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.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Utah Vacation, Day 1

The Rowe household is in Salt Lake City for a late summer family vacation!  Even though we had to get up before 5am, the kids were cooperative and so excited to be on our way.

A photo snapshot of our first day:

The girls are having a great time so far.  Julia remains more pragmatic, telling us things like, "I'm glad we came here," while Madeleine is all hyperbole.  Salt Lake City is the BEST city in the world.  The refried beans she got at dinner were OUT OF THIS WORLD.  And then we had this discussion:

MADELEINE: Will we EVER forget this vacation?  Will we ever think of it as JUST A VACATION?
ME: What do you think it is?
MADELEINE: A crazy vacation!
ME: What's so crazy about it?
MADELEINE: Like, having to get up at, like, FOUR in the morning.  And, like, how BEAUTIFUL it is here?  And, like, going to the zoo for HOURS.

It's not hard to please this kid.  Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!