talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Play-doh pals

Fiona and Dever, having done some math and reading homeschooling next door this morning, are now working on some colorful masterpieces at our kitchen table while Nora sleeps peacefully upstairs. I just love being home with our little people and their friends!

Monday, November 26, 2007

First movie?

My Dad can remember the first movie he went to see-- it was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. He was absolutely thrilled when he saw it-- by the experience itself as well as the movie. I can't remember my first one, or probably the handful of others after that, though I'm certain there were a number of animated Disney films that we saw as a family.

I do remember the year our family made the leap from rated 'G' movies to rated 'PG' movies. Our family talked about what the possible differences might be beforehand, and I walked into the darkened theater gripping my smuggled bag of home-popped corn with more than a little bit of apprehension. When the music swelled and I first saw E.T., I was more shocked than I needed to be due to all the prior build-up.

Our kids, on the whole, do not watch television; nonetheless, the American tradition of the silver screen is not totally lost on us. Ian was a film studies major, for goodness sake! For years we have been watching for the right first film for Fiona. What criteria are we using? We're still working on that, but here's a start:

  • good sense of story, wonder, imagination
  • appropriate for developmental age
  • low amount of related media tie-in merchandise involvement
I was rather hoping that Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium might have all the sparkle of a new childhood classic and be just the ticket. And indeed it might be, but most reviews seem to see more more pizazz in the title than the movie itself. Dustin Hoffman's lisp may annoy the socks off most adults who watch it, but this movie is not about pleasing Ian or myself (though we wouldn't complain). The message is strong in Magorium, and it's possible we'll give it a try. The whole film is really about preparing for Magorium's death (which, unlike Magorium, most people do not plan in advance), but Fiona has been celebrating Mexico's Day of the Dead with us for enough years that I think she understands the cycle-- at least when it's removed from her own sphere of love and experience, anyhow, where she can see the progression more rationally.

Will we see the film? The jury is still out. I am glad, however, that toys for this film haven't been jammed down our throats in every impulse aisle in town, nor on every hamburger-joint's billboard all across town. Maybe it's good it wasn't a blockbuster?

Kids as consumers. It's troubling that parents have to work so hard to combat the media hype.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Conversations with Nora

Nora is starting to get the hang of some longer sentences ... plus another fairly complex thoughts/construction in the last entries.

"Oh, Mom! We have a little cat here!"


Fiona: May I get down from the table please, Dad?
Nora: May I get down from the table please, Dad?


Nora (buckled into carseat and Jen just climbing into car): "Mom! Your seatbelt!"


Nora (on receiving a slice of cake): Thank you, Dad!
Me: You're welcome.
Fiona (on receiving a slice of cake): ...
Nora (looking at Fiona): "Thank you, Dad," Fiona!
Fiona: Huh? Oh, thank you, Dad!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

New favorite place?

Looked around for Nora this morning and didn't see her immediately. Maybe you can:

Okay, here's another chance:

There were folding chairs in that spot until yesterday, so she's reveling in a new cubbyhole for reading.

A little snow

Yesterday we had a handful of snow on the ground, and the girls went outside with our friends Sydney, Dever, Nathaniel, and Kathleen. We don't need a foot of snow for a pile of fun!

Charlie Brown Christmas tree

Grandma and Toot Toot got a pre-lit tree for Ian and me on the first Christmas we spent in a house, not an apartment. Now, at six years old, you wouldn't think it would be showing its age, but according to the Christmas Tree Hotline, it is. Mom and I put it up every year after our Thanksgiving meal is over-- not because we feel the urge to begin the Christmas season so early but because Ian doesn't feel overly excited about putting it up, and Mom doesn't mind and finds herself easily available.

This year the lights are off in a striated fashion that makes the tree resemble a rugby shirt. I really hope that fuses do the trick, but we were not about to find out on Black Friday! In addition, we've elected to make all of the ornaments for it this year from paper due to interested toddler and kittens. This should be an interesting season...

