Sunday, December 21, 2014

"You know you're a mom when" quotes.

"Mom? Do you have these frog stickers for any particular reason?"
"I'm just saving them for a rainy day."

"We'll eat as soon as the dinosaurs are cooked."

"I think we'll give the Aston Martin to someone else."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Supermodels and dragon collections

A well-meaning woman at the store complimented Meg on her glasses. "You look like a supermodel!"
This seemed to puzzle Meg, so I thanked the lady on her behalf. Sure enough, she asked me, "What's a supermodel?" I described it as someone who tries on clothes for someone to take pictures of them, which completely befuddled her. Adults are incredibly weird. She assured me she did not want to be a supermodel.

Meg also doesn't approve of princesses or fairies. She does not want any princess or fairy anything for Christmas, so don't get her any. The examining room at the pediatrician's office offended her deeply because it had princess stickers all over the walls, and she told me so very loudly, and furthermore that girls don't like princesses. Boys like princesses! A completely random passing doctor was apparently amused, or distressed, or something, and came in to try and persuade her that some kids, boys and girls both, actually do like princesses. She wasn't very successful.

This week we're listening to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on CD as we drive in the car. (We drive plenty.) Queen Lucy is apparently okay, not being a princess. I paused the story as we arrived at the dragon's cave and had Meg guess what Eustace would find inside.

"I don't know."
"What do dragons like to collect?" I prompted her.
"Yes! What kind of stones?"
 Dragons do like to collect Arkenstones, so there. Ha!

I am so proud of Meg's cultural attainment. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Word art

I've been admiring all that hand-drawn and chalkboard-esque word art that's been floating around. There have been some I very nearly bought, but I thought I'd try my hand at it, you know, before spending actual money. I had a canvas that needed repurposing, so I got out paint and a metallic Sharpie. I like how it turned out.

I hung it over our gigantic TV in an effort to distract from it. This TV, I'm grateful for it, but it absolutely dominates the living room. It's right by the front door and takes up as much visual space as the recliner, and it's actually so big as to affect my self-image. Come to find out I'd kind of been proud of being a person who didn't have a big TV! So, y'all, I have a giant TV, and it needed not to be the center of the living room. The word art gives your eye something to look at on that wall besides the screen.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Online shopping

I've gotten to where I hate online shopping, and Amazon is the worst. It's incredibly stress-inducing.

I'm not sure the item is really the item I want, and if it probably is, I'm overwhelmed with pricing and choices. Is it better to get it from Amazon or the independent seller? Am I going to get that other one too so I qualify for free shipping? But another website might have a better price. Or a coupon. Or free shipping that isn't so nerve-racking.

Free shipping. I get free shipping at Target. Does Target have the thing? They do online, but then I have to wait like two weeks, and I probably want it before then. And I have to type numbers into the computer. And they might have a better sale in-store and also I'll be able to see it. I'd much rather drag myself and two small children all the way to the store to find out.  The Target cafe has popcorn, but if we go too close to lunchtime we better not get popcorn and then I'll have to fend Meg away from the cafe.

Well, or maybe Zappo's? Or L.L. Bean? They have free shipping but they're too expensive.

At this point I have no idea what I want. I don't need anything after all. And why would I order stuff? I don't even like stuff. I probably have too much stuff. I need coffee.

Friday, December 05, 2014

My pretty mantel, and how decorating is going

Oh, Christmas decorations.

I found a really cute printable Christmas village on Pinterest and I actually printed it out and set it on the mantel. I arranged it with my little wooden snowmen, a rose, and the origami tree made out of a book, and I have been experimenting with a few candles because they are glowy and warm. And because nothing goes better with paper than fire? Apparently. It turned out darling. Also, despite the free printables, nobody will have one like it! But it is a mantel, and well out of reach of curious fingers, so I think I can get away with the candles.

I'm operating this whole Christmas season, as far as I can, on the principle that if it helps us celebrate, awesome, and if it's a burden, we aren't going do it. Isn't there a saying about not letting the perfect become the enemy of the good? Christmas is too good to ruin with perfectionism. For instance, right here, the photo quality is not that great because my camera is not talking to my computer these days. I'd like to have beautifully lit and styled pictures for my blog, because I do actually know what well-done is like, but I would probably have to download the camera to Jonathan's computer and transfer them over on a flash drive, and then actually edit them, which all is obviously not going to happen, so until further notice you get cell phone pictures.

We were able to show hospitality with our Christmas tree this year, which I thought was incredibly cool. Meg had friends over, aged three and four, and she was so excited about CHRISTMAS that they and she and I put our tree up then and there. When we decorated it, I left half our ornaments in the box, because Kate is one and her favorite thing to do is pull everything off the tree. When we had other friends over today, the toddler inspected what was within reach and the older kids all pulled the bells off the tree and rang them to a very loud version of Jingle Bells. I could have a perfect tree, possibly, or I can think indestructible thoughts and include the littles in our celebration. There's precedent for that.

I really meant to do a proper Advent devotional, with cute illustrations and Bible readings, and that just didn't happen this year. I had the craft all ready. I never even managed to buy chocolate Advent calendars. Now that's sad. But I'm pretty sure the Bible never commands us to observe Advent calendars, chocolate or otherwise. Jesus is pleased to have us, squashed candle holders and salt-dough dinosaur ornaments and all.  Isn't that encouraging? And so we are looking back and forward to His coming.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Perfectly reasonable

Today we had a great checker at Trader Joe's who made conversation with Meg. I found it pretty entertaining.

