Thursday, August 25, 2011

Corn husk dolls

Corn husk doll with braided arms

So, the two day after the earthquake the girls had off from school, as school officials had to check all the schools in the school system for damage.

C6 did NOT want to go outside. I had to force both kids out to play, I suppose this isn't so unusual, actually. But once outside they did play and eventually they asked if they could harvest the corn.

The corn was way ripe, but it had never really gotten big. Because of the space it was in? lack of rain? I don't know. We had a ton of ears, they were just all ... stubby. I later tried to cook them but they'd gone all starchy and not the best.

C6 and corn

Anyway, we stripped all the corn, and made corn husk dolls.

C6 making corn husk doll C6 making the doll

C6 and corn husk doll

Corn husk doll with braided arms Q5 and corn husk dolls

Q5 took the dolls I made and cut their bottoms off so they would stand up.

Q5's amputated dolls

And then she made a movie

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shakey Wakey

Yep, Tuesday August 23, there was a 5.8 earthquake based in Mineral, VA (isn't that a perfect name for an earthquake epicenter?).

There was some of talk about how the animals could feel the trembler 15 seconds before people and while some of it has merit (why yes, elephants can hear the lower sound range and feel vibrations in the ground that humans can't), I don't think it is a super-power (except maybe for the toads in Italy). I think that humans aren't paying attention. AND we wear shoes. We can't feel those subtle vibrations with shoes on.

I was waiting to pick up the girls at the elementary school; it was the end of the school day. For 30 seconds before the earthquake hit I was feeling the wall next to me vibrate. Just a little. Enough for me to think about it, ask the person next to me, have her lean up against the wall, pause, then agree that it was shaking. I told her it was disconcerting and then the real earthquake hit and I leapt 10 feet away from the concrete wall toward a brick wall.

Not 100% smart, from one wall to the next, I suppose.

The kids were inside, and Q5's teacher immediately opened her door, I rushed in and asked if I could take Q5. Yup. Then we walked through to C6's class, where we poked our head into her classroom. All was calm, the lights were off (they were using the visualizer, I later found out. I'm still unclear of what that is), so I thought the teacher was just helping them stay calm. Which she probably was. I thought it was so under control that I didn't need to pick up C6, but a friend, M6 spotted us, told C6, who told her teacher, who told her she could go. And C6 caught up with us in the hall.

I was freaked out, but rational about it. Q5 had just seen the TV in her classroom shaking (which she later claimed "The TV was shaking and it fell down on the ground. Luckily nobody was hurt." Nobody was hurt, but that is because the TV didn't fall off the wall). In C6's classroom some things had fallen off the shelves (books, I guess) and pictures went askew. But, again, nobody hurt. But C6 would not let go of my hand the whole way home, she just wanted to GET HOME and hole up in her bedroom and freak out.

We didn't let her do that, of course. I texted about 10 people and asked them to come to the park. Turns out C6 wasn't the only freaked out child. Getting to the park for some distraction was a great idea.

No pictures, but just to let you know C6 has calmed down about the earthquake and ramped up her fears about the impending Hurricane Irene. More on that in days to come.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to school

This morning was all excitement. C6 and Q5 were READY to go to school by 7:00. Dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed and headbanded. Then -- waiting.

Waiting until it's time to leave

I got them outside, where they stood for some photos. They are adorable in their uniforms! I love them. Even after all that fuss during C6's first year.

100_7201 100_7202 Q5 and C6 hugging on 1st day of school

Eventually, though, it was time to go, and the whole family trouped to school. Yes, that is me carrying my tea with a wet spot on my shirt where some cottage cheese fell on me.


C6 thought we might be first in line, but we were so not close to first in line! It was a mad house by the time we got there. C6 was happy happy to be there.


After C6 got in line I took Q5 over to her classroom. She found a seat, made sure that I gave the bag of supplies to her teacher (I did) and she found a seat.


No tears or worry from Q5, none at all. She seemed a bit pensive at times, but she was not concerned at all, despite some clingy, weepy children near her (her apparently best friends)


So, the top 10 things I learned from Q5 today.

