Monday, June 30, 2008


I tried to explain the concept of jealousy to Elisabeth today, so that she would understand why sometimes Maggie (the dog), or Nana and Pop Pop's dog, don't like her around so much.

Me: You know how sometimes Aili (her friend) will have a fancy toy and you want the toy, but she's playing with it? You are a little bit jealous of her toy.

E: uh huh.

Me: And you know how sometimes I pay attention to Charlotte, but you really want me to pay attention to you? You get a little bit jealous of Charlotte.

E: And sometimes when I pay attention to Aili, and you try to get me to pay attention to you - mommy, you get a little bit jealous.

Me: uh, yeah. Something like that. Jealous.

the return of the mouse

it turns out that if you don't let your cat actually kill the mouse, and instead let the mouse run free outside, it comes back. To the exact same spot. On the mantle.

I don't know what happened to the mouse. Its possible we have a dead mouse somewhere in our house. My neighbor, who watches our animals when we're away, said she saw the cats staring at the mouse on the mantle and she quietly slipped away.

I read too much Stuart Little.

In other news, this past weekend Elisabeth (1) asked me when the rest of my eggs in my belly were going to hatch, (2) ratted out my father by saying "Granddaddy doesn't like to stop when he's supposed to" (while we were stopping at a red light), and (3) showed her separation anxiety when she actually counted the minutes until it was time for us to leave to go to a wedding, leaving her with her Nana and PopPop. She kept saying, "its time to go now, bye, have fun, see you later, Nana and PopPop and Jen are in charge now, you need to go, sayonara." (OK, she didn't say sayonara.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

In Which a Mouse Wreaks Havoc on Erica's Morning

First of all, I am starting a letter campaign to both AAA Trash and Recycling and also to the Fairfax Couty people who make ordinances and the like. 6am is too damn early for trash trucks to come into our neighborhood. No amount of velcro keeps "the basura" as it is affectionately known around here from waking Elisabeth up. The morning did not get off to a great start.

I come downstairs. Doug, who bless his heart got up with the beasts at 6am in hopes of making it downstairs to use the elliptical machine, tells me that there is good news and bad news. You decide if there is actually good news. The bad news, he starts with, is that there is a mouse. The good news - the cats have it "treed" on our mantle. (Apologies for the mess around the cats. Our house seems to always look like we threw a rave for 3 yr olds the night before)

Elisabeth and Doug seemed moderately amused by the situation. I, on the other hand, was not amused. There were really only two outcomes (or so I thought) - 1, the mouse would die by cat while I watched or 2, the mouse would escape, and his escape path would inevitably involve me. Within 5 or so minutes, Willy made his move (he's the cat to the right in the picture). Sure enough, he caught that mouse. There was much squeaking on the part of the mouse, and perhaps a little shrieking on my part. Doug remained safely in the kitchen, I'll have you know.

As Willy then made his way across the family room floor, with the mouse IN HIS MOUTH - I had my eyes shut tight and held on to Charlotte for dear life. I was certain the cat was heading my way with the mouse as some kind of sick present (I've caught him with a mouse in his mouth heading into our bedroom...). Squeaking, shrieking continues. Willy stops; I holler for Doug to start doing something about the situation. Finally Willy continues, with the mouse, into the utility room. Then - for some unknown reason, the cat released the mouse who is apparently smarter than a cat and did the skeddaddle. A few minutes elapsed. The cats stared under the washing machine. Then mad squeaking and some cat movement. The mouse, it turns out, was never under the washing machine but hiding behind the dog water bowl! Now the cats were properly focused and Doug thought, "hey great - now we can close the utility room door and have some kind of celebrity rodent death match, and I'll head off to work." He didn't get very far before I, apparently, raised enough of a stink about the pooooooor mouse and how horrible it was that he had to be so afraid and then eventually die.

Doug bravely entered the utility room and opened the door to the deck. Willy, being the smart cat that he is, took that opportunity to go out onto the deck because he believes he is an outdoor cat deep down somewhere. The mouse seized his big getaway opportunity and ran out the door to freedom, with a little limp.

