Saturday, March 27, 2010

Against My Better Judgement...

This was a couple of days ago. Let's just say the rain cover on our sand table is not as effective as advertised, and once I'd told them they could play with the sand, it was easier to clean up afterwards than to convince them to do something else instead. I had to strip all their clothes off on the deck and leave them while I took the girls in to get cleaned up. I hope not to do this again until it's warm enough to hose them off in the yard!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Audience Participation

Here's an interesting question that I stole from

Say you went back in time to have lunch with your 15-year-old self. What would be most surprising about your current life to the younger you? Also, where would you eat?

I'm pretty sure I'd be relieved/horrified to find out that I was married with kids! (I vehemently didn't want either at 15, although secretly maybe I was worried it would just never happen for me. Or somehow it would turn out badly.) Relieved that I married a cute boy with good taste in music. Horrified that he's a Texan. Horrified that I'm a stay at home mom! Horrified that I was a teacher and then a secretary. Relieved that I live in Boston and have had a chance to travel some. Relieved that I went to college on a big scholarship and had such a good time there. Horrified that I went to OU! And probably relieved/horrified that I still pretty much look the same (just fatter)! I'd be relieved that I'm a generally happy and much more confident person.

We'd go get chicken fried steak at Del Rancho in Guthrie, which is no longer there. (boo hoo)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Katie Sez...

*drum roll*

... duh! (duck)

Behold, Kate's first real word. She's been saying a few things that sound a bit like baby words for a while (ba ba! Is that bye bye? bottle? Maggie?) and she randomly says things that sound like perfect pronunciations of words (Turtle!) that she never says again. But "duh" is 100% the real deal. Whenever we sing Old MacDonald, we leave the end off of "And on that farm he had a..." and Kate yells, "DUH!" Every time. It's official.

She also started saying "saw!" this afternoon, which apparently means "socks" because she's been taking her socks off all day and bringing them to me to put back on and saying "saw" over and over. She also says saw when she wants her slipper shoes on. (By the way, if you have or know a little one, those shoes - socckasins? - are the best ever. Better than Robeez in my opinion. That's my product plug of the day.)

Just for the record, Maggie's first real word was "cat." It started out as "catby" and morphed into cat, but that was the first really consistent word. Now we can't get her to stop talking!


Yep, Harper Simon is Paul Simon's son. The one he sings about in St. Judy's Comet and Graceland. I have his new self-titled album and I really like it. It's kind of a cross between Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline and Paul Simon's solo stuff. His voice is kind of froggy, so it's probably not everyone's cup of tea (although he sounds a lot more like Paul on the album's studio recordings which have a more polished vocal track), but I love the Sweetheart of the Rodeo-esque country-blues-rock sound. Here's another song from the same Jimmy Kimmel Live episode:

Oh yeah, and guess who that guy is in the white shirt with the blue guitar? Dave Rawlings! Remember him?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maggie Sez...

... When I grow up, I will have to find a Principal to marry because I am a Princess!"

Happy St. Patty's!

I tried to get a photo of the girls in their green with the Happy St. Patrick's Day picture/sign that Maggie made, but my efforts were unsuccessful:

Here is a picture of Maggie's "St. Pat-Trick"

And Kate's attempt at it, too:

As Maggie says, "Ta ta!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


In effort to try to accentuate the positive when it comes to my children instead of spending my time here ranting about how obnoxious they are being today (What? Your little angels? YES.) I'm putting up Maggie's current favorite song, Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and the Wailers. She likes to "dance" to it by spinning around on the carpet on her hands and knees, kind of like break dancing only the way a 3-year old white girl would do it. Kate just spins around on her feet like normal spinning.

... Don't worry about a thing. Every little thing is gonna be all right.

Maggie Sez...

... Sinks are like tiny bathtubs for your hands.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Katie Sez...

... Hi, I'm Needy and I'll be your shrieking barnacle this evening.