"What's your favorite color?"
"Green, and red, and turquoise."
"What's your favorite animal?"
"A TYRANNOSAURUS REX! It's a dinosaur," she explained.
She nodded. "I know. It's a big dinosaur. If you were stuck on a desert island, what would you want to take with you?"
Meg considered. "Sunscreen. If it was a hot desert island."


Meg was helping me decorate the tree. She took a toy trumpet and started blowing on it. "FWOOM, HOO HOO HOO HOOM! FWOOM HOOM HOOM! Hmm, interesting sound. An interesting sound."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Helpful distinctions

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting a tomato into fruit salad.

Knowledge is also knowing that a pterodactyl is not a dinosaur, because pterodactyls can fly. Wisdom is not putting pterodactyls into fruit salad.

(My apologies to Pinterest and whoever originally made the point about fruit salad.)

"Daddy, I think what you really are is a battleasaurus." Meg

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dead man's bones

"Mom, look what I have in this treasure chest. It's a dead person, a skeleton."
Me: "Oh, is it like his coffin? His sarcophagus?"
Meg: "No, it's where I put his bones so no one would know what happened to them. And this is a cool-looking chest. That's why I decided to keep his bones in here."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our young apprentice

Tonight Jonathan's spoon was making lightsaber noises.

"Vmmmm..... vmmmmm....bzzt! vmmm.... vmmm... vrrrrmmmm."

Kate thought this was hilarious and started helping her spoon make lightsaber noises too.

"La! Laaa! Laa!" whack, whack, whack.

Jonathan told her, "Obi-Wan has taught you well. But he did not teach you everything. No, no, wait, that was Shi-Fu. Shi-Fu has taught you well!"

Star Wars, Kung Fu Panda. We know the greats.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Well, obviously

Meg: "Oh no! Peso is stuck in front of the tar truck, and it won't be able to get through!"
Me: "Why is there a tar truck under the ocean? Are there roads and parking lots down there?"
Meg, matter-of-factly: "No, it's fixing the cracks in the bottom of the ocean."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

All conversational roads lead to Octonauts

Meg managed to boggle even me today by bringing in the Octonauts. It all started so innocently, too. We were listening to a CD of Greatest Hits of 1949 and I had to try to explain the whip-cracks in the Mule Train song. That led to a description of a whip, which led to Indiana Jones, which led to the Ark of the Covenant. Then we had to talk about the real Ark, as opposed to the Spielberg version, which led us directly to the Meg version.

Me: "It was a box covered inside and out with gold, and it had two long sticks to carry it by. There were statues of two angels on top. And Moses put the Ten Commandments inside."
Meg: "Why?"
Me: "Because that was how God told them to make it."
Meg:  "They should have colored pictures of Octonauts and put them on the box. That would have been more fun."

Boggle, boggle. I pointed out that Octonauts hadn't been invented yet, and furthermore God wanted people to think about Him when they saw the box, and they could make statues of angels but they couldn't make statues of God because they didn't know what He looked like. Meg still felt Octonauts would be much cooler.

Jonathan, inventively, said that angels are like Octonauts in a lot of ways: they go on missions, they help people --
Meg: "The way angels are NOT like Octonauts is that they DON'T HELP SEA CREATURES. They could probably help a land creature, but they aren't much of a swimmer."

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Meg on China's foreign policy

Meg, indignantly: "They should not treat a man [our president] like a screaming dinosaur boy!"

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Kate update

Kate just added another skill to her repertoire. She started walking unsupported. She's still mostly at that step-step-tumble stage, but on Tuesday she took four or five steps in a row in the Anthropologie dressing room. I'm really kindly disposed toward Reston these days -- Meg prayed for the first time at Trader Joe's in Reston and now Kate has walked there. Good associations.

Back to baby news... we're at thirteen months and Kate has pushed out seven teeth, five on top and two on the bottom. She now expresses her feelings more firmly. She's still happy, in general, but I can no longer assume when she starts crying that it's because someone trampled on her. They might just be refusing to hand over an Octonaut -- oh the horror!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Bowties are cool, too.

As Meg and I passed the Doctor Who merchandise at the mall, two girls were lifting down a stack of fezzes. "I like fezzes," one said.

I tried. I really did. But I couldn't resist. I said it. "Fezzes are cool."

And the girl smiled. "Yes, they are."

Halloween on the high seas

Meg's new great love is the Octonauts, so she wanted to be Captain Barnacles for Halloween. I was not quite prepared to make all of us Octonauts costumes, so we expanded it as The High Seas. Jonathan wanted to be a mathematical pirate, I wanted to be a mermaid because I realized I'd never been one (!!), and Kate got to go as the ship's mouse.

We used a pile of our leftover moving cardboard to create a pirate ship in a corner of the living room and created a treasure hunt - the map, of course, was found in a bottle. Meg was quite pleased to discover in a linen closet a whole treasure chest of CANDY!

I suggested to Meg that perhaps next year, she could go as a princess. She was unimpressed.

"No, next year I'm dressing up as Shellington."
"Why not a princess?"
"It's not really my style. I'd rather be Shellington."
I pursued the question. Finally she explained, "Princesses are BORING."

Well, that does cover it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The pink bed of doom

In case you were wondering whether all my crafts turn out, the answer is no. No, they really don't.

I have had a twin-size headboard, footboard, and whatnots clogging up my kitchen passage for about a month, waiting for a non-rainy interlude. A friend found them for me free, and they were fine (especially because they have snazzy twist-off knobs on top! so cool!) but they would be MUCH COOLER in hot pink for Meg. Obviously. So I bought a can of spray primer and another of paint and seized the weekend, which was warm and sunny.

