Sunday, February 28

The latest

The latest pics:  Abby wrote a KEEP OUT message so Daddy won't find the cupboard above the kitchen trash which provides an alternate way to throw away garbage.  I found myself more scared than amused that already she's coming up with ways to encrypt her letters to make a "secret language" and speaking in the raspy, bad guy-esque voice all the while. She insisted I draw Daddy with an X on his belly and fists on his hips (and to the side, a sail boat that he'll find later to make him happy).  The trail leads him to his favorite foods that he can't have. 


Ellie put up quite a fuss this morning while insisting she wasn't going to church wearing this dress.  She's TWO and already fighting over clothes?  I had to make her feel like she was fancy, thus the photo shoot.

And, lastly: There might be hope for the state of our home, thanks to Abby's random obsessiveness with order.  She came in to our room the other morning after waking up and wanted me to come see something.  To my sheer delight and surprise, this is what I found:
(My favorite part was the way the bottom corner is draped into the middle of her room)

QFTD - From the trip, Via Nana

Abby: "Why is Granddad sticking out his belly?" G: "Hey, I'm not sticking ou my belly!" A: "He's doing it again."

Granddad asked me to shave his neck and the girls were taking a bath. They asked me what I was doing so I told them. Ellie looked up and said "why did you shave his hair off his head?"  I'm sure she was not referring to his bald spot!!!!   

This morning Abby said "these are the rules, Ellie - first rule: little girls DO NOT TOUCH boo boos. Only big girls can. Third rule: little girls can not scratch their arms, backs, legs, eyes, nose, mouth."  Ellie: "It is only one Back! Not backs...."

Ellie: "Better clean this mess up before Granddad gets home!"

Ellie, coming up to the hotel in TN: "I see the hoe and tell!"

Ellie, trying to persuade Nana to make another stop on their way home from KY: "Your tires are flat. They need a rest."

QFTD - From the last few days

Me: "Ellie, where's my paintbrush that you had this morning?"  "The black one? Oh. It's in the toy room. Try to find it."

Abby: "Mom, I'm giving all your snuggles away.  It's really happening."

Ellie: "I don't like Heavenly Father."  Me, a tad shocked and alarmed: "Why not?  He made you and
loves you..." Ellie: "I don't like him when he sees me do wrong things."

Ellie always insists I help her say prayers, although lately she tends to refute certain things I prompt her to say.  Example, during morning prayers, she echoed everything until: "...we thank thee for our blessings,"  Ellie, in a forceful whisper to me: "No! I don't like blessings!" (complete with scowl and snarl).

Abby, after jumping on her bed while she was supposed to be taking a rest: "I need you to turn on pbskids.ord so I can cool off because I'm having too much fun."

Abby was playing with a very boy-ish looking toy tonight as I got her into bed - one of those junk toys where a superhero spins its arms when you pull a cord.  I asked her where she got it.  "Um, it's a very long story." 

Abby: "I don't want Ellie to type on this" (the bumps of a disposable paint tray).  Ellie: "But I'm having a splendiferous time."

Thursday, February 25

They're BACK

After over a week of being away, the girls seemed excited to be back home.  That is, until they walked into the entry and saw the new tile.  Abby: "What?? Were did the carpet go? You need to put it back right now!"  Ellie: "This is not pretty."  Nothing like a couple of opinionated toddlers to help you feel like the blood sweat and tears were worth it.  A few days later, Abby seems to be reconciled to the fact that the tile is permanent.  Ellie, however, still walks up to the tile with her hands on her hips and, shaking her head, says "This is not pretty."

QFTD - CATCH UP (I still have to collect the ones from the girls' trip - they said some pretty funny things - but here are a few to celebrate their return)

Abby: "Mom, let's play 'Cruella the Bill' - you be Cruella and Ellie has all the dalmatian puppies and you try to get them." Me, to Ellie: "Okay. I'm Cruella and I want your puppies!" Ellie: "Why? They are not your puppies!"  "Because they're so little and furry and... (stalling, as I rationalized for a split second whether they've thus far realized Cruella really wanted to skin the puppies for coats) ...I ... want to eat them! (oops.)"  Ellie, with a look of horror: "They are not hamburgers!"

At lunch, after making Ellie take off her white shirt to spare any stains, Abby said: "Mom! I see purple all over Ellie's belly!"  Ellie: "Oh. It's just stamps" (she had stamped the entire ink pad over her belly and legs several times).  "WHAT?? Mom, did ya heard that?? She stamped the ink pad all over her body!"  "I know. We've talked about it."  Abby, with a disappointed head shake: "That's it."

Part of Abby's discussion as to why she didn't need to go to bed: "I can handle sleep."

