Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday to Margot!

The craziness of the holiday season continued with Margot's 5th birthday on December 28. We just had a small celebration at home with me, Brodie, and Margot because her big birthday party is next weekend. We ate some cake (chocolate, with chocolate frosting), opened some presents (a scooter from me and Brodie was her big present), and spent the day doing things that are fun for Margot. We went to the candy store and let her compile a bag of candy from the loose candy bins. She went to tap dancing camp for a few hours in the afternoon with her friend Emma (now she wants to take tap in addition to her weekly ballet class). Brodie made pancakes for breakfast (still a favorite for Margot). I made Margot's specially requested dinner: broiled salmon, green beans, and latkes. Latkes! She actually asked me to make latkes! I'd never made them before, but I pulled the recipe from the Gourmet cookbook and they were delicious!

Happy birthday Margot!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! This was the first year we didn't travel for Christmas and it was wonderful having the family come to see us. Margot slept in until 8:30 on Christmas morning; this was the first year we didn't wake HER up. It's been a whirlwind of family and meals and visits and more, but I'll be slightly sad when the excitement dies down (I'll also be slightly relieved).

Merry Christmas to all!

(I like this photo because it captures Margot's astonishment at having received two of her most requested items from Santa - a sandbox and a make-up kit.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Visit to Santa

On Sunday afternoon, Margot went to the movies with me, a few of her classmates, and their moms. (We saw The Princess and the Frog.) On the way up to the theater, I noticed a "Santa throne" in the mall below (a very small mall, so I was happy there wouldn't be a line). After the movie, I saw Santa was sitting in his chair, and so I took Margot downstairs to see Santa.

It turns out that this Santa was a 'signing' Santa (yes, that's right, 'signing' and not 'singing.') He was deaf, and was supported by an organization for the hearing impaired. He spoke not a word to Margot, but his elf asked Margot questions - which she answered - and then the elf signed to Santa. Santa signed back, and the elf translated.

Margot didn't notice anything amiss and asked no questions about it. She was just happy that she got in her three Santa requests: a wooden castle, "a make-up kit for kids," and a small sandbox.

Snowy Fun with Aunt Teal

Teal came to babysit Margot yesterday since I had to work. She and Margot tubed in the backyard - narrowly missing the iron sculptures left behind from the previous owners - and built this lovely snowman.

Monday, December 21, 2009

And here's the snowfall photo...

December 19, 2009. 20 inches of snow.

A month in review

Here is a quick catch-up post. In the past month, Margot has:

Celebrated Thanksgiving with her cousins Declan and Madeleine (here she is with Brodie that day)

Enjoyed the first snow of the winter 2009-2010 season

Selected her Christmas tree (yes, that's snow in her hair - two years in a row that it snowed on the day we got our tree!)

Posed for tree shots with Portia

Celebrated her fifth birthday at school (since she is the only December birthday in her class, she got the celebration all to herself)

Witnessed a 20-inch snowfall in DC (something she probably won't see for another 5-10 years)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight for Preemies

November is prematurity awareness month for the March of Dimes. As you know, Margot was born at 28 weeks, 1 pound and 15 ounces, and spent six weeks in the NICU before coming home. We are so lucky that she doesn't have any medical issues related to her early birth, but most others are not so lucky. Visit the March of Dimes to learn more about prematurity and how you can help.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Last Soccer Practice

This afternoon was the final soccer practice of the fall. Time is flying by! Margot was hot and cold on soccer this season. Some days she liked it, and some days she didn't. Today was one of the days she enjoyed it. The practice started sunny and crisp and then got called on account of rain; the rainstorm came out of nowhere and was cold and miserable.

(Sidenote - not to brag, but, well, that's what I do here, right? So it started raining HARD and all the parents and kids and nannies scattered, leaving the soccer equipment on the field. Since there was only another 10 minutes left to the last practice of the season, most people just sprinted to their cars and left. But Margot walked around the field with her coach - at no one's request - and picked up cones and corralled soccer balls until the field was clear. I was so proud of her. To be honest, I wanted to sprint to our car, too, but watching her help made my sopping hair and wet wool sweater completely worthwhile.)