I don't know what kind of a game she's playing, but we are definitely losing it. As I mentioned previously, all four of us have been battling a stubborn head cold for a couple of weeks now. Both girls had fevers at the beginning of last week, but they were low grade and cleared up after a couple of days. Nevertheless, Kate went on to be generally cranky and obnoxious for days afterwards. This is not her normal personality at all. Maggie at this age - yes, we would have expected snarkiness and bad attitude. But Kate is a chipper little chappie who normally looks just like this:

(She's making that face because she was just so excited to have a yogurt smoothie with a straw and I was letting her hold it by herself. The kid is ecstatic about everything.)

We know that she's cutting a new tooth and she's right at that stage where she blabs all the time but is ultra frustrated because we can't understand what she's saying AND she's transitioning from two naps to one nap. So we have been trying to cut her some slack in the behavior department, but Saturday morning she was just screaming her head off. She wanted me (and only me) to hold her and then bucked and arched so that I couldn't keep her on my lap. She shrieked and growled. She demanded food and then didn't eat it. She wanted to be rocked but she didn't want me touching her at the same time. We put her in her bed but she wouldn't stop crying. She finally fell asleep but then woke up after less than half an hour. Yet she did NOT have a fever. We gave her Tylenol and Motrin, which did no good, and worried that she had an ear infection left over from the fever days. We called the doctor and made an appointment for Saturday afternoon.

Now let me say that we have been so incredibly lucky with both of the girls because neither of them has ever had an ear infection. Not one. Ever. Either girl. How amazing is that? Everyone we know wishes they owned stock in the company that manufactures amoxicillin, but we've only ever filled one prescription for it - and that was for a UTI two years ago. Mike and I both had horrible ear infections as babies, but our girls never do. I credit it to the black tar-like ear wax they both have. We'll probably find out some day that neither of them can hear worth a damn, but no bacteria gets past that sludge that's for sure.

And let me also say, although I'm sure you already know, that Saturday afternoon is when all the kids who have typhoid fever and consumption and the plague go to our doctor's office for the weekend sick kids appointments. So with great trepidation, Mike dragged Kate in so we could find out for sure whether or not she needed that exorcism or if we could just clear it up with some antibiotics.

Sure enough, she received a clean bill of health. The doctor told Mike all about teething symptoms (yes, we know about them, this is our SECOND child) and sent him on his way. Kate spent the rest of the evening playing happily and singing "This Old Man." Seems she just wanted to ride in the car.

Or maybe she just wanted to go lick some toys that kids with whooping cough had played with, because of course now she has a fever again. And she's shrieking. And she only wants to be held by me but not while I'm touching her. And she wants to sit on the couch on my lap and watch cartoons as long as I don't move or speak or cough and as long as Maggie doesn't also sit on the same couch. And don't even think about putting her down anywhere because independence is not an option. And Maggie can just pee on the floor and eat cat food for lunch as far as Kate is concerned. Unless you want to hear more shrieking.

Maybe it's time to call that priest...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Down the Toilet

Where has the week gone?! Down the toilet, of course... literally. Besides the fact that all four of us are still battling the same old head cold we've been passing around for two weeks now, we also had some fun with plumbers in the last couple of days.

We actually noticed the water dripping out of our kitchen cabinet a few weeks ago. We realized that the toilet upstairs was running (we can't hear it downstairs, so it had been going for a while), so we were able to stop the dripping and clean up the dishes and the cabinet right away. Our wonderful plumbers came out the next day and replaced the wax ring which was basically non-existent. We really hoped that fixed the problem. Not so lucky. It dripped again a week or so later and we called the plumbers. They wanted us to re-caulk the bathtub and see if that fixed it, but we felt the location indicated that it had to be the toilet. When it happened a third time, again when the toilet was running, we asked them to come out and look at the toilet. Sure enough, when they came out on Tuesday this week and cut a big hole in the kitchen ceiling, they found the crack in the pipe under the toilet. The good news was that it was fairly cheap to fix the pipe with a section of new PVC, but the bad news was that we had to choose between cutting a hole in the tile floor in the bathroom or pulling down the kitchen cabinet to make the ceiling hole bigger. We went with the bathroom floor since we have no love for the crumbling avocado tile up there.

