Sunday, December 27, 2015


"Mommy, my birthday is in three days! Maybe you should go out tonight and buy me presents. ...Mommy, why are you giggling?" Meg

Friday, October 23, 2015


"It's okay," I told Jonathan. "I line up all your socks in rows for you."

I'm sure he really appreciates that.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Watch out for those supper Pharisees

"What are you making for dinner?" Meg asked me.
"I'm making rellenos and fajitas, but you're something of a Pharisee about rellenos, so you may not get any," I informed her.
"A Pharisee?" Jonathan asked.
I considered. "I think I meant Philistine."
"How much legalism can you fit into a relleno?" he demanded.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Little sisters

Meg: "Kate, you're in the way!"
"Have you finished your soup?" I asked Meg.
"No. And Kate's peering at it!" Meg said.
I turned to Kate. "Are you peering at Meg's soup?"
She grinned. "Yeah!"

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Kate talks!

Kate's vocabulary is just taking off. I think today is the first time she's been able to say the names of our whole family, and she also keeps coming out with new words. We were looking at pictures on my computer and she named "froggie" and "river." She also saw a lot of "baby."

Her favorite words right now are "yeah," "no" (I love that she can actually answer a yes or no question!), "syoo" for shoe, "me" for her lambie pacifier, "dog," and "juice."

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Poisonous plants

"Leaves of three, let it be," said Meg. I was so proud of her for knowing that.
"And do you remember what plant that is?" I asked.
"Poison ivy," she said matter-of-factly. "And dragons-bane."

Patricia Wrede is a great storyteller, but she's not doing much for my botany lessons.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Moving week

We're moving this week. I thought I'd liveblog.

10:11: It's barely ten in the morning, and I want to quit. Can I go back to bed?

11:00: Taking down our bedroom curtains. The only thing left on the walls are the miniblinds, which stay with the house, and a starburst clock. My walls are lonely and I do not approve.

11:15: Start the girls making birthday cards for Grandma. We are all about colored pencils and stickers today. I regret that I packed her present instead of mailing it back in June, but it's gone now. Quickly, while the girls are preoccupied, I toss or pack the baby silverware that they totally don't need to use.

11:30: Encouraging email from friend, and more emails, also potentially encouraging but which require decisions on my part. I put off answering them because I don't know the answers.

12:09: "Why are there Cleopatra and dinosaurs?" I ask. Meg answers, "The dinosaurs are the audience." True enough, and Cleopatra is part of the band. This is apparently completely normal for Peg+Cat world. I go back to fixing grilled cheese.

12:45: I explain to Meg that she can't use "stupid" because it's a word that carries a cloud of other meanings around with it, and she can't use it properly until she's old enough to understand all the other meanings too. I add there are other words like that too. Like "dang it," she asks? Yes. Exactly like "dang it."

1:31: Have a deep urge to gold-leaf the top ring on all my terra cotta flower pots. I resist, not least because I don't have any gold leaf. I put Kate down for her nap instead.

1:43 While sorting laundry and rummaging for lip gloss, I found my long-lost good tweezers. That's exciting.

2:18 I went downstairs to put in a load of laundry and found myself dusting and sweeping the back half of the basement.

3:44 Fell down a Pinterest rabbit hole, devised a scheme for reupholstering four ottomans in pink tweed with gold nail-head trim, changed out the laundry, and finished sweeping the basement. It's ready for mopping. Meanwhile, I'm going to start the packing and cleaning list for Thursday.

4:28: Finished the cleaning list, got Kate up from her nap, and got Meg out from her bath. Put on oldies and started doing dishes.

6:15: Discovered tomorrow is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A, so made two sets of cow ears out of construction paper.

6:58: Dinner.

7:30, sharp: Kate to bed.

8:30: Kate up, requiring fresh linens and stories.

