts.  I hoofed it to a nearby shoe store to buy not one but two pairs of black tights, in case the size 8-10 was too small or the 10-14 too large.  I then stopped to pick up take-out for dinner; a pizza for the girls, and a bag of what should have been a salad for me and a calzone for Ethan.  I walked back to the Y and had the pleasure of repeatedly walking through hallways with my pizza box, bonking into the various Dryland athletes who were doing wall-sits or other types of exercise in formation.  After Julia wrapped up and began the process of downing some pizza and changing into her concert clothes, I showered Madeleine so quickly that she still had half a head of shampoo suds (can't do anything about that now.  Let's just brush your hair and stick a hat on!) and we all got into the car.

Upon arriving at the concert location, the next round of comedies of error began:

-I wanted to quickly brush Julia's hair before sending her in, but my brush was MIA. I finally found it in Madeleine's pool bag (ahh, yes, the let's brush it and put a hat on it and leave the shampoo in situation bit me in the butt...)
-After brushing Julia's hair and sending her into the building, I discovered that I had misplaced my keys.
-Madeleine and I spent the next 10-15 minutes crawling around the car reaching under every seat and into crack in an attempt to locate the keys.
-Madeleine and I searched along the ground outside the car for my keys.
-Madeleine and I emptied every bag we had in the car, including her swim bag, the bag of Julia's workout clothes out of which she'd changed at the Y, my purse, and the bag of take-out.
-I finally discovered my keys had been in my purse all along.
-Madeleine and I scrambled inside the building to eat our take-out, only for me to discover that a) Ethan's calzone had not been included in the bag, and b) there were no utensils for my salad.
-I wandered around the cafeteria outside the auditorium looking for plastic ware, finding only spoons.  I grabbed two spoons to try and use as tongs to eat my salad.
-Ethan arrived at the concert venue, remarking to me as he spotted me, "Do you know you left the car parked with one of the car doors wide open?

I think I might be truly losing my mind.

We had a little while longer to wait before the auditorium doors opened to the audience, so Madeleine did a little people-watching.

MADELEINE: Hey!  Mommy!  I just saw a girl that's on my swim team!
ME: You did?  What's her name?
MADELEINE: Well, I don't KNOW her name, but...(cheerfully) in her swim cap, she looks like a MONKEY, so when I saw her, I just thought, "Oh, hey!  There's monkey girl!"

Ummm.  I mean, that's no "Happy New Year to the Blacks," but it's still not a particularly appropriate thing to think about a person.  Awesome.

At any rate, once we got into our seats, everything was calm and the concert was lovely.  Here's one of the songs they performed:

And with that lovely piece, I am going to let all the stress and troubles of my evening fly out my own window!  (Or maybe out of my wide open car door.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Even More Drawings

Uh, I wonder what the heck is going through this girl's head:

Her face looks pretty wistful, but that abstract thought bubble of chaos above her head looks like the inner workings of a sociopath.

Also, what's up with the most depressed and disheveled girls on the face of the earth?:

Meet Angela and Callie, who spent their evening sleeping in a trash heap.

Sheesh, Madeleine.  Keepin' it creepy.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Turkeys are big. Turkeys are small.

Why bother eating your dinner when you can sit at the table in your winter jacket, putting together a Minnie Mouse puzzle, and singing this song over and over again?:

It's especially compelling to sing this song when you've mixed up the name of the roast chicken on your plate, despite your parents telling you what it is numerous times, and you think you've got a plateful of turkey.  After all, with a plateful of turkey, how can ANYONE resist singing about it?  After all, turkeys are big.  Turkeys are small.  Turkeys are not very tall!

Saturday, January 21, 2017


The girls have been busy with home improvement projects today.

JULIA: Mommy?  Will you come into my room and see my new floor?
ME: Uh...what do you mean, your new floor?
JULIA: I laid out all my "Who Was" books on the ground and that's my new floor!
ME:  (with dismay) Are they gonna stay out on your floor like that?
JULIA: Ummmm...not forever...

Julia's new floor:

It's like decorative tiles, each with a caricature head of a famous person.  Except that, unlike tile, these books slip around when you step on them, making their ability to act as a floor less practical, and more unpredictable, than real floor tiles.

