Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Boo. As in Boo Hiss.

We had a so so Halloween. The parties started three weeks ago....
We've swung from 45 degrees to 85 degrees in the meantime, adding turtlenecks or sandals to the fairy princess ensembles as we went. I tried to remove the blood from pink polyester satin with no success. And apparently a diet of laffy taffy does not a healthy family make.
By the time Halloween night actually arrived, the girls were pooped. We trick or treated at LuLu and GrandDaddy's house. Then the train came off the tracks. Katie barfed cheese quesadilla into my hand at the restaurant. The sweet girl was determined to boot and rally and proposed two "practice" houses. After the first two, she said, "Mama, I didn't throw up at either of my practice houses! Can we keep going?"
Anna refused all attempts at costuming. She was instead outfitted in pink rain boots, orange tights and Katie's blue dress that was in the trunk in her ballet bag. Otherwise she would have been pantless. Anna and I missed Halloween last year because she was sick and so we marched on, determined to wring fun from this misbegotten concept of sugar thievery. And now we are paying for it.
Illness has befallen the Brown house. Nothing too serious, but home from school yesterday and today. Hoping that we can knock out the cough at our doctor's appointment today. And then perhaps an infusion of holiday cheer for mama. Is there an Ebeneezer Scrooge of Halloween? Ichabod Crane perhaps? I feel like chopping off my head right about now.
Anyway, this is a long way of explaining why there are no festive pictures of my children looking adorable. My sweet friends have posted some on facebook from the FIVE halloween themed parties and two church festivals that we've slogged through in the last 21 days. But the only one I have is this - which pretty much sums it up for me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dear Santa,

Date of first letter to Santa: October 19, 2009

Number of revisions so far: 8

Latest entry: A remote control Bat Girl with cape and pink lipstick.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween How To

KB gave me an important Halloween lesson yesterday.

"There are two kinds of ghosts: 'tend ones and actual spooky ones."

"Oh yeah, how do you tell the difference?"

"Spooky ghosts fly in the sky. But if it has feet and is walking, then it is probably a kid TENDING to be spooky."

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Show

Today, something awesome happened. It was the. most. amazing. thing. ever.
Katie and I were tossing the football back and forth in the driveway while Anna did doughnuts on her Big Wheel. It was going along as usual, when all of a sudden, Katie reached out her arms. They stretched out in front of her, towards the trajectory of the flying football. Then, THEN, they closed, almost of their own accord, around the projectile, drawing it nearer to her body. I was bamboozled. There is nothing more I can teach her. She has surpassed me in terms of physical coordination. I was watching her so closely as I made her replicate the act over and over. Get this. She didn't close her eyes and wince. Not even once. I knew I was watching something that I will never ever achieve. Now, I can sometimes catch things, but it is always, always a supreme act of will and a bobbling sweaty adventure. But not her. I was throwing the football and her arms were closing around it. I didn't know it could be like this.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

You know, we might go to Home Depot...

Home improvement projects had fallen off dramatically at the Brown household, and I couldn't figure out why. RB and I always enjoyed the Depot in Atlanta and would usually tackle just about anything. But little projects around the house were being left undone. So, yesterday I went to Home Depot and got all those little detailers: a doorstop, a pint of black paint, a quart of white paint, furniture polish, caulk, etc. It was such a pleasure to wander the aisles, but something felt off. It felt like I had gone to the vet and forgotten Sugar. There was no scrabbling, clawing, desperate effort to escape. Ah! The kids were at school. That was it.

Having expended my precious morning off gathering supplies, I then attempted my adventures in home repair after I picked up the girls.

I laid down the newspaper, taped down my edger, readied my brushes, looked cautiously around and determined that Dora had the girls well in hand. Not moments after I unscrewed the lid on the black paint, did two curious ladies appear, bent on having a horsey ride. (The position required to paint the kick plate under the kitchen cabinets is ideal for horsey rides.)

Katie began her best pleading repetition tactic, "Please, can I paint, can I try? I a good painter. I very careful. I very good at painting. I can try. Let me try. Let me do that part. Can I???" (All said while bouncing vigorously on my back.)

Meanwhile, Anna sees her chance, sticks both hands into the paint tray, rubs them together victoriously and "Taaa DAH!" shows them off proudly.

As I am holding her over the sink, scrubbing away and muttering, a calm voice pipes up behind me with the kicker, "Well, you really shouldn't have left it on the floor where she could reach it." Touche, KB, touche.

PS - RB called from Chicago and I proudly related my victory over adversity and the years of 35 linear feet of unpainted kick plate anxiety. He replied, "Huh, it wasn't painted? I hadn't noticed."