8:45: I finally begin my after dinner work. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Vegetables are hard

We're about to move, so I sat down one day, made a list of all the main-dish-ish food in the house, and made a meal plan to eat through it. We had two weeks' worth of meals -- two weeks! -- and sadly, that was a week and a half ago. So while I've dropped by the store for milk and eggs and bread and fruit, we're kind of reaching the point where I'm all, "spaghetti sauce counts as a vegetable, right?" (In my defense, my sauce starts with "open a three-pound can of crushed tomatoes." So maybe it really does.)

We were going to have calabacitas last night with our enchiladas, but my last zucchini was a squashy mess. It wasn't quite a puddle, but it was getting there. Alas. A cucumber just isn't the same.

Also, Target has the weirdest pricing on groceries. Today, they had Rainier cherries for $4/lb, which is the cheapest I've ever seen them anywhere, and zucchini for 3.19/lb. Over $3, in JULY. I swear. I didn't buy any.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Picking Up

Oh, the explanations you have to make sometimes...
"All right, Kate, I need you to put all the Octonauts back in their bin, but not dinosaurs, Darth Vader, bats, or dragons."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kate's pizza

While Meg and I were crafting at the table, Kate wandered along and pulled out the felt pizza with its zillion felt pieces. She chattered to herself as she arranged the slices, and I think I heard the word "cheese." I glanced at her mess; that was fine. We'd pick it up later.

I looked again and she had put all the pizza back in the box.

She's not even two yet. !!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Empty like a worm

I spent the day packing and cleaning.

"I want you to admire the vast emptiness that is in the craft room," I informed Jonathan.
Meg piped up, "It's empty like a worm!"

Jonathan and I looked at each other, nonplussed.

"I don't know what to say to that," I said.
Jonathan asserted, "No, it's empty in a way that worm is not."
"Then how IS a worm empty?" said Meg.

"I know very little about how a worm is empty. My knowledge of worm emptiness is purely that of the via negativa. 'I thought it best to warn you, my dear Theophilous, not to empty your soul in the way that a worm is empty.'" said Jonathan.

Meg decided that made sense, or possibly no sense, and took a different tack. "You're right. A worm doesn't have scraps of paper or a door in it. Or a lamp or Bismarck in it. Also, the worm is not empty forever!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Poem of the day: My Shadow

We were talking about that time Hook stole Peter Pan's shadow, which reminded me of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem about the little boy's shadow. I mentioned it to Meg, and rather to my surprise she wanted to hear it. 

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
From Child's Garden of Verses

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

And she liked it! It made her laugh and everything. Poetry win.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sending a spider to a better place

"Well, I don't blame the spider for wanting to live in our nice house, but I'm not going to let him." Me
"That's right! Go find a haunted house to live in! Or, a broken-up tower with bats and --- and creatures of the night. Creatures of the night INCLUUUUUUDING insects! That way they'll be eaten up and won't be a bother." Meg

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Cultural reference

Me: "Yes, you may drink with that straw, if you take the paper off first."
Meg, indignantly: "I always take the paper off. Every day when I drink with a straw."
Jonathan: "I don't always drink with a straw, but when I do, I take the paper off first. Stay thirsty, my friends."
Meg: "Uh-uh-uh! I'm not telling my friends that!"

Jonathan: "You have a very mild abrasion on the tip of your elbow."
Meg: "I WANNA LOOK!" Pause. "I'll go look in the mirror!"

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pleased to report the rum is not gone

The cocktail shaker was hiding this evening.
"It's there, behind the Winnie the Pooh cup. ...I did not do that on purpose. And the rum is behind the graham crackers."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The moral of the story: call the Gungans for your underwater battle needs

Jonathan was reading one of those beginner-reader Star Wars books with Meg. The scenario was an underwater battle on Mon Calamari, and the plot... well, it pained him. We in our house do not suffer quietly. So I started liveblogging.

"If you're fighting underwater, USE BOMBS. Carolyn, they're using blasters and spears! Sometimes that's fine, for close quarters. But when you're not fighting hand-to-hand, you should break out the artillery and have fun. I'M JUST SAYING. ...I'm sorry kids, not only did you get flanked by 3 mph jellyfish, you're being surprised from above. By mining rigs. Have you heard of sonar? 'But it gets worse!' Really?"

