Wednesday, February 29, 2012

August 2006


I took this picture outside the Nature Center at Canaan Valley Resort State Park in West Virginia after a 3-mile hike. Our week-long vacation was full of activities; hiking, fishing, bicycling, canoeing and acting just plain silly. For shelter, we rented a 2-bedroom cabin with cable television and a hot tub. There was a small lake next to the cabin; the girls played in the water and we tried to catch fish with fishing rods and some plump, juicy nightcrawlers. I was unaware that Tim had never been fishing, which made me the bait and tackle expert.

Poor Emily was craving the comforts of home: Tivo and her friend Kai. On the first full day away, she said, “I miss Kai. I just can’t stop thinking about him.”

Emily says, “You shouldn’t put things in your mouth, because it might be somebody else’s hobby.”

We took Sarah and Emily to the pediatrician last week for a check-up. Dr. Pease peppered the girls with questions about diet and exercise. When asked about her favorite foods, Sarah said she likes “green eggs and ham.” After their physicals, Linda the Shot Nurse entered the room. Emily handled the immunizations gracefully. Sarah screamed loudly and wailed before, during and after her shots. The nurse recommended we give them Tylenol for the pain.

Tim had The Big Car, so he took the girls home, and I stopped at the grocery store. When I arrived home, Tim said, “We didn’t have any Tylenol, so I gave them Tylenol Cold & Flu.” Sarah fell asleep in her plate of noodles.
Flower by Sarah Roberts

July 2006


At the end of school, we traveled to Chicago to visit Grandma. Sarah and Emily rode bicycles in the neighborhood, where it’s flat.

We visited the Nature Museum in downtown Chicago with my friend Rebecca. In the Butterfly Habitat, a beautiful butterfly landed on Emily and spent 30 minutes visiting her shoulder. Afterward, we went to see the reptiles, and where we observed a snake eating live goldfish. We took a bus to Grandma’s office, and the girls joined a group of commuters singing “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round.”

Of our Chicago activities, the girls loved our visit to Oak Street Beach. We hadn’t planned to visit the beach, so we didn’t have our swimsuits, but Sarah and Emily had a great time playing in the sand with Bruce and hopping over the waves that came ashore. Afterwards, we enjoyed ice cream and picked sand out of our toes sitting next to the bike path along the lakefront. Emily thought it was crazy that some people rode their bikes without a shirt.

On the way back to Virginia, we spent a night at Aunt Deb’s camp near Pittsburgh. We slept in a cabin and spent the next day playing outside at the camp. Emily caught a fish in the lake. 

Sarah and Emily each gave their Uncle Eric a sandal for his birthday.

During summer break, the girls have been running around in their swimsuits in the backyard, visiting the library and the Nature Center.

Last week, Sarah experienced some stomach discomfort, but limited her vomiting to waking hours. Emily threw up at night in her bed and on an expensive throw rug. Tim had to get out the Shop-Vac.

Monday night at dinner Sarah said “boys are complicated.”
"Heart Flower" by Sarah Roberts

June 2006


This week at school, Sarah and Emily participated in the St. Jude Trike-a-Thon at school to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Last week, Sarah performed in a play at school called “The Great Kapok Tree.” In her role as a child wearing a paper bag costume, she recited her lines loudly and clearly and waved to the audience several times during the performance.

The girls created artwork for Tim for Father’s Day. Emily went with her dad to his favorite bakery and we had a cookout with 8 guests for dinner.

Sarah is learning to manipulate men. She said, “When Kai is mean to me, I go play with Adi and he bees [sic] mean to Kai.”

Emily complains that the seams near the toe of her socks “bother” her. At bedtime, she must have a cold cup of water next to the bed, and I’m not allowed to cuddle with her because, as she puts it, “it makes me tight.” She won’t wear polo shirts because the “collar pokes me.”

Sarah only likes broccoli stems; Emily eats the florets.