While we do have a lovely huge backyard, it is also quite grassy, so the dropcloth didn't lie flat. It bunched up and flopped around in the wind, strategic rocks and all, and stuck to the painted bed parts. It made weird wrinkles. It also, charmingly, flung layers of white primer back on top of the pink, and they stuck there and couldn't even be sanded off with the sandpaper I have.

I didn't get enough primer or paint the first time, not having painted a bed before, so I wasted a day and a half chasing after more paint of the same color, which is apparently only sold at Wal-Mart in Winchester and not at True Value, Lowes, Target, or Wal-Mart in Leesburg. I wasn't going to Wal-Mart in Winchester because it's 25 minutes away the wrong direction, although in hindsight I could have. I hadn't expected that color would be so rare. I finally got a slightly different pink paint at Wal-Mart in Leesburg, because by then I didn't care, and I got three cans.

Well, the new paint was awful. It dripped and spurted and made blobs. It actually failed to adhere to the primer, in some places, and went scattered and shattered-looking. I'd have done far better to buy a bucket of paint and use a brush. Or, plan of plans, I could have assembled it unpainted and let Meg have a brown bed. I am never buying Krylon spray paint again.

The now wrinkled, shattered-looking, blobby, and smudged pink bed is drying out back. Tomorrow we will bring it in, hopefully before the rains start, and we will assemble it and let Meg have her pink bed. Because not all projects are wins, but a home is still worth making. So there.

Also, the bed has spinny knobs on top that twist off. I don't think she'll mind paint blobs.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rivers and planets

We always make a fuss when we drive over rivers. It makes life more exciting, and now that we're doing school it also counts as Doing Geography.
Me: "Hey, look, Meg! It's the Shenandoah River!"
Meg: "Hey, Shenandoah! Long time no see!"
Me, speaking as the river: "Hi, Meg!"
Meg, disapprovingly: "It doesn't talk."

We're learning about planets this week. I was telling Meg how Mercury doesn't have any atmosphere, so it gets really hot during the day and really cold at night. She observed, with great accuracy, "You would have to have a spacesuit or a pair of very wooly pajamas if you wanted to sleep there."

Also on that subject: "If you had a grown-up horse [on Mercury], you would have to take care of it and put a space suit on it."

Friday, October 10, 2014

In which my library card opens a door

This afternoon we locked ourselves out of the main bathroom. It's the kind of doorknob where you twist the inside knob and the outer one can't turn. There's a little hole in the middle of the outer one, but don't think you can poke a wire hanger in there and unlock it, because there's nothing to unlock. (Jonathan says, acording to his research, you can use a particular kind of screwdriver and twist the thing around.)

Bedtime arrived. Meg's toothbrush was still in chancery, as were all our spare toothbrushes. And the toothbrushing sticker chart was in there. It was unthinkable to skip brushing teeth for a night, because this night (oh joy of joys!) she was due for a prize. Also, we kind of like having two bathrooms accessible.

So I went and got a credit card. Actually, I got an old library card. I was able to slide it between the door and the frame and persuade the latch to open, and hurray! The door opened!

So there you have it, folks: your library card really can open doors.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Galoot the sword

I dipped into an old medieval verse epic Morte Arthur (not Malory's, another one) which called Gawain's sword "Galuthe." It's really just as well this didn't make it into the general tradition. Galuthe doesn't have the same ring as Excalibur.

"Excalibur is looking particularly shiny today, wot?" "Oh, yes yes. Lovely day for it and all that. And did you get Galoot sharpened after that tiff with Sir Pellinore?" "Your majesty, my sword's name is GALUTHE." "Ah, that's just your Northern accent!"

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Empire Strikes Back, part II

This edition of Movies with Meg is brought to you by the word "fossil." We don't really like it when good guys get frozen in carbonite, aka fossilized.

Sadly: "Why did they turn Han Solo into a fossil? Why did they turn Han Solo into a fossil?"

"Maybe they should turn Darth Vader into a fossil and leave him a fossil forever." Then, to Luke: "Kill him! Or turn him into a fossil!"

Jonathan: "I just think I'd have much more fun with Darth Vader's toys than he does."
Meg, with sudden interest: "I didn't know Darth Vader had toys."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Yes, we have no paper towels

I have a bad cold this week which has turned me into the Great Slime Monster. Slime Monsters apparently like hot tea, recliners, endless rounds of Winne the Pooh and Octonauts, and have a terrible temper when confronted with unnecessary messes.

Meg was helping me by washing sweet potatoes while I fed Kate. I looked up from a bite of yogurt to see Meg calmly squirting water through the hole in the sink -- not the drain hole, but the one on the top that sometimes has a soap dispenser in it. You know, the hole with no plumbing attached. I store paper towels under there.

I shrieked, "MEG!!!!!!!" and leapt to turn the water off. Meg looked confused and explained that she just wanted to find out where the hole went. "SO YOU SQUIRTED WATER THROUGH IT?????" Well... yes. Actually. Sorry, Mom.

I called Jonathan and let him explain to her why we don't randomly run water under the sink while I surveyed the damage. There actually wasn't much. There was a lot of water on the counters and floor, which I wiped up with towels, and a lot of water in the four backup rolls of paper towels under the sink. I set the soggy paper towels out on the back deck to dry. Jonathan set up a fan underneath to help air things out. Everything was fine.