"So apparently the big bad guy has these cyborg jellyfish. Electrified cyborg jellyfish. But the electrified cyborg jellyfish are too powerful, so they have to ask advice from Yoda and Mace Windu. These are the tactical golden boys behind such tactical maneuvers as, oh look, it's a giant plain filled with robots. Let's land and fight them with hand to hand combat, instead of, say, shooting them from space with our armada.

"So they come up with a plan. Let's call the Gungans! The Gungans are in fact an aquatic species, so this is actually good advice. And surprisingly the Gungans, unlike the elite Mon Calamari, actually have weapons that can make the jellyfish explode. And they use them. I am professionally chagrined."

"But apparently they can't fight as well as the Gungans, so I don't know what they're doing with their lives."

"'But Padme gets a crack in her helmet! Anakin tries to use the force to keep water from dribbling in.' Good luck, you're up against another force: PSI. 'But the electric eels keep jostling him and he loses concentration!'"

"Okay, there's TWO SPECIES on Mon Calamari. How did they not check the bite marks and say, "The king was killed by a shark. A giant shark." What, do they not do marine biology? So he throws a grenade at him that doesn't explode. ON PURPOSE. Wait, where did he get explosives? Did he borrow them from the Gungans? Did Jar-Jar teach you how to fight??"

"'But he couldn't have done it without Captain Ackbar,' -- who didn't do much -- 'the Jedi,' -- who also didn't do much -- 'and the Gungans' -- who did basically everything!"

Upon which Meg asked for something, possibly another book. "No, Daddy just finished reading you a book with more commentary--"
"Than text," I added helpfully.
"No," Jonathan said, "I was going to say more commentary than you get usually."

Friday, May 08, 2015

Mystery plants identified

This yard is full of plants I didn't recognize when we moved in. I'm not from the south, and we arrived in midsummer when most things were done blooming. Also, a poison ivy attacked me the first week we were here when I was sweeping the deck, and we had to clear out wasps and a huge snake, and all I could identify were yew berries (don't eat) and pokeweed berries (also don't eat), so I was not feeling the great outdoors for a while there. Who knew what other vicious plant forms were out to get us?

Anyway, all fall and winter I had this mystery tree at the end of the drive, that produced burgundy leaves and these little pod cherry things. I asked around and searched and searched online to figure it out, with absolutely no success. The bark looked like maybe a fruit tree? But the pod things didn't look edible?

And then this spring it bloomed. Ta-da! Dogwood!

Then there were these bush things out front. They got pretty big and then died completely flat for the winter. What are they? Will they poison us? The girls and I went on a field trip today to the gardens at Ida Lee, and one of the master gardeners happened to be in. I saw another of these mystery plants and asked her, and she was able not only to identify it for me, but also describe its habits, which also lined up exactly with ours. Peony, people.

It's kind of nice, figuring things out.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Technically happy

Lilacs. In macro.
Awhile back, a family at church was getting rid of their old DSLR camera and they gave it, well, to ME. I was thrilled because it's much nicer than my point-and-shoot, and I've spent the last couple of months trying to get it up and running. It takes an XD card, which used to be more common than it is now, but it didn't come with an XD card, so I actually had to order one.

Today it came! Oh joy of joys! I put Kate down for her afternoon nap and played with my new toy. It's pretty cool. :-)

The last piece still missing is the USB download cable for the camera. Considering just how many cables we have in the house, I was thinking we might have a spare. I dug through the boxes in the basement, and none of them were quite the right size - it's one of the mid-sized USB ends, smaller than a normal USB plug but not the teensy one, and also not the one with stepped sides. (We have lots of that kind.) It's the one with angled-in sides. I know we used to have one like this because I remember the drama about angled vs. stepped before, but we must have gotten rid of it when we got rid of that tech -- you know, probably it was for one of my old cameras that took an XD card, too, which I thriftily recycled because I refuse to keep deceased cameras lying around. Just NO.

