Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving! This year was SO MUCH FUN with all (okay...not really, ALL, but certainly more than we've ever had for one holiday) our family gathering here. It was good to share our new home, new walking skills, honey-baked ham nibbling, LOUD children, neighborhood hikes and ice cream with our dear family. Still a little sad that we don't live closer, when that plane day came it was a little hard on all of us...the kids stayed real quiet all afternoon. But we're certainly happy that we're nearer than ever before! We might just see eachother again before a year passes!

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

a gun, by any other name...

Jackson just said the funniest thing. Background info: For the last two days Jackson has lost his privilege for one of his guys before breakfast. Today he said "Mom, it's good I forgot about this shooter guy while I was doing my morning routine because I wouldn't have gotten to play with him if I lost my privilege so early." Very true. And do you see how saying 'shooter' makes it not a real G-U-N? semantics much? ahh well, it makes me feel better about it at least and we all have our little things we pretend to believe.
And did you notice how he just expects that the privilege will be lost- the question is when. He has been SO ornery (thank goodness for spell check!) lately that he has worked it into his very being to answer each request for action ("please get your shoes on" "please zip your coat up" "please don't poke me with the lightsaber while I'm taking a shower") with a defiant and teenagerish "oooh M-OOO-m!" like, he's totally annoyed with me. He says it ALL THE TIME- even when I'm like "Get in the van we're going to Nolan's!" (His best friend) there it is "oh MOM!" This is like lemon juice in my eye! And I have to remember that Billie went through this phase- when she stopped doing everything nicely and wanted to refuse everything....everything. He can't stop himself from negotiating- He tells me "I'll eat the rest of this lollipop if you let us stay at the playground for 2 more hours." As if I need him to eat the lollipop?!!
If only I could make it part of my being not to hear the rudeness of it, it would be alright. He does get in the van and he'll wander elsewhere with the lightsaber it's just he has to get that last word in to make sure I know how much I'm infringing on his life there.
Picture: Billie and Jackson have taken to working on the stairs in order to avoid Sloane. She still tries to be involved, but doesn't have the death-wish to get on the stairs. Billie is working hard on one of a million 'art' projects. Jackson is holding his 'shooter guy' shortly after morning routine.

Monday, November 20, 2006

watch out boy- she'll chew you up

woah here she comes...she's a man-eater. SHE WALKS! Fresh off of her first 4 little free-standing steps it's Sloane on her way to big kidness.hgnmkjh,um- fg hv- she types too.
how 'bout this girl!!!
her other hobbies include talking on the phone= she even made up her own sign for baby phone when she sees others talking on the phone.