Except, of course, the paper towels. Because it rained last night and all day. Poor paper towels.

The Empire Strikes Back, part 1

Last night we watched about the first half of ESB. Meg:

"What is Han Solo for?"

"This is the best movie in the whole world!"

And we didn't even get to the part where Han Solo gets turned into a fossil. :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

She's up to something

I've taken to putting up a baby gate at the doorway to Meg's room. We had been keeping the door closed to keep Kate out of Meg's decidedly non-baby-approved toys, but then that room didn't get any air circulation. But gate or no gate, those Barbie shoes are so attractive and Kate knows they're in there. So when I need to chase Kate away from the baby gate, I usually say something like, "No, no, sweetie. Not for you."

Meg has a more direct approach. "NO! You'll never get away with your evil plan, Kate!" or, possibly, "Be off, creature!"

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Plant update

Also, the zucchini that looks like a watermelon might have been a pumpkin. At least one of those vines has produced an actually orange pumpkin; I'm not sure about the other vine or vines. The things on them are still green and one might still be a zucchini. But, you can consider this a public service announcement: if that mystery vegetable was a pumpkin, you can totally use grated green pumpkin to make Death By Chocolate cake with ganache and it won't kill you. It was fabulous cake and stayed moist for days.

She's entered a larger universe

Meg has watched Star Wars! We started with A New Hope (OBVIOUSLY). She said, as the Death Star exploded:

"That's why we don't use torpedoes."

Next up: Empire Strikes Back!

What we did in August

We just got back from spending most of August with my family. We had lots of fun! Kate turned eleven months old while we were out there and didn't so much achieve milestones as speed-crawl past them. She sprouted two upper teeth, went from slow-crawling to the aforementioned speed-crawl, and started pulling up. And cruising on objects. And walking with assistance. She also smiled at everyone and blinked her huge blue eyes at them. She made lots of friends.

Meg, meanwhile, reveled in all those outdoorsy New Mexican things to do. We hunted shell fossils in the mountains, played in mountain streams, dug up dinosaur bones out of my sister's yard, camped and roasted marshmallows in my parents' backyard, observed the recent flood damage at Bandelier, picked and identified wildflowers for our flower prints, and went to the museum and archaeological site where they dig up Clovis points. In between times she played with grandparents and cousins, amused herself in the wading pool, and arranged dinosaurs on otherwise normal tablescapes. A good time was had by all, I think.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Fierce guardians of the library cards

I'm seriously having issues with the Berryville library. The librarians may have layers like onions, because they guard their library cards as jealously as an ogre its toll bridge. For background. Berryville has pretty much no bureaucracy and everything but the post office, even the library, is physically in the same building.

So I was caught flat-footed the day I tried to get my new library card, present address firmly in mind and two small girls in tow. I was informed in no uncertain terms that if I wanted to check things out I had to come back with suitable papers - they handed me a list - and have a nice day.

So I perused the list. Utility bill. Okay. So yesterday, while Jonathan watched the girls, I went back with a utility bill and two or three other items to prove our Berryville residence. They didn't like them either. Those papers were in Jonathan's name. (Because, guess what, he called to set up our utilities.) Aren't they in my name too? Obviously not. Could the librarian call Jonathan to confirm he's my husband? No. They don't do that. Bring them a piece of mail with my name on it. Any piece of mail will do. [Hmm.]

I left, defeated.

A sympathetic relative asked if I was considering identity theft yet.

So today, after church, and meeting our landlady, and after determining that I needed chocolate chips for a Death By Chocolate zucchini cake with ganache and that I had to go out to the grocery store, I dropped by the library again. I took several items of mail with my name and current address on it - an ad from the utility company, an ad from Garnet Hill, and some kind of insurance statement. "Any piece of mail will do" was replaying in my mind.

The Berryville library is closed on Sundays.

The entire Berryville county building is apparently closed on Sundays.

The end.

On happier topics, when Jonathan's parents came down last week, they brought a whole bin of my old toys, including a collection of stuffed animals. Meg is particularly fond of one I called Asenath, after Joseph's Egyptian wife. Meg doesn't like that name, though. "Have you seen Little Miss Kitty? She's white and fluffy. She's the one Mom calls Asthma."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Feels like home

A friend invited us to go berry picking at the Mackintosh farm this morning. It was downright chilly - only about sixty-five, which is ridiculous for late July, and it was wonderful. Hurray for the polar vortex. (It DID come back in the summer when we would appreciate it!) Meg and I actually had more fun in the veggie patch than with the blackberries: the berries were fine, but on the other side we found zucchini and eggplant and peppers in their natural habitat. Meg especially got a kick out of picking peppers. 

The zucchini plants at the farm had both ripe fruit and blossoms on the same plant, which I thought was so strange. We have two zucchini plants out back, both of which are blooming, so
I figured I might as well check them. And we had a huge zucchini - six inches long and nearly as thick. It looked like a watermelon. Cool.
The zucchini that looks like a watermelon

I finally worked up the courage to take the girls out back to our deck. The poison ivy has been poisoned (well, once) and was lying low, and since I washed our little dumpster the wasps haven't been around, so out we went. Also, I couldn't waste that 70-degree weather. I knocked the spiderwebs down and we picnicked for dinner and kicked a ball around afterwards.

