Monday, May 23, 2011


There were tornado sirens today.

This was our third experience since living here.  The first was just a test.  The second happened at bedtime a couple of weeks ago, when Dave was at work and I was home alone with the girls, and because the first time had been a test, I forgot what I was supposed to do.  I didn't take the girls to the basement, instead I insisted that they try to sleep, despite the noise.  I recognize this is not the best parenting moment I have had.

So this afternoon, when the sirens wailed, I brought everyone to the basement.  The girls played dress up, swung on the swing, climbed the rope, slid down the slide, practiced the monkey bars.  Dave was thrilled to have me captive, where he could get a round of ping pong out of me without protest.  We listened to NPR for updates, and the funnel clouds seemed far away, the damage farther.

Tonight, on facebook, I saw images of the damage in North Minneapolis, in the neighborhood where the girls go to school, and where most of their classmates live.  Huge old trees, uprooted, thrown down across cars.  Roofs torn off.

The day after the last siren, the one I did not heed, I met a new friend in the park for a playdate.  She told me the sirens went off just after her two girls fell asleep, and that, also home alone, she could not wrap her head around the logistics of waking a 3 year old and an infant and carrying them to the basement, so she didn't.  I told her how I had outright ignored it, even with waking children, how it didn't seem possible, somehow, for the tornado to enter the city.

How foolish.

She told me she had felt that way once, too, until a funnel cloud touched down on her street, ran past her old house.

I am glad we have a basement.
I will be checking the details of our homeowners insurance.
I will be praying for our neighbors in North who suffered damage from this tornado.

I will heed the sirens.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Backpack, backpack

This post is set to the soundtrack of Dora the Explorer's "backpack song."  Don't know it?  Lucky you.

The other morning, still in their nightgowns, the girls packed their backpacks full of all sorts of wonderful things and set off for an adventure.

Clio got started, but after realizing that the bright sunshiny day belied Minnesota cold spring temperatures, she quickly made her way back in.

Eleri thought it wise to wait inside, and see if the adventure was worth having.

Tonight, putting them to bed, I saw Clio's backpack spilling its treasures onto the floor, and among the detritus, I found my missing coasters.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I suppose I asked for it

Oh, Eleri.
We all know she's independent, yes?  Might I remind you that she set her mind on changing her own diapers--and then refused to let anyone help her?

So, we've been struggling a bit with bedtime.  The girl is a nightowl, and trying to force her to go to bed when she's not feeling it is just not that successful.  And yet this is the situation I continue to perpetuate.  The last several nights, I've finally given up putting her back down the nth time, and when I head to bed I find her asleep on the floor at the top of the stairs.   (Tonight is no different.  It's 9:30 and I can hear her up there now.)

A little earlier, both girls came out of their room, and I indiscriminately sent them back to bed, despite Eleri's claim of a hurt finger.  (Wolf.)  No peep for a while, but then I hear a little rumbling, and notice the light is on, so I go stealthily upstairs to catch Eleri in the act o whatever it is she's doing.  The laundry room light is on, but so is her bathroom light (which is the next door).  I slip in to the bathroom and then through the door into the bedroom and Eleri is getting into bed.  When she sees me she says "there's a mess in the laundry room."

"Why don't you come help me clean it up," I say.

"Otay."  (That's right, she still says Otay instead of okay.  It's extremely cute.)

In the laundryroom, I find a bag of first aid supplies emptied out onto the floor.  A box of gauze pads is open and, upon closer inspection, it seems that each sterile package has been ripped upon, gauze pads strewn on the floor.  I ask Eleri what's up.

"I had an owie on my knee," she says, "so I put cream on it."

Wait.  Cream?  What cream?

Sure enough, her ENTIRE LEG is like an oil slick, both hands covered, and she is leaving gooey puddles on the floor.

"Eleri, which cream did you use?"  She points to the prescription antibiotic cream.  So I guess we don't have to worry about an infection in her scraped knee.

I got her cleaned up (She held up her thumb--the one she had been sucking--and said "this is yucky," so obviously we had to do a thorough hand wash) and put her back in bed.

Of course, as mentioned, I can hear her breathing at the top of the stairs.

So.  That's my night.  How was yours?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter bunny sidewalk chalk

I wrote about the sidewalk chalk in my letter for easter.
These are the pictures.

Easter bunny shaped chalk, from the easter bunny

Making the dog for the neighbors, so they won't be sad if they lose one of theirs because they will still have this one.

The artist at work.

Making the alley that goes in a circle.

Covering ground!

Easter Eggs!

Sometimes I forget that I am the adult, and that holiday magic doesn't happen, adults plan it.  Which is to say, I'm terrible at celebrating holidays and creating activities and tradition around them.

But I can manage the basics.

Despite easter falling very late this year, the weather leading up to it was, well, abominable.  Dyeing easter eggs is much more fun when it feels springy, but we persevered.

Nadia and Givenson came over, and Nadia and my two girls dyed nearly 3 dozen eggs between them.  These girls were FAST.  Too fast, I think.  We ran through eggs before they got bored with the project.

Nadia's egg kit came with a plain wax crayon, and Clio wrote her favorite slogan on one of hers.

Nap the Cat.

That's right.

We have NO clue what this is supposed to mean or where it came from, but she writes it everywhere.


She also wrote her sisters name on one, and Eleri decorated with stickers.

Eleri also really liked dunking the eggs in the colors.  By which I mean dropping.  We lost a few to this method before she got the hang of the dipper.

A Christmas dress for dyeing Easter Eggs.  Makes perfect sense somehow.

In the end, when we'd run out of eggs, Clio and Nadia did a little experiment called Put the Egg in Every Color and See What Happens.  My prediction?  Brown.

