Tuesday, May 29, 2007

out on the town

Today we went to the children's museum with Aunt Sue and cousin Lucy. Erin took a preschool field trip there a couple of months ago, the twins hadn't been there in a long time, so it was fun for everyone. A few times Lucy looked like she was trying to follow her cousins but they were quickly running from exhibit to exhibit and Lucy had her own distractions to explore.

K&A were commissioned to do a mural at one point. Fine work, no thanks to the exceptionally dim museum staffer in the art area.
me: looks like they might be 'righties' like their sister
dumb museum lady: huh?
me: their sister, over there, is right-handed
dumb museum lady: all three?
me: I think so
dumb museum lady: all three girls?
me: yes
dumb museum lady: are they all yours?
me: ah, yeah
dumb museum lady: did you, like, adopt some of them?
me: no
dumb lady: so they're natural?
(me walking away)

Using this shell, Allison was reminded of the ocean from saturday.

Here, it's hard to tell which the twins enjoyed more: my demonstration of how the small plastic discs can be balanced and remain in motion on the spinning surface, or the fact that this exhibit presented yet another opportunity to share with and assist one another.

Aunt Sue would not allow me to see if cousin Lucy could be balanced in the same manner on the spinning disc. Finally the twins and Lucy were at the same speed and had the same interest in the same thing at the same time for one exhibit--the water play area. And they became equally soaked. Glad we brought extra clothes.


..."you've got some 'splaining to do!"

John and I taught Erin that essential phrase this weekend because it just never stops being funny. Yes, we were sober.

Both of John's (out-of-state) sisters are in town this weekend and Aunt Sue has baby Lucy with her too. We visited with the whole family both sunday and monday. It's always great to see Terri and Sue and Lucy and I wish we had these opportunities more often.

The girls love their aunts and talk about them often. They were interested in Lucy too but K&A's enthusiasm for their younger cousin waned significantly when they realized her presence means one more person to share toys with.

For Erin she meant one more person to share the spotlight with, but she had a solution for that.

Lucy was very interested in everything the girls were doing and even though she's not walking yet she did pretty well keeping up with them and joining in with them.

And this is a random photo I got of Erin at home this weekend, after she took her favorite baby doll out for a stroll in the backyard. I find it humerous.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

beachy keen

We were without a working phone or DSL at home all week (thus the lack of blog updates). You may all thank At&t for their careful, speedy, and responsive technical service and advisors. If you are drunk.

The girls and I decided to spend the day at the beach with my buddy Susan and her daughters and mom, who has a beautiful vacation home at the coast. It was overcast but not too cool and not at all windy, so it actually was very good beach weather. Susan chose a small inlet area of beach which had virtually no waves and was very uncrowded. It was a perfect spot.

My girls all kicked off their sandals and RAN straight into the ocean, with Leigh Ann and Lauren (Susan's girls) right behind. I didn't have a chance to take their pants off yet (they had swimsuits on underneath). The movement (and temperature, I'm sure) of the water, caught them all off guard and caused them all to loose their balance, so less than two minutes there and their clothes were soaked already. No problem, strip off the wet pants but I left their special SPF 50 sun shirts on, because YES, the majority of UV penetrates the clouds and so far I am unsure if the girls inherited my Irish heritage pasty white/get sunburned/develop many freckles/turn white again skin or John's vastly different Scottish heritage pasty white/get sunburned/develop a few freckles/turn white again skin. We are five malignant melanomas waiting to happen. Yes, I know the sun hats make for bad pictures.

Leigh Ann and Lauren were great lifeguard-babysitters. I instructed the girls not to get into the water unless they had a big girl with them. That mostly worked. Lauren got a bit annoyed that her castle building kept getting interrupted by small ones dragging her back to the ocean.

Left: watching the incoming kayaks, and right: Kate with "Grammy" (Susan's mom).

Enjoying a little lunch break.

We saw several scuba divers come up from the depths, some kayakers, and sailboats. And of course there were tons of persistently annoying seagulls. Leigh Ann showed Erin that it's fun to chase them while waving your arms and yelling. Erin took to that very naturally.

After a few hours and with all the kids soaked and getting cold, we went back to the house, took a quick warm bath and headed into town for ice cream.