It's so nice to play outside. It makes it feel like home. Also, what makes this house feel like home: Sayers books by the bed, Wodehouse books in the bathroom, and library books on every flat surface in every room where Jonathan has been, like a trail of bread crumbs. I love it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

She was listening to that story about Henry II

Meg just emerged wearing her knight's helmet over a pink giraffe-spotted fluffy blanket on her head. She got right in my face and said, "I am the Emperor the Second. 'Cuz the Emperor the First died."

Friday, July 11, 2014


Mary Poppins: "At that time in England, they didn't have cameras. They only had telephones to take pictures with." Meg

Monday, July 07, 2014

The country has bugs

Also, I got caught behind a hay truck yesterday and people held the door for me at the dollar store. True story.

Meg: Mom, did God make flies?
Me, confidently: Yes.
Meg: RATS! Then it's a BAD UNIVERSE!

We moved to Berryville this weekend, which isn't that far from Leesburg, except for being worlds away. I am in shock. Hang on if I haven't gotten back to you; we just got internet this morning.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The story of Stars and Lemon, the mice

Meg has a story for you.

Once upon a time, there were two mice named Stars and Lemon. One mouse was blue and one was green. They decided to have a party the very next day. But the day of the party, all the lemons on their lemon tree were gone! At night, some very hungry raccons came and ate them all up.

Then the mice decided to plant another tree. The stars at night helped the new lemon tree to grow a lot of lemons and potatoes and all sorts of yummy food. It grew so tall so that no hungry raccoons could reach all the lemons, but the mice had a special ladder so they could get up the tree and pick all the lemons.

And their party was a great party. Some other mice named Tomatoes, Grapes, Oranges, Purples, and Crayons came over, but Purples was orange.  Tomorrow was Lemon's birthday and Lemon wanted a sea turtle under-the-sea-space party. Crayons, the aunts, and other mice from all over town came. And there was a kid named Potatoes. They named the plant after the girl. But some goats and foxes jumped high into the sky to eat all of the yummy food, but they couldn't do it because the tree grew a lot taller than they expected. Stars and Lemon had to build the ladder even bigger. Lemon's party was a great party.

The end.

Kate is great: nine month update

Today is Kate's actual three-quarters of a birthday! She's a cheerful,* friendly, social baby, who likes to charm everybody who passes by.

She also likes to eat. She's at that funny stage where she'll be playing happily and discover suddenly that she'd quite like a snack, and just up and start screaming. Exciting. Her favorite food, bar none, is sauteed onions. She likes them alone, with bell pepper for fajitas, on or with pretty much anything, and last night she ate onions, asparagus, and beets, roasted with balsamic vinegar. I nearly fell over. She likes beef (cut up small), and she likes enchiladas (green chile and all), and she devours pretty much any fruit. She does not care for baby food purees, considering them beneath her time and dignity. But any food on my plate is a matter of deep interest.

She hasn't figured out rolling yet. She has a squirm that's almost a roll, but it's unpredictable. She crawls backwards nimbly, and she's developing this awkward over-the-leg scoot for forward motion. She can go from sitting to stomach, but it's harder to get up once she's down. She's just started trying to pull up on things, which doesn't do her much good since she refuses to try standing up. Sitting is so useful. She's so good at it. She likes sitting. Standing is unnecessary.

She loves books. She likes to wave the pages back and forth. She really learned how to scoot forward to get those grown-up hardbacks we tend to leave just out of reach, and yesterday she was showing me and Jonathan this really cool thing: a book cover opens and shuts! Watch this!

*Unless she's hungry. She gets this from me.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Telling it like it is

"Dad, while you do some really not very interesting things, I'll go get my milk." Meg

Saturday, June 14, 2014

All illusion, really

It was such a harmless quote...

"Mommy's just filling in the corners."
"Which was a hobbit allusion, " I said, for Meg's benefit. Because she clearly needs to be fully acquainted with all of Tolkien's passing turns of phrase at the earliest opportunity.
Meg announced, "It was an OCCLUSION!"

We all laughed, and Jonathan started defining all the "--lusion" words he could think of.  Meg suggested "solution."
"Yes, a solution is a problem fixed," Jonathan agreed.
I added, "Or it's something dissolved in liquid."
"Yes, which solves the problem of nothing being dissolved in your liquid. Or you're about to throw it at a troll. Which makes him solvent. His bankruptcy creditors are delighted!"

"I'm going to be a laughingstock of linguists and alchemists alike." Jonathan

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Big sister

"I'll be an efficient taker-carer of Kate by putting a unicorn in front of her face!" Meg

Because we're listening to Narnia

"I have on lots of jewelry! I'm fancy! That's 'cause I'm the rightful queen." Meg

When Susan and Lucy cried at the stone table: "I never run out of tears because I drink lots of water." Meg

"Go get your four animals for your nap." Me
"I have three there!" Meg
"If only three were filled, that would not fulfill the prophecy. Go get another." Me

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Top Ten Activities that Don't Involve Cleaning

I spend a lot... a lot... of time cleaning, but that's not very interesting to blog about. So, in lieu of fascinating tales about scrubbing, I thought you might be mildly entertained by some of Meg's and my other activities.

1. Put glitter on shoes. She had a pair of worn-out Sunday shoes, so I painted them with turquoise craft paint and turquoise glitter glue, with silver glitter glue for the touches. It turned out surprisingly well, though the craft paint cracked in a couple places, so I touched those up with turquoise nail polish. Then, I had a pair of hot pink flats in dismal shape, so I touched them up with permanent marker (red, since I didn't have hot pink) and kraft glue and pink glitter. They aren't done yet, due to a severe glitter shortage.

