The Public Speaker

Oh, Romilly.  You are full of surprises aren’t you?

Today at our homeschool group, the kids were learning about American Indians.  This, as you may know, is Romilly’s favorite topic in the whole world right now.  After Mr. Steve finished his little lesson, Pippa raised her hand (See?  They are learning some school skills after all!)

“My sister knows a lot of Indian stories,” she proudly informed Mr. Steve.

Mr Steve looked at Romilly… “Does she?… Would you like to tell us one?”

And before I knew  what was happening, my six-and-a-half-year-old was standing in front of a group of 40 or so adults and children of all ages, wearing an Indian headress fashioned out of a yellow balloon, and sharing, in horrific, gory detail, how the Nez Perce tribe came to be.  There was a coyote, and a monster, and a rattlesnake who wasn’t so fierce while the monster was eating him, and a fire, and something about the east and the west and the north and the south, and a sprinkling of blood right in this spot here.  And then a tribe came to be there.  The end.  I didn’t know whether to be proud or mortified.

The craziest part was that I had never read or heard the story before in my life.  We apparently have Kaya, the American Girl, to thank for filling our daughter’s head with grisly Indian legends.  Awesome.

Who’d have guessed that our delicate little introvert, who spent a good deal of her formative Sunday school years hiding under the table to get away from the other children, would be such a natural at public speaking?


Romilly on the Grave Perils of Growing Old

IMG_5867Our sweet Romilly has an active imagination, a sensitive spirit and a very unique perspective on the world.  She laughs easily and cries easily, and she is definitely our most dramatic girl.

From when she was a tiny baby, she has always startled easily and been frightened by loud noises.  As she has become more aware of the world around her, her list of phobias has grown to include:

  • Vrooming cars.
  • Prickling branches.
  • Play areas with holes in them.
  • Anything with holes, come to think of it.
  • Moths. (They eat clothes, after all, what’s to stop them eating her too?)
  • Ants.
  • Spiders.
  • Fruit flies.
  • Okay, insects.
  • Getting pruny fingers.
  • Tunnels and other small spaces.
  • Slides and other high places.

And tonight, a new addition to the list:

  • Getting old.

Yes, that’s right.  My three-year-old is now very much afraid of old age.

It all started when Big Junie (of course this is a terrible name for her, she wants to be called Junie B to distinguish her from the baby, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on with the girls… anyway, *Aunt* Junie, my great aunt whom Junie is named after) came over on Friday.  One of the girls noticed something alarming about Big Junie’s ear (wrinkles or similar, I didn’t quite catch it) and asked why it was that way, to which Junie replied, “It’s because I’m getting old.”

Nothing more was said about it, but it apparently got Miss Ro’s wheels turning.

Tonight we dropped Trevor’s car off for its inspection.   It, too, is getting on in years.  So on the drive over, he thought it would be a good idea to prepare the girls for the possibility that we might not get it fixed this time and would therefore not be able to drive it anymore.  In hindsight, this was a very bad idea.

Both big girls were very distraught about this prospect, but Romilly got particularly upset, as is her wont.

On the way home, we had a converstaion that went something like this:

Ro (nearly in tears): But I’m afraid of getting old.

Daddy: But Ro, you’re only three, you won’t be getting old for a very long time.

Ro: But Junie is old.

Daddy:  Well, yes.

Ro: But I don’t want to get old.

Daddy: But you won’t, for a very, very long time.  Mommy and Daddy aren’t even old yet, and we’re a lot older than you.

Ro: But I don’t want to get old ever.  Why does everybody have to get old?

Mommy: That’s a good question.  God made us to live forever, but Adam and Eve sinned it messed everything up, so now people get old.

Ro: But I don’t want to get old.

Mommy: Well, Ro, what are you afraid is going to happen when you get old?

Ro: I will be pruny all over all the time!


It’s a legitimate concern, you’ve got to give her that.