Abby, forcing herself to cough: "I just have a really bad cough." Ellie: "Did you get it at Nana's house?  And she gave you some medicine?" A: "Yeah. That's how you get kids healthy every day.  Mom, this is the deal - you need to give me some medicine every morning and every night.  Like Nana did."  (Hmm.  I'm starting to understand how Nana got through her time with the girls....)

Abby: "Mom! Ellie is teasing me and she won't stop.  She's calling me a planetarium but I'm not a planetarium!"

Saturday, February 20


Turns out seven days straight of tiling can not only leave fingers raw to the point of bleeding (I type this entry in much discomfort), but also severely impair judgement and cognition - way beyond the point of having to look on for the spelling of impair.  Here's the deal.  Abby and Ellie come home tomorrow from their week abroad with Nana and co.  The thought of trying to stain the banister with them here seems beyond incomprehensible.  So I still have tonight (it's now 11pm) - although I can barely stand due to having spent the day sanding our living room wood paneling (also to be stained), followed by grouting the tile in our entry.  Given that the wood in our home is, in fact, a putrid orange hue, the staining process includes mixing 1 part black wood stain with 3 parts polyurethane so it will stick on the orange and turn it greenish brown and then afterward I can add a red on top to make it brown....

So I did that.  Got my little dixie cup and dipped out my correct proportions - combining them in a large red dixie cup.  First bad mistake.  Then I proceeded to stain the side of the staircase, perching the red cup of stain atop a flimsy corner table that was not secured in the corner. Second mistake.  Of course I was too tired to mask the white wall with tape so that I didn't stain it black too (third mistake). When I reached extra high to try to get the last of the black off the now-gray wall, I forgot about the cup o' stain in my way and SPLAT! Upside down. On my foot. On the wood floor. And the lower white walls.  Fourth BIG mistake.  Since our efforts to get the puddle wiped up as quickly as possible didn't allow for a photo shoot right then and there, all I had left to photograph were my now-spotted dalmatian legs and plastic bag footwear that got me up the stairs and to the bath.  I have now decided to take my chances with the girls here.

P.S.  In case anyone should ever find themselves in a similar predicament, bathing the stains in canola oil followed by a good rinsing with Palmolive is a much more effective removal technique than scrubbing your skin raw with a loofah. 

Friday, February 19

Brrrrr (shiver shiver)

A couple of weeks ago I attended the free Saturday "tile-it-yourself" class at the Home Depot of Williamsville, NY.  While I left seriously re-considering the whole tiling process, nothing the demonstrator had shown or explained seemed totally above and beyond my abilities. So, I decided to just commit.  What the demonstrator Dave had failed to mention, while casually encouraging us all to purchase a wet saw rather than a NON-wet, cheaper tile cutter (that might possibly break some of our $1 ceramic tiles) to use while tiling in the middle of February, is that they spray water - EVERYWHERE - and, therefore, must be used outside.  IN BUFFALO! I only realized this after setting up shop this morning with my brand-new wet saw next to my nicely spaced tiles ready to be cut and mortared down. Switch on, water spraying - all over everything. And, so I shoveled out a place for my saw and work table in the backyard.  Dug through Adam's old sweatshirts to find something that can withstand a little spray. Gathered my tiles and got to work. Well.

While Demonstrator Dave did indicate this would be about a 7-day process, neither of us factored in a few key problems that would add time to the whole equation; for instance, having to rip up carpet and 70 years of molding vinyl flooring, my own indecisiveness with tile colors and forgetfulness/refusal to do basic math before starting - causing me to have to dump half a bucket of mortar since I'd forgotten to charge an extra drill battery as well as running out of cement screws mid-way through the job etc. etc. Also, Dave conveniently failed to mention, while giving his sales plug for the saw, that cutting tile with the non-professional grade wet saw takes a very long time.  Like, over five hours.  For me, at least.  In the freezing wind and snow of Buffalo.  And so, I now shiver here at the computer while attempting to thaw out my fingers by typing - a frozen Aborigine, covered in terra cotta ceramic tile dust, really needing to go lay my tile but unsure of how to deal with the fact that our front door can't open now.  The tile's too tall.  (Demonstrator Dave never mentioned I should factor that in either...)  Uggghhhh.

Wednesday, February 10

Apple and the Tree

Relatively calm day.  Capped off with Ellie quite suspiciously running to the stairs with an "okay, Mommy!" immediately after I called her up for bedtime.  I realized why, after she was soundly sleeping:

Lovely.  Nothing like colorful feathers scattered about your entryway.  And the shoes?  Still there from a couple of nights ago when, while on the phone with Adam, I heard half of an alarmed shriek cut off by a subsequent BOOM - Boom Boom BANG BANG RUMBLE TUMBLE  CRASH!!! and knew instantly one of the girls had fallen down the stairs. I ran to assess the damage to both girl and home and found Abby laying face down, not moving, with a large plastic ring (an attachment to the wheat grinder) encircling her arms and torso.  Though not one to lose my cool easily, I started shouting "Abby! Abby! Are you okay??" (no response) "Adam! Oh my gosh! Abby's not moving!" Slowly her little head raised up sporting a sheepish grin, and what seemed almost an embarrassed "I'm alright, Mom" eked out. 

