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Showing posts from November, 2009


My mother- and father-in-law and Amy have arranged a Big Surprise for the girls, and told them Saturday night that the Big Surprise will be revealed on Wednesday (which is also Mallory's birthday, but that's mostly incidental). So the girls, of course, have been begging us to tell them what the Big Surprise is. "Just a hint?" they say. "No," we say. "Mommy, can't we just play Hot and Cold about the Surprise?" Mallory said. "No," I said. "But it's just Hot and Cold! You don't have to really tell me," she said. "No," I said. "Well, I don't really understand how Hot and Cold works anyway," she said.

These are Mallory's guesses:

Going to Disney World
Going to an aquarium
Going to a hotel water park
A puppy
Meeting Hannah Montana
A chocolate pie as big as our house
A sleepover with her friends (not likely)

These are Phoebe's guesses:

The Beatles are coming to our house ("Phoebe, don't you k…


Best invention ever:

Look at those uniformly sliced apples (5 Cortland 2 Macintosh, 1 accidental Honeycrisp)

The slicing went so quickly that my crust didn't chill quite long enough. But, I had this pie-crust-rolling-out-thingy to help:

This for aesthetic purposes:

which came in handy; I used all the little apple cutouts to patch the cracks and bare spots. Somehow I didn't end up with quite enough crust:

Still, it turned out okay:

For maximum enjoyment, microwave each slice for exactly 32 seconds, then top with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

The Return of the Lithuanian Spy

When I was in high school, and when I received a phone call at home, I would drag the phone (cord and all) into my bedroom and close the door firmly and sit with my back against the door, to keep out all the people in my house who were dying to overhear my conversations. "Are you conducting secret business in there?" my father asked in reference to this behavior. "Are you a Lithuanian spy?" When the phone rang and it was for me, he would say: "Tell Krista the Lithuanian embassy is on the line!"

Now Mallory, whenever she receives or makes a phone call, immediately ducks into the bathroom with the phone and closes the door. Could it be that this characteristic is inherited? Did she receive it genetically along with my hazel eyes and Chris's long fingers?

She does have it easier; our phones are cordless, at least.

Flashback Friday: The Childhood Pets Edition

This is Spunky:

Spunky is a dog who showed up at our house (out in the country) one day and hung around with us intermittently. Sometimes he'd stay on our porch for weeks at a time, and sometimes he'd disappear for several days and then come back. Other times he'd come home with a little black dog, a female, whom we named Josie. (I suspect there were many Josie x Spunky puppies at one time as well.) One Christmas Day we came home from my grandma's house to find Spunky in our yard, all bloody and limping. He'd either gotten into a fight with another dog or kicked by a cow (did I mention we lived on a farm?). We brought him inside and cleaned him up and let him sleep by my sister's bed all night. I went to sleep crying, sure that he'd be dead in the morning, but no, he was perfectly fine when the sun came up. And then the day came when he disappeared and never came back. I like to think that he found another family to temporarily adopt. He was a good boy.

This …

Count your blessings very carefully

Mallory made up a Thanksgiving song last night. She sang:

"I'm thankful for my Mommy
I'm thankful for my Daddy
I'm thankful for all my grandmas
And my grandpas too.
I'm thankful for my aunts and uncles
I'm thankful for my cousins.
I'm thankful for my house
I'm thankful for my toys.
I'm thankful for my eyes and nose
I'm thankful for my clothes--"

and then Phoebe leaned toward her and whispered:

"Psst! Hey Mallory! You forgot to say your sister!"

My New Ring

Amy hosted a jewelry party a few weeks ago and I bought this ring:

(It's hard to take a good picture of your own hand.)

The ring is kind of gaudy and flashy and totally unlike anything else I own. It probably doesn't look that good on my short stubby fingers or with my standard outfit of a long-sleeved v-neck t-shirt and khaki pants.

But I've still been wearing it every day, and every time I see it, I feel pretty.

I don't feel pretty very often. And I've realized that when you don't feel that pretty, you can get into a spiral of habits that make you feel even less pretty. I hate all my clothes, but I don't want to buy new clothes on the off chance that I might lose weight. Or I should find a new way to do my makeup, but what's the point when I just sit in my cubicle all day. And there are other issues: I should exercise, but that would take time away from the kids. Or I should go to a real hairdresser and get a real hairstyle, but that would be expensive, a…

So tired

Still recovering from slumber party. Dealt with two cranky kids all day long. Who wouldn't leave me alone -- I had to play games and do crafts with them because they were sooo sad that the fun was over. "You still have to do what I want you to," Mallory said, "because it's my birthday party that's over now." Phoebe kept crying because Mallory wouldn't share her birthday presents, and I kept explaining that you don't always have to share birthday presents because they're special. Then we went to another birthday party (Chris's cousin) and two members of that family have what seemed suspiciously like swine flu, so now we have the spectre of that contagion looming over us. I don't know if any of this has made sense. I need to unload the dishwasher and fold some laundry but I'm so tired that I may just go to sle

Slumber Party!

