Thursday, April 23, 2009

Words of Wisdom

Last weekend, we went with friends to a minor league baseball game. It was really fun, there were a jillion little kids there so no one noticed that ours were running up and down the steps and rough-housing with each other because all the kids were. After the game (and the girls somehow made it until the end) they had a fireworks show. It was Fiona's first time, and she was completely mesmerized. Overall, we had the time of our lives.
Anyway, at one point Rachel had to use the little girls’ room, so we went downstairs, waited in a long line and eventually got into an open stall. It wasn’t bad, as far as baseball stadium bathrooms go, but Rachel was not impressed. She said, “Mom, this bathroom is ewey.” I agreed but, being a practical person, I replied, “Well, look on the bright side, at least it’s not an outhouse.” Rachel considered this (while still perched on the toilet) and very gravely said, “Yeah, I don’t like outhouses, ‘cuz if you fall in, you have to know how to swim…”

And here's a picture of Rachel, doing her homework on (yes, that's exactly where it looks like she is) the kitchen counter...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back from OKC and into the big girl bed

We are back in the beltway after our trip to OKC. We had a fabulous time there, as always. Rachel and Fiona's grandparents (these are Ben's parents) are truly lovely, kind, and generous people, and the girls and I just relax and settle in to everyday life while there. Their grandad was struggling with serious back problems, but he has since had surgery and seems to be doing really well. Thank goodness!

While in OKC we spent a lot of time with family, we went to the zoo, rode horses, got cowgirl boots, saw Gramps and Nana (that was a big day!), and had a visit from the Easter bunny. Fiona is still talking about this, and we are still enjoying the proceeds of said visit. The weather was unpleasant much of the time - windy and cold - but the one hot day we had lead to wildfire storms that made national news. They passed just a few miles from us, and caused a lot of worry. Not to mention damage and heartbreak for the people actually impacted by them. Oh yeah, and days and days and days of local press coverage...

While there, Fiona decided to give up her cherished privacy of her own bed (for a day or two it looked like the diapers might be a thing of the past too, but no, one thing at a time), and started climbing out of the pack-n-play and into bed with Rachel and me. What a crowd! I ended up sleeping at the end of the bed for several nights - I think I'm a few inches shorter than I was before we left!

So I called Ben and had him take the crib down and put up the big girl bed for Fiona. The shift is going pretty well, although Fiona insists on lying on my tummy (mine, not hers, just to emphasize) to fall asleep. This has mixed results, as I get really impatient with a 30+ lb. child flopping around on me like a big fish. Rachel also is not a big fan of this new plan as it ends her 6 year reign as the sole recipient of my bed-time attentions. See, time was, I could read a book or two to Fiona and plunk her in her crib. She'd flip through a book and roll over and drop off to sleep. I would then read to Rachel and lie down *next to* her while she fell gently to sleep. So easy. Sigh...

Rachel was supposed to take a walking field trip to the book store with her class today, but it is pouring down rain so I'm guessing they cancelled that trip. Ahhhh, I get to spend the afternoon with two kids who have been cooped up all day. Lucky me!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Liar, liar, pants on fire

Fiona is fibbing! It's always about the same thing - poop - which, overall is a good sign, I think. Of course, a mom of a toddler in diapers will see anything as a sign that using the potty is just around the corner. But anyway, tonight I asked Fiona if she had pooped (I knew full well that she had - everyone in the house and very likely several of our neighbors knew she had - it was a bad one) and she said, "No." She's been doing this, saying "no" when you ask if she's pooped. She also hides away to do the deed. BUT, she is unable to resist the opportunity to brag about the poop, and her ability to lie isn't all that sophisticated, because if you say, "Is it a big poop, or a little poop?" she always answers proudly, "Biiiig!" But tonight she caught herself. After she told me it was big, she said, "Not 'ere, poop." I let Ben change her...

Health Food Junky
Rachel is taking swimming lessons. Again... She has taken them in the past, usually with disastrous results. The first time, she accidentally lost her grip on the side of the pool and slipped under water. She was never in any danger, and never has been, but from that moment on she has regarded swimming lessons as a death sentence, sure that she will not live through the half hour. We have had fits, screaming, loooots of crying, and plain old refusal to do anything but sit on the edge and watch the other kids swim. Lengthy hiatuses from lessons have had no effect. Until this time. I signed her up for lessons at the YMCA in the neighborhood, and told her that it was her tough luck, she couldn't get out of it so she might as well enjoy it. That was really what I said, and you know, she bought it. She still complains, but she is really having fun (BIG smile on her face the whole class) and doing very well. She is somehow the strongest swimmer in the class and after two classes the aquatics director has suggested that we might just move her on up to the next level. Wow!

