about a dream

Thursday, September 24, 2015

We had the most amazing summer

I complained all winter long about the cold (and rightfully so, it was brutal), but this summer was just so perfect, I have to note that. Clear blue skies, highs in the 80s, warm nights with gentle breezes... it was just perfect. The pool was in the mid-80s all through July and August, it rarely rained. No better summer ever has, or ever will, pass again.

In mid-August I left the air mattress out on the deck off my bedroom and the girls and I were out nearly every night watching the meteor showers. They put on a great show, and the mosquitoes pretty much left us alone. I wish we'd gotten around to pitching the tent and sleeping out there, or better yet, gone camping, but such is summer. Short and sweet.

We had some fun movie nights, and one night the girls made these:

Ok, so we're kind of falling behind on the spelling. And penmanship... (this is Nina's sign). Here's Maggie's:

Excellent spelling, and the rendition of Big Hero is spot-on.

But this sign of Nina's is SPOT-ON:

Because it was HOT!

Then, there was this. Perfection:

In summer, all u gotta do is:
Dinner out
Get Dirty!
Watch movies at Maggie and Nina's fun theater.

Yup, that sums it up perfectly!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stone wall photos--finally!

I finished the wall about a month ago; here are some photos at long last!

First, from the front right:

Note how wonderfully level the walls are!

All of the sod is up, but I haven't added any new gravel yet. I'll add some next month, after the stuff already there has a chance to settle down.

Also, some flower pics. This year, I did some succession planting in the front--cosmos sowed among the lilies, to bloom late in the summer, after the lilies had died. Stunning success!

I'll have to get a nice photo of my biceps too. Those stones were heavy!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The bricks...

I never posted a photo of the area off the basement that I bricked earlier this summer with the bricks I pulled up from the old walkway. Here it is:

Look at that level grade. Like a pro!

From the front. I put just regular sand in between the bricks, not the more expensive super sand. It looks so good!

On another note, check this out:

Fried lard bits. OMG, so good. They're going into a dish very soon. There are some things that I've learned from the Austrians that I will be forever grateful for. I believe Nick calls this "grammeln."

Also, no bake cookies have been a regular around here lately. For this recipe, I cut the sugar in half and added slivered almonds. Also a winner. This will be going in the lunchboxes all week, or possibly all year.

Off to hair night. That's the weekly shampoo, brush, and dry ritual. Takes FOREVER.

Back to school!

Better late than never, right?

Here they are, on the first day of fifth and second grades. Adorable!!

All decked out in their new digs, after mom and I took them on an August shopping spree.

The hair. Very on trend. My braiding skills are coming along!

It was my first day too!

Things went really well that first day. The next 8, not so much. Nina had a lot of anxiety about starting fifth grade, and kept coming home with a tummy ache. Monday was labor day, so no school then, and in July I'd scheduled the girls' annual checkups for Tuesday the 8th, so they missed the morning for that. Dr. Feder gave Nina's tummy a clean bill of health, and also thought it was anxiety. She stayed the rest of that day, came home early on Wednesday and Thursday, but then made it all the way through Friday. Fingers crossed that that's the end of it! Mom will volunteer at the book fair on Monday, and I think Nina will be happy knowing that grandma's just downstairs if she needs a hug.

Maggie's been having a great time. Of course, she'd rather be home playing with toys, but seems to have begun to accept school as a necessary evil.

Things are so far, so good for me too. I picked up an Oceanography/Ecology course at the last minute, but I'm liking it. I mean, it's depressing, I've learned all about the miserable state of plastics in the ocean, but the teaching part is going well. What more can you ask for?

In other interesting news, the girls are working as ball girls for the high school girls' soccer team! They really like it. I'm psyched, because we've never done team sports before, but now they're getting a chance to be part of a team, get exercise, and learn about the rules of soccer. Plus, they get paid to do it! I feel like it's the greatest children's sports hack of the year.

As a reward for sticking out all day Friday, and to give them someplace to spend their hard-earned $$ ($10/game each!), we took them to Target, WalMart, and 5 Guys on Saturday. Great day. We ate so much 5 Guys we could barely make it back to the car.