2. Put glitter glue on dinosaur coloring pages. Using glitter glue is not to be confused with putting glue and glitter on things, an activity to be undertaken only with great care and trepidation, because if you put glue and glitter on anything, it'll be on everything. Meg wasn't even in the room when I glue-and-glittered the pink shoes and she got glitter all over her face. Though, small girls may just have a magnetic attraction to glitter. Glitter glue, on the other hand, comes in little squirt bottles and is almost tidy.

3. Tickle Kate. You might have trouble with this if you don't have a Kate, but it's so satisfying. She grins and giggles and generally sparkles brighter than glitter, which is saying a lot.

4. Do something with the semi-forbidden drinking straws, the pretty much forbidden yarn, the theoretically controlled scotch tape, the kid scissors, and rubber bands.

5. Build a bow and arrows. Today, for instance, we built a bow out of a paper towel tube and a belt. It only shot invisible arrows and somehow wasn't all that satisfying. Then we made a better bow out of her inflatable horse, a rubber band, and the rarely permitted straws. I fletched straws and they were pretty awesome.

6. Make up your own words to whatever you're singing. Today Meg rejiggered the "Timmy Time" theme song to become a Franklin the Turtle theme song.

7. Line up toys. We've been doing this for about three and a half years now and it never gets old. We have some new variations. Now we like to line up Little People animals for Kate to grab, line Imaginexts up just out of her reach for her not to grab, and line dinosaurs up precariously dangling off of things.

8. Embellish a boring shirt. I recommend sparkly fabric paint (see glitter glue, above, but you have to use the kind intended for fabric). I also recommend fabric, lace, and the cunning use of scissors - though maybe not all at once. Today I cut off the ugly neckline ribbing off a t-shirt and it not only looked better without ugly ribbing, but somewhat astonishingly, it actually fit better. The only trouble with this activity is that soon you run out of boring shirts.

9. String beads. The trick to this is to only have awesome beads in your stash, and then the creations will turn out gorgeous and look high-end and quite wearable and possibly even giftable. Plastic pony beads always look like plastic pony beads, which is why I let Meg use my nicer beads. Sometimes. She made me a rather cool necklace the other day out of brass wire and big pink beads that looked like it might have come from Anthropologie.

10. Hang out while Jonathan computes. You never know what might turn up.

Me: Why are there people yelling in Spanish?
Jonathan: It's Italian. I don't know. And one of them is waving a sea bass. ::reading the news story:: "He was eventually ejected by Deputy House Speaker Luigi Di Maio after failed attempts to make him stop waving the fish."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


"It slipped through my mental fingers like greased lasagna." Jonathan

I was narrating Meg. "A small burrowing mammal..."
Meg was outraged. "I am not a burro!"

Jane the invisible mousie, it turns out, has watched the Sonic the Hedgehog show, which I didn't even know exists. I said she was very avant-garde.
This puzzled Meg. "Jane's not a guard."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quotes from today

"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Tell me the story about the antarckatists and the bomb!!" Meg
Note: this is the Paulsgraf case. From law school. About anarchists who bomb a train. It's one of her favorites, and sometimes a Judicial Wookie makes an appearance.

"Meg, can you put the spices back in the cabinet for me?"
"This sounds like a job for the AMAZING MEGGIE!"

"Oh look, a whole bookstore full of books appropriate for Meggies. I'll go shopping."

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

My daughter can lick your daughter

And I mean that in the most literal sense. Kate is currently deeply interested in everything and everyone that crosses her path, and the best way to find out about it is mouth-first. So many textures! So many flavors! So many delicious friends! Cold marble countertops feel wonderful on the gums and wooden blocks get slightly softer when they're all wet. When you lick Mommy's shirt or jeans, she often makes interesting noises and jumps.

A couple of days ago I accidentally dropped a bat, the stuffed animal kind, onto her head. She leaned over in a spirit of inquiry and -- what else? -- gently licked it.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Meanwhile, Kate is great (an update)

Kate turned six months old at the end of last month (yikes!) and is doing great. She's growing like a crazy girl and I just retired her six-months size outfits. She likes eating, and she likes playing, and she likes people, and she's happy to sit and watch the commotion, and she's happy to be held, and really the only thing that she doesn't like is great big horrible diapers; as who would?

She feels that she should eat whatever we're eating, especially pizza, and does her best to intercept every bite while I do my best to outwit her, so yesterday I started her on solid food. If you can't beat 'em, invite 'em? It confused her - wait, Mom is letting me eat this stuff? Give me that spoon! She still tries to shove her mouthfuls forward with her tongue, but these things take practice.

She likes to sit up. She's getting pretty sturdy and wants to play while upright. She can pull herself back up when she leans forward, but she can't sit up if she falls backwards. She can't roll over yet, but if I put her on her tummy she can scootch round in random directions and backwards. She struggles with forward motion (we all struggle with forward motion), because there's nothing more aggravating than getting further away from the toy you're aiming for. Personally, I like having a daughter who stays where I put her, but I'm not getting too comfortable.

Stomping and kicking

Meg emerged from her dress-up corner in her knight's helmet, a breastplate, and a pair of pink wedge heels with bows on the front. She informed me she was here to fight a monster and instructed me strictly not to talk to it, look at it, sing to it, or go near it; and thereupon she went and stomped it into submission with her shoes. The pink was clearly camoflage.
She wandered off and came back a minute later with a stick unicorn, neighing energetically. Monsters take a lot of minding, as do mothers. "Mom, are you not doing any of the things the instructions told you not to do?"