Here are some photos I snapped before the rain:

Halloween Photos

So I am a little behind in posting these photos, but that's because I am teaching two sections of Effective Essay Writing (in addition to my day job). That leaves me with no time (or desire) to be on the laptop.

Halloween 2009 was a really fun day. We trick-or-treated twice. The first time was in the late afternoon on Connecticut Avenue, where all the shop owners distribute candy and hundreds of children swarm the sidewalks. Margot headed to CT Ave with her friend Emma but, once there, they paid little attention to one another and focused mostly on getting as much candy as they could. They saw a lot of classmates there and it was really a great time. That kind of neighborhood feel is exactly why we switched Margot to our neighborhood school. It was like Sesame Street, minus the Muppets.

After those festivities were done, we played at Emma's house for a bit and then returned home to eat some dinner and wait for dark. Once darkness fell, Min trick-or-treated on our street. My friend Jenn came down for the fun, and so the three of us walked our street in a steady light rain until Margot had enough. Then we got Thai take-out, pawed through her candy, and sent M to bed. A perfect day!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Carving Contest 2009 - Vote for Your Favorite!

Here are the results from our 2009 pumpkin carving contest. I won't say which pumpkin belongs to which person. Since Margot is not yet big enough to wield a knife, she dictated her artistic vision to Brodie and he carved her pumpkin based on the instructions.

Vote for your favorite!

Monday, October 12, 2009


This weekend we camped in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. It was spectacular - cold, crisp weather, changing leaves, the rain ended before we arrived, and Brodie even saw two baby bears (but Margot and I did not).

This year's camping trip far surpassed last year's camping trip. Last year, we were unable to reserve a campsite and so drove out hoping to snag one of the 'first come first serve' sites. By the time we got to the ranger station in Shenandoah National Park, there was a long line. We got in line, and when we got to the front the couple in front of us got the last available campsite. It was terrible. We drove around until dark, trying to find somewhere else to camp, but ended up driving back to DC and camping in the living room. Margot savored that memory, though, and honestly thought that camping in the living room was so much fun.

Until she got to do some real camping, that is. Now that she has a real taste for outdoor camping, she's hooked. She loved sleeping in a tent, loved watching the campfire, and loved toasting marshmallows and drinking cocoa. I'm not sure she's ready for backcountry camping yet, but I bet she will be in a few years. For now, car camping is a ton of fun with her, especially because of the ear-to-ear grin she wore the whole time we were there.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

"I like pink. Pink is my signature color."

One thing that Margot and I will never agree on is her love of the color pink. "Love" is not a strong enough word, actually. Try...obsession. Adoration. Zeal. Add those up, and maybe, just maybe, you've scratched the surface of how Margot feels about the color pink.

We were at the mall last weekend, and we browsed in H&M because I like their selection of kids clothes. I found this adorable, brown houndstooth cap with gold threading that I loved for Margot. I made her try it on, and she did so begrudgingly. It looked fantastic. It was so cute. I wanted to buy it right away.

But she stood there, smile faded from her face and her shoulders slumped. I knew she would never wear the hat once we left the store. I sighed. There was no point in buying the hat because it would just sit in her closet until I gave it away or sold it on Ebay.

"Margot, please," I pleaded, a little too desperately for a 32-year-old mother talking to a four-year-old. "Please, will you wear that hat if I buy it?"

She looked straight at me. "Mom, you know these aren't my colors. My colors are pink and purple."

(Before you think she was being disrespectful or ungrateful, let me assure you, she really doesn't mean to be. She just has her opinions and she sticks to them. Peer pressure is not something that affects her, at least so far.)

Mentally, I flashed to a scene from Steel Magnolias, which, embarassingly enough, is one of my favorite movies. In the scene, Shelby (played by Julia Roberts) is describing the colors at her wedding ceremony. She calls them "blush" and "bashful." Her mother (played by Sally Field) calls them "pink" and "pink." Shelby then goes on to describe how every last detail in her wedding ceremony will be pink. Her mother comments that it looks as if the reception area has been hosed down with Pepto Bismol.