Sarah and Emily told Ms. Hannah at school that they would not be attending the summer sessions this year because they have to plan their birthday party. She reminded them that their birthday is in October, and they responded with, “...but we have a lot to do.”
Garden full of carrots by Sarah Roberts

May 2006



May 19
We adopted a fuzzy black caterpillar who escaped from his jar in the kitchen. I found him sleeping in the living room days later. I put him back in the jar, and Sarah took him to school for show and tell. Back home again, he escaped from the girl’s bedroom. We put out an apple on Monday to lure him back to his jar, then two pears on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we made a trail of three plums four strawberries and five oranges. By Saturday we left a piece of chocolate cake, an ice cream cone, one pickle... I found him over a week later on the floor in the kitchen. We are going to write a book titled, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sees the Kitchen.

Sarah and Emily are hooked on The Land Before Time cartoon series, which they refer to as “The Big Long Neck Migration.”
Tim’s brother Jeff got married on May 13th in Pennsylvania. Sarah and Emily played the roles of Flower Girls 1 & 2. In their beautiful dresses and shiny white shoes, they descended the stairs to the amphitheatre with baskets of flower petals. As it turned out, the girls planned to place one flower petal on each fitted stone on the way to the altar. The maid of honor intervened, and Sarah said, “...but I still have more flower petals!”

After the ceremony and pictures, we took the girls to the reception where they enjoyed sticking strawberries in the chocolate fountain and eating a couple dozen cookies. Amazingly, Sarah and Emily were awake long enough to eat cake and dance at the reception.

Akiko came over yesterday and brought the girls a live crab from a Korean grocery store. The girls fed it and “tickled” him. He’s dead already.

April 2006


Sarah and Emily have been very busy with school, their active social life, travel and charity events. Sarah and Emily’s Montessori school classes collected “Coins for Compassion” earlier this year to donate to schools in Louisiana affected by Hurricane Katrina. Every morning before school the girls begged me for money. I told them to ask their father.

The girls taught themselves how to milk a cow using their wooden rocking horse and an ice bucket. 

We travelled to Chicago by automobile for Spring Break, stopping at Uncle Jeff’s house near Pittsburgh to break up the trip. Jeff’s wedding is May 13, a hot topic right now with Sarah and Emily, who will be flower girls during the ceremony.

In Chicago we visited family and friends, sat on the Willy Wonka Easter Bunny’s lap (the Easter Bunny sold his naming rights) and saw lots of animals at Brookfield Zoo.

We returned home Sunday afternoon. Sarah forgot that parents don’t spend time with their children after a week-long family vacation. She asked me to play with her and I told her to play with the dog. She said, “But Sake doesn’t have any hands.”

A couple of nights ago during dinner, Sarah stated, “Americans wear expensive clothes.”
Sarah made this collage at school.

March 2006



March 19
Tim and I set up the girls’ “umputer” downstairs a couple of weeks ago and they’ve been fighting over it ever since. I purchased some software for them to use, and they both like those “I Spy” games.

Grandma came for a visit a couple of weekends ago. We had a family gathering in Leesburg with my cousins Rob and Karen and their families, and Mom and I took the girls shopping. The girls picked out some belts, which they now refuse to wear. Grandma made muffins and the girls helped in the kitchen.

Last weekend, we drove up to Pittsburgh for a bridal shower. Tim’s brother Jeff is getting married in May, and Sarah and Emily will be flower girls in the wedding. We practiced using baskets of dead leaves. I think they are ready.

I dragged out the Easter decorations. The girls take turns hiding the fake eggs and the other one looks for them. Sarah’s been carrying around a stuffed chick and Emily has been sleeping with a little 2-inch tall duckling which gets lost in her bed over and over again.

Quinn Wohlford poked Emily with a wood chip at school. We went out to dinner that evening and Emily pulled up her shirt to show her “wound” to a stranger at the next table.

We still have one fish left.

February 2006



February 19
During the past month, I learned that Scarlet Fever is a common disease usually seen in children under the age of 18. It’s easily treated with antibiotics.

Tim and I took turns staying home with Sarah, who had Scarlet Fever first. After some improvement, she said to me, “Mom, I love you, but... it’s not the same.” When I asked her what she meant, she wanted to know when Emily would be home from school because she wanted to play with her sister.

Before our family trip to California, we talked about the things we might do on our vacation. Emily said, “I think they have TV and Velcro in California.”

