Friday, September 26, 2008


This was me, murmuring in my sleep last night. It’s been hanging over my head, worrying me. As if there are multitudes out there, wondering where in the world the updates are. Ha! As if. Anyway, what keeps me so busy that I can’t blog more? We just keep going along, day to day - school, playgroup, playdates, school, playgroup, playdates… and so on, and so on.

I have lots of new pictures of the girls, and maybe I’ll just put them up and let them lead the way. The first picture was taken by Rachel. She's getting pretty good at pictures, has her Aunt Beth's eye. We were hanging out, waiting for cousin Katie to come over, and Rachel was snapping pictures left and right. Here are a few more (one to prove Rachel may be a budding photog, but she's still a kid).

These pictures were taken two weeks ago, I'm afraid. Since then, we have just been trying to get our routines down. Homework has started - can you believe it? Homework in kindergarten. I've decided to be a bit of a hard case about it, insisting that we go home, change, snack and do homework before doing anything else. This is because I seem to be the mother of a procrastinator. Gee, any guesses on where she might get that? Yes, Rachel is the queen of "in a minute, Mom." So I've decided we will not even start all that business with homework.

Here's a tub shot. I just love those, you know? Maybe I have such fond memories of playing in the tub with my sister, so I have about a million of these shots. I love this one especially.

The girl can accessorize!

Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time with Fiona knows that she loves hats. When we go out, she always gets a hat to put on along with her shoes. And she insists on shoes, too. Huh, how strange. Well, anyway. Here are a few shots to demonstrate that Fiona will make a hat, if there isn't one immediately available. We were cleaning up in their bedroom, and she got out her favorite pajamas and started to put on the shirt. They are Teletubbies pajamas (Teletubbies is a truly frightening show - you should check it out sometime, it'll really give you the willies, but kids LOVE it), that have been handed down through the Hale family, through our family, and goodness knows who else. Fiona is at least the fourth child to be totally obsessed with these silly pajamas. Anyway, once she got the PJs on (ready for nap!), she found the swim diapers, and put one on, just to complete the ensemble...

Clearly, I have no talent with the camera, nor do I have any skill inserting them into this so-and-so blog. Ugh, you have no idea the aggravation this is causing me today!!! In fact, I've spent so much time messing around with them that I have to go get ready to pick up Rachel from school now. We are bringing her friend Grace home for a playdate and dinner. Should be fun!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A blog about a blog

Since this is sort of a slow news week, I thought I’d offer a few words about, well, words. I’d been meaning to start a blog for a while, but after a bunch of gentle harrassment from loved ones (you know who you are!) I really committed to it. I hope everyone is enjoying it, but we really don’t do anything remarkable or worthy of reporting on a daily or weekly basis. Mostly, this is an effort to keep connected with grandparents and family when we cannot be with them and all the shameless baby brags are for the purpose of keeping the generations connected rather than to report on our exciting lives. So, thank you for your patience and I hope you’ll keep coming back.

Oh, and one other thing. I’ve noticed what I fear may be the beginning of a trend. The, Oh-I’ll-read-the-blog-rather-than-call-on-the-phone trend. I hope this is not the case, because I still love to yack on the phone. So, call, call! And read, read!

A Mom's Delight!

Big News! Fiona pooped on the potty! Now, she probably won’t repeat this feat until she’s 5, but maybe she’ll surprise us all. The reaction she got this time had to have made a big impression. So, here’s what happened: Fiona was in the bathtub by herself (Rachel having finished up), when she stood up, clutched at her netherparts, and said, “Boo!” This is her word for “poop” which she uses to notify me when she has peed or pooped in her diaper. Anyway, I said, “Do you have to poop?!?” (Now, let me just say here that one of my chief fears in life is poop in the bathtub. What a pain! Get the kids out, get the toys out, get the poop out, bleach the toys, bleach the tub, get the kids back in the tub, bleach the kids… no, just kidding, I wouldn’t do that.)
So, yes, Fiona nods her head. I ask her, “Do you want to go on the potty?” And yes, she nods again! I scooped her out, put her sweet naked self on the toilet, and she pooped!!!! She was mighty pleased with herself, but the rest of the family, now we were overjoyed. We cheered, we whooped, we jumped up and down, we hugged. Rachel was thrilled, Papa came upstairs and we all looked at the poop. We high fived, we low fived, we… well, Fiona got the picture too. Needless to say she was quite amazed at the fuss. So, everyone, send your positive potty thoughts this way, and maybe we’ll see a little more action out of Miss Fiona. Here’s hopin’!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Betrayed by my own daughter!