Clearly, Margot is Julia Roberts and I am Sally Field.

If you're not familiar with this scene, or if you just want to see it again, you can watch it on YouTube. The details to which I refer here are within the first two minutes of the clip, so it won't take much of your time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mystery Meat

Usually Margot brings her lunch to school. I prefer this because I know exactly what she is eating (I don't think she has the concept of 'lunch-trading' just yet), and this way I know she isn't having too much processed junk. Four days out of five she eats peanut butter on wheat bread, apple sauce (or some other fruit), and milk, but, occasionally, she'll ask for soup or pasta or mac and cheese to bring.

In my effort to stay organized, I usually prepare her lunch the night before because it's just too hectic to make lunch in the morning. Sometimes, though, I am too _____ [fill in the blank with lazy, tired, or absentminded].

Last Friday was one of those days. I woke up late and realized that I hadn't made M's lunch the night before. Margot had been asking to buy hot lunch at school, so I decided Friday was the day. I tried to look up the school lunch menu online, but the link wasn't working. So I packed her off with $1.20 in her backpack (love those subsidized school lunch prices!) that would cover hot lunch and milk and assumed they wouldn't let her go hungry.

I forgot to ask her about how hot lunch was until Sunday evening. After dinner, Brodie and I asked her how she liked 'hot lunch' on Friday.

"I didn't like it!" she declared. "There was white rice and peas, and so I ate all of that, but there was also some kind of meat that I didn't eat. I don't know what it was."

Brodie and I laughed and laughed.

M continued. "It [the meat] looked like one of Portia's treats. You know, with the lines on it?"

Portia's dog treats have those fake grill marks on them. Apparently, so does the meat in DCPS.

I laughed so hard I got a stomach ache. That description was priceless.

I think we'll only buy hot lunch on pizza day from here on out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Soccer Season

Soccer season started today. Margot was ready: pink socks, sparkle shoes, skinned knees, and all. She wore shin guards to practice but won't in the future - they are just too big for her, and are really not necessary with a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds. Poor Margot looked as if she was running with casts on her legs.

She even scored a goal - although, truth be told, her goal came at the expense of another girl. The other team had the ball and was running it toward M's team's goal, when the lead girl tripped over herself and fell flat on her face. The other girls stopped and crowded around her while the girl screamed. Margot caught up, got the ball, turned it around, ran it back up the field, and kicked it into the unguarded net. (The fallen girl was fine, by the way. She only hurt her pride.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bike Repairs

Margot's bike had a flat tire for a few weeks. This past weekend, Brodie showed her how to repair it and do a tune-up.

The weather has been fantastic this week in DC - cool morning (high 50s) and warm afternoons (high 70s). On Monday, when I picked her up from school, I pushed her bike the 1.2 miles to school and jogged next to her as she rode home. She's still kind of nervous on her bike, but I think these forced rides will help build her confidence.

The bonus is that it's uphill all the way to school, and downhill all the way home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Civil Disobedience

I forgot about this little tidbit from Margot's day yesterday until late last night when I was talking to Brodie.

On our walk yesterday evening, Margot did mention that during circle time her teacher taught the class a new song. At the appointed time, the pre-kindergarteners were supposed to sing/shout "Hooray for school."

Margot looked at me sideways when she told me this anecdote and said, "But I didn't say it. I wanted to be at my old school."

I suppressed a smile. My little Gandhi-in-the-making.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of Pre-K

August 24 finally arrived. We've been preparing Margot for this day, for her first day at a new school. A big girl school. A school that has kids all the way up to the 5th grade.

Once again, Margot has gone from being the big fish in a small pond to a very tiny fish in an ocean. (And yes, I felt like I was in an ocean this morning with hundreds of kids reporting for the first day of school, including the mayor's sons.) She began the morning with smiles; hence, the happy photo below taken before we drove the short distance to school. But, once there, she had a minor meltdown at the prospect of not having her old napmat (this new school requires vinyl nap mats, not the cushy sleeping-bag-like one she used to use).

