Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Walking and Singing

I apologize for the lack of updates around here, but now that the um, joyful, time of Christmas is over, I should be able to get back on track here.

Both girls got quite a nice stash over the holidays. Fiona loved all her of her favorites is this plastic glow-in-the-dark skeleton that you put together. She carries him around everywhere (along with her friend "Backpack" that looks just like the one on Dora...sigh...that was a pick-up from Claire's a few weeks before Christmas...). He falls apart, of course, because he's a puzzle, so I am always putting those hip bones back on.

She also got this Hello Kitty camera (thank you Auntie Maggie!), which she loves. We love it, too. Imagine having paparazzi in your home. It's like that. We tell her to at least make sure her subjects have all of their clothes on. All of them. It's a "film" camera (she keeps calling the canisters "batteries") so we have two rolls, nearly three, to develop soon.

Sophia has taken two unassisted steps!! She has been "walking" now with our hands for a little while. She has also been keeping me up a lot at night and is so so oh so grumpy in the morning. I hope there is a molar for all of this misery.

On the last day of school before her week of vacation, her school had a Holiday Party. It was at the library in the storytime room, which has a bit of a stage in front of the windows. And there was our girl, right in the middle, belting out all of the songs (with added expressive arm movements). There were a gaggle of grandparents and parents there, so the kids were a bit in the spotlight. Many of them did not sing (I sure wouldn't have...) at first, but mostly everyone warmed up after a bit. I got a lot of comments afterwards of the ilk of "she's going to be an actress when she grows up!" or "she sure isn't shy!" or "she knows what she wants" get the idea. When watching her interact with the other kids, I get a bit of "She sure knows how to stand up for herself!". All the parents also got a CD of the kids singing at school...and one can clearly pin point Fiona's angelic voice in the crowd (there are 11 other students).

Sophia got these two Signing Time DVDs (thank you Auntie Alex and Auntie Maggie!), which I am not able to watch all the time (Mommy hides in the Special Room, don't you know), so Fiona has been teaching me the colors. Sophia's favorite sign is "food". She has done "milk" once. "More" is another big favorite.

Fiona can now also write her name (after months of "John"--which she now has a letterset of--thank you, Auntie Alex! and a few days of her best bud "Max"). She can clearly recognize some words and is asking how to spell, well, everything. She will read words and spell them out and ask what they say...sometimes she will try to sound them out.

I hope everyone had a great Winter Holiday, and may 2006 be even better. Like maybe Bush will resign...Cheney goes to jail...something of that nature would have us dancing in the streets!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Naptime Zen

My daily challenge during the week (well one of) is to get both girls down for a nap. Quite by accident, I found the key to this without any arguing, wailing, or angst...

The key is to tell Fiona that we have to put Sophia down for a nap---which is totally true---and when she asks if we can "skip nap" (meaning her nap, of course) is essential to say yes. So far (and all of this could change any time) this means we eat lunch, we read a few books, we snuggle in bed---Fiona wrapped around my back---and Fiona is asleep instantly (although sometimes I have to urge her to "pretend" to sleep so Sophia copies us). Sophia is full of energy after nursing and screeches and laughs and bonks into me affectionately (I pretend to sleep with one or both arms over my face) and babbles and plays. Sophia will do this from 15 to 45 minutes. Fiona sleeps on. I am not tired; I can not nap even though I frequently have insomnia in the middle of the night. Sophia bonking around makes me crazy if I don't practice thinking of something else or concentrating on my breathing, or something. Usually, as soon as I stop noticing her activity...she is snuggled into my head (nothing like baby butt in your face) sucking her thumb. She typically sleeps about 1 hour max...sometimes less, sometimes more...if I am lucky, I can get to her before she finds Fiona (who is usually still sound asleep)...if I am not lucky, well, you know.

So one hour to do correspondence, bills, phone calls, cleaning, laundry.

Or watch some Desperate Housewives. You know--whatever has priority that day...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Still here

Sorry for the lack of's that time of year!

School is going well for Fiona, Sophia is full of personality and is not yet walking, but has a look in her eye...

We have a completely unadorned tree waiting for decoration. I have wrapped what presents I've gotten so far, but what is sucking up all my time are the edible things I make for Christmas, which I'm hoping to mail to family before Christmas...not to mention the photo Christmas cards...

Fiona has started really expressing an interest in spelling. She will sit there looking at a sign or a book and try to spell and sound out the words. Her teacher has even noticed this and is encouraging her but not pushing her (you can't really push Fiona anyway). I think we are perhaps at the threshold of reading and I can't think of anything more exciting than finally being able to read!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


So we pick up Fiona from school...on the way home, Fiona says to me: "When Sophia and I grow up, there will be FOUR big people living in our house!"

I say, yes, I suppose so (mind not really grasping this concept, however).

She then says, "Man, that will be so crazy!"

Sock Sale

It's actually a huge event here in Northfield that takes place over a couple of weekends (last weekend and the next). The last thing I need in the world right now is socks (I mean, we went last year, and that should hold us for at least 5 years...), but we went because Fiona needs (make that needed) socks, and well, since we're here, let's get some more socks for the big folks...

For more information about the Cabot Hosiery Mills, click this link.

I love that something like a sock sale is headline news here. I really do.

Jack-o-lantern displays, sock sales, and quilt festivals. This is small town.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

And the Mommy Award Goes to....

So Fiona takes another one of those late 2 hour naps (4-6 PM). I was trying to get Sophia down to sleep (she was acting tired but as soon as we hit the bed, she says, "Wheee!" (yes, she actually says this) and practices her standing skills. She likes the falling down part as well.) and I turn over to ask Fiona if we should just read a book and Fiona is snoring. Oh well.

She comes downstairs and I carry her over to Doug. She is thrilled to see her Daddy and he scoops her up. She asks me if she can have a marshmallow. I say ok. I'm a softie after a good nap. We go look at the marshmallows and she wants to hold both the large marshmallow bag and the small one. She then asks, "Can I have one of each?". Still as soft as a marshmallow here, I say yes. She says, "What a mommy I have!"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

There is a Pile of Wood in the Driveway

Let this be a wood in the spring! Just do it! We have been trying to find a seller of wood to have on store for the the last minute, as usual, and a bit more urgently due to the forecasts of costly woe for the heating oil season...and what you would buy right now would be unseasoned wood, so it's not really for this winter, but nice to have nonetheless. We do have wood, but I am not sure it's enough for the entire winter. We have been very lucky with the weather and hardly even use the heater, but you never know how long that will last! We got one cord and it wasn't as expensive as I feared and the seller was actually a seemingly cool person.

He came up to the door and talked to Doug while I wrote out the check...Fiona, of course, was very talkative as usual (the man was wearing a measuring tape in some sort of pouch and she was admiring it--she loves measuring tape). The seller has 2 daughters himself and Doug said something like "Every man should have a daughter". The seller remarked that the world would be a better place if that were so. It seemed like a bonding moment to me.

Does this mean every woman should have a son? Possibly not, but I wonder....

Monday, November 07, 2005

Curse of the Walking Wasps...

The weather has been incredible. Sunny, not too cold, not too hot. It's been ideal. I guess because we have not had a hard freeze the flies and the wasps are still here, but very clumsy...the wasps walk around on the ground (EEEEKKK---not good for crawling babies!).

Last weekend was fabulous. We went out and shot off some model rockets and invited one of Fiona's friends and his family. He loves rockets and this was his first time to really see it. It was so much fun. Then I took Fiona to see Wallace and Gromit's The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I was worried that it might be too violent, but it wasn't too bad. I loved the movie and Fiona had a great time!

It's about 3 weeks until Thanksgiving and I should start thinking about what to make. I know there must be the Very Big Apple Pie (15 inches). That is about all I have right now. Dry brining a turkey. I toyed with the idea of having just pie...but turkey. I need turkey. I need lots of vegetables. Biscuits. Some sort of cranberry relish or sauce. Potatoes. DRESSING! That isn't optional. Maybe the next day, but then we're off to a Single Pebble!

A close friend of mine is going to a Rick Bayless cooking demonstration tonight. Drool! I can't go (it's in California, after all), but she is having my Rick Bayless cookbooks signed for me. Nyah-nyah.

Sophia is now pulling herself up to stand...and letting go. She gets this triumphant look on her face (includes a big toothy smile) and then she goes down on her bum. She still looks quite pleased with herself.

Doug says that Sophia said "Fiona" (and pointed at her) the other day when they were at Claire's. Claire's is like a small diva shop. It was slow, so Fiona went in, tried on some tiaras and some stoles and some purses and strutted about the store. She put everything back just the way it was. She loves to chat up the sales clerk, too.