Anyway, I am not completely insensitive and have offered her treats after class for a job well done. After the first class we went to the chocolate shop in Del Ray. Mom had more fun there, and it was a bit pricey for a weekly treat. I was casting about for some alternative (and thinking about the cupcake shop in Old Town I'd heard about). But when Rachel made interested noises at the vending machine, I capitalized on it. So, did my dear daughter choose the granola bar? The animal crackers? The baked chips? Oh no, she chose (I can't even believe this) the TWINKIES...

Someday she will be a total health food nut and I will taunt her with this tale. I tried one, they really are ghastly, but she snarfed down the other three in the package. She hasn't popped out with a tumor, but I'm sure it'll happen any minute.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pictures from Michigan and Other Times

I am such a hippy! I have been in the kitchen all morning, aside from a lovely walk to the playground. It’s very warm, 60-ish today and here’s a shot of Fiona on our way out the door.

Don’t you love the accessories? She insisted on wearing the backpack so I had to tie it up in front so it wouldn’t pull her over backwards. But she wore it all the way to the park.

So far today, since our return from the playground, I’ve made granola, hummus, and baked tofu. Is that some hippy food, or what?? Fiona is getting pretty good at helping with the hummus, but she really got in the way with the granola so I sent her out into the backyard to play with the neighbor’s cat. They were so cute together, but something got out of hand and Fiona came in with a big scratch. But she was just in time to help me marinate the tofu (which I have since baked and it is now cooling. Baked tofu is just super yummy on salads and the kids love to munch on it). Then we ran up to the school with some gloves for Rachel (more, later, on why Rachel needs gloves on a 60 degree day), then came back and Fiona went down for her nap. So now I am taking a crack at getting our pictures of the cameras and into some sort of a blog.

They are so late, but here are some pictures from our trip to Michigan and Christmas.

Decorating our Christmas tree – Ben and Rachel found the LAST Christmas tree in the city of Manistee. It was an unclaimed tree from the Catholic Central tree sale, and they let us have it at no charge.

Reading on Christmas Eve

Christmas Morning – playing with the loot!

Peace on Earth…

Here are a few other pictures of the girls since the holidays...

Rachel at the zoo with some friends

Fiona during the big snowfall of '09 - the 1.5" that closed school!

The girls and their friends at Mt. Vernon on Presidents' Day

OK, time to go start cleaning up from my cooking spree. Then I have to make the whole wheat pizza crust. It’s pizza night at the Willis’, don’t ya know?!? That's after we pick Rachel up from the Environmental Kids' Club, of course. They are going to clean up the playground, hence the gloves for Rachel on a 60 degree day. OK, I have really stopped laughing my head off now. I sound so earthy crunchy! If Ben keeps eating this food (which he actually doesn’t, of course) he’s going to grow his beard really long and start wearing sandals!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Unthinkable! (or, maybe, Unpinkable!)

Today, I was at Costco and they had some really cute outfits at, of course, good prices. So Fiona helped me pick out one for each girl. I passed up a couple of ensembles I really liked for Rachel because they lacked a certain, well, feminine flair that we all know appeals to Rachel. We finally settled on one that was pretty frilly, but not screaming pink - a good compromise, I thought.

Well, I had the outfit hanging up, waiting for Rachel when she got home. She took one look at it and said, "I don't like it. It's too girly." Whaaaaat??????

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rachel has a pet!

Yes, it's true. Last week at church (now, I'm still not sure what sort of spiritual meaning this has, but anyway...) the kids in the 5-year-old class made worm houses. So each kid came home with 2 worms of their very own. I cringed when I saw this, not sure what life would be like with a 2-year-old and a big container of dirt, but I was a good sport and went along with it. My idea of donating the worms to the garden at Rachel's school was a non-starter, so it seems were stuck with these guys for a while.

But it's been fun. Our earthy friends seem to have found a spot in the middle of our dining room table, as the kids love to observe them during meals. The container is clear plastic so we can see them periodically, and once in a while they come to the surface. They say a child needs to hear a word 500 times before they can use it, but not in this case. Fiona took one look at Rachel's new pets and said "MERM!" She's a big fan, and keeps up with them the most. Rachel enjoys renaming them every few days, first "Earth" and "Worm" and then we've moved on to things like "Squirmy" and "Wormy" and other such appropriate monikers. In general I'd say the worms are working out better than our friends' hermit crabs. Santa brought our friend Kenzie a hermit crab for Christmas, which barely survived the new year.