Meanwhile, as Julia made a new floor, Madeleine was outside building a clubhouse out of sticks.  Take a look at the progress she has made:

Looking fancy, no?  I overheard the girls discussing Madeleine's handiwork.

MADELEINE: Julia!  I'm making a secret garden and PARLOR.
JULIA: Do you even know what a parlor is?
MADELEINE: Not really.  A garage?
JULIA: No!  A parlor is where you sit with the ladies and sip your tea!
MADELEINE:  Oh!  Then people can sit in the garden and sit their tea.

No two things go together more than a lean-to made of sticks and a ladies' parlor, am I right?

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Okay, Madeleine, of all the stalling techniques...

Right before brushing teeth for bed:

MADELEINE: I'm thirsty for a fourth milk.  But I shouldn't have a fourth milk.
ME: Do you want some water?
MADELEINE: No, I'm only thirsty for milk.
ME: Then go ahead and have a milk.
MADELEINE: But I already had THREE milks today!
ME: It's fine.
MADELEINE: No it isn't!  Doesn't milk make you have too much energy or something?
ME: No.  Milk can decrease your body's ability to absorb iron, so that's why I tell you girls not to drink milk with your iron vitamin.  It's iron that gives you energy.
MADELEINE: But then I shouldn't have another milk.  I don't want to get no energy.
ME: Honey, I think you have plenty of energy.  I'm not worrying about your iron.
MADELEINE: But Mommy.  YOU have low iron, and you never drink milk.
ME: I know I have low iron.  That's why I take iron vitamins too.

A half hour later, at bedtime:

MADELEINE: (reading the exhaustion and desperation for the kids to go to bed on my face) Mommy, what's wrong?
ME: I'm just tired.
MADELEINE: But Mommy!  (filling with tears) I don't WANT you to have low iron!
ME: Honey, I get my iron tested every time I go to the doctor.  You don't need to worry.
MADELEINE: But what if it's STILL low?
ME: If it really was still low, the worst that could happen is I'd get an iron shot.
MADELEINE: Mommy?  That sounds like the kind of shot you get in your MUSCLE.  The kind that really hurts.
ME: It might be.
MADELEINE: (tears pouring down her face) But I don't like thinking about SCARY things, like things that make you DIE!
ME: Honey, I'm not going to die from low iron.
MADELEINE: No, but I mean, thinking about things that you COULD die from.
ME: Like what?
ME: Honey, I'm really not at all at risk of dying.
MADELEINE: But I don't like thinking about scary shots that hurt!
ME: Oh, don't worry.  I'm really brave about things like that.  It would be okay if I had a shot, but I don't even need one, because the iron vitamins work for me.
MADELEINE: (sobbing) But I'm scared about if *I* have to get the kind of shot that hurts!!
ME: Okay.  Madeleine.  You don't have to get any iron shots, and by the time you're a grown-up, if you ever have to get things that hurt at the doctor, you'll realize that you're not so scared about it anymore.
MADELEINE: But I'm scared about EVERYTHING!
ME: Like what?
ME: Well, at our old house, you didn't even have a closet to hang your dresses in.  Wouldn't you rather have your closet now than not have one?
MADELEINE: But things LIVE in it!
ME: Uhh, maybe a bug or two might live in the closet here and there, but nothing else.
MADELEINE: Yes!  Things live in it!
ME: Like what?
MADELEINE: Scary things that aren't ALIVE live in it!
ME: So things that aren't alive are living in your closet?  How is that possible?
MADELEINE: (bursting into giggles) It sounds funny when you say it like that.
ME: That's because it's ridiculous.
MADELEINE: But it's scary!
ME: How can you possibly be scared of things that aren't alive?
MADELEINE: No, I mean things that aren't REAL that are scary.
ME: So you're scared of things that aren't real and aren't alive?  You're scared of nothing?
MADELEINE: No, like, I said "things that aren't real" to, like, EXPLAIN what they are.
ME: So, you mean you're scared of things that don't exist because they're not real?
MADELEINE: (giggling harder)
ME: Yeah.  I thought so.  Okay, good-night.