It figures that I would stay home all day and every day and she would say "Fiona" while I was not there.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pomegranate and Pumpkins

Ahhh, nap time sanity. I ponder trying to eliminate the nap and achieve earlier bed time status for Fiona, but then real life happens...

Halloween was lots of fun. We took Fiona trick or treating for the first time. Sunday we dressed Fiona up in her frog queen costume and Sophia in her purple dragon costume. We took them to Shelburne Museum for the first round of T and Ting and we carved a pumpkin (that was THE pumpkin for the year, I'm afraid). Monday we went T and Ting in downtown Montpelier where we got the bulk of the candy stash. People are very very generous with candy. Even to the point of offering some up to the 1 year old Sophia. Please do not offer my 1 year old a gummy worm! She has 6 teeth. Then we went to Ellie's Farm Stand for the 28th? annual 1000 Jack o lanterns display! We usually just drive by due to the hellish location and traffic, but we got out this time. It's quite a sight! They must be very very good at carving by now.

Now what do I do with all the candy?

I also got Fiona a skeleton balloon from the grocery store that she had been coveting. She carries him everywhere and he is as big as she is. He was .99 -- I guess because I bought him on Halloween.

So the big favorite food around here right now is pomegranate. Sophia pants for the little seeds. She looks like she is shoving rubies into her mouth.

It has been unseasonably warm here--yesterday near 70 F! Today is cooler by 20 degrees, but I hope that means winter will be kind this year. OK, I know it means nothing, but I can hope! Unfortunately, that means the cluster flies and wasps are back. Shudder.

Fiona still has an intense interest in the body. We bought her a very detailed book of the body. By that, I mean the book is full of shrunk down posters full of labeled body parts--muscles, bones, organs, etc. I can't pronounce most of these words. She likes looking at them, so I do what I can. We also started this Mother Goose program for 3 Saturdays---all free---10 books. It's sort of an introduction to science through literature. This afternoon we are planting peas in different locations (inside, in clear plastic cups) and monitoring them. She is very excited about it; it was the first thing she said when she woke up this morning.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Some Menu Items from Hen of the Wood

I finally brought the menu upstairs, so here I go. I'm not posting the whole thing, but some selections so you all may drool...


Roasted Winter Squash and Pear Soup
Pumpkin Seed Oil and Nutmeg

Crispy Fried Oysters and Salt Cod-(if I can resist the pork belly, I'm getting this next time)
Lemon, Parsley and Aioli

**Slow Roasted Niman Ranch Pork Belly**
Local Parsnips and Cider Jus

Braised Hen of the Wood Mushrooms
Country Bacon & Pinot Noir


**Smoked La Belle Farm Duck Breast**
Sweet Potato Puree, Vermont Cranberries, Toasted Hazelnuts

Niman Ranch Pork Shanks
Stone Ground Pumpkin Polenta & Pete's Farm Greens

Grilled Ledgend Farm Venison
Herb Roasted German Butterball Potatoes, Braised Pears & Sage

Baked Butternut Squash Lasagne
Chestnuts, Vermont Ricotta & Wild Mushrooms


So that's a "taste" of the menu...I left some things out like the Caesar salad with crispy capers and the Cavendish Farm Quail only because of time and space...the dessert menu has lovely sounding items like pumpkin pots de creme, pecan tart, apple and fig crisp...and of course there is the cheese menu with gems like Jasper Hill Farm's 'Bailey Hazen Blue'(raw ayrshire milk, aged 4-5 months, rich dry and crumbly) and Cobb Hill Farm 'Caerphilly' (raw cow's milk cheddar). The *** items are what Doug and I ordered.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bitchin' in my Free Time

Today I was so productive that I actually wrote a letter to Applebee's to complain about our dinner last night. I know, I know, it's *Applebee's*, but we normally have good luck there bringing the kids. The food is edible and I will admit that I like a couple of the dishes. Last night the service was so horrendous and the food was, so, well, strange (all I will say is "Cilantro Pork Bowl"---only available in my area right now, luckily---'course I was the one who dared to order it...). You know you have too much time if you can bang out a complaint letter. Every time I do one of those, too, I think "If only I could write *positive* letters as well--that would make a difference, too, and make someone feel deservedly great". I guess I just like to bitch too much. In a nice, respectful way, of course.

Doug took the girls out for pizza. I think I'm going to read! It came to my attention that I have a copy of The Last Unicorn, which I have yet to read. I could at least start it tonight--in a nice hot bubbly bath!

I'll have leftover Pasta Bolognese for dinner...and some chocolate, of course...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

We Have Two Cars Once Again!

It's not the timing belt. The engine was flooded. Whatever, the car is fine and Doug is picking it up now. I don't know how much it is, but it isn't much. Whew! I don't understand how the engine got flooded, and I thought that was something that went away after a while (I tried to start it again much later in the day and it still didn't work).

That's the last time I take the tow guy's prognosis seriously.

Today Fiona went in to school an hour late because the public school district was having kids come in two hours later. It did snow last night, but not much. If they regularly do this, for wimpy snow, it's going to be a real drag. So because of the one car and because we live 20 minutes away, Doug took Fiona into work for the first time (I mean during his working hours). He said it went as well as can be expected. No tantrums, though.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Beautiful Butter Baby

I don't know why I bother buying Hallowe'en candy early. I absolutely do not have the willpower to leave it alone. Neither does Doug when he discovers my stash.

Yes, CANDY. I know I should buy little boxes of organic raisins or spiced nuts or whatever, but this is the one time of year I actually buy whole bags of chocolate from companies I would normally boycott, I'm sure, if I looked more closely at the small print on the back.

I think we are supposed to get rather a bit of snow tonight, but it's started to snow already. I didn't even notice except I happened to look outside and it looked like a lot of white rain and way too quiet.

Fiona has an intense interest in this board game "Operation". You know the game. You try to take out little pieces from the body without setting off the buzzer. The game states that it is for ages 6+. So she understands it's too old for her right now, but she talks about it every time we go to the "little mall". (HAHAHA - this proves that everyone really does have a website. It even makes it look like a real mall. Those of you who know of Golden Triangle Mall in Denton...this mall makes that one look like--maybe not Mall of America, but like the Galleria or something).

Sophia still likes to eat. We went sledding in our introductory snow last weekend and while she had fun, when we stopped she noticed all that cool white stuff next to her and decided that it was time to eat. Right now big favorites are ice (thanks to Sobo! Sophia starts going UH UH UH frantically when you open the door...but there are other delights in there like blueberries and peas...) and butter. She l-o-v-e-s butter. She sees the golden stick in the dish and does her UH UH UH panting thing or her "THAT!!!" combined with pointing. Give her a piece of bread with butter and she picks off the butter and eats it. The toast is either eaten or tossed onto the floor.

A Pet Peeve

On our "Nature's Path" Organic Heritage Bites cereal it lists "evaporatied [sic] cane juice" as an ingredient. I have to admit the phrase "evaporated cane juice" annoys me anyway, but at least spell it right.

You know it's a real pet peeve when you somehow find the time to try and photograph the ingredient list of a cereal box. It wouldn't focus on the words, so it isn't here.

If you're like me, you will now be on high alert for typos in my blog...

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Foresee a Long Dark Cold Winter

We're trying to decide if we can get along with just one car...the Subaru. The Honda's timing belt is likely what went out. Doug thinks that will be at least 500 bucks. It is a 1994 car, with over 200 thousand miles on it. It has served us well. It is also pretty rusted.


When it Rains, it Snows

Ok, so far we have a garage door that Doug had to dismantle (it came off the track because we were using it manually due to a 3 hour planned power outage that we--I--thought was on a different day); so we have an open garage right before winter. Let the squirrels come on in! (One did that and got in our crawl space and lived under our downstairs bathtub. Nothing like taking a bath with a large creature scratching around under you!) Now Doug's car won't start. It was making a strange noise when I took Sobo to a Single Pebble, but then it stopped making Strange Noise.

Wonder what the third surprise will be?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Guess I Won't Be Mowing the Lawn After All

I woke up to SNOW! Not a little bit, either; I can't see any grass.

I thought it was just supposed to rain.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

This Week in Review

Well, Sobo is gone :( and we already miss her. Her leaving coincides with Fiona's school having 3 days off so this has been a weird week. It's been nice having her home, though. We went to the library where she picked out some books and played with the Crayola "coloring book" on the computer. She goes up to the desk and asks for the disc herself and while she is there she notices a "body book" on the return shelf. This "body book" is one of a series--we have the one about the whole body courtesy of Sobo--the one on the shelf was a book about the brain. She was so excited she ran behind the desk and asked if she could check it out. She doesn't mind there are no kidneys in it.