Margot brought Clover the bear with her for comfort. Unfortunately, she's also not allowed to bring stuffed animals to school with her. Sigh. This is going to be a tough transition.

She was clearly overtired and overwhelmed when I arrived to pick her up, and shed some tears on the way home. We came home and she watched Caillou and ate Ritz crackers while I finished up work. That seemed to perk her up some, and so then we took a long walk to the park with Portia. I tried asking about school to get the details, but Margot wasn't interested in talking. Hmmm...wonder where she gets that from! (Seems to be both a Daileader trait and a Ruland trait!)

I know that she will adjust eventually, and that she'll also succeed. But it's just so tough seeing her through the hard times! It makes me sad that she was truly loved at her old school, whereas here she's more of a student. Hopefully, we will find a balance.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Underwater Unicorns

This week, NPR has been feature reporting on an animal I'd never heard of: the narwhal. A narwhal is a whale with a large horn on its forehead.

Brodie and I both listen to NPR in the mornings on the way to Margot's school. Beginning yesterday, Margot has become enthralled with narwhals. This is because the NPR reporter likened the whales to "underwater unicorns."

"Can we go see them?" Margot begged this morning. Sure, I responded half-heartedly. Even though they are in Greenland and are fairly elusive. Maybe someday, I said.

I tried to tell Min this morning that the narwhal is actually a whale and not a unicorn, but she didn't want to hear it. I let it drop. I love that, in her mind, there is a white unicorn with a golden horn swimming underwater somewhere far away. Why would I ruin that with the truth?

If you'd like to learn more about narwhals, you can listed to this morning's story here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

School Supplies

Margot will be starting pre-K at a new school in the fall. While we're very happy with her current (soon-to-be-former) school, its distance from our house makes morning and evening commutes trying on the best of days (and downright painful on the worst of days).

So M is a little apprehensive about this upcoming change, but I am trying to ease her transition. This weekend we had a playdate with a new friend in the neighborhood who will be in her school. We also made a trip to Target to purchase some new school supplies.

Margot oohed and ahhed over the backpacks for no fewer than 20 minutes. She tried them all on, and finally settled on a blue Tinkerbell backpack that is almost as big as she is. (This was after I said no way to a Hanna Montana backpack; she didn't need much convincing though. She's never actually watched Hanna Montana.) I told myself she'd grow into it. Then, we moved to the lunchbox aisle. Once there, she immediately latched onto a pink Disney princess lunchbox. Yuck. But that's what she wanted, and I want her to feel as if I support her choices (at least the benign ones). So we bought the princess lunchbox and I swallowed my disdain of the princesses.

Margot's adoration of the princess lunchbox reminded me of my favorite lunchbox - the red, plastic, Ewok lunchbox I used during first grade. It looked just like this one. I don't know if M will reminisce as fondly about this soft, pink lunchbox as I do over my Wicket lunchbox. I wish there was way to know exactly which items are making a life-long impression on her! In 28 years, will she be writing a smiliar post?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lake Anna

Margot spent the weekend at Lake Anna in Virginia with her paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Brodie and I were there, too, of course.

Four is a really fantastic age - at least for Margot. She played nicely with her cousins with no intervention needed from the adults. She happily swam, boated, ate s'mores, dug in the sand, kicked the soccer ball around, and was even agreeable to regular applications of sunscreen.

She's not quite ready to swim on her own yet, though. She took a spill off a raft that left her gasping, and so if she's in water deeper than she can reach she clung to me and Brodie tightly. When she could stand, she happily went chest deep but was not interested in trying to take her feet off the ground. But, that said, if someone was waiting to catch her, she jumped off the dock over and over again.

Oh, and did I mention Portia had a lovely time as well?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Pet

We've had a chipmunk in our yard (at least one, probably more) since we moved in last year. S/he is pretty darn cute, and has a series of entrances and exits to his/her den right near our back door.

