Bella Bella Arabella

to remember

6 January 2011
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As Miranda and Henry grow, I don’t think I should tell all of their stories. Even if they are funny. Darn ethics, I thought I had squashed you. But Bella – in preserving the big kids’ privacy, I am not recording the moments I’ll forget in her life. And I want to remember.

This is the year with the kookoo tree. Kookoo claus is pretty scary. Unless you circle him a few times in the mall and then maybe you can sit on his lap. Or at least that worked for Bella. She also will sing boo-boo bells, but not if you put the video recorder near her. She will laugh at us and say, Christmas and Santa next year. But this year, the kookoo tree is the most beautiful thing in the house, or maybe the world.

She cries to get her own way, but in an adorably manipulative way. We’re so screwed when she is 13.  Or 7. She doesn’t cry when she runs into the island countertop, or spins the bar stools and the arm rest whack her in the forehead. She has a plasmacar and can whirl around the house. (That’s the nifty little hot wheel type car that doesn’t have pedals, instead you turn the steering wheel and it goes! whee!) She talks all the time – and on New Year’s Eve, she even said a full sentence: No, I hold that baby!   Baby Natalie visited us. 6 month olds are too precious. Bella seemed like a giant next to her.

Grandpa just converted her crib into a toddler bed. She likes it, even if she isn’t quite ready to fall asleep in it. She is toying with toilet training. And preschool registration is at the end of the month! Only 6 months to succeed.

She loves baby dolls. Her kitchen set. Diego, Dora, Max and Ruby. Books. Henry’s light sabers and swords and guns. She likes puzzles and coloring and putting “pope” on her skin. (lotion in this case) She likes the water – swimming or bath or just the kitchen sink. She decides to wash her hair when she plays in the water for too long.  She also loves her big brother and sister. She thinks her uncle is the best and his dog is all that.

Being a 2 year old is pretty challenging. And Bella is pretty good at it. Click on any photo to start the slideshow.

when Cameron was in Egypt’s land

19 August 2010

Summer is ending! Or so the Facebook reports of school beginning lead me to believe summer is over. The hot heavy humid weather finally broke. The weather is now cool and dry, crisp, like you can smell the pumpkins and apples ripening in the fields.

Did I say pumpkins? Our fabulous pumpkins have grown and grown!

We have three x-large. And then four or five smaller ones. We can’t wait to carve them. I don’t think I have much of a farmer in me; it seems so bloodthirsty to plant the seed, fertilize them, water them, weed around them, and then wait until they are perfect and cut them up. And not even to eat them.

Summer is ending. And with it, the chances to take off for the day. I decided to take the kids down to the Art Museum. Wednesday was a beautiful day – blue skies, dainty puffy white clouds, Lake Michigan , dragonfly swarms!  And minds influenced by John Hughes start thinking about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Three kids, an Art Museum, blue skies. Ah. But taking the three small-ish kids by myself, especially with the youngest still needing to be strapped into a stroller to avoid having us be shushed or worse by security guards, it doesn’t seem like the brightest idea. But the blue skies and the plan – only an hour or so there. We’re walk quickly. We’ll take in the Art Museum in a very breezy, kid-friendly way.

The Burke Brise Soleil as designed by Calatrava was magnificent. Miranda missed the wings entirely, and she still loved the space.

Bella wanted out of the stroller. The Brise Soleil is the prettiest waiting room in all of the country. It has gorgeous views. And space to run. And benches. But we could be waiting to see a doctor, or a judge or maybe even catching a plane. It didn’t prepare us to see the art collection. And it was so very light and airy and much of the gallery space is shadowed and almost dank.

Of course, with everyone snapping photos like this, who needs art?

We made our way into the museum. And maybe if I had pulled out a Monet first off or if this museum had a Seurat, Miranda would have gotten into the spirit. Instead, I thought modern might tickle our sensibilities. All those questions about what is art and the colors are so lush. Alas, I chose wrongly. Even Ferris Beuller had to deal with Cameron on his day off.

The kids area was a hit:

I missed the family packs when we went into the kids area on our way into the collections. A scavenger hunt might have helped. Of course, every time we stopped Bella decided she wanted out of the stroller. So no sketching or reflecting or slowing down for us. Henry would have liked to find out just how close you can get to the art before the alarm goes off. For the record, we did not set off any alarms.

