Lunch with the Smiths


Kris and I met up with the Smiths for lunch today. Though Meter was wary of Kris-Stranger-Danger, she cuddled up to me, which made me very very happy. Yes, having lunch with two little girls who have a balloon and a tiara between the two of them, is a fabulous way to start a new year.




Yeah, and, about that tiara, I couldn't resist.

The tiara looks good on me.



I tell you, I have the bestest friends ever. I mean, how many three year olds will let me help them make chocolate souffles, then NOT EAT THEM, leaving all of the tasty tasty chocolate for me?

I know at least one. We'll have to wait to see if Meter grows up to be number two.

Mirabelle and I with the souffles

I went up to the Smith's house tonight to spend time with the family. I arrived late, so missed out on helping fix dinner. Best way to make up for it? Make chocolate souffles. Mirabelle helped out and was amazingly good for a three year old. She didn't like the mixer noises, but seemed to love sugaring the ramekins.


We used the easy chocolate recipe from the New York Times that Mom brought over when she was out. It uses eggs and sugar as the roux, which is weird, but effective. The eggs from Andy's chickens are AMAZING. Other than just the dark dark yolks, they also beat into stiff peaks really easily, and without cream of tartar.


MMMM housewarming!


Kris and I went over to Mark and Megan's for their house warming party. I tragically didn't remember the invite correctly, and missed that it started at 11:00 AM, thinking it started at 1:00 PM and showing up at 2:00 PM would be fine. It was supposed to end at 3:00 PM, so I was dumb.

We arrived some time soon after 2:00 PM, and chatted for a moment with Brynne and Chookie and Shirley and Martha and Doyle people before Megan walked in with Meter on her hip. Oh, little kid, please tell me you've forgiven me, please, oh, please, I thought, as I asked Megan if I could hold Meter. Megan said sure, Meter resisted. I eventually won her over, and she let me hold her and play with her.

With her pigtails, oh my goodness, does Meter look like Mirabelle.


Eventually, Mark came over from socializing with other guests, and sat down with us to talk. When I handed him Meter, Mark commented that she's been having a rough week. He brushed aside her bangs and showed us a lovely flower of a bruise. Aside from Meter's gum dive, she rode her tricycle off the deck and managed to land on her head.

Either that kid is going to be the toughest kid on the block or Evel Knievel's logical successor.


Hanging out with Meter


Megan needed a little help this morning, with the handful known as Meter. When she asked me to help out, I jumped at the chance, er, gracefully accepted. Megan needed about an hour, so she helped me fit Meter into a front sling and off the two of us went.

We wandered down the main street of Los Gatos, looking into windows, wandering into various stores. The first store we went into was the one I was looking for: Williams Sonoma. We went in, wandered through the baking items, the various fancy glasses (which I dashed away from quickly when I realized that Meter's reach was greater than I thought), the mixes and sauces, the knives, and the cooking implements. I was looking for some small pie dishes, similar to the ones I received from Max and Rosa at our wedding: a set of four 5" pie plates for mini pies.

Alas, Williams Sonoma didn't have them, but they did have a set of four towels that match Andy's kitchen and a spatula that doubled nicely as a Meter chew toy.

Fifteen minutes down, another 45 minutes to go.

We managed to find a health food store which carried rice protein powder. I was momentarily discouraged when I first looked at their selection, as it was about 90% whey protein, 6% soy protein and 2% "tastes like crap" egg protein. Fortunately, I found the rice protein and was all set.

We wandered down to the end of Main Street, before turning around and wandering back to the other end of town. That trip included a detour into the Apple store. Meter was fascinated with all the colors and buttons. Not that I blame her. Have to start these kids early, so that they know quality.

Eventually, Megan was done, and the three of us wandered to a cafe to pick up lunch and, the best part, dessert. I ate mine before lunch, as all good dessert should be eaten first.

We then walked back to Mirabelle's day care, and waited for her class to end so that all of us could have lunch together.

While we were waiting, Megan had to head into the office for a permission slip, so I continued to wait for Mirabelle's class to be over. Megan was still gone when the classroom door flew open and a rush of little people came pouring out of the room into waiting arms of crouching parents.

