Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Joni is in a particularly hilarious stage, given the combination of an amazing imagination and almost no inhibition. Most mornings as I drive her to school, she shares some nugget of wisdom or her current plan. A few of our exchanges from the past few days will give the idea…

1) On ambivalent emotional experiences

Joni: Boogers are the best.
Mom: Why?
Joni: Because they’re yummy. And disgusting. But I think yummy wins.

2) On her career aspirations

This week’s plan for her future is to be a farmer, teacher, and simultaneously run a store that sells only dolls (each for a dollar…yes, a Doll Dollar Store). Recognizing that it will be some time before this career plan can be fully realized, Joni asked if I would please remind her of the plan when she’s grown up.

3) On making sure there’s something for everyone

Her current plan for her birthday party is a butterfly-themed tackle party. She thought through that people would need to tackle in pairs that were relatively matched for size, especially given everyone would be wearing butterfly wings. She also thoughtfully noted that a brief nap would follow the tackling to help the parents.

4) On her inner eye

Joni enjoys playing I Spy. Her most recent turn involved asking me to guess something that was white while we drove in the car. After about 5 minutes of me guessing things I could see, such as snow, her jacket, other cars, etc., she casually announced “I’ve never seen this before in my life.” Turns out we were playing a game of conceptual I Spy, and she wanted me to guess a bunny that is brown in summer and white in winter.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy trails to Ann, Zach & Norea!

The PACT lab had a goodbye party for Ann, a wonderful post doc in Bethany's lab, as their family moves to CA.  The party was cowgirl-themed, with a cowboy boots centerpiece, and included a performance by the kids of “I wanna be a cowgirl.”

Slumber party!

 The girls had a fantastic time at their first-ever sleepover party at a friend’s house with Lily and Ava. The night was evidently light on sleep but filled with fun! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Puppy love!!!!

Meet Coco, the newest member of the family.  She is an ~8 month old Cairn terrier/Yorkie mix (she's a rescue so we don't know her exact age). She is incredibly sweet & snugly already! We're all in love with her.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

UVA Dance-a-thon

 Girls had a great time with Lily (and Ava, not pictured)
Joni's shirt turned out to be quite appropriate for the face painting!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Spreading the love

 The girls were a dedicated cookie baking, decorating & delivery team, offering Valentine's cookies to friends in the neighborhood (and a couple very lucky squirrels).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Bethany went a little nuts on the hearts...this is the kids' cereal in the shape of a heart, which was followed by heart-shaped chocolate chip, strawberry pancakes, and heart-shaped sliced ham...   
 Cozy new robes!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Bug and Bee are transformed into a butterfly and bunny!

Because life is better with whip cream

Young Entrepreneurs Night at Hollymead

Haven and Lily (with help from Ava and Joni) had a great Valentine-themed table with fun pencils, heart-shaped crayons, and hairbands that they made, and lots of delicious treats. They did a great job selling their wares, and raised over $28 for the American Heart Association!

Haven loses tooth #8!

Bethany visits Sarah, Patrick, Benjamin & James in Vancouver!

Fabulous trip, with a mix of play time with the kids (Bethany's Transformers vocabulary has improved dramatically!), and being totally spoiled with sushi, a show, shopping, and hot tub at the snazzy Sutton Place hotel for a "girls' weekend" with Sarah!

Perfectly logical connection to a 4-year-old

Dad: That's nice Joni
Joni: Yeah, I am wrapping the baby in a blanket. Like at the washing machine party.
Dad/Mom: Uh, the what?
Joni: You know, the party for Jen from mommy's lab.
Dad: Oh... The baby SHOWER!

Star Wars lives on (a.k.a. Brian brings Haven and Joni into the cult)

Brian's experience of showing Star Wars to the girls:
Part 1
Joni (4.5) watched Star Wars (A New Hope) for 1st time last week. Now dinner conversations are incessant questions about what happens in Empire and Jedi.
Haven: Yes, the Empire makes a new Death Star 
Joni: What?!!
Haven: They make it better than the first one
Joni: [knowingly] Oh, yeah... new chairs.

Part 2
Joni is incredibly excited to be watching Empire Strikes Back. We watch 10-15 min per night, and then debrief for 10-15 min afterwards. Half of each debriefing is questions about whether Luke and Leia will be dead at the end. Apparently "No" is not sufficient. 
It is amazing to observe how fascinated she is by it while simultaneously understanding almost nothing. 
A perfect disposition to be a scientist.

Part 3
Tonight's Star Wars episode: Han and co in asteroid field through Yoda reluctantly agreeing to train Luke. Highlight of the night follows three days of laughter about how Han and Leia fight so much - "who's scruffy looking?" has been repeated about 50 times since yesterday.
Han rubs Leia's hand and starts to get close.
Dad: Are they going to kiss?
Haven: No they're not. No they're not... No they're not....
Haven and Joni: AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

Bethany's experience discussing Star Wars with Joni 
Bethany: So, what is your favorite part about Star Wars?
Joni: Princess Leia
Bethany: I thought you might pick her. What do you like about her?
Joni: She doesn't drive the space ship?
Bethany: Oh, you mean she does drive the space ship? Yes, that's cool.
Joni: No, I'm glad she doesn't drive the space ship. If she did, she might get hurt. She's not very good.

Somehow the strong female leader message isn't quite getting through...