Let's hope she has a sleep free from nightmares about iron shots and things that aren't real.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Some recent drawings of Madeleine's that I have discovered amongst our art supplies:


Mermaid wings

Apparently the common theme between mythical creatures like mermaids and Pegasi is that one of them always has to be flying headfirst and sideways into one of her pals.  And if that Pegasus is an alicorn, meaning a Pegasus/Unicorn, that impact is definitely gonna hurt.

In other news, the girls brought in their donations for Sandwich Tuesday at school today.  Julia's grade collects travel-sized deodorants to be distributed among the homeless in Boston, while Madeleine's class collects mini-toothpaste and disposable toothbrushes.  Julia always remembers to turn hers in on collection day, while Madeleine is less consistent.  On our walk home from school I made sure Madeleine had remembered.

ME: Did you hand in your toothpaste today for Sandwich Tuesday?
MADELEINE: Uhhhhh....oh yeah!  Yes!  I did.
ME: Okay, good.
MADELEINE: But you know that you don't always have to wait until Sandwich Tuesday to turn it in.
ME: I know, but since there was no school yesterday, today was the earliest you could bring it in this week.
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) Mommy?  Do you think maybe I should bring in a nickel?
ME: A what?
MADELEINE: Do you think I should bring in a nickel from my piggy bank to give to the homeless people?
ME: Oh, well I think bringing items like socks, and chapstick, and deodorant ant toothpaste is really helpful, so you're already helping your school provide for the homeless.
MADELEINE: Yeah, but I really WANT to bring in a nickel.  It feels like the right thing to do.

Now THAT is generosity.  I mean, what CAN'T a person do with a whole nickel?  Madeleine is a champion for sure, changing the world one nickel at a time.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Madeleine Talks Trump

Last night at dinner:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Handy Nail Hand

Madeleine got busy on a new art project today.  Introducing:

Handy Nail Hand!

What is Handy Nail Hand for, you might ask?

Madeleine explains it all with perfect eloquence as she belly and butt-scoots around on the hardwood floors:

Got it?  If she comes alive, which she probably won't, because it's impossible, she will act as middleman (middlewoman?  middle nail hand?) between the kids and I when we are on different floors of the house and we are too lazy to go up or down to ask each other questions.

Handy Nail Hand is becoming a member of the family already.  She's even eating dinner with us this evening:

Maybe she will surprise us all and come alive after all.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Survey Says...

So, I found this survey on facebook and decided to try it with the girls.

WITHOUT prompting, ask your child these questions and write EXACTLY what they say about you

Q: What is something I say a lot? 
A: Umm..."Get ready."

Q: What makes me happy? 
A: Umm...(burping loudly) Excuse me.  Snuggles.

Q: How tall am I? 
A: Umm...I don't know.  
ME: Try and take a guess.  How many feet do you think I am?
MADELEINE: Ummmmm...Fiiiiiiiive?

Q: What's my favorite thing? 

A: Family.

Q: What is my favorite food?
A: pie?

Q: What is my favorite drink? 

A: Your favorite drink

Q: What do I like to do in my spare time? 
A" Um...spend time with us.

Q: If I could go anywhere, where would I go? 
A: Ummmm...Even home?  
ME: Uh, sure, home can count.
MADELEINE: Maybe home.

Q: Do you think you could live without me? 
A: No.  I love you so much.  (wrapping me in a strangle hold and kissing me.)

Q: How do I annoy you?

A:  When I feel like you're embarrassing me.

Q: What is my favorite TV show? 
A: Umm...I....I need a hint.
ME: Just think of any tv show you know I watch.
MADELEINE: Ummm...maaaaybeee...uh...the one you and Daddy watch at night?
ME: Which one?
MADELEINE: you were watching last night?
ME: Can you think of the name of a show?
MADELEINE: Did you watch, like...the other movie, I can't remember what it's called, but, like, McKenna's mom is in it?  
ME: You mean "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?"
MADELEINE: Maaaaybe??
ME: I did see that, but that's a movie, honey, not a show.

Q: What is my favorite music to listen to? 