Mirabelle, however, stood just inside of the room, as everyone else ran around. She stood there, looking down, looking so sad. I had intended on waiting for Megan, but seeing Mirabelle standing there, all by herself, the tiny little girl looking so sad, I just had to go and say hello.

After I said hello, Mirabelle looked up at me, very confused. Recognition danced across her face after a few seconds, and she smiled, launching into an excited tale of kittens on a pillow, kittens on a PILLOW, KITTENS ON A PILLOW!

Megan, Meter and I sat down to eat lunch, but Mirabelle kept running around excited about the map of the complex, and the KITTEN on a PILLOW, and the acorns, and oh, oh, oh! The DRINKING FOUNTAIN! How exciting was the drinking fountain? She kept running to us, then running back to the drinking fountain to take a drink, then back to us, then back to the drinking fountain. Every once in a while, she would also return to us and announce she used the DRINKING FOUNTAIN!

So much fun.

Eventually, Meter ate Mirabelle's quiche, minus the hot pepper parts, thereby earning both Mirabelle and Meter their just desserts.

Gingerbread men were never so tasty.

Romantic dinner with Mirabelle


I went over to have a romantic dinner with Mirabelle this evening. Meter decided she didn't want anything to do with me when I arrived, greating me with grunting noises that sounded suspiciously like I'm-really-trying-to-poop-so-don't-bother-me noises. Suspiciously. She decided bedtime was preferable to spending another I'm-going-to-poop minute with me, so off to bed she went.

Mark and Megan were planning on heading out tonight for some (possibly much-needed?) nudge-nudge, wink-wink, know-what-I-mean? Well, that, or a romantic dinner of their own.

Mirabelle and I spent the first twenty minutes I was there counting our money (well, her money) and going over our plan. We decided the best course of action for the evening was shoot videos, eat dinner, play for a bit, have pudding, shower, read a book or two, pray, and go to bed. Well, she would go to bed, I'd just write about the adventure, or something like that, waiting for the nudge-nudge to end.

When I was with my mom last in Orange County, she gave me the advice to always show a child the picture you took of her. I think the suggestion was to help the child understand what the camera is, but also to get a sense of self and be included in the picture process. So, with Mirabelle, I try to show her the pictures of her that I take. Which includes the videos. And which often end up in a loop of 2 seconds of something cute followed by 20 seconds of "Let me see! Let me see! I need to see! Push the button?" But, Mirabelle likes the videos, so we shot a bunch.

Right about when we were going to start dinner, Mark and Megan were on the way out the door and down the steps. Mirabelle realized what was going on and instantly panicked. Wait, wait, wait for me, I'll go, too! Mark tried to explain to her that it was just like preschool, and they would be back. Mirabelle clung to Megan harder, so Megan did what every mother from here to the other side of the world and back again does in these situations.

She bribed her child.

If Mirabelle didn't cry, we could have PUDDING! Glorious PUDDING! Heck, even I stopped crying at that point. I wanted the PUDDING.

I also picked up Mirabelle, so that we could go over our plan again, with the added event of PUDDING! I figured, if she was talking to me and sufficiently distracted, she wouldn't notice Megan and Mark leaving, and we could advert any meltdown disasters. I am one with the two-year-old child distraction techniques, and before long, we were once again enjoying our romantic dinner for two.

After a few pasta bites and a chicken bite, Mirabelle declared she was done, could she go play now? I said no, and explained she had to clear her plate before hopping off her chair to play. Which, to my surprise, she did. Just as she finished, Katie and Alex came down the stairs to say hello. Mirabelle and Alex took off back up the stairs, after Katie said it was okay, given Katie and me time to chat. I heard some details about Katie's riding lessons and her new horse, which sounded like loads of fun, before the two of us heard the two other non-sleeping people in the house screaming over something, I don't recall what, but it was VERY IMPORTANT to said two year olds.