Our Middle Sweetie

img_1321Romilly has been full of randomness lately.  I don’t know quite how else to explain it.  First of all, she has taken to calling us (exclusively) Mom, Dad, Pip and Bea.  Apparently she is now too cool to call us by any more than a single syllable.  At two months shy of three she has the most active imagination I have ever come across and is constantly coming out with gems like:

“Mom, I’m going to eat you all up!  You’re spicy, but only a tiny little bit.”


“Mom, I’m a scary brown and black monster, and I’m going to scratch your back.”

But it is this recurring conversation that I absolutely had to record for posterity, lest I should ever forget it.  We go through this almost word for word at least three times a day.

Romilly: Excuse me, Mom!

Me: Yes, Ro?

Her: I love you.

Me:  I love you, too!

Her: I love you a most. (Sometimes she even embellishes to “a mostest”, which I might love even more.)

Me: No, I love you the most!

Her: (Like it’s a brand new idea every single time) Bofe of we can be a most!

Me: (Really excited)  Okay!

Her:  Bofe of we are a most, bofe of we are a most – yay!

Just like that, every time.  I love this kid.

A Birthday Lunch, a Cookie and a Hippo

Today, after weeks of postponement, the girls and I finally got to go out with Junie to celebrate her birthday. (As far as I’m concerned, she is the same age as I am, 31 this year, but I suspect she may actually be slightly older, since she is my grandfather’s sister. It is not to be discussed.) We had a lovely lunch at Panera and then walked across to Barnes & Noble hoping to get a chance to chat while the girls played with the trains.

Low-maintenance girls were not so much the order of the day, but we did have a fun afternoon reading them books and enjoying some yummy treats. We were poised to make our getaway before anyone melted down or dirtied their diaper. That is, until Romilly got her chocolatey fingers all over a little stuffed hippo.

I wiped off as much as I could and quickly shoved the hippo back with its friends, hoping my conscience wouldn’t notice what had just happened. Then I promptly picked it back up, and marched it up to the check-out with Bea and Pippa in tow. Ro went to wait by the front door with Junie, where she apparently spent the whole time tugging desperately to try to get back to us while I had this conversation:

B&N employee: Hi.

Me: Hi. I’m buying this because we chocolated it. (I think I half hoped for an “Oh, that’s okay, you don’t have to. It happens all the time.” No such luck.)

Her: Ha ha. Okay.

Me: Can’t have too many stuffed hippos, right?

Her: (Cheerfully) Right. Especially green ones. (???) (Then, looking at the girls) Which one of them did it?

Me: Oh, not one of these two. The middle one. She’s over there.

Her: (Looking over there) Oh, you have another one?  Wow, you’re a trouper!

Me: Yeah… Oh! I mean, she’s over there with my aunt. Not by herself. She’s not chocolating more things. At least, I hope not…

Her: Okay. Do you need a bag for that?

I didn’t. I thanked her, took the hippo, and made a beeline for Junie and Romilly to find Ro lying on the floor and Junie on her knees trying to coax her back up. It was not our smoothest ever exit from Barnes & Noble, but at least we got a new friend out of the deal. I’m thinking of naming him Chunk, after the Chocolate Chunk cookie that caused him to join our family. Any other suggestions?

The Long-Awaited Cyber Playdate

What do you do when your best friends and steady couple have a baby girl less than two weeks after you have yours, but then go and end up 2000 miles away? Well, in this day and age, you organize a cyber playdate, of course! That’s just what my dear friend Carol and I having been planning for the past month or so for Romilly and her little friend Tabitha, who is serving as a faithful MK (missionary kid) in Mexico City. Have a look at the amazing work Tabitha’s mummy and daddy have been doing working with street kids in Mexico .

Romilly and Tabitha have met a couple of times, but it has most definitely been much too long. (Yes, they really are just eleven days apart, but the remarkable difference in size is just as pronounced now as it was when they were 3 months old.)

So, as you can see, it was high time for a reunion of sorts. Let’s call it an e-union, shall we? The plan was as follows: Today, April 28, 2008, Romilly and Tabitha would don matching outfits and participate in matching activities, then we would swap photos and stories to share with the girls, and voila – it’s like we were really together! Hmm… not quite, sadly, but it was still a *fab* way to spend the day and we will certainly do it again sometime.

