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, March 31, 2009

Annie Rose's Pizza Parlor

Every once in awhile, we get to play with our old friend Annie Rose. Today we decorated pizzas and filled many restaurant orders with play food. Hooray for Spring Break! Annie and Sharon, we couldn't have had more fun with you. Hugs!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Goodbye, bangs

Nora has been growing out her bangs. We've tried many versions of barrette, pigtail holder, and headband. Nora, however, likes her hair best flopped down in her face. She rips out any hair doodle I put in, plus a handful of previously-healthy hairs.

Maybe Nora will make it all the way to no-bangs-land. Maybe not.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our sweet little friend

Tonight David came over for an evening of outdoor play and 'chocolate cake.' He associates our house with cake ever since he spent some time over on Nora's birthday, so we whipped up a dessert after we got back from today's trip to the sugar bush to enjoy after dinner. It was actually brownies, not chocolate cake, but don't tell David, okay?

He ate with us happily enough, but was soon up and standing by the patio door chanting, "Outside!" So we went right out for a ride in the park before bed. We're so tickled on David Days. What a charming little man.

Oh, sugar

We were invited to volunteer at the sugar bush today, and we couldn't have had a better time. Sugaring is over for the season; so today was spent washing buckets. Fiona found a job carrying cleaned buckets to the drying pyramid. Nora was tickled to be carrying buckets over to the soaking station. I don't think I helped a huge amount with anything, but I did take a ton of photos.

Syrup-crafter Larry, a true teacher and showman, explained his craft with a warmth and humor that can only come from one who loves his career. He and his sister fried pancakes for us outside, and once we'd seen the sugaring process we sampled some syrup.

We are sure now that we'll be signing up to volunteer next year. What a fascinating day!

Ballet day

This morning we got up bright and early to attend an abridged school length of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. We didn't get a copy of the docent's notes, and we didn't read a kid version before we went, but the girls were mesmerized by the event regardless of the somewhat complex plot. There were very young dancers (5?) through professionals in this presentation. It was beauty for the eyes and the ears as well. We saw many people we knew in the audience to boot, which was very cool. Now we want to read all about it.

We were not allowed to take any photos of the dancers, so you'll just have to take our word for it-- it was simply delightful.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dancing duo

Fiona loves dance. She loves to do it, she loves to watch it, and apparently she also loves to draw it. She's been drawing female ballet dancers for awhile now, but I see a partner has begun to sneak in on the act in her drawings.

This was an delightful piece of scrap paper that came home from the neighbor's house. I simply adore it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where's Nora?

Nora got up and left the dinner table early. I figured she just got full-- I served a really big, thick, beautiful pizza tonight. When we hadn't heard from her in awhile, we figured we'd better go see what she was up to. Quiet Nora does not always lead to tidy end results.

Fiona found her immediately-- curled up on the sofa with her toes tucked neatly beneath her skirt. We thought piano practice would wake her up; but we just should have moved her immediately. She's not dry through the night yet.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tough kid

Nora had on a sweet little sweater I found for a couple bucks which hadn't even been worn by three kids ahead of her! Not that old clothes are a bad thing, mind you. We LOVE hand-me-downs and are thrilled to find ourselves recipients of previously-loved clothing through donation or thrift store purchase. Still Nora had, for once, a sweet creamy sweater over this undershirt of Fiona's. For about an hour. Then "too hot" and "too itchy" and too many other "toos" started crowding her speech.

Next thing I knew the sweater had become 'a little bed for one of the cats' upstairs in the hall. The cats didn't like it either, by the way. Maybe next week she'll like it. Or perhaps we'll find ourselves needing sweaters less and less. The most likely scenario, however, is that the next child who wears it might have slightly more appreciation for the sweet, creamy little sweater that was only worn for an hour.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wonderful Smell update

Fiona's story, The Wonderful Smell, passed the first round of judging and will go on to the public radio station for round two! Inasmuch as writing the story itself is entertaining and educational, seeing it make it out of the first round is quite an honor as well. Hooray for wonderful smells!

Everyday love

Nothing extraordinary happening today or in the photo. In fact, it's been a somewhat long week with too much phlegm and coughing, things accidentally forgotten, and not enough sleep. However, I was overwhelmed by the unexpected joys of the day-to-day, and want to remember someday exactly how good life was when our six and three year-olds sat side-by-side at the kitchen table playing paper games. Fiona is drawing Robert and Nora is coloring Blue Dog.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


On Wednesday mornings, Dever comes over to do some writing at our house. Now that we've finished the Reading Rainbow stories, we're on to other things. Today I got out some odd items and put them in the middle of the table-- kernels of wheat, race cars, a furry hat-- for the kids to use their senses and write down as many describing words together as they could. And, as usual, we wrote and laughed about words (and funny hats.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Today we knew we were going to play around with Tessa and Elena while their parents were at work. The delightful surprise came in when we got the call that Helena, Ada, Heather, and Paul were going to be at our nearby park. We had a really great afternoon on a really great day to be outside. Good times!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kitchen table surprise

I found a piece of paper on the table today with drawings that didn't have Fiona's signature style. Upon asking around, I found that Nora drew the girls on the scrap paper.