(Meg, yesterday: "What does deceased mean?"
Me: "Dead. Where did you hear that word?"
Meg: "Dad used it to describe an insect outside.")

I found something much better in the basement than a USB cable. I found a multi-card reader.

It reads XD, SD, and micro-SD cards, and a couple of other types, too. I didn't even know we had a multi-card reader. This is super fabulous because my DSLR uses XD, my point-and-shoot uses SD, and my cell phone camera uses micro-SD. I can leave the multi-adapter plugged in to my computer all the time, and download whatever camera I happened to use, and not have to hunt for cords at all. I feel like God sent me such a great present.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

My writing, elsewhere

My two most recent posts over at HSLDA: falling in love with pharaohs and nature studies.

Potted plants

"That planter is EVIL. It drips rust all over," I told Jonathan. Emphatically.
"As you have expressed before."
"And I will KEEP expressing it until I do something about it!"

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Meg: "Here's the loose thread I was telling you about."
Me: "Is that like the loose thread of destiny?"
Meg: "Yeah."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Surprised by unicorns

I keep forgetting we even have a unicorn. It's much less common than dragons, around here. Twice now in the last two days Jonathan has totally boggled me - I was concentrating on other things and suddenly, bam! A unicorn enters the conversation!

Jonathan to Meg: "Go. Go quickly. Without unicorns."

Jonathan: "Gahh. I just tripped on a unicorn."

It's not even a whole unicorn. It's a stick unicorn, like a stick horse. And it has felt leaves in its mane. We got it from Ikea.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Classical music

My writing elsewhere: I've got another post up over at HSLDA. This one is about classical music, and I was really proud of how those pictures came out. I even found a sunny day to take them. :-)

Bonus exclusive picture of Kate for my blog readers. She liked the maracas better.

Friday, March 20, 2015

All the great stories, part B

So here's the lineup. Vader came first, and he's sitting back there, all caped and Vaderly. Luke is kind of falling over, going, "Awkward!" Hawkeye has his elbows out to maximize personal space. "Not too close, bro." And Frodo's down there at the end, going all, "I'm really happy to be over here far away from Vader. I'd scoot further, but there's a sword in my way."

Shakespeare is standing at the end looking supercilious. I don't know why he won't sit, either. Probably his pantaloons get in the way.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

All the great stories

We have an eclectic group of action figures, which is my own fault. But it makes me extremely happy when Meg plays with them all together.

"Okay, Vader comes first cause he's the lord. Then comes his son Luke, and then Hawkeye, 'cause he's Luke's friend. Then Frodo. Then comes the gear. Shakespeare, you know where he's gonna stand? At the end! How come this Shakespeare doesn't sit down?" Meg

Thursday, March 12, 2015


I like the Macbeth poster in the background.
Here are some pictures from school the past few days. Having a Playmobil sphinx set adds a lot to the ambiance.
Meg's and my genuine Thutmosid-style bezel ring!

I wrote her cartouche on it. We figured it out using only the phonetic hieroglyphs, not messing with the ideograms and whatnot. The letters read, "MEG."

More bloggage over at HSLDA

My next post is up at the HSLDA blog. I feel like there should be a contest for who can spot the most cultural elements/references in this one. Prize: virtual Awesome Points.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Overheard at our house:

"Where's the Phantom Tollbooth? It was hiding under Tim Keller!" Jonathan

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Breaking dishes

It is my experience that when I'm about to have a move or major life change, God gives me a bit of a kick out the door by breaking dishes. I have no explanation for this. My motto for college graduation was, "the grace and the coffee will be sufficient," followed closely by, "and He will break my dishes until I let them go." So over the years, I've learned to hold dishes loosely. Also, I kind of rejoice at their demise, because it means (probably) good things coming.