There are four little girls in my house, hyped up after building-a-bear and ice cream sundaes, who are convinced that they're going to stay up until midnight. I think I'm going to go around and set all the clocks two hours ahead and then put them to bed. Wish me luck.

Close enough

Phoebe loves the Fancy Nancy books and, as a result, often asks how to say things in French, like Nancy does. So last night as I was tucking her in I said, "Je t'aime. That means I love you in French."

"Oh!" she said. Then she said, "Pah jem! No, I mean, bah chim. No, I do you say it again?"

"Je t'aime," I said again.

"Ma chim! No, pah tim. No, I mean, cha chem. No, I mean..."

"I love you too," I said.

(Flashback Friday has been postponed due to technical problems. A shame, it was going to be a good one today.)

One Thing We Did Right

“Mommy, you’d just better be glad that you had Phoebe,” Mallory said a few days ago.

“Well, I am glad, but why do you say so?” I asked.

“Because if you hadn’t, I would’ve been stomping around the house every single day, so mad at you that you didn’t give me a baby sister.”

Admittedly, I wanted a second child mostly because I didn’t want Mallory to grow up without a sibling (which speaks well of my own siblings, doesn’t it?). I also realized, though, that whether or not you will have a good relationship with your sibling is largely a matter of luck and innate personality, no matter what the experts may say about child spacing and birth order and so forth. And, luckily, my girls do seem to get along about eighty percent of the time – not bad, really.

Mallory has always been impressed by Phoebe and Phoebe’s accomplishments. I remember how excited she would get when Phoebe met a milestone as a baby – held her own toy, sat up, learned to crawl. Now Mallory will sometimes share an indulgent smi…

As promised, the rest of the story

The prinses and the real body of the frog and a special supris

Once apon a time there was a prinses and a prince.

Befor the prince was just a frog.

Thanks to the princes becaus wen she kissed the frog the frog turnd
into a prince

Just then they noticed something so great
Theyr gowing to have a baby girl.

Then the baby was born.

The end.

Lessons in Theology

"I'm hungry for lunch," I remarked on the way home from church on Sunday.

"I know why you're hungry," Mallory said.

"Okay, why?" I said.

"Because at church, you saw the priest hold up the bread, and it made you hungry to look at it, but you couldn't have any because you're a public school kid, and that's why you're still hungry now," she said.

"Oh," I said. "Well. Well, no, actually, I'm just hungry because it's lunchtime."

Mallory performed in the choir at church, wearing a very fancy new dress. It's possibly a little bit too fancy for church, but it was the only dress I could find that was not a) strapless b) made for a girl much skinnier than my daughter c) slutty or d) decorated with skulls or weird looking monkeys. Girls' clothes are awful these days. Anyway, she loves her dress. And even though I'm just a "public school kid" (someday I'll teach her the word "Prot…

Technology Makes Us Stupid: My Story

A few months ago I pushed a cart full of groceries to my minivan and clicked my key remote to unlock the back door. It didn't unlock. I punched the button again. It didn't unlock. I went around to the front door, opened it, and pushed the automatic door lock button. The back door still wouldn't open. I went around to the other front door and pushed that button. The back door still wouldn't open. I crammed the groceries in through the side door and drove to my inlaws' house to pick up the kids. "My back door won't unlock," I told my father-in-law. "I tried the remote and the buttons on the door, and nothing happened."

"Huh," he said. "Did you try using the key?"

(the key worked)

(and yes, Mallory was the fifth brownie)

Five Little Brownies

...took an ice skating lesson.

The FIRST little brownie listened carefully to the instructor, performed all the steps with a grimly determined look on her face (but not a single smile), made it twice across the rink, and clumped off the ice at the end of the lesson. "That was hard, and not very fun," she said.

The SECOND little brownie attacked the ice with glee, skinny little legs flailing wildly. She fell a lot, but laughed each time and got right back up. Her technique was not the greatest, but she managed to fly across the ice anyway. She stayed on the rink after the lesson was over, and begged her mom to stay even longer after the allotted two hour Girl-Scout skate was up.

The THIRD little brownie has some kind of natural athleticism which allowed her to grasp proper ice-skating concepts right away. She was cautious, but she was good.

The FOURTH little brownie had spaghetti legs and just could not stay up. She spent most of the lesson falling over or being dragged boneles…

My other daughter is also a writer

Phoebe has learned to write her name:

Overheard while she was working on this: "Now for my name. P H O E B E. There., it needs a swirl. There. Perfect."

She also tried her hand at writing a story. She would draw a picture, hand the paper to me, and say, rather imperiously, "I want it to be said..." Her story turned out a bit abstract. One page, for examnple, said "There once was a queen who met a butterfly named Spots." Two pages later, she dictated, "There was a pony by the old crib, and the baby was asleep." A few pages later, it was "I want it to be said...Motherhood and cupcakes." I said, "Motherhood and cupcakes?" and she said, "Yes, of course."

She drew this picture at school:

It's Phoebe herself, with a Golden Bechiever.

Flashback Friday!

This was me, the night I graduated from high school (or, as one of my more pedantic professors would have it, the night I was graduated from high school):

Good heavens, I was skinny. My hair was bigger than my waist.

