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Nov/Dec Thursday :: 03 November 2005
After dinner each night, I've been letting the girls pick out a piece of Halloween candy for dessert. Of course, Lisa protests, but a kid's got to be able to eat her hard-earned candy. That's whole point, isn't it? Tonight Maeve picked out a "fun-size" Snickers bar. She took one bite and then thrust it at me asking "what's this?" while pointing out the oozing caramel. "Caramel" I told her. "Why?" she replied and then immediately "I like it." The other night she had a Starburst. After one bite, she announced "I love this."

Saturday :: 05 November 2005
Momma went to a parenting class this morning and I hung out with the girls. Lilly asked if we could look at pictures on the computer so I got the laptop and pulled up Crumbcrunchers photos. We had fun going through all the old pictures. Then I loaded a drum track audio file and we played with Media Player's visualizations for a while. When Lilly asked me to make the computer talk, I pulled a text-to-speech synthesis site and we had fun typing their names in and have the computer say them. (Note: I had to type in M-A-Y-V-E to get Maeve pronounced correctly.) Penny and Sarah called and came and got the girls around 11:00 to do a photo shoot down by the lake. (Photos to be posted here soon.)

Sunday :: 06 November 2005
I took Lilly to a birthday party at the Holiday Inn indoor water park this afternoon. Lilly seemed a little timid but did hook up with a few of the little girls she knew from school. I think she liked hanging out in the "hot pool" (spa) with Poppa more than anything, though she did go down the pirate-ship slide a few thousand times. After swimming we all had pizza and there was nothing to drink except soda. I nonchalantly poured her a cup and gave it to her without comment. When she asked what it was and I told her, her eyes widened. She hadn't ever had soda before and left it sitting for quite a while she ate pizza. I sat behind her watching as she cautiously took a sip. She put it back down, took another bite of pizza and then got up and came over to me. "Poppa, I don't like the soda. Can I have some water." Ahhh. My plan worked perfectly.

Monday :: 07 November 2005
I got a call at work after lunch. Momma and Maeve were driving by my office and Maeve insisted on stopping for a kiss. I ran out front and as I gave Maeve a kiss, she said "I love you so much." In the evening after dinner, we were all sitting on the couch. Maeve gave all of us pet names: Lilly was "Sweetie," I was "Baby," and Momma was "Honey." Lilly returned the favor by calling her little sister "Stinky."

Thursday :: 24 November 2005
Thanksgiving was spent at Aunt Ruth and Uncle Darrell's in Galena. Lilly immediately cornered Great Aunt Ruth and disappeared into the other room to read stories. Maeve took quite a shine to Aunt Ruth (the younger) and was shadowing her every footstep by the time we left. Lilly also connected with her older cousin Mallory and her younger cousin Lindsey and talked about them and Aunt Ruth all the way home.

Saturday :: 26 November 2005
Got our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tree farm was run by Belgian horse enthusiasts and the the girls loved the wagon ride. The girls were thrilled when I began hauling the Christmas stuff up from the basement. Lilly proclaimed our tree to be the most beautiful in the world, but Maeve was scared of the fire in the fireplace and wouldn't set foot in the front room. We watched a few of the old Christmas favorites (now lovingly repackaged on DVD) like the Grinch and Rudolph. Lilly was enthralled, but Maeve's attention wavered at ten minutes and then broke down completely by 15.

Tuesday :: 29 November 2005
Daycare called and Lisa had to take Maeve to the doctor. She had an ear infection, which, now diagnosed, explains her crankiness over the previous two weeks.

Sunday :: 04 December 2005
My entries have been rather scarce lately. A somewhat overwhelming new job and never-ending home-improvement projects have sapped my energy for blogging. Instead of trying to recap (and remember) everything, I simply present some qutoes that should give you, dear reader, a glimpse into the the world according the the Hall sisters.

First Maeve:
  • "I have gooky eyes." (Explaining her as-yet-undiagnosed conjunctivitis.)
  • "I'm not talking." (Apparently disregarding that she WAS talking.)
  • "He's unstoppable." (About Hank.)
  • "Hanky's my best friend." (Well, Lilly's always talking about her best friends...)
  • "Oh man." (When Momma snapped off the shower diverter at bath time.)
  • "It's sleeping under the noodles." (Upon discovering a veggie hot dog in her Mac'n'Noodles.)
  • "My spoon is orange, like the noodles." (During the same bowl of Mac'n'Noodles.)
  • "I get you." (As she charges across the room and hugs our legs.)
  • "I love you soooo much." (So do we honey, so do we.)
Now Lilly:
  • "I don't think Santa Claus is coming." (Assessing her recent behavior.)
  • "I can do magic. Really. But only when no one is looking." (No, really?)
  • "Will you be done working on the house in the spring?" (Apparently indicating that I don't spend enough time with my family?)
Monday :: 05 December 2005
Maeve was misbehaving getting into her car seat this morning and Lisa told her that she better watch it because Santa was watching, to which she replied "He can't see me because he is in the house." When Lisa informed her that Santa saw everything, she looked up at the sky and said, "Santa don't look now because I am being naughty but you will still bring me presents." Urghhhhhh.