Perhaps it was the hunk it took out of Rachel that poisoned it, or perhaps it was an overdose of love, but it died. And so did the poor guy that succeeded it. My heart goes out to Kenzie though, cuz she is sad about her hermit crabs. Anyway, I wasn't sorry to see the first one go, after the vicious attack it laid on on my daughter. We were at the Hales' for New Year's Eve, and the girls were holding the crab. Rachel had it in her hand and all of a sudden she started SCREAMING at the top of her lungs. We rushed to her, and thank god for Aileen's level head. While I was laughing my head off (OK, this is not my proudest moment, so it's amazing I am confessing it here for all to read, but for some reason when I saw that little crab clinging to my kid's hand with all its might, it just struck me funny. Really funny.), so while I was trying to paste on a straight and sympathetic face and tend to my daughter, Aileen was doing the right thing. She rushed Rachel to the bathroom and put her hand (with crab firmly attached) under running water. This caused the crab to let go, revealing a pretty small but deep dent in Rachel's little hand. We washed and bandaged it, and Rachel milked it for all the sympathy she could for a week.

Aileen has rescued me from these situations before, times when I was busy laughing my head off over some minor injury or transgression. Like, for instance, the time when Rachel was three and she peed and pooped in the shed and then blamed it on our dog. When we discovered the mess, and Rachel very earnestly pointed the finger at Tulo, I began laughing so hard I had to go inside the house while Aileen had Rachel help "clean up" and talked to her about why we don't poop in sheds and blame it on the family dog. Thank goodness for true friends!

OK, so it's time for me to sign off and get Rachel from school. We have a 4-day weekend ahead, since both MLK Day and Inauguration day are government holidays. My sister and her friend are coming to celebrate the inauguration with us. And celebrate we will! Oh, Happy, Happy Day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

May lightning strike me...

I found an apostrophe error in my most recent post...
Ugh, it'll haunt me forever.

Forgive me, everyone!

Hello again!

Happy New Year to all! We are back in the beltway after our holiday adventures, Rachel is back in school, and Fiona has graduated to the 2-year-old playgroup. I think my last post was after Halloween (I hope there are still a few readers out there - add a comment, or send me a message so that I know you're still reading), so I'll just give a quick recap of our activities since then. November was a blur, lots of days off school and not a lot of real excitement. We had a truly lovely Thanksgiving with our friends Bill and Patti and their kids. For those who don't know, Patti and I have been friends since kindergarten. She and Bill live in Delaware, have 3 kids who are tweens and teens, and they invited us to share Thanksgiving with them. Patti could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two, and the meal, the table, her kids (and my kids too, believe it or not!!) were just perfect. It was a really beautiful day, and we are so grateful for their friendship and the invitation.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we rushed Fiona off to the ER for a suspected broken thumb (an almost tragic toilet seat accident...) where she must have picked up the virus that hit her hard, right on her birthday. Poor little thing, she was soooo sick. High, high fever was the most worrisome symptom, and it lasted for 6 days. In the meantime, we had a nice visit from my sister and her friend Amy (and their 2 dogs, Jackson and Beebles). We gave Beth the virus, and then, once Fiona was feeling better, Rachel came down with it. Unfortunately, Rachel ALSO got the stomach virus going around at school at the same time. And then, after the fifth day of a really high fever (and by high, I mean 104 - 105) and 2 trips to the Dr., I called them again and they had me take her to the ER. After a NINE HOUR visit with the fine staff of the Fairfax ER, we learned that she also had a urinary tract infection that was prolonging and elevating her fever. And indeed, within 6 hours of the mega-dose of antibiotics they gave her, she was feeling much better.

Ten consecutive days of illness (poor kids, and also, lets hear it - poor mom!) meant that Rachel didn't get to have her birthday party, or really much of a celebration at all, but she was really OK with it all. We were planning to have a "Pajama party" with everything but the sleeping. All her party guests were really looking forward to it, but we had to postpone once, and then finally cancel.

The week after they recovered, we left for Michigan. We had good driving conditions, but when we got to Manistee there was TONS of snow. It was so exciting! Of course, the good people of Manistee were much less excited about it than we were, because the white stuff had been dumping down on them since opening day of deer season (Nov. 15). In fact, by the time the holiday break rolled around, they had had FIVE snow days. FIVE! That's a record, I'm sure, and you know they don't call off school for just anything up there. We got some pictures of the kids in snow piles and things like that, which I will post on my next entry, along with a complete description of our holidays. It'll be very exciting, including an account of a vicious hermit crab attack, so stay tuned! Probably sometime later this week or early next. Ah, it's great to be back in the saddle again! Cheers!