Back at the house Kate occupied herself by playing with Mrs. Laine's beagle dog, Rusty. At first Rusty loved the attention and having someone to throw his favorite toy for him. Over. And. Over. But clearly Kate had far more energy for this than the dog did and soon she wore him out, but the poor thing couldn't get any rest because Kate was always there, talking to him, petting him, chasing him, trying to gauge his interest in playing fetch again. Mrs. Laine laughed at these antics and commented frequently on cute the twins are. So cute in fact that Grammy had to go lay down, twice, during our visit.

Later we had dinner together at the house then put the kids in jammies for the ride home, leaving a trail of exhausted friends and their dog behind.

Friday, May 18, 2007

the great american apple caper

It went down on the evening of thursday, May 17, sometime between 5:02 and 5:07pm, authorities claim. Two defendants were in the kitchen with mama as she was trying to separate a) mail she should attend to at some point, although further procrastination would probably be ok, from b) bills which needed immediate attention, from c) bills which didn't need immediate attention, from d) stuff which was even less worthy of the dead trees it was printed on than the junk in the first three groups. The defendants asked for a snack but since it was already nearly dinner time, they were refused and they went on their merry mischievous way.

A couple of minutes later mama walked down the hall to drop off some clean laundry in her room and noticed a veeeeeeeeeery unmistakable crunching sound coming from the adjacent defendants' room. Mama then found the following crime in progress:

As experienced as these same defendants have been in various illegal activities in and around this same residence, their discovery apparently caught them off guard and defendant K decided that honesty might mitigate the inevitable consequences. "We're eating apples!" she admitted gleefully.


After confiscating and cataloging the damage as evidence, she went back to the kitchen to inspect the location of the theft. The apples had been on an extra-high counter, completely out of reach for any of the shorter people in the home from the kitchen side of the counter, and only capable of being taken from the family room side of the counter with the help of a lift of some kind. They must have used the office chair, she thought, but the chair was in it's normal location, a good three feet from the counter in question.

The other puzzling fact was that mama had just been in the kitchen around the time they must have been taken. How did this crime duo pull this latest caper together? Had they used the chair but knew to return it to the desk? Had one defendant boosted the other up to reach the apples? Had they climbed the small bookshelf there? None of these skills have been witnessed before, so they all seemed equally unlikely. Defendant A had asked for a snack a minute or two later than defendant K. Was this a distraction technique?

Erin, known to assist the defendants in their mischief in the past, for all the world seemed as surprised as mama did about these particular events and was not observed anywhere near the kitchen prior to the theft. She is not being considered an accessory to this as of press time.

I'm afraid that full discovery of this operation won't be forthcoming. The defendants are known to be resistant to probing questions. They're expert at pretending they have a mere 2-year old's vocabulary. They distract interrogators with puppy dog eyes, silly faces, cute smiles, and hugs and kisses. Unfortunately some crime cases go cold, and I think this is one of them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

duck, duck, goose

We went to a new park in town today, one with lots of water features and fountains and birds. This was clearly the best part of the day, it was tough to keep an eye on all the girls because one or more kept trying for a mad dash to the various mostly unfenced, torrential, mile deep, 4+ rapids of death man-made ponds. Hey, the kids can't swim, so niagra falls or duck ponds, it's all the same at this point.

On the way to the car, buddy Gavin stopped with us to feed the ducks and geese, which is against the posted park rules, and therefore, automatically, lots of fun.

Last night John's cousin invited us to Chuck E Cheese, right near our house. Monday night is as perfect a time to go there as it gets. One could argue that a better time to go is when it's closed. "Oh, darnit kids, looks like it's all dark inside. And look at that sign, it says it's closed permanently because kids have been screaming too much, and all of the employees went deaf. See kids, it's a public health concern."

It was relatively quiet ("quiet" in Chuck E Cheese world, this differs tremendously from "quiet" in most other settings) and un-busy, and somewhat easy to actually find your own kids among all the craziness, most of the time.

On the right is Brayden with Kate on the merry-go-round:

Here's Erin and Jake, holding the water hoses and teaming up to put out a house fire in a fireman video game. I didn't see the beginning of the game and how the house caught on fire...I wonder if it's kids playing with matches and lighter fluid and igniting the couch or the drapery.

Monday, May 14, 2007

mudder's day

Was udderly delightful. The girls were extra-industrious this year. It actually seemed like I was getting presents all weekend long, in between the screaming and fighting and crying, which I assumed were not presents for me, but were intended for Daddy.