The holidays are nearing and Bill and I are putting away the last boxes, of things that don't fit but we want to keep, in the attic. Getting ready for Auntie Meg, Uncle Nathan and Nanna- our Thanksgiving house guests. And people are asking about presents- "what should I get the kids? What are the kids interested in these days?" so, that's on my mind. This year Billie is five and I'm REALLY letting my sheltering of her go (I did let them have free range on their candy bags for Halloween night, remember). Bill is perhaps not as interested in letting her into the big bad world because he takes some convincing on most issues that come up. He wasn't sure about letting my two, adult, single, best friends for the last 17 years babysit because they don't have much 'kid experience' and that didn't even include Sloane! ( 3 kids at once is a bit much for their introduction to 'kid experience'...I'm trying to get them to come around to my side of thinking: everyone should have a baby right now!) Seriously, the older two are totally self- sufficient and know what they should do, and do it...but they might do it differently and they will certainly do it s-l-o-w-l-y(putting on socks can take up to 7 minutes!)...they do what they're told and if they were ever on their own- they would manage just fine.
Back to the point, Bill isn't ready to take that leap but in this vein I'm not going to regulate their gifts this year (of course, guns, barbie, bratz or anything with boobs is going to 'be lost' very soon after unwrapping) but really, that's all i'm limiting it to. Which, is kind-of a big step for us.
It's sort of hard to tell what they'll love. Billie has played with a my little pony set maybe two times or less this whole year but got it out yesterday and played with it for over 3 hours. Jackson likes his 'guys' collection but that halloween batman hasn't gotten any action since the day he brought him home. He spends way more time with the superhero books than his guys. Mostly I hate all the leapster stuff- anything that is touted as 'reading' which is not reading at all because the darn pen is reading aloud to you, or the computer set recognizes the page and reads the words...that is SO not how you experience a book. I just think the kids will expect every book to open up and start talking and making sound effects. oh yeah! the kids...what they like...okay, okay...they mostly like playing imaginative games with props. Jackson loads his guys in a wagon and they play 'art cafe' which involves a 'coffee machine' (they fill it with water and it perkolates) so that jackson is the waiter at the cafe while billie, and all customers, draw and order coffee and we hang the pictures on the walls of the cafe. puzzles are a big hit recently. up to 60 pieces or so. games get a lot of play: checkers and chess or board games and card games too. a big thing we've been doing lately is a 'word box' i gave this to billie in a really exciting way- talking about it like it was a big deal (really it's just an old pencil case of mine with a cute sailor moon on it) and each day she gets a 'word present' which is just a very cool word written on a small piece of paper so that it will fit in her box. Her words are "princess" "strawberry" "dagger" "Eva" etc. Each day I pick a word that is special to her in some way and she LOVES this and her word box and one night I even caught her sleeping with it all wrapped up. She is allowed, after lights out, to turn on her little bedside lamp and read her words once a night. She has a whole collection and can 'read' them all. I was thinking a great gift would be for someone to cover a shoe box in fancy paper and put some words in, with flashy paper and stylish writing and each day she could pick one out. Either of them would LOVE this gift and it would be excitement each day. They play with their musical instruments and dr. kits a lot, blocks, a building set, legos, a gift of karate lessons for a month or a kids cooking class would be fun too.
they don't know about toys on TV. they don't watch TV. let me clarify this because everyone is like "oh yeah, we don't watch much TV either" they don't see TV not for an hour a day, not for 10 minutes a day, not sesame street, not dora, not oprah, the TV is never EVER on when the kids are awake. It's not that I think TV is so bad- i love it, myself. Dora is a great little show but when that 30 second commercial comes on for SuperNanny and shows the drama of the two year old hitting his Mom and screaming "I HATE YOU!" it's clear what they're going to learn from that 30 minutes of TV. So, it's strictly videos for us, mostly from the library so we don't get too bored of watching one over and over. commercials are rotten.
They don't have a list yet and they don't know if they're missing out on the 'poopy puppy' craze or whatever is popular.
it's so fun to be able to preach here with all my hair-brained ideas!
next time i'll write a nicey nice blog- i promise. Pictures: the triple pony tail watching kareoke, going on a walk, Sloane zonked after a walk (notice the bootie!!!)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

7 years!

Last night was our anniversary and we celebrated thanks to Nanna, at the MOST exquisite restaurant of our lives. With the most extravagent meal ever and absolutely one of the all-time-great life birth? Oh puh-leez...everyone has done THAT. It was seriously amazing and outrageous. When Bill made the reservation he mentioned it was for our anniversary and after our like, 8th course they came out with 4 more courses of dessert not the least of which was a mini-mountain of peach colored cotton candy spun to wispy perfection. Bill and I couldn't wipe the smile from our faces the whole night. WOW!
In March Bill and I will have known eachother for 15 years, which is half our life. So, next year we will have been together longer. We talked about what we would change in our marriage; Me: "If you would just put your dirty clothes in the laundry bin.." Him: "I wish you would quit gasping when I'm driving, like you're in fear." So, i guess things aren't perfect but certainly pretty close.
How can it have been seven years? I remember our wedding and our first kiss and i still melt when he puts his arms around me or opens my door. When I wake up in the morning on a sunshiney day with a baby smooshing my cheek as she crawls over my head toward a toy that i didn't bother to remove from the covers last night when i went to bed...i just am happy. i am happy i married bill and happy we have these kiddos and happy we're in this house that i LOVE and happy that i don't have to rush out of bed and this is getting a little bit sick so i won't go on.
it's our anniversary and because i got this out now i won't have to spread it around to a wider audience (more than 6 people) in the Christmas letter. We're deliriously happy!! there, i'm glad i got that little guilty secret off my chest. I feel i should note here, so that it's not all too rosey rosey that it has not always been this way, that first year SUCKED so bad and there's been weeks of seething dislike for eachother with hardly any communication at all. Sloane just bit Billie, I have to go. Happy Anniversary to us!

Monday, November 13, 2006


Dad loaned us a camera while we figure out if we need a new one (thanks Granpa Les!) I just went downstairs and took random shots of each- don't even make me think of all the beautiful shots I didn't get when they were playing in the leaves on our perfect weather fall days (ohhhh!)
here's jackson building a lego tower, billie "getting her babies ready for winter" and Sloane with her favorite, trying to scrape any remains from the jar.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

blog update

by the way- does everyone know they can scroll down the page and sign up for an email notification when i update the blog? i signed up myself first to make sure they didn't start sending me all kinds of random crap when i gave them my address. they don't. so, scroll down, enter your email and whenever I post you'll get an email with a link to bring you here and see all about our news of everydayness and nothing new and/or exciting.
scroll down to the very, very's way at the end.


