Sunday, July 31, 2011


C42 and I have been reading the Narnia series to Q5 at bedtime. Currently we are reading Prince Caspian. Sometimes Q5 has been less than attentive, but she has of late been quite engaged by it, to the point of also listening to the BBC radio play near constantly.

Q5 ready for the CD

Currently she is listening to "Voyage of the Dawn Treader." She had just reached the part where Eustace turned into a dragon when the CD ended, and she needed the next CD.

Q5: Mumma! Eustace just turned into a dragon!
E41: Really! How did that happen?
Q5: He slept on a dragon's treasure!

After this we arrived at the pack of CDs with the radio play to get the next CD. The next CD had a dragon's tail on it.

Q5: Mumma! Is that Useless' tail??
E41: Useless? Yes, it is.

I gave her the CD and she put it in. Off we go.

Q5 putting the CD in

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Trip to the Mall

The National Mall, that is.

We decided to go down to the Mall with Uncle A to the Natural History Museum (at C6's request) to see the rocks and minerals. Since it is summer we left a wee bit early and got the Mall by 9:30 so we could get a parking space. Parking space duly found and occupied, we exited the car and looked around and saw the carousel.

Ah, the carousel. We headed over, but it, too, was not open yet. Poor Q5, she was very desperate for it to open.

Q5 waiting for carousel Q5 waiting for the carousel to open

Finally, after multiple trips around the carousel, many chats with the operator, a few stops to pet dogs, and a lot of standing in a non-existant line, the carousel opened, and they BOLTED in and onto the horses they'd chosen from outside the gates, and tied themselves up.

Q5 and C6 on carousel

C6 on Carousel

We managed to keep them down to one ride and then off to the museum.

We saw (and played with) a lodestone (a stone that had been struck by lightening and has been made magnetic). See those paperclips?

Q5 and C6 with Lodestone

C6 was in good form and was very amenable to to getting pictures taken.

C6 with a rock that she liked. She's propped up her gemstones book!

C6 with rock

We were going throug the Kenneth E. Behring Hall of Mammels at Q5's request, and stopped to watch the movie about Morgie and mammels. In the theater C40 asked C6 to pose with this guy. I am amazed that C42 managed to get this photo!!

C6 with ape

We breezed through the David H. Koch
Hall of Human Origins
where Q5 was amazed at the size of the "Hobbits" Q5 was taller than the average "Hobbit" woman. There are lots of interesting things in that hall, but we managed to get out and into the Sant Ocean Hall

While at the Sant Ocean Hall Q5 stood in front of a small aquarium for a good long time. I heard C6 yelling "Q5!" from a distance, but didn't see her for about 5 minutes, when she came to rest 2 feet from us an leaned against a wall and sighed and said to C42, "I can't find Q5 anywhere!"

So, after they looked at the aquarium together C6 took Q5 back to what she'd wanted to show her. A stuffed penguin.

C6 with Penguin

Then we went home. SOMEBODY in our party was getting hungry and cranky. Me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New morning routine

Q5: Wait wait wait everybody.
Q5: I was thinking, what if I wake up in the middle of the night, put on my clothes and my shoes and [hand in the middle of the air waving back and forth] -- stop laughing stop laughing! -- brush my teeth and brush my hair and come downstairs and have breakfast and sit very quietly and wait for daddy to wake up?
C42: How about, if you wake up in the middle of the night you go back to sleep?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ocean City, NJ

We spent a few days at Ocean City, NJ this week, visiting friends and the beach.

C42 and C6 played putt-putt golf (C6 got the high score of 147)

C6 Golf

We walked along the boardwalk and ate pizza at Mack and Manco's and frozen custard at Kohr's.

E40 at Mack and Manco's Q5 on the boardwalk

But most importantly, I think C6 would attest, we visited the amusement parks.

On the bumper cars:

C6 and R8 Bumper Cars

Bumper boats:

Bumper Boats!