Friday, September 18, 2009

The long climb to success. . .

You have got to admire the girl's technique. She doesn't like the approach with the stool (the STEP stool) so she climbs up like this. She must have needed a bit more traction though because she went and put on Katie's sneakers for this attempt.

I am just happy for her enthusiasm.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

With Sharks Attached!

This am, as we waited "patiently" for our Eggos to toast, Katie asked me the most astute question yet in her young life.

"Mom, are there laser beams in the toaster?"
"uh, What?"
"Well, lasers are hot. And toasters are hot. And lasers are red."
"Yep. You are exactly right. That was really smart thinking."
"I knew there were red hot laser beams in there."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

deep thoughts...

In cleaning up tonight I found a sterling earring that has been missing for months and a crusty plastic pacifier (the only style Anna will accept, quiets her instantly, and is sold only in Bethesda) - guess which find thrilled me more. . .

Spilt milk is DEFINITELY worth crying over. . .

When Anna runs in saying "LOOK LOOK" it is usually a bad thing. . .

If Katie asks one more time how the lizard got into the bathtub I am going to scream, because I refuse to contemplate the answer. . .

I knew that Anna's habit of bellyflopping onto the dog bed would end in tears one day. Somehow, I didn't foresee the large hematoma though.
My bad. . .

Though Daddy/Daughter time is wonderful, I could have done without the lesson on dove taxidermy from my four year old. "First you pull the skin off the bird. . . "

I know I have done my job as a mother when we pull into the church parking lot and Katie says, "I love this place!"
If only she hadn't followed that with, "They have snacks!"

I think it is Jack Handey's fault that every 25- 35 year old thinks they should have a blog. . .

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sisters, Friends, Hairdressers

Anna's new haircut. 
Thanks to her big sister, she will be rocking the Pat Benatar look to 
the first day of Nursery School tomorrow. 

Monday, August 31, 2009

Time Saver

I love time and labor saving devices. Even if they do neither. Katie has apparently inherited this trait. She informed me today that she had lined her panties with toilet paper so that if she has to tee tee in the night, she'll be ready. Awesome.

Sweet Anna is talking SO much. I have no idea how much of it is intelligible to other people, but it is amazing to Ronnie and I. Her favorite sentence is "I DID IT!" Said with her trademark toothy grin.

Today, the girls were playing in the bathroom sinks for about an hour while I laid on Anna floor and read. (Thank you, God, for double vanities and rubber duckies.) Anna walked in and said "Water for Duck" She was holding a little tiny plastic bucket and letting the duck drink from it. Then she said, "Bucket." I mean seriously. Eloquence.

Her language development has been so so different from Katie. It is almost like the difference between a vocab course with flashcards or an immersion program. Katie had the most amazing vocab, but usually did not use it. Anna has just soaked up the incredible variety of discussion that flows around her every day. Today Katie talked about two squares forming a rectangle, 'cubing' up the sides of a foam puzzle to form a box, knitting, canoeing and attack strategies of both lizards and bears. She is a WAY better language teacher than I am. Anna adores listening to her and follows every word. Of course, speaking is also a survival technique. Among her first word combos was "Katie. Push." Perhaps I should stop recording the magic and go intervene. I hear Anna yelling and Katie ran in reporting that a bear just threw a pillow at Anna. Damn bears.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Killing me softly...

Today, they almost did me in. Seriously. A combination of a 1:30 am wake-up call with Katie, coupled with a long day of rain and toddler sized negativity corroded my normally sunny disposition. However, two high points:

Anna said what I believe is her first sentence!
"I can't open up." And what was this brilliant scholar trying to open you might ask? A book? The minds of those around her? A low risk, high yield investment account? Um, no. It was a peanut that she and Pop Pop had painted blue and she was trying to eat it. BUT, still, quite impressive.