Listen to this: it was at school dropoff this morning. We were hanging around waiting for Rachel's friend to put her bike in the rack. There were lots of other moms around, of course (including our family health care provider...). And one of those moms asks Rachel, "So Rachel, how is your morning going?" And Rachel, MY daughter, you know, the one I endured 17 hours of pitocin-induced back labor to bring forth into this world (not that we aren't still looking for credit for that one, or anything), yes, that very daughter says, "Oh it's going great. Mommy didn't even yell at me one time this morning!" WELL! The minute she said it, she knew she had said something very funny (gee, was it the moms doubled over with laughter that gave her the first clue???!!) and started blushing. Oh, I so very much hope that she hasn't yet discovered her power to embarass her mother deeply...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Way to go Fiona!

Now that Rachel is safely off to school (going into the building all by herself, even!), Fiona is starting her "preschool." We applied for - and were accepted into - a cooperative playgroup for one and two year olds. It's organized and staffed by the moms, and we rotate taking care of the kids. It's really well set up and I think we're really going to enjoy it. Monday was our first day, and I worked (I was the diaper person...hooray!). Fiona did well, except she wouldn't let me hold or touch any other child. Sheesh! Who would have thought? So, with that, combined with her past performances as psycho separation/stranger anxiety baby, I was a little bit worried about her when I dropped her off today. I figured I'd get a call asking me to come get her, but I did not. Nope, there were no calls to interrupt me as I sat around eating bon bons. Just kidding! Actually, cleaned the house like a woman on fire, but this isn't about my exciting life. So, receiving no calls to come get my desperate child, I went to pick up Fiona, and there she was, happy as a clam, having a great time. Huh. Well. Go figure.
Fiona seems to know lots of colors, but can only say "green" which sounds a lot like "GWEEEE" which should not be confused with "DWEEE," which seems to mean "drink" plus something else I still haven't figured out. Who says moms understand everything their children say? I sure don't! Also, she is obsessed with body parts, arms, legs, eyes, etc. and we have many reviews of these things daily. She can do almost anything you ask of her - this morning I asked her to go get her shoes on, so she went downstairs and when I came down a few minutes later she had put on her sister's old froggy rain boots, on the correct feet, thank you very much. Then, of course, we spent the whole way to school naming the parts of the frog - "eyes" "lips" "eyes" "lips" "eyes" "lips" and so on, and so on, and so on...

She walks backward (you can't really tell, but that's what she's doing at left), spins, and even tries to skip. This is a hoot, because she looks just like the "Karate Kid" doing that stork pose, or whatever that was. Since she's got about 4 years to practice, I'm not worried.

I will soon get into the habit of taking a camera with me wherever I go so that y'all can see fresh new pictures of our adventures, which aren't really so adventurous, but...
I'll post more really soon, but at the moment I have to go wake Fiona up (ugh! it just kills me to have to do that!) to go get Rachel soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"This is the first day...

of the rest of your life," I said to Rachel at breakfast yesterday, her first day of kindergarten. She gave me one of those, "You are such a dork, Mom" looks I'm going to have to get used to. But my statement was a general reflection of my mood regarding the start of our school years, which is alternately maudlin and hopeful. After a few tears (on Rachel's part, we won't talk about Mom quite yet) she went off with her class quite bravely and had a great day. They had music class, which was the highlight for Rachel. We had a little drama at the end of the day when she realized she had lost her lunch box and all the stuff in it. We had half the Maury School staff on the hunt for it, but we had to wait until this morning to find it in the lost and found. Whew!