I'm sure that the mouse has already rejoined his 52,000 brothers and sisters in my basement. But, I would rather the mouse die by trap than by cat after being fearful for its life for however long. I'm a sap like that. Plus, I killed enough mice for a lifetime when I worked in a biology lab.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

dark caves and Allison Krauss

I have succeeded in making Elisabeth's room a dark cave even in the middle of the day with the sun beating in the windows. The shades she has in there have blackout material sewed to the back of them. But, light just poured in around the edges making the room very bright. This led to Elisabeth not being able to go to sleep at night until 8:30-9:00 for the past few weeks. After a fabulous suggestion from my dear friend Melissa, I went out to Michael's and bought stick on velcro.

Many of you will remember my adventures with Michael's, and how I am essentially a fish out of water in craft stores. Yesterday's extravaganza was no different, although there are far fewer options for stick on velcro than for ribbon. We wandered aimlessly for what seemed like 30 minutes, cursing the two aisles of green molded foam stuff (seriously? do people really need this much green molded foam stuff?), three aisles of beads, 4 aisles of silk flowers, 4 aisles of picture frames and 53 aisles of other random crafty crap. Finally I asked someone and wouldn't you know it? That velcro was at the very back corner of the store, just past the playdough. Duh.

Anyway, I stuck about 4 feet of velcro on each side of each window - the actual frame of the window. Then I stuck the corresponding fuzzy part on the inside of the shade. Of course it wouldn't stick to the fabric so well. Melissa warned me about this. And part of the reason I love Melissa so much is that never in a million years would she suggest to me taking down the curtains, getting out my sewing machine (yes, I actually have one) and sewing the velcro to the curtain. Instead, I followed her tried and true method and safety pinned the bejeezus out of those suckers. My sister would be horrified. Martha Stewart would not approve. I'm not going to be in any home decorating magazines. But, by gosh, there will be darkness.

Of course, I eagerly anticipated awakening at 7:30 this morning to find Elisabeth still sound asleep in her new cave. "7-0-0," as she calls it, arrived and with it came a 3 year old bursting into our room. She actually said, "I BURST into your room!" And, today, she seems like she might actually be more tired than yesterday. The best laid plans.

Earlier yesterday, we were watching a bit of Sesame Street as I got dressed. Allison Krauss came on to sing something about letters. I said, "Elisabeth - that's Allison Krauss!" She didn't understand what I meant, out of context. In the car, she can actually tell when a song by Allison Krauss comes on, but on tv - she was confused. So I said, "She's the one who sings mommy and daddy's favorite songs." And with that I walked back to the mirror to put my face on. She "burst" in and looked at me very seriously. "Mommy? Allison Krauss? She sings give it your best shot?" I don't know where she got the idea that Hit Me With Your Best Shot is one of my favorite songs...

Monday, June 23, 2008

O-N spells NO when I hold it this way.

This morning, Elisabeth had a little trouble in the poop department. I wonder how much therapy she'll need when she's old enough to realize that I shared this little detail with the world. Anyway, I told her that later I'd give her some of her absolute favorite food to help with the problem - black beans! She loves black beans and will eat half a can at a time. She was, needless to say, thrilled.

About 10 minutes later, I mention the situation to Doug. He suggests some fruit, and coincidentally I have 10 plums sitting on the counter. So, like the industrious, nice, daddy that he is, he chopped up a plum for Elisabeth as a "special treat." Well, as I'm sure you could see from a mile away - the kid wasn't going to eat a plum. There was whining. Pouting. Sulking. So we made a deal. If she would eat one slice of plum, Doug would go get the black beans and she could have as many black beans as she wanted. She didn't like the plan.

Doug went to fetch the beans leaving the two of us at the kitchen table - her with a bowl of plums in front of her. I said, "come on, eat a plum - then you can have the beans. Plums are good - you'll like them." She shook her head.

"But, Elisabeth, you can't have beans unless you have one teeeeeeny sliver of plum. Just eat the plum." Rebuffed again.