Guess what's underneath our bathroom tile! Hard wood flooring! Ruined by water damage, of course. And that's all, by the way, no subflooring for the tile job. They just stuck tile straight onto the varnished hardwood - so that's why the tiles keep popping off and look like they've been regrouted about three times in different spots with various colors of grout. Brilliant.

Mike got to be Handy Manny and help the plumbers cut out plywood to fill the holes left by the rotted boards in the floor. He also has high praise for his shop vac and suggests that everyone go out right now and get one if you don't already have one. He also feels he may have missed his calling as a carpenter because he loves the smell of sawdust so much. I'm getting scared that he's about to start filling our garage with thousands of dollars of equipment and wearing an apron and calling himself "Nahm" and talking all day about "mehshud drawrings."

The silver lining in all this - and please god, there must be a silver lining to all this, please - is that our cabinets under the hole are now super clean and bleached, I finally put down the shelf liner, and all our plates, cups, glasses, and bowls have been through the dishwasher. So the kitchen is sterilized. Also, the hole in the ceiling is actually hidden by the soffit above the cabinets, so once we tack that back up it will essentially disappear (until we decide to redo the cabinets - but we'll worry about that then). Also, the hole in the tile needs to be remedied, so we're thinking about pulling up the rest of the tile - should take about ten minutes since they pop off with the slightest encouragement - and laying some inexpensive linoleum in there for the meantime until we can get around to redoing the bathroom (a project that's actually near the top of our list). Even cheap, ugly linoleum would be better than what's in there now, and they actually have some pretty decent looking stuff these days. Could be a huge improvement.

Wanna see some photos?

Oh yeah, and one other thing... last week, the stairs fell off the deck. Mike happened to be standing on them at the time, but thanks to his cat-like reflexes (ask him about them, he'll be glad to tell you all about them any time), he just coasted down the steps as they were falling and didn't get hurt. Not to worry though, he already Handy Manny'ed them last weekend, so we're back in business. It never ends, it really doesn't.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Baby Shower Without Power

The final event of our four month long celebratory season was Amy B.'s baby shower up at Jane and Dale's house in NH last Saturday, and let me just say that this year's Fowler Family Festivus Fiesta definitely ended with a bang!

It started Thursday night with a huge storm that hung in the air circling above all of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. One weather forecaster was calling it a "Snowicane." Down in NYC, Amy and Roger were getting snow and were worrying about their Friday travel plans, as well as all the other people travelling in to NH for the party. Up in Boston, we were just getting torrential rain and howling winds, so Mike starting calling it a "Rainicane." (Although, isn't that what a regular old hurricane is?) Our neighbors were supposed to be taking the train to NY the next morning and leaving their boys with me for a few hours until their grandma could come pick them up, so we went to bed worrying more about how our morning was going to go than the fate of the baby shower.

Friday dawned dry and sunny. Our expensive new roof was right where it ought to be. The basement was dry. The trees were vertical. Owen and Charlie showed up bright and early and everything seemed to be right on track. But right in the middle of four kids under school age gleefully dismantling my home, Jane called to tell me that they had no power - and therefore also no well water or heat. They were unable to even leave town as all roads out were blocked by road crews. Uncle Bob and Aunt Sandy were grounded in Albany and not sure how to get out. Amy and Roger were thankfully still on their way up, but would anyone else be able to make it? Would there be a party at all when they arrived? How were they even going to be able to pick up the cake? I could hear the stress in Jane's voice.