Looming ahead is our first 5 day week. Deep breaths. 170 work days until summer vacation!

Friday, August 28, 2015


What a great trip we're having. We had a near-traffic-free drive down, until of course we got into the city at nearly 5 pm. Oh well. The BQE has been re-paved, so that was pleasant. Even though it was rush hour, things moved fairly well. It's pretty much rush hour all the time these days, so it doesn't matter much when we get in.

Yesterday we went to Yvonne's new horse farm in Patchogue (traffic: extensive. Southern State was shut down between exits 33 and 34, so we had to take a detour). But eventually, we got there!

Willow Springs Farm! It's so beautiful! First we ran around, looked at the horses, and took a golf cart tour of the paddocks. Then, pony rides and Yvonne's pony Abby. Here's Maggie:

Doesn't she look great? Yvonne led Abby, but she's a wonderful pony, patient and gentle as can be.

Cousins hanging out while Nina rides. Maggie and Julian immediately hit it off and were like 2 peas in a pod the whole time.

Here's the indoor riding area. Huge!!! Margo's on Abby in the distance, some other people are on the left there. Besides Yvonne and Michele's horses, there are boarders, for a total of 26 horses. Big farm!

Here's Nina. Yvonne loaned her boots because all we packed were flip-flops. She's such a big girl, they practically fit!

Even though the trip over was long and traffic-y, the girls had a great time in the car. Here's Maggie getting her sunblock on. We were roaring!

On the way home, we stopped at Wal-Mart with Jenn and her kids to get a few things. We were back in Brooklyn in time to do this before Pete got home:

Well, it looks even more festive in person.

Even the door guards got dressed up!

So did Bearia!

We made a lemon meringue pie and had an adorable (if short and presentless) little party.

Also, bears!

And bears who are practically teenagers...

...and too cool for bear faces.

Today, Coney Island!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Nina!

Ten! She's TEN!

Yeah, ok, this is the only photo I took. Bad mommy. But doesn't it look so festive?!

She had 6 girls for a pool party, and with Nina nd Maggie, that made 8. Crazy! They had a blast. Swimming, jumping on the trampoline, playing dress-up, cake, presents... good old fashioned birthday fun.

It's ok, Nick has more photos:

Here she is with her birthday cake. Chocolate with chocolate frosting and blue edible glitter (I've started going on Pinterest. That's all I'll say.)

Since mom and dad went down to NYC on Friday, we also celebrated with a birthday lemon meringue pie that evening. The candles have kind of washed out the pie in this pic, but you get the idea:

Finally, we did a birthday dinner out at Kaler's on Friday, her actual birthday. He are us ladies, rocking the sunglasses.

Happy Birthday to my baby!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The unveiling...

Ta daa!!

I have to say, it looks amazing. So professional! So perfect! I haven't finished putting topsoil on either side, and I haven't set down grass seed yet, so this isn't quite totally done. Almost, very very almost.

Here's another angle:

Because I couldn't stop at just one photo, but the car was just behind me, so I couldn't get back any further. Another day!

And while I'm at it, here's a pic of the job I'm tackling just off to the left. It's the perennially yucky looking corner by the basement door, under the downstairs bathroom window. I've decided to set all the bricks I took up from the old walkway down there, to make a neater spot to store the trash can, hose, and whatnot.

The bricks under the door were already there. I added the bricks to the left, and I'm going to extend them all the way to the edge of the house. Should look pretty good! Better photos to come!

Other than all this, we've been super busy! Vanessa, Wyatt, and Ray got here on Thursday night. Friday we did the reunion cruise (so much fun!), and Saturday we did the reunion picnic. Also fun! I got home from the cruise and Nina had a fever, so I thought we weren't going to make the picnic. But she rallied at the last minute, and she was fine after that. Just a quick fever and some sneezing.

Sunday it poured all day long. The wind was really something else too. So we all just played together inside all day.

Today Mom, Vanessa, and I took the kids to the playground for about 3 hours. Tons of fun. Then Nina and I made fondue for dinner, plus a lobster quiche. Not sure yet what's on the docket for tomorrow, but whatever we do, I'll try to get some pictures!