In the last three days, we've broken a framed picture, a china mug from our honeymoon in Scotland, and my thrift store rose china serving bowl. Smashed to smithereens. :-D

Jonathan wanted me to add this story, too... so yesterday I spent HOURS helping Meg clean up her room. We finally finished just about bedtime, and I called Jonathan in to admire the clean. He fell on his knees in the middle of the room, proclaiming, "I AM NOT WORTHY!" and on cue, a framed treasure map and a dinosaur postcard fluttered to the floor, and something else thumped down from inside the closet. Apparently he really wasn't worthy of the clean, or wasn't good for it, or something. It was a great moment.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

New post up at HSLDA blog

My new post is up! This one is about math and Octonauts.

Monday, March 02, 2015

February was too much with us, late and soon

February was one of those months that seriously just wouldn't die. It started with that groundhog seeing his shadow, which was inexcusable. We spent about half the month sick -- I was pretty much positive I would never get to church again -- and it kept snowing and being mostly in the single digits. I am extremely tired of my winter clothes. Kate outgrew all hers. Since we were sick, we hardly got any school done, which meant we were stuck in ancient Mesopotamia for January and the entire month of February. I don't mind Sumer, Akkad, and the rest, because people have awesome names like "Enheduanna" and "Sin-Leqqi-Uninni," but it was getting old. As late as Saturday, which, you may remember, was February 28th, I was still telling people it was going to be February FOREVER.

I'm pleased to report that it's March. And, we started Ancient Egypt today! Woohoo!

I hadn't quite meant to start Meg with stories about Thutmose III, but that's what Jonathan wanted to tell her this morning, so I ran with it.

I started things off by playing "Walk Like an Egyptian" really loudly and repeatedly. I'm not sure about most of the lyrics, but pretty much all you can hear is "oo-way-oo-way" and "Walk like an Egyptian," which won't scar any tender psyches. We colored maps of Egypt, discussed Thutmose's reign and strategy at the Battle of Megiddo, and looked at his cartouches, his statues, his wives' jewelry, and, by Meg's request, his mummy. I've also started a new Ancient History pinboard. I've got big plans for copying some of those Thutmosid bezel rings and maybe we'll make Meg a full costume to go with it, white dress, collar, headdress, the works.

I have high hopes it might be spring again, ever.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

More blog from me!

I've started writing specifically on our homeschooling adventures over at the HSLDA blog. I'm all pleased over here because my first post went up today and I feel like such a real blogger now. :-)

You can access it and future posts any time from and scroll down to the "blog" link. Well, any future posts after they have been posted, I mean. There will be more, and at regular intervals too, but right now it's just the one. I'll be impressed if you can get to them before they go up: and will probably ask to borrow your time machine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

MY apple tree, all mine

We were listening to the Andrews Sisters' "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," when Meg commented. "What a selfish singer she is!"

The lyrics, for those of you not familiar with this WWII classic, go "Don't sit under the apple tree/With anyone else but me, anyone else but me, anyone else but me/ Don't sit under the apple tree/ Till I come marching home." I usually consider this a fairly reasonable request, but then I mentally file this song under "Love Songs," or possibly "Soldier Love Songs," which have a different standard of selfishness than "Toddler Life." Apparently. The recipient may or may not cooperate, but it's more about whether they're waiting for the soldier to come home in a romantic sort of way, and less about possession of the apple tree. Per se.

Anyway, I asked Meg why it sounded selfish. "Because she won't let anyone sit there but her."

There you go.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Meg and Kate updates

Meg is five years and one month old, and she can read on her own. She knew letters and sounds at two, so I was confident it would come eventually, and for the past year or more she has been putting the sounds together laboriously. I am pleased to report the skill is here. No printed matter is safe - she'll sound out chalkboards, packaging, web pages, yarn labels. "What does that say? Wool----spun."  She can follow along the song overheads at church, which coincidentally makes her more likely to sing and less wiggly. (YES!) She is reading the species names on all her animal puzzles and books. (Yes!) She reads the Dick and Jane books to herself, because she likes them and I don't. (Yay!) She reads board books to Kate. (Yahoo!) So basically this development is thrilling to me.