Birons to the rescue!! The Fowler's dear old friends the Birons showed up with a generator and even fixed up part of the roof that was damaged and took Ana for a sleepover. When we showed up Saturday morning, Bob and Sandy were there (having rented a car and driven in), and Amy and Roger, Whit and Brian, and Laura and Clifton (Amy's friends who were hosting) had all made it in the night before. Coffee was made, flower arrangements were on the tables, a fire was lit in the fireplace, Clam Chowder was warming on the grill outside (and it was delicious!), the cake was displayed, the snow was shoveled, and people were headed out to pick up the hot food that had been ordered. The generator was able to keep the lights, heat, and water on. Everything turned out beautifully and only a few people didn't make it in the end. The falling snow outside gave the house a lovely snow globe appearance. Only when night started to fall and you could see that the neighborhood was unusually dark all around us did it seem that something was wrong. It was the best baby shower with or without electricity I've ever been to!

Our only failure ("our" referring exclusively to me and Mike) was a fairly foolish decision that we made while basking in the glory of all this success. By the end of the day, the girls were exhausted and ready for bed early. We toyed with the idea of heading for home, but we had brought our overnight stuff just in case the power came back on. Everyone encouraged us to stay as we were all having so much fun and we rarely all got to spend time together, so we decided to stay. We really did have a great evening and stayed up late into the night drinking and chatting. We joked that we were setting ourselves up for disaster because the girls were surely going to wake up at 4 am and we'd suffer. Ha. Then as we got up to go to bed, we realized that they were going to have to turn the generator OFF while we were all sleeping. No heat. No lights. Buckets of water by the toilets to flush them. All the food went into ice chests in the garage. Yikes. We slipped into bed and prayed for an uneventful night. No luck. Both girls were awake for HOURS, Kate screaming for part of that time. We never did figure out what was wrong with her. Mike and Jane were out in the garage with flashlights looking for milk. People were bedded down all over the house, and I don't know how any of them got any sleep, especially Jeannette and Ana who had to get up super early for their flight home. Luckily, the house did stay remarkably warm. We toyed with the idea of just packing up and leaving at one point, but Maggie was actually asleep by then. But we made it to morning, and once the sun was up everything seemed much less dire. Oh well. I guess we've probably just ruled out camping with the girls any time soon as a vacation option.

The Fowlers are still without power, but it's got to be a lot easier now without a house full of people. Amy and Roger headed home with a carload of lovely new baby gear. And we hear that all the guests made it home safely with no problems. Good memories were made.

We also are at home now, safe and sound, and March - the month of quiet recuperation - has begun. Thank god for March!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Last Week Recap, Part Three

If you don't already know it, I'm sure you can guess that I don't love children's birthday parties. I'm not a big fan of gift bags, themed plates, or bouncy castles. I know the day is coming when I will wake up and find myself the host of some Chuck E. Cheese/Pinkalicious Princess birthday party for 20 screaming 8 year old girls, but you won't find me pricing magicians or hiring a pony over here. I love celebrating my girls' birthdays, no doubt, it's just the screeching masses of sugared-up kids and the pressure the find the perfect matching tiara-shaped pinata that make me queasy.

So we had a small party-esque gathering for Maggie on the Saturday after her birthday. It was the biggest thing in birthdays she had so far in her short life, so it impressed her, but don't set your own expectations too high in imagining what I am about to describe. That's all I'm saying.

We knew that cousin Ana was flying in early that morning (accompanied by Uncle Jeff, of course, but I think he knows he wasn't the guest of honor) and we invited the boys down the street, Owen and Charlie, so we had a nice little collection of kids to wreck the house. After sufficient destruction had been accomplished, we ordered some pizza and had white cupcakes with pink frosting (requested by Maggie, made by Mike!) and pink ice cream. There were balloons. There was a wild present-opening free for all. There were a few tears. Overall, though, I think a good time was had by all.

After a hasty clean up, we followed Gram, Grandpa, Jeff and Ana up to NH for the night to hang out a bit. We left Mags up there for a couple of days to have a sleepover with cousin Ana and Gram. As I said before, Kate had the time of her life being the only child. And I'm sure Maggie had a great time with Ana because the day she came home she went down for a nap at 2pm and woke up the next morning at 8am! Things must seem terribly boring around here now by comparison! Her year of being 3 has definitely started off with a bang. Hopefully the rest of the year will be just as exciting and fun.