Thursday, September 29, 2011


A friend (M) told me that another friend's daughter (H5) told M's daughter (P5) that Q5 was the best reader in the whole school!

I don't doubt Q5 might be the best reader in her class, possibly in her grade. That certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility. She's a darn good reader.

However, C7 thought the whole thing was bunk, because what about her, C7, and her friend M7??? Really. How could a kindergartener be the best reader in the whole school when those two second graders are around??

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Do you know how difficult it is to find 100% cotton nightgowns for girls these days? All nightgowns are made of ick polyrayonmelty materials that bead up into rough yuck. Although you can buy handmade nightgowns which are beautiful, I haven't gone to those lengths.

But, with a little searching around I found that a viable, easy, cheap, alternative is pillowcase nightgowns.

Lots of tutorials for these (like this, and this, and this), but my favorite was this one from Sew, Mama, Sew!

I decided to do a split neck with a ribbon instead of a wrapped bodice, and that looked darned cute. And then Q5's pillowcase had a hole in it, so I had to put a heart over the hole. And I didn't have enough fabric to make two all white nightgowns, so the one with the heart has a pink bodice. And since I was changing the pattern I made some lovely fluffy ruffly sleeves to go with it instead of the more sedate sleeves that C7's gown has.

Q6 in nightgown

Q7's gown is a bit big. I made her bodice the same size as C7's because it is a well known fact that her chest is bigger than C7's. Or it was this summer, back to front, anyway, so the gown is a little big on her. Luckily I made her skirt shorter or it would be dragging on the ground big. C7 generously offered to take both and let me make two more.

C7 and Q5 full frontal nightgowns The look

But I think big is OK, nobody likes a tight nightgown.

C7 and Q5 in nightgowns

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Human ... what?

This morning I was washing the floor with a rag and some Murphy's Oil Soap and the C7 walked by to take me home (we were playing she drops me off at work and they go to the beach or work at the library or whatever).

C&: Time to go home!
E41: I have to stay and wash the floor, who will wash the floor if I don't?
Q5 (flashing by, swishing her feet on the floor): Ice skating!
C7 (looking at me): Human Zamboni!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The advent of fall

For a long time I've wanted to make these halloween treat bags. I don't know why, I just thought they looked really cool. This year after Hurricane Isabelle I found some sticks that looked witchy, and I took them from my neighbor's trash pile. Yes, I did.

We bought brown bags and candy, found our wire, and then ... waited. Every so often Q5 and an would do some cutting and gluing and then last weekend we had a bag making push and we make something like 10 or 12 paper bags that look like broom straw.

This weekend I decided the advent of fall meant I didn't have to wait any longer. We were making the brooms!!

We put candy in the bags (C7 and Q5 LOVED this part) and then stuck a stick in each one and then Q5 put the wire on to clamp the broom to the broom handle. C6 wrote out the tags.

They turned out great!

witch brooms

Why yes, they made those headbands themselves.

Q5 with one broom C7 with broom

We delivered thema and in doing so realized we'd forgotten somebody, so I said we'd take our bag and put a new tag on it and give it to them ... oh disaster. C7 seemed to think this was the worst news in the world because we wouldn't get all of the candies. I said we'd tried all the candies. No, we hadn't, because we hadn't tried all of the candy corn shapes. Yes. The candy corn shaped like yellow corn, we had not tasted one of those. Oh, the sadness. But still we did it and still C7 moped (whined. cried. tantrumed.) over it untill I dropped her back at home so she wouldn't have to think about it any more.

Bonus photo, C7 writing out tags.

C7 writing tags

Friday, September 23, 2011

happy weekend~

C7 just yelled "Happy Weekend!" and proceeded to strip down. Q5 followed suit. They are eating popcorn in socks and underwear.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The hills are alive ...

A couple of weeks ago we introduced Q5 & C7 to The Sound of Music. They loved the movie. Everything about it. So C42 downloaded the soundtrack, one copy for each girl.

C7's favorite track is The lonely goatherd and My favorite things. She also really likes the confidence song that Maria sings on the way to the Von Trapp family for the first time.

Q5 really likes edelweiss and (how do you solve a problem like) Maria

So that means of course we hear those songs over and over and over again. It gets tiresome. Sometimes it is so quiet you don't notice until you realize that you are singing The lonely goatherd and then your head starts to explode.

It isn't always like that, however.

Both girls also really like 16 going on 17 ... both girls love this. Actually, I do, too, until I start paying attention to the words. But C7 and Q5 have started acting it out, as well. Here's the video.

I love the penultimate time around Q5 starts to march in time with the music and then her last time around she does a little twirl and then keeps on going. Precious.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Q5 is getting quite good at putting her own ponytail in. Really good, actually. Here is the ponytail she did this morning.

Q5 hair

Unfortunately, nobody noticed she was doing it and it took scissors to take out 5 of the 7 elastics she'd put in her hair. Elastics from broccoli, leeks, and asparagus. That kind of elastics. Ouch!