This evening Margot said, "I've been meaning to tell you, Mama, that I've been leaving presents for my chipmunk and he's been taking them. Sometimes I leave him some moss, sometimes a little nut that I find in the yard, sometimes a little stick. The next morning, my presents are always gone. He must take them down into the nest."

This made me smile - the notion of Margot having a secret pet. It also makes me happy that she enjoys animals as much as I do.

That said, her chipmunk(s) must be astounded at their good fortune of late! Free bedding, free food, free...well, I'm not sure what they use the twigs for. Bracing their tunnels?

Friday Night Picnic

Each Friday that we're home, we picnic. Usually this means we pick up Italian subs from Vace and a slice of pizza for Margot. I often forget to bring my camera to these picnics, but this past Friday I remembered it.

And this was our best picnic spot yet, so I am glad I remembered it. We ate at Gravelly Point, which is right on the edge of Reagan National Airport and the Potomac River. While we ate our sandwiches, the planes landed almost directly overhead. Margot loved it. I did, too.

After dinner, we played Margot's favorite game of the week: "Tush Tag." This involves tapping someone on the bum and yelling "Tush Tag" and then running away. It's a riot.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Green-Eyed Patriot

Since the 4th of July falls on a Saturday this year, and since tomorrow is the official Federal holiday, Margot's school celebrated "America's birthday" today. She dressed in red, white and blue for the occasion, came home knowing all the words to "God Bless America," and reported that she was in a parade, ate red and blue jell-o, and had her face painted. (No need to report that one, as you can see!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Yellow Card

Yesterday afternoon we watched the U.S. play Brazil in the final of soccer's Confederations Cup. After the U.S. upset Spain by winning 2-0 last week, we were hopeful that they'd win the cup. (Alas, the U.S. gave up an early 2-0 lead and lost to Brazil 3-2.)

Margot wandered in and out of the living room throughout the game, occasionally stopping to watch a little. At one point, one of the Brazilian players got a yellow card.

"What's a yellow card?" she asked.

"Well, if a player does something the referee thinks is unfair, like pushing or tripping another player, then he gets a yellow card," I explained.

"Like in hockey?" Margot asked. (Margot was a rabid Caps fan this past spring.) "Does he have to sit on the bench?"

"A yellow card is just a warning," I told her. "But if you get too many yellow cards, then yes, you have to sit on the bench."

"How old is he?" Margot asked, indicating the Brazilian player.

"Huh?" I asked. "I don't know. Why?"

"That's how long he'll have to sit on the bench," Margot explained.

Her logic was based on her (limited) knowledge of time-outs for bad behavior: one minute per year of life. We also employ this strategy at dinnertime: "four more bites for four-years-old." (Perhaps FIFA wants to reconsider their game rules to employ this logic.)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Beach

Margot enjoyed her first beach vacation of 2009 in Chincoteague, VA, last weekend. While the weather was cool and rainy for the beginning of our long weekend, the sun did manage to make a welcome appearance toward the end. This annual event gave her some time with her maternal grandparents and her two eldest cousins. In typical fashion, the weekend featured a heavy focus on ice cream, lots of pool time, horseback riding, and beach time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Bike of Her Own

(Camera-phone photo. Hence the fuzziness.)

Last weekend Margot became the proud owner of a new bike.

Unfortunately, the bike came without training wheels, so Brodie and I have been accompanying her and holding the back of the seat. After four days of this, I ordered training wheels online last night.

I don't recall ever having training wheels on my bike (and I vividly remember my first beloved bike - it said "Dusty Rose" on the frame. I thought that was the most beautiful phrase I had ever heard.). However, I do remember the moment I learned to ride my bike without someone holding onto it. My parents and brothers were watching something on tv on a gorgeous sun-splashed afternoon, and no one wanted to come out to the sidewalk with me while I practiced riding. I huffed and puffed and took my bike out alone. Lo and behold, I got on, rode, and didn't fall off. That moment set the stage for my future independence (I really believe that).