Friday we got to go over to Gryffon's house and play and they both had a marvelous time. Sophia played with toys and Gryffon's brother Gabriel tried to play with the big kids (I think Gabriel is about 17 months old, Gryffon is the same age as Fiona). Sophia LOVED the baby swing outside. Then we got to eat Thai food with Doug and his work collegues. I love the food there but it is stressful because Sophia is always unhappy at that time of day and is tired.

Wednesday we had the parent teacher conference! Fiona is indeed doing very well in school. Colleen's first comment was that Fiona has a lot of energy. Fiona is doing better at using her words instead of screaming (she is at home, too, but OH she still screams) and better at using her words when people invade her personal space, which she is very protective of---interesting because she is not really aware of *other* people's personal space. So, ok, I know all that already. She says her fine motor skills are fantastic--she is doing embroidery shapes and drawing shapes with the metal inset shapes---stuff that Colleen normally does with the 4 and 5 year olds. Fiona is well liked and is very social---definitely more of a leader personality than a follower. Colleen likes that she stands up for herself instead of playing victim.

I wonder if these are characteristics that last or if 3 is too early to tell?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hen of the Wood

I would provide a link, but their web site is not quite up yet.


We both started with slow roasted pork belly with a cider jus and pureed parsnips. Great combination of flavors.

We both had the smoked crispy duck with sweet potatoes, Vermont (!) cranberries, and toasted hazelnuts.

Instead of dessert, we had the cheese plate with some local cheese. I brought home a menu and I'll post more details later. I have Sophia on my lap.

They did not actually have hen of the wood mushroom (also known as maittake)---it has been too warm. There is a dish they serve (a starter) with hen of the wood and bacon.

All the menu choices sounded delicious. I could have happily left it to the chef to pick. It was all very local and seasonal.

It is a little sad to see Mist Grill go (they just closed and Hen of the Wood opened in its place) but at least another good restaurant is taking its place.

We had a 2001 Clos La Chance Zinfandel. It was a pretty good match, fruity but not at all cloying and with some vanilla and a great finish.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

One Door Closes, Another Opens....

Doug and I are going to a new restaurant nearby called Hen of the Woods (like the mushroom). I don't remember if the chef or owner (or both) is from the restaurant Smokejacks but we love(d) Smokejacks, which is in Burlington--and therefore too far away. We often ate there pre-children and it's not the sort of place I'd take kids now. Tonight, my mom is watching the girls and we are going to eat dinner alone! Conversation will be had! I can look and talk to my man at the same time! So the restaurant has to be close and we are going early so it's easiest on Sobo and the critters...I am very excited.

Heck, I want to eat at 5 anyway because I could go to bed at 8 pm these days....

NECI is closing the NECI Commons restaurant in Burlington. I am sad because it's the school I went to, and that restaurant gets good exposure there. To be honest, though, the last few times we (tried) to go there, the service was abysmal. The first time we ate there, it wasn't bad. We felt neutral about it. The pastry case was very nice to look at! I never attended the Burlington campus, but it did look plenty, plenty busy.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Thumbs up!

It was kind of depressing, though, it made me bawl (Yes, yes, you heard me, I cried during Serenity. You should see me with pregnancy hormones...). One part pissed me off.

We did like it, though, and got to see the preview for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. That looks exciting!

It's Farmer's Market Saturday

Unfortunately, it is also pouring rain and it likely to keep doing so. Rain never stopped me before, but trying to select produce with two small kids is hard enough on warm sunny days...

I'd definitely say we're at peak leaf now, and we are certainly at peak visitor capacity...picking up Fiona downtown ("downtown" makes me laugh given the size of Montpelier, but there you go...) at lunchtime is very interesting. Lots of people, no parking.

Only a week and a half or so of mom time left...I want to hyperventilate thinking about more day time help and company!

I forgot that Doug leaves for Las Vegas next weekend, so no chance of a date then. Unless we go during the week, our one and only date is today. Well, until next time we have help ;) One date a year...could be worse.

Sophia's birthday is the 18th and since I am up at an unreasonable hour I have been rereading her birth story. We got her a fish puppet for her birthday (a puppet in the store she kept trying to...kiss? eat? lick? I gathered she liked it...) and decided that maybe she should "give" Fiona a small present since that is the day she became a big sister. Also, I think Fiona is having a hard time...she seems to get jealous of Sophia and with Sophia moving about more and more, communicating, expressing will, likes, dislikes, she seems more and more like a competitor than a helpless baby. I did go out with just Fiona for a sundae and I try to get her alone out on a trip once a week, but some weeks it is really hard. Fiona was "aggressive" at school, yesterday...with some pushing involved. I have seen her do this, and it doesn't happen often. Usually she is tired or hungry or feeling under the weather. We had the discussion (again) about not being aggressive, not touching other people's bodies without asking, using your words....I wish I could have been there, though, to have a complete picture.

Sophia does say "mama" and "dadda"...but yesterday Sobo and I heard her clearly say "yogurt". Sophia LOVES food. You have to give her whatever you are eating. You can't hide it. She will take it. She grabs the yogurt spoon and stuffs it into her mouth. Sobo says it's like raw meat for a tiger. Sophia, no longer content to wistfully gaze at Fiona eating her after school snack in the car, will "ask" Fiona for a piece of her snack. Fiona--sometimes on her own, sometimes with encouragement--will share, but I try now to give Sophia an apple to graze on. Sophia loves apples. I found some just her size. She clutches them with the intensity of a security blanket.

And finally, an article about Vermont and delicious fabulous cheese...

In the Land of Leaves, Seeking Cheese

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jeepers, Peepers!

Ah, yes, it's that time of year in Vermont when the tall, tall tour buses come rolling into town. The license plates are a lot more colorful (Vermont license plates are just green. That's it. Green. With white numbers/letters.) and I think I have seen every state since living here. I should keep track. I've even seen Hawai'i!

Doug tells me "foliage is 10 days behind this year" which I am going to guess he heard on the radio as I'm pretty sure he's not making detailed observations on peak foliage year after is pretty outside, but kind of muted. I wouldn't really call it vibrant, at least not yet. Sort of rusty, if that makes sense.

Ah, to be in the food industry at this time of year once again!

We have done our apple duty and picked half a bushel of apples which I am making into all sorts of things. I do have to make a freaking huge apple pie for Thanksgiving because I have the pan for it, so I must use it (thanks to my friend Ana's mom!!!). I have a recipe for a 12" pie...this is a whopping FIFTEEN inches. Wooo hoooo! My friends Kendra and Jeff will be here and we will be very happy. I wonder if we should just have a dinner of pie, actually. I mean like a pie buffet, of course, not just one pie even if it is disgracefully huge.

We still have wasps and now, yes, the cluster flies are here. Yuk.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Grandparent Magic!

So Mom is here and she's been helping me with some house projects---things that are just impossible with two babies (or one!). I feel so productive! We are making curtains for the back room and during our many excursions to JoAnn fabrics, I found out they have rug liner by the yard! Who knew? I didn't. So now all our rugs finally stay in place. While she is here I am really hoping to paint at least one room. Doug finished the drain outside (a project that has been going on 2 years) since I had help watching the girls on the weekend.

And Doug and I may (I dare not say it out loud!) go on a date Saturday to see Serenity!!!! (A movie based on the TV series Firefly.) We both really love the TV series and I've heard fabulous things about the movie. Oh my scrod! A movie! Alone with Doug! Too bad we want to really see the movie or we'd just neck in the corner ;)

Speaking of Doug, he is making two purple dragon costumes for Sophia and Fiona. Sophia's is well on its way and it is hella cute.

Yesterday I got my first flat tire and despite being coached on how to change a tire more than once, I found myself utterly clueless how to proceed (I'm more of a hands on kind of gal---watching how to do something is not at all the same as doing it...). Thankfully, the FedEx man (trumpets blare) helped me out, as did a couple of parents from Fiona's school. Yes, this happened right in front of Fiona's school...NOT in the middle of "Somewhere isolated and scenic, Vemont". Whew! I really should get a cell phone. Our car insurance is utterly useless for this sort of thing, so this reminds me to switch insurance companies. It's been one annoyance after another with them (State Farm) and, really, I just don't think they are a good fit for us. I at least need a phone number for someone who can take my car, not someone who can replace my tire AFTER I get it there. I knew that myself. Ok, really, I need to learn how to change a tire myself! But with two small kids in the land of Long Winter, I want something more. So thank goodness for location and the presence of Sobo (my Mom...Sobo is a Japanese word for Grandmother) who watched the girls.