7 elastics

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Away and back and all that in between

C42 was away for a week and N. came to visit and help out. Ah. It was lovely to have help.

For the most part C7 & Q5 just wanted to go to Yogi Castle and stay at home, but we did manage to get one visit to the National Arboretum.

We bought fish food.

Q5 with H2O

Then fed the fish, of course.

feeding the fish

While the fish were their favorite part, we managed to get over to the herb garden where we heard a frog, then saw a different frog.


I got the girls to stand with their favorite herbs, but C7's picture was hideous, so here is just Q5 in the dye garden.

Q5 with her favorite plants

But C7 let me take pictures.

C7 in sun C7

C7 sitting C7 smile sitting

We left through the biofuels exhibit, which was interesting. They had examples of switchgrass, soybeans, and other examples of plants which might be used for fuels.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Finally, they've learned to start and pump on their own. I'm FREEEE!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Keniworth and Botanic Gardens

I'm sure you've had these moments. Or something similar. Morning. Breakfast eaten. Day stretches ahead open to a whim. SO you suggest an outing to see how interested children and significant other are. Screaming and crying commences.

All efforts to get reasonable behavior out of C7 failed. So C42 took C7 and put her on the porch and locked the door while the rest of us got ready. Yes, he locked her out of the house. But she knows the code so she could have gone around the house and get in the back door with the keyless entry, but didn't because .... the sky was cloudy.

Yes, her fear of weather was impeding her. But no matter, we were going, since we thought we might have an hour of dry and the rest of the day wet. In fact, I was hoping so because I wanted to finish watching The Sound of Music with the kids (but that treat had to be cancelled).

We quickly got ready, grabbed C7 a dress and shoes (yes, she was in pjs), and left the house. At which point C7 realized she could go to the back door but when I told her we were leaving she thought better of going back into the house and came with us.

We had a fine time once the screaming stopped. Kenilworth Gardens is somewhere C42 used to take the girls a lot on their Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. We haven't been for a while.

I didn't see much wildlife this time. Bugs. We heard a frog or two. We saw Herons about 1/4 mile away. And the flowers were dying. But the lotus are fascinating.

We saw the seedpods.

Both and the seed pod
C7 and the Lotus seed pod

We saw exactly ONE Lotus flower.

Lotus flower 1

We saw the dying leaves.

Lotus leaves

And we loved the leaves with water in them. The lotus leaves repel water, so it was fun to play with them. We spent a lot of time looking for the leaves we could reach without falling in.

E41 and Q5 Q5 with lotus leaf E41 with lotus leaf

We did manage to stay at Keniworth for about an hour, then it actually did start to rain. C7 ran under a tree for protection. Here she is kind of fearful, trying to stand up straight, and then Q5 joined:

C7 rain Stand up straight

In order to get back to the car we had to assess the situation.

E41: Is it raining?
C7: Yes.
E41: Is there lightening?
C7: No.
E41: Is there thunder?
C7: No.
E41: Are you melting?
C7: No.
E41: Can you manage?
C7: Yes.

Which she did. She managed by making a beeline for the ranger's building/museum. Without screaming or crying. See? Managing. But she did run the fastest and farthest Carter has ever seen.

I wasn't ready to go home so we went downtown to the Botanic Gardens. Actually, we were headed for the Natural History Museum and the American Indian Museum, but they started fighting about going to both. I think Q5 was upset that C7 said they could go to Q5's pick first, because she thought C7 would then insist we'd spent enough time there and would have to go to the other museum right away.

So I overrulled both options and we went to the Botanic Gardens. Nice as always.

Only one picture.

In the water bubble

We were going to go to lunch downtown but they got themselves too wet and wanted to put on dry clothes. So we went home.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Introducing ... C7!

Yes, C is now C7. At 8:14 am 2003 2004 C7 was born. (yes, I had the year wrong! Thanks to wrinkledman who pointed that out.)

This morning she woke and was thrilled to find a pile of gifts waiting for her. We made her have breakfast first (oatmeal pancakes which neither she nor Q5 liked). The we let her open gifts.

C7 and gifts C7 and smiles

The haul? Books, books, books and clothes. Exactly what she wanted. EXACTLY.

The following is a recreation of the actual events that happened when C7 opened the package that contained the book she wanted most of all:

Seriously. Only it was louder and more spontaneous. She was out of her mind with joy.

After all the clothes and gifts were open she cataloged her books:

Not only that, bought C7 a cat stuffie ... a cat. C42 tried to disuade her, but she insisted. And C7 loves it. Phew. Although I think Q5 MIGHT have been trying to get it for herself.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

C6's 7th birthday party

This week C6 told me she wanted a party. I mean, sure, I knew she did, but she finally focused and told me who she wanted to come. On Thursday. Birthday on Sunday. I told her the birthday party had to be outside. She balked and reminded me that last year it was inside, but I told her last year it was 95 degrees and about 100% humidity that day.