Her immediate explanation was "I didn't see where I was going," which, given Abby's tendency to walk forward while looking backward, made sense.  Only later did I put it all together, when I saw one of the black heels laying on the stair and one at the bottom.  Not only had she been encompassed by a wheat grinder circle so she couldn't brace herself, but she had also been wearing Mommy's heels while not noticing the staircase in her path. Sadly, I think she might get it from me.


On the way home from preschool, Abby started rummaging through her Valentines party loot.  She asked who had given her a particular valentine, so I read the name "Justin" - a boy in the other class that joined hers for the party.  Abby: "Justin? Who cares about Justin?" Me: "Do you mean 'who is Justin'?"  "Oh yeah. Right."

Abby told Nana that she had received a candy bracelet for Valentines. "I never had one for years and years and years and even for days and days and days and days... I simply ate my last one and so I got a new bracelet!"  She continued on about Valentines, describing some she'd received. "I'm going to send this one to Uncle Dave - it's Sponge Bob his favorite!"

Abby, giggling: "Wouldn't it be funny if you only had hair on one side of your head and it went down to your toes but you only had one leg?" (tee-hee-hee)


I had wandered down the aisle at Home Depot and Ellie shouted, "Mom! Come here so I can see the pimple on your cheek!"

Abby: "Remember when we were so little (making an inch-size with her thumb and pointer finger) and Daddy prayed on our heads with his hands? First it was my turn, then it was Ellie's, then Mommy's. He prayed us on our heads to be a family. Yeah, I remember that."

Abby asked if I would like to hear her song and made me stand at the bottom of the stairs for her concert. In a very high-pitched, though sweet voice she sang (to an improvised melody that at the end had shades of Twinkle): "Revveerreennttly I love this family and I love Mommy and she loves me to be a sister. Daddy prays on our head and we are so happy and Jesus will come into your life, YOUR LIFE, and tweedoumfeedo sallla notum (continue jibberish eight measures) and Lisa and I decided to go on a walk and come home."

Abby, as she's turning off her lamp tonight, "I need to wash my face so I don't get a pimple like you!" (I have ONE pimple on my cheek - the first in a very long time and I'm starting to get a complex!)

Tuesday, February 9

Lentil Yentl

Following up on yesterday's happenings: post-tomato incident, I told Abby to get the vacuum so she could deal with that whole mess. Upon arrival at the scene, I found Ellie with her face to the floor, blissfully lapping up hot chocolate powder.
It turns out cherry tomatoes aren't easy to salvage from fine coats and powdery beds of hot cocoa powder. In my attempts to rinse them, I found cold water merely brings the powder to form globules in and amongst the tomatoes and hot water cooks the tomatoes in ... hot chocolate. Oh well.

Today's moments of chaos were relatively few - Ellie keeping family prayer from happening this morning until she succeeded at dislodging a last-night's-frosty coated m&m from the kitchen table with her teeth; my finding out (since I didn't actually read the notice that went home before misplacing it) that Abby's Valentine's party is tomorrow - not Friday (thus a lively trip to Joann's because I haven't given in to the notion that buying valentines cards at the dollar store is 30x cheaper and 100x less work than making them from scratch); Ellie subsequently having an accident on aisle 41 at Home Depot (despite her having escaped to the bathroom by herself while I talked to Abby's friend's mom at Wendy's - pre-Joann's. Incidentally, when the HD customer service gal whom I asked for paper towels asked what kind of accident and I said "she didn't quite make it to the bathroom," her reply was "oh that's embarrassing." Nice.); Abby spilling out a tube of purple glitter powder all over the entry floor while I attempted to get Ellie down for a nap (even though I swear I did away with anything glitter-related after her incident with emptying 12 glitter bottles around the house months ago); my realizing the family pack of chicken breasts I planned to cook for dinner had expired and the bread bag had been left open by one of the girls, so my fall-back dinner of tuna and peas on toast was put in jeopardy.

Of course, those were just typical may-or-may-not-happen-in-a-given-day incidences that keep life hopping. However, I was reminded again why going to the trouble of cleaning my home - doing dishes, specifically - just isn't worth the headache. So, at some point in the day, Ellie had gotten into the pantry and filled a cup with red lentils "to drink" - naturally. I firmly objected and at once removed the cup from her hands, placing it somewhere on the piling dishes while also dealing with her immediate counter-protests.