I hope for the same for Margot, but I think we'll go the training wheels route for her. I don't think my back can take another week - let alone the months - it will probably take for her to learn to ride without them!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Breaking Bad Habits

It's official: it's been more than two weeks since Margot has sucked her thumb. We're trying not to make a huge deal about it, but have told her that we're proud of her and she just smiles quietly in return. I'm in awe of her self-regulation. (I mean, c'mon! This was not just an emotional crutch but a physical one, too! Think of all that dopamine whose effects she's stamped out!)

Poor Babi. He still lives on her bed, but no longer gets the nighttime cuddles he once did. He had a really good run for many years. I'm sure he never could have imagined being a child's absolute favorite animal when he was travelling down the Gund assembly line so many years ago. Especially since he was bought as the 'extra' lovey. But like Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, and Harry Truman (among others) before him, he stepped up after tragedy. And he succeeded at winning a little girl's heart.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Martial Artist

This morning was Margot's first Tae Kwan Do lesson. We won the lessons at a fundraiser for her preschool. Contrary to her usual sunny disposition, Min cried and clung to me when we got to the studio, but I convinced her that she should at least try the class. By the end, she was smiling, participating, and doing well.

When we got home, she and Brodie practiced a little.

Deer 3. Claudia 0.

Here's Margot next to the tomato plants that have been disappearing one by one this week.

The perp left behind an obvious foot...err...hoofprint.

I've been thinking about attracting one of these guys to our backyard. Of course, that might invite a whole other set of wildlife issues. (This is completely feasible. If you read the full link, it says that coyotes are in the portion of Rock Creek Park that is directly across the street from us!)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dare I say it?

...Lest I jinx her, but Margot has been making a concerted effort to stop sucking her thumb and she's actually having some success. Several nights this week she has gone to sleep without Babi in hand and thumb in mouth. This is purely of her own doing. She started burying Babi under a pile of stuffed animals on the bed and falling asleep without him.

Last night, though, there were a lot of tears after lights out and some sobbing saying "It's hard to stop sucking my thumb!"

I don't know if she's getting peer pressure at school (Babi never goes to school with her, so I don't know how the kids would know she sucks her thumb), or if she's determined to wear nail polish (I told her no nail polish until she can keep her hands out of her mouth), but something is spurring her to break the addiction.

Maybe it's the threat of swine flu?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Future Dreams

As told to me by Miss Brooke (M's teacher at school).

I don't understand why we ask kids "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Heck, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up! I consider career changes all the time. Perhaps it's a way to help children envision a future, or to identify differences among adults. Perhaps it's just amusing for adults to hear their responses. I don't know.

At any rate, Margot has wavered between wanting to be a ballerina, a doctor, a firefighter, and a ballerina/doctor (maybe she means sports medicine?). One thing she is adament about: she's not going to college. Any suggestion to the contrary brings her to tears. She says she wants to live with me and Brodie forever. (This fear of college resulted from her Aunt Teal moving away to attend college two years ago.)

For the past few weeks, Margot's class has been studying dirt and all things dirt-related (i.e., landscapes, rocks, worms, etc.). Yesterday, her class learned about different kinds of jobs related to soil: archaeologists, miners, landscapers, construction workers, geologists, and gemologists. Her teacher asked which kids would like to do which job when they grow up. There was heavy interest in gemology amongst the girls in her class, and construction amongst the boys.

Margot's response? "None. I want to be a pretty person on stage."

Friday, April 03, 2009


Margot's imagination is constantly developing entrepreneurial ideas (that is definitely Brodie's disposition shining through).

For instance, a few months ago she had a brilliant idea for a 'towel-less' bathroom. Her idea was that she would step out of the shower/bath and a blow dryer would blast her with warm air, instantly drying her skin and eliminating the need for a towel.

I personally thought this would be a great idea for high-end hotels, and wondered if the energy needed to run the dryer would be better than the water wasted in laundering all those towels every day. Innovative AND green! (Brodie thought this idea already exists somewhere.)