Jonathan read Meg the first chapter of The Phantom Tollbooth and distressed her by shutting it without putting in a bookmark. She was astonished when he opened it right back to the correct place.
"Daddy, how did you do that? Are you MAGICAL?"

Meanwhile, while Meg reads everything that will hold still, Kate has started moving. All. the. time. She goes everywhere, grabs everything. She pushes dolls around in the doll stroller (she loves dolls), pulls all the books off shelves (she loves books), drags things off tabletops (Mommy's toys are so interesting, and is that coffee?). She climbed up onto the couch by herself (she loves the couch!). She brought me a whole pile of craft paper (because paper is so cool), having located the drawer, opened it, and helped herself. She's learned to wipe her nose with a Kleenex and trot over to throw the dirty one in the trash, which is adorable, and also I keep the Kleenex up high now.

This afternoon Kate mysteriously appeared all wet, and we thought perhaps she'd gotten Meg's water bottle? The dampness just smelled like water, so we weren't too worried until I went to take off her wet things and discovered squelchy toilet paper and splashed water all around the toilet. The toilet had not been flushed. It was disgusting. That girl got a bath so fast she didn't know what was happening and everyone, especially Meg, has been informed that the toilet MUST be flushed, I'm not even kidding, and also SHUT THE BATHROOM DOOR. ALWAYS. The Nodwick blogger, about three years ago, ran a post about the sirens who live in dishwashers and toilets, and sing a song only toddlers can hear. We don't have a dishwasher, but apparently we have an especially alluring cadre of them in our toilet.

In the "just cute" file...

Me to Kate: "Can I interest you in a mouse and a maraca?"
Kate took them and started shaking both.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Kate's journey

Kate really wanted to climb on the couch, but she couldn't quite get her foot up on it. Her parents were cruel and didn't lift her up.

She tried the kid-sized rocker. That was better, but it tricked her because she got her foot into the seat and then her rear end was not properly placed to sit. Bother! So she lay down on the floor and lamented  the injustice of the world.

But she was not done! Next Kate went to the large box full of DVDs by the TV. That was really promising, and she had one foot all the way in, when her parents inexplicably intervened. It looked comfortable, like a dragon's bed of treasure. But sadly, no DVD bed for Kate.

 Back to the couch. Meg hauled her up! Hurray! Kate perched proudly on the arm, just in time for Daddy to come dashing over and set her down again. How could he be so unreasonable?

Oh well. Kate found a good doll and carried her around by the hair. Dolly could sit in the rocking chair like a big girl, so it all turned out all right.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Historical discussion

Tonight at dinner, I ranted (briefly) about Henry the Eighth's burning of libraries as he dissolved the monasteries. (How many manuscripts of Beowulf might we HAVE if he hadn't been such a dork??)
"Henry the Eighth was a corkscrew!" Jonathan announced.
Meg agreed with us. "Yeah, he was sharp and wasn't careful with his words."

Thursday, January 01, 2015

How musical

As you may know, Meg has her birthday right after Christmas, so this tends to be a toy-intensive time of year. (I really don't mind.) This year, apparently we were all on a wavelength, because independently the grandmas and I got the girls:

a xylophone
a battery-powered keyboard
a drum and sticks
a tambourine
and a recorder.

There's been a lot of music around here.

We only got around to putting the batteries in the keyboard this morning, though, and it didn't work. Nothing happened when we turned it on and pushed buttons. I fiddled with it, Jonathan fiddled with it, and Meg bemoaned its fate loudly. Since it continued to do nothing, and we don't have particularly long attention spans, we all wandered off.

Kate, in very Kateish form, happened quietly along and picked it up. She pushed a couple buttons and threw it on the floor.

Would you believe THE KEYBOARD STARTED WORKING? And it's been fine ever since.