Our flight to L.A. started out in a usual way. We spent 45 minutes at the gate waiting to board the plane. The girls passed the time eating M&Ms. Suddenly, Sarah stopped eating and said, “Mom, we’re not moving!”

Our trip was enjoyable from beginning to end. The weather in California was beautiful and it was great to see our friends in Irvine and my Aunt Sue and Uncle Larry in San Diego. We visited a beach near Irvine, where Sarah and Emily collected shells, and we experienced LegoLand and the Wild Animal Park. Because the beach was so popular, Friday we spent a few hours by the ocean in the shadow of the Hotel del Coronado, where the girls rolled in the sand, dug holes to put their heads in, and collected more shells. Sarah said she will make necklaces for everyone with her shells. I have other ideas.

January 2006


January 19
Sarah and Emily were anxious to return to their classrooms on January 3.

Both girls are learning how to spit out their toothpaste, so the bathroom is a mess. For a time, they insisted on using the same Barbie toothbrush, so I threw it away.

Sarah has begun writing in addition to honing her skills as an artist. Not unlike O. Henry, she writes fascinating short stories. Last Saturday, we sat down to read before bed, and Sarah shared a new story called “Water.” It consisted of one word. She asked us to clap (Emily didn’t) and then they went to bed. Sunday’s story was “Koala Bear.” Just two words. We clapped (Emily didn’t) and went to bed. Wednesday night’s story was “A Heart for Valentine’s Day.” Last night’s story was “Sunflower for Spring.” It was lovely.

Yesterday at school, Sarah’s class “travelled” to Bolivia on an airplane. Sarah was the pilot, of course. We reenacted the trip at home after school. Sarah made me a plane ticket, showed me to my seat, brought me a blanket, a napkin, drink and a fruit and nut tart.

Emily does interesting things, too.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

December 2005



December 19
Immediately after Thanksgiving, Tim and I were under the weather, and Sarah and Emily both came down with bronchitis and ear infections and missed a week of school.
We visited the Apple House Garden Center to buy a Christmas tree. We picked out a nice Douglas Fir and decorated it with friends the following day. Most of the ornaments were on the bottom third of the tree.
The Holiday Musical at Children’s House included a performance by all 80 children singing several festive favorites, including Feliz Navidad, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Jingle Bells. Sarah and Emily stood in front and sang loudly and clearly, making appropriate hand gestures and facial expressions. Afterwards, Tim and I took Sarah and Emily to see Santa Claus. (Sarah wants a baby doll and Emily wants a circus).  
Our annual holiday party was a huge success. The children who attended each decorated their own gingerbread man, and there were two showings of Frosty the Snowman. After serious negotiations, Emily wore the red Rudolph dress and Sarah wore the black snowman dress.
Emily told Sarah, “Rules are rules, even for best friends.” Yesterday Emily said, “a fast-walking man is hard to beat.”

November 2005



November 19
Sarah and Emily’s fourth birthday party was a real hoot. Both girls received many generous and thoughtful gifts and enjoyed food and drink prepared by a small army of helpful family members.
At school, Sarah’s classmates traced her whole body on a large piece of paper and dictated to the teacher their pleasant thoughts about Sarah. Emily walked around the sun four times in her class. Each girl donated a book to her class to celebrate their birthday; The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter was given to Ms. Farida’s class and Daisy-Head Mayzie was given to Ms. Amanda’s class.
Sarah’s class put on a Thanksgiving Play. Each child crafted and painted a teepee with paper and sticks for the scenery, and Sarah and her classmates memorized their lines and two poems for the play, which was very entertaining.
Emily says, “My people are selfish and they fib.” Her favorite Christmas song is Police Navidad.
Sarah can fold her clothes neatly and is very good at saying a mealtime prayer each night at dinner.