Sobo is also the magic dish and floor fairy. I don't know what I will do after the 22nd when the dirty dishes don't magically become clean! It is also just nice not being alone all day. Well, I'm not alone, but I am. Maybe you know what I mean.

When I can sit and read, Brain, Child (the magazine) has a very interesting looking article on the Motherhood Revolution (or the Revolution that is yet to come, I should say). It's a great magazine, all around.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rambling Wasps

Sobo (my Mom) is coming today! We are all very excited but wishing the house was a bit more organized...

It's clearly fall because the wasps are back. They hover outside our upstairs windows on the south side of the house...they keep building nests outisde and inside our attic! We have those juice traps, but really, I don't think they're looking for food (well, the traps aren't working, so that is my brilliant conclusion)...I think they are looking for a place to burrow into for the winter. Like our attic. I actually would be ok with the outside, but they come into our study, which is right below where they like to build nests. Ok, so obviously, our attic is perhaps too "open" and I know our ceiling in the study needs to be redone. In the meantime, Doug goes upstairs and sprays poison on them (at dusk) and we have those useless traps. This happens every year and we usually just swat them as they come in the study. They don't seem very aggressive (thank goodness) and they get slower and groggier as we get into fall. Maybe next spring we will work on the ceiling...or something...

Soon we'll see those fun loving cluster flies!

When Sobo is here, I am hoping to get out to this nursery I like and get some great tulips. I just have to find the time to make a bed and plant them...with compost! We are finally composting (and I don't mean the kind where we just threw the apple cores in the woods and let them rot or get eaten...) and we have some nice dark moist goodness ready to use...

And this just in....Sophia is pulling to stand! She does it every chance she gets! I don't need to tell you how cute it is ;)

Fiona had her dental appointment yesterday. Fortunately, her temporary fillings are holding up well and there are no new cavities (she had 4 found at 26 months). She has some deep grooves in her molars, so we worry about more cavities...We are talking about getting the "real" fillings in soon (I say soon, but I mean 6 months or so) and perhaps getting an x-ray in December (Decay is possible under the temporary fillings since they are not a perfect seal. Hence the "temporary" name). She did very well. It's becoming easier. We had to miss school, though, since they only see kids 6 and under in the morning.

Also anxiously watching Rita...wanting my family and friends to stay safe...especially my Corpus Christi friends :(

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Shrimp, yes. Dolphins, no.

"Mmmmmm. I can't wait to eat dolphins!"

This is what Fiona said after she and I were "talking" to Sophia...imitating her gleeful, high pitched squeals and babble. I mentioned that Sophia sounded like a dolphin, which prompted Fiona to think of eating them...hey, it was just before lunch time.

So, I say, well, we don't eat dolphins. (Obviously, this is really confusing.) Of course, she asks me why. Why don't we eat dolphins? Well, honey, besides the fact that talking about eating dolphins makes mommy uncomfortable, it opens up that whole "Why do we eat some animals and not others?" It's not socially acceptable, for good reason, in my humble opinion, to eat dolphins. They are intelligent and sort of like pets. We don't eat cats and dogs (ok, I mean the USA, ok?). So, then, we only eat animals that aren't smart? Hm, I don't think that's right either. Maybe dolphins just don't taste good. This is all going through my head very quickly while I try to think of an answer.

We had just pulled into the parking lot (for lunch) and I was tired and it was raining, so I think I said something succinct like, "We just don't eat dolphins".

Oh well.

No Blueberries Were Killed in the Making of this Oatmeal

One of Fiona's latest inquiries is if the food in front of her was killed by people. She has no problem eating said food, she just wants to know (I made a beef stir fry with snow peas and shittake, and sure enough, she picked out just the beef). This morning she asked me if the big plump organic blueberries in her oatmeal were killed. She also asks if things are dead...I showed her a picture of a dish of shrimp and asparagus with grits and she asked me if the shrimp were dead. Yes, those are dead shrimp. (Mmmmm....I have to admit, it's not exactly an appetizing menu description: "Dead Citrus Shrimp with Roasted Asparagus and Cheddar Bacon Grits").

She is also fascinated with the body. It started with wanting to know where all that food went...what it did when it got there...and what it all means, anyway. So in addition to wanting to know about the previous life of her food, she wants to know if it's good for her bones (2 weeks ago), good for her kidneys (last week and now), and good for her fat.

I should explain the last one. She is aware of soda now (we don't carry it in the house, but we let her have some out now and then for a treat...a very small amount!). We also talk about why we don't really drink it much. So, she asks, "What is soda good for?". Doug replies that it is good for the adipose cells. I don't even remember what adipose cells are, but he tells us those are the fat cells. So she will randomly state now that soda is good for FAT (emphasis hers). I hope this is not awkward later....

We have gotten some books about the body at the library and we go through them every night. The kidney pictures are her favorites.

Sophia now has six teeth (as far as I know) and is enjoying time alone with me every morning. She is getting quite good at following Fiona everywhere... She is also totally falling in love with her Daddy. When Doug comes home, she laughs and crawls over as fast as she can to him. Last night, she woke up (quietly) at 4 AM (sigh) and tried to snuggle into me over and over (this means crawling up to me and letting her body fall on my face as she her back or head (ow) is in my face...) BUT she also crawled over to Doug and gave him the same treatment. She's sort of a mix of bear cub and bull.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tastes Like Medium Rare

That is Fiona's latest phrase that she repeats continually throughout the day....

She has tried to cheer up a friend at school by putting a chair next to hers (said friend was at the window, waiting for her mom :( )and sitting down and saying "Now you don't have to be sad because I am sitting next to you and I am your friend!"

Sophia is sleeping better now. Fiona is sleeping a bit better--for a couple of days she was congested, but I think it is subsiding. I guess that comes with the territory of schooling....

Sophia is so pleased that she is mobile. If she wakes up before Fiona (for nap time) and I don't get there first, she will go over to Fiona and crawl all over her, laughing. So far, Fiona doesn't mind. Sophia is also pleased she can follow me. If only she would stop pretending to be the human vacuum cleaner....

There is this actual "Yellow Submarine" at the hobby store. Fiona pants every time we visit and last time, the owner said it just sits there and we could have it for half the price. So now Fiona is the owner of a Yellow Submarine replica! She is quite pleased.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Day Two

Another exciting day of school! I am so relieved that it is working out well for us and she is enjoying it. I feel very lucky.

In all this excitement, Sophia's crawling has taken on new dimensions. She can go FAST. She is pushing up on her legs. I think she is so thrilled with this that she has decided that she must work harder and longer at it...meaning that she isn't so interesting in sleeping right now. She can now go after Fiona on the bed and will climb all over her which makes them both shriek with glee. This is cute, but at night it can get a little, well, tiresome. She also does this knarly thing where she wakes up at 2ish and is awake until 5ish. She's not unhappy (well, she's not thrilled, either, because mama isn't playing at 3 a.m.) but she is quite awake. Quite.

The First Day

The official first day was yesterday. I walked Fiona to the door (after taking her picture :) ) from the car and she went right to her teacher and disappeared into the classroom. Not even a look back at poor mom, ha! So....I walked back to the car and Sophia and I wandered the streets of Montpelier for an hour. We went to pick Fiona up, and I got a big MOMMY! :)

I took her to the library to wait around a bit so we could see Doug for lunch and we ran into Hannah, who is in her class. Hannah and her dad went right up to Fiona and she said "Fiona!". Fiona went up to her and hugged her. I find out later that in class Hannah was a little sad (but did ok, I guess it was just that initial drop off...I know I was definitely a little sad!) and Fiona was concerned. Fiona also said that she was not sad at all; she was happy and excited!

I only know about that last bit because I have been emailing her teacher with questions because email is so easy and talking to them before or after class is just not a possibility, really. So far I LOVE her teachers and Fiona seems to like them as well. Her teacher has said that in class Fiona is very friendly and seems to have a very happy spirit (a happy sleepless spirit, I would like to add). Fiona did not talk much about school (I suspected that would happen) but played "school" all afternoon. I know she looked at some books, but that is all she said she could remember

So it seems like the important things about school are going to be ok...I say important because it isn't perfect. If you try to park anywhere but the street, like if it's raining, for instance, someone tells you that that is THEIR space, by god (in a sort of nice way, but still rather bear-like). See, the school shares a space with dentists and psychologists (have had the most trouble with one of these...) and I guess also two of the spaces are for "tenants" somewhere. ALL of the spaces have signs or numbers for offices but not for the school. Never mind that no one is parking in this space more than 5 minutes (there really is no space to linger, the whole pick up and drop off is very in and out here). As I have said (I think) this school is new and this location is temporary. I just fear that it will only get more interesting when we have piles of snow everywhere! In the grand scheme of things, however, it is really a minor annoyance.