Fast forward to tonight: I finally get to loading my dishwasher. Abby has decided she needs to help me do the dishes and is sloshing water everywhere while "scrubbing" her bowl and fighting me for yet more water from the tap. I'm trying to get the dishes in the dishwasher asap so I can relieve Abby of her bowl and get to making my scrumptious tuna on toast. CRASH!! There, splattered through my dishwasher and across the floor, are Ellie's red lentils. Seriously?? And while my first instinct is to just shut the dishwasher and turn the dial to "on," I have sudden flashbacks to the most vile experience of my life; dismantling the drain tube beneath this very dishwasher last year. (An allspice berry somehow got lodged in the tubing and soaked up all that hot water passing by until... no more water passed by. That's what we realized, of course, after draining the stagnant contents of the tube and finding the berry. That odor will haunt me forever.) And so, rather than have to drain lentil soup-in-a-tube next week, I scoop and swipe red lentils out of most every nook and cranny in my dishwasher. I'm really starting to feel convinced that the cost - to the earth and to our budget - of paper products couldn't possibly be outweighed by the benefits to my sanity and general well-being.

Monday, February 8


Searching in Abby's room for her missing CTR ring, Abby said, "We have two mysteries. A shoe and a ring. Now, Mom, if you find anything new from a store or from nowhere, tell me."

Abby: "Mom, can you teach me how to do important things like grown-ups do so I know how?" "Like what important things?" "Like not getting burned...not getting hot...making treats..."

Preface: Ellie has a stuffed animal - a dalmatian dog whom she named Oreo. Story: Adam took the girls through the Wendy's drive-thru. Ellie ordered a "banella" ice cream, Abby a chocolate-chip cookie dough frosty and Adam an Oreo frosty. When Ellie heard that Adam had ordered an Oreo frosty, she immediately became distraught. With a doubting voice she said, "But Dad - I don't eat dogs."


Today I watched a video posted on facebook of a friend's 2-ish-yr-old daughter making various animal sounds. When he asked "What sound does Mommy make?" and the daughter's response was "Uh-uh-uh!" - complete with shaking finger - I had to laugh. If asked, no doubt my girls would answer the question "What does Mommy say?" with "SERIOUSLY?" It seems to be happening all too frequently these days.

Why don't I clean my house? Well, because THIS is what happens when I attempt to excuse myself for oh, an hour, to attack at least one of the issues confounding my home:

Nice. The child knows what paper is, believe me. However, she must have my memory because time after time after time - all reprimands aside, she seems to forget our rule of NOT WRITING ON BODIES OR FURNITURE OR WALLS OR TOYS OR THE INSIDE OF CLOTH CLOTHES HAMPERS WHILE SITTING IN THEM! (Which is where she completed this project.)

Okay - so she's two. Some of this is to be expected. Abby took part in completing her fair share of destruction. But she seemed to pick up on the whole "don't do this again OR ELSE" response to her havoc a little more readily than Ellie is. Wait, did I just say that? It was Abby who came up this afternoon and offered me a "tasty treat" while I feverishly sorted piles of junk in the computer room: "Mom! You've got to try this tasty treat I made! It's so good." The second she pulled it from behind her back, the word burned through my brain. SERIOUSLY?? "It's a tomato dipped in hot chocolate powder!" Not that I was terribly averse to her particular combination, it was the picture in my mind of how Abby had come up with this delectable duet. Minutes later, my suspicions were confirmed:

Nope. Not one tomato dipped in hot chocolate powder. The whole QUART of cherry tomatoes doused with the entire canister of hot chocolate powder, the excess of which is now piled under and brushed and skidded from beneath the tomatoes across the kitchen floor.

Why don't I clean my house? To apply what Adam has taught me about cost/benefit analysis: The benefits RARELY seem to outweigh the cost.

Sunday, February 7


Ellie: "Mommy, I didn't want to spill the cheese, but I didn't want to spill the cheese, but I didn't want to spill the cheese (head shake, palms up), and I didn't want to spill the cheese." "But you spilled the cheese?" "Yeah, but I wouldn't spill the cheese, but, I did spill the cheese."

The girls woke up and made their way into our room this morning. Abby, attempting to begin a conversation: "Ellie... Ellie...Elllllie. (No response by Ellie, sitting four feet away.) ELLIE! EEELLLLIIIIEEEE!" Me: "Ellie, answer your sister." Ellie: "What, Abby?" Abby: "Good morning." "Good morning, Abby." "Ellie, what game do you want to play?" "Um, hotch scotch." "I'm sorry. Hop Scotch is a summer game."

Abby called from the bathtub, "Mom! I lost my blue eyes! They're gone!" "Where did they go?" "I don't know - they changed. They're just...gone."

Ellie: "Abby, what are you doing?" "Making a craft." "Mommy, Abby doesn't want to go to bed because she's making a crap." "No, Ellie, a CRAFT!" "Oh. I need to finish my crap for Grammy. I like Grammy."