A: you like...really pretty music.  Oh!  You like Christmassy music.

Q: How old am I? 
A:'re...thirty...thirty EIGHT??

Q: What's my favorite color?
A:  That's easy!  Light blue.

Q: How much do I love you?
A: More than anything.


Q: What is something I say a lot? 
A: "I love you."

Q: What makes me happy? 
A: Being with your family.

Q: How tall am I? 

A: 5' 2"

Q: What's my favorite thing? 

A: Your family. 

Q: What is my favorite food? 
A: You  never told me. 
ME: Just think of a food you think I like.
JULIA:  Mmmm...meatballs.

Q: What is my favorite drink? 
A: Umm...water!  I know that, actually.

Q: What do I like to do in my spare time? 

A: Be with your loved ones and sing.

Q: If I could go anywhere, where would I go? 

A: Fiji.

Q: Do you think you could live without me? 

A: No.  Because I love you so much, I would sob every day.

Q: How do I annoy you? 

A: You don't annoy me.

Q: What is my favorite TV show? 

A: Six Feet Under.

Q: What is my favorite music to listen to?

A:  Classical and the Beatles.

Q: How old am I?

A: 38

Q: What's my favorite color? 

A: Sky blue.

Q: How much do I love you? 
A: A lot and a lot and a lot and a lot and a lot and infinity a lots.

Well.  Julia certainly nailed a lot of these.  I am pretty impressed that she knows my favorite tv show and my bucket list dream destination.  And while Madeleine was clueless on *pretty much* everything, she managed to correctly name my favorite drink.  Favorite food was a strike out with both kids, but at least they picked foods I do, indeed, enjoy.  

Well, dinner (which didn't include my favorite foods of meatballs and apple pie) is done so it's time to get the kids to bed and get watching that show that I watch with Daddy at night.  And maybe while I'm at it, I can get really adventurous and think about my travel plans to, of all places in the whole wide universe, my home.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Happy New Year Series

Madeleine decided to create a new series of books.

MADELEINE: I'm gonna make a "Happy New Year" series!  I'm gonna start it RIGHT NOW!

I found her cover page on the dining room floor.  Umm...

Happy New Year!
To the blaks!

Madeleine Rowe

Happy New Year to the what?  It can't be what I'm a little bit afraid it might be.

ME: So, Madeleine, what's your "Happy New Year" book called?
MADELEINE: "Happy New Year to the blacks!"
ME: (stomach sinking) The Blacks?  Is that the last name of the family?
MADELEINE: Noooo!  Mommy!  YOU know.
ME: (with utter dread) No, I don't know.  (but I'm afraid I do.)
JULIA: She's writing a book about a girl who's trying to stop SLAVERY.
MADELEINE: Yeah!  And the next book is gonna be called "Happy New Year to the whites!"
ME: Um...
MADELEINE: And in the NEXT one, some of the black people are using WHITE PEOPLE as slaves.  And one of the main characters, one of the White-Rescue-Blacks, is-
JULIA: The WHAT, Madeleine??
MADELEINE: Julia.  The "White-Rescue-Blacks."  That's what they're called. Didn't you HEAR me tell you that in the car??

Oh my God.  I can't even.  Only Madeleine can come up with a noble idea like ending slavery but manage to make everything come out just sounding SO TOTALLY WRONG.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Weekend Snow and Swimming

Yesterday's swim meet was cancelled due to an all-day snowstorm, so the girls got to relax at home and spend part of the day playing in the snow instead:

Apparently yesterday's romp in the snow wasn't quite enough for Madeleine, however.  As we were driving through town this morning, Madeleine lamented over the banks of unexplored snow we passed by.

MADELEINE: Oh, it just looks so HEARTBREAKING to see snow that looks like it would be SO FUN to go in!  I just want to go GALLUMPHING  into that snow, like yesterday I saw our neighbors open their front door and just go GALLUMPHING right into the snow in their yard!

I'm not sure what sort of gallumphing she expected to be able to do, however, seeing as she was wearing a reindeer onesie and holding a broom in the backseat of the car:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Did you even know that I brought the broom in the car?
ME: Uh...wait...huh??  You did??
MADELEINE: (cheerily) Uh-huh!
ME: Wait. Why??
MADELEINE: I just thought it would be FUN!