Hopefully the upcoming days of school will be just as fun for her!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Pre-Preschool Post

Today Fiona went to her preschool for the first time as it was "moving in day". It went pretty well--she wanted to stay and paint, but she seems a little sad at being left. She seems to really like the main teacher and I am very thankful for that!

Tomorrow is the first day and she will only go for one hour with 4 other kids (as opposed to ... eleven?). Next week she will go for 1 1/2 hours and will overlap with some of the other kids. The third week is the regular three hours and all kids....woo hoo!

Today was only 10 minutes so I did just fine :) Tomorrow I really do walk away. I don't go home though (home is 20 minutes away), so I guess I will take Sophia to the library....

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fiona and Sophia at the Library

So Doug takes the girls to the library last night. Fiona plays with the trains with an older boy. They are playing very nicely. Then he starts making this alligator eat all the people. Fiona says, "Excuse me, I don't like that, that isn't nice". Boy says, ok. They continue playing. He does it again. Fiona says, "Excuse me, excuse said you wouldn't do that anymore". Boy says he changed his mind.

Also at the library...Sophia actually crawled! She can officially crawl! Maybe it's the carpets (we have all wood floors here). She has been able to move around a while, but not on her hands and knees.

Monday, August 22, 2005

8 Days

I saw the school inside today. It is bright and open; it has a nice "feel" to it. Things are getting organized and the kids' names are labeled on their cubby/basket spaces. It is neat to see her name there.

I met the assistant teacher, Michelle. I get to go back Thursday night for a "Back to School" night.

In totally unrelated news, there is a new bakery in town (well, the town that Doug works in and Fiona will go to school in). It is near Fiona's school and it is owned by Sandra Bullock's sister. In fact, Sandra Bullock was at the counter of said bakery helping out (I guess on opening day). This happened weeks and weeks ago---we aren't terribly news savvy these days. Apparently the line went on for miles. More to the point, though, I hear the offerings are good and I love a new bakery, so I can't wait to go visit.

A coffee shop had a sign outside saying "Sandra Bullock will not be working behind the counter today". That sign makes a lot more sense to me now.

We gave Sophia some cold melon soup today from the cafeteria at Doug's work. Strangely, this soup was chock full of garlic. Now, I love garlic. It was totally out of place in this soup, however, and especially in such mass quantities. I could see the raw sliced garlic in there. So now when I pick her up---hours later--she reeks of garlic. Her burps cut through the air.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Preschool Countdown - 9 Days

Fiona starts school August 31. I am slowly gathering her supplies for school. The cooler weather and some of the leaves just turning yellow here and there are really adding to that whole "back to school" feel. I suddenly realize that we have minimal amounts of warm clothing for Fiona (Sophia's all set, except for booties) and no snow boots.

Sophia now has 2 top teeth! She likes to grab things and then show them to you---but she holds on strong enough that you can't really just take it out of her hand. She also joins Fiona in the Blueberry Crazed Fan Club. She will lunge at a container of blueberries and claw them like the berries are prey. She stuffs them in her mouth and I guess we are over the choking phase (don't worry, I still watch her like a hawk) because she is chewing (gumming) quite, quite well now.

I am now officially a La Leche League leader and have led my first meeting. It went fairly well---good in that everyone was doing well and babies were happy as were toddlers---awkward in that talking in front of people is by far and away not my area of strength ...

Friday, August 12, 2005


I guess it is time for more teeth. Sophia is clearly uncomfortable and cried during the night--even after nursing! To really set the tone for the day, I still have this stubborn cold (I can barely talk) that appeared when we got home. We left the milk out last night, so there is only heavy cream for my tea. Bleck! Shudder!

Doug helped out this morning by watching bothgirls while getting ready for work AND he made me an egg cheese soft taco for breakfast. Yes, he is actuary by day, superhero by night...and on call during the day.

He also looks good in a bodysuit with cape.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Holden Arborteum

We also went to the Holden Arborteum on our road trip. They have this traveling Big Bug show which is very much worth seeing. It was great for the girls and they slept nearly the whole way to our next hotel stop!

It's in Cleveland, Ohio, which seems to have lots of great places to visit. I actually really liked this part of Ohio.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mall of America

Yes, on our trip, we visited this...wonder...of America. We actually didn't see much...just the (overpriced) aquarium--which I do have to say both girls enjoyed---the very cool Lego store, and a fast food pizza shop! Such is life with two young children! There is a pretty cool looking amusement park in the center, but our girls are just too young for that. As it is, we were totally afraid of our daring, fearless 3 1/2 year old (the famous Fiona) vanishing into the crowd. In crowded places like that, it is all too easy to lose little people.

Doug and I thought we actually might like it, though, with older kids or maybe even--can I say this out loud?--- no kids!

Sure, it's just the same bunch of stores everywhere in every mall, but it's every store...even a Bennetton, which I haven't been in since the 80s.

And, you have to understand, we don't really have many of these stores in Vermont. We also don't have billboards, so I found myself actually reading them on our road trip. Now I crave a green tea frappacino from Starbucks, even though I am not even sure what that is. Ah, the power of advertising! When we ate out on our trip, Fiona frequently ordered whatever there was a picture of: "I want THAT". I can really see now how the lower level at the grocery is devoted to the small folk of our country.

So, I can say I've been to the Mall of America. I do think it is worth a visit. I don't even like malls, but this one is just so incredibly impossibly big. Grotesque, but interestingly so.

Preschool Looms on the Horizon

Fiona's teacher is coming to our house tomorrow for a "home visit". School starts August 31. Fiona talks about school all the time. I really hope she likes it. I am excited and also anxious about it.

Hey, it's the Milk Producer!

When Sophia sees me come into the room, or her dad or sister, she gets this huge grin on her face and points to you. Like, "Hey! I know you, and I am SO glad to see you!"

Actually, since she is so young and so attached to mama right now, I often get a boogie dance, too, to go with the pointing finger. Ahhh, it's nice to be loved.

I think Doug should do that when he comes home. We should all boogie when we see our loved ones after a time has passed.

She pants, too, but I wouldn't make panting a requirement.

Just To Clarify....

Soon after my last post, Fiona brough the videotape cover of Yellow Submarine in and asked me to point out who was dead and who was alive. I did and she said, "But they are all alive in the movie". Yes, thank goodness.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

John Revisited

So we're talking about her beau John ( talked about in previous posts). We're looking at a small globe-ball and she asks me where John lives. I said that John used to live in England.

Naturally, she picks up on this past tense reference and asks me where he lives NOW.

After telling her the news, she wants to know about Ringo, George, and Paul. She's not very happy about John being dead even though two other Beatles are still alive.

She mulls it over for a while and then informs me that I may be wrong about John and George. Maybe I am lying. Well, I say, I am not lying--I am only telling you what I believe to be true. I briefly consider delving more into this whole "death" thing and then think, nah! Later.

She gets the rest of the Beatles confused. She just told me (as I am writing this--she must have sensed that I was rehashing an earlier conversation...) that Daddy said that Ringo was still alive and has NOT passed on you silly goose! I just told her that is right--Ringo is still alive. Only George and John are no longer with us.

She then says maybe there will be new ones soon.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Spunky Funky Grrrrl Rock Star

We're back from the land of 10,000 lakes and our family reunion. Hopefully, I can write all about it while it's still fresh in my mind...and before Doug goes back to work.

Fiona was a big hit with extended family. A favorite thing of hers to do at one of her great-grandparents' house was to drag a stool into the middle of the room (and thus, right smack dab in the center spotlight of the conversation and family) with a small guitar. She'd perch on the stool with the guitar and make up songs. She'd even announce upcoming songs: "Apples in the Morning coming up in 10 minutes!!" She sang about those apples, tornadoes, string cheese, and other assorted items in her life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I Got a Clue Token

Sophia makes a huge mess when she eats. Most of the food still gets pushed out of her mouth, even at 9 months. Even yogurt (goat's milk yogurt!). I had no idea if she was actually ingesting any of it.

There were peas in the washing machine this morning (we use cloth diapers). I think we have evidence of food being eaten at last.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Warm and (Blue and White) Fuzzy Feelings

Just when I think I'm all caught up--or approaching that destination, anyway--on housework. I've even washed the stairs. I've gone through files of Ancient Important Things which are now Ancient Recyclable Things. Oh, the owner's manuals I've found! At last the fold-up instructions for that blasted children's play tent! I once again suppress the intense desire to hide about 1/3 of the toys strewn about the house.