1) She sat next to H5 all day, and plans on doing that every day
2) She sat next to P5 at lunch, and plans on doing that every day
3) Sharks have many many teeth that they replace
4) Playdough was her favorite activity
5) They had frosted flakes and milk and graham crackers for breakfast (C6 did on her first day of kindergarten, too!)
6) She was lying about the sharks. She already knew about sharks and they didn't learn about them today.
7) She doesn't want to tell me what she did today

Yeah, that's the 10 things I got out of her.

Both girls were exhausted this afternoon and could not get along. We played on the playground and walked home, had a snack, had some quiet time, then started to fight. I had to put one in the tub and one in her room to keep things from getting violent. Hope things go smoothly tonight.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The pool has tent nights every so often over the summer. You can stay over, swim late, toast marshmallows, eat s'mores, and sleep in a tent under the starts.

But we are not there. The girls have always been pretty uniformly against tent night. But a while back C42 mentioned that he's sleep in our tent in the back yard. So when Q5 had a hankering to do tent night at the pool tonight C6 suggested the backyard instead.

I initially thought hahahaha! look what I've gotten out of, but now I think it looks fun, if a little crowded, as we have only one 2-man tent.

setting up the tent Q5 in tent

When asked what they were doing tonight both girls said virtually the same thing.

By the time this was set up, I wanted to sleep outside! But it was fairly buggy (although they have a bug lamp)and uncomfortable, and crowded, and a bit warm and awkward (ground isn't level).


At 9:00 I heard a moaning crying at the door ... Q5 wanted in to come in to use the potty and sleep in her own bed. I sent her upstairs to pop into bed and I went down to the tent to get her blankie. C6 wanted to come in, except she didn't want to miss popcorn for breakfast that I'd promised. She asked if she slept in her bed if she could have popcorn for breakfast. No? She's staying outside for now.

*********2nd UPDATE*********

9:32 and C6 is now reading in bed. C42 is taking the tent down. Apparently the crickets are too loud.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Q5 is engrossed in her book. Holding the book with her feet and twirling her hair. You can just see C6 reading the Harry Potter book on the sofa.

Q5 foot reading

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


On our way to the museums the other day we stopped at the Naval Memorial to eat our lunch. It is right outside our metro stop (Archives/Navy Memorial), and a fun memorial with a fountain.

Q5 at Naval Memorial

Q5 eating an apple at Naval memorial

And we saw the cutest bird, who was banded, which resulted a whole bunch of questions from Q5 about the bands and how the bird was caught and why it might be banded.

It fluttered around us for a bit, then over came two more birds ... another adult and a baby. And I had the hardest time catching them on the camera until the baby bird opened it's mouth wide and asked for some lunch.

Mama bird feeding baby bird

CUTE. I loved that. I don't believe I've seen that in person before, only on TV.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lessons learned.

Brought to you by Jolly Rancher. The girls had the worlds grossest snow cones on Monday. The items in question came out of a food truck parked at the National Museum of American History. And they were stale, tasted like chemicals, and hard as ... ice. I suppose I ought to have known that a pre-packaged snow cone would be yucko.

Snowcone surprise

Actually, Q5 enjoyed hers. She ate every last drop (that she didn't drip on the wall). C6 got sick of hers about half-way through and I obligingly threw it out for her.

If you are looking in the background thinking that isn't The National Museum of American History you are right. It is Natural History. We left the National Museum of American History after visiting the Invention at Play exhibit, where they twirled whirlygigs and C6 sailboarded.

(Q5 wasn't tall enough)

We also visited the Spark!Lab, where they played with those electronics SnapBoards to make a musical doorbell and other things.

We also visited the America on the Move exhibit, the First Ladies at the Smithsonian exhibit, and the On the Water: Stories from Maritime America exhibit.

I had figued they'd be tired after all that, so in order to get them back to the Metro without any problems I suggested that we stop and get icecream after the museum. It was a positively received and generaly acceptable idea.

I was hoping to find a vendor selling Dove bars or Magnum bars, but they were probably all on the Mall side of the museum, and we were on the Constitution Ave side of the museum. So food truck it was.

And they zoomed in on the snow cones. I didn't fight it, I thought it would be nice and quench their thirst and not be bad. Wrong, wrong. They hasn't even made a dent by the time we'd gotten from one museum to the next. When we reached the National Museum of Natural History I asked if they wanted to go in, and they both said yes, and C6 requested that we go see the "you know what" to which I said "No" figuring she meant the gift shop ("because, mumma, it doesn't hurt just to look") but she actually meant the Rocks and Minerals exhibit, including the Hope Diamond.

