Wednesday, March 27, 2013


(kind of like catechisms, but said by our son)

(mostly these are for future reference of us, so feel free to skip this post if you don't care about things our kid says... I want to record them but don't want to spam people's Facebook newsfeeds because I realize no one else really cares what my kid says except maybe his grandparents... maybe)

"I'm starting to puke" and "I'm getting nauseous" (said in the middle of the night when he had the flu, and when he gets car sick... he says "nauseous" SO cute)
"Pee is coming out... right NOW" (when he wakes up and has to go to the bathroom)
"Where's Lulah?" (asked every time he realizes she is sleeping)
"I not so tired... I NEVER going to bed, NEVER NEVER" (said every night when he's exhausted)
"Is this the sign for (chips, insert other random word he doesn't know the sign for)"? (and invents sign)
"I love Lulah, I love my family" (he sang this as he walked around stomping his feet)
"Lulah Baby Fern is SO CUTE" (sometimes he calls her "Baby Clementine" now... but he has also started asking for a new baby brother or sister and sometimes says we will name the new baby Clementine)
"Can we call Grandma Betsey on Skype?" (I don't think he will really know what a telephone is)

He also always forgets my name is Cait, and usually calls me "Carroll-Browning" when he can't remember what my name is. He also likes to call Tim "Papa" like his European friends. Oh, and he also one time started speaking in German after a play date with Felix and Juna. That was hilarious.

"I'm growing bigger, bigger, bigger! See?" (and then he proceeds to measure himself from his toes to his head while counting -- he loves pointing this out a few times a day... I wonder if we talk about how small he is too much? Note to self: STOP DOING THAT)

"maa at-taqs, maa at-taqs al-youm? hal huwa mushmis? hal huwa baaaarid" (the only Arabic he knows, and I don't even think it's grammatically correct -- "what is the weather today? " I think you would really say "kayfa at-taqs" or "how is the weather today?".... anyway, I was translating one of his preschool songs on the fly and now he won't change it. He actually likes speaking in Arabic now, for the longest time he hated when we watched Arabic shows but now he asks for "شارع سمسم" aka Sesame Street)

"Is fruit a healthy snack? Yogurt's a healthy snack... etc." (he's obsessed with "healthy snacks" I think he saw it on a PBS show)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Literature for children

You know how most books your kid brings home from the library are kind... of.... well, stereotypical?And a little bit sexist/racist/classist? Oh, you didn't notice that? Hm.

Anywho, with how much reading of children's books we do around these parts, you start to notice, especially after you have taken a feminist political theory class. But there are some gems. And I've been loving these two books lately that we have found at our local Bookmobile.

First, Oscar's Half Birthday. Doesn't sound very exciting. But oh, everyone, this book is so unique! It's about a baby who is turning 6 months old, and with his mom and dad and sister Millie, he goes to celebrate in a park. Sound boring? It kind of is. The thing that makes this book SO, SO great is the family. It depicts diversity without being like "oh, and this couple is multiracial, see how progressive our kids' book is!" I also love how it's not a very white, very upper-middle-class suburban family with their clean-cut mom and dad and darling children. These people are (presumably) low-income, and live in an apartment with graffiti all over the elevator. They have to walk under bridges and through traffic in what appears to be a shady part of town to get to the park. The dad's underwear at one point is hanging out of his low-slung pants and the mom's shirt doesn't appear to actually be a shirt. They don't look like the typical children's book family, in fact, you'd probably see this people out on the street and think they are drug-addicted and bad parents... but they are totally in love with each other and their kids in such a simple way. I also love that the dad packs the sandwiches for their lunches.

Second, I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote is completely different but makes me feel equally as happy. It's about a strong-willed woman who sets up a political meeting that in turn leads to women getting the right to vote in Wyoming territory, the first state to grant that right in the US. She's an oft-forgotten heroine of the suffrage movement, a mother of three sons, and ends up being the first female judge in the US to boot. I really want to meet her.

(I do think it's a little weird they depict her as a little girl on the cover, because she didn't get women the right to vote until she was well into her older age...)

Speaking of books and children, Atticus recently began listening and reading along with books on tape. I think life just got a little more perfect. Yes! It is one of the cutest things going on around these parts.

And if you have suggestions for rockin' awesome kids' books, please share. We are always look for good ones!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week of March 10

Sunday: Daylight savings time really hit us hard and we had a really slow start to the morning. We spent most of the day cleaning up for a special Sunday afternoon Pizza Night. Only a few people showed up because the weather was awful and there is sickness all over Madison, but it was still nice. After putting the kids to bed and cleaning, Cait and I studied Arabic together, which was nice.

