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.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A love set in stone

Fiona and Toot Toot worked on a garden stone together during our stay in Lafayette. They had so much fun doing it that we decided to leave the kit there so that the two of them could work up another one during Nora's nap. It's a very special Big Girl activity, and a great time for teamwork and for family stories as well.

In the end we're hoping to have a garden path that stretches from our house to our neighbors', because the informal path we are beating is becoming rather muddy. This stone is a beautiful beginning to that path, and I'm very glad that Toot Toot and Fiona had so much fun doing it together. We're already eager to do it again, and we can't even take it out of the mold yet!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Perfect finish to Children's Museum visit

We recently took the girls to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis for the first time. We had a wonderful time (see pictures) and finally we decided we had all had enough, and we got into the car and started to drive out of the parking garage. Well, we had a bit of a way to go - we were on the third level, since it was spring break for some area schools and the place was packed (we figured there were more than 5,000 people there today, though that's only based on our mad estimating skills) - and about the time we made the second turn on the first level, Nora said, in an excited voice and with a huge smile on her face, "We can't get OUT! We're TRAPPED!!!"

We're not really sure where she gets this stuff. Of course, she put it together just right - the rest of us broke up laughing. Perhaps a good fairy gave her the gift of comic timing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter and other stuff

If you haven't been able to tell, I've been a mite, well, overwhelmed lately. The blog has been on my mind, but sadly not on my agenda. We are about a million blog posts behind, and today is neither the time nor the place to take care of that. However, I can share this lovely photo of the girls in their Easter dresses from Aunt Ruby and Uncle Bob, and sweaters from Grandma and Toot Toot. Here's hoping everybody had a happy Easter.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Eggstra special art techniques

We were dying to dye eggs, so we did that at home; but we also practiced some new art techniques including string painting, painted crumpled foil, thumb printing, and stamping when Kathleen, Sydney, Dever, and Nathaniel invited us next-door to decorate eggs with them.

Messy stuff is SO MUCH FUN! The techniques were interesting, but we found that we were just as interested in mixing and applying various colors of tempera to the eggs. It seemed a shame to eat such lovely works of art, but we found a way. Thanks, friends!

Happy hunting

Now that I'm home most of the time with the girls, I find out about a number of fun things I'd love to do with them. This town is brimming with high quality free and low-cost activities. The trick is to narrow down the choices and get to things that don't thoroughly wear out my little people. That midday nap really is inconvenient sometimes.

Take, for example, the awesome egg hunt we attended at a local farm. It was scheduled right in the middle of Nora's nap, but the activity was so fun we decided to go for it. She got a little nap beforehand, and a little snooze in the car. Then, groggy and bleary eyed, she gradually woke up enough to hunt for some eggs.

Fiona's event turned out to be on the other side of the farm, but fortunately it was held at the farm where I volunteered last year so one of my managers was able to take Fiona by the hand and she could be with someone she knew.

Just half an hour later, they were riding home clasping small paper bags of cheap candy to their chests and dribbling sticky saliva. I don't remember when I've seen them happier. The Easter Bunny doesn't bring them stuff like that-- by the time our house is reached art supplies must be all that's left. Thank goodness for Easter egg hunts, even if they are right in the middle of naptime.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First visit to the dentist

Nora went to the dentist for the very first time today, and she was a model patient. Annie and Dr. D. were once again amazed by how well our young ladies do in the chair, and they were pleased with what they saw (and didn't see) in their mouths to boot! Nora really enjoyed it, and she still likes to pretend I am a dental hygienist when I clean her teeth.

Fiona is old enough to go to a separate room to have her teeth cleaned, so I don't have any pictures of that; but I am very proud that she's able to deal with everything from the buzzy brushes to the small talk on her own-- at least as well as anyone can small talk when people keep putting small tools into one's mouth! Fiona still wants to be a dentist. Special thanks to Dr. D and all the caring, talented, and wonderful staff at the office.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The eating of the green

We gave the cats an Easter present early. No, they don't usually get an Easter basket, but even though Zelda and Ivy didn't know we were leaving soon, WE did. We wanted them to feel pampered. It looks like it worked! Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Birthday boys

Guess who turned four years old? You guessed it-- Fiona and Nora's cousins James and Luke! We went to visit them at their house in Ohio for a birthday party and lots of fun. Luke and James had both sets of grandparents in attendance as well as our family and theirs, so it was a jolly party indeed. We played until we were tuckered enough to sleep for most of the ride home. Happy birthday, big guys!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Origami's not for Mommy

I have a sore throat and an earache. My friend was unable to watch the girls while I worked at the library for the awesome homeschool sneak-preview, so instead I attended with the girls today for a little bit. Fiona was just BURNING to see the ice skaters at the library on a temporary rink! Needless to say, when I got home I was utterly useless and have been ever since.

Fiona has been working on origami with some fold-by-number paper this afternoon, bringing it to this useless body when she encounters difficulty. I had been struggling with an inverse fold at the head of a giraffe long enough to think that I was going to have to pitch the whole thing when Fiona couldn't take it anymore and requested the thing back. It wasn't thirty seconds later that the giraffe was finished.

"I got it, Mom. Maybe you're just too old." I did clear that up for her right away, but I do actually feel too tuckered for origami. Or anything else for that matter. I think I'm too tired for tea.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trying to organize

This season brings out the best in Spring cleaners, and since we do truly have to put away any item that isn't too large for us to move to prepare for our upcoming hardwood floor refinishing project, it was a good time to try to get our proverbial act together. The girls began weeding toys today as if they were born to two librarians, and I started packing the three-corner cupboard. Thank goodness we were making good time, though, because as you can see poor Zelda was having a hard time thinking out of the box and she kept distracting us with her antics.