"Elisabeth - take a bite of the plum. Its sweet. Yummy. And it will help you poop." She looked around. There were some word flashcards that she had cut out yesterday. High frequency words that the kids are supposed to memorize from sight. She picks one up and very purposefully shows me what it says. Arm straight out, determined look in her eye. O-N.

I laughed. "On? You want a plum? On." She said, perturbed, "NO! I'm holding it backwards, it says NO!"

You'll be happy to know that she did take a bite of the plum. She proclaimed that it wasn't so bad. And asked that we leave the bowl out "in case she wants more later."

Also, I just took a piece of a dog treat out of Charlotte's mouth. yuck.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Damn the solstice

Elisabeth is so tired. She can barely function. We're giving timeouts like water. Everynight for the past week or so she has complained about having trouble falling asleep. Despite what some of you are thinking - no, I'm not sharing my Coke with her. Well, not usually anyway. She complains about the light coming into her room. So today we're going to find blackout shades to install. I love the long summer days, but they're wreaking havoc on Elisabeth's schedule.

Not only does she get crabby and belligerant when she's tired - she gets louder and chattier. I thought that by the time she went to bed last night I was going to actually rip my ears off. I took the girls to a birthday party where she loaded up on pancakes, fruit, juice, and birthday cake. And she loaded up on stimulation from playing with other kids. The entire 45 minutes home she babbled. Almost incoherently. Question after question, no linear progression, no time to answer before the next question came out. "Mommy, how are we getting home? Is Daddy going to be there? Are you wearing a bathing suit? What happened when Goofy stepped on your foot? Look! A motorcycle. Are they going to the airport? When can we go to the airport? Can I use your earpiece and call granddaddy? Why are those people riding bikes? Why didn't Jean have enough cupcake holders?" 45 minutes of this. I tried drowning it out with the radio, but you guessed it - Waiting for the World to Change came on. That just begs for questions. She still doesn't understand why that poor guy is waiting. And man, she hates waiting.

(as an aside, just when you're about to hit that button and list your kid on ebay - she comes running in, so excited, and hollers "the pilteated, the pilteated! (sic)" I'm so glad she's acquired a love of birds and nature. We have this guy in our backyard.)

Anyway, she's exhausted. Which in turn makes her looney. Which in turn frays all of our nerves and leads to a lot of frustration and timeouts. And I feel sorry for her. She's really a great kid, but more than other kids (I think) she needs her beauty sleep. I have a lot of sympathy for having trouble falling asleep since I'm just about the world's worst sleeper. Once I wake up in the middle of the night (for kids various needs) I'm up for a long time. And after 9-11, I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep more than 2 hrs at a shot for a year. Hopefully the blackout shades will help her. I think an extra hour of sleep will do her wonders.

I can't remember if I blogged about the baby birds at my bird feeder. This year, so far, I've seen baby grackles, baby woodpeckers, baby cardinals, and baby sparrows. They have somewhat different markings than their parents, but typically it is very hard to tell the juveniles from the adults (at least for me, a novice). But, what is so sweet and so special is that the juveniles come with their parents. The babes sit on the deck railing hollering with their mouths open and the parent gets seeds and comes and puts them in the babies mouths. Its absolutely adorable. Then, eventually, the babies get brave enough to eat out of the feeder themselves. I can sit on the screened porch, about 15 feet away from the birds, and watch.

I am hoping to post pictures from our trip to Florida later today. But maybe not until tonight or tomorrow. We all had a lot of fun, even though it was a really short visit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

from the mouth of babes...

not what you think. in just the past 15 minutes (!!!) I have removed, from Charlotte's mouth:

four dot stickers, left on the ground by Elisabeth (the kind that offices use to place on files)
a baseball that is pretty dirty, last touched by Elisabeth
two double A batteries (!!! I have no earthly idea how she got ahold of these)
a piece of trim from our plantation shutters that still needs to be put up

I did not reach her in time to remove:

goldfish crackers left on the ground by Elisabeth
chocolate chip cookie bits left on the ground by Elisabeth

She really is like a Roomba. That's just 15 minutes folks. I imagine that we did not have these Hoover issues with Elisabeth because, as you can see from above, most of the things that get left down are directly related to Elisabeth. All in all, I think we're pretty lucky we haven't had to heimlich Charlotte yet.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

second children - an essay on Charlotte

I remember, shortly after Charlotte's birth, sending a nastygram to all of my friends who told me that the second child is easier. Charlotte was, I thought, NOT easier. It just turns out that I didn't remember how exhuasting it is to wake up in the middle of the night. Charlotte was, by all accounts, a million times easier than Elisabeth. This was mostly because she (a) did not cry all of the time, (b) fell asleep on her own, and (c) entertains herself. The last one of these might make her more difficult though...