Saturday :: 17 December 2005
We made cut-out cookies today. It was wonderful chaos. The girls perched on their stools at the island as we carefully explained how to press the cutters into the sheets of dough. They both had a little trouble grasping that overlapping the cuts would make for some strange looking shapes. But it wasn't until the cookies were out of the oven and cooled that all hell broke loose. Maeve tried to get every bit of frosting in her bowls on to a single cookie, resulting in a muddy brown and rather soggy cookie. Lilly discovered sprinkles for her cookies and got more on the floor than the frosting. It was loads of fun and we laughed a lot. Then we had milk and cookies.

Afterwards we watched Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. When Nestor's Momma dies in a blizzard and he wanders around crying, Maeve burst into tears. Huge sobs wracked her body and she moaned over and over "Nestor's sad." Of course, five minutes later she was laughing a smiling.

Saturday :: 24 December 2005
We stayed home for Christmas for the first time in... well, forever. We tried to establish some Christmas traditions for the girls. We'll see whether they actual become traditions or not as the years go by. First up was breakfast out. We went to a little 50s-themed diner in Sun Prairie (or as Maeve says "pwawee"). It was festive, fun, and frenetic, with all the staff wearing Santa hats. In the afternoon we made the "traditional" Christmas Eve rice pudding, following my mother's family recipe. Lilly looked at it and announced: "It looks like yuk... but it smells good." All of us except Momma agreed that it tasted darn good too.

We all bustled off to see Lilly in the Saint Olaf Christmas Pagent. She seemed a little nervous, suiting up in the parish center beforehand, but walked straight and tall to the stage behind the altar for her non-speaking part as an angel. When we got home, the girls arranged a plate of snacks for our expected visitors: cookies for Santa, cheese for Santa Mouse, and carrots for the reindeer.

Sunday :: 25 December 2005
When we came downstairs and walked into the front room, Lilly stopped dead. With eyes as big as saucers, she gazed on the piles of presents. "Whoa," she whispered. "Santa DID come." Later, after the gift wrap carnage was over, she announced that this Christmas was "the best day ever." In the afternoon we prepared the "traditional" homemade Christmas pizza. The girls tried valiantly, if unsuccessfully, to keep the cheese on the pizzas. While we waited for the pizzas to cook, Maeve noisily zoomed around the island with her new Bitty Baby stroller.

Wednesday :: 28 December 2005
We went the DeForest library for a screening of "The March of the Penguins" this morning. Lilly and Lisa had seen it before and Lilly had cried a few points. She was braver this time around and Maeve seemed unfazed by frozen eggs, subzero temperatures, and a momma penguin becoming a meal for a sea lion. In fact, the only time Maeve cried was when Poppa told her to be quiet. The movie did leave an impression on her though. She pretended to be a penguin for days, walking in short, teetering little steps. She was so taken with this new persona, that she all but forgot her other alter-egos (hoppy the bunny and a clean blueberry) for the better part of a week.

Thursday :: 29 December 2005
We all worked really hard to finish the basement playroom this week. The girls helped with painting today. Santa had somehow known that they wanted to help and had left both girls paint brushes in their stockings. Over Lisa's protestations, I decided to let them help paint some of the new shelving I had built. Recognizing the impending mess, I had them strip down to their underwear and covered them with a couple of my old t-shirts. In an attempt to hermetically seal Maeve, Lisa pulled the neck opening over head like a hood and fastened it with a clothespin. Maeve immediately began running around crying, "I Mary!" They did a decent job painting. Lilly explained the task to Maeve like this: "Maeve, make sure you can't see any brown."

Past diary entries: September-October 2005
July-August 2005
May-June 2005
March-April 2005
January-February 2005
November-December 2004
September-October 2004
July-August 2004
May-June 2004
March-April 2004
January-February 2004
November-December 2003
September-October 2003
July-August 2003
May-June 2003

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