They did appreciate the chair gallery where you could sit in the chairs! Which is way cooler than it sounds. And twins of some of those chairs were in other exhibits, which the kids noticed and appreciated.

Next time, I figure out how to get outside to the War Memorial. I think the juxtoposition and the views are interesting. Next time, we’ll check out a family pack. And next time, we’ll take Papa.

right field

19 July 2010
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I better post about T-ball before the season ends. Henry plays. Rob coaches. Miranda, Arabella and I cheer.

June recap

28 June 2010
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Just yesterday I heard on the news that it had rained on 16 out of the past 27 days. And even with all that rain, I lost a grape plant. And when I returned the plant to Home Depot, the woman remarked, “boy, it looks dry.” As if I purposely killed the plant, just so I could return it and the go outside and buy a new plant, exactly the same type.

I should have sent my representatives.

What a bunch of clowns:

No really, circus people:

My parents took the older kids to the circus in West Bend. They were prepared and amazed.

We took Bella along with us to Miller Park to sit in the good seats. Well couches, in the back of the suite. She was underwhelmed. If she had had to sit in park seats, she would have known she had it very very good. Running. And carpeting. And a 5 year old girl to chase. And at the end, balloons!

Samurai Bella

KISS Bella

Beautiful Sisters (Bella Sorelle)

Graduation Day

One of the last pictures of the front teeth, I’ll guess. They are getting pretty loose.

Cedarburg Gothic

12 June 2010
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A picture is worth a thousand words, and this tale is in pictures.

pig tails and tall tales

1 June 2010
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Once there was a little girl who liked spaghetti sooo much, she had to eat it with a shovel.

Raking it in

I didn’t know that could happen!

19 May 2010
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Henry came home from school today and the first thing he said was, I cut my pants at school. I was cutting and my pants got cut. I didn’t know that could happen.

The shorts (the weather is finally nice enough for shorts!) have a small cut about 8 inches from the waistband. Lucky he didn’t catch any skin, I guess.

* * *

Bella continues with the flop on the floor and kick and scream temper tantrums. She even follows you from chair to chair or room to room when you try the sensible course of ignoring it. I think they frustrate her nearly as much as they frustrate me. I hope she learns to talk soon.

She flopped face first in the sand yesterday. She came up with a mouth full of sand, indignation and confusion.

* * *

Miranda did a perfect dive in her swimming lesson tonight. She came home floating on a cloud. After spending so much time consoling her when she isn’t happy with her swimming and reminding her that swimming is going to get harder before it gets easier, it is hard for me to remember to just be happy when she’s happy. I have to work on that. And she’ll be happier to try the next dive.


11 May 2010

I hope you’ve found your way here. I moved the blog again. Why do I do this? I used to change the homepage that had the link to the blog. And now I haven’t. But I do update the blog (sometimes). And someone told me that I can make a static front page for the blog, so that might happen. Or not.

Right now the old blog address has an oops link, which isn’t correct. But WordPress often doesn’t want to do what Iwant it to do, in the way I expect it to do it.

In other news…

T-Ball begins tomorrow. Henry is excited. Don’t remind him that he only king of liked t-ball last year.

Miranda has been having headaches. So often and so loudly that I have considered they are, well, in her head. But the pediatrician suggests we look at TMJ. So we’ll try that route.

Arabella wants to give up her nap. Her mid-morning or afternoon nap, she was already down to one. She thinks if she eats, she doesn’t need to sleep. But she’s awfully grumpy. Until she lies down, then she finds a rainbow and it pulls her out of bed with a giant smile on her face. 20 months. Oh my.

In happy news, Daria comes out of video (DVD? digital format in 1 easy package? What do we call things anymore? Do musicians make albums? records?) tomorrow. I love Daria. I think it was the first show that I watched on MTV, and I was old (for MTV) when that happened. I considered naming Miranda and Henry and Arabella “Daria.” Rob’s birthday is coming up. I wonder if he’d like the set?

Simple Machines

2 May 2010
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May Day! How did it get to be May? Where are the communist parades? I read one of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries and its Cold War details were charming and historical.  I suppose that happens all the time – the huge thing that seems so huge, it just vanishes or fades away and calling someone comrade isn’t even a meaningful insult any longer.

