Friday, September 19, 2014

Atlas

We went to the park near our house last night for Margaret's and Ellie's welcome back picnic for school.  I like to think of it as the aspirational kale salad showcase night, because people always make things that they think their kids ought to like, rather than things that their kids do like.  Or else their kids like it, and other kids don't.

Anyway, last year, I made sausage rolls and they disappeared very quickly.  This year, I was lazy and brought cheese and crackers and salami.  Also completely gone.

So there's a message there.

After dinner (and before dinner, and some during dinner) the kids rioted at the playground.

Ellie was carrying the weight of the play structure on her shoulders.


Eventually, she collapsed under the responsibility*


Margaret, meanwhile, was engaged is some corporate mushroom-spinning activity.  She seemed to enjoy it.




* A responsibility is a lot like a circumstance.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

At Mommy's School

One of the things that has been interesting this year is that Margaret and Ellie both think that they should know more about my school than they do.  They have this distinct sense that they knew people at my last place of employment, and this gave them an edge over their Daddy, who didn't.

And now, they aren't coming with me to school everyday, so they don't feel that they're in the know.

Two weekends ago, I forgot some things on my desk, and needed to go pick them up.  Margaret came with me, and met some of the boarding students.  She was completely enamored of the concept that you could live where you went to school.  I don't think that she made the connection that these kids don't have their parents with them, but I don't know that she needs to.

She spent some time last week letting Ellie know that she had seen Mommy's office and it was so high off the ground, and there were kids and a hammock there.  I'm not sure that Ellie felt as put down as Margaret meant her to, but it seemed to me that we should get Ellie out ASAP.

Luckily, last Sunday they had a welcome back BBQ.

Ellie insisted on sitting in the shadow, so we have no good pictures of her.


 Well, she was grumping here, and decoded to get up and come over and sit in the shadow.






 And then she drank a water bottle all by herself.  It was splendid.  And did not end up all down her front.


Meanwhile. Margaret sat in the sun and ate potato chips.



And looked as beautiful as it is possible to look while eating potato chips.





Ellie is trying to learn how to smile.  It's more of a grimace.


 The whole evening gave Margaret a lot to think about.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Together

There is (gasp!) occasionally some friction between my two small daughters.  Well, my small daughter and my still smaller than an adult but nevertheless bigger than the smaller daughter daughter.  Anyway, there is friction.  It's nothing terrible, but there is mild to moderate fighting, biting, hitting, screaming, and pushing.

So it's very nice when they decide to laugh and play and have fun together without one of them getting it into her head that the other of them is doing it wrong.

Not that this ever happens, ever.

Anyway, on Sunday morning, the air was crisp and clear, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, the children were wearing sweatshirts, and everything aligned to make it a marvelous morning.





Margaret came out of their hideout after a while to tell me that there was a lion in their hideout, and that it had eaten their teapot, but that she was keeping it from eating Ellie.

You have to appreciate someone who prevents their imaginary lions from savaging little sisters, you know.


I assume that she is bringing the shards of the teapot to me in this picture, though I do not recall receiving them at all.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Child Labor

Dan and Kate have moved into a new house that has substantially more acreage on it than they did previously.  They have been clearing out undergrowth and working on getting it ready to have a garden on it.

Of course, it's a big job, and who better to employ than Margaret and Ellie?  They're cheap, they're reliable (at least if you pick them up), and they certainly aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty.













They didn't make much progress, but I think with a good, solid effort, they could have the garden ready by Spring 2020.

Ellie just needs to get a little taller so that she can hold the shovel properly.  Then it'll all go much faster.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

More Umbrella than Necessary

We went to the Botanical Garden on Saturday, because it was the first day that had been chilly and rainy, and so we figured that most people would not be heading off for outdoor pursuits.  It's not that we're misanthropic, exactly, it's that Margaret is a wormy, speedy little person, and we prefer not to lose her.

Anyway, it was threatening to rain, but not actually doing it.  So it was quite pleasant.  The lack of rain, however, in no way deterred our intrepid daughters form demanding umbrellas, which they couldn't (in the case of Ellie) manage, or wouldn't (in the case of Margaret).


So Leo helped Ellie.  I helped for a while, but I did have the onerous task of taking cute pictures, which is close to full-time.

Luckily, it is hard to hold an umbrella and ride sheep, so we got a respite.  Well, Leo got a respite.


And then we went to the ducks.  Margaret has gotten unaccountable large in the last few years, and can climb the railing and give her mother 17 heart attacks as she puts her feet on the next to the top railing and leans over.


Ellie didn't get the memo that we were feeding the fish; she thought we were feeding her fish if she looked like a fish, so she tried with her wide-open mouth.*


And then she tried to fall in the water in her own special way.  See?  You don't need to jump off the top.  You can go through the railing.  Eep.


*Not really.  She was just excited.  And really, can you blame her?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Places to Go, People to See

When we were in Minnesota, the car situation fell out that the best thing to do to get to the rehearsal dinner was for Dan, Kate, Ellie and I to go an hour before it began, and for Leo to follow with the rest of the entourage.  That meant that Ellie and I had an hour at a farm while the final preparations for dinner were happening.  The caterers weren't getting it right, so she had to give them what-for.






And then she had to try out the amenities.  You know, because she's the oldest of the pack of two-year-olds, and so she feels a responsibility to them and their entertainment.





She also tested out the tractor toys on the tables.  They got two tractors up, because she wasn't going to let go of them long enough to actually put her thumbs up.



Anyway, she enjoyed herself.  And the tractors.  And bossing people.  That's my girl.

Apple Picking

While at the farm last weekend, the children helped to denude an apple tree, and unlike most of their defoliation projects, this one was entirely licit.

We couldn't find the ladder, though, so they had to use Leo.




Unlike most conventional ladders, however, he had a head that could feel pain, and so getting bopped in the head every time an apple was picked began to wear on him.  

Ellie wasn't quite tall enough or strong enough to get the apples off the tree, so she was the apple carrier.  She ran them back and forth, and put them in the picnic basket with a great deal of force, until restrained.  They had a great deal of fun, and plotted apple pies all the way home.  Well, Margaret plotted them.  Ellie has gotten to wear she will eat applesauce (oh, FRABJOUS DAY), but apple pies are not on her list.  Well, Kate made carrot cake the other night and Ellie horfed if up, announcing that Grandma made the best carrots.