Friday, February 5

QFTD (Quotes For The Day)

I'll go ahead with using "my blog" (I feel so hip and current and, well, like I've joined the masses) as a forum for posting the amusing things my daughters say each day. That way, the aunties and uncles and grandparents can follow without my polluting their email inboxes daily and anyone else who may ever find this blog can follow along at their discretion. And, as I have a thought or two on the chaos of our life, I'll interject those in too.

I've been recording their quotes pretty consistently for maybe a month or so now - and a bit from before, so I'll post what I've collected thus far. Then, I'll add to the bunch as more diverting words are spoken.

I'll acquaint anyone unfamiliar with Abby and Ellie (and probably us, the parents, as well) in the column to the right. That way, an accurate understanding of who speaks these crazy things will be had.

Let's go...

Starting with February 4, 2010:

We were at Target and I found a couple of leotards on sale for the girls. I put them in the cart and continued on. Ellie: "Where's my battar?" Me: "Your what?" "My battar." Abby: "Oh - do you mean your lemontard?" "Yeah. My lemontodd." "Mom, she means her lemontard."

Later, the girls were telling Nana on the phone about the new leotards. Ellie: "Nana, we got new lemontodds!" Nana: "New what?" "New lemontodds! Mine is pink and Abby's is blue." "Oh - new leotards!" Abby: "Yeah. She means lemo..., I mean leba... I mean - Mom, what are those tards called?"

Adam was assembling something and Abby asked if she could help him tighten the bolt. "Sure. Turn it." Abby: "Hand me the wrench." Me: "How do you know what a wrench is?" Abby: "I've seen lots of wrenches in this world."

Ellie: "I wanna watch Clippard the real bad dog. I mean, The real red dog. I mean the big red dog."

At Home Depot, Ellie was getting restless and dropped a box of screws out of the shopping cart to show her discontent, spilling them everywhere. "Okay Elllie, get out and clean those all up. That was not nice." Abby: "Is she going to jail?"

Every time we lie down before naps to read stories, the girls take their pants and shirts off. I asked Abby why she has to do that every time. "Because they make me rotten."

Abby and Ellie were pretending the treadmill was a stage. Abby sang at the top of her lungs for a few minutes and abruptly stopped. Ellie: "Holy good. Now get off the stage."

The girls were playing make-believe - some version of camping with cats. Abby told Ellie to get off of "her bed" (the treadmill) since that's where the dad and mom sleep - not kitties. Ellie: "But where do I sleep?" Abby: "You can go sleep out in the fire." Ellie: "But I will get burned." "That's okay. That's for our breakfast." ...?...

I asked the girls if they were so excited for Matt and Michael to be missionaries. Ellie: "But, I don't want them to - Is Uncle Nick going to be a missionary?" "No. Not yet." "But I don't want Uncle Matt and Uncle Michael to be missionaries. I love them."

Ellie: "Oh! I see my website."

Ellie: "Mom, I really want you to get me a chocolate cookie."

I had to play at a baptism this morning, so whipped out my vio vio when I woke up to figure out what to play. Abby and Ellie were listening and I started to crescendo. Abby: "Mom! Stop that! You are playing too loud! You're going to WAKE UP DAD! STOP IT!!!"

We were driving to Adam's work and Abby asked if I was driving with my wheels on the white lines. "Um, yeah...?" "No, Mom! See - look at the other cars. They aren't on the white lines. You need to drive in the middle!"

Abby and Ellie have started playing again with a Little Tykes dollhouse I found at a garage sale during the summer and it's too funny to hear them making the dolls talk. That is, until Abby says, "Pretend we're the giants - Walk on the children! Stomp the little children!" and she and Ellie, laughing, started walking and jumping on the poor plastic people.

A few days ago I sneezed quite forcefully, following up the "Ha-CHOO!" with a "WooOO!" Ellie, quite flatly responded: "Don't say woo." Then tonight while changing her panties, I pulled them down with a "Shoom!" Again: "Don't say shoom."

This morning Adam was getting Ellie ready for church. He told her to come put her jumper on and she responded "No. I don't like it." "Why not?" "It's not tolerable."

Abby: "Mom, can I help you clean the whole house, PLEASE?" .....?....

Abby insisted that we lie on her floor for "nap" time. We got situated with blankets and pillows and then with a quiver in her voice, she said: "Mom, I don't want to get baptized." "Why not?" "I'll be so scared." "Well, you still have a few years and then you can decide when you're older." "But, I don't want to be a mom when I'm older. And I don't want you to be a grandma. I want you to stay this size."

I made a big batch of hard boiled eggs. Whenever Ellie brings me one, she asks "Can you kill this for me?" "Peel?" "Yeah. Can you kill it?"

This morning I woke up with both girls in the bed (Adam had an early flight). Ellie sat up and said, "Mommy, I'm hungry." "You are?" "I'm really REALLY hungry." "Okay." "Mom, I'm really really REALLY hungry!" By this point I'm out of bed, walking in to the bathroom. "Mom, I'm really really Really REALLY hungry!"