Erin made a flower arrangement at preschool:

These are the variety of flowers that don't die, which shows that she perfectly understands my lack of a green thumb. But my track record with plants is SO bad that I'm wondering if I could manage to kill these too. So far I've done well with the leather roses that John got for me on our 3rd (leather) anniversary, so I guess there is hope. Friday night Erin said, "I have flowers for you but it's supposed to be a surprise so you can't see them yet." She was quite proud of herself.

Kate and Allison posed for, and helped make spectacular cards, which I received on saturday:

On sunday the girls piled into the room while I was still in bed and gave me a present, a set of PJs from Victoria's Secret, because as we've established long ago and over and over again, these girls are good shoppers. Erin did pick them out (so they're pink of course) and she was thrilled to learn that I would actually wear them. Disappointedly, I didn't get any VS jokes from John. He usually never misses an opportunity to make a comment about VS like, "in that outfit there is no place for secrets," or "the secret is, Victoria is a dude." Don't worry, he's keeping his day job, but I was kinda wondering what he'd come up with this time.

Allison, while hugging me, and in the cutest possible voice: "I wub you, mama."

We thought we'd let all of the other mothers enjoy their mother's day breakfasts and brunches and lunches by keeping our unmanaged monsters out of area restaurants. Instead we went to Uncle Jeff's house for dinner, along with John's parents. Jeff made a great dinner of BBQ ribs and chicken and such, and we had homemade strawberry pie for dessert. Yuuuuuummmmmmmmmmy.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

signs of spring

Admiring the blossoming plant life all around us, even taking a moment to be a tree-hugger, literally,

cooling off in the backyard sprinklers,

going for a leisurely drive with the top down,

love is in the air,

And you know that summer must be right around the corner when it's obvious to you and everyone that you're just too cool for school.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

appreciating allison

For many reasons, but lately, because she is my daughter who doesn't find that it's necessary to talk (or yell) every waking minute of every day.

Erin asks lots of really hard to answer bizarro questions. Example from this evening, "Mama, what do you do if an animal that is trying to eat you has you in his mouth?"

And in addition to solving such life and death dilemmas and fielding her rapid-fire quizzes, such as why cooking makes things hot or why bread tastes like bread, I have to acknowledge every minute observation of hers, which occur constantly:
"Mama, that man has a very brown shirt."

After which I have 3.2 seconds to answer with a "yes, Erin" or else I'll hear:


Kate is just an uncaged parakeet, chatting constantly about everything, or maybe a lot of the same things over and over. It can be hard to tell, but rest assured, if Kate is awake, she is talking.

Allison can speak just as well as Kate can but for some reason she doesn't feel the need to prove it constantly. Thank goodness for that.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

the cupcake dance

I failed to get it on film, but it was cute. Erin and I made cupcakes for Danielle's birthday and Erin said, "I'm going to be SO excited when it's time to eat the cupcakes, that I'm going to do a cupcake dance!" And then she gave me a demonstration. That girl is definitely white.

Thursday we had a little pizza party for Danielle in the backyard and invited some of the moms and kids we see every week who have gotten to know Danielle pretty well.

Pizza and watermelon and cupcakes may just comprise the messiest meal possible, although it's a tough call since the twins can manage get dirty while they sleep, somehow.

Speaking of dancing, today was another dance class. My friend Betsy gave Erin a leotard that her daughter had outgrown and it fit perfectly, so Erin didn't look like the white trash party crasher that she did last time, and I therefore got fewer second glances from the other parents. This time she was more of a black sheep, literally, as she stood out from the crowd in several ways and still was without proper tap or ballet shoes.

Nothing that goes on in there really looks like dance training to me. Kiddie pre-aerobics maybe....maybe. To me, it just looks like an excuse to dress up your little girls in fancy outfits and shoes. I'm clearly unsophisticated.

Okay, I can understand walking while balancing the bean bag on your head, but what does galloping while holding the bean bag teach?

And just like last class, the most challenging aspect for most of the girls was just staying upright on that slippery dance floor with their tap shoes on. Maybe that's the real lesson and perhaps the mark of a natural dancer. Without those shoes, Erin didn't have that particular challenge to deal with, and maybe that's a good thing.