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Well, it's getting to be that time, and we're trying to figure out what our girls might enjoy at Christmastime so that we can make our plan, or make suggestions to any of the usual suspects who may be interested in guidance.

The truth is, though, that we're very blessed; and while they don't have heaps of toys, they don't need heaps, either. We have books and music, and seem to always have a running tally of around 100+ items from the library as well. They have plenty of things to keep them occupied, and plenty is enough. Besides the usual consumable items like clothes or arts and craft supplies (and who doesn't love THOSE when the cold winds blow?) we found ourselves looking for opportunities within our local area for fun. We found a lot!

We already enjoy annual passes to the zoo and the botanical conservatory, and those are no-brainers for the list. Our local hands-on science center would be fun as well. It might also be time for the girls to learn how to swim. Most of Fiona's friends already know how, and she's ill-prepared to go play when they invite her in the summer. Or perhaps this is the year for ice skating like one of our beloved babysitters does?

But here's what stopped us in our tracks: Irish step dance class for kids. YESSSSSSSS! It combines a little heritage and a lot of shaking the winter sillies out. Only drawback? Fiona was nonplussed. Doesn't it just figure?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sometimes parenting is so gross

We were trying to prepare for a day trip to Grandma and Toot Toot's this morning. There it was, almost noon-- the girls and I still in our own kitchen. Nonetheless, Fiona was having her VERY LAST trip to the potty upstairs and we were truly closing in on leaving when I heard an unfamiliar, watery "pbbbbbbbbbbbbb" and saw Nora's face immersed in the cats' water dish.

As I gasped in horror and surprise, Nora emerged, chin dripping. "I cat," she explained summarily.

What, dear readers, is up with that?!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Botanical beauty

Our family went to the Botanical Conservatory this morning. I had thought we could enjoy the colors of the Fall Mum showcase, but that's already been ripped out to prepare for Christmas, as it turns out. That whole room looked like dirt, mostly. Surprisingly enough, though, seeing a room that is usually alive with scent, color, and texture flattened to rich black dirt was interesting in its own way.

We also walked through the rainforest and desert areas, marveling at the exotic treasures held in each. We read plaques beneath specimens, scrutinized flowing waterfalls and pools with fish, and played eco-games in the children's area. It was a great way to spend a morning. Now, as the days grow more crisp and chilly, I'm even more glad we have a pass to enjoy our Conservatory year-round since the zoo is closed for the season. What a way to grow!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mullet no more

Today Nora lost her baby locks. You know those banana curls on the back of her head? The ones that might or might not be there, depending upon the humidity or how far out she was from her last bath? Well, they're in a little envelope that, so far, I haven't misplaced.

She had a wonderful time at the Amy's. First of all, there were the raisins. Leftover Halloween treats greeted us in a large orange bowl when we arrived there. Nora peered inside, gleefully squealed, "Suckers!" and immediately grabbed a box of raisins. What a nut.

Amy asked us what we were looking for in Nora's style, but for us it was more a question of what Nora's hair was requesting, so we just left it in Amy's capable hands. Nora had a great time. She didn't need to sit in my lap, which freed me to take some photos. She did sit relatively still, but some lively Bruce Springsteen was playing on XM radio, and she was having some trouble keeping from jamming in her seat. And if your hair looked this good, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's unanimous: Fiona is growing up

I just got Nora down for her afternoon nap, and I showed Fiona how to wind up the vacuum cord on the new upright sweeper we just purchased. She is thrilled to have a new skill. What used to look like a tangled pile is now a neatly wrapped cord, and she did it by herself!

Fiona really wanted to vacuum the floor, but the new sweeper is just a little too heavy for her to maneuver. I told her that I'd set it up so she could use an attachment to vacuum the sofas for me sometime today. She wanted to know when, and I told her it needed to be after naptime, because now Nora and our little friend David were sleeping.