I told the girls I'd be upstairs. Ellie: "Bye Mom. Have fun cleaning my room."

I got after Ellie for something - probably the entire loaf of bread that was emptied and halfway eaten and spread around the toy room - and she said "I didn't do it. Abby did it." "Ellie, Heavenly Father is watching and He knows that you're not telling the truth." "But where are the elves?"
Abby: "Uh-oh, Ellie. Don't you tell a lie. Mom, Ellie has something to say to you. First of all, she is not telling the truth. And then she, second of all, needs to say sorry for getting all of that bread out and taking it into the toy room and I just didn't and then she got the bag and just left it there and got all the pieces... Then, she was going to go up the stairs and that is third of all."

I was watching the news and the girls meandered in. (Abby's quite taken with the Haiti earthquake news.) The recent senate vote in Massachusettes was being covered and Abby turned to me with a half-"I know what's going on" half-valley girl voice and asked, "Mom, does Ovama live in Washington?" "Yes, he does. Good job." "Yeah. I know - he lives by Nana, in her world."

In the middle of the night, both girls woke up in Abby's bed, so I went in to lay by them. Abby was wearing her fleece monkey nightgown and got frustrated that it was twisted around her body. She started to take it off, which set off static electricity fireworks. "Mom! Did you see that? We need to take this back to the store to show the lady that it lights up!"

I stopped in at Home Depot (again) on our way home, despite the fact that it was nap time and I knew things wouldn't go well. I tend to get distracted and after Ellie ripped open a wood-filler pencil package, I knew my minutes were numbered. I told her not to touch anything else. She responded, "Oh...I give up."

While I was painting Ellie's room, I overheard her tap dancing in the bathroom while singing "I don't have rhythm! Rhythm-rhythm! I don't have rhythm!"

Tonight I was laying by Abby and she asked, with the most serene, dreamy smile : "Mom, do you remember when we had all that shrimp at Gina's house? I do."

At Home Depot today, Ellie and Abby started randomly talking about humans. As we passed one of the employees, Ellie said: "He's not a human. He's a Home Depot worker."

I picked Abby up at the playplace in Weggies and the worker asked Abby as she left if she wanted her picture - a Buffalo Sabres logo. "Oh yeah! Mom, this is for my brother." "Your brother?" "Yep. My new baby brother. He's coming." "Really, when?" "In a little while. His name is going to be Bruce." She and Ellie continued a discussion over whether we're going to have "many" brothers or sisters. Yikes!

I called the girls to come and eat lunch. Ellie started singing, "Time to eat! I love to eat! EATING!!!"

Ellie just came in and hopped up by me next to the computer. "Let's talk to the aunts and uncles." "You mean on the computer?" "Yeah." "Well, they aren't on the computer-they're gone." "Just move that thing in your hand." "This? The mouse?" "Yeah. That thing. Just push it and we'll see the aunts and uncles." (I think she liked Skyping.)

Ellie, hearing the hairdryer in the background while talking to Nana, "Where's your blowdryer? But - I need a GPS! You forgot me a GPS!"

Abby went to work with Adam for a few hours today. One of the things her found for her to do was call Nana on the fancy headset. Abby asked Nana what her phone number was so she could write it down to call her again later. "7" Writing it down-"S..e..v..e..n.." "0" "Z..e..r..o.." "3" "Um, I don't know how to write 3. Can we make it a 9 instead?"

Abby told Adam she was feeling sick because she was hungry. "How about if we get a hamburger?" he asked. "No. That'll make me more sick." "How about a cheeseburger?" "Yeah. That's good."

Ellie, sitting in her carseat while we waited in line for the car wash: "Hey guys. Who did the best toot? I did!"

We watched Prince of Egypt tonight. Toward the end, Abby said: "I think Moses didn't invite Ramses to his birthday party because he wasn't very nice."

Out of the blue Abby said to me, "Mommy, I want you to stay - what number are you? Your age?" "30" "Yeah - I want you to stay 30 forever."

This is only part of the back-and-forth between Abby and Uncle Michael during their lengthy phone conversation today. (I really wish I'd recorded it.)

Abby: "Okay. I'm going to tell you about your body. These are the parts of your body - your heart, your brain, your lungs, your large intestines, your kisneys... Your kisneys clean your blood...and your poop too... and your stomach chops up food."

Abby: "Tell me. How can you fix your body like a girl's? ....'Cause girls have so many ouchy and yucky things in their bodies." (She has no idea...)

Abby: "So, do you have parades in your town?" "Parades? Yeah. We have a 4th of July parade." "4th of July! We have that! And do you have a tower in your town? Or a boat?"

Abby: "So, do you ride a motorcycle or a bike?" "I ride a motorcyle." "Oh. I ride my super speedy bike. It's like my sisters's. But she's not so quick. I am because I'm a supergirl."