Monday: While Babysitter Jenny (who said this would be her last week *tear*) watched Atticus, I made a failed attempt to get Lulah a passport to cover the possibility of us going to Tunisia this summer. The post office said passports are by appointment only (they weren't in Utah) and so we scheduled it for a few weeks out (although it is looking less like we are going to leave). So I got empanadas from the empanada man with Cait, came home and took a nap, and then after Cait got home, I went to the bookmobile and shopping. At night, I went to men's group at FUS and we talked about our siblings. Interesting. I also met someone there who sold us another iPhone for $100. We are going to set up Cait on the same plan I am on, because it is working so well and she wants her own iPhone.

Tuesday: Not much today. There was a big snow storm, so we stayed inside all day and caught up on some chores.

Wednesday: A pretty standard day in the morning. Cait took Atticus to his ballet class and then to her Arabic class and then to a failed attempt to by a new high chair for Lulah (the lady from craigslist backed out at the last minute). We sold Atticus's loft bed and spent the rest of the night rearranging his room. It turned out nice.

Thursday: The big first birthday for our Lulah. We gave her a doll from Grammy in the morning, but Atticus soon claimed it as his own. Atticus went to school and Cait went to a political science dinner at night. So it wasn't very much of a birthday, but we'll have a better party on Saturday.

Friday: Today was a grumpy day for the kids. I think they were just bored of the house, and I should have taken them out. It's tough that the days I most need to force them out of the house, into the cold and convince them to stay still in the stroller are the days when they're the worst.

Saturday: I took Atticus to the children's museum while Caitlin prepped for Tallulah's party. Then we came back for the party, which was great but will likely get its own post. And then we spent the rest of the night getting dinner ready and trying to clean up from the party.

Atticus's go-to retreat place when he doesn't want to do something (going to school in this instance I think)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Flow Gently, Sweet Lulah.

Tallulah's First Year from Caitlin Carroll on Vimeo.

We missed the quintessential birthday post on her actual birthday, but there is too much to say about this girl. I can't believe a year has come and gone. She is so pleasant to be around, so nice to talk to, and learns new things every day. She loves to listen to music and dance, loves to eat (anything! really.... balsamic kale with feta, spinach pancakes, curry, Thai coconut soup). She weighs a whopping 17 lbs fully-clothed, I think that even beats her brother for skinnyness. She says "bath" and "mom/milk" and other indistinguishable words. She signs "more" and "milk" and loooooves watching Baby Signing Time. She craves the outdoors, and will be super grumpy inside until we take her on a walk, even in below-freezing temps. She thinks runs with dad are the greatest thing ever. She is still nursing 6-7 times a day, with 2-3 times during the night. She has the tiniest, daintiest feet that still fit in 0-6 month sized Roobez. She gives the best slobbery kisses and sprawls herself out in our king-sized bed at night. She loves stacking and pointing and cleaning up. We love her to pieces.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy birthday, Lu.

To my firstborn daughter on the eve of her very first birthday,

How can I begin to express the change you have wrought in my life? From the delight in your smiles to the heartache at your sorrow. You were born at a crossroads: just a few short months before we decided to radically upend our family, camp our way across the great United States, and re-settle twice more in another few months. We delighted in your newness, your awe at the world. Your birth was spiritual and empowering, full of goddess worship; you came into this world surrounded by strong women who understand the power within our female bodies. You were also greeted by the most loving father in the world and your crazy guy big brother who could not wait to meet you. We were more then excited to have you... we were in love from day one. We thought you'd be a different girl, but your own personality shone through and we named you Tallulah... "leaping waters"... and you live up to that name gracefully and perfectly. You are our little leaping dancer... our leaping goofy girl.

You have a thousand nicknames because we can't handle calling you just one thing, you are so complex and full of life. You are our Lulu, our Lu, our Boogs. Brother's Boon and Baby Fern. بنتي. Binti. My girl. You have this incredible essence about you for such a tiny human. You smile easily and make friends quickly. But when you are sad, you shriek like one of those tiny howler monkeys at the zoo. Some nights I crave your newbornness again, your soft lump of weak baby flesh nestled into my sure arms. Your spastic hands with those long fingers. Your grunts and groans. But then you wake up beside me and maul my face with your wet, toothy kisses and I am fully present in the moment with your emerging toddler girl-child self.

You've awakened in my soul a new kind of feminism. I thought I was a radical feminist before you were born, and maybe it's the fem theories classes I'm taking on one of the most liberal campuses, or maybe it's my passion and righteous anger at the world my darling girl inhabits, but I've become ever sensitized to injustice in this world. I feel a burning inside that is unquenchable so long as these injustices exist. I feel an acute sense of an almost animal-like protection... a mama bear lashing out against those who dare to harm her baby cubs, those who even venture too close. But at the same time, I know the only way for you to face the world to make it a more kind and just place is through your own self, so I hope to give you gifts to allow you to forge your own path, to live an authentic life and find what brings you the most happiness.

