Thursday, September 30, 2010


A.: "These french fries help me speak French!"


A.: "I wonder what it will be like when I'm in heaven..."
BR: "I think we are going to take an escalator to heaven!"


L.: "Huh. Good thing I'm wearing three pairs of underwear today."

A.: "I'm dripping with laughter!"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


When we are not riding them, the kids love to play "subway trains." BR piles a bunch of stuff on his blankie and drags it around behind him through the apartment (I need to replace the batteries on my camera, sorry folks). He makes the announcements, too: "This is a Manhattan-bound F local train. Next stop: Coney Island!"

Funny how all the trains end up there sooner or later...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

they know me so well...

A.: "Mommy, I know how you feel when you are alone without your kiddos..."
Me: "Oh? How do I feel?"
A.: "Sad. You feel very, very sad and lonely."


L.: "Hey Mom, don't you want me to draw some pictures of swamp monsters for you to keep?"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Homeschool Crafts

This teacher hasn't quite got the hang of "Art time" in our homeschool routine. I have just been pulling out the construction paper, paints, the hole puncher and a roll of tape and saying, "Uh...make something, ok?"

This is one that L. came up with on her own that only requires scissors, pen, paper and tape:

She made them during A. and BR's naptime and very thoughtfully stored them in the fridge until they woke up. They are mint chocolate chip. (See the black marks for the chips?)

Letter of the Week

her thoughts

Me: "A, whatcha thinking about?"
A.: "I was just thinking about our garden..."
L.: "We don't have a garden."
A.: "I said I was thinking about it..."

Hee hee, I so enjoy it when L. (aka little Miss Say-It-Precisely) gets a taste of her own medicine.


Me: "A, whatcha thinking about?"
A.: "You know."
Me: "Uh, no I don't, that's why I am asking."
A.: "Well, I was telling Daddy this weird thing the other day... It was about a boy who was so tired he went to bed and then slept for a whole night and day (kind of like our daddy) and then when he woke up he had breakfast cause he thought it was daytime, but it wasn't."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

a Block Party means...

means being allowed to play in the middle of the street.

hanging with friends and family like B&C, Will & Christel and their kids , P-roc and his padres is definitely the highlight of living in Brooklyn.
(photo credit: Billy)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

very mysterious

who can help us figure this out: there is an extra-blond streak across the top of BR's head. It's almost a perfect stripe. Why? (it's not a trick question; we seriously don't know)

(photo credit: A)

Friday, September 10, 2010

There is a new park we love to go to. Sunset is the best time (I think), but the kids love going there pretty much anytime.

Good views:

(look, a seaplane!)

fun trampolines:

a wooden train:

and the best seesaw in the world:

the walk back home is very, very long. Not because it's particularly far, but because we have to do this:

for those who don't know what these are pictures of: they are galloping on all fours with shoes on your hands

and this: (L. is really into saluting all the time now, and keeps saying "yessir" to me)

summer learnin'

School started up this week. We did not spend the summer idly, however. L. taught A. all sorts of things like, for instance, how to spell important words:

And step-by-step instructions on how to draw a horse, or a dolphin or whatever. (I especially like how #5 has a little crayon to indicate that the final step is to color in the picture.)

of course, neither of the girls have neglected their own craft. A. has continued to provide our home with a steady supply of these:

[*update* I was going to make a note here that A.'s little person seems to have a bindi on their forehead. However, she has just informed me that it is a "tiny brain."]

and L. enjoys adding word bubbles to her creations:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

worse than Dora

What? you say. What could possibly be worse than Dora The Exploradora?*

Ah, so you don't know. I am here to tell you--and other moms of little girls will testify that it is true--there is much, much worse. There are books with "crystal" in the title, or "sparkle" or "fairy." Or just straight up "crystal magical castle of the sparkle diamond kitten fairy." These are the worst books in the world.

I accidentally got stuck reading one to the girls tonight and I was literally howling with laughter by the end. This particular book hit it almost perfectly, every single time. Just when I would start to lose faith and begin to think that the author might ruin everything and actually make sense for a minute, she would deliver in some new and spectacular way. Like, by introducing new characters (as if the fifteen she already had weren't enough). Two handsome twin musicians named Jeremy and Ian, for instance: "The girls found the funny twins quite charming, but they did not want to involve them on their quest. So they quietly slipped away when the twins weren't looking." (Wait--what? Why?)