Meg was telling Jonathan something and made a Horse and His Boy reference.
"...just like Rabadash kicked the Grand Severe. What a bully!"

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Fireworks by association

"Mommy, we should have fireworks." Meg
"I'm sure they will on the Fourth of July."
"The Fourth of July?? That's - that's - AMERICAN!"

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Someone's throwing mud puddles

"Mom! Someone's throwing mud puddles."
"Oh no!"
"Whether it's a monster or a soccer team, I'll TELL THEM TO STOP. Squanch, squanch, squanch."

Time passes.

"Was it a monster or a soccer team?"
"It was a baseball team."

Friday, February 28, 2014

My Darling Clementine

"If I were lost and gone forever, that would be dreadful." Meg

Thursday, February 27, 2014

You don't know the power of the daddy

Meg: "NOOOOOO! My origami is DESTROYED!"
Jonathan: "You underestimate my powers, little one."

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spring fever

We're having spring fever around here. It's actually nice today, so I opened a window and didn't freeze too quickly. Meg and I walked to the cute fabric store, bought some happy material, and then we kept walking. We came home along the trail and I let Meg stomp through the residual snow and poke at ice puddles with a stick. We looked at the stream (full) and couldn't find any fish yet, but I did find strawberry leaves sprouting by the trail. It's been so long since we could just... go outside.

I'm determined to go camping again this summer. We have a battery lantern this time (I forgot to take any lights at all on our previous excursion, and did you know it gets dark at night?) and I found a suitable thermos at Ikea. I have THREE cast-iron skillets and a sterno stove, plus a kettle and French press. I'm on the lookout for those little metal dishes and material to make a groundcloth/picnic blanket, if I can find suitable ones. Turquoise and red everything would be best to match the thermos. :-) So we're getting better prepared for adventures. One thing about not having a yard is that you really appreciate the outdoors.

Spring fever also motivated me to get out my gigantic heavy bin of skirts and dresses and try them all on. Ha! It's not spring, but I can layer like an Eskimo if properly motivated. The dresses... are all those ones that were maternity-friendly last year. They didn't magically become more flattering over the winter. But that's okay, because separates are more baby-friendly. I'll wear dresses again summer after next. Skirts, however, are fair game. I tried on all the old ones, such as they were, and sprinted straight to my sewing machine to add to the collection. First in the works is an orange circle skirt. I'm trying new techniques, so we'll see. Also, it's an orange circle skirt, which may not have been the most practical. Hmm...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February crafts

Edison bulbs are so pretty, so I brought one home. Unfortunately, it didn't actually go where I thought it would due to not being as bright as you might suppose, and it didn't go anywhere else. Except in its box. And it was sad there.

So I went to Target and got a $6 clip lamp and awaited inspiration.

Pinterest struck, as it so often does. I was able to pull the plastic shade off, paint the inside with tacky glue, and line it with gold glitter. Then I put it all together. The bulb casts a fairly golden light and I really like how the glitter brings it out. I have a gold lamp!

I also made madeleines in my new pan. I used this recipe and I think I'll keep experimenting. They tasted very nice and disappeared... really fast, actually. But they stuck badly to the pan and were more cupcake-like than I had intended. But still good.
I also prettied up two of my wet-wipe holders with scrapbook paper, mouse stickers, and rhinestones. It's an improvement over the original ugly label, but I won't afflict you with pictures.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Chasing rabbits

Yesterday Kate discovered the bunny feet on her pajamas. She chased and chased them, but unfortunately when you really reach, your feet kick too, and those rabbits just kept hopping out of her grip. It was terrible. And adorable.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


"As Galadriel said, what's done cannot be... wait a minute!" Jonathan
"Do you mean Lady Macbeth?" Me

"Well, look closely so that next time you see apatosaurus tracks, you'll recognize them." Me

I think we need one of those "It has been [] days since the last dinosaur incident" signs around here. Last night Meg was putting dinos into their basket with force, and nearly skewered my hand with somebody's sharp tail. Ouch. It's a dangerous world in here!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

In which I was viciously attacked by the sewing machine

Some problems are just... weird.

Just now, I was trying to sew with my machine. The little plastic stopper that holds the spool of thread has lost its friction, so I usually clip it in place with a small binder clip. This afternoon, though, the clip keeps sliding off and flies away energetically. And a minute ago it flew off and hit me right in the middle of the forehead. I had no idea it felt so strongly about it.


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Dracorex hogwartsia

So there's a dinosaur called Dracorex hogwartsia. They found the skull and a handful of vertebrae in South Dakota and thought it looked like a Hogwarts dragon.

However, it's probably just a misunderstood youthful pachycephalosaurus. But the name is cool while it lasts.

Monday, February 03, 2014


"Katie, when you grow up to be four years old like me, you can be a knight!" Meg

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wounded kid

 Poor Meg got her four-year-old shots last week. It was pretty traumatic. Afterwards, she commented sadly, "Shots. Nasty, nasty shots."

We've been all about Egypt around here, especially the Sphinx (pronounced Spinks). So when we watched The Prince of Egypt, she leapt up, grabbed her book about How the Sphinx Got to the Museum, and started identifying everything in the movie. My favorite moment was when she decided Hatshepsut adopted baby Moses.

"I think in our world, Sanajay snakes are dangerous and I shouldn't touch them because they're poisonous." Meg
"Yeah, I think you're right." Me
"Because then you'd have a WOUNDED KID!" Meg

Speaking of... snakes?... Meg is currently building an elaborate fort out of cans of tomatoes, library books, and a baby blanket. I asked who the fort was for. "It's a JAIL! It's a nice little happy jail."