So Fiona, tell us how you feel about all this!

Just before she dropped off to sleep last night, I asked Rachel how she liked school. "I loooove it, Mom! I just looove it!" So. Here we go, a new beginning.

Off to class, with a few tears...

Day 2 of Kindergarten

"Mom! What can I give Miss Nelson? I want to take her a gift." To make a long story short, this morning Rachel wanted to take a gift to her teacher so that "Miss Nelson won't forget about me!" First, she wanted to take a gift for Miss Nelson's dog, but I suggested perhaps she could draw a picture. She decided that she would draw a picture of herself with Miss Nelson. So off she goes... Hey, wait a minute! We have to leave in 2 minutes! Once she gets something in her head, she will not be dissuaded, so with no time to draw a picture, Rachel decides that she will take an apple to her teacher! Now, where she came up with this, I have no idea, and since we didn't have time to talk about the meaning of "cliche" I gave up and got an apple. I hope Miss Nelson gets a kick out of this!

Miss Nelson is about 25, looks like she's 12 and was almost certainly a cheerleader in high school. I mean this in the best possible way. I think she and Rachel are going to adore each other and I am thrilled about the pairing. Miss Nelson is so cheerful and bubbly that Rachel will never know that Miss Nelson is the one in charge.

The Days before School Started and a Bit About Fiona (Fiona Who?)

This is Rachel in front of her new school, first day of K-Prep

The two weeks between K-Prep and the start of school flew by. We went to the Air and Space Museum one day, and spent a few days at the Delaware shore. Good gracious! What a madhouse. Clearly, millions of people love it (an easy conclusion to draw, since that's how many people were there, along with their cars) but it was a bit (a bit!) crowded for us. We're going to look west, to the Shenandoah (?) Mountains, or some such for our next getaway. Which will be when Fiona is in college, because that will probably
be when Mom is ready to take her anywhere overnight again. That child sees a hotel room as an opportunity for an all-night party. Her father and I... OK, stop right there. NOT her father and I, just I, did not find this amusing. Her father slept through all of it, waking only at choice moments to bark something at Rachel (who was also wide awake and refusing to be herded back to bed) like, "Listen to your Mother! zzzzzzzz...." To be fair to Ben, he had the cold that I had had the week before, which caused an almost drug-like exhaustion. Anyway, someone, sometime, will enjoy Fiona's penchant for hotel-room partying, but it is NOT her family. I have vowed to avoid hotels for the foreseeable future.

Fiona is rather enjoying her days with her mom, but she asks for Rachel about every 10 minutes. She says, "Iss, Iss??" "Iss" is short for "Siss" or "Sissy," which we seem to call Rachel a lot. Fiona has a lot of words these days, including my personal favorite, "MINE! MINE!" Yikes.

We had a fun Labor Day weekend - a party at the home of some new friends, the farmers' market, church, and mini golf and dinner with Katie (Katie Willis - Ben's brother Bob's eldest daughter, here for grad school at U-Maryland, College Park) on Monday. Now, that was fun! I think Katie will probably be screening all our calls from now on (!), but the rest of us all had fun. I, personally, have come a looooong way since having children. We didn't even take a score card with us, and we only played about 14 of the 18 holes! I was so proud of myself! I got a hole-in-one and I only jumped up and down a little bit before running off after Fiona, who was having a great time climbing all over everything.

OK, I have one more story before I try to post this. It seems Rachel has taken up a cause I have long since abandoned - the Toilet Seat. We only have one bathroom, which makes things a bit interesting and doesn't leave much room for privacy. We try, but it's not easy. Anyway, Rachel caught Ben on his way out of the bathroom the other day, and noticed that he had (of course) left the toilet seat up. She said to him, "Papa! You HAVE to put the toilet seat down! You live with HUNDREDS of women and we NEED to have the seat down!!" We are still laughing about this, but poor Ben doesn't appreciate the reminder of how seriously he is outnumbered around here. I say, just wait about 10 years!

Keep an eye on us for more updates! I am sure I will figure out this picture thing at a later date, but in the meantime, I just stuck them in where and how I could.