I am mostly amused these days. Except about the pollen. Damn pollen. Spring allergies are here. Boo! And with it, I feel like I am going to die before I ever recover. I wonder if in addition to the histamine reaction and the leukotrienes being modified if the serotonin levels in my brain dip? In the last few years I have really noticed how hopeless I feel when I am sick.  I can usually tell the gloom is descending, and it lifts when the snot stops.

Bella, poor Bella. She is suffering from whatever tree is blooming right now. We are in sync. I don’t think I’ll hema nd haw as I did with the odler kids about an allergist visit. Henry is much better on the Singulair – his head is not clogged. But his allergic symptoms without an acute allergic reaction has always made me a bit suspicious. Bella, she has the dripping nose and she’s rubbing her eyes and she is not eating well. All in the last 18 hours. Same as my timing, which makes me doubt we’re sharing a cold. Those seems to cascade around here  rather than hit with brute force at one time.

Bella is perfecting the temper tantrum. The lay down on the floor and kick. The follow me from room to room until one of us gets distracted sufficiently. I think she is frustrated that she can’t talk. This is such a  novel problem I am speechless. Miranda didn’t speak until later and when she did speak it was very hard to understand what she meant. But she was rarely frustrated. I learned to say she was frustrated to get speech therapy services (because I was frustrated and she probably was, even if she didn’t show it). Henry didn’t talk and didn’t care about talking and then one day, he did care. And he started talking.  Bella grunts expressively. She points. She touches things and then other things and convinces you she really wants that cookie -not not that one, that one! ! !

I have mostly convinced myself that I am going to wait her out. We’ve watched her ears more closely than Miranda, she she is hearing us. But I feel so bad for her, unable to make the words come out. C’mon language explosion. We’d liek to see you. Stat! ! !

When Bella isn’t adding drama to our living room…which she does by throwing tantrums and then making the same noise when she is stuck on a chair. So the first time, you hear wah wah wah! She is yelling. And we are taking the ignore the tantrum approach.  Calm calm calm. Pat her back. Then she wonders away happily. Eats something. And then another tantrum. Really, Bella, again? And this time, she’s on a dining room chair and she wants to go down. She isn’t even yelling Moooommmm! My favorite is when Mom is pronounced to rhyme with come and means Mom! Come!

In other news, I was using voice recognition software to type in a pages and pages of a work-related project.  And even after 17 times, when the computer thinks you said cheeses instead of Jesus, I laugh. And my dad could hear me talking. Maybe the occasional giggle. He asks my mom what I’m doing. She explains. At lunch he says something about those darn computer systems and I should just talk to a person. Huh? I said. It seems obvious to him that I was trying to talk to a computer and it would be better to just call a person and not a computer. Huh? I said. Computers taking peoples jobs. Huh? I said. I am typing…well, I am trying to get out of typing so I am talking. I did agree I could hire a typist, but she would probably make more than I do. It could be argued that I am the typist, but let’s just say typist will never appear on my resume as it is not one of my top Skills. He was still unsure who I was talking to.  And I was still unsure how to explain what I was doing. Other than not subcontracting this project.

Miranda thought that the voice recognition was hilarious. It is. She quickly produced nearly a full page of mostly nonsensical text. And she has her own email account now, so watch out world.

action shots

28 March 2010

I still have reminders, phantom pains, about my laptop going kaput. I don’t have photos under control. I have barely emptied the camera. Today I realized I had to use GIMP as I never loaded PhotoShop on the new-to-me laptop. And I have been using a newer version of PhotoShop at work and I love it. Time to save my pennies and upgrade.

Way back:

Making Mars

Making Miranda's Mars visual aid

And the for Henry’s birthday, we went to the Hilton. It was very nice. We got very wet.

Catch it!



Henry lost his first tooth

He is now down two teeth, and the first one that fell out is almost all grown in.

The stairs, not just for climbing.

Hugging her fuzzy puppy while wearing her fuzzy jacket.


She has probably just hit the dog. The surest way to get a kiss from Bella is to have her first smack you in the face. I am not sure I ever want to see what goes on inside a toddler’s brain.

Star Wars: Battle of Unfair Advantage

Arabella loved wearing Henry's Obi-Wan robe.

That was last month’s obsession. She has moved on to taking her pants off and on. All day long. Extra fun – getting stuck taking off her shirt.

Happy Birthday to Sarah

The lovely roses from Rob, who was not glowering at Miranda or me, I don't think.

Sitting in the plastic hat box, reading the story Miranda wrote

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