we took a cue from my brilliant friend Megan who had the great idea to use your candy as cash towards toys. it's not so much for the kids- who get a piece of candy less than once a week, but i found myself unable to resist the temptation of 7 mini 3 muskateers for breakfast. (i wonder why that last 10 lbs just hangs on?!!!) i have NO self control and if it's in the house...well, i'm eating it.
back to the kids: they went to the store, lugging around their pumpkin bags, to see if anything might be worth the relinquishment of candy. Jackson wasn't that interested in shopping. He saw one huge robot type thing he wanted and "didn't have enough candy to purchase", he played with the trains, he asked if we could go. I had to drag him along to look at a neat bow and arrow set, a spiderman game and he finally settled on a batman guy with a 'shooter'. Billie can't make up her mind: she wants everything. she wants a wig, an umbrella, a kids needlepoint set, a watch, a ball net game set, a lego castle, a set of accessories to give your baby doll a bath, ugh! Finally she picks out a remote control car, tries to convince Jackson to get one too, but he won't trade the batman. We purchase. The lady at the counter is confused when I wink and make the kids hand over their candy luggage and ask her to put it in the T-R-A-S-H (we spell A LOT!). As soon as we get home Jackson wants to go back and trade his batman for a remote controlled car. ugh!
As for school: we've been doing America lately. Since we moved here and Thanksgiving is coming up and all. Learning the States, how we came over from Britain, map skills, George Washington, Betsy Ross, flags, Indians, Colonial times and all that. We learn in mostly a unit studies way. Which means I pick a topic (usually based on a recent interest of one or both kids) and we relate EVERYTHING to that. We take field trips to the Claude Moore Colonial farm and see everyone in bonnets, play with a stick and hoop, spin wool from sheep directly into yarn, see an old fashioned puppet show, pretend we're having breakfast at the farm and have to milk the cows for our cereal. We relate it to Math and Science and talk about how steam power got beat out by electrical power. I love it and i think the kids do too. We've been to the Nat'l Gallery of Art and the old Air & Space museum just this week. I LOVE leaving the house and being at the steps of an amazing FREE museum in 20 minutes! You can just imagine all that we can find to relate to the Little House on the Prarie stories we're doing...and the Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan and Babe, Johnny Appleseed and all the other 'American stories' we listen to on CD in the van. The kids learn more than I could ever guess they would when we work this way.
For math Billie can now solve for an unknown. Which sounds really 'Wow' because they way we do it in school is like you spend all this time memorizing your times tables and other crapola - quick everyone, what is 6x7? Which you SORT OF get and then all of a sudden there's an X or N in the equation....what the crap? (by the way- crap has taken the place of all bad words in our house, as it's not really that bad) But the math books I got for us, introduce algebra now. And it's so simple. what + 5 =8? X + 2 = 10 Billie can do it no problem, Jackson can do it if we use counters (like cheerios or raisins) and hide the unknown under a bowl and ask him to make that match the other row of cheerios.
So, i get a lot of questions about what they're doing for 'school' just thought I should fill you in. sorry this post was so long- you probably feel like you're in school having to read through it all. Maybe we could all take turns reading a paragraph outloud...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Had to write again because Sloane has a TRUE first word (beyond Mama, Dada, Daddy and infrequent baby sign) she has recently fallen head over heels for books and when she gets one, it's been two days now, that she clearly chirps "BOOK!" to us.
Billie's first word was cat- as she'd call first thing when she woke in the morning "GAAA! GAAAT!" Jackson said Mama A LOT and spoke rather than signed "More" and now here's Sloane with BOOK.
she's really, REALLY a mommy's girl and will only tolerate hanging out with other people IF she can not see me. which has me sneaking around and ducking behind couches as i try to put away the laundry a's sort of like ninja stuff. anyhoo- she will squirm and wiggle right out of my arms if anyone within sight has a book (or food) and truck right over to the reader and pull on the book and make an undeniable nuisance of herself until she is right in the readers lap and pointing at things she sees in the book as you read. it's THE MOST ADORABLE thing EVER!
halloween was great- Auntie Di invited us to her neighborhood in old towne alexandria- the halloweeniest place on earth and we had a whole event of it.
this morning when i offered billie a piece of candy for breakfast she said "I don't know about the candy...I think I'll take a break from candy for 2 or 3 days." This year i thought they were old enough to get the consequence themselves and let them eat the candy they wanted. They each were very discerning and said "i'll have 4 pieces tonight" but didn't even get through that. Jackson lost his privlge but has not asked for candy today...all the same.
i just love those little life lessons- so much more than some random punishment bill or i inflict!
so today, the halloween hangover hasn't been too bad- it's sunny and warm and we spent the morning at the park! lovely!