Wow! Nora has been drawing things we could recognize for a little while now, but this fine motor control is new for her. How exciting!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Wonderful Smell

It's complete and it's delightful. Clicking on the pictures may be necessary to be able to read the story, though. My evening camera skills are somewhat doleful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reading Rainbow Author Illustrator Contest

Many children submit for the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators contest, and we hold no delusions of winning. Nonetheless, we love Fiona's story. We had sweated over a different one for weeks, but she just wasn't feeling it, and it wasn't getting done. The deadline is this Friday.

I asked Ian to sit down with her and see if he could use a different angle than whatever I'd been doing up until that point. He did, and twelve hours later, she has an edited story. I'll share the illustrations once she's finished with them.

The Wonderful Smell, by Fiona

Chapter one
Once upon a time three friends named Fiona, Helena, and Nora lived in a cottage in the woods. One cold day, after putting a pie on the counter to cool, they took a walk.

Meanwhile, a bear noticed a honey apple smell and followed it through the woods. When he arrived at their cottage, he looked through a window and noticed an apple pie. Using his claws he opened the window. He stuck his head inside to taste it.

Chapter two
Bonk! The window banged down onto the bear’s neck. “Ouch!” he yelled. The bear was stuck.

When they got home the girls saw a furry brown rump sticking out a window.They ran inside excitedly. There they saw the bear’s head. He looked scared. He said, “I need help.”

Chapter three
Nora said, “I’ll help you!” She tried pushing his head out the window. It did not work.

Helena said, “I’ll help you!” She tried to open the window. It was frozen shut.

Fiona said, “I’ll help you!” She called the woman across the stream. Together they hung a blanket over the bear. His heat warmed the window. It opened. He was free!

They all ate pie and lived happily ever after.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Nora's contribution to the education process

I was doing a lesson out of our reading book with Fiona, learning about how a silent 'e' at the end of a word usually makes a single vowel earlier in the word a long vowel.  The book showed an exception, and I asked Fiona if she could read it before I did.

"Have," she said.

"That's right," I said.  "You could figure that out by yourself even if you didn't already know the word, because you could say 'hayve' to yourself and realize that it doesn't sound right."

Fiona laughed and said "That would sound funny - 'hayve'."

At this point, Nora said "But it is 'BE-hayve'."  :-O

Just now at lunch, Nora was guessing numbers that Fiona was thinking of, and Fiona said something about how high Nora could count.  I asked Nora "How high can you count?"  So she started counting: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 20, 15 ..."  She trailed off, looking nonplussed.  "Wait a minute, that doesn't work ..." 

The picture is the girls with Becky, their friend from the library.  (When Nora saw the picture, she started singing Becky's name over and over.)

Chinese food

We don't get out to eat too much these days, but for a couple of days I've had a huge desire for Chinese food and the girls and I had been totally focused on the art class deadline and book group that I hadn't prepared any dinner. Hooray! Ian took us to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner.

I had no idea what the girls would think of it, but they found lots of things to love. Fiona didn't care for crab rangoon, but she was very into chicken and broccoli, sweet biscuits, and egg rolls. Nora didn't like fried rice, but she did enjoy crab, shrimp cocktail, and stir fried veggies.

Their faces were so funny as they tried new things that I'm glad we had the camera along. It would look like they didn't like something at all, but then they'd tell us they loved it. LOL!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Little girl time, i.e., big girl time

Fiona was at the library with her friends in homeschool book group. It was Helena's first time in book group, and so she and Paul stayed there together and Nora and I enjoyed some time with Ada. When Heather and Paul asked me about it, I said I would really like to spend some time playing with our little girls. But as soon as I got out the door of the program room, Nora corrected me. "No, Mama! We're big now. We're big girls." But of course.

Mango-ey art

Fiona is finishing up some art to turn in to her Friday art teacher, Nancy, for a competition. She has been interested in Celtic knots for awhile, and the Saturday watercolors class has inspired her to combine the two interests. We have drawings of knots all over our house, and they're lovely.

Nora, of course, wants to get in on the act too. She is wetting down her paper with water just like her sister, and her whole paper isn't even brown like usual! She looked at Fiona's art just now and said, "I like that. It's so mangoey." Art critics don't have all the vocabulary!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Love the pettiskirt. Can't sew the pettiskirt.

But maybe I can win one for a kidlet? Does this make you curious, or even want one for yourself or a cute little cupcake? Look here. The linked post also tells how you can make one for yourself. Woot!

Breakfast-time love note

We were supposed to be having fun with little David today, but when Nora woke up she told me she was sick. I wasn't completely sure about that, since our kids usually inform us of their illness by barfing on us. We were supposed to take both Ivy and Zelda to the vet this morning, and last night before bed Nora had informed me that she didn't want to go to the vet but would rather stay home with her Daddy for the morning.

Still, she wasn't bouncing around like usual, so she had my ear. I lifted her to my place in bed so Ian could keep an eye on her while I showered and attempted to get the cats into carriers. It became clear soon enough that she was indeed ill.

As you may already know, if kids at our house are sick it's their stomach that generally suffers. We try to eat quiet foods that lack too much fragrance so that the sick person won't be sad not to be allowed food, or water, or whatever. Quite frankly, we have this down to a science by now.

Fiona could see right away that today was going to be a sick day. She came into the bedroom bearing a piece of paper. I thought it was a card for Nora and took it delightedly from Fiona's outstretched hand. It was, however, a note for me. Fiona was truly, yet surreptitiously, ready for breakfast.