October 2005



October 19
The girls’ fourth birthday is today. Hard to believe they once weighed as the same as a bag of flour. 
School is going well; Sarah’s class is raising a Hermit Crab and learning about Monet. Emily’s class is working on writing their names (Emily wrote her name all by herself on Sunday!) and learning about habitats. 
Sarah attended Dominick’s birthday party last Saturday at J.W. Tumbles; both girls went to Adi’s pirate-themed party on Sunday. A “real” pirate came to sing songs, tell stories and play a jaw harp. 
Tim spent a couple of hours last night putting together the girls’ presents from Mommy and Daddy—bicycles with training wheels. We need to find a flat place for the girls to ride them until they have a little bit more control.
Our two fish are doing very well. Tim decided to buy a new fish bowl, rather than cleaning the other one. When I moved the THREE fish to their new home, Fish Number Three was a little limp. Two days later, he was lying near the bottom of the bowl under a prop and Sarah said, “that fish is pretending to be dead.” Emily looked at the bowl and said, “No, Sarah. He IS dead.”

September 2005



September 19
Preschool is in session. When I dropped them off this morning, Sarah’s lip quivered, but she didn’t shed any tears. A week ago, I left them wailing, clinging to the playground fence watching me drive away. Two weeks ago, I left them both crying with Sarah being restrained by her teacher as I left.
In this picture, Emily is wearing a nametag she fashioned for herself so the kids on the playground won’t call her “Sarah.”
In the car yesterday, Emily asked Sarah why she didn’t want to go to school. Sarah said she would miss me. Emily told Sarah she would be her Mommy. Sarah said she would miss Daddy too. Emily said she would be Mommy and Daddy. Then Sarah said she would miss Akiko. Emily told her she would be Akiko, too. I reminded Emily that Sarah would miss Sake, so she agreed to be Sake, too.
We visited the Indiana County Fair over Labor Day Weekend. We saw tractors, chickens and roosters, a “big cow peeing,” horses, sheep, and pigs being bathed with Dawn dishwashing liquid. The girls posed with a 3-month-old baby goat at the 4H booth and stroked some baby rabbits.
We still have some fish, but I can’t see how many; the bowl is too dirty.
On Sunday morning, Sarah said, “I’m having a baby tomorrow.” Not to be outdone, Emily countered with, “Well, I’m having a baby after lunch.”

August 2005



August 19
We all went to family camp at the beginning of August in the mountains above beautiful Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Like a cruise ship, there were activities from sun up to sundown. We walked to and from the dining hall for 3 meals a day, “swam” in the large pool, picked blueberries, made homemade ice cream, scampered up the climbing wall (sort of), and hiked up to the mountaintop. I bought each of the girls a disposable camera so they could take their own photos at camp. Most of the pictures were disposable; Emily’s pictures were at butt level, and Sarah had a great shot of the camp director’s breasts.
We have two fish left (of five). Tim won’t clean the fishbowl.
The girls ate broccoli at dinner Sunday. On Monday, Emily created a delicious drawing of several bunches of broccoli. Sarah was cuddling her bunny purse at bedtime. I told her that the bunny might eat Emily’s drawing. She said, “Oh, mom; Bunny is just a stuffed animal.”
We attended orientation at the Montessori School a week ago. The girls will be in separate classrooms, which will be an adjustment. One of the other parents asked me if Sarah and Emily are close. I told him that Sarah wiped Emily’s bottom yesterday, so, yeah.

July 2005



July 19
The girls have been playing outside in the sprinkler to beat the heat, playing soccer in the backyard, and watching episodes of Franklin.
To escape the heat and humidity, Tim took Sarah and Emily to a matinee showing of Herbie: Fully Loaded. After gorging themselves on popcorn for 30 minutes, they begged him to take them home.
One day in late June, Akiko took the girls to the playground, where they met another preschooler who was visiting the playground with her mom and baby sister. That evening at the dinner table, Sarah and Emily begged us for a baby sister. I explained that having a baby sister is complicated. Emily told us she had 3 dollars, so “let’s go to the hospital and get a baby sister.” Sarah echoed Emily’s request by whining incessantly until I suggested that we get some goldfish.
Two days later we visited Petco and purchased not two goldfish but 5 little gray fish (which poop less than goldfish) they named Dorothy, Goldie, Mother, Father and some other name I can’t remember. On the way home from the pet store, they took turns holding the plastic bag. At home, Emily sat on the kitchen floor, put the bag between her legs, and read the fish a story. 

