Our girls are growing up! Madeleine now vigorously corrects people when they assume she is three years old by telling them, "No, I'm three and a half!" She has definitely become a pre-schooler in terms of social maturity and independence, which is fun for her and a relief to us.

Madeleine often still asks us, "I forget, how old is Rachel again?"  It's hard for all of us to keep track when we count in months and they are flying by, but Rachel is almost 10 months old now. The two sisters are best of friends and it is beautiful to watch their interactions with each other. The more Rachel develops and learns new things, the more Madeleine roots her on and celebrates her. We love watching her develop too, although the early crawling (at 7 1/2 months) and standing up and now "cruising" have made our lives more complicated.

In January we took a trip to South Bend, Indiana to visit Ann's parents and introduce the girls to snow. Madeleine had some memorable quotes. On a day when the high temperature was 12 degrees she asked "Why are there clouds coming out of my mouth?" She spent about 4 minutes on the outdoor ice skating rink before calling it quits ("I'm getting cold and this is very hard") but she wanted to go back the next day. Making a snowman/snowpyramid was a big hit, as was Grandma's hot chocolate when she came inside.

Back in Alameda, we've welcomed three new chickens into our flock. Madeleine chose all the names: Scramble (named after the one who died last fall), Pancake and Waffle, now bring our flock up to six. We are enjoying glimpses of spring, time to work in the garden, and the prospect of Rachel's first birthday soon to come.

We've posted new photos here:

October 2009:

November 2009:

December 2009:

January 2010:

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