Again, I find myself inclined to send an email to these same friends. I'm becoming more and more certain that Charlotte will be a more problematic child than Elisabeth. She is absolutely so cute right now that every day she is lucky that she doesn't get eaten with a spoon. But she's beginning to show her true feathers. First, she's got a temper. I don't know where she got that from because I clearly don't have a temper. Stop it, stop laughing right this minute! Case in point: every Monday, while Elisabeth is in gym class, Charlotte and I split a chocolate croissant. I get the chocolate, she gets the croissant. This past Monday, I had the audacity to have the last bite (I pay for it, I am pretty sure I deserve the last bite!!!). Charlotte hollered at me, and screamed, and squealed, and kicked, and wiggled, and pointed at the empty bag, and screamed some more - for, I kid you not, 15 full minutes. They say distraction is the tool at this age. The only thing I could have distracted her with is a brand new chocolate croissant. She was undistractable. She will be the kid who has the tantrums at the grocery store that are the fodder of legends. And you'll have front row seats to all of the fun.

She is a quiet sort of child. But I fear she's devious. She's the type who will crawl around quietly and then before you know it, half of your plant has been de-leafed or she's got scissors and is heading for an unprotected electrical outlet. But you don't realize it because she's so quiet. Elisabeth, on the other hand, has always given us a running commentary even when she couldn't talk. Now, there isn't a moment that goes by where I don't know where Elisabeth is. "mommy, I'm going to eat cheerios now. Mommy, why are the cats eating your plant? Mommy can I have a cookie? Mommy, I'm making you something in my kitchen. Mommy, do you want to ride my horse with me? Mommy, can I watch a show? Mommy, I am in the potty!" You get the idea. And that's only 30 seconds of my day. I can imagine this turning into, in her teen years, "Mommy, where's the beer? Mommy, do we have any hypodermic needles?" Clearly I am scared of the teen years. Anyway, Charlotte is quiet but busy. And has a temper. And is determined.

If you want to witness Charlotte's determination, come over sometime and change her diaper. She is absolutely determined not to let anyone change her diaper. And she has succeeded. I refuse to change it now unless there's poop in it. She is the strongest baby and can flip and flop so well that it becomes actually impossible to change her diaper. Luckily, she is the second child which means (a) I don't feel quite as bad about holding her down and (b) I have a 3 yr old who can help me hold her down.

Lastly, she bites. But did I mention how cute she is? Here - see for yourself.

(Charlotte in the shelf that used to house cookbooks. They got de-shelf-estrated and then she climbed in. Again though, I couldn't find the baby, she was being quiet, and this is how I found her...)


I get ill watching Elisabeth dip things in ketchup. She essentially uses pieces of food as spoons to get as much ketchup in one mouthful as she can. Not for the weak stomached. She's sitting over there right now scooping tons of ketchup onto her Life ceral with cinnamon. I am pretty sure my tolerance for letting her dip her breakfast in ketchup is wearing thin. I feel kind of bad because - hey, it gets her to eat something other than crackers and chicken nuggets - but I can't take it anymore!!! Seriously, can't she eat a normal breakfast? (This coming from someone who would gladly eat cold pizza and pot roast for breakfast every morning if we had it around).