We started off the day by doing this craft: a picture frame inspired, once again, by my favorite toddler craft guru. It went okay, considering the attention-span constraints involved.

The next item on the agenda was supposed to be a trip to the park and a picnic, but as our weather forecast was for thunderstorms today (none so far, but plenty of rain) we decided to go with Plan B, which was probably more exciting for my girls anyway. (I wish I could say that this was Bea’s first fry, but, you know, third child and all…)

Unfortunately, the Playplace had nothing to offer poor Ro. She just wasn’t big enough to climb up to where all the action was. Happily, she was delighted to sit in a high chair and drink her juice and play with the American Idol Happy Meal toy (do kids even watch this show???), so it wasn’t a complete bust.

Finally, Carol made a rather odd suggestion for dessert, but she is a missionary after all, so I didn’t like to argue. Jelly and ice cream. Okay, Carol, if you say so… (must be some sort of delicacy where they come from. Northern Ireland: they’re a little backwards there.)

Oh, wait… she means JELL-O and ice cream! Now that, I can get on board with, and so could the girls!

Here‘s one of a couple short videos the girls made for their friends.

Meanwhile, south of the border, this is what the other little sweetie pie got up to. Isn’t she adorable and hilarious? I believe there might be some more photos of her day appearing here at some point.

While it was wonderful to “spend the day” with Carol and Tabitha and baby Oscar, it did make me miss them all the more. Wouldn’t these two girls be the best of friends?

Please know, dear friends, that we love you and miss you and are praying for you always. Until we can meet again for zilch and Starbucks, the Internet will just have to do.

Spring Is Here, Bring on the Bubbles!

Today is such a perfect day.  Birds are chirping, my back door has been open all afternoon, and finally, after a whole winter of asking to blow bubbles at least once a week, the big girls got to do one of their favorite outdoor activities today while Beatrix was napping.


Gulliver was delighted to be part of the fun, too, as evidenced by his bushy metronomic tail in this video. I’ll leave you with this. Every day should be this lovely.

He Says, She Says Saturdays: Facial Hair

On men, that is.  If I ever have facial hair, that might warrant a blog post all its own!

This somewhat random topic comes to us courtesy of our friend Jeff, whom we had the pleasure of having over for dinner tonight.  Jeff does not have an active blog, but he ought to, and as an attempt to lure him into the blogosphere, I will give this little linky shout-out to his thoughts on beards on his badly neglected MySpace blog.  (Hey, maybe we should call it He Says, She Says, Jeff Says Saturday this week… our first guest speaker!)  Jeff’s beard looks like this, incidentally, or at least it did two years ago.  I don’t think it is much different now, but I am not a facial hair expert, as you are about to find out.

This is, to my knowledge, the most facial hair my husband has ever had:

Photobucket (Right before shaving it off.)
(Just an excuse to show off a picture of 6-month-old Romilly – wasn’t she sweet?)

He stopped shaving when he left his job in Scotland and didn’t shave again until his first interview in America.  I think it was basically just an experiment to see if he could grow a beard.  It was a fun experiment, but I can’t say I was sad to see it go.  I don’t mind the look of a nicely trimmed beard (Orlando  as opposed to bearded Jack) facial-hair-orlando-bloom-400a010907.jpg jack-beard-715965.jpg but I don’t want it on my husby.  They’re just no fun to cuddle.  I didn’t mind Trevor’s beard when he had it, but I am not a huge fan of the stubbliness it took to get there (or, indeed, of the stubbliness that always seems to accumulate between shaves for him.)  I guess I just like his face too much to see (or feel) it obscured in any way.

Hopefully he will have something more interesting to say on the topic than I did sometime in the near future, but in the meantime, I have an important task for you, my faithful and devoted readers: Please, oh please, fill up my comment box with some ideas for what on earth we can blog about on Saturdays! We had intended this to be a much more… well, interesting endeavor than it has been, and we seem to have fallen into a rut of writing about whatever we happen to be up to on that particular weekend. I know we can do better. So, unless you want to read drivel like this again next weekend, get thinking! (Hey, at least you got some nice pictures today, right?)