This morning it is pouring out (April showers...). As we pulled out of our neighborhood on our way to preschool/work, Margot saw a girl waiting at her busstop. The girl had a raincoat on to stay dry, but Min noted her backpack was getting soaked.

"What if there could be some kind of umbrella holder on a backpack so it could stay dry?" asked Margot. "Or what if a backpack had hands so it could hold its own umbrella?"

I smiled at that.

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." -- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jonas Brothers vs. Lehman Brothers

Clearly Margot's two worlds are colliding, and with mixed results. As she grows up and encounters new friends (with older siblings!) at school, she's learning more and more about pop culture (for better or for worse). Coupled with the business-talk she hears at home, it makes for very amusing discussions.

On the way home from school today, Margot asked me: "Who are the Lehman Brothers?"

Surprised, I tried to think of the simplest answer I could. "It's a company, honey," I said, too tired to delve into explanations of bankruptcy and unsure how much of Lehman Brothers even exists now. "You should ask Daddy - he can explain Lehman Brothers better."

(Sidenote - Brodie and I long ago divided topics that we'll teach Margot. Me = life sciences, vocabulary, writing, health, languages. Brodie = all math after fractions, world history, business/finance, budgeting, sports, architecture. It should be a good balance.)

Margot thought for a moment. "Well, are they like the Jonas Brothers?"

Some of you may have to follow the links to appreciate the difference between the two, but I guarantee it's a good laugh if you do!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Day at the Ballet

Last Saturday, Min's good friend Rachel came to Washington to dance at the Kennedy Center with the NYC Ballet. Always thoughtful of Margot, Rachel secured tickets to the matinee performance and a tour of the backstage area for Margot. She also invited us to watch class warm-ups before the performance.

For Margot this was truly a dream come true. She adored watching the warm-ups, and was especially enthralled when the pianist played the Indiana Jones theme song for the dancers. [Although, truth be told, she immediately turned to me and said, "You can't dance ballet to this!" I pointed out that yes, apparently you can. Later, the pianist stopped by to say hello to Margot and noted that she tried to play songs Min would recognize and enjoy. By the way, that last pun was fully intended.]

Rachel also gifted Margot with the toe shoes that she wore in Friday evening's performance. Margot was excited at the prospect of dancing in Rachel's shoes (quite literally) and was disappointed when told that she'd have to wait years to dance in toe shoes. [I plan to hang them in her room, out of reach to avoid temptation.]

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, but they were taken with my phone so are a little blurry.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Adventures in Wyoming

(Margot beneath the elk-horn arch in the town square of Jackson, WY)

After a long, snowless winter, we booked a trip to Jackson, WY, to have a little fun in the snow before (blessed) Spring arrives in a few weeks. Lo and behold, it snowed 6+ inches in DC while we were away. (We can't win.)

The trip was full of ups and downs - literally and figuratively. After all, it was a ski/snowboard vacation. (Go ahead - groan all you want. I recognize that is horrible writing, but it's late and I'm not feeling creative right now. My 9-5 job is draining my brain these days.)

And so here is a summary of the ups and downs of Jackson.

Let's start with a major downer:

This is what a missed flight looks like. For the first (and hopefully only) time in my life, I missed a flight. The plane was still at the gate, but delays in parking, security, and checked baggage brought us to the gate three minutes after they closed the door. The most painful part was that the plane was still sitting there at the gate, but the agent wouldn't let us board. I tried crying but to no avail. The heartless gate agent never raised his eyes from his computer screen.

Things improved, though.

Here's Min on the up and up (groan again, go ahead). She's above 10,000 feet for the first time (well, other than in an airplane):

And here she is learning to ski. The ever-resourceful Brodie fashioned a harness for her and spent over an hour on the bunny hill with the Min (this was in lieu of ski school). She rode the tow rope by herself, and, while it looks as if they are on a flat surface, let me assure you that she did a great job sliding down the bunny hill. Each time she would assume a crouched, Quasimodo-like stance and just slide on down with a huge smile on her face the whole way. By the end, she even did a few turns. I was really amazed at how much she improved over last year.

The ski champ!