My parents have two birds (cockatiels I think) named Monty and JJ. Neither bird is very nice, in my not so humble opinion. But Monty will bite the daylights out of you if you get too close. Elisabeth has always had a healthy fear of Monty and JJ. She's intrigued but if she gets to close and then they move, she runs. Well, on Saturday she just broke down sobbing and sobbing like I've never seen her before! We couldn't get the story of what happened until she calmed down. Apparently she was playing with a ball, it bumped Monty's "platform" (he doesn't live in a cage) and Monty flew down to the ground possibly hitting Elisabeth in the head. She was pretty traumatized. I guess fear of birds is genetic. Doug is scared of all birds within close proximity to him, and I am scared of those big birds like ostriches and rias. I never used to be, but Reston Zoo will cure you of that real quick. They have enormous beaks and come right at you. Horrible things.

So now we have two animals that have landed on E's head - a goat and a cockatiel. Not that I'm keeping count or anything.

If you've noticed a severe decrease in humor and wit in this space, it is because I'm fresh out of it. I'm dealing with some health stuff like gall and kidney stones and while none of these things are serious, they require needles and surgery. And any of you who know me well at all know that I don't handle "procedures" like a grownup. I handle them like a belligerant 8 year old. I'm pretty sure they have my picture up in places at the Virginia Hospital Center and all of the doctors, nurses and technicians take turns throwing darts at it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

they say the darndest things...

We went in the pool for a long time today. Elisabeth wore water wings and a float vest. She finally got brave enough to paddle along without our help. She very excitedly exclaimed, "I'm so proud! I'm swimming!" The shear joy in her voice got me a little teary eyed.

When we were inside getting back in our clothes, Elisabeth looked in the mirror and declared that she didn't look like herself. Her hair was wet. "But my face is the same. And my voice is the sam." And then she passed some gas. "And my gas is the same."

Yes, yes, much to our dismay - locked in a small bathroom with her - her gas was the same.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

venturing back out in the world

On this, our 10th week of illness in the house, we finally made it down to Florida to see my parents (apologies to my Tampa peeps that I won't get to see them... we're only here for 2.5 days and we have extended family visiting). We have been beleaguered with two different flu episodes, kidney stone passage (ok, so that's not contagious but I'm here to tell you - IT HURTS), and now the stomach flu. When the contagious illnesses work their way through four people, at four different times, you get 10 weeks of illness. We're happy that we made it here, though. It wasn't a certainty given the stomach flu situation. Charlotte has it now, but we're hopeful that it ends with her.

My niece Annaleis came over today to play. She is 19 months old and really, really adorable. She is also totally overwhelmed with Elisabeth. Elisabeth, who is 20 months older than her cousin, views Annaleis as more of a child that she should be helping to care for than as a playmate. She said to my mother today, "Don't worry Grandmommy, I'll watch her. Annaleis can come with me, I'll watch her." Talk about the blind leading the blind. Elisabeth would "watch" Annaleis stick forks in outlets. She'd probably drag a stool to the kitchen to get Annaleis the forks.

Anyway, Annaleis, being all of 19 months old, doesn't speak terribly clearly. She speaks a lot, but you can't understand her. So Elisabeth said, "Annaleis, do you speak Spanish?" Radio silence. So Elisabeth tried again, a little louder and more in Annaleis' face. "DO YOU SPEAK SPANISH Annaleis?" So I said, "no, Elisabeth, she barely speaks English. She doesn't speak Spanish." "But, mommy, I can't understand her. She's speaking another language. She's speaking Spanish." And then, I swear to you, the next two babbles out of Annaleis' mouth were "yo soy." So what do I know. Maybe she is speaking Spanish. We are in Florida afterall.

Speaking of Spanish, on the drive home from the airport, Elisabeth said -- "I see something! In the trees! Hanging down!" Spanish moss. She loves the Spanish moss. But is confused by the name, since, duh, moss doesn't talk.