We haggled a bit, I offered a pool party, she refused. I offered Magruder Park, she refused. I offered Bartlett Park ... and BINGO, we decided we could both live with that. Bartlett Park in Brentwood has a new little water feature that we just discovered and both C6 and Q5 love it. Especially Q5. But C6 loves the whole park enough to say OK to that venue.

So, we looked at the weather and though Saturday the 3rd would be a better party day than Sunday the 4th. C6 wrote up a list of invitees and I started calling. The first two parents I called said that had another party to go to that overlapped our time. So, we changed our time, and went with two to four instead of one to three. Great, two of our invitees could come. C42 called his cousin and invited her children, whoo-hoo, they could come! Our final two invitees were unable to come, one was going out of town for the long weekend and the other was celebrating her birthday at the same exact time. Bummer.

I thought three kids wasn't enough, we went with the wider tier of friends, and invited people I like (well, and that C6 does, too, but hadn't made the narrower list of 5 children). Both big families, so it added 8 children. Gulp!

This was the easiest party ever. We didn't do games, or a craft, or a piƱata, or goodie bags. Awesome. I made a cake, made Country Time pink lemonade, C42 bought ice cream and we were done. Of course at this point C42 got a little freaked out because I'd sold him a small party and suddenly 16 children would be there. Well, that's what you get when you invite two families with 4 kids each. A big party! And then, to top it off I'd told C42 just cake. And then I added lemonade (well, you can't have nothing to drink) and then I added ice cream (well, come on. Cake and ice cream go together). And so I looked up the town's website and found nothing about park permits, so phew, we were in luck, and C42 relaxed a tiny bit.

When we got there, the fountain wasn't on. DISASTER. But luckily it seems to turn on exactly at 2:00 as if by magic. So, thank you other child who was having a birthday party today so we had to push ours forward. Or back. Whatever. When it turned 2:00 the water turned on and Q5 went right it.

C5 and fountain

The party really was just all play. Here is C6 with two of her cousins in the middle of some game.

T C and C

Once everybody got there C6 went around to ask if everybody was ready for cake. Oh, yes, they were.

C6 has been in a patriotic fervor over the last few months, so after the 4th I bought some red white and blue plates and tealights, which is why C6 has some non-traditional candles on her cake.

C6 blowing out her candles:

Blowing out the candles

Picking the candles off the cake:

Calmost7 and cake

And finally serving the cake. C6 did a great job serving everybody before taking a piece herself.

Remember Q5's rainbow cake? Well, I decided to do the same cake for C6's 7th birthday, except red white and blue. This cake is so easy. Yes, it is lots of layers, but they cook in 15-20 minutes because they are so thin!! It takes less time than a regular cake. And you get more frosting!! It does take a lot of frosting.

Patriotic cake

But because the cake was so tall, I gave everybody a very small piece. 26 pieces in that cake! We went home with one tattered piece. I don't think you could eat much more than one piece, even if there had been extra.

I don't think we left until almost 5:00, everybody happy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Well, after C6 got over the earthquake in roared a hurricane. Hurricane Irene which wreaked so much havoc in Vermont and western Mass. But not much here in Maryland. And lucky for us, the peak passed through overnight, when the kids were asleep.

C6 had taken to not going outside at all if she could help it, as she was afraid of the hurricane. Not letting go of my hand during the walk home. That sort of thing.

So we stocked up on stuff to distract during the build-up of the storm, hoping we would not lose power too early. We didn't.

So we were able to make s'mores in the microwave:

Q5 smores Horizontal C6 smores hands

C42 bought Lilo and Stitch since it had a Hawaiian angle, which he though t might appeal to C6. It did. Here they are taking Hula lessons from the DVD at the end of the movie.

C42 pulled out a new CD for Q5, a compilation of Disney Princess songs. She love love loved it!

We had power through bedtime, and the kids fell asleep fine. Around 12:30 am I woke to a huge BANG of one of the transformers blowing. I looked out the window and saw a small fire ... and promptly hit C42 to wake him. I called the police to inform them, and C42 ran out the check the fire. It was electrical in nature, although we still had power. And the rain was pouring down and the wind was really getting going.

We were up for about a hour or so, and then the line outside really got going, sparking something serious. It made great fireworks a couple of times, and then another huge explosion and the power went out.

The next day we went down to check out the damage. This was the downed power line

Downed wire

And this is the hole that downed power line made.

Hole in the ground

When you put your hand in the hole it was still warm from the current. C42 has an explaination of HOW it happened on facebook, I think, but I'll tell you the end result -- the concrete/sand turned to glass.

glass pieces

We took a handfull home, as did most kids in Hyattsville, I believe!

Power came back about 24 hours after we lost it. Yippee! We'd been prepared for days without power as we had after Isabelle a few years ago, so we were very pleased!