As usual, I was wrong.  They basically turned the last color they were in, with undertones of all the other colors.

I'm getting worse and worse at concluding these posts as the day goes on.  And you know what?  I'm not going to sweat it.

Recent Projects

Wow, it feels GREAT to catch up on all this stuff we've been doing lately!  This is bad blogging (no posts for weeks and then a tidal wave), but good family archiving, and I'll take it!

Dave seems to be scheduled for LOTS of evenings and pretty much every Saturday, then tends to schedule clients on Sundays, leaving the girls and I to our own devices.  After the long winter, plus this strange balance of roles, I find myself needing someone else to supply some of the structure.  And so we have been going places with activities.

In Boulder, I loved that our libary had great cultural activities, and that they communicated events really well.  Here. we are part of a HUGE library system, and hunting down activities through them can be a bit of a daunting puzzle.  But I recently found a cool after school event at one of the closer branches.  Eleri was kind of just alon for the ride, but Clio got to make a book (which you may have noticed she loves to do.)  The real focus of the event was making tin plates reminiscent of Mexican folk art.

Here's Clio's initial drawing

And here's the finished tin piece, as a cover plate on her (as yet blank) book.

This was a super easy project to set up, and really fun and different.

At the Children's Museum, we built a "Bird and Butterfly house" out of a cardboard box, colored masking tape, popsicle sticks, and other odds and ends.

Here is the sign to let butterflies know they should come in.

The museum also had their face painting station set up, and while Clio requested that I paint three stars on her face, Eleri went ahead and did her own.

Kind of a beard, really.  (Oh, and that's the start of her "angry" face.  She bares her teeth and clenches everything so hard she shakes.  True story.  She doesn't do this too often, if she did I might worry!)

We also have this book called Draw and Play All Day, and when I tidied up the bookshelves Clio rediscovered it.  I got it at the Walker shop, and it's full of paper crafts and activities.  I think it would be a great book for slightly older kids to tackle on their own, but Clio (and especially Eleri) needs quite a bit of help with it.

The other day, we made ornaments.  Really this just means popping the shapes out of the book and gluing the two sides together, then threading a hanger through (we used pipe cleaners.)  We braved a VERY cold and windy day to hang them on the tree in our backyard, but the wind had other ideas an ultimately we packed them up for another day.

We're keeping ourselves busy!  And the weather is getting a bit more cooperative.  Yesterday we hit the playground after school instead of some kind of indoor activity, and it's looking promising for today, too!

Maybe Pants

This is probably my favorite of Clio's books to date.  Not least because she took it upon herself to do the binding, and it is all wonky and taped up, but it is a bound book nonetheless.

Mostly, I love her use of simile.  I told her the name for what she was doing naturally, the way she was making illustrative comparisons, and she seemed to like that it had a name.

Maybe Pants
by Clio Peterson
March 1, 2011

I am a robot, but I am a girl.
I have a moustache.

Dialogue bubble: I am OW!

Dots make this picture really graceful like a girl human.

My hair is as long as my mom.

Dialogue bubble: I am a Tooter.

Here is my mom.
She has hair that is brown and green.

This rainbow is as beautiful as a clementine.

This crazy thing 
is as crazy 
This P
This O
This A
and this N

The End.
I love you, you tooter.

Perhaps I should mention that Lucia had recently slept over and the three girlies though "tooter" was the funniest thing on earth.

"This rainbow is as beautiful as a clementine."  Makes my heart full.

Girls and Boys in the Flowers

Flowers seem to be a big theme in Clio's books (and underwear.)  If she doesn't become an olympic swimmer, an actress (drama queen), or a vet, I can see florist or landscape architect as a contender.   She doesn't fully get the concept that once you pick a flower, it dies.  Or maybe she does get it but is unconcerned after the initial shock.  Anyway, one of her flower-story-collaborations with the Dadders.

Lovely Flowers

Daddy wants these flowers to go in a vase.

Clio wants to put these flowers somewhere in her garden.

Finn says: "I like these flowers.  I want to get them and sometimes buy them."

These apples are just right.

I want to get these flowers cause I really really like them.  They have dots on each petal.

I like these flowers. I can only take 4 at a time.  I cannot pick one more.

Clio Grace, Swimmer

Clio is a total fish.
Perhaps it has something to do with Dave insisting on swim lessons as soon as she hit 6 months, despite the fact that this meant freezing weather in Brooklyn, not the best for a baby coming out of the pool.
Or maybe she's just a fish: she was quite the swimmer even before she was born, doing somersaults in my belly.

After quite a hiatus, we're back in lessons.  We joined the Y, and I signed Eleri up for a parent child class (her first) at the same time as Clio's preschool group, and it was an absolute joy to watch her from the other end of the pool.  The water is her happy place.

I love this little report card from her teacher (who is now Eleri's teacher in our new session.)

Clio can't wait for the warmer weather--just around the corner?--when we can swim at Nonny's pool and the lake beaches All.  The.  Time.

One Strawberry and Flowers

Can you tell I got the scanner going again?  Mostly because--practically speaking--I needed to clear my desk.  But the bonus for anyone who still  bothers to check this blog is the pleasure of Clio's book collaborations.  (And long term, I suppose the pleasure will be all Clio's, in having access to her "early work"!)  This one has all the captions on the same page as the images, but I'm typing them below in case they aren't legible.

Silly, silly, silly.

Crazy that you put these silly pants on my face!

I have everything on my face.
Dialogue bubble, left to right:

Silly, silly, silly earrings you have, Mama.

I hope so baby.

I love you Mama.

I burped.

Pretty Stuff.
Dialogue bubble: I can reach that cloud!

A strawberry, Just right for me!

Dialogue Bubble: I'm going to eat myself.

The Strawberry is going to eat herself.