Elisabeth ran up and down my parents' hallway about 276 times. We had at least an hour of push toy rollerderby. Poor Annaleis stood watching with mouth agape. I actually feel bad for letting my kid show Annaleis all of the excitement than can be had. She'd try to venture out to take part in the rollerderby, see Elisabeth flying at her with a push toy, and come and hide behind my leg. But then I went out there with her and ran up and down the hall and she had a blast. Tomorrow, we're looking forward to teaching Annaleis that she can make poop muffins. I mean, my sister is really missing out on all that having a psychopath - sorry, toddler -can be.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Doug and I have been talking a lot lately about homeschooling our kids. We're not religious fanatics, and we don't think our kids would get shot up by psychos in trenchcoats, we just hated making dioramas in English class and want to shield our children from such horrors. In all seriousness, we see the neighborhood kids coming home from school at 4 or 4:30 to then do 1-2 hours of homework (in elementary school) which doesn't leave them much time do play or do other activities. We think we could teach them what they learn in school in half of the time thereby leaving them lots of time to be kids. This blog post, however, is not about whether or not we will homeschool our children. That is a post in and of itself. This post is about what happens if you do homeschool your children.

If you choose to homeschool, you are inevitably lumped in with other homeschoolers. There you have the very conservative Christians, the rebels, the weirdos, and hopefully a few normal parents who just want to try something different. In reading some homeschool blogs that are by non-conservative Christians (not that I'm opposed to the conservative Christians, but I wouldn't choose a curriculum aimed at the conservative Christian crowd because I'd choose a curriculum aimed at the advanced student crowd and from what I can tell, the two are mutually exclusive). Anyway - my basic point is that traditionally, homeschooling is full of whackjobs. Now, I'm willing to admit that Doug and I might not be so far off of that norm, but in reading the blogs of other homeschool moms and dads, I have to laugh. The non-Christian centered ones are largely organic, tree hugging, naturalist parents. Ones that serve dishes like seedy broccoli salad. Hemp? Nutritional yeast? If I put that in front of Doug, I'm pretty sure he'd say, "look - I took you for better or for worse, in sickness and in health... but I'm damn sure I never signed on for this." Elisabeth would forego dessert because she wouldn't put any of it in her mouth. And that kid will eat nearly anything to get dessert (as an aside, yesterday I taught her how to swallow peas whole, like they are pills, so she could get her dessert. See? excellent homeschooling mom).

The homeschool moms who blog are so organized. So neat. And they don't cringe at the idea of poster paints. I am not that mom. Seedy broccoli salad shall never grace our house. I wouldn't know where to find hemp if I tried. If we homeschool, it will be because of efficiency reasons. And avoiding ridiculous tasks like dioramas. And if we homeschool, you should all stay tuned as I'm sure this space will become hilariously funny. I just hope I don't have to blog from a jail cell.

p.s. I need a group of local friends who want to start a sort of co-op school where we'd each teach a subject or two (I'm clearly responsible for physics. All of my MIT friends need to immediately cease and desist the laughter). So all of you folks who currently live in NYC, seriously - it sucks up there. Move here. Teach your kids with me. It'll be fun. I can promise you no nutritional yeast!! Another ideal situation would be a school where we could keep them home 2-3 days/week and teach them some subjects then send them to school for the remainder of the week.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

one more thing

I saw Sex and the City yesterday. It was fine, I won't give anything away to those who might still want to see it. I was shocked though that one family thought it appropriate to bring their ~4 yr old kid to. Did they not read the title of the movie??????? I wanted to personally go and cover that kid's eyes several times. There was a second kid in the family that was much younger. I'm all for family outings, but I think this movie is inappriate for 4 yr olds by anyone's standards.


Elisabeth's breakfast today? Dry cereal with cinnamon served with a barbeque dipping sauce. And before you think this is a one of a time thing - it isn't. We just gave up arguing with her and decided that at least it has the word "cereal" in it.

After breakfast, Doug asked her if she'd like to go for a walk. "No, Daddy. I need my exercise but I'll get it jumping on my trampoline later." (have I mentioned we have a jogging trampoline in the living room that is also used as a performance stage and a place to do tricks? the handlebar makes an excellent place to do pullovers...) Its like she's an adult trying to get out of going on the elliptical machine (something I should probably have a PhD in).

Yesterday, Elisabeth told Doug that we had to go to the basement last week during scary storms to "hide from potatoes." Which I suppose is true, we had to hide from potatoes, televisions, books and everything else in the house that might get propelled at our heads at 200 mph.