Katie, my dear sweet angel, had a rough day. She did not like ANYTHING today. Not cheese, not crayons, not even Fancy Nancy. Seriously, a bad day. She made me crack up though as she was contemplating her dinner. Anna was enjoying her cheese ravioli and turkey meatballs. Katie was distraught because she doesn't like sauce (which I had kept separate), she doesn't like noodles (her lifeblood), she doesn't like cutting things (despite her new pink birthday cutlery), etc. Philosophically, she turns to Anna and says, "Well, we're not going to get a better offer," and commences eating her meatball. Apparently, she really does listen to me because that one was straight out of JGB's Grumpy Mom Repertoire.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Katie is truly brilliant. WAY more brilliant than your kid. I so enjoy the moments when she surprises me with something that I didn't even know she knew. For the first few years, every word is this product of endless repetition. Every word that came out of her was one that I had put there.
So it delighted me when she showed me a picture on her magna-doodle on Wednesday. I wish I hadn't been driving so I could have taken a photo, but a full 98% of my magical moments occur in the car... So, anyway, the picture was solid black, with a vertical white stripe in the middle. Very simple. She then explained that the black part was the rock of the "bolcano" and the white part was the tube where the "super hot lapa comes out." I mean seriously. I am enrolling her in geology class at Harvard next week.
My brilliant baby also surprises me every day. Anna is just starting that incredible phase of talking where it just falls out of her, without prompting. We passed a cow the other day that she noticed on her own, and I hear a MOOOOOOO from the back seat. (We were in the car again, shockingly.)
Just two weeks ago, we would have had the following soliloquy from yours truly: "Anna, see the cow? What does a cow say? Does a cow say Baaa? See the cow? No, take your foot out of your mouth. See the cow? Katie, stop saying Moo. Let Anna talk, ok Anna, no, not cracker, COW! See the cow?? Does a cow MOO??? MOOOOO." And now she moos independently. Unreal.
My miraculous girls...

Friday, July 31, 2009

on the road again...

2 girls + 1 golden retriever + 18 stuffed animals + 24 DVDs + 2 drivers + 1 gallon of goldfish + 800 miles = Annual Family Road Trip!
It is hard to live so far from my family. The only great part is that when we visit, we come to stay. The last two years, we've spent the better part of August in Pennsylvania with Suz and Skip. Camp-A-Rama writ large. I love the concentrated time, and the small moments. And getting there is half the fun! hahahahahaha
We did well packing this summer. Honestly, I packed more things for the "ride" than for the "visit". Mom and Dad have everything we need in terms of gear (God bless them) and so we just had to have 6 coloring books, 2 magna-doodles, and 600 melty crayons to get us up the road. The girls are typically great in the car. They love to sleep in their car seats. In fact, Katie fell asleep on a last errand at 5:30 pm, we finished packing the car while she slept, and made it to North Georgia at midnight before she woke up! If only WE had been able to sleep in the car maybe we would have been ready for the 2am couch jumping Olympics that she and Anna organized.
Day Two - Lexington, VA. We watched our dog and two girls run around The Hill where we met almost 14 years ago. Incredible. I hope they love the Shenandoah Valley as much as RB and I do.
Also indoctrinated them at the Palms. FYI, there is a reason why we never ate the food there. General rule of thumb - Never take your children to the bar where you celebrated your 21st birthday.
We made it to Eden Farm late that night, but it certainly made all 800 miles worth while.

Friday, July 24, 2009

never mind....

Today, Katie and Anna we're fighting over fairy wings, french fries, and appropriate clapping cadence during "Little Bunny Foo Foo." Katie won out on the fairy wings, but Anna proceeded to repeatedly poke her on her band aid saying BOO-BOO and laughing maniacally.

By the way, is it a problem when your 23 month old starts chanting ENCH-FIES, as soon as you roll up to the drive-through at the bank?

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Every time I start thinking I was insane for having a baby in diapers while I still HAD a baby in diapers, I look at a picture like this. Anna adores Katie and Katie takes such good care of her little sister.


Since I am woefully inadequate when it comes to baby books, photos, and dare I say the word "scrapbooks", this is my shot at tacking down those memories... I was inspired to try this by the insights and humor of Miller Callen. http://survivingophelia.blogspot.com/
My writing is not as erudite; but my kids are at least half as crazy as hers.

Let's start with a snapshot of their verbal/dramatic abilities as of today, July 22, 2009:

"Mama, it hurt right at the place where all the BRAINS are!"
kgb, upon flinging herself onto the wooden arm of the sofa.

"WOOK, humm, um bum bum, uh, MOO!!!"
aeb, looking for cows on the drive home from the club.

I hope this will serve as a memento for them, so it will be child-centric and unbearably cute. This is not MY life I am trying to capture. It is theirs. My life is fabulous, multi-faceted and exciting enough that I know not to publish its details on the internet. This is simply the one facet of my life that occupies about 20 hours a day.
Also, if this helps acclimate the grandparents to the "interweb," so much the better.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baby Steps...

Capturing the harrowing bliss of my days is hard with two toddlers... So this is an attempt to freeze under glass the moments of perfection and joy that sometimes get buried under a heap of tractors and Barbie undergarments.