"That's OK," Fiona conceded. "We have other things to do that don't involve kids."

I smiled a secret smile to the sink full of soapy dishes. Fiona thought in the quiet for a moment. "Well, almost."

I laughed a little at the pearly little bubbles in the sink. "What do you mean, sweetpea?"

She looked me in the eye and said, "Well, nothing for little kids. Just big kids."

Monday, November 05, 2007

You've come a long way, baby!

Well, it's been a year since our baby Nora was photographed to ultimately become a cover girl for a local family magazine. Wow, how much has changed! One thing remains constant, however: no matter how old she is, she'll always be our fun, feisty, firecracker Nora.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Three strikes and... I'm out.

It was a busy day at our house. Now, granted, most days end up being pleasantly busy, but today was a full day to wrap up an already very-full weekend. I worked at the library the day before, got dinner on exceedingly late, and had been worrying a bit about the girls' sleep deficit as I watched them over their Cheerios this morning. They didn't look good.

And sure enough, as we were going over the rundown at the breakfast table, Fiona began to tear up. "I don't want to go to Religious Education this morning. And I don't want to go to Mass." I set her milk down in front of her and barreled full-steam into my distraction method of telling her about the things she'd do after Religious Ed., as long as today was one of the days it was offered, and had started talking about what she might like to wear when she dropped her head to the kitchen table and added, "I don't feel very well."

"Oh!" I said, playing a card I was none too proud to be playing. "If you're sick, you won't be able to go to class, but you won't be able to go play at Helena and Ada's house while Dad and I are working today, either."

Unfazed, Fiona went on. "You remember when I was whiny and I didn't feel like eating my Pop Tart?" I assured her that as much as I wished I could, I could never think of a time I'd ever seen her turn down a Pop Tart. "Are you sure I was there?" I asked coyly.

"No, it was just Dad and Nora." Oh. That explained it. "Hey, was that last month when you had the pukes?" I had begun to put two and two together.

Strike 1: Fiona didn't want to go to Mass.

Strike 2: Fiona was painting her condition in broad strokes of "stay home" color.

"Well," she continued, "I feel like that today, except for not quite as bad."

Hmmmm. Curiouser and curiouser.

"Oh yes, I remember that. You were sick. Definitely no Helena's house if you're sick like that."

Fiona nodded her head sagely. "I know. But you just got us a new Backyardigans DVD, and I'm sure I could have a better day if I watched that while I was sick."

That's it. Strike three. A little wounded that Fiona had chosen a new Backyardigans DVD over her friend Helena-- even if it IS one of the very few things she is allowed to watch every once in awhile on TV, making it seem more special than it should-- I scooped up the picked-over Cheerios and took the girls upstairs to get dressed. Ian was up, so I deferred to someone less disgruntled and took my shower.

Fiona had puked twice by the time I emerged, feeling clean and dirty all at the same time.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well, Mom got her part of the mermaid costume sewn but my part still had a little bit to go when the big night arrived. Still, Fiona was sparkly enough to feel quite good about her mermaid number. She looks so grown up in these pictures that I had to look twice. Is it the seaswept hair, do you think? And Nora has been totally pumped about her cowgirl costume that my Aunt Madonna bought for me at some yard sale when I was a little tyke. When she discovered she got to wear red boots that really stomp, she was sold! She even left the pigtails in her hair to celebrate the special occasion.

Last night was the first Halloween I can think of that one of us didn't have to work, and we enjoyed it fully. We visited our delightful neighbor, and we also went to my old library branch and some of the surrounding square for some nocturnal fun. It was a chilly night to be a beached mermaid, but her adrenaline (and Daddy's jacket) helped. Nora was pleased just to be seen and to stomp along next to her father in "cow boots". She couldn't say anything most of the night, though she did manage to squeak out "trick or treat" and "sank you" by the end. (Her "trick or treat!" in practice at home was more of a bellow.) It was a night full of treats and no tricks. Great fun was had by all!