So I call my Dad to chat and I'm absent-mindedly (I am not sure that is a word, forgive me) fiddling with the requisite letters-on-the-fridge (you know, the alphabet letters and also numbers for Fiona to play with)...only to my horror...that some of them are covered on the sides (the wood part not covered with paint) with blue and white fuzzy mold. I know it's been humid here, but egads!!!

I wanted to toss them, but my dad convinced me to throw them into the dishwasher. We'll see if they survive.

You wouldn't think it would be that humid in Vermont, would you? Well, maybe you would because you know better. I've been and it still surprises me.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

He's All Mine, Ladies. So are the Tea Cups.

Yesterday, we drove down to the farmer's market but never made it. We had the intention of going to a few garage sales, and we ended up doing it all morning because this entire neighborhood was having a garage sale. It was a garage sale nest. We got a rice cooker (kind of pricey at $10, but like new and a good brand), a pitcher, a baby wipes warmer (I thought it would be nice in the winter for our cloth wipes), proper tea cups, a teapot/cup combo, a play fishing rod for Fiona (the hit of the day), a stroller for Fiona's dolls (ok, her stationery), and an Anne Lammott book (Traveling Mercies). I could have spent all day doing this but the sun was intense as was our dear Fiona (Sophia was blissfully taking it all in while in the backpack on Doug's back). Even large lemonades did not really mend things, so we stopped before the grumpiness factor peaked.

The Montessori preschool teacher was there (whom I've met, but she teaches the Other School, not Our School) and asked me (before she recognized me) if I was purchasing those tea cups (while I was gathering the cups and saucers and teapot/cup combo and looking at my rice cooker and books---wishing I had taken the cooker back to the car because I only have two arms--ah, but then I would not have gotten the cups....). Well, shucks, I am! Then she recognized me and we chatted a bit. She said her sister was coming down from San Fransisco to visit and she owns and operates a tea shop (with proper tea! and delicacies!). She was going to give a little tea for the new teacher (Our Teacher) and was looking for tea cups. I felt like I should surrender the tea cups (maybe) but she said her mother had some she could borrow. I am glad of that, because they are dainty little things with no chips and three for $5.

I still feel a little guilty...ok, it's gone now.

Then, Doug offers to take the girls away all afternoon while I read the new Harry Potter book, The Half Blood Prince. I accept, feeling unworthy, but unable to keep the book shut. I finished it at about 10:30 PM, as it wasn't as tome-like as the former book. I will not give anything away here--I am not even going to say one more word about it!

Sophia has started pointing at things. Doug was cutting up onions and sauteing them, and Sophia was watching from my arms. She pointed at the onions, then pointed at the pan. She has been reaching for me for a while now, saying "Mamamama mama maaaaaa" (beam!).

Now everyone is sleeping. If they wake up soon, I'll take the girls swimming and let Doug get into the book!

Friday, July 15, 2005

And the Award for Most Hated Toy in our House...

Hated by me, that is...goes to:

I took her to Kids Town and let her pick one small toy from the isle of instant gratification crap...and out of cute little bouncy balls, whirly things, straws, erasers, sparklies...she picks this horrendous chicken.

That's my girl!

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

Thanks to Netflix, we were able to rent this cheesy 70s childrens' show! We set Fiona in front of it, and she was instantly captivated. She prefers to sit in Doug's lap for the scary parts (i.e. when Sigmund's mean older brothers show up) but otherwise was charmed by the show.

OK, it's not the greatest message (the other sea monsters kick Sigmund out because he is a nice sea monster!). I also fail to remember why they keep trying to recapture him if they kicked him out in the first place.

Really, I just wanted to see it again after nearly 30 years, and why not show it to my daughter? She watches maybe one show a week on tape or DVD. Despite the show being rather, ah, old-fashioned, she was not at all bored by it.

Talk to the Hand, Mommy. Talk to the Hand.

That is what Fiona told me the other day. She meant it in a totally silly way, not a sassy way. She had the impish grin on and everything. (I think she overheard Doug and I bantering with each other).

I just wonder if her preschool teacher will be amused.

No New Bed In Immdiate Future

Fiona has told Doug that she wants the Kids Town bed when she is older. She is too sad being left alone to go to sleep :( Of course, that is fine with us and we are back to the Super Size bed all together!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hidden Treasures

Doug has gotten creative again and cut down a bamboo rod from the attic so that it will fit inside Fiona's desk (which she uses as a dresser). This way, she can hang clothes from it (someday we will do this in her actual closet!) Fiona is very excited about it and will spend several minutes just having fun taking the clothes off the hanger, getting dressed, getting undressed, and putting the clothes back on the hanger.

Now as to the bamboo rod---I didn't even know we had that (and more?) in the attic. When we bought the house, there were an assortment of odd things left in the attic and a few things above the beams in the garage. Old wallpaper, old tiles (from the formerly Hideous Pink bathroom)...yes, let's digress to the Hideous Pink bathroom...

At one point, the bathtub/shower tiles were pink. That is not so bad, right? We had our bathroom worked on the winter before last to put new tile in. He also took off the wallpaper and old wainscotting. Underneath the wallpaper (which was not so bad) paint. Underneath the crappy wainscotting was...plastic pink tile! !Que horror! Plastic pink tile on the lower half of every wall! I wonder if at one point there was pink carpet in there? Thankfully, that is all gone now except the pink paint, which will eventually be covered with a sage green color.

I guess perhaps I should not mock those who came before owners who painted their house in three shades of purple and one shade of sea green (it's more blue than green, actually) on purpose.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Don't Make Me Get out the Fingerpaints

Finally, finally, finally Fiona naps. Sophia naps. Fiona only naps with promises of going to the pool (I hate doing that, but if she does not nap, it gets ugly fast). So I am sitting here, getting work done (instead of eating bon bons and watching the Daily Show on our new DSL connection, of course) and in the distance I hear thunder.

You would think I'd get a break from the Great Mother of all things.

It's the End of the Summer

I have actually discovered---in mid July now---that our tiny town actually has a happening pool. I took Fiona last night. After nap time, I am going to be brave and saunter over to the Town Clerk to buy a Family Pass. Then I will take both girls to the pool. Alone. The pool is open to 7 PM, though, which is amazing because nearly everything in our area closes at 5 or 5:30. I think we will try to go every day, barring rain. They are even--this is more incredible, if possible--open on Sunday !!

On a related note, I wonder if it's early senility or just a symptom of being in the trenches of early motherhood...but I have this almost fanatical desire to posses a new bottle of sunblock every time we go shopping. I have a similar urge towards tissues.

On a depressing note, I got a bunch of Back-to-School (!!!) catalogues and Fall catalogs in the mail the other day. Didn't summer just start? This year, for the first time since moving here--I think it's been seven years now, I feel rather protective of summer and apprehensive of the coming cold weather. The last one just seemed very, very long.

A $600 Milestone?

Ok, there is this bed at Kids Town. It is a young child's dream bed. It is like a bunk bed (well the top part) and the bottom is a play area. It is undeniably cool. However, there are three major strikes against it. It is not really a bed she can grow into, it is not really a bed she can share with her sister, and we don't need a bed for her! We have TWO frames in the attic, waiting for box springs and mattresses. The bed, with mattress, would cost a whopping 600 bucks, as well.


We have made a deal with Fiona. If she goes to sleep on her own (she needs Doug or myself now, no biggie) for 2 weeks (marked by a chart) we the bed...boy, that is hard to write, ha ha! Well, we have revisited this subject several times (she brings it up) and she always concluded that we can buy the bed when she is older b/c she does not want to be alone.

But last night, she went to sleep by herself! And was surprised to see Doug there in the morning! (I think he can join Sophia and I but maybe it is a good idea to do this gradually. I did miss them last night, though).

So we are making the chart (again) and actually putting a sticker on it! Time to squirrel some money away into the savings account....

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Exactly two weeks from tomorrow, we are driving across half of the United States. Three days in the car with a 3 1/2 year old and a 9 month old. I wish I could log on and blog a day by day synopsis of the trip, if only for posterity...and quite possibly as a reminder to never do this again. I am excited to see Doug's family and excited to get away for almost two weeks. I wish I could pack up everything now, though.

Our destination is Rochester, MN, home of the Mayo Clinic. We are not doing anything at said clinic; that's just a bit of trivia.

Fiona can say Minnesota very clearly, though.