So, Katie and I wandered back upstairs to see what was up. Much to my surprise, it was already 7:45, and time for PUDDING! Actually, I shouldn't have been so surprised, given that Megan and Mark had left barely a half hour before, but I felt obligated to both put Mirabelle into bed by 8 for Megan, and complete our plans for Mirabelle. We're on a mission kid! Time to eat your PUDDING!

Back downstairs we went and into the fridge we ventured. Where's the PUDDING? I asked Mirabelle. This? she answered, pointing to the container of salad I had just put into the fridge. No, that's not it. Any idea where it is? I asked. This? she answered again, this time pointing to the bottle of lemonade. Uh...

Eventually I figured out which container we wanted and pulled out the PUDDING! Mmmmmm..... tasty tasty PUDDING! We sat out on the porch, watching the sun go down as we ate tasty chocolate PUDDING! Mirabelle taking huge bites with her small spoon, I taking small bites with my huge fork. A nice moment.

Eventually, though, even I could not eat another bite of PUDDING! so I closed up the container, making the mistake of stating, "All gone." "I want to see," Mirabelle answered quickly. "I want to see inside. Inside. I want to see. I want to see." Aw crap.

Uh, tomorrow kid. You can look tomorrow. It's time for a bath, remember our plan? "I want to see." Great.

Eventually, through gentle insistence, which was more plunking Mirabelle down and removing her top and bottoms so that she could use the toilet before showering, I managed to distract her, yet again, away from the PUDDING container that really isn't empty, not even close, and onto the shower.

For the record, Keith and Katie's showers are AWESOME. Yes, as awesome as the PUDDING, didn't you see the capital letters? Unfortunately, I hadn't realized that bathing a two year old in the shower works best when you bathe them like 25 pound beagles, which is to say hop in the shower with them, tower over them, and scrub like you mean it. Mirabelle managed to avoid such a terror, but only by small margin. She showed me where all the toys were, found the hidden bar of soap, stopped the shower from draining so that she had a small bath, and stood under the delightful shower head as water rained down all over her.

I think that Mirabelle likes showers as much as I do, or at least playing in the water as much as the Smith brothers do, which made actually rinsing and draining the shower difficult. Once I pulled the drain cover off, she plunked her little butt down on the drain and continued to splash in the water, adjusting herself on occasion when she realized the water was still draining. Another six months and she'll be able to cover it completely.

After bathing, Mirabelle dressed herself, then waited patiently while I brushed her hair. We had our photoshoot before reading two books, one about dreaming of dinosaurs, the other about being a big sister who can just rock the world, and saying a night prayer. For the record, I suck at night prayers. I had even asked Mark and Megan for advice on what to say. Didn't help. Something about Jesus and watching over us and uh something else and okay say good night and amen already, kid, or something like that.

She said her amen and ran to her bedroom door, flinging it open and launching herself onto her bed, giggling the whole time. I was sure that Meter was going to wake up, with all of the noise, but she didn't. Not that it really helped. Mirabelle was tossing and turning for the next hour and a half, finally settling around 9:45. Meter started crying at 10.

I'm sure there's a trick to these small persons. I'm convinced of it. I just need to find that secret off-switch.

Not so faire


Megan and I went with the girls to the Maker Faire today. Only, we didn't quite make it. And Mark came along.

Our original plan was to head up around 10:30, head into the faire around 11, and leave around 1:30 or 2. The cost was $25 a person, but, well, two crafty women tooling around with two small kids in tow? Yeah, we'd see what we needed to see in those three hours, and boy, would it be worth the $25 a head, kids free!

Only, we didn't figure on the lines. The lines, the lines, the lines.

The first line was on 101 N to get onto 92 W. Megan pretty much said "screw this!" in a much nicer way, and went north on 101 to 3rd St. Megan's navigational abilities are impressive, as she turned left on Delaware after crossing 101, and voila! we were on our way to the fairgrounds, which were ON Delaware, about a mile south. We managed to bypass about a hour of sitting in traffic with the detour, and find a great parking space on the parking shuttle bus route, so we didn't have to walk to the fairgrounds.

We arrived, to discover two lines: the 45 minute credit card line, and the 30 minute cash line. Mirabelle and I jumped in one line, as Mark and Meter jumped in the other, and Megan went off to figure out which line we wanted to be in, and how long we would be in the line.