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Quotes from Jonathan

"They're both French Roast. This one says decaf, this one is silent. Silence is caffeinated!" Jonathan

"Your burp cloths are just like North Korea." Jonathan

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sailing the high carpet and growing pizza

"All right, sailors. Does everyone have their outfits on?" "No, Captain." "Well, get your outfits on! It's time to go!" "All right, you heard the captain, mateys. Get your outfits on, mateys." Meg pronounces "mateys" with a flourish, and relish, so that it comes out like "mighties."

She's got a good little fleet now. For Christmas and her birthday, I got Meg some Imaginext toys, the steampunk submarine with extendable claw and the Chinese junk with a sail and fins that pop out. They're very cool, and also they look fun strewn on the high sea/carpet. We have a lot of adventures with them. They are sufficiently cool that I got out my old Happy Meal treasure chest (from the Pirates of the Caribbean era), took out the safety pins it had been storing, and let Meg add it to her fleet. She filled it with telescopes, the anchor, a treasure map, and somebody's spare parrot. This fills me with glee.

Next on my wish list: female adventure toys. There are no girls anywhere in the entire Imaginext universe, unless you count maybe Wonder Woman who has an ugly outfit. This doesn't bother Meg, but I am a little disturbed that they apparently spawn like orcs and Minecraft zombeans. Maybe they're just like dwarves and they all look male. (Jonathan: "Is that really an improvement?") I would really appreciate some girl adventurers for my adventurous girl, who slays monsters in her spare time.

Also, Wall-E has ruined Meg's sense of farming. I tried to explain that the captain was mistaken and you can not grow pizza.
"I can do it. I throw grain on the ground and pizza comes up, and I go, oh! I can also grow carrots. I pull it out of the ground and chop it up and give it to Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon."

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Ringing the bell

"Mom, do you remember the sink cord?"
"No, I'm afraid that doesn't ring a bell."
Meg turned to her invisible pet mouse. "Jane, will you please ring the bell so Mom can remember? Ding."

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Human nature

"Fashion is a part of human nature, just like politics and invading people." Jonathan

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely celebration and a good opening to the year. We all went to bed at the usual time, except Kate, who wanted to party throughout the night. I didn't have my party hat on, though, and kept putting her back down.

Today I started the new year right by drinking enough coffee to chase off my non-party-induced headache, tidying the living room, sweeping or vacuuming all the floors in the public areas, and rearranging the furniture, because that's what you do when the floor is clean enough to see. We had friends over for games - an old friend, a new friend (her husband), and a very new friend (their baby). It was so nice to spend time with them.

Apparently the new year is a good time to consider the past and determine what you can do better in the future. I never do, but it seems to be a thing.

This is my favorite list of resolutions. I think I can honestly subscribe to every one.

The Nester recommends making little changes to make it easier to do things you really want... like wear warm socks, so you won't be cold and grumpy.

Catherine Larson exhorts us not to fall into the Try Harder resolutions deathtrap.

Patricia Wrede talks about year-end clean-up for one's writing life. She named her cat Karma, in case you're wondering.

Honestly, 2013 was a lousy year, and I'm mostly grateful it's over. You know what? I never have to live through that year again. Best of 2013: Baby Kate.

But my doctor did tell me to take calcium with vitamin D. I feel old.

A pink dinosaur cake with jelly beans

Meg had a birthday on the 30th (as she does every year), and this was definitely a year of prioritizing. In a perfect world, we'd have invited friends, the presents would have been wrapped ahead of time (with ribbons too and actual bows), we'd have fixed a special dinner of foods she likes best, and I'd have been able to find and hang streamers.

However. This year I had to choose whether to fix a cake or dinner, and the cake won. We had a makeshift dinner of fish sticks and acorn squash which is weird but nobody cared, because it was a pretty epic cake. Ever since she turned three, a whole year, she's been requesting a pink cake - a DINOSAUR cake - with jelly beans. How did that work, you may ask? We baked chocolate cake in regular round cake pans, spread cream cheese between the layers, and made a really excellent strawberry buttercream frosting. It was all cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and pureed fresh strawberries. Next time I'll chill the frosting to thicken it before I put it on, but it was so good. Then Meg washed her hands and decorated her pink cake with toy dinosaurs, run-through-the-dishwasher-first-thank-you-very-much, and filled in the gaps with jelly beans.

I also prioritized wrapping all her presents without bows over getting half the presents wrapped with bows. I only had her "naptime" to wrap in, and Meg didn't care about ribbon. She cared about ripping paper off, and did so with aplomb. It was an excellent birthday. Meg even got to skype with both sets of grandparents and an aunt and an uncle and her cousin, who JUST started walking (yay James)! So that was pretty fun.

We found out later that the washing of the dinosaurs kind of went badly, though. Meg helped arrange dinosaurs in the top rack and I didn't realize she had included the grows-in-water parasaurolophus. She thought he needed a bath.

Never, ever, ever, put a grows-in-water toy though your dishwasher. Never.

Jonathan recovered the body, looking very much like a drowned victim who'd been underwater too long, and we've been picking styrofoam dinosaur bits off all our dishes for two loads now. It's pretty disgusting. I actually resorted to hand-washing things until we get the dishwasher grate cleaned out, which tells you the situation is serious.

But for all that, we have a delightful four-year-old and you've never had such a wonderful pink dinosaur cake with jelly beans. I think that cake will go down in family history.