Also, it appears that 2 years of regular Dora and Diego watching is my limit. Let's just say that the DVR might start having selective memory. "I don't know, Elisabeth. It must be broken. All of the Doras and Diegos got erased and no new ones recorded! But we have Between the Lions!" (That show is hilarious and I secretly want to watch them by myself...)

Just so you are all thoroghly jealous of what today holds here in our house... (and to keep you from ever wanting to visit) - today we're going to scrub the freezer where the popsicles melted all over it during the power outage, thereby inviting ants from as far away as Nebraska to come for a sugary treat. But first, I will watch the French Open finals. Go Nadal!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Electricity, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...

29 hours without power is apparently 28.5 more hours than I can handle. We had some wicked storms come through on Wednesday. Bob Kierein of NBC4 pointed to our area and said, "If I lived in this area, I'd head to the basement soon." Bob didn't have to ask me twice. I snatched a sleeping Charlotte out of her crib and hauled Elisabeth to the basement. Three minutes or so of horizontal rains and winds, then 10 minutes of your run of the mill thunderstorm. The result was so many trees down in the Washington area that 233,000 Virginia residents lost power.

At first, the novelty of the situation entertained us. And then it got hot. And we couldn't get food out of the fridge. And let's just say, I am meant for the modern age. We made it through Wednesday night without melting, but by Thursday afternoon the temperature in our bedroom was 89.3 (I'm not exaggerating). So, Doug piled the girls into the minivan on Thursday morning while I went to work. They went to the store and bought ice and iced down the fridge. Then they went for an exciting day at Daddy's office. I met them there around 12:30 and we all had lunch. Then, the roving family climbed into the minivan and drove (well all of us but Doug). I wanted Charlotte to nap and Elisabeth to have some quiet time. So thank God for DVD players in minivans. We drove for about an hour and a half in the nice air conditioned van. Then I parked the van in the shade outside of my favorite cafe where I puttered around on their free wireless from the comforts of our new four wheeled home. Finally Charlotte had had enough so we went home for a little while. We stayed home for about an hour before it was time to go back to my favorite cafe for dinner.

Thankfully at 8pm last night the lights came back on. if I see any workers from Dominion power today, they might just get an unexpected big fat kiss.

On Wednesday night, probably dazed from the idea that we might not get power back until Saturday night (what they were telling us), Charlotte walked by. You read that right. I was staring into space and my baby walked by. Pushing a shopping cart. And it took me a few seconds to register that this was not normal. Ah, second children. I remember with Elisabeth I spent hours trying to get her to push this damn push toy walker thing that I bought for her. I'd set it up for her at one end of the room, set her up, and she'd look at me and sit down. She hated that thing. But I persevered. I should have realized then - Elisabeth is pretty stubborn. But Charlotte just saw an opportunity and seized it. She was happy as a lark. I managed to catch it on video yesterday for those of you with small children who enjoy watching such things.

And now for a brief Elisabeth funny. I took her with me to the endocrinologist on Wednesday. On the way there we discussed bones (which is better than whether or not I'm speeding). How many bones do I have, mommy? I have no idea kid - somewhere around 200. BUT if you ask the doctor, I bet he'll know! She was pretty excited to ask the doctor. He, predictably, did not know but thought it was 208. He claims he is a hormone doctor, whatever - I'm reconsidering my choices!!! Anyway, she said she had bones in her arms, legs, hands, head, feet, chest and knees. "But I don't have bones in my nose mommy. Only boogers."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

she abides by the letter of the law, if not the spirit

I don't know if you remember the details of Elisabeth's favorite game, called Crazy Dog. Either Doug or I take a blanket and wave it like a toreador hollering "Go Crazy Dog, Go! Go!" and she runs across our room, out the door, down the hall, and back again. Then the toreador has to huddle under the blanket talking about how scared they are of the Crazy Dog and she comes and tackles us. Then does it again. As many times as you'll let her.

Doug has endless patience. He lets her do Crazy Dog any number of times. I have a rule of 3 for virtually everything. I will read a book 3 times, I will sing a song 3 times, I will play your silly game 3 times. 3 Crazy Dogs. That is my limit.