But that brings us back to, ahh, yes...the Quest. There is always some extremely convoluted story that no five year-old could ever possibly follow. Someone is trapped in a mirror because her mother was the most beautiful and talented of all the magicians in the land, and as a young and foolish (though beautiful) girl, had promised a buttercup fairy that she would win the heart of a prince who would know the secret to making the world's most shimmering-est jewel EVER without using his hands because he lost them fighting valiantly against an evil beast who wanted to devour all the innocent babies of the kingdom, but then the kind yet gullible prince would be tricked by a jealous uncle who wanted to overthrow the prince's stepfather whose only love was to hunt down evil evildoers and make sure they can never escape their suspended prison of magical chains that never wear out or break and so on and so forth.

And along the way, the heroines have to make a narrow escape from being cast into a lake of fire or lava and then rescue some puppies.

And everyone has to have a name like Anastasia, Drusillia or Pumpernickelspaniel and anyway you couldn't possibly keep all the thousands of characters straight. Oh, and the bady guys' name will start with "L" so that it will alliterate nicely with "lair."

A favorite moment from tonight's book (just when I thought things couldn't get any stupider) was when the girls didn't realize that their heart-shaped Guardian Stones were actually protecting them from the evil muse's spell and they managed to escape to continue on their way to the Diamond Castle by way of the Misty Glade. (Yes!)

That's when I decided that I simply have to make up my own. I would--of course--not fail to remember the mythical creatures that this author neglected to include, each one with a diamond embedded in some part of their anatomy (in the horn, if it's a unicorn). And the diamond would always begin to sparkle as a warning to others of some imminent danger, or maybe simply when they are overcome by all the shimmering crystal beauty in the world.

Someone else would be able to fly, of course, and someone else would be endowed with extra-sensory powers and "just know" things without having to be told. The hairs on their forearms would most definitely stand on end in the presence of pure E-vil.

My only regret will be that there is no way to top the conclusion of tonight's tale. It's a hard act to follow--judge for yourselves:

"Dori and Phedra rewarded Liana and Alexa with a crystal carriage to take them home to their magically restored cottage. Then the muses gave Jeremy and Ian cool guitars. And they all danced to celebrate the triumph of music and friendship. The End."

*for anyone who might think I am making this up, that is actually the real name of the show. For reals.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

any takers?

Earlier today we visited a flower shop. The owner gave each of the kids a flower on our way out. We made it halfway down the block before they all started shouting, "Flowers for sale! Two dollars!"

Then, just now, I overheard from the kitchen: "Burp for sale! Three dollars!"

3 year old speak

When BR says "toy store," "Toy Story" or "toy sword" it all sounds exactly the same.

this week in Brooklyn

(the following two stories do not have much to do with the kids, they're just kind of entertaining, I thought.)

As we passed an ice cream place the other day, the reader in our crew happened to notice the sign that advertised free samples of the flavor of the month. Oh sure, why not, I thought.
We went in and requested some. The woman behind the counter did not seem to understand; she seemed to be trying to tell me that they did not have the flavor of the month but I could clearly see it in the cooler. I just pointed and said "that one."
She gave me one sample and then walked away to attend to another customer.

I am a pretty reasonable person and at that point, I figured it really wasn't worth it to try to get two more free samples for the other two kids. Unfortunately, they had pretty strong feelings about the whole thing and how fair it was and all that sort of thing. I could tell they were not likely to let it go.

When the woman came back, I tried to ask for two more, but instead she started making a milkshake.
"Uh, is that for us?" I asked. "We don't want anything, thank you." She just smiled and kept making it.

I figured that the universal sign for "no" in any language is to wave energetically and shake my head over and over again. "No shake, no. No, nothing, no. Just two little tastes (I pinched my fingers together to indicate "tiny bit" and pointed down into the cooler again). Tiny. This." (and then I pointed again).

She just looked at me blankly and then she finally kind of got it. She reached down and picked out one more sample of ice cream (not the flavor of the month, but whatever) and I decided we should probably just go. This communicating with hands and monosyllables thing wasn't working out very well.

On my way out the door, I happened to overhear her speaking with her colleague to try to understand what on earth I had been after. At the same moment, I also happened to glance at her nametag: Rabia. And she was speaking Arabic. Moroccan Arabic.