She's onto something there.  A car ride without a broom would be WAY less fun than a car ride with a broom, for sure.

Because today was in the teens at its warmest, the only people to go gallumphing in the snow were Ethan and I, as we had to clear our driveway and walkways after we received more snow overnight.  The girls, however, did not want for physical activity.  The meet that was cancelled yesterday was moved to this afternoon, and because it was the last regular meet of the season, both girls gave it their all.  Madeleine swam her fastest backstroke time yet, and Julia, who has qualified for Districts in every event she swam this season, qualified for New Englands in the 50 yard butterfly!  I could tell she was happy and proud because she was literally a non-stop bubbling chatterbox during the car ride home from the meet.  

ME: Julia, are you going to sign up for a share at school tomorrow and say that you qualified for New Englands?
JULIA: Weeeellll, I was thinking of that, but I was also thinking of sharing about decorating Madeleine's room with zombies.

Indeed, she and Ethan played a fun prank on Madeleine yesterday by putting a bunch of backwards-faced My Little Ponies, Barbies, and Polly Pockets on Madeleine's dresser:

Okay, let's be real here: her classmates are going to be way more interested in the zombie prank than in Julia qualifying for New Englands.  She should totally go with zombies for her share.

Regardless of whether either child shares about the swim meet, I give a hearty congratulations to my two little swimmers on a great season!:

Friday, January 6, 2017

Family Fun Night

This evening was Family Fun Night at the girls' school, which means that Julia ran off with a bunch of friends and I barely saw a peek of her all night, while Madeleine repeatedly cried over this thing or that thing.  Before Madeleine reached the point of exhausted teariness, though, she was pretty excited about Family Fun Night.  As we walked over in the snowy cold evening air, she gleefully dashed ahead of me; that is, until she needed to urgently report a problem to me.

MADELEINE: My BUTTCRACK is SO itchy!  I'll have to wait to scratch it after I take my GLOVES off!

A few minutes later Madeleine just said eff-it, the gloves are coming off outside.  She yanked a glove off and went to town on her itchy buttcrack, announcing, "The BEST way to do it is just THROUGH the underwear."

No shame about loudly discussing her itchy buttcrack whatsoever.  No shame about scratching it, either, although to be fair, it was at least dark out so the people walking behind us *maybe* didn't see in full detail.

It just goes to figure, then, that when it was time to dress up for the photo booth, Madeleine wore a poop hat:

Her mood brightened up significantly once she had that hat on.  Because we all know it's pretty impossible to cry when one is wearing a poop hat.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Morning Madness

Here are the things Julia is doing to get ready for school this morning:

-Getting herself dressed
-Brushing her teeth
-Getting herself some breakfast
-Styling her own hair

Here are the things Madeleine is doing instead of getting ready for school:

-Sitting on the toilet in her pajamas and pink hat, singing out, "Daaaaaddddy!  Daaaaaaddy!" because she wanted to show him a rock.
-Making sounds that I swore were Clara the chihuahua whining, but instead were: "Wow!  I'm really getting better at whistling!"
-Lying on her bed in her pajamas with her feet in the air, saying, "Oh!  Sorry.  I got distracted!" when I asked her if she was going to get dressed.
-Shouting to me from her bedroom: "Mommy!  You FORGOT to wash my THURSDAY underwear!" (you may remember from the previous underwear blog post that Madeleine's Sunday and Thursday underwear are the same pair.)
-Crying and refusing to get dressed because I didn't wash her Thursday underwear.

Here are the things I have done since getting up:

-Took a shower
-Got dressed for work
-Made myself breakfast
-Ate my breakfast
-Made and packed Madeleine's lunch for school
-Made and packed Julia's lunch for school
-Made and packed my lunch for work
-Made Madeleine's breakfast
-Successfully found a pair of acceptable underwear for Madeleine to wear in lieu of her dirty Thursday/Sunday underwear
-Took Madeleine's pajamas off her body and put her clothes on her body while she cried about her underwear

I win.  Or lose.  Depending on how you look at it.