The swings:

R8 and C6 swings

The rollar coaster:

C6 rollar coaster

Q5's favorite, the carousel:


Q5 is very picky about what rides she goes on. She wasn't sure about going on the kiddie log flume ride, but she decided she could go on if I went on. You had to be under 62" tall, so I squeeeeeeked in. OK, fine, I sashayed in, it wasn't a problem.


And the antique cars:


C42's favorite part of the trip might have been the ferry home.

Q5 on Ferry C42 on Ferry C6 on Ferry

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sprinkler fun

How well do you know Q5? She is very sensory oriented. She'll do anything to stimulate her senses. At bedtime if I snuggle with her I'll squeeze her foot or leg in time with music to help her relax. She likes it if I rub her belly briskly.

This carries over to her daytime being, too. The more her senses are stimulated the better.

Here is one of her new favorite things to do ... it is loud, cold, and can make you dizzy. She is using her ears, skin, eyes, probably her mouth drinking the water. I think it is Q5 heaven.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dunkin' Donuts

Yes, I love Dunkin' Donuts. And so do C6 & Q5, of course. What is not to love? Sweet, sweet, fatty delicious donuts!

Today after my run I offered to walk with them to D&D if they had a protein-filled breakfast. We did this a few times last summer, fairly successfully for C5, but Q4 just couldn't walk the whole way without collapsing into a crying heap. Both girls agreed, C6 had a veggie hotdog for breakfast, and Q5 an egg. And out the door we went.

We started off at 8:13 am, very happily walking hand in hand. This was not a powerwalk, to be sure, but more of a friendly family stroll.

Walking to D&Ds

I'm not sure how long it took us to get there, but C6, upon finishing her doughnut, told me it was worth it.

Happiness is a donut just eaten

And the walk home, where any tiredness and trouble is likely to emerge, was easy. C6 walked the last quarter mile home herself, and let herself in the house.

C6 walking home from D&Ds

Q5 complained about feeling sick, but never stopped walking and never started to whine.

Q5 walking home from D&Ds

The whole trip took over an hour and a half to walk a mile there, eat in the store, and walk a mile home. But it was worth it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

No-fair part 2

Last year we instituted a "No-fair" policy which was quite effective. I rarely rarely hear it. Until yesterday, when C6 had opened her window and Q5 couldn't open hers, and so I opened hers for her, just a crack, both windows. That of course, set her off, because C6 had STUCK HER HEAD OUT HER WINDOW and Q5 COULDN'T and it WASN'T FAIR!

Whoops. It sure isn't fair that C6 stuck her head out the window and I wouldn't let Q5, but now we can't have icecream until Sunday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Last eye roll ever

If anybody has been at our house in the last few months you might have seen C6 rolling her eyes. Not pretty, not polite. And in the last month Q5 picked it up and started rolling hers.

I figured out how to extinguish C6's eye rolling ... we've used this before. Everytime she rolled her eyes I'd take away a library book (she can take out 6 books at a time because she is 6 years old). First eye roll in a day ... one library book confiscated. The second time, two. The third time, three. That's all the books. They get kept overnight. But then, if she eye rolls again ... they get kept another day.

Now, she didn't actually ever lose all her books. After the second eye roll in a day she stopped, because three library books being confiscated at a time is a lot. Yikes. So I never had to spell out what happens after 4 eye rolls, which is good, because it seems to be going nuclear at that point.

We have utilized this strategy before ... and it works for C6. Behaviors can rapidly be extinguished.

Q5, however, is another story. Take something away from her and she's likely to go to her room and grab them all and toss them out and say "YOU CAN HAVE THEM ALL, I DON'T WANT THEM!" because she wants to punish us.

So. We had these craft sticks, and made up a wall chart for her, 4 sticks in a little paper pocket for each day of the week. Each stick represented a book/story at bedtime (for the first three) and the 4th was a bonus poem at bedtime. Every eyeroll from her would reduce the sticks (and stories) by one.

Sunday she had two eyerolls, so she was limited to two stories at bedtime. Monday (at the TK parade) she had one eyeroll, which she denied (of course) but C41 caught on camera.