Oh, sure. So we sat on the wall and they ate their ice balls (notice how virtually NONE of the snow cone is gone? That is after a 5 minute walk).

C6 snowconing

After the sticky ice was all gone we went in, Q5 was getting tired, so we blazed through rocks and minerals, hit the Hope Diamond, and left the building.

On the way to the Metro we stopped to check out Q5's feet, as she'd complained about he feet hurting. She'd gotten blisters on each heel. I blamed it on her not wearing socks, which really it was, but I realized later that it could also be exacerbated by the fact that she was wearing a size 9 sneaker when she has size 11 feet.

I suppose that the fact that feet continue to grow ought to have been obvious. I came home and went through Q5's pile of shoes. After we get rid of the summer sandles and flip-flops she'll be down to three pairs, including two pairs of school shoes and one pair of hand-me-down (from C6) sneakers. Got to go shopping!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I watched this and realized Q5 really is quite dexterous ... she doesn't go over the edges of her nails at all. I love her sideways stroke. I was surprised and told C42, who responded "Q5 has a lot of skills. She scares me sometimes"

Q5 toes

This video is kinda long, kinda dull. I'd watch just the beginning.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Peace Camp

This past week the kids have been at Peace Camp. I didn't get much out of them about what actually happened at camp every day. I did find out that they spent most of each day outside (at different stations doing activities?), and that C6 was in the blue group (6 & 7 year olds, and Q5 in the red group (4 & 5 year olds). They are both REALLY looking forward to next year when they can be in the same group. They both asked if they could go to Peace Camp next year, which tickled me.

I know from talking with others that they were supposed to be learning strategies for solving conflict, which is why they were there. Although it was only one week, I'm hoping some of what they learned they will internalize.

Oh. And they had a Peace Camp Extravaganza today. Well, they didn't actually call it an extravaganza. But I did. And here is the proof.

C6 before the extravaganza starts

C6 at Peace Camp C6's shirt

Q5 and MH5 during their presentation ... it was a song about hands not for hitting for shoving, but for hugging. Or something like that.

MH5 and Q5  at peace camp
MH5 and Q5 Hug

And all the kids shared what gave them peace. It was difficult to hear what they say sometimes, but my kids have nice, loud voices. Still can't hear them. I'll translate.

Q5:[turns away from camera and starts playing with hair] I'm, I'm Q5 and I'm 5 and one third. What brings me peace is C6.
Audience: Awwwww.

Before her turn C6 tucked her shirt tail in through the top of her shirt to make a halter top. I was waving at her and telling her to put it down. She didn't. But this is why.
C6: my name is C6 and what brings me peace is reading without Q5 disturbing me and hula dancing to classiscal music.

They had a great time. We will do this again! Next year, same time, same place!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wrong number

On the way to the pool I mentioned to the girls that I didn't have my phone. Q5 started asking questions:

Q5: "What, that means you can't call Daddy?"
E41: "Nope, can't call Daddy"
Q5: "You can't call Mumma?"
E41: "Nope, can't call Mumma."
C6: "Q5, that IS mumma, of course she can't call herself!"
Q5: "I know, it was joke to see if she could call herself! Get it?
E41: "If I called myself I'd just get a busy signal"

Blank stares.

C6: "What is a busy signal?"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Q5 and "baby baby"

I don't know. Justin Beiber? I have no idea.

Still photo first (please note, she put her hair in a ponytail all by herself!!)

Q5 silly hair in ponytail

Monday, August 8, 2011

Another new skirt

C6's skirt that I made her 2 falls ago is ... a rag. Until today I let her wear it because she loved it, but it really really has seen better days.

Finally I finished a new skirt for her. The pattern came from (for the most part) Thornberry, and her Cup Day Skirt Tutorial.

Here is C6 watching Mulan II in her new skirt:

C6 in chair

and here she is attempting to twirl:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kindergarten Party

Waaaaay back when C6 was entering Kindergaten, in 2009, we had a few people over so she'd know somebody the first day of school. So, I decided to do it again, and Saturday morning we had 8 rising-k students over at our house. And the parents, because the new school is a new experience, too, especially for first children.