June 2005



June 19
Sarah and Emily’s last day of preschool was June 2nd. During the school year, they made some beautiful drawings, paintings and craft projects in Miss Lynn’s class. They learned to sit quietly during circle time and wait for their turn to speak; walk in a crooked line out to the playground; sing numerous songs; eat lunch as part of a large group AND clean up after themselves. 
We drove to Chicago in early June, stopping for the night at Uncle Jeff’s house. We played hide and seek—Uncle Jeff hid up on the roof. 
Tim and I left the girls with Grandma for a few days while we escaped to New Harmony, Indiana to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Sarah and Emily weren’t thrilled, but they had a great time with Grandma and Uncle Eric.
We had a nice time in Chicago. The girls spent evenings in front of the television watching the same 3 episodes of The Dumb Bunnies and reading Franklin books.
After we came back home, we attended a wedding—the girls’ first. They didn’t recognize the bride with her hair up, wearing white gown, but they listened intently and loved wearing their new dresses. During the young couple’s first dance at the reception, Emily turned to me and said, “Isn’t that sweet?”

May 2005



May 19
Tim and the girls brought me breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day; eggs, bacon, and fresh pineapple. The girls sat in front of me on the bed with their mouths open like baby birds and I fed them my breakfast. Sarah and Emily made me two adorable flower pots with flowers made from paper hands they cut out and curled at preschool.
Tim and a neighbor hauled home six long heavy boxes and a 10-foot slide (from Costco) and began assembling a large play set. After two full days of work and 5 weeknights, it was finished. It is a deluxe model, with three swings, a slide, climbing wall, clubhouse, picnic bench for 4, and monkey bars. But there are at least a dozen screws and bolts left over, which worries me. 
We also spent a pleasant afternoon at Claude Moore Colonial Farm making candles with string and beef tallow, painting with watercolors, watching a puppet show, petting sheep, chasing chickens, and picking flowers. We also brought home paper bags full of rocks.
Sarah and Emily continue to have problems being “regular.” We visited a well-respected gastroenterologist early this month, who recommended we give Sarah an enema if she became constipated. Unfortunately, this became necessary and I administered the treatment. Sarah being stubborn, the results took longer than expected, but gravity took over and Sarah ran inside from the backyard, through the sunroom, dining room, and OOOPS! 
Before we could clean up the mess, Sake did what comes naturally to dogs.

April 2005



April 19
Grammy, Grandpa and Uncle Jeff came to visit for Easter. We went to the circus, and the girls saw clowns, elephants and other things you normally see at the circus. We had an egg hunt indoors because the weather was lousy. I found an egg between a stack of books 2 weeks later.
Grandma came to visit us while Daddy was in Japan. Sarah and Grandma performed surgery on Winnie-the-Pooh’s neck, closing a large open wound with a needle and thread. When the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, we went into the city and re-enacted the book Clifford (the Big Red Dog) Goes to Washington. We visited the FDR, Lincoln, Korean War, and Jefferson Memorials, and the Washington Monument. We had a picnic next to the Potomac River and the girls relieved themselves under a tree (just like Clifford!) because there weren’t any restrooms. 
Yesterday, we celebrated National Pretzel Day by loading up our wagon with bags of Ultra Thin Pretzels and visiting friends and neighbors, sharing the joy of pretzels with people everywhere. 
Sarah eats Oreos without taking them apart; Emily twists the cookie apart before eating it.

March 2005



March 19
Last week we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in style. Sarah and Emily wore St. Patrick’s Day hats they crafted in their preschool class, and we paid homage to St. Sam-I-Am with a dinner of green eggs and ham. 
Earlier in the week, we celebrated another holiday, this one invented by the Snack Food Association—National Potato Chip Day. The girls and I visited neighborhood homes, distributing small bags of Sour Cream & Onion, Grandma’s Kettle Cooked, Salt & Vinegar and BBQ potato chips to friends and neighbors to increase awareness among people who eat food about the benefits of Potato Chips.
Sarah ran into a tree (we think) and later the same day, fell down on lumpy pavement, which resulted in a serious-looking black eye and scratches on her face. Upset about all the attention Sarah was getting, Emily stood on her bed, removed her pants and peed on herself.