After looking at the line, seeing the next line inside, realizing it would be 12:30 before we managed to actually get into the fair, we gave up, and went off for a different adventure.

We ended up at Central Park in San Mateo, mostly because the park has a train for kids to ride around on, but also because it was close, and we were hungry and ready for lunch.

The great thing about parks is that they enable you to learn, without really trying. Take, for example, the cork tree that I learned about. I thought it was just a weird tree. Turns out, it's actually a weird, FUNCTIONAL tree. How's that for learning?

I also learned that, hey, you know what, people do go to the park for lunch and resting by a tree in the shade.

Who knew?

After lunch, the only appropriate thing for a two year old to do at a park is, well, you know, break the law.

So, with a little encouragement, Mirabelle did just that.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't "a little." It was, however, certainly appropriate. Civil disobedience at a young age! Ah, it warms the heart!

What? What did Mirabelle do?

Well, the sign behind her reads:

"It is unlawful to enter or use the elevated stage area at CENTRAL PARK without a CITY permit."

The sign is actually quoted like that, too.

Of course, Mirabelle was by far NOT the only person up on the stage, sharing it with a runner, an old dude and a dog, but she was the cutest. And! She was up for a continuing adventure. Like, battling the bathroom wind monsters. I tell you, Mirabelle's wind kung fu knows no limit!

Neither does how much she's able to impress me. Without hesitation, when we arrived at the playground, she wanted to go up! So, up she went to the top of the playground equipment. "Ladders? They're for climbing. Even if the rungs are slippery, and I have to hang on with one pinky while I manage to get my footing." That's what she was telling me.

Clearly she's done this before, as neither Mark nor Megan worried about her zooming up to the top. Me? I was a wreck during her climb.

One of the best parts of climbing up, is coming back down.

After the junglegym, we had to leave for other afternoon plans. We buzzed through the Japanese gardens, seeing the small japanese maple trees, the pagoda, a couple bridges and, of course, the fish.

All in all, a pretty wonderful day with the Smiths. Who needs a faire when you have a Mirabelle to keep you company?

Growing up


Megan, Mirabelle, Meter and I (oooooo, you could say the four lady M's!) went to Ikea today for lunch, because Ikea is just where you go for lunch with a 2 year old and a 2 month old. It's true. You knew that, right?

Mirabelle surprised me several times on the trip by asking me full questions complete with the proper intonations. Imagine a fifty year old woman projecting the question, "How are you, Kitt?" through a two year old girl's vocal cords, and you might get a hint of how wigged out I was at her questions.

It's neat watching her, though, seeing her develop a personality, much like watching Liza go from a toddler to this amazing little person. Not that I'd call her little to her face - she's practically to my shoulder already! Don't I feel short.

At one point during our Ikea adventure, Mirabelle and I decided to "run this way!" and off we went. Megan called after me a few moments later, "Hey, Kitt, do you have one of my kids?" I'm not sure how sheepishly I had to answer, "Yes, but she started it!"

My first noogie

Daily Photo

Megan, Mirabelle and Meter came over today for breakfast. Breakfast was, of course, pumpkin waffles.

After breakfast, we sat around and talked for a while. When Mirabelle started insisting, "Mayanna lap? Lap? Mayanna lap?" I had to pull out my camera.

When Mirabelle gave Meter her first noogie, well, I had to laugh.



Mark, Megan and Mirabelle came over for dinner tonight. Mark needed to pick up Volume 2 of the unabridged audio version of War and Peace from us, as he was done with Volume 1. More than done, actually: Volume 1 broke his car CD player.

My favorite conversation of the evening happened when Megan was getting Mirabelle ready for bed. I was in the kitchen when Megan walked in, then called back out to the living room where Kris, Mark, Mirabelle, Annie and Bella were:

"Stop asking her to say toothpaste!"

"Why does he do that?" I asked.

"He loves the way she says toothpaste."

Puzzled, I asked, "How does she pronounce toothpaste?"


I'd have to say that one's better than Ma Tit.