Me and Chris on one of our first big dates. It was my birthday, he took me to the Melting Pot. The next day he went and bought himself his first new car. Which he is still driving today!

Chris talking on the phone in my old apartment in Chapel Hill. I don't know who he was talking to or why he looks so annoyed. The point of this picture is the kitchen. That there, right behind Chris? That was my entire kitchen. I had about 10 inches of counter space. Directly across from the avocado oven was an avocado refrigerator -- the kind you actually had to defrost, once in a while -- and then a small open area for a table. It was living.

This picture is blurry. It is of a time -- also blurry in memory -- when Chris and I got to go on vacation by ourselves. Also it features lovely …

In all other respects I like this person

How is it that in this year of 2009, a woman of my same age, with approximately the same level of education and work experience as me, does not yet know that it is not appropriate to use the word "retarded" when she means, instead, stupid or annoying or ridiculous?

And why is it that I don't have the guts to ask her to refrain?

A story for you

The prinses and the frog
by Mallory
Whach it on Mackt Up Home only if your a reg guest

Once opon a time ther was a princes
the princeses father wants her to be marid

One day the prinses saw a baby frog
Its now my pet said the princes
Your name is Jumps

They went inside and the princes sang
The frog was very very very very happy

When the frog grew up he said if you kiss me I'll turn into a prince
Wow its like a fairy tale!
I will, said the princes.

And they did.
The end.

Next week: The thrilling sequel!

The Lost

“They were killed by the Nazis,” is all Daniel Mendelsohn’s grandfather would say about his brother Shmiel and Shmiel’s wife and four daughters. The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million tells how Mendelsohn managed, sixty years after the fact, to piece together a handful of memories and rumors to create a narrative of the fate of his relatives.

It was an enormously difficult task, not least because of the passage of time. Shmiel and his family lived in a town called Bolechow, which was sometimes Polish and sometimes Russian and sometimes Ukrainian. Of the six thousand Jews in Bolechow in 1939, only forty-eight remained in 1945. Forty-eight. Of those forty-eight, only a handful were alive in 2001, when Mendelsohn began his search in earnest. It was through years of far-flung travels, and interviews with survivors, and strange coincidences and twists of fate, that the story of Mendelsohn’s family was uncovered.

Mendelsohn’s beloved grandfather carried a long brown wallet in his pocket ev…

Wish she was always this easy to please at dinnertime

Phoebe: Mommy, can we have pancakes for dinner tonight?

Me (because I had no other ideas): Sure, I guess.

Phoebe: Yay! I love pancakes!


Phoebe: Mommy, why do I smell bacon?

Me: Because I'm cooking bacon.

Phoebe: Oh, I love bacon!

Me: Yes, I know.

Phoebe: What are we having with the bacon? Oh! I know! We can have biscuits! I love biscuits!

Me: No, we're having pancakes, remember? Because you asked for pancakes?

Phoebe: We're having pancakes? I love pancakes!

Phoebe eschews all condiments -- no ketchup for this child, no syrup, no mustard or mayonnaise. She does love butter, but that's the dairy source in her diet, not just a condiment. When she's eating french fries, however, she will sometimes ask for some pretend ketchup, and one of us will pretend to squirt a pretend dollop of ketchup on her plate. A few weeks ago, when, it is important to add, she was eating off of one of those kids' plates with the divided compartments, she made this request of Chris. "He…

New Math

This word problem was on Mallory's math homework last week:

Lesia has 32 stickers. Diana has a few stickers. Lesia adds their stickers. She has to regroup when she adds. How many stickers does Lesia have? Circle the number.

We puzzled til our puzzlers were sore, but we still couldn't figure out the answer. I wrote a note beside the problem: "Mrs. G., this problem didn't make sense to either Mallory or her parents."

The next day the paper came back with a note from Mrs. G. She circled the last line of the problem and wrote:

"Misprint! This should have said Diana."

Okay! Whew! I was relieved to know that I wasn't, in fact, dumber than a second grader.

Except then I realized that I still didn't understand how the answer could be 3, 5, 6, or 8.*

I can't wait til she gets to algebra.

*Unless what they're calling "regrouping" is what we used to call "carrying the ones." In which case the answer would be 8. I think. Maybe.

This was a funny line

in a really good book:

If you think of the world without people it's about the most perfect thing there ever is. It's all balanced....But then come the people, and they #*^$ it up. It's like you got Aretha Franklin in your bedroom and she's just giving it her all, she's singing just for you, she's on fire, this is a special request for [you] and then all of a sudden out pops Barry Manilow from behind the curtains. -- Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin

(Yes, this is cheating. I should write something original, but I spent the day roller skating, repairing a closet shelf, and helping Chris de-spiderize the garage. I'm having a glass of wine and going to bed.)

Flashback Friday!

It's time for that 1-year-old tradition of posting old photos instead of blogging!
Sorry they're all weirdly sized; I don't have the time or inclination to fix them.

This is one of those pictures where my kid looks so pretty it's hard to believe she's real:

And this is a more typical expression:

Happy baby:

Sad baby:

All the babies:

First steps!

Again with the prettiness:

Which is which?

Happy weekend!