I was doing "tricks" with Ellie on the bed - airplane etc. I lifted her up so her bottom was on my feet and she started hollering, "Wait! I need my toe!" (It was twisted in my pants). Then, when she landed on my belly, she noticed that I had spilled some chocolate sauce from our milkshakes on my shirt. Yep, she started licking it.

I thought it was quite perceptive of Abby tonight when we were listening to "Tuppens a Bag" and she insisted it was Maria (from Sound of Music -Julie Andrews), not Mary Puppins (also Julie Andrews).

Abby had climbed into bed with us this morning after she woke up. Adam tends to get silly and loud in the morning and after a few minutes, Ellie showed up in our doorway with a sleepy scowl on her face. "Guys! You..Woke..Me..Up... That's..Not..Nice!.."

Abby: "I know! Noodles...and sauce! That makes pasta!"

Admiring herself in a small mirror, Abby said "You know, Mom, it's okay to look at yourself in the mirror."

I called Adam to see when he was coming home and put the phone on speaker. Abby came up and walked off with the phone, starting a conversation about how she's going to bed and hurt her foot. Then, "Can I call you right back, Dad?" "Um, yeah." "Okay. Bye."

We're currently working on 3 Nephi 17:19-ish (where Jesus prays for and blesses the children) with the girls for "scriptures" before bed. After we repeat it I ask them what it means. Abby, tonight: "Um, that you should be a good listener." "Try again. What does it mean?" "To obey your parents?"

Instead of reading a story tonight, I laid with the girls listening to Disney songs and told them stories/memories I had associated with each one. "Circle of Life" came on and Ellie got really excited. "I love this one!" she said. Abby: " I don't. It makes me sick."

Abby: "I'm so excited! My prince is coming! I can't wait to kiss him on, I can't wait to kiss him!" Ellie responded flatly, "It's not time for kissing."

Abby opened up the new manual for Relief Society to a picture of Christ. "Look, Mom and Dad! He made it!" (Pause, with wide-eyed glances at each other.) "He made the food - the bread - he made it!" (The picture was of the Last Supper.)

Adam had me address a pimple on his buttox... A few minutes later Ellie asked, "Why did Daddy have a bumble in his bum?"

Ellie: "Mommy, your buns are too big to fit in that big chair."

Adam was asked to baptize an investigator today (Hippolite - a Business/Economics professor from Zaire to whom Adam gave a ride to church once). When we all went into the primary room where the font is located, of course the kids all crowded to the front. An 8-yr-old was baptized first, then Hippolite. Between baptisms, I could see Abby pushing her way closer to the font through the crowd of kids. "Hey guys, my dad's coming." As Adam stepped into the font, I heard "See! I told you it's my dad."

After the baptisms, they watched a movie, had some welcomes and then testimonies. Since the girls weren't exactly on their best behavior, we spent most of the time in the nursery. Hoping things were wrapping up, I took Ellie back to the RS room where Adam was bearing his testimony. Ellie, in not-so-quiet a voice asked, "Mom, where did Daddy's swimming pants go?" After he finished, she ran up to where he sat and asked "Daddy, are you done swimming?" Precept upon precept...

Ellie and I were just watching the week's forecast on the news. The anchor said something about snow and Ellie rolled her eyes and said to me, "Oh. Snow. I'm sorry sweety."

I brushed my teeth and put deodorant on to go work out. I stooped down to get Ellie's shoes on and she started sniffing. "What smells weird?"

Abby: "Mom. Thanks for being such a great mom. I love you." (WINNER)

Abby asked me to tell her about when I was born. Explaining that before I was in Grammy's belly, Abby and I were up in Heaven together, she got this excited look and said, "Yeah! You and me were playing in the clouds! And Uncle Michael and Uncle Matt and Uncle Nick were playing with us! But then they got too rough, so we stopped playing with them."

Ellie was invited to her friend Natalie's 2-yr birthday party at Chucky Cheese this morning. We got our of the car and I said "Okay - let's go find Natalie." The whole way in she kept asking "But where's Uncle Nate?"

I took Ellie to the bathroom at the party and Abby came running in. "Mom! Look what the lady gave me!" (She had about 50 tickets). "Oh my gosh. I can't believe my LIFE. So many tickets!"

We sat in one of those roller coaster simulators where the machine tips all around a 3-inch radius to match the roller coaster on the screen. After about 30 seconds, Abby said "I can't take it anymore!"

Abby: "Wait Mom. I want you to wipe my little bum."

Ellie, standing up on her chair with her belly poking over her jeans - after inhaling an entire grapefruit - "Go Irish!"

Abby, holding up a slice of orange that had a lot of white: "Mom, let me show you this orange what is too boring for me to eat."