Any bets on how often we have to listen to the "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" tape?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


We are now buying the Economy size of enzymes, which we get at a pet store. We are asked what kind of pet we have at home---and probably how many, Doug is usually the one buying it, though---it is a big bottle and sets us back 30 bucks. Doug motions to Fiona and says, "No pets, just a toddler (who is wickedly grinning)". They seem surprised, but maybe no one is honest about it and makes up family pets or blames real pets. Surely we are not the only ones who have thought to use enzymes. I know we are not the only ones who have kids who have pee incidents---accidents or otherwise!

Speaking of pee, the smell seems to be everywhere. The sheets, my clothes, the languishing undies-at-time-of-accident in the sink or tub, Sophia's clothes (pre-washed), the changing table (no matter how hard I try to protect it), the futon mattress in "Fiona's room" (a.k.a "room with toys and an emergency bed---which could be slept on, if necessary---but has had three dousings with "Nature's Enzymes" now---*after* Maggie and Dad's visit, I would like to clarify), from unknown sources.... I swear it seeps into the skin, refusing to be washed off. Doug and I occasionally walk around the apartment sniffing the furniture and rugs asking ourselves, "Does this stink or am I just used to it?" Friends assure me that all smells well.

Merlot (our previously owned cat) would laugh if she could.

Actually, the diapers (cloth) at least smell just fine.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Another future dental patient!

Sophia has her first tooth!!

And we have DSL so now I have no excuse not to update you all everyday :)

We also have a camcorder now, so family members can expect *more-more-more* of their favorite little people.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

When Toddlers Share Too Much

So we are at Doug's workplace cafeteria, checking out, and the cashier---who is very fond of Fiona--asks her what Sophia is going to eat. Fiona says, very loudly, but still in the range of our "indoor voice" range:


And then, as an afterthought, "Oh, and squash and peas".

I thought it was great, but I think the cashier was a little embarrassed.

Fiona has a bit of trouble keeping dry at night just lately. Well, unfortunately, she finally wet the goose down sleeping bags. We have never washed these before anyway, so they are due. So we are at the laundromat to use the Mega Washer and the Mega Dryer. I was almost done there when Fiona decides to go up to a woman and tell her all about our adventure: "Hi! Those are our sleeping bags. We had to bring them here and wash them because I peed in them! Now they are clean."

I can see this woman (who was highly amused) thinking to herself, ok, won't be using that dryer.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I Saw the Sign

Fiona's new game is to demand that we read every sign on every car trip. I didn't realize there were so many signs, even on short car trips. Thankfully, she usually gets interested in something else on longer trips (or falls asleep) and I can stop repeating the speed limit.

She also has a new suitcase, which she showed to nearly every person on the way out of the store. She did the same thing when I bought her a new jump rope (both are things she has been asking for for a while). She cornered two women at a table next to us in a restaurant (I use the word "restaurant" loosely here) and told them all about her jump rope and jacks ("These are too small for Sophia!", said with a noticeable amount of glee.). The same women were there for the suitcase purchase and remembered her, even though she was with Doug that time and not me. Doug says that people come up to him all the time and ask "Is that Fiona?". She was a little more shy with the women this time, but that was before the suitcase purchase.

The sibling angst is setting in. She has now said several times, while squeezing her eyes shut or covering her eyes, that she doesn't "want to see Sophia" or that she "wants to see only Mommy, and not Sophia". It seems to happen mostly when she is tired, hungry, or overstimulated.

Right now she is showing me her "money" in her hand and insists that they are "pounds" and not "dollars".

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Fiona fell off the couch. She wasn't even messing around, just crawling on it, trying to reach her little table. Her hand went on air instead of cushion and I guess she fell on her cheek. I say "I guess" because she wouldn't tell me what hurt and I figured it was the scratch on her back from the table (and the scare).

The next day she had a blue and purple bruise on her cheek :( I thought it was chalk at first, but it didn't wash off. Actually, that was last week and she still has it! It's more yellow now, but everytime we go out, someone asks about it. It was colorful enough that people thought it was marker; now it's obviously a bruise. Someone said that (when I sheepishly said I didn't know if it was a bruise or chalk) it was probably not a bruise because it takes a lot for a cheek to bruise. That made me want to hide at home for a few weeks.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Marriage and Preschool

Fiona is now interested in the concept of marriage. She states often that Doug and I are married. Though sometimes she says that she is "Daddy's husband". Most of the time she chants that she and Sophia are married. In fact, Fiona came up to her while she was on my lap, got in her face (in a loving way...she likes to be right up in your face---if she does this to you, I think it means you've passed some sort of test) and said very softly, "I just knew we would be together again someday". No, she didn't get this from a video. If she got it from anywhere, it could possibly be from a Storyteller tape.

Finally, after months of poking around, and much hand wringing and angst, we have decided on a preschool! It's going to be Montessori. We could not decide between that and Waldorf--vastly different approaches, but Fiona is well rounded and would do well in either, I think. The only drawbacks are (besides cost, ugh) that it is FIVE days a week (which may not be a drawback if she adjusts well--and if I adjust well) and location is unknown. Yes, I signed our daughter up for a school and I don't know where it is. It is a new is an expansion from another Montessori school 45 minutes away. I love the original school but the idea of driving there every day in the winter intimidates me. I have been assured that there is a back-up location (I know where that is) and no matter what the school will start this September. I know what town it will be in, just not what building...

At least there are 11 other families along for the ride!

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Writing on the Wall

Ok, see, we have these bath crayons that write really well. Fiona sometimes takes a bath downstairs instead of upstairs, and those are the shower/bath walls that are easy to clean bath crayon off of.

Well, Fiona likes us to draw and write stuff up high and BIG. Doug gave her a bath last time and wrote our names at the top, big and red.

So everytime I come down in the morning, I see reflected in the mirror when I look up after washing my hands, large red letters backwards and sort of drippy looking.

It always gives me a start, like I'll find a body in the bathtub next.

I better clean it up today, because it sets the tone too much for the rest of the day...and I think it's time to permanently lose the red and orange crayons....

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Big Sister as Entertainment

Today we were inspired by a brown bag.

Fiona picks up a brown bag lying on the floor (yes, all sorts of treasure awaits discovery in our house--you just have to look down) and puts it on her head and starts walking around. So, with her permission, I cut out eyes, ears, nose, and add antennae with shiny pipe cleaners (one purple, one silver).

When she wears this, she refers to herself as a "yellow submarine" or "brownie". (In that case, I am Mommy Brownie).

She went up to Sophia, who then promptly started laughing---big belly laughs mind you. Every time Fiona comes up to Sophia with this headpiece on, Sophia just laughs and laughs.

It is nice.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Born Diva

At the playground yesterday, my friend and I were talking and Fiona and my friend's son were playing. Fiona was in her element. My friend said she could see Fiona ruling the playground and that she thought Fiona was officially a Diva. That may be so, but this Diva still likes to read quietly and find slugs under rocks.

She just came up to me in her underwear and black stole with orange sunglasses and demanded that I find her crown.

So, perhaps, a well-rounded Diva.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Fiona starts out the day with a bowl of oatmeal and blueberries. She then says--like she has acquired weapons of mass destruction or something (Can I say that? If there is no more activity on the blog after this or it just disappears you can assume they've come to get me.)---, "Now I have more energy". I think you really had to be there to hear the intonation in her voice.

I don't think I would be surprised to see her burst into light or fly. Startled, maybe, but then I'd think, well, it was just a matter of time.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Envision Whirled Peas

Sophia is now officially entering the World of Food (at least beyond breastmilk--and I know, I know, she gets a taste of what I eat via the milk--but we're introducing food without the middleman).

Yesterday she ate several spoons of smushed peas. I wasn't rushing her, believe me. I decided it was time when she lunged for my giant bowl of veggies and pasta and pulled it towards her while panting. She's gotten a lot more aggresive at the table, so I thought it was time! She has also tried some smushed banana, but she likes peas better.

Next week, we'll try avocado or sweet potato.


I told Fiona yesterday (after a day of practicing inside on her bike) that with all the practice she does on her bike, she's going to be a really great bike rider.

She came over to me and said, "Aw, mama, let me give you a hug".

Touch My Kiwi! Love Him!

One of Fiona's latest quirks (one of many, it's hard to keep track of them all!) is to hold and soothe her food before she eats it.

So, this morning, she held her kiwi fruit, and stroked and murmured to it before she handed it over for butchering. (Yeah, Mama's tough and crusty. She'll hack into a kiwi without even a moment's hesitation).

And while reading "The Little Engine That Could", she spied a picture of a man fishing. This man had a caught fish next to him. She asked, "Mommy, how can that fish swim and play if it's there next to the man?" I said, "Well, that man is going to eat the fish" (a sense of deja vu here). She said "No, that fish needs to swim and play." So I said that maybe the fish would escape into the water while the man wasn't looking.