The party started slow, as the first child there is one who takes a long time to warm up to things. Even though he'd been at school with Q5 for a year already he clung to his mom. But eventually more children arrived and everybody found their niche.

Some were painting, some were eating, some were playing at the little kitchen, some were jumping on the trampoline, and eventually, almost all of them were in trampoline with the sprinkler going underneath it. I wasn't crazy about 6 kids in at one time, but they were all the same size, so there were no problems.

(These were some of the wooden shapes we picked up last week and glued onto popsicle -- excuse me, CRAFT -- sticks and set out for the kids to paint. I think we bought about 40, and I think Q5 painted about 10 of them. She really enjoyed it! We had glued them on sticks, and I had suggested to Q5 and C6 that they could put on a puppet show. That idea was taken up by Q5, apparently, as after the party she commented that it hadn't been quite as fun as she'd been expecting because nobody had put on a puppet show with their painted things.)

Wooden shapes on sticks

Now it is countdown to the first day of school. I think we'll be seeing some more "I'm nervous" behavior from Q5 in the coming two weeks until she realizes that she'll be just fine.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


For our wedding in 1998 somebody gave us a lovely crystal ice bucket. It is a cute design, cut spirals in it, a little whimsical. I have used it now and again, when I have need for an ice bucket, or some large heavy crystal object. Because this thing is HEAVY. I weighed it today, over 6 pounds.

Why did I weight it, you might wonder? Well, because it fell on C6's head this afternoon.

She attempted to pull a drawer out of a bookcase, but instead pulled the whole case away from the wall. In attempting to push the drawer back in ... she pushed the whole case back to the wall. And the lightweight tray (also given to us as a wedding gift in 1998) which was behind the heavyweight ice bucket apparently pushed the ice bucket right over the edge and onto C6's head.

I saw it going over.

Huge screams from me and C6 of course. Nice 15 cm gash in her head. I personally didn't think it was bleeding that much, but the gash was fairly deep. The lip of the ice bucket (which remained intact, I might add) just dug into C6's head, cut some of her hair, and barely got dirty.

C42 scooped her up quickly and I managed to get a towel for her head right away. Then I attempted to find somebody to take Q5 (who was, thankfully, in enforced quiet time at that moment) so we could take C6 to the hospital. But it wasn't bleeding SO much that C6 couldn't keep the towel on her head. And the two people I called ... it was too complicated. So C42 drove C6 to the hospital and kept in touch with us by texting.

I was just crying and a little bit nauseated. I mean, a bowling ball-weight object had just fallen on my daughter's head. Yes, a candlepin bowling ball, but let's not be picky, OK?

Eventually, though, I got word that she had no concussion (how many times can C6 hit her head??) but she needed stitches. Which turned out to be staples.

C6 was not keen on the idea of staples in her head, but C42 gave her his phone and she didn't even notice that they shot her head up full of novacain and then did not mind the staples.

Right now she is fine, no pain, but I think tomorrow there may be some pain and swelling and discomfort.

No swimming or washing of the hair for a week. I think we'll have to encourage a hat outside to keep the bugs out of the wound.

Picture of staples below, so don't look if you are anything like me.

Staples in Head

So, long story short, my ice bucket is OK, very solidly made,despite a 4 foot tumble off a bookcase. However, I have put it away for now, so it can't fall off onto any more heads.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dress up

A friend from work gave me a wrap around skirt the other day. She had bought a bunch and thought she'd sew beads on them. That didn't happen. Fast forward 7 years and she has 14 skirts in her closet, all the same. Hahahaha. So, she's giving them away, and she offered one to me.

I like the skirt OK, it looks very twirly, but the girls really liked it.

C6 wore it as a shawl (of course) and then Q5 wanted to wear it as a dress. So C6 had to make a dress out of a beach wrap I had and a shawl from a mini-afgahn.

dress up

Q5 looks quite 70s, I think, with a maxi-dress. C6 looks a little homeless.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Everything is dehydrated. It hasn't rained in ages. And honestly, sometimes I forget to water the plants, especially the ones that need to be watered every day.

C42 bought me some beautiful flowers, but they died. Now they look like this:

Dead flowers

I went to the store today, and finally picked up some new plants. Due to the lateness in the season I couldn't get two that were the same size or health, but I got the Boston Ferns.

Lopsided Boston Ferns