Wednesday, October 31, 2012

And then I laughed until my eyes watered

It has been cold and drizzling non-stop for a week.  The daytime and nighttime temperatures are almost identical, hovering around 40-45 degrees F.  Looking at the forecast for similar days to come, Markus shook his head in disgust and muttered:

"This must be what nuclear winter feels like."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dinosaur nest

Ellie insisted I come outside so she could show me something amazing.
There is a strange, circular depression in the grass in our front yard.

dinosaur nest

 "Mama, look at this!  In the time of the dinosaurs, this wasn't grass.  This was probably mud, and this place is where the dinosaurs made a nest!  And we can still see it!"

  dinosaur nest

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First brush with carnage

The girls were playing outside this afternoon when suddenly Ellie started screaming (she gives new meaning to the expression "screaming bloody murder").  This is not altogether unusual or indicative of real trauma, so I was prepared to let it go until I heard Stephanie start screaming at the same decibel level.  Not good.  Still, I felt casual.  I made my way to the back door, looking out in time to see our cat Camilla proudly running toward me with a chipmunk in her jaws.  Ah ha.

I lovingly shepherded our tender-hearted girls through the door (cat and chipmunk stayed out, thank you very much) and tried to calm them down.  They were completely beside themselves, hysterical with woe.  After a few moments, Stephanie's screaming kicked up a notch and I saw her looking at a very bloody finger.  What the?  Now my stress gear kicks in.

While washing her finger and dialling our doctor, I managed to extract the story from our sobbing girls that Ellie saw the dying chipmunk and started screaming because she was so upset.  Stephanie wanted to save the chipmunk, so she tried to take it from Camilla, at which point the chipmunk bit her savagely on her pinky finger.  Poor mite.

Fortunately, our doctor believes nothing worse will come of it than the hard lesson not to touch wild animals, even to try to help them.  I cleaned Stephanie's finger thoroughly and plopped her in front of The Muppets for distraction.  Ellie resumed wailing for a while, saying she wanted to give away the kitties and get our canary and blue fish from Australia because "they never hurt anyone or anything!"

Poor little loves.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


The weather this weekend was bitterly cold and damp (freeze warnings at night!  I had to finally turn on the heater), so of course the girls didn't want to go outside and play.  That was just fine by me, except it was a 3 day weekend for Columbus Day.  By Day 3, they were a little tired of each other and of being in the house...but there was no way they wanted to be outside for a long time either.  I took them bowling.

first time bowling

first time bowling

first time bowling

You can see they had this interesting metal frame ramp for kids.  I had never seen one before (I grew up with the push and hope method), but this was neat.  Place the ball on top of the ramp and let it roll.  It builds up a bit of momentum and ideally knocks down more pins.  Since their scores were rather close to mine (ahem), I give it a big thumbs up!

They had a blast!  Well, Stephanie and I did.  Ellie was having a blast until half-way through the first game, Mama scored two strikes in a row, and her competitive edge got the best of her.  We played another game in which no strikes or even spares were achieved (not by intention either), so she was mollified back into good times.

We hauled all the way to Mount Lebanon (a 30+ minute drive each way) to bowl.  Stephanie nearly fell asleep on the way there, and we were all exhausted on the way home...but we all agreed it was worth it for the fun, though we cannot do it often.  Today, I mentioned this to a new friend, and she wanted to know why we drove all the way there when we could have gone just 10 minutes away to bowl (and that's why being friends with locals is more useful than using the internet to find things, alas).

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Our Ellie

Oh, this girl.  This girl right here.  The seven-year-old with the sweet smile and the warm, loving heart that is three times the usual size.

Happy cat, happy girl

One of the moms stopped me at school pick-up today.  She told me her daughter (in Ellie's class) had been very sad this week and was having a hard time...but Ellie, our sweet Ellie, had been taking care of her.  She had been with her every day, putting her arm around the sad girl's shoulders, assuring her it would be all right and generally looking after her.  The girl had mentioned the extra care to her mom, but then even the teacher had written her an email saying she shouldn't worry because Ellie was making sure she was feeling as happy and supported as possible.

So happy

This sweet, sensitive girl.  This intense, occasional drama queen, sometimes maddening girl.  This studious, focused, dedicated girl.

Birthday lunch out at the b gourmet

We are oh-so-blessed to share our lives with her.

We's purty