Maybe we'll all be vegans in a few years.

First Bike

Last Friday, we trucked down to Onion River Sports. Now Fiona is the proud owner of a red tricycle and bike helmet (pink with bunnies---she picked it out---might as well get used to them early!). And, naturally, it's been raining since Saturday morning. She did get to take it out Friday afternoon.

It has a basket in the front, which, as I suspected, is a big hit. She puts her "mail" in it or her wooden food. Yes, since it is raining and the bike is still pretty clean, we broke down and let her ride it in the house.

If she's not in a really happy mood, though, she gets frustrated because she doesn't have peddling quite down yet--especially combined with turning the handlebars.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Thursday musings

Doug and I have this green journal from the Time Before Kids where we'd go out to eat and try a wine and evaluate it in the journal with the food we ordered to go with it. Fiona loves this journal (part of it may be the labels we've torn off and glued in it) but I don't want it to become a play thing (it's amazing the stuff that becomes a "play thing" and is often lost, sometimes destroyed, and frequently...altered). So Doug bought her her own journal and she keeps it with her in her bag with a pen and will hunker down at various times during the day and "write" in it. He also bought her her very own calculator (mine had become one of those "play things" solar scientific calulator that has not gotten so much use since about 1994). It is purple and round and is about the size of a normal chocolate chip cookie. The calculator seems to go with the journal.

We tried to go outside this morning, but it was a short visit because it is actually rather nippy again. But the daffodils and tulips are definitely coming out and the lilacs have plump buds.

Doug has taken the girls out for a couple of hours every night this week. Monday he bought chocolate ice cream cones for himself and Fiona. At one point he had to hold his cone in the hand that was right in front of Sophia. Apparently, she recognized food she could actually lick and get some excitement out of because she lunged for it. However, I am happy to report that chocolate ice cream is not her first food.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I'm in the Twilight Zone

Fiona has been asleep from 11 AM to the present, which is 2:45 PM. I keep peeking at her, and yes, she's breathing. I didn't even encourage nap time. I usually feed her lunch and read her three books and tell her one story before I have to give her strokies so she can fall asleep. She just bundled herself up in the down comforter and curled up on the floor and zonked out. I am guessing 11 AM...I was nursing Sophia and it was quiet. Too quiet. That either means big trouble (or depending on how you look at it, important work or incredible discoveries) or, I guess, sleep.

Two things could happen when she wakes. She will be up wailing and super-pissed (probably will be hungry) or incredibly sweet and super friendly and wanting to be with me. It is possible that she will be extra sweet because she will want to watch show and she knows I am not a big fan of "show". Usually, however, she is sweet just because she is. She is also usually very excited to see Sophia and wants to play with her. Sophia is always excited to see Fiona.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's...

Super Mouse!!!

My sister Alexandra gave Fiona this picture book about what cats do at night when we are sleeping.

So Doug is reading this book to her before bed. One scene shows the cats working at a factory boxing up the mice. Fiona asks Doug, "Why are the cats boxing up the mice?" Doug says, "Well, I think they mean to eat them."

Fiona is not at all happy with this answer.

Now she wears her blue apron around her neck like a cape (she actually has a cape, but it's a hooded cape) and says she is Super Mouse, saving the mice from the bad cats.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I Don't Believe in Reincarnation

However, when Fiona opens up her purple E.T. wallet (from my childhood), she keeps telling me she has 2 pounds.

Our house is littered with notebooks, coloring books, envelopes...all of which say "John". Toddler graffiti.

We upgraded to Windows XP and now I can't play all of my Beatles CDs on here (from the hard drive). Of course, one of those is Yellow Submarine. Thankfully, it seems not to matter! She is happy with any Beatles album, apparently.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Hey Maggie

Here's your car.

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He's ok. This is soon after one of our big snow storms. The snowblower put some of that snow on, too.

Happy Spring!

Ok, it's not quite spring, but it's close enough. It doesn't really look like spring at all outside. I guess it looks like spring in Vermont. Snowy and slushy.

Let the maple harvest begin! I made a maple yogurt pie. It's from Ken Haedrich's Pie cookbook, which is one of the best I own (thank you, Ana!!). There are lots of little maple festivals this weekend, but I think we will chill (ha ha) at home instead. Maybe next year.

"I Will Never Mock Yellow Submarine Again"

....says my husband.

Poof, out of nowhere, Fiona is writing "John". You can read it. Really.

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I don't know what the circle is under/on the "n". That is her first attempt (or second, I may have mixed up the envelopes). It looks even more John-like now.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Allez cuisine!

Now Fiona is entraced with Iron Chef (the REAL one---not the one with Bobby Flay. And I still don't see how he beat Rick Bayless. I'm sure Bobby can cook and all but ever since that cutting board incident with his battle against Morimoto I have been totally unimpressed with him). She wants a chef coat and she wants it red. Sometimes she considers yellow, but I think Sakai is her favorite.

She is napping now and I have agreed to more Iron Chef after a nap.

It can't be an Iron Chef with seafood, though. As she said to my husband, "The fish don't want to be eaten, daddy". She has no problem with other meats, but that is probably because they aren't flapping around as you're trying to bread them.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

My top five favorite foods

At least today, right now, in no particular order, and definitely not at once.

5. Bacon
4. Chocolate
3. in season strawberries (so....not going to happen today)
2. Almond pear tart
1. Doug's fried chicken

I feel silly listing my favorite foods because, really, you know, they change and they would fill a notebook. But that is what I want today. Oh, and shredded barbeque beef from the Chuckwagon with pickles. That is really not going to happen.

Pizza, anyone?

Nothing says dinner hour like Fiona hollering at the top of her lungs.

Just sad

My husband and Fiona both have this cough. So he took a couple of days off, which was nice for me. Fiona's cough isn't slowing her down at all. Nothing does except sleep, which she isn't too keen on.

We got lots of snow. I am having dreams of summer, where there is absolutely no snow allowed.

One of my best friend's cats died. Very unexpectedly and suddenly. I've been kind of sad about that (and, hence, not here).

I am also sad because an aquaintance of mine had a still birth and I am sad about that. It is just very unfair and should not be something that ever happens.

Another reason I have been quiet.

I think I'll end on that cheerful note.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


7 AM

"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"

7:01 AM

"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"

8:30 AM

"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"

9:43 AM

"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"

10:15 AM

"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"
"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"

11 AM

"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"

11:30 AM


12 PM - approximately 1:30 PM


1:32 PM

"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"

2 PM

Yellow Submarine


"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"
"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"


"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"
"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"
"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"
"Mom, I don't like it when you don't listen to me"


Mom hides in bedroom for the rest of the night....


For the record, I'm listening. I can't not listen.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I am the Walrus

One reason I decided to stay at home and temporarily stop working (for other people outside the home) is to enjoy moments like these. Sophia (4 months) cuddled against my chest sleeping (finally) in our wrap carrier. Fiona (3 years) is also sleeping, but I am starting to miss her. She has vast amounts of energy so one is totally drained by, say, 9 AM. But when the life of the party sleeps too long it's frankly too quiet for my taste.

She has decided her new name is John and I am Ringo. Sophia is George and my husband is Paul. Yes, we are The Beatles. She loves them. Fortunately, so do I.

So why Veloute?

As a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, I wanted something that linked my culinary interests with motherhood. Veloute is one of five "Mother Sauces". It's made with a lightly coloured roux (flour and butter) and stock, most often chicken stock. And salt, of course.

I am also a big advocate of breastfeeding. Maybe Bechamel would have been a more appropriate name. But I chose Veloute.

Music with kids

I have rediscovered Peter, Paul and Mary. I loved a few of their songs as I was growing up, so I obtained a copy of "Peter, Paul and Mommy" for Fiona. She seems to really like it, but not as much as Yellow Submarine.

And I can listen to either over and over without going bitchmother bonkers (I have to admit I totally stole that phrase, but it is really apt)...unlike, say, that charming melody called "Wheels on the Bus".

I want to write something pithy about the decline of our country into a Black Age at the hand of the current administration, but I have been unable to keep up with the grim details. We have no television, I can't sit down long enough to read the newspaper (I can type very quickly), and when I listen to the radio, I'd rather hear music. I must make more effort to keep informed.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

This is a testing post

Hi, and welcome to my blog.

I'm sitting here with a bit of muscato, savouring the moment while my husband panders to our 3 year old daughter and carries the 4 month old daughter.

The house is trashed. In a tasteful way that says I've been doing my job.