The last eyeroll ever

That was the last eyeroll of the week. And since then I haven't seen another eyeroll from either girl.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kitty face

I was baking something chocolatey, I guess, and Q5 was licking the beater. I love this face!!

Q5 kitty face

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Takoma Park Parade

So on the 4th of July C6 was extremely excited, it being her favorite holiday of the year, of course.

She expressed a number of times how she wished her birthday was on July 4. Sadly, it was not, nor would I want it to be, as then she'd have been 3 months early, not just one. However, with that one sad little regret on her part, we decided to head to the Takoma Park 4th of July Independence Day Parade.

The weather was much cooler than last year, which was good, but the parade was a little lacking in spirit. But not so much that we didn't have a good time.

C6 and flags

C5 and her Barbie

We then hit the pool, but by the end of the day C41 and I both found that a party and fireworks were too much and played up the rain card to the kids. Which it did do, although just.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tennessee 2011 - Destinations!

We did have a lot of destinations that didn't quite fall into other categories.. A lot of our destinations were waterfalls (Thank you, Uncle A!) or other places at the end of hikes.

Many of our destinations involved (long) car rides. Q5 and C6 both took turns riding with Uncle A, Aunt N, and L7 & A7.

Our hike on Clingman's Dome was one that had a destination on top: The giant tower at the top. The cold wet hike got colder, wetter, winder. Watch.

From Tennessee 2011

And this one had us all in stitches. C6 is saying the same thing as Q5 (NC - TN) but Q5 is running around the tower like the crazed girl she is.

From Tennessee 2011

OK, this isn't exactly a destination, but insomuch as Tennessee was a destination, this roadside overlook WAS a destination.

And C42 at the roadside overlook with snakes hissing below us. They were basking in the sun under the sidewalk. The girls were a wee bit freaked. And me, too, a little bit.

And this was another roadside stop

On the road around the Roaring Fork Motor Trail there were a number of roadside attractions.

The place of 1,000 drips was one of our first stops right after a large rainstorm

And that is the end of the trip. It was a fantastic trip, the kids enjoyed their cousins immensely, and C40 and I had a great time with everybody!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tennessee 2011 - Places to live

We visited a lot of buildings. Old houses, mills, farms. Every time I was agog about the size of the boards. So bear with me with the photos of the boards, OK?

One of the least impressive places we visited was Mingus Mill. But we visited, and here we are. Please note C6 still has her towel from he visit to Clingman's Dome, despite the fact that it was now hot and muggy.

Then we went to the Mountain Farm Museum ... which the kids LOVED. LOVED. Really, could have spent all their time there. Well, at least an hour.

Look at the size of those boards on the house. Amazing. Q5 liked the inside, too.

But the best part of this farm was for certain the chickens. When we walked up I saw a guy holding one. So I -- very bravely, I might add -- decided to do the same.

And then the girls chased them. Attempted to catch them. At the last minute C6 would hesitate and the chicken would get away.

**Update** found this little video.

From Tennessee 2011

We also visited the Little Greenbriar School, which the four children adored. They would have spent all day there playing school. School included a teacher, an assistant teacher, studdy-body president, and prinicpal.

This is the schoolhouse. The boards are gigantic. 3 boards to the top of the door frame.

C6 in the window of the schoolhouse

Then we hiked up to the Walker Sister's House, where maiden five sisters lived after the park was created. They didn't want to move and the national park service allowed them to live the rest of their lives on their farm. They were (almost) entirely self-sufficient. They did go to town for sugar, coffee, and salt. Everything else they grew or created. Wow.

On the Walker Sister's porch

On the Roaring Fork Motor Trail we stopped at every structure. Little houses, big boards.

This was a little farm, the Ephraim Bales Place.

The only window in the place, and Q5 had to put the new stuffie, Emma, in it.

Finally, we visited the Alfred Reagan Place and more importantly, his old grist mill. C6 loved this grist mill.

She liked the way the water was running.

Q5 liked the place, too.