For now, though, my Little Lu, I'll soak in every morsel of your sweet baby girl self. This year has brought changes... you entered our lives on the cusp of springtime and brought with you warmth and color. You've lived through a lazy summer surrounded by those who adore you most, a glorious fall in a new city, and a cold but cozy winter with new friends in our little apartment in the big woods. Now, we are on the edge of spring again... of new beginnings.... there is a quiet anticipation of things to come. I look forward to the coming seasons with my one-year-old girl, because it means more time finding out who you as a tiny human are and will become.

You are now peacefully sleeping in the bedroom, unaware of the importance of tomorrow. I will spend a few quiet moments with my not-quite-one-year-old girl when I go in there to sleep next to you. And though you won't remember, I'll whisper to you the meaning you have brought to my life. The wholeness you have given me. Your birth ushered in a new sense of purpose and oneness with my body and my soul. For that reason, at least to me, you are perfect in every way. Thank you for this year, sister.

Wild Turkey Feeding

We've blogged before about the wild turkeys in our apartment complex, but here's a cool moment where Atticus and Lulah got to get close and even feed them a little.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Tallulah is starting to climb. In fact, it is pretty much her favorite thing to do right now. She doesn't necessarily have to be climbing to anything, she just wants to climb. Her favorite thing to climb is this stool, and we now have to constantly keep it on its side so that she doesn't climb it wherever she can find it.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Past couple of weeks

So, we've had a house of sick people the last couple of weeks, and that has kept us from blogging. Also, just lack of motivation. But we seem to be on the tail end of at least one of these maladies.

So, let's see.

On Sunday last week, I took Atticus to Mormon church in the morning where he gave the scripture in primary, and then wouldn't let me leave his side.

After Church, we pedaled hard to the Unitarian Church, where Cait and I signed our names in their big book to officially become Unitarian-Universalists. Our friends Brad and Jenny came to support us and we had a nice dinner afterwards.

That afternoon, we went to a going away party for our very good friends Ida and Patrick, who are headed back to Sweden, after their stint in the US seeing what it was like in a developing nation.

They had two of Atticus's favorite things at the party, angry birds and craft projects
We spent a lot of last week sorting through the many items that our friends Ida and Patrick kindly donated to us (immediately) before their departure. Like a king size bed, that we temporarily squeezed in next our queen sized bed.

On Tuesday, after Cait got back from Arabic, I went out to get some ingredients for dinner, but I left my bike keys at home, so I had to walk back. As I was walking back, a big storm started, so my bike was stuck there at Target indefinitely. Luckily, someone called to offer me a ride to the ward lecture night (the monthly event where one of the many students in our ward lectures on what they are studying to other members of the ward), and they had room in their van to pick up my bike. The lecture was really interesting, given by a geography major about a Buddhist temple in Thailand that took in Hmong refugees from Laos (if I am remembering right) and all the internal politics that go on there in relation to the sacred geography of the temple. Anyway, really interesting.

While I was gone, Cait captured this great video of Atticus being really tired (it gets a little dry in the latter bits):

I'm pretty sure he's never actually heard of Captain Underpants

Wednesday, Atticus had his first ballet class at the community center.

Friday, I had yet another dentist appointment, and I also used the local community car for the first time, which is a program where you can pay $7.50 an hour to rent a car that is up at the community center. Usually, there is a monthly fee, but Eagle Heights residents get that waved. We probably had a few times that we should have used this before, but we always forgot. It worked well this time, and I got to drive a Prius for the first time.

Saturday, we had a day at home, as Cait was still pretty sick and Lulah and Atticus were just getting over it. I took Atticus to UU church that night.

Week two:

Sunday was another restful day, although we did feel up to going to our friend Brad's birthday potluck in the afternoon.

Monday, I started getting sick, but I still felt well enough to volunteer overnight at the rotating homeless shelter, the Road Home, that I've talked about before. It was nice, and really easy this time, but I had a really hard time sleeping, which is really strange for me.

I got really sick after this, and the rest of the week until the end was pretty much in survival mode. Cait took the kids (or just Atticus, which is pretty much the kids) a lot, which was really nice, including to ballet on Wednesday and to playgroup on Thursday and a playdate with Abdo, a kid from Atticus's school, where Cait got to practice her Arabic . Luckily the kids are really good at playing by themselves inside and are playing together better and better.

Friday night I was feeling up to going to a birthday party for the baby of a family from the ward, the Stoffers. On Saturday afternoon, they, in turn, went with us to FUS, and we stayed for the potluck afterwards, which was good.

Laying with a sickly dad

Saturday, March 9, 2013

First steps

We've been away from the blog for a while with pretty continuous illness, but, this is worth the wait.

Boogs' first step. (And yes, "Boogs" and "Boons" have pretty much settled into being her nickname, sorry Tallulah, pretty much because Atticus says them so cute)

We were just hanging out yesterday and around the corner comes Lulah walking all on her own. We haven't really been pushing it, except for congratulating her when she has tried standing on her own. She hasn't had many repeat performances yet, but we are in no rush.

My favorite moments are how she looks at her hand on the second attempt (0:12) and how excited Atticus is. Also, how pleased she is with herself.