So here I am in a city of millions of immigrants and migrants and folks from every corner of the world and I land on one language I happen to sort of know, and in the very dialect I can actually speak (kind of), and I completely miss it. And then one kid cried most of the way home because she didn't get any ice cream. Good one, mom.
A. got a haircut the other day. It is really cute and I hope to post some photos soon. She was so proud sitting up on the chair at the salon and kept very still and the woman was taking care to do a very good job. So L. and BR and I tried to entertain ourselves in the meantime, and not roll around in the cut hair on the floor too much, and not put our sticky lollipop fingers into the hair on the floor and all the sort of thing. You know, the usual.
The other hairdresser ran out of customers and had a chance to watch us (=stare) for a really long time. Finally, she caught my eye: "Are they all three yours?" (Oh, boy, this again.) Usually when people ask this, it's just a prelude to telling me I'm too young for so many offspring, or maybe because they want to find out what the age difference between them. So boring.
But I was brave AND polite (a rare moment), and I just smiled. "Yup. All of them."
"But they don't look a thing like you!" She seemed genuinely confounded, and I was relieved to be talking about something other than our respective ages.
"Well, no, they look more like my husband. They actually look very much like him."
"But, but...they really look nothing like you."
"Uh, right. She has blue eyes, and blond hair. But my sister also was blond with blue eyes at this age. And they didn't even get the curly hair, either, did they?"
"What?! YOU have a sister who is BLOND? But, but--how? You are--you are not--" and then she indicated my skin. "Is your husband from the same background as you?"
Apparently, she thought I was of a different race and could not figure out how I had produced these white children!
This doesn't happen very often. In fact, I did not remember that it ever had before, but Jerah reminded me of a time in Chicago when a UPS guy came by with a delivery that I had to sign for. He was surprised to see me sign my last name: "That's you? But that's a white name!"

a new tradition when spending time with members of our "excavated" family

every time we hang out with P-roc, there is another facemaking contest:

Close finish between Lucia and Pedrito, don't you think?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

loyal fans

I'm not real good at web stuff. So I guess no one will be surprised if I confess that I just discovered the "stats" page on the blog. (Is that new or something? how did I never notice that before?)
Anyway, there is a cool map that tells me that our readers are mostly from the Continental US at the moment, but it seems we also have at least one fan from Alaska. (Hi there, Mary! Oh, and Jordana, too, perhaps?) That is very cool.
Other places include: Canada, the UK, France and Thailand (hi, Mom!). Ok, those I knew about.
But how about these: Poland, Mali, Latvia, India, Australia, the Netherlands and oh, China. Too weird.

heartfelt piety

For bedtime prayers, I encourage the kids to pray for someone every night. Depending on how late it is getting, I let them name 3 or 2 or maybe just 1 person each. But no matter how many folks they are permitted to pray for that evening, it takes FOREVER for them to make up their minds.

This has led to something somewhat unexpected that I don't remember ever doing as a kid: "Ooh, pick me, pick me!" the others beg, and then whoever's turn it is will (just to mess with them) name Cousin Margot or Baby Cash. "Aw, man..."
Or, on the rare occasion when their pleading pays off, there is always a triumphant, "Yes!"

Another favorite part of bedtime prayers is when one of the girls prays for our "excavated" family. They just can't seem to remember the right word and I kind of don't feel like teaching it to them, tee hee.

Friday, September 3, 2010

we moved!

As of Tuesday afternoon, we are in a new place in Brooklyn. It is a one-bedroom place that has been converted to a two bedroom by cutting the living space down dramatically. It is roughly 1,000 sq feet less than the previous place and that leaves us with about 600 to romp around in. Hey, that's a lot less to have to clean, right?

There is a table and places to sit--well, besides the floor there were two chairs and an armchair when we arrived. I guess there was also a footstool and a tall kitchen stool but that last one was pretty much worthless except for throwing yourself off of (if you're 3 years old, of course).
We have since acquired a few folding chairs and moved the futon into the livingroom to make space for a blow up mattress in one of the bedrooms, so now we're all set. As J. says, we can invite 3 people over and sit knee-to-knee very comfortably.

The place is really pleasant when it's not too hot (we hope). We look forward to that. The building is quiet, the neighborhood is fascinating (although many of the signs are in Polish so we don't actually know what they mean). And we have roof access! Check it out:

I already miss the convenience of a washer and dryer, but now we get to be legit city dwellers once again. It is all bringing back many fond memories of other city apartments we've lived in over the years.

And this time, it seems we have avoided the whole rowdy neighbors part of living in the city (you know, the ones who like to play Techno music at 3am). This building--and the ones glued up next to it--are very, very quiet and we're enjoying it.

It's just too bad we had to move in and ruin that for everyone else.