Ellie asked what the spot on my lip is. "That's a mole." Touching the protruding mole on the back of my neck that she loves to rub when I lay down with her, she said "No. This is a mall. The one on your lip is an owie."

We knelt down around Abby's bed for prayers and I had my head buried into the mattress (long day). Adam started to say the prayer and from beneath me a little hand reached up to jiggle my belly. Nice.

I overheard Abby trying to convince Ellie (the kitty) to eat her peanut butter and banana breakfast panino (thanks to the Matagnis - we now eat panini every day): "Kitty, you need to eat this because Jesus made this so beautiful for the holidays."

Abby brought a battery-operated lantern to me and asked "Can you turn this on for m so I can see Ellie's preference where she's going?" "Ellie's preference?" "Yeah her put frints, you know, with her feet?" (Should I correct her anytime soon?)

Ellie: "Patty cake patty cake baker's man, bake me a spank fast as you can. Bake me a spank, bake me a spank, bake me a spank fast as you can."

Abby: "Mommy, the next night I'm going to dream about you being married. And Daddy being married. And then me and Ellie will get bigger and we'll get married and have more babies for you! Lots more Abby and Ellie babies...when we grow up bigger and move to Kindergarten."

I asked Abby what bed-time story she wanted: "Can you tell me the story of that girl who got the hair ball stuck in her belly?" (I told her once - a long time ago - about how Lindsay Thueson in 3rd grade brought x-rays of a hair ball in the intestines of a girl her dad operated on. The girl sucked on her hair and I warned Abby not to suck on hers - back when she could. Apparently the story had quite an impact on Abby.)

Ellie, on the way home from VA - "I gotta go potty! I gotta go potty! It's coming! It's COMING!" Abby - "Squeeze my hand Ellie! Just squeeze my hand!"

Ellie told me yesterday, "Mommy, I love your elbows...(feeling them). They're so scratchy."

Ellie, as she was waking up this morning and through her blurry eyes, "Mom - we don't have a GPS!" "Hmm. What should we do?" "I need one. And Abby needs one. And you need one." "Oh yeah?" "Yes - I want a Hello Kitty GPS."

I gave Abby the option of helping me clean her room or take a nap. She decided to "help." I told her we were dividing clothes into two piles - hers and Ellie's. Abby - "Okay. Um, well I'm going to be a big helper, Mom, and go get us two drinks." (shades of her father...?)

Abby, explaining why she can't take a bath tonight: "I'm just not feeling very good. Feel my brain, Mom. It's sick."

Flying Kites

When Jordan, my sister, called a bit ago to suggest I blog about the amusing things my daughters say each day, I thought Hmm. Now maybe that's a blog I could imagine keeping up. I remembered having set up this site MONTHS ago with the wistful thought of "writing again." But, well, my determination to actually write anything lacked just a tad. In fact, I was more than slightly amused at re-reading the only thing written heretofore; the subheading (see words in orange box, above).

I've thought a bit since setting up this site about what "theme" my computerized journaling could follow, something to spin off of that would re-spark the "writer" inside me (and I use that term VERY loosely - as in 'one who enjoys expressing him/herself through the written word'). Frankly, I kinda get bored after blog-hopping from one cute family to the next. My little clan doesn't have the whites-and-khakis photo (although those are generally very nice and fresh). In fact, we went for our first family photo over the summer and, well, won't be doing that again for some time. I have very little regularity in anything I do (aside from breathing - and eating/cooking, but even that's sporadic). So, the charming family theme is out, the "this is what I love to do and am way good at it - see?" theme doesn't work, the cooking nook has been taken by a dear friend (much to my delight). NOTHING else happens in a consistent manner around here, so really I have nothing to bring me back to the computer even somewhat regularly. Especially since mayhem, not the moon, seems to push and pull the uneven tide upon which the Ashleys ride.

Hmm. Bringing order to chaos. The only recurring idea for a thematic representation of my life. Not that I'm any good at ordering chaos at all - even and especially with my thoughts (as you've probably realized just by reading this so far). Obviously, agree the few who have dared pop in unannounced -or even announced, I haven't mastered it within my home. But the very living with the random, the whirlwind, the absurd, the imbalanced, the the incomprehensible, and trying miserably all the while to contain and organize it all - that I do know well. In fact, the inconsistent is the one constant in my life, it seems.

And so, I believe I'll try. (Love the ambivalence?) Here I'll collect my musings on familial chaos and try to at least put those in some sort of order... Likely I'll end up tying in the diverting conversations of my girls, as they are usually a reflection of the world swirling 'round us. Mind you, riding tornadoes can be quite thrilling and eventually you get places - new places, places you hadn't planned on visiting! Sometimes, though, you just need to get your kids to school without the unplanned field trip to Oz on the way. Perhaps writing about the whirlwind will help me see how to back away until there's just enough of a breeze to go fly kites. I'd like that. We'll see...