February 2005



February 19
We are still celebrating Valentine’s Day—the girls make cards and Sarah asks me for “emmelopes,” stickers and stamps. I told her that envelopes and stamps don’t grow on trees. 
Both girls have been accepted at Children’s House Montessori School for the fall. Sarah and Emily will be in separate classrooms. The director brings her dog Foxy to school and there’s a great outdoor playground. 
Sarah told Tim that she is going to take care of me when she grows up. She will feed me bottles and put me in my crib. Sarah said she will have a birthmark on her leg, too, when she “is Emily’s age.” 
Both of the girls think that standing on the scale makes them grow. 
Emily can recite The Dumb Bunnies Easter in its entirety as she flips through the pages pretending to read aloud to herself. She has trouble saying “merry carolers.” 
The girls fought over the pretty teal horse shirt. Sarah won.

January 2005



January 19
Our home remodeling projects are completed; the kitchen is fully functional and everything seems to be operating smoothly. Emily forgave Tim for getting rid of our old appliances.
Sarah and Emily are enjoying preschool very much, and they pretend to go to school on the days they don’t attend Miss Lynn’s class. (Sarah is always the teacher.) They pack a “lunch” and announce they are leaving, board the school bus (Sarah always drives) and go into another room where they do roll call and “eat” lunch.

December 2004

November 2004

October 2004

September 2004



September 19
Last night, the girls were sneaking fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies from the kitchen and eating them under the dining room table. 
Sarah and Emily both had a stomach virus last week, but they really wanted to eat. They drew pictures of carrots and pepperoni pizza.

August 2004

July 2004



July 19
Yesterday Sarah and Emily took turns speaking with a guy named Bob on their Minnie Mouse flip phone.

June 2004

May 2004

April 2004

March 2004

February 2004



February 3
Both girls like to use the word “mine.” Emily and Sarah both like to count, but Emily skips number 5.

January 2004



Emily calls Sarah by name; Sarah calls Emily “Her.”

December 2003



December 10
Sarah stood in front of the Christmas tree and said “cool”.
December 15
Sarah unravelled a new roll of toilet paper and threw it in the bathtub.

November 2003

October 2003

September 2003



September 17
We’re having a good time on vacation. Today we went to the Portland Children’s Museum, and ate at a kid-friendly restaurant. We walked along a river with waterfalls in Yarmouth and we had hot dogs on the grill. After dinner, the girls colored the outside walls of our cabin with crayons.
September 19
This photo of Sarah and Emily was taken last Friday while we were on vacation in Maine.
Emily has a dark bruise on her left cheek from falling on a coffee table. Sarah hit her left cheek on a picnic bench.

August 2003

July 2003



July 6
While I ate breakfast, Sarah and Emily used pink chalk to draw on the couch, the television and the walls in the sunroom.

June 2003



June 29
Today we went to the CNA picnic at Smokey Glen Farm. It was hot and humid. We headed straight for the “Petting Zoo”—2 donkeys, 2 goats and 2 black rabbits. The girls rode a pony named Stormy and ate ice cream sandwiches with forks.
June 30
This morning as I was walking out the door, Sarah and Emily locked themselves in their bedroom. I panicked. I tried a couple of keys in the lock and an eyeglass screwdriver. Then I ran to the garage and dragged the extension ladder under the girls’ bedroom window. The ground isn’t level so Joy swore she could hold the ladder up and I climbed into the second floor window. Sarah and Emily looked at me, then continued playing. 

May 2003

April 2003

March 2003



March 5
Sarah and Emily were fighting over the book Let's Play (our third copy) and tore the cover.

February 2003

January 2003



January 6
We spent New Year’s Day with Uncle Jeffrey. Emily played the harmonica.
Sarah walks like Fred Sanford. 
January 9
Sarah spent the evening walking back and forth.
January 16
Sarah grabbed Pat the Bunny out of my hand and tossed it aside then put Daisy Says “Coo” in my hand. She loves that book. We read it almost a dozen times a day.
January 22
I took Sarah to the doctor and we waited a long time. Dr. Goldman says no more pacifiers.

December 2002