So this evening, Doug was downstairs preparing the fruit cup (Elisabeth gets a fruit cup snack before bed every night) and I was upstairs playing Crazy Dog with Elisabeth and Charlotte (Charlotte has to huddle under the blanket with me, although she thinks she can crawl very fast and attain Crazy Puppy status, but she cannot). I told Elisabeth that it was the third, and last, time. So off she went. She managed to round up Doug on her way back and instantly turned to him and said, "Can I do it again Daddy?" Little turkey. After Doug said yes, and I protested, we set her straight about the fact that there would be no more games of Crazy Dog.

"I want to play Hop Bunny Blanket." What in the world is "Hop Bunny Blanket" you might ask? Not knowing either, we let her start playing. "Here Daddy, take this blanket and holler "Hop Bunny! Hop!" And he did. And she hopped. She hopped across our room and out the door. And we quickly realized we'd been played like fiddles. She wasn't playing Crazy Dog. She was playing Hop Bunny Blanket. But she was also getting her way.

They are so literal, the little buggers.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

we're on the upswing

It appears that everyone in this house is on the upswing, healthwise. I'm so relieved, but I'm waiting for someone to get a fever. Hopefully we can keep ourselves together for the remainder of the summer.

Elisabeth has said some pretty funny stuff the past few days. Sadly, my brain must look a lot like swiss cheese because I can't remember most of it. The whole purpose of starting this blog was to remember the fun things Elisabeth said and did. If I can't remember them long enough to get them onto the blog, the purpose has been defeated!

Oh, here is one thing she said that I sort of remember - I can't remember the exact context, but here's the gist. I told her something about making poor choices and how that usually ended up with her having a timeout. I said, "you have to make a judgment call whether you want to do a good thing or a bad thing and get a timeout." Her response? "Judge Klein's getting a timeout?" Judge Klein taught my evidence class, and has a soft spot for kids so she's gotten to meet him a few times. Judgement call apparently sounds like Judge Klein. Speaking of sounds and ears, I am beginning to wonder if something is wrong with Elisabeth's hearing since her last cold. She has been mishearing me a lot, and asking "what?" a lot, and blatantly ignoring me more than usual. I think it is just being three, and therefore possessing every annoying quality a human can posses, but wouldn't I feel like a jerk if there was a problem with her hearing? I'll give it another week to see how it plays out.

Charlotte has repurposed our new vacuum cleaner as a walker. It is one of those little cannister vacuums and it is the perfect height for her. I finally just took the hose off of it and made it a little toy for her. If I could just figure out a way to make her do the actual vacuuming, we'd be in luck. Kind of like a Roomba without the "intelligence." Our Roomba is dumb as doornails, so Charlotte would certainly do a better job that it does.

Here's a video of the very expensive walker. I apologize for the vacuum noise at the beginning, she was so cute following me around though.

W went to the Reston Zoo on Friday. Elisabeth the Brave fed the goats and sheep with a baby bottle. But she fled like the little girl she is when Sully the Camel came over to visit. Last year around this time was the infamous "a goat felled on my head" story when a tiny 1 month old baby goat perched itself on a pole and fell - literally fell - on Elisabeth's head when it lost its balance. She then proceeded to tell everyone on earth that a goat "felled on her head." And, again in keeping with my Mother of the Year quest, I thought that made her wet her pants. So I told her we had to leave since she had an accident. And she cried. She said she hadn't had an accident, she swore up down and sideways. But she was soaked in the pants and there was no explanation. Right? Except that after the traumatic baby goat to the head incident, I let her ride the mechanical car thing. And it had a puddle in the seat because it rained the night before. That explains why her pullup was dry... I'm really a great mom sometimes, I swear. Here are some Reston Zoo pics.

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is the very scary Sully the Camel. Sully is 18 months old and very sweet, and makes Elisabeth tremble with fear and hide behind my legs when he comes up to the wagon ride at the Reston Zoo.

Elisabeth the Brave feeds lambs a bottle.

Elisabeth's new haircut, courtesy of our neighbor Jean. We're waiting for the wagon ride to leave.