"The Random Song"

Fiona has been (appropriately) wielding the word "random" lately, so it would perhaps be appropriate to describe the first tune Fiona and Nora played together as random. In fact, I have to look up 'tune' to make sure that's a legitimate use of the word. They certainly had some loud fun at the piano with their Dad this morning, though. That much is certain.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why is it called a sleepover...

when nobody wants to sleep? It should be called "Fun Well into the Night and On Till the Next Morning As Well."

Easy Bake, lots of cake!

I'm trying to remember the exact genesis of this project... We had just baked a big triple-layer lemon cake for friends of ours who are moving to Tuscon, and had some homemade lemon cream cheese frosting leftover. Somehow this conversation with our little neighbors made its way to our old Easy Bake oven (I gave it to Fiona when she was five-- the exact year I received it myself) which they had spied in Fiona's closet, and voila! We were baking up a frenzy. We had a nice assembly line going, plus a craft activity to do during baking down-time that wasn't occupied by dish washing or other tasks. It took us past our bedtimes (oops) but it was rip-roaring good fun.

It reminded me of the times my own mother got out the Easy Bake oven for me while she was getting ready for church bake sales. Those wonderful women at the sales used to put decent prices on paltry little two-layer confections made by my sister and me, and people really snapped them up! I don't know if it was the good cause or the piped frosting that got them. In retrospect, what's really amazing to me about the whole deal is that my own mother, who was ridiculously busy on her own making homemade caramel pecan rolls, pineapple upside-down cakes, sour cream coffee cakes, and strawberry rhubarb pies by the station wagon-load, actually added to her workload by allowing us to drag out the little oven. For me it took coming full circle to even think about that angle. Motherhood really is a blessing, and having a mother who rocks is, too. Thanks for everything, Mom.

Knit knack

I told our friend Nancy that I am trying to learn to knit, and that it's fun, but that it is slooooooooow, slow going. I told her that I yearn for fingerless gloves like my friend Marra has, and lo and behold, she made them. With, like, cables and stuff. Ah! The literal and figurative beauty and warmth of friendship!

When they arrived, Fiona was transfixed; so much so that today in the mail Fiona's more diminutive matching pair arrived, along with a little headband for Nora and a catnip ball for our felines. (We thought the ball was for Nora until Ivy came sniffing out into the kitchen and informed us otherwise.) Fiona couldn't stay still. She shimmied and danced all over the house. Nora bopped her head until she looked like a young Jane Fonda in that headband. She kept knocking it off her head and putting it back in, announcing, "Myself!"

Thank you very much, Nancy!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Diaper duty

As you may know, Nora has been showing signs of interest in the potty-- at least off and on. Lately she's been letting us know when her diaper is in need of a change. It behooves us, at this point, to offer the potty as an option a little more often just to see if she might be interested. Note to self: add to mental 'to-do' list...

Anyhow, this afternoon-- even though it was technically too late to make any difference-- Nora decided she'd like to make a potty run. Fiona loves to go with her for these type of outings, and I was busy making dinner, so the two of them scampered upstairs and Ian and I stayed down. We could hear the normal chatter for awhile, then Fiona came back downstairs. "I'm ready to change her diaper. Is that OK?" From the computer, Ian said, "Sure."

Not feeling quite as cavalier about it, I left my spot at the range to supervise the presto change-o. With minimal suggestions though, Fiona had the matter well in hand, and Nora was completely at ease. I have to admit I was thoroughly impressed. They're growing up, aren't they? Sigh.

Friday, March 07, 2008


The nurse from the ENT office called today, and both nodules on my thyroid are benign. Hooray! Now every six months I'll need to go back for an ultrasound to assess their growth, and make sure they're not getting too large. Until that point they may stay put, the doctor says. That's fine by this mama. As long as they're benign, I'll make room.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My my my my Fiona

Woo! What a week. First Fiona banged up her knee on a nail sticking up out of the hardwood floor. Later she caught The Puking Virus the Whole Town Has Ardently Been Trying to Avoid. It's been a little tough being Fiona. Poor girl.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

All keyed up

Get this-- today we hauled in our upright piano! The other day I was at a homeschool co-op function and learned that a lady I admire and respect gives piano lessons. Hmmmmm. Within two days, I found a free upright piano advertised on one of my homeschooler electronic mailing lists. I sent an email request-- never really expecting anything to come of it. A couple days later we were playing at a friend's house and learned that they too were eliminating their piano soon. Wow! Never expecting to hear from the first one-- which had been first-come-first-served-- I expressed interest in the second.

By that time I learned that the first upright was mine for the taking, so we went to get it today. I think we got life lessons along with lugging while working with our amazingly wonderful piano specialist. Once the instrument has warmed up and settled in a bit, he'll tune it up and we'll give it a whirl.

The girls are thrilled. The cats are thrilled. I am thrilled. I think even Ian is tickled, and this is moderately surprising considering he doesn't care to play and yet did a fair amount of hustling to get the monster settled into our front room. It needs some work, and based on some of the nightmares shared by our piano specialist we'd probably never recommend acquiring a piano sight-unseen to anyone else; but we were comfortable with the source where we found it and the people we worked through, and were blessed with a winner. We're grateful indeed.